In Washington State’s legislature, Rep. Matt Shea is controversial even among fellow Republicans: he has distributed white supremacist Christian Identity literature and openly advocated violence against Muslims, gays and others he considers enemies of the United States. And according to a report by Jason Wilson for The Guardian, Shea has enthusiastically encouraged an extremist group called Team Rugged.
E-mails obtained by the Guardian show that Shea was in close contact with Team Rugged in 2016. Team Rugged, Wilson reports, offered training in “biblical warfare” to young Christian fundamentalist men — and that training included advice on ways in which guns and knives could be used on enemies. Shea, according to Wilson, made videos on behalf of the group.
The e-mails, Wilson reports, began in July 2016, when Shea corresponded with Team Rugged’s Patrick Caughran. In one of the e-mails, Team Rugged is described as a way “to provide patriotic and biblical training on war for young men.” Caughran said of Team Rugged, “Everything about it is both politically incorrect and what would be considered shocking truth to most modern Christians.”
In the e-mails, Caughran sounds a lot like a member of al-Qaeda, ISIS (Islamic State, Iraq and Syria) or Boko Haram — only instead of promoting a violent Islamist jihad, he is promoting armed training and holy war for fundamentalist Christians. And one person who is cited as an inspiration in the e-mails is the Georgia-based Rev. John Weaver, a neo-Confederate extremist who the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has described as a “leading proponent” of “training Christians for armed battle.”
Weaver, according to the SPLC, has given weapons training to the League of the South — a neo-Confederate group that marched with neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017.
Caughran, in the e-mail communications with Shea, explained that Team Rugged’s training would show young Christian fundamentalist men “how to work better as a team, both in achieving physically demanding tasks and on the battlefield.” Training, Caughran explained, would include “combatives, the use of a knife in defense, close quarters shooting with rifle and pistol and how to work effectively in teams of two, three and four.”
Caughran, according to Wilson’s report, asked Shea to promote its activities on Facebook. And in a 2017 video posted on his Facebook page, Shea interviewed members of Team Rugged and described the group as “returning to basic patriot principles.”
In 2018, Wilson notes, Shea sparked a major controversy in Washington State when he distributed a Christian Identity white supremacist document called “Biblical Basis for War” — which calls for Christian fundamentalist holy war and advocates the killing of all males who support abortion or same-sex marriage.
One of the Washington State Republicans who has been a vehement critic of Shea is Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. In an interview with the Guardian, Knezovich asserted that the militaristic armed training Shea favors for young Christian fundamentalists “almost sounds like going back to the Hitler Youth concept.”
Knezovich told the Guardian, “There are lines that should never 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.”
BUSTED: Trump said no one saw pandemic coming — but his own officials admitted it kept them up at night
President Donald Trump has tried to claim that the coronavirus pandemic came out of nowhere and that his administration couldn't have possibly been better prepared for it.
However, CNN reports that past statements from his own administration's officials show that the threat of a pandemic hammering the United States was long seen as a danger that the country was not equipped to handle.
"Of course, the thing that people ask: 'What keeps you most up at night in the biodefense world?' Pandemic flu, of course," said Trump HHS Secretary Alex Azar nearly one year ago.
Arkansas church vows to continue services: ‘Jesus died with COVID-19 so that you didn’t have to bear it’
An Arkansas church intends to hold church services despite recommendations from state officials to limit gatherings as part of the fight against the coronavirus.
Awaken Church, in Jonesboro, vowed in a Facebook post to continue holding services in defiance of a Health Department directive banning gatherings of 10 or more, and after churches in other parts of the country were the source of community outbreaks, reported Newsweek.
Trump’s path to re-election ‘smashed to splinters’ as his only achievement is swallowed up by the pandemic: report
In a piece for Politico, Ben White writes that Donald Trump was going into November's election with only one achievement under his belt -- a healthy economy -- and now he has nothing left to run if he wants to be re-elected.
With all of the gains made in the stock market long gone due to the coronavirus pandemic and the collapse of oil prices, White claims that the president's campaign strategy lies in tatters.
"The fundamental pillars of Donald Trump’s presidency — a hot economy, strong job growth and a rocking stock market — are all being smashed to splinters by the ravaging coronavirus, which has shuttered much of the nation and now officially ended a streak of 113 months of job gains dating back to the end of the Great Recession a decade ago," he wrote before noting the explosion of unemployment claims -- over ten million so far -- that has the country reeling.