“Save your children” as a Republican electoral tactic comes to Spokane
Local Republicans are taking cues from national Republican focus-group-tested rhetoric. City of Spokane Proposition 1 plays on every human’s protectiveness of children—and uses that protective impulse to build on the Republican narrative that unsheltered homeless people, painted as an entire group, are lawless, drug-addicted, mentally ill, undeserving, thieving, lawbreaking “others”, a grave threat to be threatened with incarceration—and certainly to be kept far away from children.
Last week Spokane Superior Court Judge Tony Hazel cleared the way for the appearance of attorney Brian Hansen’s and Larry Stone’s City of Spokane anti-homeless camping initiative (Proposition 1) appearing on the November ballot.
Here is the text as it will appear on the ballot (for all the gory details click here):
Proposition No. 1 City of Spokane Initiative Prohibiting Encampments Near Schools, Parks, Playgrounds, & Child Care Facilities
Shall the Spokane Municipal Code be amended to prohibit encampments within 1,000 feet of any public or private school, public park, playground, or licensed child care facility as set forth in Ordinance No. C-36408?
Are there good reasons to vote “No” on this proposition? Yes, and here they are: Proposition 1 is a thinly disguised effort to get around Martin v. Boise, the 2018 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision holding, based on the 8th Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, “that cities cannot enforce anti-camping ordinances if they do not have enough homeless shelter beds available for their homeless population.”
Proposition 1’s 1000 foot from “any public or private school, public park, playground, or licensed child care facility” encompasses the majority of the land in the City of Spokane (see the map below thanks to the work of Spokane Community Against Racism [SCAR]).
Consider the complexities of enforcement: Who will carry with them a 1000 foot measuring tape to ensure compliance? Proposition 1 is a recipe for police intimidation of the homeless (who would be powerless to contest distances)—and a recipe for prolonged and very expensive taxpayer-funded legal contests over the constitutionality of the new ordinance’s enforcement.
As always, follow the money. City of Spokane Proposition 1’s primary financial backer is “Stone Lawrence”. He donated $90K of a current total of $170K given by just ten monied Republican businesses and individuals to “Clean and Safe Spokane” (see the table at the bottom of this post). Recall that Lawrence B (Larry) Stone is the beneficiary of Mayor Woodward’s lease of the TRAC Shelter. Mr. Stone’s money and direction of the inane, simplistic video “Curing Spokane” was arguably responsible for the slim margin by which Woodward was elected in 2019. Note also that the effort to gather signatures for Prop 1 was not made by any of the monetary contributors to “Clean and Safe Spokane”—this is no grassroots effort, this is another monied effort at political manipulation. Larry Stone and company spent $70,000 with Groundgame Political Solutions, LLC, of Jefferson City, Missouri, for “Voter signature/petition gathering costs”. It seems unlikely that Mr. Stone ever met one of the paid signature gatherers for his Proposition 1—much less gathered signatures himself.
City of Spokane Proposition 1 is the thinly disguised 2023 Larry Stone equivalent to his 2019 “Curing Spokane”. If passed it will cost us taxpayers hundreds of thousand of dollars in legal fees. See it for what it is and vote NO.
Keep to the high ground,
P.S. We see the same Republican “othering” tactic leveled against other marginalized targets: anyone not conforming to strict male/female gender (all to be feared as “groomers” of children); women facing difficult reproductive medical decisions with the help of their families and doctors (all presumed to seek, for frivolous reasons, “abortion on demand until the moment of birth”—”killing babies”); legitimate historians accused of making white children “feel bad” for teaching the accurate history of systemic racism (banning of “CRT”), and, especially warped, the QAnon meme of Democrats as “pedophiles” (Pizzagate conspiracy theory). The Republican (and general authoritarian) narrative of demonizing and “othering” marginalized groups runs rampant in Republican rhetoric. The use of manufactured fear, marginalization, and hate is effective—until voters begin to recognize how their emotions are being abused and manipulated.
P.P.S. Below is a snapshot as of August 29 of all the contributors to “Clean and Safe Spokane – 2023”, the “Single Election Committee” pushing for passage of City of Spokane Proposition 1. Unfortunately, at least for now, if you want to check up on the then current donations to “Clean and Safe Spokane” with the Public Disclosure Commission (pdc.wa.gov) it will require more than clicking the link to “Campaign Contributions” listed at vote.wa.govpage for Prop 1. You will need to know the name “Clean and Safe Spokane” and enter it into the “Committee Name” box on the page at the PDC to which that link leads.
With Republican primary rhetoric and “Project 2025” a platform is superfluous
Up until the 2016 presidential election it was possible to imagine that some Republicans might believe that global heating (“climate change”) was real and that curtailing carbon emissions was important—just on a longer timeline than most of us would like. The eastern Washington Representative to the U.S. Congress, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA CD-5) never says plainly that she believes climate science is a hoax—though it clear that is what she believes—in part because she is intellectually unequipped to comprehend the science. Since Roe v. Wade kept her from acting on her convictions one could ignore McMorris Rodgers’ statements on about reproductive freedom. Now, after Dobbs, McMorris Rodgers has the power to act on her convictions and vote for a national ban. After all her declarations does anyone think she would vote against such a national ban if it came up for a vote—regardless of any obfuscating language she might soon put forward.
