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While researching the Trump presidency, I ran across the term, “the cult of Trump.” I immediately typed this term into my preferred computer search engine and to my amazement, I was swamped by several pages of articles, books and other resources addressing this issue. Apparently, where there is smoke, there is fire.
John Pavlovitz, a well known and widely read Christian author, recently wrote, “America is in a cultic crisis, and Trumpism is the cult. There is no other way to approach these days.”
Pavlovitz went on to say, “When you believe one man above science, above our intelligence agencies, above our former CIA directors and retired generals and revered journalists — when you believe that one man above even your own eyes and ears — you are fully indoctrinated.”
From this columnist’s perspective, millions of the U.S. electorate fit the above description of those who have become duped into becoming members of “the cult of Trump.”
As Michael A. Genovese stated in the History News Network of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, “Part of the problem is that many Republicans confuse Donald Trump with being a Republican. He is not a party president, and barely a party member. He is, instead, the leader of a cult.”
Steve Hassen, one of the world’s leading experts on cults explains, “Donald Trump fits the stereotypical profile of a cult leader. His followers fit the model as well. Especially the ones that say, ‘He could do anything and we would still believe in him, we would still follow him.’ They sound like people who have been indoctrinated into a totalistic mindset. Trump’s strategies of fear and political programming, redefining reality and defining independent journalism as ‘fake news’ mirrors a country on the verge of a totalitarian takeover.”
Being involved in Christian denominational work for several decades, I have both studied and bumped into the issue of cults, their leaders and followers. Cult leaders are, by nature, narcissists. They demand total obedience. They also demand loyalty over competence. They must be in complete control and will tolerate no criticism. They tend to be amoral and deeply insecure.
Margret Thaler Singer wrote in “Cults in Our Midst,” “He has no restraints on him. He can make his fantasies and desires come alive in the world around him. He can lead people around him to do his bidding.”
Joost A.M. Meerloo wrote in “The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide and Brainwashing:” “Hitler kept his enemies in a state of constant confusion and diplomatic upheaval. They never knew what this unpredictable madman was going to do next.”
Does this sound familiar?
As a cult leader, Trump has mastered the art of using the language of fear and hate to divide and conquer. “Only I can save you.”
And, from whom or what will Trump save us? The hordes of Mexican rapists, criminals and drug smugglers flowing across our southern border by the tens of thousands. He will save us from the evil Muslim terrorists hiding among those Arab immigrants fleeing violence in their homelands and seeking a better life in the United States. He will save us from the liberal Democrats who want to destroy our democracy and make it a socialist nation. He will save us from the immoral LGBTQ community seeking to recruit our youth into their lifestyle. He will save the Christians and their churches from the current flood of persecution from the evil liberals.
I could continue the list, but you get the picture. We are under attack and Trump will save and protect us. He and only he can do so. You see, the cult leader grooms his followers to believe such nonsense. It is pure snake oil and many are buying it.
To quote Chris Hedges, “Donald Trump has transformed the decayed carcass of the Republican Party into a cult.”
Time is growing short to alter the dangerous totalitarian direction toward which Trump’s presidency is driving our nation.
Edward “Ned” Walsh of Princeton is a retired Baptist denominational worker who served as executive director of Johnston County Habitat for Humanity from 2004-08.