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Christian Exodus

Christian Exodus, a far-right group which says it has 1,000 members, is calling people to South Carolina, where the group plans to make electoral alliances with resident conservative Christians to take over -- and Christianize -- first local governments, then the state.


2007

Christian Exodus Leader to Call Anderson Home by July
Job Secured, Now Burnell Looking for House

By Liz Carey, Independent Mail.com, June 3, 2007

Cory Burnell, leader of the Christian Exodus, said he is ready to move his family and operations to Anderson. In the Spring Newsletter for Christian Exodus, Mr. Burnell said he has found a job and is ready to move his family to Anderson. He anticipates they will arrive in the Upstate during the first week of July. "We’ve been planning this for a couple of years," he said. "The move definitely has its pros and cons. We’ll be leaving our families in Southern California, and we already left family in Texas when we moved from there to California. But we have a lot of excitement about the move, my wife and I do."

Mr. Burnell and his family, which includes his wife and three children, ages 5, 2, and 6 weeks, will join 15 other Christian Exodus families in the Upstate. Another two dozen families, he said, anticipate being here by 2008.

Nicole Burnell, his wife, said she looks at the move with mixed feelings. "I was born and raised in the town that we live in," she said in an e-mail response. "All of my family and many friends are here. My mother is my neighbor, so the kids are able to see their grandparents every day as well as wander our property and theirs. I love it here, so I am giving up a lot to make the move. "Although I love this small town, I do not like California and disagree with the liberal politics. Most states are not far behind, and I know that my husband’s plan is a good one. So, I am willing to go with him and help preserve South Carolina." Continue.

Christian Exodus targets Anderson County

By Heidi Cenac, The Independent-Mail (Anderson, South Carolina). February 7, 2007

ANDERSON, SC -- Christian Exodus is focusing its efforts on Anderson County in the next two years.

The political action organization has been moving Christian Constitutionalists -- a term combining the group’s political and religious views -- to South Carolina for at least two years, but only recently has concentrated its efforts in Anderson County.

The organization’s goal is simple: have enough conservative Christian voters in the county to influence local politics. Since the Upstate is already dominated by conservative politics, it seemed like a good place to start, Christian Exodus President Cory Burnell said. Continue.

Pastors: Christian government not Jesus’ cause

By Heidi Cenac, The Independent-Mail (Anderson, South Carolina), February 10, 2007

Some people read the Bible and some people use the Bible.

Local ministers and religious experts are concerned that Christian Exodus might be the latter. Despite its name’s connotation, Christian Exodus identifies itself as a massive voter-mobilization effort.

The group says it wants to move thousands of Christian conservatives to South Carolina to reestablish constitutionally limited government founded on Christian principles. So far, Christian Exodus has moved less than 20 families to the Upstate.

Tom Ritchie, pastor at Young Memorial Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, said he has difficulty finding scripture that suggests Christians should take over government. The marriage between fundamentalist religion and political parties is nothing new, but few movements are as overt about their plans as Christian Exodus, Mr. Ritchie said. Continue.

Anderson pastors not happy about being focus of Christian Exodus movement

WIS - Televison Broadcasting (Columbia, South Carolina), February 11, 2007

Several Upstate pastors say they are concerned about a group that wants conservative Christians to move to the area so they can take over local politics.

Christian Exodus began about four years ago, and founder Cory Burnell says 15 families have actually made the move to South Carolina and another dozen are planning to relocate.

Dan Olinger is a professor in the seminary at Bob Jones University in Greenville. Olinger says some in conservative Christian circles are worried about Christian Exodus' implication that the church should use the power of the state to enforce biblical morality.

Tom Ritchie is pastor at Young Memorial Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Anderson. Ritchie says he has difficulty finding scripture that suggests Christians should take over government. WIS report.

2006

Coming together to ponder pulling apart

By Paul Nussbaum, The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 07, 2006

BURLINGTON, Vt. - Separatists, unite!

That was the pitch last weekend by neo-Confederates, New England free-staters, Hawaiian nationalists, and a clutch of other dissenters who want out of the United States.

The First North American Secessionist Convention, billed as the first national gathering of secessionists since the Civil War, included an eclectic mix of conservatives, liberals, libertarians, left-wing Green Party zealots, and right-wing Christian activists. Continue.

Exodus effort led from Lode man's home

by Abbe Smith, Union-Democrat (Sonora,California), May 25, 2006

This report includes an extensive interview with Christian Exodus leader Cory Burnell and explores his ties to the pro-Confederate League of the South. Click here.

