In the wake of WorldNetDaily’s exclusive report this week, hundreds of American citizens have contacted a group of Christian activists looking to secede from the United States to form a republic based on Christian principles.
“It’s unleashed a barrage,” said Cory Burnell, president of Texas-based ChristianExodus.org. “It’s been an incredible response, it’s nothing I’m used to and is fairly gut-wrenching for me.”
Burnell and like-minded believers are looking to encourage thousands of U.S. citizens to migrate to South Carolina, run for state office, and eventually prompt South Carolina to peacefully secede from the union to create a new country where “government derives its power from the consent of the governed.”
He says since WND’s story was first posted, the number of those actively interested has jumped from a few dozen people to hundreds. Many people are also stepping forward to work as volunteers, and Burnell himself has had numerous appearances on radio talk shows as well as “Hannity and Colmes” on the Fox News Channel.
“We had to expand our website’s bandwidth due to so much traffic,” he said. “We’re gonna need some kind of respite.”
The huge, instantaneous response is perhaps too much of a good thing for Burnell at this time as he’s playing catch-up logging everyone’s information. Burnell says by next month, his website should have a database which can catalog information automatically.
South of the Border in Dillon, S.C., could take on new meaning if the state secedes from the U.S.
Reaction among media personnel has been across the board, with some talk hosts very favorable, some balanced, and a few very negative. Burnell says one radio host in the nation’s capital likened the activists to the Taliban, suggesting they move to Afghanistan instead of South Carolina.
ChristianExodus.org has been inundated with e-mails this week, receiving staunch messages of support, as well as requests for more information, and even some vicious verbal attacks. A sampling of letters collected by the website includes:
- “I want to welcome each and every Christian to my home state [of South Carolina] to live in love the way my Lord Jesus Christ intended for us to live.” (Fred)
- “I find the concept of an independent Christian state interesting, but I am curious about who qualifies as a Christian. As a Sabbath-keeping, Torah-observant Christian, would I have the same rights and freedoms as the average Baptist? Must one be trinitarian to be a citizen?” (Mary Jane)
- “Go [expletive] yourselves. You [expletives] are no better than the Islamic fundementalist b——- that hold 99 percent of Middle Eastern nations in an iron grip.” (Name withheld)
Additionally, WorldNetDaily has received numerous e-mails expressing strong sentiments both in favor and against the proposal. Among them:
- “I’m willing [to move], if this is a serious undertaking.” (Shirley)
- “The idea of forming another country had been one which I had thought of myself, and seems to be the only feasible way to bring back the moral foundation of this country. … I was hoping this presidential term would be a turning point in bringing back some of that moral foundation, but it has proven otherwise, there are just too many opposing forces. (Jeff Clarke)
- “Talk about giving the ‘left’ a weapon from our weakness! These Christians are asking the state that started the Civil War to leave the U.S., and start a new country? With ideas like this, we won’t need a devil.” (Peter Ward)
- “How about the entire U.S. homosexual and lesbian population moves to Utah and then turn Utah into an independent ‘Gay Republic’? How about the entire U.S. black population moves to Michigan and then turn Michigan into an independent ‘Black Republic’? How about the entire U.S. atheist population moves to California and then turn California into an independent ‘Atheist Republic’?
“Those ‘Christian secessionists’ are just not thinking properly. Their heads are just as muddled as the rest of the citizens. They should be arrested for high treason against the USA. … An independent ‘Christian state’ where the vast majority of the ‘Christian’ population is prayerless and continues to be addicted to TV entertainment is far from being the solution. (James Chai)
- “If I am not mistaken, this country was founded for religious reasons and look what we have become. The Mormons tried forming their own nation, in Utah and it led to war. The anti-religious folks would never tolerate another religious colony anywhere in the U.S. We are free in name only.” (Name withheld)
- “While I don’t think a state leaving the union is a good idea, I think a strong effort might help those in government realize how serious the situation is. Another strategy might be to get all conservative churches and Christians very organized to change federal and state governments. The federal government cannot enforce a law under massive civil and state disobedience. Remember Prohibition?” (John)
Accompanying the original report, WND conducted an unscientific daily poll to gauge public reaction to the concept of movement and secession.
The top two responses were a virtual tie at 20 percent with readers saying “Christians are the majority in the U.S., why do they need to retreat to South Carolina?” and “It will fail, but may dramatize problem of America’s increasingly anti-Christian culture.” Another 17 percent felt “It’s just as brave as American colonists declaring independence from Britain.”
Burnell insists that people of other faiths would be welcome in the new nation, but the idea is to follow principles spelled out in the Bible.
“We’re not trying to instill a theocracy and make people do it our way,” he said. “We’re talking about ‘consent of the governed.’”
Asked by Sean Hannity about forces which might try to stop the secession if the movement sees success, Burnell responded, “We’re receiving e-mails from liberals around the country who can’t wait to get rid of us, so there’s a benefit to everyone here.”