Rep. Matt Shea: When Politics is Fueled by Religion that Harms

Rep. Matt Shea, Biblical Basis for War, Politics, Religion, Dominionism


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I intentionally do not delve into politics much on this blog because politics is divisive and conversation can deteriorate quickly. However, today I want to mention one candidate whose religion is interfering with his politics in a way that could harm. I found about this because it is in my neck of the woods and in the news.

Some long-time readers probably remember I wrote posts about the father of the Christian homeschool movement, Rousas John Rushdoony. Rushdoony was a Christian Reconstructionist who put his religious beliefs into action in an attempt to take over all spheres of our civilization, including the government. He wanted the Old Testament laws and Ten Commandments to be the foundation of society:

Christian Reconstructionism began with Rousas John (R.J.) Rushdoony. In 1973 he published Institutes of Biblical Law which is 800 pages of analysis and commentary on the Ten Commandments and the Biblical “case law.” Rushdoony and the Reconstructionists, are believers that everything is based on God’s Laws as put forth in the Bible, have no love for democratic, secular, civil law (Source)

 

“The only true order is founded on Biblical Law. All law is religious in nature, and every non-Biblical law-order represents an anti-Christian religion.”

”Every law-order is a state of war against the enemies of that order, and all law is a form of warfare.”

 – R.J. Rushdoony

 

Rushdoony had quite a following of conservative Christians who adopted his ideas on homeschooling children and having large families, creating a cycle that could have continued for years and years. It worked for at least one generation, but then some serious sex abuse cases came to light (Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard), and many families abandoned the camp, thank God.

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Rep. Matt Shea "Biblical Basis for War"

Facebook photo, Rep. Matt Shea

I was reminded of Rushdoony when I read about Rep. Matt Shea of Washington state. Rep. Matt Shea is up for re-election for his sixth term in the House, but has recently been under the spotlight because of his religious ideologies using “biblical law” as justification.

So, here’s what happened. Rep. Shea sent out a four-page document entitled, Biblical Basis for War. People, this guy is running for state rep, not the governor or president, yet he is focusing on war?  His area is in NE Washington state – around Spokane, the eastern side of the state, close to Idaho. Chad Sokol of the local Spokesman-Review had this to say:

Shea – who espouses far-right conspiracy theories, mingles with militia groups, considers the United States “a Christian nation” and champions a push for a 51st state called Liberty – has said the document was merely a summary of sermon notes based on the Old Testament. But critics of Shea, including his opponent, Ted Cummings, and Republican Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, viewed the document as a literal road map for Christian domination.

“The document specifically contemplates overthrowing ‘tyranny,’ but it quickly defines a ‘tyrant’ as ‘someone who rules without God.’ Thus, it appears to call for violence against any political leader who does not share Shea’s personal religious views,” the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit that advocates for separation of church and state, said in a statement Thursday. “By Shea’s definition, the United States, a secular democracy founded on a godless constitution, is tyrannical and meant to be overthrown.”

Take a look at the first page and one-half of the document so you can get an idea of what he has been spreading:

Rep. Matt Shea "Biblical Basis for War"

Rep. Matt Shea "Biblical Basis for War"

Rep. Matt Shea “Biblical Basis for War”

 

Here is a local news report.

 

I get a little concerned about people like fixating on war using their slanted religious ideologies. This seriously creeps me out, and it’s a little too close to home. I’m sending the boys outside to work on an underground shelter after they get home from their public school (yea, I ditched homeschooling and the Rushdoony way of doing things a while ago and have been sending them to the local heathens – the evil government schools).

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20 comments on “Rep. Matt Shea: When Politics is Fueled by Religion that Harms

  1. Oopsy, looks like he forgot that God laid down the rules of engagement when he commanded Israel to only go to war if attacked or invaded.

    People who follow RushLOONY are alway 70-75% wackadoo so I wouldn’t vote for this guy. The fact that he put out this document makes me wonder if he falls more into the 98% percentile.

