American Taleban

#1
Los Angeles Times

August 28, 2005 Sunday
Home Edition

SECTION: MAIN NEWS; National Desk; Part A; Pg. 14

LENGTH: 1038 words

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

BYLINE: Jenny Jarvie, Times Staff Writer

DATELINE: GREENVILLE, S.C.

BODY:


It began, as many road trips do, with a stop at Wal-Mart to buy a portable DVD player.

But Mario DiMartino was planning more than a weekend getaway. He, his wife and three children were embarking on a pilgrimage to South Carolina.

"I want to migrate and claim the gold of the Lord," said the 38-year-old oil company executive from Pennsylvania. "I want to replicate the statutes and the mores and the scriptures that the God of the Old Testament espoused to the world."

DiMartino, who drove here recently to look for a new home, is a member of Christian Exodus, a movement of politically active believers who hope to establish a government based upon Christian principles.

At a time when evangelicals are exerting influence on the national political stage -- having helped secure President Bush's reelection -- Christian Exodus believes that people of faith have failed to assert their moral agenda: Abortion is legal. School prayer is banned. There are limits on public displays of the Ten Commandments. Gays and lesbians can marry in Massachusetts.

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."

Burnell has not moved to South Carolina himself -- he promised his wife that they would stay in Valley Springs, Calif., until the end of next year -- but believes that his 950 supporters will rally to the cause. Five families have moved so far.

Burnell said his inspiration came from the Free State Project, which in October 2003 appealed to libertarians to move to New Hampshire for limited government intervention, lower taxes and greater individual rights. By 2006, organizers had hoped to have 20,000 people committed to relocating to New Hampshire; so far, 6,600 have said they intended to make the move, and only 100 have done so.

Christian Exodus, Burnell predicted, will be more successful.

"There are more Christians than libertarians," he said.

After scrutinizing electoral records, demographic trends and property prices, Christian Exodus members identified two upstate South Carolina counties -- they will not officially say which ones -- as prime for a conservative takeover. By September 2006, Burnell hopes to have 2,000 activists in one county and 500 in the other.

Frank and Tammy Janoski have settled into a five-bedroom house with white vinyl siding in a new subdivision in rural Spartanburg County.

"This is where God wants us to be," he said.

Janoski, 38, a self-employed computer engineer, had been contemplating moving from his deadline-oriented lifestyle in Bethlehem, Pa., to a more conservative region with cheaper housing and lower taxes when a church friend handed him a Christian Exodus flier.

"What attracted me to the movement was the idea of calling back the country to a righteous standard," he said.

His first six months in South Carolina have been idyllic, Janoski said. Not only do his neighbors wave as they pass by, but they also share most of his conservative Christian beliefs.

"If you're going to secede, this is the place to do it," he said. "A lot of the locals have that spirit."

Although Christian Exodus members are confident that they can capitalize on evangelical disillusionment with the Republican Party, local observers are skeptical.

James Guth, a professor at Furman University in Greenville who studies the influence of religion on politics, does not think that Christian Exodus will be successful beyond a county level.

"South Carolina is a state that is dominated by Republicans," he said. "Although there are people on the far right edge of the Republican Party ... in general, the population is a big fan of Bush."

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, upstate South Carolina is the most conservative region of a conservative state: Bush won 58% of the South Carolina vote in 2004, and Greenville is home to Bob Jones University, a fundamentalist Christian college that until recently had banned interracial dating.

Cleatus Blackmon, treasurer and director of missions at the Greer Baptist Assn., which oversees 39 Baptist churches in Janoski's town, doubts that Christian Exodus' focus on taking over government bodies will appeal to the majority of the region's Christians.

"You don't find the word 'control' in the scriptures," he said. "The basic mission of the church is to proclaim God's redeeming love through the example of Jesus Christ."

But Christian Exodus activists insist that they will forge ahead, even if they end up polarizing the Christian community.

"We want to separate the wheat from the chaff," DiMartino said. "There's a lot of deception in the church. If the Republican Party says something, a lot of churches say it's gospel."

Despite its cynicism about the Republican Party, Christian Exodus plans to use the party's popularity to its advantage. Rather than running for office themselves, Christian Exodus activists hope to influence which Republican candidates win local primaries.

"All we have to do is put our guy on the ballot with an 'R' sign," Burnell said. "It could be a corpse and they'll vote for him."

Local Republicans, however, point out that they would never sit idly by while Christian Exodus took over.

"He talks about 2,000 activists, but I can easily get 4,000 activists," said Bob Taylor, a Republican Greenville County councilman and a dean at Bob Jones University. "There's incredible dedication to the [Republican] cause."

While many South Carolinians may oppose abortion and gay marriage, Taylor said, few would support secession.

But DiMartino is not worried about the naysayers.

When he explained Christian Exodus to the man who sold him his home in Pickens County, he said, the salesman gave him a high-five. DiMartino looks forward to living alongside Christians who want to put local government back in the hands of what, he believes, America was really founded for.

"Whether it flies or not," he said, "is really in the Lord's hands."
Oh good grief. :roll:
 
#4
How many members of the Taleban have been suicide bombers? Once again you're conflating the issue with something else. Troll.

'Christian' fundamentalists aren't above bombing abortion clinics though are they?
 
#5
yeap, the american "pro-life" movement aren't. But, it might help to understand them if you realise that to their way of thinking, an abortion clinic is a kind of murder factory.

I don't agree with them on how they view abortion, but i must admit i have difficulty utterly condeming them. How many of us would stand by and watch a working ethnic cleansing plant?

