Fans are often obsessive about their idols and some can develop into a kind of “cult following.”

Recently, one group of sports fans took their obsession so seriously they established a church to honor their hero Argentina football star Diego Maradona, reports Ananova.

According to the “First Maradonian Church” we are now living in 42 AD. That is, 42 years after the birth of Maradona. And of course “AD” stands for “after Diego.” The church’s 100 members celebrate Christmas in October on their icon’s birthday.

Not to be outdone Americans in the United States have long worshipped at the altar of Elvis. Portland, Oregon has its very own “Church of Elvis.”

Stars who die young like Elvis and another evolving rock legend Kurt Cobain, often develop enduring cult followings.

Cobain’s recently published diaries seem to have largely energized his loyal fans. The Nirvana star’s journals expose a tormented genius, ultimately overcome by self-loathing and drug addiction.

A new film titled “Frida” starring Selma Hyek, is sure to feed the flame that still burns brightly for the unconventional Mexican artist and feminist icon Frida Kahlo. Kahlo’s personal catharsis forged her own unique life, art and cult following.

What most often generates a “cult following” is a person who breaks with convention to establish something new. Such personalities are especially romanticized and their image empowered when they struggle to overcome adversity and/or personal obstacles, suffer and/or die young.

Some cult followings have developed into mass movements. Three historic examples are Nazism in Germany, Italian Fascism and Iran’s recent embrace of Islamic fundamentalism. Each of these mass movements was largely established and driven forward by a single charismatic personality.

However, cult followings that evolve into personality-driven movements are not always bad, such as Gandhi of India and Nelson Mandela of South Africa.

History also offers examples of mass movements intended for good that somehow went bad. Inititially created by an icon espousing idealism, but later evolving into abusive totalitarianism, like Communist Russia, China and North Korea.

Whose to say which “cult icon” today might be the impetus behind a new mass-movement or religion?

Could there be a “Church of Madonna”?

Probably not—this “Madonna” only claims she is “like a virgin” and hasn’t really established anything new. Nor does it seem likely that she will abrubtly depart anytime soon.


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