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  2. Oopsy, looks like he forgot that God laid down the rules of engagement when he commanded Israel to only go to war if attacked or invaded.

    People who follow RushLOONY are alway 70-75% wackadoo so I wouldn’t vote for this guy. The fact that he put out this document makes me wonder if he falls more into the 98% percentile.

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  3. This is the kind of thing that led me to leave the Republican Party in 2106. They support too many candidates with beyond crazy agendas. I know there are some in the Dems as well, but they don’t seem to embrace them like the Republicans do.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. He’s got a friend in Mike Pence (another Dominionist), the man who’s just waiting in the wings. The Religious Right has been maneuvering for years — that smirk on Pence’s face is there for a reason.

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  5. Amazing how similar Theonomy/Dominionism sounds to Islam… I think Rushdoony was a conference speaker at a former church. Dominionists are very good at hiding their true agenda, and for pretty obvious reasons.

    I almost charged a Theonomist through church court because they go beyond the WCF, which says that the Old Testament laws are only binding “in general equity” to say, for example, as Shea does, that we ought to get full surrender or kill every adult male. In my case, this pastor was arguing that the “bride price” and “evidence of virginity” OT laws were still binding.

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  6. Ordinarily, I’d have expected that a follower of Rushdoony would have followed the cessationism (no more tongues or prophecy) prevalent in Rushdoony’s Presbyterian churches. So it is jarring that Shea proclaims that God will tell “the leader” that it’s time to wage war. It seems to be assuming that certain leaders will function effectively as prophets, and it isn’t particularly bound by the way Christ treated the adulterers and adulteresses He met. It goes, again, well beyond what I would guess Rushdoony would have advocated.

    Perhaps part of the explanation is that Shea was divorced in 2008, his ex-wife alleging physical and other abuse, and his wiki, campaign, and office bios do not seem to indicate he’s part of a church at this point. His current wife is from Ukraine–I’m wondering if she’s more or less mail order. We might affirm that he’s something of a lone wolf in this regard, not terribly constrained by mores of his neighbors.

    Carmen, quick question on Pence; what is your source? All I found was a Washington Post and RNS report that he identifies as an “evangelical Catholic”, which is generally pretty far from Dominionism–Rushdoony et al did not have much good to say about Rome, to put it mildly.

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  7. BB, there have been many articles about Pence. Unfortunately, I am away from home and only have my ipad with me. I don’t know how to link on this! Keep digging – there was a recent article (again, I cannot remember the writer) about his hardcore evangelical beliefs since he was in college; he’s of the belief that he’s god-appointed to lead the country and has been for many years.

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  8. There’s an in-depth article on theatlantic.com, “God’s plan for Mike Pence” – that’s the latest one I’ve read, a couple of months ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Found the Atlantic article and another in the LA Times, and suffice it to say that neither convinced me of the author’s point, and in neither case was the author attempting to demonstrate theonomy on Pence’s part. There is quite frankly a wide gulf between Pence’s stands, which are fairly mainstream evangelical, and theonomy. Disagree with him if you will, but let’s not make claims that we cannot defend.

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  10. It’s curious. Isn’t he in conflict with himself and scripture with his recommendation of “numbers are inconsequential” and then “take a census”? So…which is it?
    David received some stiff consequences (1 Chronicles 21 and 2 Samuel 24) for taking a census…and Gideon learned the lesson of not “counting” his warriors before battle as God whittled his army down.
    Also – Joshua was given a vastly different “law of booty” than what is described here. They razed the towns they conquered, destroying everything and leaving no trace, keeping nothing for themselves and taking no prisoners. No women or children. While I may not personally put that forth as a present day model…how does that fit his “OT battle plan?” God was a little more radical than this guy…He was “All or Nothing” in my OT.
    Just my 2 cents.

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  11. BB, re: cessationism “So it is jarring that Shea proclaims that God will tell “the leader” that it’s time to wage war.”

    The Reformed view of cessationism gets somewhat undone by the authoritarian view that leaders have some sort of spiritually-led insight. So, it’s not surprising that someone like Shea would claim that a Theocratic leader would have some sort of divine insight into when to when to wage war.