(note i'm not saying bombing abortion clinic's is good and right, just trying to place the action in a context.)
 
#6
cavegary said:
yeap, the american "pro-life" movement aren't. But, it might help to understand them if you realise that to their way of thinking, an abortion clinic is a kind of murder factory.

I don't agree with them on how they view abortion, but i must admit i have difficulty utterly condeming them. How many of us would stand by and watch a working ethnic cleansing plant?

(note i'm not saying bombing abortion clinic's is good and right, just trying to place the action in a context.)
Like it or not, the clinics are carrying out a legal act. The crazies have no business commiting acts of violence against people going about their lawful business. One of the defining characteristics of a state (and,in juxtapositoin how we define terrorists) is that the state has the 'monopoly on the legitimate use of violence'. This means, no matter how strong your convictions are, you do not have the authority to mete justice at you discretion.

Now you may be against abortion (I personally think that since I don't own a uterus and thus will never be in the position where I have to make such a decision, I don't get a say in the matter.) but the fact is that, despite what the crazies think, all polling suggests that around 70% of REPUBLICANS think a woman should have the right to choose. I fail to see how the move to hijack any state, no matter how retarded, and attempt to impose religious law against the wishes of the majority of its inhabitants cannot be seen to be akin to what the Taleban did.
 
#7
My point about christians was that as long as they didnt get violent they were free to try to acheive their goals through the political process which the Taliban didnt even try - they just took over by force of arms.
 
#8
tomahawk6 said:
My point about christians was that as long as they didnt get violent they were free to try to acheive their goals through the political process which the Taliban didnt even try - they just took over by force of arms.
By overthrowing a communist regime, like your lot asked them to. :?

"All we have to do is put our guy on the ballot with an 'R' sign," Burnell said. "It could be a corpse and they'll vote for him."
And you don't think this is a cynical subversion of the democratic process and insulting to the people of South Carolina? (Admittedly, they have a good point unless the Dixiecrats come back.)
 
#9
Point of order.

T6 isn't a troll, he holds strong views on issues is all.
 
#10
I'm not disagreeing Crabtastic. I'm neither for nor against abortion (and i'm not american either, so their domestic issues arent of massive concern to me). I was simply trying to make thge point that if you honestly beleive it to be murder, would you give a flying if it was a legal act? If someone over here managed to legalise, say, murdering anyone under the height of 5'5" on every third tuesday and employed people to do so, would you allow it to happen on the basis that "they were going about their lawful business" and that "only the state is justified to use violence (even to prevent a wrong??) ".

(i'm no wordsmith, so if anything i said gets missinterpretted as "i'm all for blowing up baby murdering abortionists" then i'll asume it's down to my less than perfect written language)
 
#12
PartTimePongo said:
Point of order.

T6 isn't a troll, he holds strong views on issues is all.
Thanks PTP. First time I have ever been accused of being a troll. :lol:
I dont much care for the extremists on either end of the spectrum. But no one goes to Git unless they are foreign terrorists.
Domestic terrorists like Eric Rudolph go to prison. We are having a culture war within the US . The ACLU is attacking institutions in our society like the Boy Scouts, xmas displays to name a couple. To the left control of the courts enables liberal judges to create law that the voters would never approve. So the court battles that will take up the fall are in that context. We have city governments that try to ban smoking in your house and your car . The court just ruled that your house can be taken by a local government so they can give it to a developer because a mall or other high end development will generate more income for the locality. This too is against our values. Extremists dont fare well in the US on either end of the spectrum.
 
#13
PartTimePongo said:
Point of order.

T6 isn't a troll, he holds strong views on issues is all.
Point conceded, however I will submit that his opinons are invariably based on whatever Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Scott MacLellan tell him to think rather than any reasoning process or critical analysis of information carried out by himself.
 
#14
Well yes and no , T6 knows how he posts , but he does make some very valid points all the same , even if sometimes, they are at variance with our own"Separated by a common language and attitude" etc

....and his views pale into insignificance, compared to some you'll find on Mil.com . Especially from those that haven't done day one in BDU's. :D

As I say , it's the combining of Mission and troop support , something in the UK we have no problem separating to a large extent. Especially when we percieve flaws in the "Mission" on the US side.
 
#15
PartTimePongo said:
Well yes and no , T6 knows how he posts , but he does make some very valid points all the same , even if sometimes, they are at variance with our own"Separated by a common language and attitude" etc
And a fcuking great big ocean, thank Christ.

....and his views pale into insignificance, compared to some you'll find on Mil.com . Especially from those that haven't done day one in BDU's. :D
They've all done plenty of time in BDUs. Airsoft and Paintballing granted, but at least they get dressed up for the occassion. A lot of them are busy with their 'militias' getting ready to repel the UN in their black helicopters too. incidentally, can someone please explain to me why the fcuk they get cammed up like Chuck Norris to go a huntin' when they know they have to wear a day-glo orange vest over the top?

As I say , it's the combining of Mission and troop support , something in the UK we have no problem separating to a large extent. Especially when we percieve flaws in the "Mission" on the US side.[/quote]

Disappearing off the subject of the thread here, but does any ideas why we can do this in the UK, but many in the US seem incapable?
 
#16
Actually going back to the original post about the Christian Exodus movement it highlights strangely some of the things I use to admire about American society which was the respect for 'individual liberty' and the belief in a meritocratic political system. I guess my disappointment with America lies in the fact that it seems to be straying from these democratic fundamentals.
 

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