Washington State Rep. Matt Shea has been in the legislature since 2009, and he’s always won his races by comfortable margins. That’s to be expected, I guess, from the head of the state’s Republican caucus. But you don’t see that many radical right-wing politicians from the Pacific Northwest.
… Shea — a four-term elected official now running for a fifth — rarely sees any blowback for the things he says or for the fact that in his nine years in office he has allied with some of the most high-profile conspiracy theorists and anti-government extremists in the American West: from Cliven Bundy and his sons to a neo-Confederate Idaho preacher to the head of the Oath Keepers, an extremist group that believes “the United States is collaborating with a one-world tyrannical conspiracy called the New World Order.”
Long before President Trump deemed the press the “enemy of the people,” Matt Shea was refusing to speak with the media and airing his concern over conspiracy theories like FEMA camps with InfoWars’ Alex Jones. Shea also organized the Spokane chapter of the anti-Muslim ACT for America, which the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as a hate group. And for the past few summers, Shea has spoken at a secretive religious community run by a man who was a foundational figure in the Christian Identity movement, which, according to the Anti-Defamation League, believes white Europeans to be the lost tribes of Israel and considers Jews to be the offspring of Eve and Satan.
Somehow all of this just got worse.
The document is organized in 14 sections with multiple tiers of bullet points and a smattering of biblical citations. Under one heading, “Rules of War,” it makes a chilling prescription for enemies who flout “biblical law.” It states, “If they do not yield — kill all males.”
After the document was leaked online Tuesday, the Spokane Valley Republican insisted he was not promoting violence and that the message had been taken out of context.
Oh, sure. The line about how biblical warriors shouldn’t “attack or kill productive citizens” because they’re “your base of support after the enemy is defeated” is just a metaphor… for something. And the parts about banning abortion and same-sex marriage? I guess those are just nicknames for something else?
Shea actually said these were just his notes for a “series of sermons on biblical war in the Old Testament” — which is totally what people go to church to hear — and that any suggestion that he agrees with these ideas is absurd. But since when do Christian extremists distance themselves from the Bible?
At least some people in power are taking this seriously.
“The document Mr. Shea wrote is not a Sunday school project or an academic study,” Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich wrote in an email. “It is a ‘how to’ manual consistent with the ideology and operating philosophy of the Christian Identity/Aryan Nations movement and the Redoubt movement of the 1990s.”
Knezovich said he had obtained the document and other materials on a flash drive about six weeks ago.
“I gave it straight to the FBI,” he said.
It’s a disturbing document for many reasons, including the fact that it doesn’t have “LOLs” all over it. But even without it, Shea shouldn’t be in any elected office. He has no desire to work with ideological opponents. He sees everything as a cultural war, whether there’s a biblical justification for it or not. The sad thing is that this revelation probably won’t have an impact on his re-election bid. When you’re a Republican incumbent at the state level, it takes a minor miracle to convince voters to care enough to unseat you.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)