Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – guest host Christina Botteri welcomed co-creator of the Theology of Home and author of the book Awake, Not Woke, Noelle Mering to the newsmakers line to outline the three elements of her book that define the woke culture and its infiltration into the church.
Botteri: Right now on the newsmakers line, I am so excited to introduce our next guest, Noelle Mering is a fellow at the Ethics and Policy Center. She’s the author of the book Awake, Not Woke: A Christian Response to the Cult of Progressive Ideology. Noel, thank you so much for joining us this morning on The Tennessee Star Report.
Mering: Nice to be here. Thank you for having me.
Botteri: Thank you. Tell us about your new book.
Mering: Yeah. So it’s published by TAN Books. It just came out a couple of weeks ago, and it’s really my research and interest in what’s happening with woke culture. And I treat it more or less like a religion.
So I go through its origins, its dogmas, and its methods of indoctrination, but then also the restoration, the way to restore the culture out of this situation. Yes, I’m really excited about it and eager to be talking more about it. It’s one of my favorite subjects. (Chuckles)
Botteri: (Laughs) Well, let’s get started. So what was the genesis of the idea to address this? Where did the idea for Awake, Not Woke come from?
Mering: I’ve always thought of been interested in the intersection of Christianity and politics and how that plays itself out. And obviously it’s a hot topic, and there are lots of differences.
The big topic I think I got really interested in the woke stuff in particular because I started writing articles about things that were happening in the culture and noticed a certain pattern that this movement that’s about social justice tends to be quite merciless and actually unjust ultimately.
But it really operates on confusion and sort of plays on a pre-Christian precept to walk alongside the marginalized and suffering, which is a true and good precept. But what I kept noticing is that it takes that and sort of manipulates that instinct and then brings something that not really just out of it.
And so that seems important and interesting to note and to try to figure out why the movement was acting this way.
Botteri: Wow. What did you find and what are the things that you discuss?
Mering: I go through the historical genealogy, which is a big topic, too, but rooted in Marxism and then neo-Freudism, and post-modernism. The central dogmas that I found to be driving this movement and uniting it are three fundamental distortions.
One places the group over the person to the point where the person is reduced for the sake of the group. And really there’s a lot of tribalism there. Secondly, it emphasizes the human will over our reason or nature.
So what we desire becomes the definition of who we are, even above and beyond what is rational or natural. Meaning, like natural law, an intelligible human nature is a bodily meaning.
We see this really acutely in the transgender movement, for example. And thirdly, it emphasizes human power over authority. It really defines any hierarchical structure to be oppressive, even the structure of a supernatural hierarchy.
And God himself ultimately finds to be the target of this movement, because there are three things that are reduced. And those three distortions are the person’s reason and authority.
And the woke which is ultimately three characters, just the logos meaning the mind, the reason of God manifests in the person of Jesus Christ, who is the author and authority of all. And I do think that he is the ultimate target of this movement.
Botteri: Something that I’ve seen over the course of several years now, but it seems to be sort of snowballing is a social justice movement in the church. And as a Methodist, I’ve had a tough time for a long time reconciling their pacifist stance – and that’s a discussion for another day.
But we see a lot of progressive tenants being expressed in the church right now, especially in Catholicism. If you follow the Pope at all, he’s basically a South American-Marxist.
Are we allowed to say that? It’s something that seems to be snowballing and gaining a lot of traction in the Protestant religion as well – the Protestant doctrines. Where is that coming from? If the goal of racism is to destroy God, why is it getting so much traction in the churches?
Mering: That’s a great question. The two primary targets of Karl Marx were the church and the family. Christianity and the family. And I think that there’s been a lot of inroads because Christians are swimming in the same waters as the regular culture.
So one of the main goals was to really break down the sexual morals of the culture. First and foremost, you’re attacking the father by making him unfaithful and by encouraging him to be licentious and follow sexual passions.
And then this turns women in, makes women distrustful because obviously family stability and cultural stability rely on the family unit. And it also makes children rebellious because a father is really kind of an icon of authority.
We see it in his deeper voice and his broader shoulders and his commanding stature. There really is an authority just imbued in men, and it sort of calls them to inspire something higher.
And if they don’t, then it really becomes abusive and just about human power when it’s not grounded in moral law. Once these things happen, social pathologies become rampant, and they’re in the church as well.
And I think we see that. Once our socials were wounded and hurt by all these social pathologies and the breakdown of the family, we become very susceptible to a replacement version of the Christian life and what virtue means.
And so all of a sudden we’ve gradually stripped at this narrative meaning of the family life, and the faith has become watered down. And then here comes the work movement, introducing this new narrative where all you have to do to become good is to agree with the ideology to fight.
There’s this boogeyman out there of oppression. They see oppression in everything. Every interaction is built on oppression and power. That’s what the ideology is saying. So if you can just fight this boogeyman.
And the boogeyman is not always the boogeyman. That’s why it’s powerful. It’s real sometimes. There’s real racism. There can be real misogyny. There are real instances of these things.
But rather than taking them to be incidences that you can point out and identify and try again, it becomes this invisible, pervasive, controlling dynamic in society. And so I think Christians have really been duped in a lot of ways into thinking that this is what the new way to become virtuous is.
It’s just to become woke. And all of the other normal traditional channels of virtue have been seen as being oppressive or judgmental or these sorts of things like old-fashioned. I think it really starts with a loss of human virtue and then becomes prey to tyrannical ideology in that way.
Botteri: Well, that’s disturbing. Os Guinness, the philosopher from Hong Kong, of the Ale Guinness family – he coined the phrase the Golden Triangle of Freedom and said that liberty is only possible without these three elements being the Golden Triangle of Freedom.
And you can read about this at the Tennessee Star with our Constitution series. And the three elements are faith, virtue, and freedom. Liberty cannot exist without those three elements there.
And so the question is, can we have liberty without faith or virtue? What do you say, Noelle?
Mering: No, it’s extraordinarily difficult. And this is one of the ways that you lose your liberty is by losing your virtue. Alexis de Tocqueville said that America is great only so long as she is good. And once we lose our moral goodness moral compass, then we can’t control ourselves from interiorly, we have to be controlled externally.
Botteri: That’s a lot to think about.
Listen to the full third hour here:
– – –
Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Noelle Mering” by Noelle Mering.
Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed creator of the Huey Report and direct mail expert, Craig Huey, in-studio to outline the specific techniques used by the Democrats that will aid in their quest to turn red states blue.
Leahy: In studio is our good friend California refugee Craig Huey. He’s the founder and CEO of Creative Direct Marketing Group. He saw the light moved them from Southern California here to Nashville. Lives in Williamson County. Welcome, Craig.
Huey: Hey, Michael. It’s great to be here with you. And it’s great to be in Tennessee.
Leahy: Isn’t it great to be in Tennessee?
Huey: Awesome. (Chuckles)
Leahy: Now you are an expert on California and California politics. You lived there your whole life.
Huey: That’s right.
Leahy: You were a surfer kid. You ran for Congress here in 2011, and you saw something about how the Democrats were organizing. Now, I always want you to come in here because one of the main themes of this program is we want to prevent the Californication of Tennessee because a lot of Californians are fleeing that blue state.
That high tax heavy regulation blue state and moving to Tennessee because we have no state income tax. It’s a good environment. And we were talking about this off-air. What is it that we can do to prevent the Californication of Tennessee?
Huey: Well, you know what? There is no stopping Californians from fleeing. But the good news is, like in our neighborhood, the majority of the people moving in, and what I’m talking about not just a dozen, I’m talking about close to 40 to 50 people already and more coming all the time.
They are California refugees like me. They can’t stand the politics that has taken place and they’re fleeing. They’ve given up hope on being able to change anything. And so they have left. They have businesses like mine. I was forced to leave California just for one thing, that I couldn’t do business by hiring independent contractors.
Leahy: We were talking about that.
Leahy: But they won’t let you have independent contractors, which is stupid.
Huey: Absolutely. It hurts the workers. It hurts the businesses. It hurts the economy. They have an eight-point-five percent unemployment rate. Plus, you add in those others who are on welfare forever. You talk about the tax is 16.5 percent is what they’re going up to.
Right now it’s a 13.5 percent income tax. And when they hear Tennessee has no income tax, it’s so attractive. The Tax Foundation just came out with a report. Tennessee is the lowest taxed state in the nation for your lifetime of paying tax.
Leahy: I love it! That’s why you are living in Tennessee. I’m living in Tennessee.
Huey: But there is a problem other than California.
Leahy: I asked you to talk about how we prevent the Californication of Tennessee. But there’s another state, and that represents a bit of an issue in Tennessee.
Huey: The Georgia-fication of Tennessee.
Leahy: Elaborate on that if you would.
Huey: That is what the Democrats are talking about. That’s what the National Democrats are putting in nationwide $35 million. to transform, not their blue states but to go after a state like Tennessee. And Tennessee is one of the targets because they believe they can bring a mobilization of voters in Tennessee like they did in Georgia.
Leahy: The mobilization in Georgia and I don’t want to get off point of this. A lot of it was helped by, in essence, cheating and changing election rules unlawfully.
Leahy: That is going to have less success in Tennessee. But the digital marketing efforts, the organizational efforts that they’ve used to basically turn Georgia purplish. Right. Tell us about that. And there’s actually a specific instance right now going on. And you told me about it. And I said, oh yeah that makes sense.
Huey: (Chuckles) So listen, here’s the thing. They have determined how to win an election even in a red state. They have determined how to be able to transform politics. They can take five to 10 percent higher voter turnout, which could flip a Republican seat nonetheless, protect the Democrats.
Leahy: If it’s like, typically 53 to 47 D, they can change.
