Is the Trump presidency a religious cult? | Reza Aslan

Is the Trump presidency a religious cult? | Reza Aslan

Eighty-one percent of white evangelicals voted
for Donald Trump in the previous election. That’s a record. That’s more white evangelicals than voted
for George W. Bush—and George W. Bush was a white evangelical. This makes no sense to people, especially
when you consider that Trump is not just the most irreligious president in modern history,
that his entire worldview makes a mockery of core Christian values like humility and
empathy and care for the poor; That this individual who couldn’t even name a single verse in
the bible when asked to do so, and yet – and yet – received a record number of votes by
white evangelicals. Scholars of religion—normal, rational, people—have
been trying to figure out why. Why? What happened? And I think that there’s a couple of things
to keep in mind. Number one, it’s white evangelicals. Eighty-one percent of white evangelicals voted
for Trump, but 67 percent of evangelicals of color supported Hillary Clinton. Now, these are people who believed the exact
same thing, whose only real difference is that.. is the color of their skin. So let’s not ignore the fact that there
is a racial element to this support. Jim Wallace, the head of the Sojourners, a
liberal evangelical group, said it best when he said that these white evangelicals “acted
more white than they did evangelical.” And I think he’s right. The second reason I think has to do with the
pernicious influence of something called the prosperity gospel, which has gripped the imaginations
of white evangelicals. This is that version of Christianity preached
by these charlatans like Joel Olstein and T.D. Jakes, the essential gist of which is
that God wants you to drive a Bentley, that what Jesus really wants for you is material
prosperity—and indeed that’s how you know God has blessed you, is by your material prosperity. Many white evangelicals looked at Donald Trump,
and what they saw was a wealthy man. And that wealth, as far as they were concerned,
was just a sign of God’s blessings. And so that freed Trump from having to do
what every other candidate, certainly every other Republican candidate for president has
had to do, and that is: actually prove his spiritual bonafides. Trump never had to do that. All he had to do was just keep talking about
how rich he was. And for a large swathe of white evangelicals
that was enough. Thirdly, Donald Trump did something that no
other president, not even any Republican president courting the evangelical vote ever did. He expressly promised secular power to these
white evangelical groups. In his speeches to them and in the conferences
that he had, both private and public, he very clearly and very explicitly said that if they
voted for him that he would give them “their power back,” even if he didn’t agree with
their pet causes that he would just allow them to have those causes. And you can see as president he’s talking
now about removing, for instance, the Johnson Amendment, which is an amendment that prohibits
preachers and churches from actually engaging directly in politics and preaching politics
from the pulpit. It’s why they get to keep their tax break. No one has ever thought about removing this
requirement until Donald Trump. And now he is very seriously moving towards
allowing churches to take part directly in political activism as churches. But none of this, none of this explains the
most important phenomenon about white evangelicals in America, and that is this: In the span
of a single election cycle, white evangelicals have gone from being the group in America
that is most likely to say that a politician’s morality matters to the group that is now
least likely to say that. Atheists in America think that a politician’s
morality matters more than white evangelicals in America do—White evangelicals who continue
to refer to themselves as value voters. This is a phenomenon that can’t be explained
by just looking at the prosperity gospel or looking at racial matters. What you’re seeing is a gigantic group of
Americans who are fundamentally overturning their core theological beliefs that public
morality matters. And the only explanation that I have for it
is that Donald Trump has turned a large swathe of white evangelical Christianity into a cult,
into a religious cult, a dangerous religious cult. All the signs are there. Donald Trump functions—as he himself admitted
when he said offhandedly that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose voters—he
has become a kind of a prophetic divine character. Pat Robertson, the head of The 700 Club, a
very influential white evangelical, literally said that God took him in a dream up to heaven
and he saw Donald Trump sitting at the right hand of God. You know who actually sits at the right hand
of God, according to evangelicals? Jesus Christ. In other words, Pat Robertson is saying that
Donald Trump is essentially Jesus Christ. In fact, that’s not that weird. His own evangelical advisor, a pastor by the
name of Jeffers, said not too long ago that he would prefer Donald Trump as a candidate
over someone who “expresses the values of Jesus.” So what we are seeing now is that these white
evangelicals—not all of them but a fundamental core of them—have essentially latched on
to Donald Trump as almost a salvific character. They don’t just follow him. They don’t just agree with him. They almost worship him. And my fear is that, as we know from our very
recent history, cults, when confronted with the realities of the world, can often end
in catastrophic ways. We have a presidency that is deteriorating,
a president that is spiraling out of control. We have open conversations now about the 25th
amendment and impeachment. We have multiple investigations and the possibility
of indictments at the highest level. This is a presidency that is in danger of
completely disintegrating. That wouldn’t be such a big deal if it weren’t
also a religious cult. Because when a religious cult begins to deal
with this kind of situation, when their cosmic ideas are suddenly butting up against the
reality of a failed leadership, they tend to double down. And that’s why I think that we’re in a
very dangerous place as a country right now. Because the only thing more dangerous than
a cult leader like Trump is a martyred cult leader.

