“We need more heretics” – further additions to secular religions

In 2020, “identity politics” and “wokeness” became new members of the secular religions club. As Tom Slater put it in Spiked magazine, “Identity politics has become the new secular religion.” The points of similarity are already well-known: collective rituals and liturgical clothes,

The year the ruling class got woke
Democratic lawmakers in the US taking the knee, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Source: spiked-online.com

an unquestionable doctrinal system (“wokeness is the new orthodoxy”), including an absolute moral code (“virtue-signalling” and atonement for “past sins”), resulting in popular enthusiasm and intolerance (“a Salem-like hysteria”) or even official persecution (“Heretics must be ousted. Blasphemies must be scrubbed”).

Now all this is once again not a definition, but a parody of how religion is sometimes defined by those who don’t like it. Moreover, it is also unclear what makes identity politics a “secular” religion, and why wokeness is called a “new” – perhaps real? – religion at the end of the article. (And why not simply an “ideology”, for the article also applies the latter.) Yes, I know that this is not an academic paper. And it shouldn’t be. What it nevertheless clearly shows is how “religion” is mostly used as a simple derogation. Moreover, speaking of “the new religion of the ruling class” adds a populist flavor to its anti-religious zeal. All in all, secular-religious talk doesn’t seem to come to and end in 2021. It doesn’t seem to become more accurate, either.