Scott Baugh—a Republican attorney looking to win a Democratic-held House seat in Orange County, California—was widely mocked after he asserted that "wokeism" poses a greater threat to the United States than such historical events as both world wars, the Civil War, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Baugh issued his remarks during a speech in June to the International Christian Ambassadors Association, a non-profit organization with ecumenical Christian affiliations.
He further elaborated, describing "wokeism" as synonymous with communism, and lamented its influence within churches. He contended that churches are neglecting their fundamental duty to address "sin," highlighting the need for a "savior."
You can hear what Baugh said in the video below.
Threat to Religious Freedom in USA is Communist Wokesim - Hon. Scott Baugh Candidate for US Congresswww.youtube.com
“What’s the greatest threat to religious freedom? We were born in the Revolutionary War. We survived civil wars, World War II, World War I, a lot of wars, 9/11."
“None of those were that threatening to our country compared to the war that we’re fighting now. That war is about wokeism and the lack of common sense.”
“That wokeism ― it’s communism, wokeism, whatever you want to call it ― it’s infected our churches. I like to tell some of our pastors that Jesus came to offend. That was his purpose."
“How would you know you needed a savior unless your sins were pointed out? And our churches aren’t doing that.”
For the political right, "wokeness" or "wokeism" generally refers to a left-leaning perspective that acknowledges the widespread existence of racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination in American society.
Advocates of this viewpoint assert that addressing these systemic biases requires ongoing vigilance and policies that consider identity and historical disadvantages. However, conservatives often employ the term "wokeism" to criticize a broader spectrum of liberal ideas that they perceive as detrimental to historically privileged groups, meritocracy, and religious freedom.
Baugh's absurd claim was swiftly mocked online.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) swiftly condemned Baugh's comments, characterizing him as a "perennial loser" who would face failure once more in the 2024 election. Baugh had previously run unsuccessfully for the same seat in 2022 and lost in the primary for a neighboring seat in 2018.
A DCCC spokesperson criticized Baugh's "disgusting culture war nonsense":
“Scott Baugh’s disgusting culture war nonsense has gone too far. Service members and veterans deserve better than this offensive propagandist, and so does California’s 47th District.”
Baugh's campaign countered that they knew "a handful of liberal groups and media outlets would react when they saw [the video]" and blamed "liberal advocacy groups and their media allies" for perceived threats to education, faith-based institutions, law enforcement, and individual freedoms.