Huey: They can change that.
Leahy: How do they do that?
Huey: So here’s how they do it. I got a letter from the head of the Democrats National Committee. He explained, exactly what he was going to do.
Leahy: I’m guessing you do what I do.
Leahy: I get on their email list.
Leahy: And they think I’m one of them. And they send me all their emails. So you’ve got that.
Huey: I got that. Let me just read the real quick part. This is from them to their Democrats, the top Democrat donors. This agreement we reached as a game-changer. And it’s the easiest commitment we’ve made to state parties and grassroots ever to fight the Republicans.
Leahy: What agreement?
Huey: The agreement is that they would spend $32 million to hire high school and college organizers here in Tennessee and other states.
Leahy: In Tennessee.
Huey: Just in the Republican states like Tennessee. They feel they can switch. So there are about 10 Republican states they’re dividing this money up with.
Leahy: And so they’re hiring high school and College organizers.
Huey: And they’re targeting churches and the black community.
Leahy: Churches, churches, churches.
Huey: They have organizers. Paid staff organizers. Here’s what they’re going to do. Number one, register to vote. Number two, do a digital campaign of petitions and polls to identify what issues. If issues of education, then somebody concerned about retirement and inflation.
What is it? And they do a profile of these people. And then from that, they go to that door and find out how to develop a relationship with them. It’s supported by a digital campaign. So if somebody’s really concerned about education, they’re going to get digital ads on Facebook and Google that are all about how bad the Republicans are about education and how good the Democrats are.
Then they’re going to take that data and have people knocking on the door. And they’re going to be saying, you’re for good education. So is our candidate. We got to stop this abuse of the kids. Can I count on you for support? And they say either they’re persuadable or in agreement.
And if they’re not, they won’t get any more contact. And if they are, can I give you a babysitter to get you to the poll? Can I give you a voter guide? They’re putting money into a voter guide that tells them how to vote from the school board all the way up to the top of the ticket.
And so it’s a complete mobilization and organization, of paid staff. The Republicans act like it was 30 years ago. They don’t understand these techniques. The Democrats think they can wipe out marginal districts in red states.
And that’s what they plan to do. If you remember Michael in California in 2018 and then this last election, there was all this, wait a minute. I won on election day.
Leahy: But what happened!
Huey: And a week later…
Leahy: I lost!
Huey: But that’s not just voter fraud. And some of the areas where that change took place. It’s because they got in the vote by mail ballots. And they did an amazing job.
Leahy: The vote by mail is the key. The Zuckerberg money went there. And, of course, it is a lot easier to commit fraud with vote by mail.
Leahy: And we’ve documented it. In Georgia, they did that. The fraud took place because we’ve done stories at The Georgia Star News. 600,000 of the vote by mail ballots were deposited in drop boxes. 700,000 went by regular mail.
The ones in dropboxes six months later still, the Secretary of State down there has not yet produced a chain of custody documents for 333,000 of them.
Huey: It’s corrupt. It’s wrong. And it happens. And that’s why voter integrity is so important. And part of this money is going to lawsuits in Tennessee. You are going to see lawsuits to weaken the voter laws.
Leahy: That’s what they did in Georgia. That’s exactly the plan. The Secretary of State caved there. The Republican Raffensberger caved and basically, they let the Democrats set the rules illegally. But with the approval of the Secretary of State under rulemaking authority that they usurped the legislative authority down there.
Now, what’s interesting about this and I’m going to tell you, the plan is diabolically evil and effective. And the reason I know that is because it’s like they’re working hand in hand with the teachers’ unions and with the left-wing administrators of school districts. Because, as you know, they’re all pushing critical race theory.
Huey: That’s right.
Leahy: And so the kids are going to be overwhelmed with this I hate America idea. And then the Democrats come in and they go and they hire some of these kids who are being taught I hate America. And so they’re going out and they’re promoting well, we have to fix that.
And so we’re going to go with a Fix America because I hate the America program. And it’s easy for them to recruit people and talk to them. But they’re paying high school kids to do this.
Huey: They are paying high school kids and college kids and College kids that’s exactly what they did in California. It was the training ground. And so much of what goes on in California spread nationwide and they’re just exporting that.
Leahy: And it’s in the churches here too. One of the difficulties that you have is if you’re a Christian who believes in Orthodox Christianity, it is increasingly difficult to find a church in Tennessee that is not imbued with left-wing social justice warriors at the minister level. And it’s a consequence, I think, of decades of this kind of activism among Democrats recruiting church leaders.
Huey: It’s a great divide in the church community. It’s a great divide in America. And people have to stand up. They can’t go to a church that is teaching racism and bigotry.
Leahy: And the problem is finding a church right now like that. And there are some.
Huey: There are some.
Leahy: But it’s a diminishing number because the Democrats are very aggressively promoting social justice and equity and all those critical race theory-type things at schools and in churches.
Listen to the second hour here:
– – –
Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.