Before 2016 and the Trump election the Republican Party concocted a platform of carefully worded intentions, like the intent to “lower taxes and cut regulations to unleash American business” or “reduce inflation”, a platform that often concealed the extremism of what the party would support. Since Trump came to power such a subtly worded platform would be laughable. Indeed, the party is not bothering to produce one. No subtle wording can conceal the extremism of statements and actions like “deconstructing the administrative state”, withdrawing from the Paris Accords, opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, calling for the abolition of the Department of Education (as was heard during the Republican primary debate last week), and the suppression of voting rights for people of color under the guise of “voting integrity”.
Any differences drawn among the non-Trump contenders for the Republican nomination for President in 2024 are illusory—the extremism of the party is on full display. No one should imagine any Republican hopeful to the Presidency vetoing any extremist bill that reached their desk that was voted in by a Republican majority in the House and Senate. A vote for any Republican is a vote in furtherance of a radical reactionary, science-denying, personal freedom-suffocating agenda.
As if to cast off all doubt of this assertion, we now have a declarative blueprint for enacting the reactionary Republican agenda. “Project 2025” is a document with a history that voters ignore at their peril.
The Heritage Foundation, founded in 1973, is the flagship of the conservative, pro-business, non-profit “think tanks” inspired by the Powell Memorandum (1971) and funded by dark money from the Koch donor network. In 1981 the Heritage Foundation’s first “Mandate for Leadership”, a three thousand page document, detailed much of the policy pursued by the Reagan Administration. The “Mandates for Leadership” carry weight as blueprints for action and statements of intent and policy for incoming Republican administrations.
The latest Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise (aka “Project 2025, Presidential Transition Project”) lays out the detailed actions we should expect if Republicans regain control of the federal government in 2025 following the 2024 elections. Judging by the statements made by the candidates in the Republican primary debate on Fox News last week we should expect Project 2025 to be a guiding light for any administration headed by any Republican hopeful.
What “conservatives” promise with Project 2025 is a comprehensive expansion of all the worst executive acts and congressional initiatives we recall from the early days of Trump administration, the time when Republicans held a slim majority in both the House and the Senate. Trump was, one suspects, surprised by his win in 2016. He lacked the comprehensive plan of action to move forward with the entire Republican Party wish list that Project 2025 now provides. Indeed, his only legislative achievement was the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017”, the legislation that gave the wealthiest among us a huge tax break even as it was sold to the average Republican voter as “money in your pocket”. In contrast to Trump’s lack of preparation, Project 2025, a 920 page document, (click to see it) offers detailed goals and a plan to achieve them. I would not recommend taking the time to read the whole thing. Instead, skim the Table of Contents, check out the chapter authors, and use the Command-F function on your computer to word search the pdf for words and phrases like climate change, education, taxes, and equity.
This summer of drought, epic storms, floods, fires and smoke is a wakeup call to the long-predicted weather disruption due to global heating. Project 2025 cites the words “climate change” fifty-four times, each time to disparage, as “ideological”, the broad scientific consensus on the threat of manmade global heating. Project 2025 provides detailed plans for dismantling all government efforts to address the threat. You can read it for yourself, but here is how Lisa Friedman of the New York Times summarizes it:
The blueprint said the next Republican president would help repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, the 2022 law that is offering $370 billion for wind, solar, nuclear, green hydrogen and electric vehicle technology, with most of the new investments taking place in Republican-led states.
The plan calls for shuttering a Department of Energy office that has $400 billion in loan authority to help emerging green technologies. It would make it more difficult for solar, wind and other renewable power — the fastest growing energy source in the United States — to be added to the grid. Climate change would no longer be considered an issue worthy of discussion on the National Security Council, and allied nations would be encouraged to buy and use more fossil fuels rather than renewable energy.
The blueprint throws open the door to drilling inside the pristine Arctic wilderness, promises legal protections for energy companies that kill birds while extracting oil and gas and declares the federal government has an “obligation to develop vast oil and gas and coal resources” on America’s public lands.
Erasing that finding, conservatives have long believed, would essentially strip the federal government of the right to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from most sources.
Commitment to this reactionary global-heating-denying plan of action extends to the very roots of the Republican Party. Witness Republican hyperbolic fear-mongering over a Washington State (and local) effort to prohibit the installation of natural gas infrastructure supplying new construction.
Most of the readers of this blog probably will not live to see the worst of the weather disasters resulting from global heating—but your children and grandchildren will. Denial of the scientific reality of human caused global heating is just one of many reasons to shun the now-unmasked reactionary politics of the modern day Republican Party, regardless of any individual candidate’s attempts to appear moderate and reasonable. Shun them in every election until the Republican Party becomes reacquainted with reality. (Such a re-make is not impossible. Remember that the Environmental Protection Agency was established during the Nixon administration—before the Party went off the rails.)
