Secession theology runs deep in U.S. history





...“Today’s secessionist movements are just the latest example of a long parade of breakaway groups (in American history) seeking to restore some lost ideal,” said Peter J. Thuesen, professor of religious studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. “The problem is that the ideal is invariably a mirage.”

Seeking purity through separation has marked American religious history since the Puritans sailed from Holland to establish a holy beacon in the New World. It helps explain why Baptists, Presbyterians and others have splintered into countless subgroups over the years, and why the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina disaffiliated from the Episcopal Church this fall....

Secessionists, such as Russell Longcore of Marietta, Ga., take inspiration from history. He sees secession as pursuit of God-given liberty, such as when American colonies seceded from Britain in 1776, when Southern states left the Union in the 1860s and when the Soviet Union dissolved into 15 separate states two decades ago....



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