The figures of a cult don't actually have to be present for a cult to develop around them. People are inherently tribal. Sometimes tribes become more controlling or violent. This happens in secular tribes just as regularly in religious tribes. That's his point- r/atheism, to name one irreligious tribe, can be thought of as a cult of personality around their favorite atheist icons.
Hell, following that, r/atheism is a religion, a cult following of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan and Facebook.
Is it really helpful to define the word "religion" that broadly, though? I don't know about Facebook, but when's the last time Tyson or Sagan threatened you with exile to either hell or Siberia for asking too many questions?
It's painfully obvious that personality cults are religious in nature -- see my other post ( http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4513391 ). But I don't see the same unquestioning adoration being offered to NGT, CS, or Mark Zuckerberg, at least not post-IPO. :)