100 thoughts on “Is the Trump presidency a religious cult? | Reza Aslan

  1. Reza one major fact you do not understand nor have any insight to is the power of our living God who is the Creator of this world and all that is in it. Maybe you do see something but is it through a veil of darkness blinding you from the Spirit of Truth? From my point of veiw, it is clear you have not been given sight or understanding to His Kingdom or His Authority over this world. You only see and understand flesh, you do not see, hear or understand Spirit. You confuse and mistake the study of words to be the keys for the doors allowing access to God's Kingdom and to the Wisdom of God's plan. For this truth, I feel sorry for you but it is not for me to understand who God has chosen to use, who He allows staying in darkness and who He lets the ruler of this world have dominion over. I assume you are well aware you have not received nor hear His Spirit and out of this frustration and confusion speak against those who do. I will tell you that many of the white evangelicals that you mock, who voted for Trump, did so not because they belong or believe in a cult called Trump Prosperity, but did so because they were led by the Spirit of God to do so. I do not expect you to understand this but just like you can't explain God's miracles or the length of life a person is blessed with, it is God's Spirit that leads and directed those who He chooses. You have to stop trying to explain why Trump won the election by your worldly ideas and understand he won by God's intervention. Yes, Trump is part of God's plan whether he is recognized by God as one of His eternal chosen or is merely being used to fulfill His plan for humanity. Do you really think a mere man, a man seemingly so out of presidential character like Trump could win an election against the negative forces we all saw and continue to see stand against him? This includes scholars like yourself, knowingly or not, who plot against him and everything he stands for? Be truthful and ask yourself, is it Trump you speak against, or is it the Heavenly Father and those who claim they know His name you speak against? What is it about Trump's character you dislike the most? My advice to you Reza is that you buckle-up because the ride from here on in is going to get bumpy. Unfortunately, I see you as one who thinks like the Pharisees and Sadducees in days of old who were also filled with this world and blind to His Sovereignty and His Grace. The narrative and doctrine you continue to push and preach, yes you will be held accountable to this statute rank, will be successful until the day of His return. As spoken in God's Word, we have been warned against that what brings destruction to many under the pretense of peace.
    I ask my fellow believers to pray to our Heavenly Father to see and hear your words for what they are under His Light and to remove the veil over your eyes and ears and allow you to see and hear the Spirit of Truth leading you to His Grace before it is too late. Amen

  2. the truth is Donald trump is the voice for white evengalicals,they are not Christ followers they prefer trump witch is a racist and evil man.trump is what these people have in their hearts but god is gonna take trump and them down .trump feels he is god and white evengalicals worship him more than Christ.trump is first for them not the gospel.they are the same people who came to enslave the blacks and do evil in America using the whitewashed bible.same mentality but they are gonna fall with trump this is their last leg that's it folks.karma is live by the sword you will die by the sword.adios my amigos your done

  3. And yet Hillary got the popular vote. 😂 You will always find what you're looking for. Trump bad. Found it. Hillary bad. Found it. This guy is great. Found it. This guy is dumb. Found it. Just remember, we as voters made this a game. Then, we get mad when politicians play the game. It's also funny that brown muslims vote for brown Muslims. Or white Jews prefer white Jews. Oh my, tribalism!? This is ridiculous. Why is this a problem only when you don't agree? Humans acting human is a surprise? Just wait a few years and everything will flip. The only reason why this shit talking goes on is because people love their echo chamber. It makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside. What happened to the days when all politicians were disliked? When Obama was elected president, that became racist too. Double standards, games, and all the echo chambers of your internet world will bite you on the ass no matter who you think you are. Then, we have people open their mouths and half of people think you're a genius and the other half think you're an idiot.

