Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Christian Exodus: Building a Theocracy, One Family at a Time

In the Biblical reference, the word ‘exodus’ refers to the Jewish prophet Moses leading his people out of slavery in Egypt to the “promised land” in present-day Israel. Millions of Jews celebrate Passover, the yearly six-day commemoration of this momentous event. In modern times the term is much less monumental, used to describe anything from a reasonably large emigration of people to a Bob Marley song. The California-based group Christian Exodus is seeking to apply that term to politics. Their goals are controversial at the least, and at worst could reopen old wounds which have been slowly healing for the past 150 years.

Christian Exodus and its founder, financial planner Cory Burnell, aim to move thousands of Christian conservative families to South Carolina county by county, eventually influencing local and state elections as more families emigrate. According to their website, the group’s ultimate goal is to turn South Carolina into an autonomous state with constitutionally limited government founded upon Christian principles by 2018. They hope to accomplish this through the electoral process, but support secession as a viable alternative.

But as you may already know, South Carolina already unsuccessfully tried that option in the 1860’s. However, Burnell doesn’t think another secession would meet the same bloody end as the first. In fact, he believes another Civil War wouldn’t even take place over it. “Should the federal government invade a State whose people have voted for independence, Washington's despotism would be on stage for the entire world to witness,” Burnell said, going on to reference images of Soviet tanks invading dissenting Eastern Bloc countries.

Christian Exodus’ main belief is in the supreme governance of the Constitution. Burnell says current legislators and officials, both Democratic and Republican, are violating the Constitution by denying states individual powers left to them by the 10th Amendment. “No local, state or federal official should ever be allowed to violate the U.S. or SC constitutions, which must be applied exactly as their text reads and in light of the text's original meaning when written,” says Burnell.

The solution, the group says, is to move more and more families with similar beliefs into the state until they are concentrated enough to make a legislative difference. “We have over 1,400 members nationwide,” Burnell says. “We've determined to focus on Spartanburg, Greenville, Pickens, Anderson, Lexington and Dorchester to begin with.” Burnell wouldn’t give the specific order of the counties, but says each emigration would coincide with a particular election cycle.

Christian Exodus advocates many right-wing political policies currently under argument, including giving the death penalty to second-offense child molesters and defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman. Burnell is not a hard-line Republican, however, and will be the first to tell you so. “President Bush holds contempt for the U.S. Constitution, and is himself a dangerous threat to American law and liberty,” he said in January.

For now, Christian Exodus remains largely small-scale. So far only 15 families have actually relocated to South Carolina as a part of the organization, though more are expected. Few state legislators who were questioned had even heard of the group, and the rest did not see it as a threat to South Carolina’s place in the United States. But that may change if South Carolina continues its slide to the right of the political spectrum, as some commentators have predicted.

In the 2006 state elections, Republican candidates won every single office up for grabs in South Carolina except for Secretary of Education. However, Burnell says Christian Exodus played no part in that at all. “Those victories are attributable to gerrymandering and the continued leftward movement of the Democrats,” Burnell said. “Hardly anyone in South Carolina can identify with left-wing communists like Nancy Pelosi.”

Christian Exodus’ lack of influence in 2006 won’t be repeated in 2008 if Burnell has his way. “C.E. will not be a force at the statewide level for some time; however we will significantly impact the elections in our county of choice in 2008.” As to the specific county, though, that’s top secret for now.

No comments:

Post a Comment