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Is religion or politics driving this talk of secession?

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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 said. "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."

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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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