SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Valley Representative Matt Shea is said to have supported a group offering training to young men on 'biblical warfare,' which includes lessons on how to use knives, pistols, and rifles based on teachings from a neo-Confederate pastor, according to an article published Wednesday by The Guardian.
The article outlines emails, which date back to July 2016, between Shea and the group's founder, Patrick Caughran. The emails are said to have been given to the newspaper by a former employee of Shea's copied on the thread. The Guardian also reported Shea gave the group money from his 2018 campaign fund.
According to the article, Caughran told Shea the group is meant to "provide patriotic and biblical training on war for young men," then goes on to say "everything about it is both politically incorrect and what would be considered shocking truth to most modern Christians."
Shea can be seen talking with members of the group, cited in the article as Team Rugged, in a video posted to his personal Facebook page in 2017. In the video, one of the members tells Shea that Team Rugged aims to give young men "all the foundational learning and skills that they need to be effective in Christian warfare."
Caughran, according to The Guardian, went over the group's training program in his emails with Shea, saying Team Rugged offers teaching from pastor John Weaver on 'biblical warfare,' so that the young men involved "will be better prepared to fight against physical enemies, and to do so, God's way and with His blessing."
Shea has come under fire in recent months, after a report published by The Guardian in April claimed Shea talked about violence against liberal activists and offered to perform background checks against several of those activists in Spokane. Shea called the article a "hit piece" and said the reporter, who also wrote the article published Wednesday, was out to get him.
Back in October, Shea was said to have written a four-page document called 'The Basis for Biblical War,' which lays out rules for war, the requirements for a 'Holy Army' and lists and end to abortion and same-sex marriage as 'terms of justice and righteousness.' Shea took to his personal Facebook page to defend the outline.
Shea has held his seat in the 4th Legislative District since 2008.
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