Washington state Rep. Matt Shea acknowledged Wednesday he had distributed a four-page manifesto titled “Biblical Basis for War,” which describes the Christian God as a “warrior,” details the composition and strategies of a “Holy Army” and condemns abortion and same-sex marriage.
The document is organized in 14 sections with multiple tiers of bullet points and a smattering of biblical citations. Under one heading, “Rules of War,” it makes a chilling prescription for enemies who flout “biblical law.”
After the document was leaked online Tuesday, the Spokane Valley Republican insisted he was not promoting violence and that the message had been taken out of context.
“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 Live video on Wednesday. “This document, in and of itself, was not a secret. I’ve actually talked about portions of this document publicly.”
In the video, Shea also complains about a recently published Rolling Stone profile that characterizes him as an extremist, he argues that 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 also delves into the philosophy known as “just war theory,” which has been endorsed by many mainstream Christians.
But critics of Shea — who embraces far-right conspiracy theories, associates with a fundamentalist religious group in northern Stevens County and champions a push for a 51st state called Liberty — saw something sinister in the document.