“A King Cyrus President” just published!

I’m pleased to share the news that Humanity & Society has just published my article “A King Cyrus President: How Donald Trump’s Presidency Reasserts Conservative Christians’ Right to Hegemony.” Here is the abstract:

Religious right leaders and voters in the United States supported Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election for the same reason that all blocs vote as they do: They believed that the candidate offered them the best opportunity to protect and extend their power and create their preferred government. The puzzle of their support, then, is less why they chose Trump and more how they navigated the process of inserting Trump into their story of themselves as a “moral” majority. This self-understanding promotes and exploits feelings of entitlement, fear, resentment, and the desire to dominate to encourage political action. Because Trump’s speeches affirm these feelings, religious right voters were open to writing a plot twist in their story, casting Trump as a King Cyrus figure, as their champion if not a coreligionist. This article analyzes appeals to and expressions of entitlement, fear, resentment, and the desire to dominate from more than 60 sermons, speeches, and books by religious right authors, Donald Trump, and Trump surrogates. Using open coding, it identifies themes in how these emotions are recognized, affirmed, and invoked by speakers, focusing on Trump’s Cyrus effect.

The article was released the same week as the film The Trump Prophecya rightwing Christian film arguing that Trump is God’s candidate.

Ferdinand Baltasars Pain. King Cyrus gives the stolen treasures of the temple of Jerusalem

Above, in this painting by 17th-century Dutch artist Ferdinand Bol, King Cyrus returns the treasures of the Jewish temple to the Jews who have been living in Babylon but who have been authorized to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Conservative Christians view Trump as a King Cyrus–not one of them, but the strong leader who will allow them to reassert their religion with government support. Upon arriving back in Jerusalem, the Jews rebuild the wall around the city, commit to ending pluralism (especially inter-religious marriage), and create a religion that is much more strident than its predecessors. 

The entire issue focuses on the question emotions in backlash politics in the US and Europe. Special guest editors Joel Busher, Philip Giurlando, and Gavin B. Sullivan have brought together a group of outstanding articles could be usefully discussed together in a class or reading group focusing on the current political moment.

Joel Busher, Philip Giurlando, and Gavin B. Sullivan. “Introduction: The Emotional Dynamics of Backlash Politics beyond Anger, Hate, Fear, Pride, and Loss”

Tereza Capelos and Nicolas Demertzis, “Political Action and Resentful Affectivity in Critical Times.”

Catarina Kinnvall, “Ontological Insecurities and Postcolonial Imaginaries: The Emotional Appeal of Populism.”

Mehr Latif, Kathleen Blee, Matthew DeMichele, and Pete Simi. “How Emotional Dynamics Maintain and Destroy White Supremacist Groups.”

Mikko Salmela and Christian von Scheve. “Emotional Dynamics of Right- and Left-wing Political Populism.”


I want to share a very warm thank you to Joel, Phil, and Gavin for their leadership on this issue. Joel Busher, in particular, provided invaluable editorial guidance on my (many, many, too many) drafts. His intellectual generosity made this a much more insightful piece, and I’m so grateful.


The article is available from Humanity & Society and will be available within the new few weeks in academic libraries. If you don’t have access to it in either of those ways but would like to read it, please let me know and I can help you locate a copy.

4 thoughts on ““A King Cyrus President” just published!

Add yours

  1. Loved this article. The thing that gets my goat is the devout Christians in my life who tremble and quake at the conspiracy theory that liberal judges are imposing (and enforcing) Sharia Law in their courtrooms, and yet the only evidence I see of anything resembling this conspiracy theory is CHRISTIAN law being imposed (and enforced) in our entire country.

    Remember in grade school when learning about the founding fathers, and the importance and emphasis they placed on SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE? When was the last time ANY of us heard THAT phrase? It’s being slowly secreted away in hopes it will be forgotten.

    Great blog, great article. Congrats.

  2. It is unfortunate, the hypocrisy that has become Christianity. As Jesus of Nazareth himself said: “hypocrites”! Yes, the exclamation mark is there too. This very hypocrisy is at least one thing that consistently angered him. No wonder people are confused regarding faith and spirituality! Hundreds of traditions saying all is doomed unless you buy their particular brand of salvation, (which is also how commercials work also). It seems long forgotten that his core message was one of unconditional love, not hate and fear. “Jesus may be enough” but often, his followers are way too much.

  3. Congratulations Dr. Fox! You write and illustrate your points so well. I am not surprised that your article was published. It is awesome to see the work you are doing in bridging the gaps of misunderstanding and helping people to see the truth for themselves about these issues.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: