A Washington state representative is under federal investigation after his “Biblical Basis for War” manifesto leaked, outlining a 14-step process for right-wing Christians to seize power and kill their political enemies.
The four-page document distributed by state Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane) is a Christian call to arms that demands an end to legal abortion and same-sex marriage, and spells out a chilling fate for anyone who refuses to obey “biblical law,” reported the The Spokesman-Review.
“If they do not yield – kill all males,” the document says.
Shea insisted he was not promoting violence and claimed his message had been taken out of context, and he described the document as a “just war theory” based on Old Testament sermons and endorsed by some conservative Christians.
“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,” Shea said in a Facebook video posted Wednesday. “This document, in and of itself, was not a secret. I’ve actually talked about portions of this document publicly.”
Shea admits to handing out the manifesto to a few close associates, and it was made public by Tanner Rowe, who was hired in 2016 by Shea’s security team for an election night GOP gala.
At least one Shea donor, the Northwest Credit Union Association, has asked his campaign to return its $1,000 contribution, saying his social media history was troubling.
BNSF Railway, which donated the maximum $2,000 to Shea’s campaign, is monitoring the situation, a spokesman said, but hasn’t commented on whether their contribution would be rescinded.
Avista Corp., which also donated the maximum $2,000, said the contribution was made because Shea is an incumbent.
Other major Shea donors include Boeing Co., the Washington Association of Realtors and the Washington Health Care Association, and he has outraised Democratic challenger Ted Cummings $107,500 to $27,000, according to Public Disclosure Commission filings.
The manifesto’s metadata shows it was created by Shea, but it’s not clear whether he was the sole author.
Rowe and others say the document resembles the work of the Marble Community Fellowship, a right-wing dominionist congregation with a racist past and ties to the lawmaker.
“It truly is unnerving and, quite frankly, disgusting,” Rowe said in his own Facebook video. “This goes to show what the 51st state, or at least the leaders in it, what they really feel. They are not for liberty. They are for pushing biblical law, which is really no different than certain other fanatics that we have been against in the recent decades.”
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, a Republican, immediately alerted the FBI after learning of the document because he believes it shows the Republican lawmaker may be dangerous.
“The document Mr. Shea wrote is not a Sunday school project or an academic study,” the sheriff told the newspaper. “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.”
Shea believes the United States is a Christian nation, and he embraces right-wing conspiracy theories about Muslims and Marxists and wants to split eastern Washington off into a 51st state called Liberty.
The FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force told KHQ-TV that agents were reviewing the manifesto for investigative leads.
Shea visited armed militants who occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge nearly three years ago in Oregon, and Knezovich says he’s suspicious of those right-wing activists.
“The goal of these groups has always been to create a white homeland consisting of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington,” Knezovich said. “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.”