Washington State Legislator Declares Holy War

Headline from the Seattle Times: “Washington state lawmaker Matt Shea defends advocacy for ‘Holy Army’ as Spokane sheriff refers his writings to FBI.” The Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said, “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.”

Back in the 1990s, leaders and most members of groups like Aryan Nations and Christian Identity were largely confined to rural areas. They often hid in bunkers and played war games. But Mr. Shea is a Republican legislator in a major city in Washington. That’s mainstream. It is an indication of how far wingnuts have taken over the Republican Party, and how far America’s center of gravity has shifted.

Mr. Shea told reporters, “the United States is ‘a Christian nation’ and he asserts that his detractors are part of a so-called ‘counter state’ made up of ‘Marxists’ and ‘Islamists.’ He dismisses criticism as nothing more than ‘smears and slander and innuendo and implication.’” He wants to create a new Christian state as a base for launching Holy War against enemies of Christianity – which probably includes almost all Democrats, and a large share of independents and possibly even Republicans. He’s explicit about Muslims, and I suspect Jews are not far behind.

This kind of thing is going on all over the Western World. It’s not just crazies in the U.S. In the 1930s and 40s, the America First movement was very popular. Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator, was one of its leaders. It supported Hitler and strenuously opposed American aid to his enemies. It’s beginning to feel like MAGA (Make America Great Again) and right-wing movements elsewhere are following a similar path.

 P.S. Back in the 1990s, many right-wing Christians believed that Jesus was returning in the year 2000. The more militant ones were eager to pave the way for him, and had bizarre notions about how to do it. The FBI put out a report, Project Megiddo, warning of their terrorist acts and presenting a profile of what would be terrorists might look like. This created a furor, as the profile fit the description of many "mainstream" evangelicals. Southern Baptists and others rose up in arms, and the FBI was forced to withdraw the report. You can probably still find it somewhere on the internet. It's worth reading.

 

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