  4. Antichrist trump has three wives. There is no forgiveness for that. Divorce doesn't exist according to Jesus, see Matt 19:3-9, so we must rip trump's penis off by its roots and make him scream in pain.

  5. The devil is in Trump. False prophets who preach that Trump is a Christian have not read the Bible. Satan is in the conservative mindset

  6. The left is a postmodern identity politics clown cult. YOU all on he left are truly the cult but are trying to turn it around.

  7. We took our chance with Trump.
    Make no mistake.. Color had nothing to do with it..
    satan has your heart..
    Hillary was the worst of the two evils. But the Scriptures tells us to support our leader ship and pray for them. If you were a true Christian you would be supporting our leader ship in prayer not bashing him. Christ did not come here to bash anybody.

  8. Yes, they tell us he is blessed by God. That is Divine Right, something that is the antithesis of everything America Stands for. Re revolted against a king who though he was divinely anointed by god. If a lay person told you our President should be god anointed you would laugh him off. When it comes to these Un-American fundamentalist we give then tax exemptions. Both they and trump are traitors of everything American. Traitors to everything America stands for. Donald Trump is crapping on our constitution as the fundamentalist applaud. We need to really examine out tax exempt policies towards religion.

  9. LOL…..   I laugh my ass off at squishy little LibTards like this.  They gush and slobber over Islam, the most violent, murderous cult in history, and still is today.  Then point the finger at Christians.  Hahahahahaha…….   When was the last time you saw Catholics flying plane loads of civilians into buildings?   When did you ever see a Methodist with a Backpack Bomb get on a school bus full of Jewish Kids?   When did you ever see a Baptist run down 100 tourists with a moving Truck and the get out and begin stabbing the baby that he missed?   You people and your Fake Ass Propaganda Media, Your Fake Ass LibTard Educators, Your Fake Ass DemonRat Politicians and your FaKe Ass Religions like Global Warming are all bunch of screaming crying babies who had defective Mothers and grew up as Racists who want to control everything and everyone you don't like.  You're going down, but it won't be at the hands of Christians.   It will be your own monster that you created that will kill you with sharp teeth and poison.



  12. Donald Trump marketed himself to the white evangelicals……NO SHIT….He is a huckster!!! Always has been always will be!

  13. First Clinton is crazy. I am not a main steam Christian I'm part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I voted for him. Explain that.

  14. They're all being deceived. And so are many who didn't vote for him.
    I'm a white male and didn't vote for him. Or Hillary. They're all tied in one way or another.
    I don't like it when, because I'm a white male, I'm perceived automatically as a trump supporter.
    Of course that belief is many reinforced by leftist propaganda, and I didn't say liberal, because many of so called liberals are not liberal.
    Anyway trump is just a zionist puppet.
    It's all a ploy to divide conquer this country and the world for that matter. From what I gather.
    Christians are waiting for the second coming of Jesus. Perhaps the second coming will be a change on peoples hearts.

  15. Blacks have for voted democrat for many generations because they were told that the party is for them, to keep them voting democrat.
    I heard the Lindon B Johnson said, that'll keep them niggers voting democrat for the next 200 years, when he signed on welfare. And that's what happened. What did welfare and the democratic party ever do for them really. Kept them dependant on the government and an easy vote for the democrats?
    Many blacks, and I'm not gonna call them African American, are realizing this and are deciding to leave the plantation.

  16. People have said, religion has killed so many people.
    Communism killed many more than religions. Many more. And white evengelicals definitely don't want that.

  17. What I've noticed is that people have gone to extremes of the left and the right.
    And their both being selfish and greedy, wanting power. Religions and political ideologies can both turn into cults.

