Thursday, January 10, 2008

In search of the white homeland

-- by Dave

White supremacists have made a living in the past couple of decades advocating the notion of a "white homeland" here in the Pacific Northwest. It's the reason the Aryan Nations moved here from Southern California; the late Robert Miles (a Michigan "pastor" of a white-supremacist church) spent his declining years pushing the concept as well. It had some modest effect: besides the arrival of some right-wing millionaires and a handful of other white-nationalist factions, the demographics of northern Idaho and western Montana shifted rightward sharply in the ensuing years.

In recent years, these white supremacists -- who have taken to renaming themselves "white separatists" -- have shifted their focus somewhat in an attempt to broaden their appeal. The new tactics include recasting themselves further as simply "devout Christians" and setting up shop in South Carolina, which indeed may be more hospitable to their desire for a "white homeland" than Idaho.

You can imagine the sigh of relief in this neck of the woods.

But no. Idaho's back in their plans again:
ANDERSON, S.C. — A Christian group pledging heavy involvement in government could make an “exodus” to Idaho rather than South Carolina.

According to the most recent issue of the Christian Exodus newsletter, the group’s new target may be Idaho.

“Several Christian Exodus members realize that due to commitments to extended family or other reasons, they will not be moving to South Carolina,” the newsletter stated.

Instead, they may be moving to Gem County in Southwest Idaho.

Christian Exodus, a group of individuals who believe in a literal interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, tempered with a devout Christian faith, had previously called for thousands of similar Christians to move to South Carolina one county at a time, starting with Anderson County. Their goal was to move enough people into the area to influence local elections, and in turn affect state elected officials.

With those key elements in place, the group hoped to either influence national legislation to return to a policy of limited federal government and increased states’ rights, or to secede from the Union of States.

In June, Cory Burnell, president and co-founder of Christian Exodus, announced that he would be moving to South Carolina. By July, he said he could not, as he had been terminated from his job. Since then, he has said previously, he has been working to increase the client base of his financial planning business in order to move to South Carolina in the future.

But, in the fall issue of the group’s newsletter, Christian Exodus announced creation of the Idaho group and identified Paul Smith, a former Congressional candidate with the Constitution Party of Idaho, as its volunteer coordinator.

Burnell, as we noted previously, was an activist with the secessionist neo-Confederate group the League of the South. More recently, he's been operating out of California.

Somehow, I don't think Gem County has a lot to worry about. But stranger things have happened.

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