FFRF calls on Wash. legislator to resign over support of Christian-based terrorism

Over a busy holiday season, it was easy to miss a terrifying development in the Washington state Legislature. State Rep. Matt Shea, whom the Freedom From Religion Foundation denounced in 2018 for promoting a violent screed titled “Biblical Basis for War,” has been exposed as a supporter of violent Christian extremism in recent years.

“Shea should resign immediately,” FFRF Co-President Dan Barker comments. “His conduct should be a wake-up call to anyone doubting the seriousness of the threat of Christian Nationalism.”

An internal investigation by the Washington statehouse has just revealed that Shea has a history of supporting treasonous, Christian-based domestic terrorist actions, including the armed takeover of a federal building in eastern Oregon in 2016. Shea has also reportedly aided Team Rugged, an organization dedicated to “patriotic and biblical training” that includes the use of weapons such as knives and guns.

The report noted that Shea “participated in an act of domestic terrorism against the United States,” advocated the “replacement of U.S. democracy with a theocracy and the killing of all males who do not agree,” and “in 2016 engaged in and supported the training of youth and young adults to fight a Holy war.”

The investigation concluded that “it is more probable than not that Rep. Shea is likely to plan, direct and engage in additional future conflicts that could carry with them significant risk of bloodshed and loss of life. . . Shea presents a present and growing threat of risk to others through political violence.”

This investigation confirms suspicions about Shea based on his prior outrageous conduct. In 2018, Shea admitted to distributing the openly violent screed titled “Biblical Basis for War,” which described “just” assassinations as “not murder,” praised “treason” against non-theocratic governments and gave instructions to “kill all males” who refuse to submit to Shea’s version of biblical law. At the time, Shea claimed this manifesto was a summary of sermons on the history of war, implying that it was not intended as a guide for modern times. The recent report shows otherwise.

Apart from the obviously damning evidence of Shea supporting treason and domestic terrorism, Shea’s call for an armed religion-based revolution reveals an even darker side of a disturbing trend across the entire country: the rise of Christian Nationalism. Any student of history knows the bloody track record of mixing state and church, which is precisely why the United States Constitution keeps them separate.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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