Other narratives help secessionists, as well as religious isolationists, understand their efforts as part of a noble tapestry. Evangelical groups have for years supported Christians in South Sudan, which broke off from Sudan last year after persistent clashes with Muslims in the north. Some now laud how Sudanese Christians separated and hope American Christians would do similarly by withdrawing at least culturally, if not legally.
Those inspired by such examples include Jim Rawles, an evangelical blogger and novelist who teaches survival skills for the coming day when America’s economy collapses. He sees no point in seceding, since the federal government would “hammer” such efforts anyway.
Instead, he’s getting more response these days, he says, to his call for Bible-believing Christians, Orthodox Jews and Messianic Jews to relocate to what he calls the American Redoubt: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, eastern Washington and eastern Oregon.
One reason he gives on his website for separation: “Even if God has withdrawn his blessings from our nation as a whole, he will continue to provide for and to protect his remnant.”
“It’s time to distance ourselves from the vile corruptness that we see inside the Washington, D.C., Beltway,” said Rawles, who blogs at survivalblog.com. “It is analogous to the Puritan exodus (from Europe). They couldn’t fit in and said,’We’re going to move to completely virgin territory and start afresh.’ ... In effect, we’re becoming pistol-packing Amish.”
Some scholars still aren’t buying it. As Wolfe sees it, calls for secession and cultural withdrawal are just sour grapes.
“It’s not religious in inspiration at all,” Wolfe says. “It’s like in the Old South, where if you gave (secession) a religious cover, you made it sound better. But it’s just people who basically have difficulty accepting that we have a two-party system. One party wins. One party loses.”
But separatists insist the impulse to flee corruption and live rightly before God is genuine. And if that means clustering in ever more secluded enclaves, then so be it.
“The Bible teaches that the remnant will be small,” Rawles said. “People who recognize that they are of the remnant, that they are God’s elect, will in increasing numbers choose to vote with their feet.”
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