I am fascinated by the overtly religious nature of the compliance which has been required with respect to certain social issues. Rather than look to the substance of any particular issue, consider the structure of the way in compliance is required and maintained.
There is a tool used in Biblical counseling to analyze the existence of a “system”. The tool as developed in teaching (I am not the originator of the observation here, although I have used it in class) is used as a number of S’s for ease of memory
Source of Authority
Systems of Authority
There must be some authority basis upon which to determine what is permitted and what is not.
There is some wrong in the world. The current variants define these in terms of some sort of “hate” or “oppression”.
There is some sort of salvation, something you must do be absolved of your sin.
Sanctification: there is some or process by which you maintain your status as a morally acceptable person.
If you fail on these points, you are then Shunned. This is cancel culture. We probably need to add “Shunning” as a sub issue of sanctification: the person is forcibly kept apart from the community under there is repentance/penance and return (but the current public religion seems to lack any possible repentance and return).
Systems of authority: there is some mechanism to propagate the system.
Finally there is sparring: defending the system from other competitive points of view. The apologetics need not be intellectually sophisticated, it need only be sufficiently pervasive as to permit the system to prevail.
I think it would be easy to make an application to various recent points of public concern and controversy.
What I have also noticed is explicitly religious conduct: There are oaths, prayers; instructions to ponder various texts, to make various public demonstrations of piety.
Today I read about an author who laid out a public sin – of which he was neither guilty nor capable of committing – which required submission to an authority, various “sacrifices” necessary to be absolved of the sin, a process of sanctification, and a requirement of shunning for those who refuse to repent. While the word “sacrifice” has a perfectly common meaning of effort, the word was striking in the midst of such language demanding overt moral protection.
The insistence of the writer would have made a medieval inquisitor blush for its lack of nuance or possibility of being mistaken.
A public religion is being developed which admits no competitor. It is morphing at the moment, so I don’t think it will necessarily maintain the same sins and sacrifices. Maybe it is just testing out variants.
There is also a fascinating technological aspect of this new religion.