Rep. Shea responds to biblical war ‘manifesto’ controversy
Update on Representative Matt Shea and a controversial biblical war “manifesto.”
Days after news about a “manifesto” on biblical war, Washington State Representative Matt Shea has responded saying that he does not support racism, anti-Semitism, or white nationalism. In a statement to The Spokesman Review, he argues that claims his notes on biblical sermons from years ago are some kind of manifesto are calculated smears.
— Chad Sokol (@bychadsokol) November 2, 2018
In the wake of previous news about the biblical war “manifesto,” more of Shea’s campaign donors have asked for their money back, including Avista, and BNSF.
Experts have also commented that Shea’s document appears to have nothing in common with The Old Testament — as Shea claims it pertains to — and expresses values foreign to that section of the Bible. James Edwards, a Bruner-Welch professor of theology at Whitworth University, noted to The Inlander that the document mentions communism, which was invented thousands of years after The Old Testament was written.
“The only one that might be in the Old Testament would be No. 3: idolatry,” Edwards told The Inlander. “No war in the Bible was waged over abortion or same-sex marriage or communism.”
The Spokane County Sheriff has turned over a document written by Washington state lawmaker Matt Shea to the FBI. Some call the document a manifesto.
Shea, a Republican representative from Spokane Valley, admitted he wrote “Biblical Basis for War,” a four-page document that describes the Christian God as a “warrior,” and details the strategies of a “Holy Army.”
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich told The Spokesman Review:
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.
The sheriff says the document came to his attention six weeks ago. It was handed to him on a flash drive by someone close to Shea. He turned it over to the FBI.
Sheriff Knezovich further told the newspaper:
The goal of these groups has always been to create a white homeland consisting of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, and Washington. 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.
Multiple donors to Shea’s campaign have asked for refunds since the document was made public.
Biblical Basis for War
The Biblical Basis for War paper has 14 points starting with “God is a warrior” and continues on to comment on a “Holy Army” and argues for when it is appropriate to fight and how to do so.
For example, it promotes that Christians are to avoid bloodshed and offer peace to their enemies. This includes demanding that they stop all abortions, no same-sex marriages, no communism, and they must obey biblical law. If they do not yield, “kill all males.”
It refers to “godless civil rulers” as bands of robbers, and says that a tyrant is someone who rules without God. It also states that “assassination to remove tyrants is just, not murder.”
The document is short on context and other details, and heavy on bullet points. It can be viewed on here.
Matt Shea responds: It wasn’t a secret
Shea tells The Spokesman Review the controversy is a misunderstanding. He argues that the four-page “Biblical Basis for War” document was a summary of sermons on biblical war in the Old Testament. He considers it more as a history book. MyNorthwest has reached out to Shea for comment on the issue.
Shea has often produced video commentaries on his Facebook page. In the videos, he promotes his view of Christianity and argues it should lead American government. He also quotes Vox Day, a known figure in the alt-right movement, and who some argue is a white supremacist.
Shea commented on matters related to the controversial document in a video following a recent Rolling Stone article on him. This was in late October. He says that his critics have said there is a “secret document” he wrote advocating for violence and killing. He said “nothing could be further from the truth.”
“This document, in and of itself, was not a secret,” Shea said in the video. “I’ve actually talked about portions of this document publicly and talked about just war theory.”
“….It wasn’t secret, I want to make sure that is underscored,” he said.
After spending some time at one of Shea’s rallies, the Rolling Stone reported:
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.
In his online commentary, Shea calls the article a smear ahead of the midterm election, organized by the “counter state” which includes Marxists and Islamists.
“They took almost everything they could and put a massive leftist spin on things,” Shea says in the video. “You need to understand something, this is part of something called a ‘Maoist insurgency model.’ This is called political warfare. They don’t care about the truth. All they care about it taking things out of context, twisting whatever else is out there and creating this narrative that they have been creating about us that love the Constitution, that love America, that love God and Jesus Christ as somehow being racist hatemongers. That is the narrative that they are putting out there. And there are some people who claim to be on the right who are saying some of the same things.”