Matt Shea, a state representative for Washington state, publicly acknowledged this week that he distributed a four-page manifesto titled, “Biblical Basis for War.” You can read it here.
Shea, a Republican (big surprise), describes the God of Christianity as a “warrior” and says that the time for war is whenever God says so. I guess we can just call up God on a super-special phone and ask him when he wants us to war it out?
After the document was leaked online, Shea posted a Facebook Live video trying to excuse it. “First of all, it was a summary of a series of sermons on biblical war in the Old Testament as part of a larger discussion on the history of warfare,” he said.
Shea also took time in the video to complain about a recent Rolling Stone article about him. The Rolling Stone profile describes him as a religious extremist who allies with conspiracy theorists and anti-government fanatics. Shea himself is fond of arguing that the United States is “a Christian nation” and he labels critics as “Marxists” and “Islamists,” describing their critiques as “smears and slander and innuendo and implication.”
Shea also advocates for a 51st state called Liberty. Of course, that hypothetical state will really only grant liberty to its citizens if they are white, male, and have money.
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich of Spokane County wrote in an email that, “The document Mr. Shea wrote is not a Sunday school project or an academic study. 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.”
After receiving the document, in addition to other materials, on a flash drive, Knezovich sent it to the FBI. Knezovich also noted that Shea visited the right-wing activists who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon in 2016.
“The goal of these groups has always been to create a white homeland consisting of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington,” Knezovich wrote. “The ideas presented in the (biblical war) document are how these groups intend to seize control, by force, should there be a governmental collapse or civil war.”
This kind of dogmatic extremism is obviously deeply disturbing, but I also cannot help but be bewildered by the thought process of someone who will demonize believers of Islam, and then adopt the exact same kind of violent dominionist superstitious beliefs. The tragic irony of it is only overshadowed by the potential for disaster that it could bring.