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This is one of the weakest, most intellectually flawed theses in support of a new "religion" I believe I have ever read. Where to begin? Well, let's just start by saying that because Trump--a true narcissist--gives shout outs to his supporters (regardless of whatever may be rolling around in their head about anything--much less their religious beliefs) he is therefore embracing the concept of his actual messiahship, and we are witnessing the emergence of a new religion is something one would expect from a stand up comic. Did Barack Obama kick-start a new religion because he was welcomed as a savior (lower case), frequently depicted with halos and surrounded with Christian iconography (aka "Black Jesus.") and was known to cause people in the audience to faint and collapse (I actually witness this first-hand. His live speeches were attended by people with stretchers, water, and 1st aid provisions.) The enthusiasm and fervor of these enthusiastic people for a politician upon whom they invest so much (e.g. "Hope and Change") hardly means they'd created a new religion. In fact, enthusiasm for Trump is much more likely a demonstration of their profound disappointment with the previous political leader, or past electoral offerings by their party.

Furthermore, raising one's index finger with an extended arm together with one's fellow enthusiasts is no more a fascist sign (the Nazi salute was required and, indeed, exhibiting it could mean the difference between life and death, eating or starving, working or begging) than it is for happy sports fans jubilantly declaring--together--that the New York Jets are "Number One!" I mean, political campaigns are competitions after all.

Then there's your example of Mitt Romney. Even the Osmonds wouldn't publicly endorse him for President. And I would ask which conservatives--actual conservatives--consider him a defender of Democracy? (OK, Liz Cheney, but I think the staggering size of her recent re-election loss in Wyoming puts that in perspective.) At any rate, his religion is mocked by Democrats, and ignored by Republicans. I don't know what mentioning him serves here. His Mormonism is completely irrelevant.

The Vatican. Oy. Their clear failure during the rise of the 3rd Reich was never expressed in Divine terms, was never based on scripture, and is one of the darkest chapters in the Church's history. Would you argue that the fact the Vatican hid or protected pedophile priests means that the Roman Catholic Church was supporting a new religion base on sex with children? Nothing in scripture or their orthodoxy supports this. That was/is priests (and cardinals) behaving badly.

Demonizing or marginalizing people because of their enthusiasm for a candidate is dangerous, just as it was for Joe Biden to drape his Philadelphia speech in Nazi agitprop reminiscent of Leni Riefenstahl and sneer at "MAGA Republicans." Calling for the press to aggressively play along is to lose your way, Mr. Tofel. Because it signals to the public that it is OK to take off the gloves, and beat these people down, treat them with distain, rather than talk with them, or simply win with compelling arguments (fair and square) at the ballot box.

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