I am about 99% confident that this is not the correct answer, but its correspondence with the first couple of lines amuses me enough that I can't resist posting it.
(No spoilers because, duh, it's almost certainly wrong.)
There is a sort of spoof secret society called E Clampus Vitus. It was apparently founded in 1845 ("forty-five before it was") by Ephraim ("now a tribe") Bee ("once did buzz"), though its early history is a bit obscure.
It calls itself a "historical drinking society" or sometimes a "drinking historical society" ("I'm historic too"). Its motto, "Credo quia absurdum", is taken from the early Christian writer Tertullian who (approximately) said it about the Christian faith and more specifically about the idea that the Son of God could die ("quite religious").
I'm not sure anything else fits well, though. Its home is the American Midwest, most of which isn't desert. Its name has a conspicuous big E and I don't see any obvious little ones. So far as I can know, nothing about it fits "Was proposed but never would be". And it's not "followed by industry, book and news" either in the sense of having a lot of attention paid to it or in the sense that its name naturally precedes all those words.