NORTHERN IDAHO -- You don't hear the word "redoubt" used very much anymore. It means a "fortress" or a "safe, protected place."
Some conservative American Christians are so dismayed with direction of the country that they're looking for a safe place for their families. They call it the "American Redoubt."
Alarm over the future of America can be seen almost daily in the headlines and on cable news. The loss of privacy, constitutional freedoms, and out-of-control government spending are just a few of the reasons sending shock waves across the country.
For Christians, there are even bigger concerns. Religious persecution is on the rise, and that's leading many believers to look beyond the ballot box and start voting with their feet.
A More Simple Way
"I was pastoring a city church, and it was through my own Bible study and prayer that I became convicted that we needed to live in a different situation. Ultimately we believe God led us to the Northwest," Pastor Dave Westrook said.
Westbrook moved his family out of the city 12 years ago. They chose an area that is attracting more and more like-minded families every year -- the inland Pacific Northwest. It's an area that includes Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and the eastern parts of Washington and Oregon.
Members call their movement the "American Redoubt."
"I think that people recognize that tough times are coming. And it's time to think about their situation, it's time to think about how they live now, and the security of their family, the stability of society and how they are going to relate to that," Westbrook said.
"But I'm finding something else, too." he continued. "That is that more and more people are resonating with this idea of getting back to the land, of living a simple, more natural way.
"The way I see it, the Creator wired us for this. This is really what we were set up for," he said.
Free to Live
Idaho is a paradise for nature lovers of all kinds. It's also one of the least populous states in the union.
That's a big draw for the kind of people that would come to the American Redoubt, not necessarily because they want to get away from everybody, but because they feel like it's more free for them to live and work and worship as they please.
"Your kids can run free; they are spending time with the livestock, in the garden," Westbrook said.
John and Sarah enjoyed life in Florida until a hurricane changed their outlook forever. They asked that we not show their faces.
"We saw how quickly things deteriorated, how fragile our civilization is, and I witnessed people getting into fist fights over bags of ice," John said. "And I realized that if things were to get worse in this country, I needed to be someplace safe, out of the big city."
The couple invested their life savings and recently moved to the American Redoubt. So far, they're very happy with their choice.
"Right now I can say we're excited about the new challenges and the new life that we've embraced," Sarah said. "What challenges are coming our way I don't know, but I know that God brought us here and He will bring us through any challenges that we might face."
The Biggest Draw
The growth here has spawned radio programs and even its own silver coins. Todd Savage moved his real estate business from San Francisco and now helps people looking to make the move.
"The core of this movement is to help like-minded conservative Christians move to the redoubt area, eastern Washington, Idaho, Montana, and sometimes Wyoming," Savage said. "It's a wonderful place to be to educate your children and to have freedom."
"Since the reelection of President Obama we've seen a huge increase in demand," he said.
Savage maintains high standards for his clients, however.
"I screen my clients because the American Redoubt is meant for freedom-loving folks that are accepting of everyone, irregardless of their religious preferences or their skin color, although predominantly they are conservative Christians of all races, colors and creeds and national origins," he said.
And it's not just families -- businesses are moving in as well. One notable growth industry -- gun and ammo manufacturers driven out of other states by restrictive gun legislation. There are now 180 in Idaho alone.
But Westbrook asserts the biggest draw is spiritual.
"We're not just preparing for tough times just ahead, we're interested in preparing for eternity," he said. "The environment is just so much more conducive -- and particularly it's so much more conducive to our spiritual walk with God. For us, for my family, that's the number one reason why we did this."