The cult of wokeism that has claimed much of Christianity, from left-of-center Quakerism to “swinging with the times” Unitarianism, and to the multiple branches of Anglicanism – including Anglo Catholicism, which used to hold to traditional standards – is now encroaching into Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox territory.In most American Eastern Orthodox churches, most notably Greek (the most liberal Orthodox Church), you’re unlikely to hear sermons on social issues like abortion through a traditional Christian lens. Priests fear alienating their liberal congregations and when crucial social issues are mentioned they are usually only referred to indirectly so as to not cause too much offense in the pews.
The latest woke scandal in Catholicism has to do with an exhibit in a Manhattan church, St. Paul the Apostle. The exhibit featured a “God is Trans: A Queer Spiritual Journey” display near the main altar. St. Paul the Apostle is under the direction of the Paulist Fathers, an order of priests known for radical liturgical innovation and far-left social justice advocacy.
Social justice advocacy in Christian circles, most notably the Catholic Worker movement, used to be relegated to poverty and “authentic” civil rights issues but has since nuanced into a Marxist web of distortions like CRT.
In the 1990s, I attended a “Mass” at Boston’s The Paulist Center, then the “happening” place in that city when it came to “cool Catholicism.” In its desperation to attract young people and the cynically inclined, the Paulist priests at the Center erected multiplex slide show presentations showing images of paintings from MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) during the Consecration.
While the Paulist Fathers may not be as well known as the Jesuits when it comes to radical attacks on the sacred, you can nevertheless count on liturgical mayhem and surprises whenever a Paulist priest is involved.
As for the St. Paul the Apostle exhibit, it was only after media reports about the “God is Trans” exhibit that got the Archdiocese of New York to announce that they were planning an investigation. The Archdiocese claimed that it knew nothing about the exhibit prior to media attention.
The “God is Trans” exhibit is yet further proof that the ultimate goal of the cult of woke is the erosion of the boundaries between the secular and sacred, so that the values of the latter always reflect the former, the net result being the birth of a new religion that stands with the culture every step of the way.
The cult, of course, has also infected Judaism, Christianity’s ancient mother.
In Judaism, the secular strain has been alive and well for decades, snaking its way through the consciousness of American Jews in order to distance them from the synagogues of their ancestors, in effect dismissing these ancestral blessings as un-cool curses to be discarded.
The war between the secular and the sacred in Judaism became very evident to me personally when a local researcher, Beila Rabinowitz, Director of a website called Militant Islam Monitor, alerted me to a talk at the Kaiserman Jewish Community Center in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.
The event is sponsored by The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia together with three other groups, Keshet, The Mazzoni Center and Moving Traditions which promote LGBTQ and‘gender neutral’ lifestyles for young people.
The Federation’s mission statement proclaims:
“We are committed to creating a bright future for the Jewish People everywhere…and energize Jewish life and learning.”
Wynnewood, a Philadelphia suburb on the Main Line with a high Jewish population, is home to Congregation Beth Hamedrosh, a thriving Orthodox community. Historically, Wynnewood has been home to Conservative Jews, but the last three decades have seen a tremendous growth towards Orthodoxy.
The Kaiserman JCC was founded in 1971 as an educational and recreational center for Jews and non-Jews.
“Our mission is to create fulfilling connections, enhance lives and foster Jewish peoplehood through inspirational, educational, cultural and recreational programs,” the Kaiserman’s mission statement reads. “Our values are rooted in Tradition.”
The mission statement cites traditions like Sakranut (Curiosity) and Hod (amiability; embracing change.)
What are Jewish values? The word ‘peoplehood’ in the Kaiserman JCC statement is a red flag suggesting “embracing change,” as in being a little less Jewish in the traditional sense.
A Christian comparison might be what would occur if you put the Paulists and the Jesuits together and then created a community center that would end up not espousing traditional Catholic values.
Together with the Jewish Federation, Kaiserman JCC is hosting a June 4 lecture, “Building a New Home in Our Minds: Embracing the Entire Family Through Gender Transition.” The event will be led by Kohenet Dr. Harriette E, Wimms, a clinical psychologist and contract trainer for Keshet, an organization that works for LGTBQIA+ equality in Jewish life.