  18. Ahh yes.  I am white.  I am a Christian and indeed I voted for Donald Trump.  I do not regret voting for Donald Trump. I also do not regret voting for Obama but I now would say their is a 50% chance that Romney might have been better.  I also have never found any evidence based reason to believe that Donald Trump is a Christian.  I never claimed he was a Christian.  Do not ask me to prove that he isn't.  Reza Aslan reasoning may sound good to many people but it has many flaws in it.  For one thing, his assumption that I would only vote for a Christian ( should I really believe that the Clintons are Christian? )

  19. "Caring about the poor" oh please you mean the Clintons care about the poor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?  Seriously now! You have got to be kidding me.

  20. Wait a minute?  Morals do matter Reza Aslan.  Like not murdering people.  Also in the point of helping the poor how about downright not stealing from the poor ( exactly what the Clinton foundation does )  Also Reza aren't you the folks that whine and complain about Christians being stupid enough to vote for someone just because they claim to be Christian.  Hillary Clinton claims to be a Christian.  I am not interested in defending Trumps moral character but he does appear to be a lot more moral than the Clintons.

  21. No I have not overthrown my fundamental view that morality matters.  Again, Reza you ignore the murders of the Clintons and how they got rich off of robbing the poor through there terrible fake Clinton Foundation.  You sir need to get off of your high horse about how white evangelicals have supposedly tossed there morality out the window and due some proper research into this matter.

  22. The brain washed hillbillies elected the end of the world for the 99%. Nukes are on the table, America will become the trump communist party, and the 20,000 who survive nuclear warfare (Russia white scum) and (America Orange scum). Fucked up shit, but reality, and we are living in it. This is the only way for them to have a complete white planet for ten's of thousand's of years.

  23. One of the more amusing comments I read defending the indefensible stayed if you didn't him you would miss the (her spelling) raptor. Speaks to her level of education. Should have responded, too late the Raptors went extinct millions of years ago

  24. This dude’ iq is sub zero. News flash: most people in this country is white. Whats wrong with that? Is japan racist for being made up of asian people?

  25. You don't need to worry about white evengelical christians they are all going up in the rapture soon. The sane people will be left on earth.

  26. Trump is the Antichrist

     Revelation 13 sign

     Great American Eclipse

     Four Blood Moons Israel

     January 20th Wolf moon

     Claimed Jerusalem the capital of Israel and moved US Embassy there

     Born on a blood moon

     First day of office he was 70yrs, 7 weeks, and 7 days old. 777

     Comes in his own name

     Trumps face on the Israel temple Coin

     Trump Town in Israel, town square, street name

     Compared to King Cyprus, king David

     “Little Horn"

     His name is in the bible

     Donald Trump in Hebrew means “World Ruler”

     Parents names are Mary and Christ

     Brought back Christmas, a pagan hoilday

     Claims to be Christian, his fruits show different

     Always flashing the 666 sign

     Getting rid of separation of church and state

     Simpsons predicted his win

     Master deal maker

     From New York City “mystery Babylon”

     Leader of the first beast

     Penthouse full of Apollo memorabilia

     Makes friends with dictators while turning back on allies

     His presidential car is called The Beast

     He has Roman and Assyrian blood

     His ancestors are from Germany

     The Trump surname is an anglicized version of the German name Dump (he is of part Scottish and part German descent). Donald John Drumpf (his full name) in American ASCII computer code is 666. (In Jewish gematria (numerology), the value of the letters in Don Drumpf is 666).

     (Don being both his abbreviated first name and meaning “powerful ruler.”)

    Donald John Drumpf in American ASCII computer code is 666

     The name Donald means: World Ruler, Great Chief, Proud Chief. Think of a powerful Mafia Don. Our word “don” derives from the Italian donno (“Lord”) and the Latin dominus(“Master,” “domination”).

     He has declared a war on the media, calling them all fake expect Fox News.

     First and only President of the USA to touch the Wailing Wall in Israel

     At the Alabama tornado memorial Trump signed bibles

     Behind closed doors, he converted to Judaism

     He is considering signing Norad laws

     Moderator Frank Luntz asked Trump whether he has ever asked God for forgiveness for his actions.

    "I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don't think so," he said. "I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't."

  27. Cult45 folks are brainwashed. Its scary when you read about those who follow cult leaders. Same traits as trump supporters.

