The K-pop group BTS has a dedicated following, called ARMY, and some might consider them as devout as religious followers. However, one expert considers BTS and their fandom to actually be a “religious project,” and fans are upset by the characterization.

Yale University professor of religious and American studies Kathryn Lofton, who also penned the book “Consuming Religion,” told Variety about her view of the BTS ARMY in the magazine’s BTS cover story, released Tuesday.

Lofton said that the ARMY isn’t the typical fandom because the "Dynamite" singers are striving to always please them. “BTS’ driving commitment is to their relationship to the fan group, to the manufacturing of their communal joy for you to participate in,” she explained.

She said she considers BTS “a religious project,” adding, “They are seeking to make a togetherness that you can’t stop wanting to be a part of.”

Fans didn’t exactly agree with Lofton. While the ARMY was excited about the cover story, many took issue with that particular portion of the interview. They went to Twitter to emphasize that they are not a cult and that they are offended that a religious studies professor was consulted for the story. After all, most artists don’t have their fandoms analyzed by scholars when they score a cover.

BTS certainly doesn’t market themselves as a “religious project,” and the band members don’t seem to be openly devout to any particular religion. Seventeen reports that most have never commented on their religion, with the exception of Suga, who does not have a religion, and RM, who once said he was an atheist.

BTS' Variety cover story comes as they have their sights set on the Grammy Awards. The group released an all-English single, "Dynamite," and they seem to be making more mainstream U.S. publicity appearances than ever before. 

“I grew up watching American award shows, so obviously we all know and I know the importance of the Grammys,” Suga said. “It’s a dream anyone working in music has.”

K Pop Band BTS Visits "Today" Show (L-R) Jimin, Jungkook, RM, J-Hope, V, Jin, and SUGA of the K-pop boy band BTS visit the "Today" Show at Rockefeller Plaza on February 21, 2020 in New York City. Photo: Cindy Ord/WireImage