Wimms describes herself this way:
“A community connector, Dr. Wimms is a proud Black, Disabled, Queer, Fat, Jew by Choice, and is most proud of being mother to her 17-year-old son.”
“Fat, Jew by Choice, Queer.” This is woke psychobabble, the current rhetoric of the Left. Language like this is common enough on random flyers distributed on street corners, yet to strictly Orthodox Jewish eyes, the concept is absurd.
“It’s ridiculous. The Jewish Federation and Kaiserman JCC are supposed to be promoting Jewish values,” Rabinowitz says.
What’s even more absurd is the fact that Wimms calls herself a ‘Kohenet.’
“‘Kohen’ means priest in Hebrew” Rabinowitz informs me.
“Wimms, as a ‘con’vert to Judaism, could never be a ‘Kohenet,’ or priestess. Women cannot be a ‘Kohenet.’ This stuff is being made up. It’s a desecration. By promoting these things, both the Jewish Federation and the Kaiserman JCC are making a mockery of Judaism.”
Then there’s the age-old argument about what makes a Jewish convert. Regarding Wimms’ conversion, Rabinowitz says that she’s not Jewish.
“If you had a Reform ‘con’version or one done by a woman so-called ‘rabbi,’ you are not Jewish according to Halacha (Jewish law),” she says.
Yet while Rabinowitz is fighting wokeism, the (mostly secular) Jewish establishment is celebrating it.
Publications like ‘The Jewish Exponent,’ Philadelphia’s Jewish newspaper of record, will occasionally publish charming features about traditional Jewish communities but overall the newspaper is as woke as The AP Style book.
“The movement to eliminate transgenderism – that is, to eliminate trans people from public life – is intertwined with other hate movements,” an article in ‘The Exponent’ explained in March 2023.
“Some of the same groups advocating for these legislative attacks connect their hatred of trans people with their hatred of Jews. We see that when, as ADL Center Extremism reported, transphobic attacks on medical programs that help transgender youth are accompanied by antisemitic rhetoric and conspiracy theories.”
So when social commentators like Ben Shapiro, a religious Jew, comments on transgenderism, he is being anti-Semitic?
Likewise, in a major Jewish publication in Baltimore (‘JMORE-Baltimore Jewish Living’), Wimms’ home city, urban Jews are told they must get behind Black Lives Matter:
“We are aware that this message may come with some controversy. We acknowledge that the Black Lives Matter movement has had members who have made antisemitic or anti-Israel statements. However, as other major Jewish leaders and organizations have stated, we cannot allow this unrepresentative litmus test be an excuse not to do the right thing, to prevent us from supporting what is clearly today’s civil rights movement.”
Where is Rabinowitz – who calls the ADL the Anti-Defecation League “because they are anally retentive Jews obsessed with anti-Semitism and ignorant of Judaism” and says she is a political conservative and Orthodox Jew – supposed to go in a Jewish world that is increasingly being swallowed up by the cult of woke?
If you need proof of this, just google Wimms’ name and you’ll find numerous Jewish publications praising Wimms as an example of “multiple identities coming together” in a beautiful way.
“Multiple identities coming together in a beautiful way” sounds like clumps of centipedes trapped in a bathtub drain.
Why is identity politics being raised to the level of The Torah?
When I showed the advertisement for Wimms’ lecture to a Jewish, agnostic friend of mine, he laughed and agreed that the description of the talk bordered on the ludicrous.
Meanwhile, Rabinowitz tells me she’s doing all she can to get the Federation’s contributors to threaten to cut off funding if they don’t cancel her talk.
“Instead of adhering to their stated mission of ‘energizing Jewish life’ the Jewish Federation (and JCC) are promoting perversity under the guise of diversity. The Federation has become so ‘woke’ that they should more aptly be called ‘The Jewish Aberration’.”
While free speech advocates might urge the lecture to take place – although under a title like, ‘Purim insanity in June’ – one cannot help but admire Rabinowitz’s fight to safeguard traditional Judaism.