Anti-Racism: The Golden Calf We’re Told to Worship

By John Zmirak Published on March 8, 2023

There’s nothing wrong with cows. God made them, and they’re our friends. They’re our main source of milk, cheese, leather, and meat. They’re easy to render docile, then lead around from place to place. They pull our plows and fertilize our fields.

Without them, mankind might never have reached the Bronze Age, much less the Space Age. They’re not even one of the creatures which the Israelites were meant to shun, like pigs. Cattle are such a blessing that our legal term for private property, “chattel,” comes from … “cattle.”

The races of man that can drink milk as adults and digest cheese have such a competitive advantage as a result, they might be tempted to venerate cows — as indeed the Hindus do, consuming only dairy, and never eating the beasts.

What if the Cow God Demands Something Back?

Or you might, like ancient peoples in the Near East, start to actually worship them. First as symbols of plenty, fertility, and health. Then as actual deities with cattle heads and names like Moloch, who demand something in return. As payment for all the cattle that we eat, they want some of our infants — the first born, for instance.Not for Featured Image

At some point in this progression, you might hope that some wise man raised an objection to this development of human religious consciousness. You might call such men “prophets.” And indeed one of the first priorities of the Hebrew prophets was to stop the Israelites from joining in with their neighbors in worshiping the cattle and sacrificing the children.

It’s in light of all this background that we should see the scene in Exodus where the hungry, travel-worn Israelites forget all about Moses up on the mountain, receiving Commandments. Instead, they revert to old habits, and set up a golden calf to worship.

Where Are the Hittites?

What if Moses hadn’t rebuked them? What if he had worried that “modern people” would turn against him, quit his congregation, and leave him wandering through the desert alone? So instead he hung out the rainbow (cattle-worshiping) flag over his tent. Then the Israelites might have vanished into the interreligious soup of child-sacrificing, cattle-worshiping tribes that lived all around them, and died out like the Hittites. But God had promised otherwise, and He keeps His word.

Moses didn’t argue that cattle were evil, or even that they weren’t fabulous. He just demanded that God’s people not worship them instead of, or alongside, the real God who’d created them. But advocates of the cattle-cult, if they were alive today, might very well accuse Moses of “Boviphobia.” Or “Speciesism.” Some might even say that it was Jehovah’s problem, this weird aversion to cattle adoration and child sacrifice.

The New Idols: Equality, Tolerance, and Inclusion

That’s where we stand today with Progressive Christians. They take just one of the good things that emerged from the Biblical revelation — our duty to love people equally as dignified creatures of God — and worship it. Not merely alongside God Himself (which is bad enough) but instead of Him.

They take the whole complex of leftist ethical precepts now jointly described as Wokeness, and claim that these are necessary implications of the Gospel. Hence not just embrace of other races, but other religions, other sexual practices and foreign moral beliefs. We must “welcome” every letter of LGBTQMYNAMEISLEGION, respect other creeds as equal, and make room for advocates of abortion and polyamory. What matters is that we’re aiding “the marginalized,” no matter what they say, believe, or do.

Next the progressives claim that these mandates are the essence of Jesus’ teaching, which we practice so much better than our benighted ancestors, such as the apostles, the monks, and the missionaries. They were wrong to impose our Western culture of monotheism by preaching to pagans. Why were they talking instead of … listening?

We’re “Better Christians” than Jesus!

And finally, these moderns are happy to jettison elements of Biblical teaching, if they don’t sate the insatiable hunger for absolute equality. I’ve seen Progressive Christians outright assert that Jesus sinned, that He said and did things which were racist (for instance in His conversation with the Syrian woman) for which He then repented. You see, our cultural progress has taught us to be More Christian Than Jesus. Father James Martin, SJ, a favorite of Pope Francis, admits that the Bible condemns homosexual activity — then says we must judge whether the Bible was wrong.

By what criterion, you might well ask, can we criticize Jesus Himself, or His father’s commands?

By what the crowd of idol worshippers all around us think and believe. By which teachings get us in trouble with Caesar, Mammon, or Facebook. By what makes us feel squeamish, might “drive young people away” or could cut our Sunday collections.

The Most Comfortable Religion in History

All this is a recipe for a very comfortable religion. James Martin, if he’s like most Jesuits, lives in a palace for priests. He gets invited to the Met Gala and hired by Martin Scorcese. As a cancer cell, the “new gospel” steals just enough of its DNA from the old one that no modern antichrist will ever miss any meals.

The only downside is: It means that Christianity is false. That the Bible is unreliable. That no divine authority teaches us anything trustworthy — since it can get wrong crucial stuff for 6,000 years.

And that has implications of its own. Because once you take away the truthfulness of Christianity, its ethics all collapse too. (I wrote about this in the context of the Nazis, in case you’re interested.) Take away Moses and Jesus, and all you’ve got left is Darwin.

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We’re the chance outcome of random chemicals colliding, followed by hundreds of millions of years of ruthless competition among hungry, randy animals. We’re the top of the food chain, but that’s pretty much it. There’s nothing sacred about any human life, and no reason to do anything at all except if it promotes “the survival of the fittest.”

So how does rejecting racism flow from that? Darwin didn’t think it did. He fully expected the “advanced” (white) race to “exterminate” the “lesser races,” and thought that would generate “progress” for the species. Can you prove him wrong? Is the only argument against Hitler exterminating the Jews that he was empirically mistaken about their impact on the world?

That’s all you’re left with, if you blow up the foundations on which our entire cathedral of human rights is standing. You don’t get to have the decorative tops of buildings floating in the air without their cornerstones and supports. Pretty soon it’s all just a pile of ornamental rubble.

What Would Hitler Do? (WWHD)

So Anti-Racism, in practice, leads straight back to racism, because (once made an idol) it removes every possible reason to condemn any human behavior at all, including discrimination, slavery, and genocide. The lingering glamor of human dignity and equality are all just leftovers from Christian faith, and once you’ve purged that faith they will dissipate like vapors.

Hitler understood that, but he was ahead of his time. Now the countries which threw out his soldiers are readopting his ethics, aborting their children and euthanizing the handicapped, and welcoming jihadist Muslims who agree with him about Jews.

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. It turns out that it’s actually a scathingly bitter limerick.

For a conversation between Eric Metaxas and John Zmirak on this topic, check out the link below, starting around 12:00.


John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”

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