  28. Religious belief systems permeate every culture, whether obviously (food and clothing) or as a result of historical development (legal system). The problems occur when the belief system colors the perspective one takes. It wasn't Trump per se. It was the fact that he took up topics that were avoided by other politicians, abortion through to industry. The belief system he capitalized upon was a belief in reward, whether celestial or of this world. Whether it comes from God or the existing corporatist system. A vote for Trump was a self serving vote for a reward. And this is the commonality with other middle eastern belief systems. Is there really a big difference from 72 virgins and all the wine you can drink?

    Critical reasoning must be taught because all of our brains have evolved within culture and religion. We are all prone to looking through the glass darkly. The solution starts with sex ed, because sexual rules of conduct underlie all religious belief systems. For the record, I am not an atheist.

  29. It's worth noting that there is a vast percentage of Republican Voters who actually also think Trump is a fool and a morally corrupt being. It's also worth noting that this significant portion of Pro-Republican, yet not-so-much-pro-Trump will continue voting for the Republican party because of the extreme left, radical socialist rhetoric coming from the Democrats. You'll see that Trump bashing does not bother these people because they also don't like trump. That being said…. It is clear to see he is actually doing a better job than his predecessor, and a much better job than any other Democrat would have done. If you want to see Trump gone, GET A WORTHY OPPOSITION IN PLACE, NOT THESE FUCKING CRAZY IDIOTS ON THE LEFT

  30. A gigantic group of Americans who have "lost their first love" (Bible). Many perhaps believe that the benifits of supporting this administration out weigh the risks, however it is a huge compromise to ignore the lies, human rights violations at our southern border, racist support , and worst of all sexual depravity. Us Christians must open our eyes .

  31. Doesn't matter, He's going to Prison! He STILL has 22 counts of Sexual Assault pending against him and now 1 count of Child Molestation! These court cases are waiting patiently for his coward ass to leave that office. He can't pardon himself out of this! No more running! Tic Toc Child Molester! Tic Toc!!

  32. Stop sugar coating it! Bottom line is Evangelicals have gladly wiped their asses with everything they claim they believed in to follow their Great White Racist Father! Period! It's long overdue to "Tax The Church!"

  33. Liberals can't seem to stop obsessing about this man. They eat sleep and breathe trump. He has complete control over them but they wont come clean about it.

  34. No, Trump's worldview does not make a mockery of core Christian values such as humility and so on. What you people do not realize is just how militant and authoritarian Evangelicals in the US have become within their own churches and families for the past 30 years before Trump even arrived on the scene. Since the 1970s, evangelicals went on a massive campaign to subjugate women both in the church and especially in the family. Along with this, we started to see a rise in pastors becoming increasingly abusive and controlling towards their congregations. Trump fits right in with their desire to dominate others and he offers them an outlet to take their authoritarian rule into secular society. This stuff has been brewing for a long time.

  35. It's not Trump-trash who represent a religious cult, it's the GOP. The Pig Reagan was able to unite the bible banging trash in hatred against queers (AIDS) in the 80s. Since then the GOP has been a religious cult for ignorant white trash, and remains so to this day, evidenced by trump.

  36. For reasons best known to themselves Christians need desperately to feel they are loved and they are so grateful for that feeling when told that there is somebody that loves them they will return that imaginary love with dog like devotion and devote their whole lives to it even though they are led to believe the person who loves them is invisible and lives somewhere in the clouds. Unfortunately this misconception cannot be treated with reason or common sense, if that was as far as it went it could be laughed off and regarded as harmless, But harmless it is not! Religion pervades every area of our lives and the minority of Christians and Muslims have the loudest voices which gives them a persuasive voice in Politics to the extent that wars are waged with the assurance that the imaginary God is on our side. Next time you see a street Preacher striding up and down outside a crowded bus shelter screaming about Devils and Hell you should be aware that this foaming at the mouth extremist might have the ear of local Politicians and if the Politicians think there might be votes in it for themselves, they will listen. That street Preacher has ambitions and one way of realizing those ambitions is to influence everyday politics with their crazy ideas and control our lives. Politicians at the highest levels must listen to fanatics such as Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Copeland etc. or risk losing votes from large areas of our country, It worked very well for the late Billy Graham to such an extent that Presidents could not ignore him, to give such power to people who hear voices in their heads and claim to have seen visions is madness on the highest scale. Trump is the ultimate Capitalist pig sociopath and when we see him opening a bible and quoting scriptures it means he recognizes the power of religion in politics, Nothing more.