A Bible-Based Government

By John Lobertini, CBS.5 Television (San Francisco, California), April 27, 2006

Cory Burnell, the founder of Christian Exodus, returns to California for a visit. Click here

Christian Exodus holds its founding convention

The local news reports below portray Christian Exodus as small, its leader as pro-gun, anti-government. Nevertheless, the reporters spent time drawing out convention attendees.

Christian Exodus has 10-year goal for state power
Fewer than 100 people attend group's conference Saturday in Greenville

By Dan Hoover, Greenville Online, Greenville News, October 16, 2005

"Part strategy session, part pep rally and part coming-out party, Christian Exodus met in the Upstate this weekend with more enthusiasm than numbers.

"One speaker suggested gunfire if government officials seek to confiscate personal firearms. Another said public education has taught generations of schoolchildren to hate America, and founder Cory Burnell said property ownership would be required for the "privilege" of voting." Click here to read the report

Christian Exodus holds seminar
About 130 attend conference to learn more about separatist group

By Christina Lee Knauss, The State, October 16, 2005

The State quotes Christian Exodus leader Burnell on his inspiration for founding the group: "Then there was the Supreme Court decision striking down Texas' anti-sodomy law. and then Justice Roy Moore having to remove the Ten Commandments from a judicial building in Alabama. Those were states' rights issues, and I decided the states really needed to govern themselves because the Republicans weren't standing up for states' rights." In his home state of Texas Burnell had "been a county contact for the Constitution Party and at one time was a member of the League of the South." Click here to read the report

More on Christian Exodus

Press Release: Ingenious Eminent Domain Tyranny Exit Strategy

By Christian Exodus, OpinionEditorials.com, February 11, 2006

"Christian Exodus heralds the opening of its Account Exodus campaign. This campaign, based on the exciting news that BB&T (the nation's ninth largest banking institution) has taken the principled stand of refusing to finance any development projects on land seized under 'eminent domain' policies, promises to put the advantage in the struggle for property rights back in the hands of the American people." Click here for the news release.

Strategizing a Christian Coup d'Etat
A group of believers wants to establish Scriptures-based government one city and county at a time

By Jenny Jarvie, Los Angeles Times, August 28, 2005, via Common Dreams.

"Christian Exodus activists plan to take control of sheriff's offices, city councils and school boards. Eventually, they say, they will control South Carolina. They will pass godly legislation, defying Supreme Court rulings on the separation of church and state. "'We're going to force a constitutional crisis,' said Cory Burnell, 29, an investment advisor who founded the group in November 2003. 'If necessary,' he said, 'we will secede from the union.'" Click here to go to the report.

The Christian Exodus website

The Christian Exodus website reveals much about the group's plans, its convictions and its attitudes. We quote some highlights here.

  • Plan to win power. "ChristianExodus.org is coordinating the move of thousands of Christians to South Carolina for the express purpose of re-establishing Godly, constitutional government... 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."
  • On tax-exempt status. "ChristianExodus.org is a non-profit corporation in the State of Texas. We have not applied for 501(c)3 status because it serves to muzzle organizations. Our mission is to glorify God through moral governance, and we will not be distracted by the issues that arise from 501(c)3 considerations."
  • On secession."ChristianExodus.org is an association of Christians who no longer wish to live under the unjust usurpation of powers by the federal government, and therefore resolves to formally disassociate itself from this tyrannical authority, and return to the model of governance of a constitutional republic. We seek a republican government constrained by constitutionally delegated powers. If this cannot be achieved within the United States, then we believe a peaceful withdrawal from the union to be the last available remedy."
  • Homophobia. "[H]omosexual activity is a behavior that a state may regulate and legislate against."
  • Dislike of the 14th Amendment. Christian Exodus calls the 14th Amendment to the Constitution "fraudulent" because the states of the southern confederacy were not allowed to vote on it. The amendment abolished slavery, made former slaves citizens and gave them the vote. Christian Exodus says "We hold that it is the right of the various States to nullify this Amendment and all laws and court rulings arising from it."
  • States' Rights.The federal government operates outside its delegated powers in the areas of education, religion, abortion, domestic behavior, intrastate communication, intrastate commerce, taxation, welfare, healthcare, gun regulation, and a host of other subjects. Most powers concerning these topics are reserved to the States under the 10th Amendment.
  • A different kind of theocracy. "ChristianExodus.org does not desire the establishment of a theocracy where religious tests are required for citizenship."

Click here to go to the Christian Exodus website.