Election '18

GOP Lawmaker Defends Insane Manifesto Calling For Holy War and the Killing of All Males Who Flout 'Biblical Law'

Washington state Rep. Matt Shea has been linked to a document endorsing fundamentalist holy war and the killing of unbelievers.

Image via screengrab (credit YouTube)

A Republican state representative in Washington, Matt Shea, is under fire for a four-page manifesto he distributed titled "Biblical Basis for War" that was posted online on Tuesday.

According to the Spokesman-Review, Shea took credit and defended himself against critics in a Facebook Live video, saying that it was just "a summary of a series of sermons on biblical war in the Old Testament" that his critics had taken out of context. He also said that America is a "Christian nation" — something that has been repeatedly debunked by reputable scholars and by the writings of the founding fathers — and that people offended by his views are part of a "Maoist insurgency" and a "counter state" of "Marxists" and "Islamists".

"Biblical Basis for War" is a theocratic call to arms. Among other things, the manifesto describes God as a "warrior," lays out the conscription of able-bodied men over 18 years of age into a "holy army," and instructs Christian warriors to be circumcised, take a holy vow, and refrain from scorched-earth tactics or killing "productive citizens" who will be their "base of support."

Perhaps the most chilling segment is the description of how to make peace with enemies. Any offer of peace, says the document, is "not a negotiation or compromise of righteousness" — the enemy must fully submit to "Biblical law," including "stop all abortions," "no same-sex marriage," "no idolatry or occultism," and "no communism."

If the enemy submits, according to the document, they "must pay share of work or taxes." If they do not submit, the holy army shall "kill all males."

The document contains similar rhetoric to the Marble Community Fellowship, a local sect in eastern Washington State that advocates an ideology of "Dominionism," or Christian theocratic rule. The group's leader, Barry Byrd, has condemned interracial marriage and called Jews "Anti-Christs." Shea has been a guest speaker at one of the group's Fourth of July events.

"The document Mr. Shea wrote is not a Sunday school project or an academic study," said Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, in an email to the Spokesman-Review. "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 added that he handed over the material to the FBI.

While Shea stands by his manifesto, the backlash in the local community has been swift. Some of his campaign donors are now expressing doubts about their support for him.

This is not the first time in recent months that a state lawmaker's extreme religious beliefs have come into question. In 2016, Kentucky elected state Rep. Dan Johnson, a self-styled "pope" who ran a bizarre church complete with its own biker bar and "gun choir," and who shortly introduced a bill to outlaw miscarriages. Last December, Johnson committed suicide following accusations he molested a teenage girl.

Shea represents Washington House of Representatives District 4, which is centered in Spokane Valley on the border with Idaho. He won his last election by 29 points. This year, his Democratic opponent is local union leader Ted Cummings.

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Matthew Chapman is a video game designer, science fiction author, and political reporter from Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter @fawfulfan.