ChristianExodus.org and How Silly They Are

A friend of mine sent me a story from ABCNews.com about ChristianExodus.org, a group that plans to organize a mass exodus to South Carolina and -- if they can't effect proper change to make the U.S. into a truly Christian state -- possibly secede from the Union.

'Cause, you know, that worked so well last time.

From the ABCNews.com article:
Cory Burnell has given up on ever seeing the U.S. government adopt a conservative Christian agenda, so he and others who share his beliefs are trying to take matters into their own hands.
Gee, what was his first clue?

It gets better on the group's web site, which manages to say with a straight face:
ChristianExodus.org is coordinating the move of thousands of Christians to South Carolina for the express purpose of re-establishing Godly, constitutional government. It is evident that the U.S. Constitution has been abandoned under our current federal system, and the efforts of Christian activism to restore our Godly republic have proven futile over the past three decades. The time has come for Christians to withdraw our consent from the current federal government and re-introduce the Christian principles once so predominant in America to a sovereign State like South Carolina.
Uh huh. Apparently they missed certain portions of the Constitution. Like the bit that says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

The bit about the "sovereign State" is amusing. Here's more from the ABC article:
The goal is to bring enough voters to the state to establish a government based on the Ten Commandments and conservative Christian values.

And if the federal government doesn't like it, Burnell said he and the other members of the board have not ruled out the possibility of the state seceding from the United States.
And more:
Of the three, South Carolina is the only one that was among the 13 original states, and is listed in the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War, as a sovereign nation.

"We could lay out that it has the right to independence if it asked for it," he said.
And since it applied in the late 18th century, then dammit, it should be exactly the same in the early 21st!!!! Burnell also seems to have forgotten that the last time someone tried that, there was this really big civil war. And the side that thought they had "the right to independence" lost.

Burnell's grass-roots movement is still low-cut grass....
They are hoping to have people move to the state in groups of 12,000. Though the group currently has just about 600 members, Burnell said it has been only been in existence for a few months, and he is hoping to have 50,000 to 70,000 supporters in South Carolina by 2016.
That's pretty optimistic. Then again, this guy seemed to think that the U.S. would adopt a conservative Christian agenda up until a little while ago, so I'm not putting any money on his predictions.

They were considering New Hampshire for a while:
It was around that time that a group of libertarians were announcing their Free State Project a call for libertarians to move to New Hampshire, where they will work within the political system to reduce the size and scope of government.

Burnell liked the idea, and his first thought was to join them in their move to the state that decorates its license plates with the motto "Live Free or Die." But then he and the others had second thoughts.
Second thoughts. Yeah. He noticed that New Hampshire's in New England. Oops.

Much better to go to the South. They'd be friendlier-like to his agenda. (They don't call it the Bible Belt for nix, I guess....)
The group turned its attention on the Bible Belt, first narrowing the field to Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina.

"On the Christian issues, we know how those states vote," he said. To help narrow the field to one, the board of ChristianExodus.org considered other issues, though, such as the geographic size of the states and the fact that of the three, only South Carolina has an ocean coastline.
Alabama and Mississippi are only on the Gulf of Mexico, so they lose.

Proving that not all politicians are stupid, when asked about this, the South Carolina governor's staff had sensible things to say:
The current leaders of the state say South Carolina has plenty to attract anyone, including the members of ChristianExodus.org, but they would rather the group not bring ideas of splitting from the United States.

"We've got a very unique quality of life here in South Carolina, so it's not surprising that folks would want to come here," said Will Folks, spokesman for Gov. Mark Sanford. "As for secession, we've tried that before and it didn't work out so well."
The Southern Poverty Center has these guys on their list of hate groups. Burnell is appalled by this. They're not racist, he insists:
"ChristianExodus.org is entirely colorblind," he said. "We have no position on race. One of the members of our research committee is of mixed race. There are members of the League of the South who are black."
But heaven help you if you're Jewish. Or pagan. Or Hindu. Or Buddhist. Or agnostic. Or atheist.

Apparently religious discrimination doesn't count as hateful anymore, which will be news to a large number of the people who populated this country when it was still a British colony. Adding fuel to this idiotic fire is this:
Lumping ChristianExodus.org with racist groups might be guilt by association, though, according to Jack Kay, a professor of communications at Wayne State University who has studied the radical right.

"If you really look at the rhetoric of Christian Exodus, it's not white separatist at all," he said. "On the contrary, the rhetoric is the very opposite of the white supremacist, and seems to be very inclusive."
Inclusive. Right.

Here's some text from Christian Exodus's very own web site:
Christians have actively tried to return the United States to their moral foundations for more than 30 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
* Sodomite marriage is now legal in Massachusetts (and coming soon to a neighborhood near you)
* Children who pray in public schools are subject to prosecution
* Our schools continue to teach the discredited theory of Darwinian evolution
* The Bible is still not welcome in schools except under unconstitutional FEDERAL guidelines
* The 10 Commandments remain banned from public display
* Sodomy is now legal AND celebrated as "diversity" rather than condemned as perversion
* Preaching Christianity will soon be outlawed as "hate speech"

Attempts at reform have proven futile. Future elections will not stop the above atrocities, but rather will exacerbate them and lead us down an even more deadly path.
Looks pretty hateful to me.

They lost me (not that they ever had me) with the "discredited theory of Darwinian evolution." It's only "discredited" if you're incredibly stupid.

Oh, by the way, "sodomite" only refers to males having sex with males. So I guess lesbian marriages are okay. (Amusingly enough, the picture on Exodus's front page is of a lesbian couple getting married with no caption. Anybody taking a quick look at the site might think they were for gay marriage....)

This has always been a hot button of mine. Everyone who claims to be against same-sex marriage on religious grounds is wholly full of shit, and using religion to hide bigotry. I have yet to see a single person who objects to same-sex marriage on religious grounds who also refuses to shave his or her head, or calls for the death penalty for adulterers or for people who insult their parents, or refuse to wear any clothing that mixes linen and wool, or make sacrifices to God. If that were the case, then maybe, maybe, I might believe that their argument is religious.

But this sort of cherry-picking the parts of the Book of Leviticus that fit your preconceived notions is horseshit, and I have no tolerance for it.

[First posted on my Live Journal on 13 August 2004.]

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