Jack Douglas Jr., Star-Telegram, July 4, 2004
In a small tin building on the outskirts of this East Texas town, Cory Burnell has sold cellphones, gourmet coffee and a brand of religion meant to infuse God into government.
In a soft voice far from the thunderous tones of many Southern preachers, Burnell pledges to lead throngs of Christian conservatives — 12,000 at a time — to South Carolina to either change the government or secede from the Union.
The plan, Burnell said, is to saturate the state with like-minded voters who would work to replace the U.S. Constitution with the Ten Commandments as the “foundation of law.”
And unless the U.S. government is overhauled and begins prohibiting abortion and same-sex marriage, Burnell vowed to hold a “convention of the people” by 2016 in hopes of causing South Carolina to secede.
“People are going to call us crazy,” Burnell, 28, conceded recently in an interview at his modest office.
But that, he said, is because “we’re so far ahead of the curve.”
“At some point, Christians aren’t going to think this is such a radical idea anymore,” he said.
An exodus forms
Until a month ago, Burnell was an unknown, teaching math to children at a private school, attending a nondenominational church in Tyler, selling cellphones and trying to make a go of a small coffee shop called Jitters.
Then he announced the formation of ChristianExodus.org, an Internet group that claims to have recruited 600 members nationwide. Three-quarters of those members, Burnell said, have committed to uprooting their families and moving to South Carolina.
The first wave of Christian transplants is set for 2006.
As co-founder and president of ChristianExodus, Burnell has been called a “kook” and a “hatemonger,” names that he says cause him to wince.
His critics, he contends, actually hate Christianity.
While watchdog groups predict that ChristianExodus will fizzle before it can stage a serious religious revolution, it has attracted national attention as one of several groups that want to break from the rest of the country.
Burnell said his group picked South Carolina over Alabama and Mississippi because it already has a “Christian-leaning electorate” and an accessible seashore.
“If independence does become necessary, wouldn’t it be better if we had a coastal port?” Burnell said.
Several politicians in South Carolina seemed leery of talking about ChristianExodus and the prospects of their state becoming a sovereign nation under the leadership of Christian crusaders.
The press secretary for Sen. Fritz Hollings, a Democrat, refused to even give her name when told of the subject, and the spokesman for Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham did not respond to a request to comment.
Will Folks, however, press secretary for Gov. Mark Sanford, suggested that the group would find South Carolina enticing.
“We’ve obviously got a beautiful state that’s open to anyone who wants to come and enjoy our quality of life,” Folks said.
“As for seceding from the Union,” he added, “we’ve tried that once already in 1861 and it didn’t work out so well for us.”
The game plan
The first s on the exodus for Burnell and his family will be California.
Burnell, his pregnant wife and their young son plan to move there soon to be near his wife’s parents. They plan to stay until 2006, when they hope to lead the first 12,000 Christians to South Carolina.
Thousands more are expected to follow, according to the ChristianExodus Web site, with members joining grassroots political campaigns that will “overwhelmingly affect state elections” by 2014.
There would then be a call for constitutional reforms to return “proper autonomy to the state,” the Web site says.
Burnell denied assertions made by those who monitor religious zealots that ChristianExodus exhibits similarities to a hate group, promoting a white supremacist cause behind the cloak of a religious movement.
“You start using language in the Bible, and people are going to call you a hatemonger,” he said. “You can’t let that deter you.”
Burnell says that he has a foster brother who is black and that, as a youth growing up in California, “I played baseball with black fellows all the time.”
ChristianExodus’ Web site also says that it “demands that all races be treated equally as children of God” and that it “will not tolerate any racial hatred or discrimination by its members.”
It also said that, once in South Carolina, “members will work to ensure equal access to and treatment before the law for all God’s people, irrespective of color or national origin.”
Burnell, however, acknowledges that he is an active member of the pro-Confederate League of the South, a group that has drawn the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, which monitors extremist activities.
In an interview with The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., Mark Potok, editor of the center’s Intelligence Report, said ChristianExodus “should be taken seriously” because its leader, Burnell, associates with the League of the South.
