Reciting a pledge, renouncing your sins, hands upturned to receive absolution?

You can recognise a religious ceremony when you see one, and here it is, in Bethseda, Maryland, yesterday:

We often joke, those of us on the centre right, that in many quarters progressivism has become a kind of secular religion, and perhaps now you can see why.

Is it more analogous of baptism, or confession, though? It’s hard to decide. On the one hand, you’re being invited to renounce your sins. On the other hand, you’re being initiated, and cleansed, and re-born again. A little of both, probably.

The most telling thing about this, though, is how ceremonial it is. These people are volunteering for what some might find humiliating, but that humiliation is the only price that they’re paying. There’s no actual penance. They’ll go back to their middle class, gated, white American communities with a feeling of spiritual fulfilment, having publicly renounced their privilege. But they’re still privileged, right?

It is, one might say, salvation through faith alone. Martin Luther would approve, because professing your faith in the creed is enough to get you entry to the promised land, etc. There’s no secular Catholicism involved here, with a requirement for good works.

Maybe Black Lives Matter should take some lessons from the Pope and catholicism. Make them pay a tithe – 10% of their income annually, or something, to their local BLM chapter.

By the way: Have you ever seen a whiter crowd? You’d find more black faces in the Irish Times newsroom, that’s how white it is.

Anyway, it is what it is. I said on twitter this morning that it feels like the western world, or a large part of it, has gone totally and irredeemably mad. Nothing in that video is making me re-think the statement.