“Turning science into one’s personal firebrand style ministry is something to behold.”
Conservatives mocked a speaker at a climate change activism event for delivering an overly enthusiastic rant that some mockingly compared to a religious sermon.
The Sunrise Movement, a millennial group leading the charge for the Green New Deal, hosted a sold-out event at Howard University in Washington, D.C., on Monday. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., spoke later in the evening.
Varshini Prakash, the Sunrise Movement’s executive director, addressed the crowd with a passionate speech about the need for radical action to combat climate change.
“So I want to ask you: Do you believe the science? Do you believe in justice?! And do you believe in a better day?!” Prakash said, her voice crescendoing into a near-scream as the crowd roared in affirmation.
“Then we must organize! And we gotta mobilize and we gotta get everybody in this movement to shake the very foundations of this world until those who sow hate and division and a new day is born!” she continued. “And I want to ask, are you with me in that fight? Are you with me in that fight?”
Conservative commentators mocked Prakash’s fervent monologue. Former IGN editor Colin Moriarty heard echoes of the infamous “Howard Dean scream.”
— Colin Moriarty (@notaxation) May 14, 2019
“I think screaming so loud is a danger to the climate,” tweeted one commenter.
“Mentally unstable. Unhinged,” wrote another.
The most common criticism of the clip was that Prakash sounded more like a preacher than a policy advocate.
“It’s an inverted religion,” one user said.
Another quipped that Prakash made the event into a church revival.
"Do you believe?" is something you say at a revival meeting.
…oh. I see.
— AgainstTrumpDude (@TheAmishDude) May 14, 2019
Self-described liberal Democrat professor John McWhorter, who teaches linguistics at Columbia University, has argued that there are parallels between religion and progressive ideology, especially in the arena of race.
“Something happened in this country about five years ago where being on the side of the angels meant that you were supposed to deny facts, that you were supposed to exaggerate, that you were supposed to embrace a notion such as that whites are supposed to be guilty of a privilege that they have upon birth, and the evil of it cannot be expunged,” he said in April during an interview with Reason’s Nick Gillespie. “It all starts sounding like fundamental Christianity.”
In a 2015 essay for The Daily Beast, McWhorter compared a person of faith’s devotion to religion to progressives’ blind adherence to “antiracist” ideology.
“The Antiracism religion, then, has clergy, creed, and also even a conception of Original Sin,” he said. Note the current idea that the enlightened white person is to, I assume regularly (ritually?), ‘acknowledge’ that they possess White Privilege.”