Today's post follows up on a U.S. politician that I've written about before: Washington State Representative Matt Shea.
I wrote about Matt Shea last November when he publicly acknowledged he had distributed a four-page manifesto titled "Biblical Basis for War."
Shea was in the news again last week when The Guardian acquired emails which revealed that Shea was involved with a group training young men in "biblical warfare."
The group, called Team Rugged, trains young men in the use of knives and guns. The emails were sent in July 2016, and begin with a message from Team Rugged founder Patrick Caughran.
Caughran asked Shea to publicize the group's Facebook page, and to connect Caughran with right-wing podcast host Jack Robertson, an associate of Shea.
Shea and Robertson both advocate for the American Redoubt movement, a movement seeking to set up a safe haven for conservative Christians within the existing states of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, as well as parts of Washington and Oregon.
“The entire purpose behind Team Rugged is to provide patriotic and biblical training on war for young men,” Caughran wrote in an email to Shea. The organization is described on its website as “a Christian organization that strongly believes in building manly character and the capability to stand in adversity in young men”.
But Caughran also wrote: “There will be scenarios where every participant will have to fight against one of the most barbaric enemies that are invading our country, Muslims terrorists (sic)”.
Caughran went on to describe some of the training, writing, “there will be biblical teaching (some taken from pastor John Weaver’s works) on biblical warfare, the responsibilities, regulations, principles and mindset. So that our young men will be better prepared to fight against physical enemies, and to do so, God’s way and with His blessing”.
John Weaver, in case you are unaware, is a preacher in Georgia for Freedom Baptist Ministries. He has described black people as a “retrograde species of humanity” and in 2007 gave five night of talks at a Christian Exodus conference. Christian Exodus is a group trying to convince Christians in South Carolina to secede from the United States.
So, how did Shea respond to Caughran's request? Well, in regards to the Facebook post he says, "It is scheduled to post tomorrow." Then, sure enough, he forwards Caughran's email on to Robertson, along with the message: “See below. From Marble meeting. JJS he wants to connect with you.”
What a nice guy, connecting all these hate-filled religious maniacs with one another.
But Shea did more than just provide networking help. He posted a video to his Facebook page where he interviewed Team Rugged at the 2017 'God and Country' event. In the video, he described the group as “returning to basic patriot principles”. Super chill, Matt.
A fellow Republican who has been a vocal critic of Shea (and who I also mentioned in my previous post about Shea) is Spokane county sheriff, Ozzie Knezovich. Knezovich said that “it almost sounds like going back to the Hitler Youth concept. There are lines that should never be crossed. When you indoctrinate children in radicalized hate, then we wonder why we have the kind of shootings and bombings that we have around the world.”
Whoa, that may be one of the first times I quote a Republican on this blog who says something that I totally agree with. Thanks, Ozzie!
Washington's state house has begun an investigation into Shea and his associations with these groups. Hopefully the people of Washington will not have to deal with this lunatic serving a political position too much longer, they deserve better.
Click here to see a collection of my posts where U.S. politicians undermine the separation of church and state.