Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cults, Redux

Sometime ago, I wrote a post on how the followers of Obama and cults. I thought I had seen it all then regarding the adulation of this man, but oh, was I wrong!! Now, we have the new coins being created in his image, the push for a national holiday, schools changing their name because of Obama's "achievement" of being half-African, and even more. Add that to the previous statement in which Nancy Pelosi claimed that:
"(T)his is the moment that the world is waiting for."

And Obama's OWN claim that:
"I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions."

Wowie zowie. So, since it is pertinent, and I am sick as a dog, as we say down here in the South, I am reprinting the majority of that piece from back in July with a few slight changes. It is below.

So, YEAH, Obama is "what the world has been waiting for," and what represents America returning to its "best Traditions" if that means an arrogant, narcissistic, sexist, thuggish, unethical, pandering, coercing, power-hungry Messiah-wannabe, then, yes - Obama is our guy!!! I must be some kind of heathen, though, because I just don't buy it. Obama has made the classic mistake - he now believes his own Axelrovian hype. He really DOES think he is The One For Whom We Have Been Waiting!

Not long ago, I was reading a book by Kathy Reichs, a professor at UNC-Charlotte. Her books are the basis for the show, "Bones." In this particular book, Death Du Jour, the question of cults comes up. Now her main character, Tempe Brennan, is also a professor art UNCC, a forensic anthropologist. Because of a case on which she is working, she goes to a sociology professor at UNCC (and the information in this books on cults is legitimate - it comes from another UNCC professor of Religious Studies, James Tabor). Once you read it, you will see why. Dr. Brennan's comments will be in italics. Red, the Sociology professor's, will be in regular typeface. Okey dokey - ready? Here we go:

"All right. What's a cult?"

"Cults are not just groups of crazies who follow weird leaders. At least the way I use the term, they are organizations with a set of common features." (On age 295, Red makes the point that cults can also be political parties.)

"Yes." I leaned back in my chair.

"A cult forms around a charismatic individual who promises something. This individual professes some special knowledge. Sometimes the claim is access to ancient secrets, sometimes it's an entirely new discovery to which he or she alone is privy. Sometimes it's a combination of both. The leader offers to share the information with those who follow. Some leaders offer utopia. Or a way out. Just come along, follow me. I'll make the decisions. All will be fine."

"How does that differ from a priest or rabbi?"

"In a cult it's this charismatic leader who eventually becomes the object of devotion; in some cases he's actually deified. And as that happens, the leader comes to hold extraordinary control over the lives of his followers.

"Cults are totalistic, authoritarian. The leader is supreme and delegates power to very few. The leader's morality becomes the only acceptable theology. The only acceptable behavior. And, as I said, veneration is eventually centered on him, not on supreme beings or abstract principles.

"And often there is a double set of ethics. Members are urged to be honest and loving to each other but to deceive and shun outsiders. (Emphasis mine.) Established religions tend to follow one set of rules for everybody."

"How does a leader gain such control?"

"That's another important element. Thought reform. Cult leaders use a variety of psychological processes to manipulate their members. Some leaders are fairly benign, but others are not and really exploit the idealism of their followers.

"The way I see it, there are two broad types of cults, both of which use thought reform. The commercially packaged 'awareness programs'" - he gestured quotation marks - "use very intense persuasion techniques. These groups keep members by getting them to buy more and more courses.

"Then there are the cults that recruit followers for life. These groups use organized psychological and social persuasion to produce extreme attitudinal changes. As a result they come to exert enormous control over the lives of their members. They are manipulative, deceptive, and highly exploitative."

Amy here - hmmm, let's just guess which one I think Obama is?!?! Ahem. The discussion continues, but I thought this was significant:

"I still don't see why anyone but a nutcase would fall for such crap."

"Not at all." He shook his head. "It's not just marginal people who get sucked in. In some studies approximately two thirds of the respondents come from normal families and were demonstrating age-appropriate behavior when they entered a cult."

"Has your research shed light on why people seek out these movements?"

"Often they don't. These groups seek you. And as I've said, these leaders can be incredibly charming and persuasive."

AMY here - the discussion continues, and then this question: "I just don't get it, Red. How can people be so gullible?"

"It's seductive to think that you're elite. Chosen. Most cults teach their members that only they are enlightened and everyone else in the world is left out. Lesser in some way. It's powerful stuff." (Kathy Reichs, Death Du Jour, 1999, pp 295 - 300)

See what I mean?? Do you see it?!? To me it has been crystal clear. Obama has been engaging in "thought reform," as discussed in this book, and has taken it to a massive level. For him to go to the House of Representatives as The Anointed One, elevating himself to a height neither deserved or REAL, says a lot. And it says just as much about all of the House members who clapped themselves silly. They wanted to bask in the glow of The One, they wanted to show they, too, are in his employ.

This is frightening stuff. I thought Bush was bad, but I fear Obama more. He has demonstrated time and time again that he is beholden to no person, and no position. He can dismiss even relatives with seeming ease, and change positions as quickly as the wind blows. He is a dangerous man, and his followers likewise. Not all of them, mind you, but enough of them seem to have this mentality, which is mighty scary, indeed.

What next? The Empire State Building renamed, "The Barack Obama Building?" The Rocky Mountains renamed, like they want to do in Antigua (see article about schools changing their names)? All because this man is half-African? When this becomes the standard by which we elevate people, we are starting a dangerous, dangerous precedent indeed. After the election, I wrote a piece entitled, "Judging A Man" on this very issue (I was not alone - many better writers had pieces on this topic, too). But when you have mayors claiming that Obama's singular achievement is being bi-racial, you know we are losing the edge as a nation. Add that to the rampant level of cheating and general dishonesty by our young people, sanctioned by their parents and, too often, their teachers (the latter often take a great deal of abuse if they try to maintain standards of decency), and I despair for this country and what we are becoming.

Not to be a downer or anything. Told you I was sick! But still...


SFIndiePUMA said...

Here in San Francisco, I sometimes feel as if I'm living in Obama Cult Headquarters. On the way to work this morning, I saw a bumpersticker that said, "I (heart) Obama". I couldn't believe it! Worse, I realized that I had no one I could call with whom to share my complete and utter dismay. Seems everyone I know is a member of the Obama Cult, and that realization really shook me. Then I came to work and read your post and....well, it really is a mad mad mad mad world right now.

I hope you feel better soon, Rev Amy!

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Hey, SFIndie -

Oh, dear - you have got to be kidding me! I bet you 10-1 that the same person who has that bumper sticker would have gone NUTS had someone had one saying that abt Bush. Heck, HILLARY!! It really is a cult...

And I hear ya abt people with whom you can discuss this. Last night, my sister sent me an email saying that Chambliss had won, which made her mad after all of his dirty tricks with Max Cleland. Don't get me wrong - I was furious abt that, too. But considering the lengths to which Obama went this year makes what Chambliss did pale by comparison...

Thanks, SFIndie! I appreciate that (as I sneeze away...).