The -X option is broken in this release of tar.
It works in version tar-1.12-9 (RH 6.0), but is
broken in tar-1.13.11-1 (RH6.1).
I've just tried reproducing this. The -X option works for me
touch rubbish0 rubbish1
echo "rubbish1" >exclude.list
tar cf rubbish.tar r* -X exclude.list
doesn't include the rubbish1 file.
If there's anything else wrong with -X, please be a bit more specific
about what the problem is.
Also, you might want to try the tar version in rawhide (1.13.14-1).