America’s Growing State Religion

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently perhaps unwittingly intoned the confession of faith of the religion of progressivism.

Noting the decline in the rate of COVID-19 cases in his state, Cuomo proclaimed: “We brought the number down. God did not do that. Faith did not do that. Destiny did not do that…”

One could almost hear in the background the grand anthem of the religion of progressivism, “Invictus,” written by William Ernest Henley (no kin to me, I hope, as I am sure he would also say were he alive):

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul…
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

Those words yank me back mentally to the late 1950s. Sophie Davis, a saintly high school choral director, taught us great Christian anthems. But she also taught us the musical version of “Invictus.” Her motives were pure. She wanted us to stand strong before the world’s travails.


Mrs. Davis simply did not comprehend the difference between “Invictus” and “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?”

“America is dying from an idea she only dimly understands,” says James Ostrowski, in his book, Progressivism: A Primer on the Idea Destroying America. Ostrowski writes that some call progressivism America’s new “state religion,” especially among elite establishments who see it as almost messianic.

In 1961, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black categorized “secular humanism” as a “religion” among those that “do not teach… a belief in the existence of God.”

To grasp the ideas inherent in the Left Secular Progressivist Socialism (LSPS) belief system, we must look at four words:

“Left”

This term refers to the position of Left Secular Progressivist Socialism on the philosophical spectrum. On one end is the extreme left, on the other, the extreme right. “Centrists” fall into the middle. There are variations, with some philosophies grouped on the center-left side and others center-right.

As to origin, one theory is based on seating in the French Assembly during the fiery eighteenth-century French Revolution. “Conservatives” supported the status quo of the monarchy and sat to the podium’s right. Members of the Assembly who favored revolution and the overthrow of the monarchy sat to the left. Whatever the origin, the classifications have come down to our time.

There is often confusion. For example, Communist socialism is regarded as being on the left, while Fascist socialism (the Nazis) falls to the right. The Hitler regime showed the ugliness of Fascism to the extent that most people reject it outright. Strangely, Communist atrocities under various left-wing dictators like Stalin, Pol Pot, the North Korean Kim family, Xi Jinping, and many others seems not to have repulsed some contemporary proponents of socialism.

“Secular”
This word applies to the theological/spiritual orientation of the “Church” of “LSPS.” Secularism rejects God, His transcendence, and Christ’s Kingdom order of righteousness-justice, peace, and Spirit-given joy (Romans 14:17) as the foundation and character of true civilization. Humanist Manifesto II (1973) described it this way: “No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.” Cuomo’s confession echoes that idea.

The danger is that no matter how much people try to reject the transcendent Lord, the more they need transcendence. This is among the great truths articulated by Saint Augustine, in his Confessions. The rejection of transcendence and the embrace of secularism means that human beings and their institutions, in the spirit of antichrist, are placed in the transcendent role.

“Progressivist”
This word refers to the policy context of LSPS. Ostrowski notes that United States government policymaking has been under the influence of progressivism since at least 1912, when all three of the major candidates for the presidency — William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, and Theodore Roosevelt — identified as progressivists.

At the heart of LSPS is the faith that the state can produce the ideal society of the movement’s dreams. “Government has been growing steadily and rapidly since the dawn of the Progressive Era,” says Ostrowski.” It is inevitable that “under progressivism, the state will grow until it controls everything and absolutely … a totalitarian state.”

“Socialism”
This term expresses the LSPS aim. Though he was writing not long after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, historian Orestes Brownson, almost prophetically summed up LSPS and where it would lead. The system

… which scorns all geographical lines, effaced all individualities, and professes to plant itself on humanity alone … is not without menace to your future… The humanitarian (i.e., socialist) presently will attack distinctions between the sexes; he will assail private property, as unequally distributed… There is (in “humanitarian” socialism) inequality, therefore injustice, which can be remedied only by the abolition of all individualities, and the reduction of all individuals to the race, or humanity, or man in general. He can find no limit to his agitation this side of vague generality, which is no reality, but a pure nullity, for he respects no territorial or individual circumscriptions, and must regard creation itself as a blunder.”

The spirit that led to LSPS and now menaces our future, emerged eons ago. The builders of the Tower of Babel might have also made the confession, “God did not do that… We did that.”

One hopes that Governor Cuomo, like Sophie Davis, simply did not understand the philosophy he was supporting.

Wallace Henley

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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