  37. George W Bush was a Catholic not an Evangelical, and Protestant prejudice against Catholics is why he didn't get a higher percentage of the vote.

  38. When I first saw your title I said "of course it's a cult!" Then i realized i said it out loud. Haha. I am a white Christian. I don't know if I am evangelical, as I have always gone to a non-denominational church that has not labeled itself as such. I think the prosperity gospel goes against what the Bible teaches and is dangerous. I agree with you, mostly. I have thought his following is a cult for years.

  39. As a former Evangelical, this is so true.
    I have followed the teachings of James Dobson and other leaders of this cult. They want most of all, the destruction of the Muslim temple Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and restoration of the Jewish temple. They think that will cause the return of the messiah. Some how they believe Donald Trump will do this for them.

  40. No they arent. Ive been a lefty my whole life. Your antiwhite bigotry and calls for violence are vile. So fuck you ill go vote for trump.

  41. as a former christian, I almost think that these christian people I used to know….i really think some sort of huge mindwipe, some sort of huge brainwashing took place over these spiritual leaders and evangelical voters. I think event hat God allowed these people to totally be delivered over and deceived, to test if they would trust Christ and obey morality and holines OVER POLITICAL POWER AND A GOOD MONEY ECONOMY. but like OLD ISRAEL IN BIBLE, the evangelicals trusted their IDOLS more than the bible. they trusted SEan Hannity's god which is politics and the Republicans, not the Catholic doctrine or the commands and teachings of Jesus. Trump's fruits IN NO WAY demonstrate holiness or fear of God. I don't care what PROFFESOR BROWN said , the charismatic emotion guided fool that has that radio program – I don't care what he said. Jesus would not support Trump. WHAT HAPPENED TO SUPPORTING PENCE OR CRUZ?????

  42. christians think that Trump is for them. but…although he made an executive order for the removal of the Johnson amendment…BUT HE NEVER PUSHED IT AS LAW OR got it officially removed yet!! he hasn't pushed for a law protecting sexual slavery victims or trafficking. Just the other day, funding was cut for a fed program that used to help protect and help victims of sex trafficking who were forced to do crimes to as part of their slavery, in exchange for room, board and food. Of course, I know all this BECAUSE I DID RESEARCH on this, unlike future christian trolls who will post on this site.

  43. wow. Powerful point at 4:40 to 4:47. excellence. "…evangelicals…gone from most likely to say…." politicians' morality is important, to most likely NOT to say that before electing politicians, their morality matters!! congrats, christians. YOu are now officially Sean Hannity clones. ALL FOR THE PARTY AND POLITICS…Jesus is a distant Third in consideration reasons.

  44. Holy shit this scares me, I am a white southern Methodist . I see a lot of people coming to their senses so maybe we can get out of this situation .

  45. Born again christians are the most scary people I've ever run into. All christianity is a cult. All man made religions are false. Religion is for the weak minded.

  46. Wait for the actual 'Church Of Trump" soon with a massive Trump portrait at the altar, etc, similar to the "Church Of Elvis"

  47. I am Latino and voted for Trump because he was the lesser of two evils at least he's for America he is not anti-American but all have sinned May the first non sinner cast the first stone and I will vote for him again because the new anti-American free everything including Medicare for all open borders scientologists are cultist Mormons are cultists Democrats are cultist

  48. Trump is a perfect fit for the AntiChrist. He is full of pride, speaks ‘Great Swelling Words’ and proclaiming he is The Chosen One and the King Of Israel. He has ZERO empathy and is so disgusting in his treatment of women.

    Those following him have ‘Listened to Deception and become the deceived’

  49. Anyone supporting Clintons is an evil human regardless of the skin color…Frankly Hillary deserves hell many times over.You must be one of those evil people that God is going to destroy.

  50. Because Hillary Clinton is a straight up daemonic wet from hell. And I think anyone with two brain cells understand that my friend

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