During the 1960s, there was a movement among California hippies to move to Alpine County (pop. 1,344) to take it over and elect a county sheriff who wouldn't enforce the laws against the evil weed. The locals were not keen on this and it didn't happen. Now the right has an analogous plan. Conservatives are moving to North Idaho, making Idaho one of the fastest growing states. This time there is no opposition from the locals, though, as all the counties in the "panhandle" are already well stocked with extreme libertarians, preppers, and Christian nationalists who are hanging out there until America collapses so they can take over. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) went to Coeur D'Alene there recently to egg the locals on.
North Idaho gives a preview of what America might become if the Christian nationalists take over. During the pandemic, when the Coeur D'Alene city council was debating taking federal funds to support health measures, speaker after speaker opposed taking them, describing the measures as "government tyranny." Churches in the area refused to close, even as the pandemic peaked. A popular local pastor, Douglas Wilson, argued in favor of fake vaccination cards. In an interview with a reporter, he tended to play down his church's publicly stated goal of making the city a "Christian town." But he didn't downplay his plan for a pan-Protestant town—Catholics would not be welcome. Nor would liberal Protestants. That doesn't bode well for Jews, Muslims, and Hindus. LDS Church members are OK, though. In his view, everyone except conservative Protestants would be banned from holding public office. He didn't think this was so unusual, since Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony executed Quakers.
The political influence of all the churches in the area is growing. One church welcomed a group of 15 candidates for state and local office in October. They all tied their campaigns to Christianity and all said they would govern using biblical values. Twelve of them were elected and proceeded to try to ban absentee voting, prohibit school instruction on sexuality or gender identity before fifth grade, and ban books depicting homosexuality from libraries. Our staff theologian is trying to find the passages in the Bible that speak to the evils of absentee voting, but she has not had success as yet.
Last September, the Reawaken America tour, an unabashed Christian nationalist group that mixes right-wing politics, baseless election claims, and antagonism toward COVID-19 health measures, camped out nearby. Michael Flynn and Eric Trump showed up. It is not known if Flynn and Trump participated in the night-time baptisms performed by a local preacher. It may have been too risky; we have a pretty good idea of what happens when holy water makes contact with a Trump.
Transplants from other states don't ask realtors about property taxes or schools. They ask for property that is defensible, with clear firing lanes in the event of an invasion. Most are preppers and all are Christians. They see this as America's last, best chance. (V)