Donald Trump is like a cult chief, says religious studies scholar

Donald Trump is akin to a cult chief and his supporters are paying homage to disciples of a sect, in keeping with a religious studies scholar.

Reza Aslan, an Iranian-American writer, mentioned he was utilizing the phrase cult within the “pejorative sense” and argued the US president’s supporters had been united by a fanatical devotion to their chief. 

Aslan, who is a artistic writing professor on the University of California, Riverside, mentioned the extraordinary sentiments expressed by President Trump’s assist base shared extra parallels with faith than politics.  

“Trump has harnessed the kind of emotional intensity from his base that is more typical of a religious revival meeting than a political rally, complete with ritualized communal chants (‘Lock her up!’),” the educational mentioned in an Op-Ed for the LA Times.

He added: “I use the word ‘cult’ in its pejorative sense, meaning a deeply insular social group bound together by extreme devotion to a charismatic leader. Such groups tend to exhibit a few common characteristics. They are usually formed around an individual whom they’ve elevated to prophetic and near divine status.”

The tutorial, who is the writer of a number of books resembling Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, cited a variety of examples to reveal the cultish zeal of President Trump’s supporters. He claimed President Trump nearly appeared to recognise the phenomenon himself when he bragged he might “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and never lose voters again in January 2016.

Aslan argued Mr Trump’s barbed and frequent assaults on the mainstream media, which he notoriously disparages as purveyors of “fake news”, had been one more instance of his cult-like tendencies. 

“The authority that a cult leader exercises comes from his self-ascribed role as the one true information source for his followers. Competing ideas and facts are not just wrong; they are demonic,” writes the educational.

Aslan additionally referenced a variety of President Trump’s Christian supporters, recalling the time in the course of the marketing campaign that Franklin Graham, Mr Trump’s most enthusiastic evangelical Christian supporter, launched into a beneficial comparability between him and Abraham, Moses, and David.

He additionally drew consideration to the time Frank Amedia, an Ohio pastor who briefly had ties to the Trump marketing campaign, explicitly forged the president as a prophet receiving divine revelations. He mentioned: “I believe he receives downloads that now he’s beginning to understand come from God”.

Other examples cited within the article included TV preacher Pat Robertson saying those that oppose Mr Trump are “revolting against what God’s plan for America is” and Paula White, a Florida pastor and Trump non secular advisor, lately telling her congregation opposing President Trump is analogous to “fighting against the hand of God.”

The public mental went on to argue the Trump presidency might have harmful penalties if the US president’s place and energy was to degenerate but additional.

Aslan mentioned: “If Trump’s presidency deteriorates further, expect the religious fervour of many of his followers to reach a fever pitch. That poses a risk for the country. Because the only thing more dangerous than a cult leader is a cult leader facing martyrdom.”

This echoes the strict warning Aslan cited issued by Trump confidant Roger Stone who in August mentioned any try to take away the president from workplace would lead to “a spasm of violence in this country, an insurrection like you’ve never seen.”

Aslan argued President Trump was adept at getting his supporters to indiscriminately imagine all the things he mentioned. He cited a latest Huff Post/YouGov ballot which discovered a majority of American residents who’re Republican imagine the slew of sexual harassment and assault allegations in opposition to Harvey Weinstein are credible however few imagine comparable allegations in opposition to President Trump.

In the 2016 presidential race, 11 girls got here ahead to accuse Mr Trump of sexual harassment after the now notorious Access Hollywood tape from 2005 was leaked within the information. In the tape, President Trump might be heard bragging about groping and making undesirable advances on girls and saying he was such a “star” that he might seize girls “by the p***y”.

Mr Trump denied the allegations final yr and did the identical once more final month, branding them “fake” and “made-up stuff.” Weinstein has unequivocally denied all allegations.

Alsan’s documentary collection Believer debuted on CNN in March. Despite the very fact a second season had already been introduced, CNN dropped him in June after he known as President Trump a “piece of sh**” and “an embarrassment to humankind” on Twitter. 

His feedback had been triggered by President Trump insulting London mayor Sadiq Khan and selling his journey ban within the fast wake of the terror assault in London Bridge.

“I lost my cool and responded to him in a derogatory fashion. That’s not like me,” Aslan mentioned in a assertion on the time. “I should have used better language to express my shock and frustration at the president’s lack of decorum and sympathy for the victims of London. I apologise for my choice of words.” 

But he added: “I have to honour my voice. I’m not a journalist. I’m a social commentator and scholar. And so I agree with CNN that it is greatest that we half methods.” 


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