The center has placed the league on its “hate group” list, Potok told the newspaper.
In an interview last week, Burnell called the Southern Poverty Law Center a part of the “liberal fringe” and maintained that the watchdog group offered no evidence that the League of the South promotes white supremacy.
The league’s Web site says its policies concerning race “must be free of hatred and malice.”
But it also says “this does not mean . . . that white Southerners should give control over their civilisation and its institutions to another race, whether it be native blacks or Hispanic immigrants.”
To do so, the Web site says, would be equivalent to “cultural and ethnic suicide.”
Ole Anthony, a founder and president of the Dallas-based Trinity Foundation, which also monitors religious extremism, predicted that ChristianExodus will not succeed in its ultimate goals.
Leaders of such movements, Anthony said, “may be sincere, but they’re nutty as a fruitcake.”
And while ChristianExodus organizers are calling for a religious revolt through peaceful means, they could still cause harm, Anthony said.
“They’re dangerous to themselves and to their followers [because] there are going to be people who believe this, sell everything and go down” to South Carolina, he said.
Once they do, Anthony predicted, they will realize that they have “totally disrupted their whole lives and their families in the name of God.”
Burnell said he will surprise his critics, especially as “things get worse.”
By that, Burnell says, he means that “homosexual marriage is coming to every state in the Union” and that federal hate-speech legislation would one day be levied against those who speak in “Biblical terms” against such issues as abortion.
“If we can make a debate of state sovereignty in a public square,” he suggested, “we might just find that we are able to change people’s minds.”
Comments from Readers
I wonder how the native South Carolinians are taking to this idea of all of these outsiders coming into their state. God Bless Cory Burnell for wanting to do this, but I’ve just got to say “thank God he didn’t pick Alabama”. I’m all for the idea of maybe a group of states seceding together, that is sometime in the distant future, only if things DON’T get better soon. But, to lay all of this on one state, and to plan on altering its population at such short notice is a little brutal. I kind of feel for the South Carolinians at this moment, as I’m sure that MOST of them have strong pride in their state’s people and culture.
From: John P. M.
The selection of South Carolina, has a great deal of historic value. While not mentioned directly in this article, South Carolina was the first state to secede, in 1860. “Dec. 20. South Carolina secedes from the Union by unanimous vote at special convention. Dec. 24. Convention issues ‘Declaration of Immediate Causes,’ which affirms right of state sovereignty, condemns the North’s attack on slavery, and refuses to be governed by a President who is hostile to slavery.”(Webster’s Guide to American History, pg. 221, Chronology of 1860, copyright 1971 by Encyclopaedia Britannica.)
Any state in the Union, has the right to do this! From the same text, it is noted: “Dec. 3. President Buchanan in his State of the Union message decries disruption of the Union but declares, after consultation with the attorney general, that the federal government has no legal power to prevent it by force.”(pgs. 220 and 221.)
Is history repeating itself? Perhaps, only time will tell. My point is that if things go on like they are, we will be facing the challenges of our forebearers in 1860’s. I agree with you that we have not come to this point yet, but we are very close!
I wrote the above to be thought provoking, not insulting or combative, best wishes to you Courtney,
Sincerely, John PM.
God bless all the brave, moral WN Christians out there. You are the best of our endangered folk. But, we have to draw the line and come out of the closet:
We are White racialists, that’s what we are. We will never be happy living in Haitis, Algerias, Mexico Citys/East LA no matter what kind of Bibilical interpretations we have with us (we wouldn’t live long in such situations anyway). This web site says:
“ChristianExodus’ Web site also says that it “demands that all races be treated equally as children of God” and that it “will not tolerate any racial hatred or discrimination by its members.”
Sounds like something out of the New South Africa. I doubt these earnest White Christians can convince all the Blacks in South Carolina to s being Black racists.
Don’t waste your hopes or time on this one folks. Go with the RUssians, Belgians, Swiss People’s Party or continue here with Amren and Vdare.
These misguided Christians need to run into some White racialist pagans.
From: James in IL
The Free State Project has similar plans for New Hampshire. Personaly, I have about 15 yrs before retirement, and New Hampshire is definitely on my list of places to go. Besides, cold weather is not popular with the non caucasian crowd, one more reason to consider it.