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  12. The trick is, Mark, that while I acknowledge the “big man” phenomenon throughout all of more conservative Christianity, I don’t know exactly where Shea fits because he doesn’t really appear to be in fellowship with any church. Sure, some of what he says fits the Reconstructionist mold, but the “God told the leader to wage war” part does not. I’m thinking the closest fit is “roll your own theology in such a way that you can lead despite your personal history of divorce and such.”

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  13. The really sad thing about this is, even though he’s a dominionist/reconstructionist, this same approach to scripture is in mainstream evangelicalism. The mainstream may not call for obeying specific rules of war, but they believe that God really did do that at one time and is still a God of war… hence the justification of our modern wars like the ill-fated Iraq war and the war on terror.

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  14. Mark said:

    “In my case, this pastor was arguing that the “bride price” and “evidence of virginity” OT laws were still binding.”

    In any Presbyterian denomination I am familiar with, this guy is not Reformed. If the elders wouldn’t do anything about it, I’d say it’s time to go straight to the presbytery with a complaint about this pastor revealing himself as a Judaizer. The closest I’ve ever heard to such a thing was when Doug Wilson said he’d advise married couples to avoid intercourse during the wife’s period, based on the relevant OT law. Once you start down this path, where do you stop? As far as I can tell, you end up where the Hebrew Roots movement is.

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  15. @mwcamp
    You are spot on, sir.

    @NJ
    The Hebrew Roots movement is alive and well within mainstream c’hurchism, with the tithe requirement still taught, preached, and used as a tool of satan to “guilt” folks into giving up their hard earned mammon/money to build monstrosities equipped with the finest of furniture/accessories/coffee shops/gymnasiums/and libraries filled to the brim with “c’hristian books, cd’s, dvd’s, and other pertinent resources,” and yet I have yet to hear the average c’hurch goer say, “Do you want to know Jesus, the Christ personally?” Open your Bible; read, study, and meditate upon the Holy Scriptures for yourself, allowing the Holy Spirit to minister and teach you all that is His.”

    Nope…..Jesus (the One of our Scriptures), left the building long ago, leaving the word “Ichabod” above the doorposts on His Way out. How sad it is in attending a “Covenant Church” service and having the women approach me after the service, recommending that I purchase Kathy Lee Gifford’s latest “bible study (?),” so that I too, can learn the “Jewishness” of Jesus, for being a Gentile born again believer is “not enough for us.”

    Our freedom and liberty in Jesus Christ, alone, for salvation is being stripped from His Cross.

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  16. “Hebrew Roots movement”?
    Is that what J Vernon Magee called “Secondhand Jews”, Christians trying to obey all 617(?) commands in ha-Torah plus additional corollaries in Talmud?
    Add the Christianese tendency for “More Godly Than Thou” plus “Can You Top This?”, mix in Entropy over time, and you’ll end up trying to out-Hasid the Hasidim.

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  17. NJ, Interestingly, this pastor wants to be presbyterian, but is so polarizing that he keeps on splitting churches and dragging the remnants into new denominations.

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  18. @BikeBubba:
    Here’s the first sentence of that Wikipedia article:

    The Hebrew Roots Movement is a religious movement that advocates the return and adherence to the first century walk of faith and obedience to the Torah [1]

    Refresh me on this, but wasn’t there a BIG knock-down-drag-out in the Book of Acts (later called “The Council of Jerusalem”) over just this subject? Whether to allow the goyim into the Church, or force them to become Jews first in every respect?

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  19. That’s my recollection, but to be fair, there is some debate over whether the Council of Jerusalem was primarily addressed at Oral Torah (what we’d call Midrash and Talmud today) or the written Torah. At the very least, Hebrew roots proponents would try to draw that distinction.

    That said, it’s pretty hard to reconcile permission to eat un-kosher meats (Peter’s “take, kill and eat”) and leave one’s body uncut with adherence to the written Torah, so in the end, I’m with you.

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