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06-11-2004, 09:36 PM
Group Wants Christians To Fill S.C., Secede
Organization Hopes To Persuade Christians To Move South
Rick Ellis
UPDATED: 12:40 PM EDT June 10, 2004

A newly-formed group of Christian activists has begun plans to encourage up to 12,000 like-minded individuals to move to South Carolina. Their hope is to eventually withdraw that state from the United States and "reestablish the sovereign Christian nation of South Carolina."

The Tyler, Texas-based Christian Exodus has launched a Web site, ChristianExodus.com, and has begun encouraging visitors to sign up to participate in what the Web site says is "an association of Christians who no longer wish to live under the unjust usurpation of powers by the federal government."

According to the organization's Web site:

Christians have actively tried to return the United States to their moral foundations for more than 20 years. We now have a 'Christian' president, a 'Christian' attorney general, and a Republican Congress and Supreme Court. Yet consider this:
Abortion continues against the wishes of many states
Children may not pray in our schools
The Bible is not welcome in schools except under strict federal guidelines
The 10 Commandments remain banned from public display
Sodomy is now legal and celebrated as 'diversity' rather than perversion
Preaching Christianity will soon be outlawed as 'hate speech'
Gay marriage will be foisted upon us in the very near future"

The group's solution is to convince at least 12,000 people to move to South Carolina, where it is hoped their numbers will be sufficient to influence state and local politics with the "express purpose of reestablishing a Godly, constitutional government." Ultimately, the group hopes to convince voters to somehow withdraw the state from the United States and form an independent, Christian-oriented country.

Part of the group's inspiration seems to be the "Free State" movement. That group, formed in 2001, seeks to convince 20,000 "liberty-minded" people to move to New Hampshire. The Free State organization isn't planning to split the state away from the U.S. Instead, they hope to encourage New Hampshire residents to embrace their "libertarian tendencies."

Christian Exodus takes that idea one step further with the succession idea, and with its focus on Biblical issues.

Leaders from Christian Exodus failed to respond to numerous requests for interviews, but Cory Burnell, president of the non-profit group, recently told the conservative publication WorldNetDaily that a primary motivating factor for the group was the recent court decision in Massachusetts that opened up the way for gay marriages.

"Our Christian republic has declined into a pagan democracy," said Burnell. "There are some issues people just can't take anymore, and [same-sex marriage] might finally wake up the complacent Christians."

Although the leadership of Christian Exodus is keeping a low profile for now, potential members are lighting up the group's Web site message board. And as might be expected, opinions on the future of the group and their influence on South Carolina span a wide range of expectations. Particularly when it comes to discussing those who may not agree with their philosophy.

"Well on one hand I kinda favor a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. But should homosexuals speak up, they should be deported, sanctioned, or held in jail," said one person, discussing whether their new "country" should endorse or permit lifestyles they believe go against biblical teachings.

Other visitors had ideas on what laws might be applicable in their new South Carolina home.

"No alcohol sold on Sundays at all. All entries into the town would be policed with random checks for alcohol abuse, breathalyzers mandatory. No places of business open on Sundays. All schools, public, private or otherwise would teach creation, have the Ten commandments placed and say prayer before classes start. No landlords allowed to rent to couples just living together ... Abortion would not be legal in any circumstance," one poster said.

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