Today is, of course, Christmas Day, a pretty big day for Christians around the world. Today, though, I will be focusing on just one Christian; one insane, bat-shit crazy Christian.
Washington State Rep. Matt Shea has been featured on my blog three times previously. In 2018, I wrote about his manifesto calling for the formation of a "Holy Army," and in 2019, I wrote about his involvement with groups training young men for "biblical warfare" and then leaked chat messages that shed light on his paranoia and the paranoia of his friends in the American Redoubt movement.
According to a report that was released on Thursday, Matt Shea is accused of "domestic terrorism" against the United States.
Here are just some of the details from the damning 108-page report:
Shea is accused of involvement in armed stand-offs between 2014 and 2016. “Between April 12-14, 2014, Representative Shea met with other elected officials from Washington, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona at Bunkerville, Nevada, who gathered in support of the Bundy family’s resistance to a federal court order and developed a strategy for leadership over future Patriot Movement armed resistance against the federal government by creating the Coalition of Western States (COWS).”
“Representative Shea in his leadership role as Chairman of the Coalition of Western States (COWS) along with [a] Washington militia leader and other members of COWS beginning around early November 2015 through January 2, 2016, engaged in conversations with Ammon Bundy and other militia members in the planning and preparation of the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon.”
Yikes! Nothing like your state representatives forming coalitions and fomenting armed uprisings!
There is more where that came from, too. While Ammon Bundy and his goons were occupying the wildlife refuge in Oregon, Shea was pretty busy. “Representative Shea on or about January 3, 2016, created a detailed military styled operation plan entitled ‘Operation Cold Reality’ that included roles and responsibilities of COWS members and militia leadership in support of the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County Oregon.”
“Representative Shea on January 4, 2016 through the use of email and using codename ‘Verumbellator,’ covertly disseminated information to … State Representatives from Washington, Idaho, and Nevada, and to Patriot Movement militia leaders and others, that detailed and warned of specific law enforcement operations and actions in response to the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County Oregon.”
Oh, man, sweet codename, Matt!
That last quoted paragraph mentions The Patriot Movement and Shea's involvement. That is a term that refers to a collection of American nationalist, conservative Christian survivalist groups that want very small government, lots and lots of guns, and ALL THE FREEDOM! They come up again elsewhere in the report.
“This investigation determined Representative Shea is an active and influential leader of the Patriot Movement in the US. He supports the movement and its causes and at times is an active participant in organizing and carrying out demonstrations against state and federal government activities. He has on occasion organized and directed armed confrontations with law enforcement officers.”
“Representative Shea is a self-professed member of the Patriot Movement and although Representative Shea is not believed to consider himself a member of a militia, he is closely associated with several militia groups, their activities, and prominent militia members. He is also closely associated with the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) and Marble Community Fellowship; two organizations closely aligned with the Patriot Movement.”
“Representative Shea and the Patriot Movement rely on the radicalization of individuals to the point they are willing to take up arms against the United States to carry out their objectives … Each armed conflict serves as a radicalization node, enraging individuals with sympathetic views of the goals of the Patriot Movement. This serves to draw more people into the conflict and into the Patriot Movement, thus adding to Representative Shea’s influence and power.”
“Inherent in the act of dispatching armed militants into a conflict with government authorities is the presence of intimidation and the threat of use of force. Intimidation and the ever-present threat of the use of force are powerful tactics used by Representative Shea in the achievement of his political goals.”
Those are just some of the more troubling excerpts from the 108-page report. Ultimately, the report concludes that: “Based on evidence obtained in this investigation, it is more probable than not that Representative Shea is likely to plan, direct and engage in additional future conflicts that could carry with them significant risk of bloodshed and loss of life. It is the professional opinion of the Investigators, that on a more probable than not basis, Representative Shea presents a present and growing threat of risk to others through political violence.”
Shea of course denounces the report. As a result of the investigation, he has been stripped of his position in multiple political committees. There have also been calls for his resignation from fellow politicians on both sides of the aisle. In a post on his Facebook page, though, Shea said, "I will not back down, I will not give in, I will not resign. Stand strong fellow Patriots. Thank you to everyone for the massive outpouring of support prayers! I will continue to defend the constitution against tyranny and fight to protect our God given unalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and the ability to defend the same. Blessings to you all."
This kind of radicalization and militarization among ultra-conservative Christians is not new, but to see a state representative engaging in this kind of behavior is appalling. This is precisely why we need a wall between church and state that is as strong as possible. Otherwise these religious nut-jobs are going to keep doing more and more damage to this country.