Burnell has his heart in the right place, and I do wish him well. I dont think we can sustain our way of life if we continue to accomodate the immigrants and non producers, and think it would be to our benefit to see a colony like this succeed.
John P.M., Thank you for the clarification. I always enjoy reading your posts. You are very civil and seem to know what you are talking about. You are right, that this is something that may need to be done very soon, whether we like it or not. Courtney
Cowardly efforts like this one are a waste of time. They plan to treat all races equal, with absolutely no discrimination. Yet any serious nation discriminates.
I travelled to Asia this year, and in every nation I saw a sea of brown faces. White faces are called “foreigner”. That’s discrimination, and that’s the way serious nations operate.
So don’t be misled by these cowards who plan to move to S. Carolina. It will go nowhere.
From: John P. M.
Thank you for your kind comments; your posts are often thought provoking and also enjoyable. I do try to be civil with like minded peers. The idea of “civil wars” with each other over minor differences, is foolish at best, fratricidal at worst.
The issue of a state, or group of states seceding and forming a white nation, is a bitter pill. This is our country. However, our “leaders” see things absurdly different. Thus, common sense dictates that if the insane and anti-white immigration and social policies of our country are not halted, this is our best bet. We owe a lot to the brave independent South here, and nothing to Dishonest Abe and the Federal leviathan he helped create with his war of Northern aggression. As noted above, the states are within their rights to leave the Union, if need be! An excellent book on this ic is, “The South Was Right!” by JR and WD Kennedy.
Well as you note, “whether we like it or not” this may be what the future holds? Again, best wishes to you Courtney,
From: jeff jj
Timothy, you might want to learn the difference between “differentiation” and “discrimination.” By calling you foreigner, the asians were distinguishing you from a citizen of their nation, not discriminating against you.
From: Jeff Davis
Jeff, that sounds very reasonable, but you probably don’t know what those Asians were saying in their native tongues. I can assure you that it wasn’t nice at all. If you had acess to a Star Trek-type “universal translator,” it wouldn’t take you long to change your mind.
From: jeff jj
Read the post by timmy. He didn’t say the asians were talking about him in another language that he did not understand. he said they were calling him “foreigner.” So either they were speaking in english, or he understands their language. Either way, he thought being claimed being called a foreigner was discrimination. I don’t know what your definition of foreigner is, but an American in some foreign asian country fits definition. Timmy sounds like the immigrants here, who think it’s discriminatory to be called what they are, immigrants.
I don’t need some poly-lingual tranlation device to understand common english. But it appears you may benefit from better reading comprehension.
Although I certainly agree the US Constitution could use some tweaking to better keep the politicians/government in their subservient places, contrary to Burnell’s assumption the Ten Commandmants ARE the foundation of our legal code. Unfortunately for even semi-learned white, Christian Americans, it is quite obvious that diabolical tyrants before and among us have corrupted it to the point where extra-, anti-, and supra-constitutional rulings, treaties, and legislation have been foisted upon the unwary and unthininking American populace; but I thoroughly disagree with those who think God would be on their side should they pursue such a course of action as to throw that particular baby out with its dirty bath water…
As for which particular “brand” of Christianity Mr. Burnell purports to include (or exclude) from his theistic S. Carolinian Uia he doesn’t say, and that leaves ample room for wariness in and of itself (think IRELAND).
If the ChristianExodus website (I didn’t bother to check) “…demands that all races be treated equally…”, and “…will not tolerate [racial]discrimination…” they can’t possibly claim to be doing the work of God. God gave our forebears overwhelming admonitions against all forms of race-mixing – be it “peacefully coexisting with” or interbreeding with others. We must remain separate and distinct to remain God’s People in perpetuity; to be concerned that others, even of our own race, may resort to inaccurate, humanistic, name-calling is to deny God’s Word on the subject.
And yes, Mr. Burnell, “…things are going to get worse…”, the Bible tells us so, and also that at the end there will “…be but a remnant…” of God’s people still on this earth because of our race’s fool-hardiness…