ANDERSON, S.C. (AP) — A group that aspires to create an independent Christian nation has lost its executive director but will continue its efforts from its base in South Carolina.

Cory Burnell has stepped down as leader of Christian Exodus, a group that was supposed to move members to South Carolina to influence elections and possibly secede from the United States.

Burnell said he chose South Carolina because of its location, economic prospects, Christian influence and conservative voting history. Burnell, a financial planner, had planned to move to Anderson, in the state's northwest corner.