"If you really look at the rhetoric of Christian Exodus, it's not white separatist at all," he said. "On the contrary, the rhetoric is the very opposite of the white supremacist, and seems to be very inclusive."
He said, though, that he doesn't expect Burnell's group to be any more successful creating a conservative Christian state than white separatists have been trying to create an Aryan nation in parts of Idaho and Montana.
"For groups to be effective in getting their message out, they really have to be in control of the process and they have to have a clear message," he said. "This group has not developed a cohesive vision of what the future is going to be like."
But Burnell said the message has already gotten a positive response, and he believes the movement will only gain strength, especially because so much of the support ChristianExodus.org is receiving is coming from people in the Northeast and upper Midwest, he said, not the Bible Belt.
"What we found was that Southerners don't feel as persecuted for being Christians," he said. "They're not having homosexuals coming into their children's health classes and telling their kids that homosexuality is a reasonable life choice."
Burnell himself actually lives in northern California, having moved there recently from Texas. But because he believes that same-sex marriage will soon be made legal in every state, abortion will never be banned and God will not be brought back into the classroom, Burnell thinks Christians will realize that if they want to live in a state where their faith is upheld, they will have to do what ChristianExodus.org is proposing.
"We're ahead of the curve on this," he said. "There are so many changes occurring in this country so fast, that whereas it seems like an impossibility today, the political landscape we're going to see in five to 10 years is going to make it a possibility. We're not unreasonable nut cases. We're the good guys here."