The Hard Right Turn of the local GOP–and who’s signing on
Last Sunday, August 20, was not Christian Nationalist Sean Feucht’s first concert in Spokane. In fact, Mr. Feucht brought his brand of far right wing religio-politics to the Spokane Pavilion on August 21, 2022, almost exactly one year ago. Then Feucht’s event was advertised on Redoubt News. Organizers included local “Pastor” Matt Shea’s “On Fire Ministries” as well as Charlie Kirk’s “Turning Point USA”. I noted the coming event in my August 15, 2022, post, “Another Trumpist Christian Grifter Comes to Spokane” and wondered which local Republican officials or candidates would join Feucht and Shea on stage. If any did so, it did not make news.
Of course that concert was just prior to the 2022 midterm general election. That was before Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich finished out his term and left for Wyoming. Knezovich was a rabid critic of Matt Shea over Shea’s ties to militant white supremacy, Shea’s “Biblical Basis for War” document, and his years of lobbying for a new theocratically based 51st State, the “State of Liberty”. Even before Knezovich stepped down at the end of December 2022, the SpokaneGOP took another hard right turn. Local allies of Matt Shea and Caleb Collier used Steve Bannon’s “precinct strategy” to elect Shea ally “Pastor” Brian Noble as chair of the SpokaneGOP. Predictably, “Pastor” Noble appeared on stage at the opening of this last Sunday’s Feucht/Shea rally. He appears with other “pastors” and leaders in the photo below on the far left in the light blue shirt, symbolizing the shift of the local Republican Party rightward in alliance with Shea and Feucht’s toxic Christian Nationalism. (Noble’s “Christianity” was on display in his Facebook interview with Rod Higgins. See Can Brian Noble Hear Himself?)
Surely City of Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward took note that the SpokaneGOP endorsed candidate for mayor in the primary election was Tim Archer, not Nadine. (This is the Tim Archer who insisted repeatedly in a pre-primary debate that “Spokane doesn’t have a homelessness problem, it has a government [law enforcement] problem”. Since Shea and his allies now control the Spokane County Republican Party (SpokaneGOP), Woodward likely imagined that hitching her Christianity to the Christian Nationalism of the Feucht/Shea/Noble “Let Us Worship” event would attract support from the far right. Without Ozzie Knezovich around to stiffen her spine, Nadine found herself literally embracing Matt Shea, hoping to garner little notice from the wider City of Spokane community.
In the unlikely event that she did not grasp what these people stand for, then she is clueless and has no business continuing as mayor. Even the title of the Feucht tour, “Let Us Worship”, was born of mis-information-based protests against Covid-19 restrictions. Feucht’s history of far right agitation should make him politically radioactive.
Given the hard right turn of the local SpokaneGOP it should come as no surprise that Earline “Earl” Moore, Republican candidate for City of Spokane City Council (District 3, NW Spokane), would appear on stage along with Nadine. If you live in northwest Spokane, take the opportunity this November to reject Christian Nationalism. Vote for Kitty Klitzke for City of Spokane City Council, the candidate with actual experience in local government.
P.S. If you spend time on social media you will read comments by Republicans indignant that the Feucht/Shea/Noble “concert/worship” event was widely criticized. The criticism is characterized as a “cheap shot” at their freedom to worship. Of course they ignore christo-fascist overtones of the Feucht/Shea/Noble faction of Christianity. We need to understand that Christianity never was, and is not now, a monolithic belief system and that the “Christianity” of the Feucht/Shea/Noble brand is a thin veil barely concealing naked far-right politics. This is not the Christianity in which I was brought up. (See RANGE Media’s “Faith leaders call on Woodward to formally support separation of church and state”, published late yesterday.)
I thought the following Facebook snippet by MJ Bolt, Vice Chair of the SpokaneGOP, was particularly telling—and inane. Absolutely no one is proposing to curtail her freedom to worship. Ms. Clausen’s “BTW – God’s in charge of climate change” is emblematic of Republican Dominion Theology. For Ms. Clausen God gave us dominion over the world and God’s in charge—so there can’t be anything wrong with “Drill, baby, drill!”.
Woodward, Moore, and Yaeger ally with Christian Nationalists
For any who missed it, last Sunday evening the Christian Nationalist Pastor/Songster/Political Agitator Sean Feucht and his ally, disgraced former Washington State Representative (LD4, Spokane Valley to Mt. Spokane) Matt Shea, held a long-scheduled concert/worship service/right wing political rally at The Podium in Spokane north of the river. The event was originally scheduled to be outdoors at the Pavilion, but smoke prompted a move to The Podium an indoor concert venue.
Several local candidates for public office attended the event and appeared on stage with Feucht and Shea, including City of Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward, City of Spokane City Council candidate (District 3, NW Spokane) Earl Moore, and City of Spokane Valley City Council candidate and chairwoman of Spokane County Moms For Liberty, Jessica Yaeger.
Mayor Woodward, who in past years denounced Shea and his militant right wing extremism wound up literally embracing Shea on stage Sunday evening. She must have figured she could show her true colors to this crowd and the people of the City of Spokane wouldn’t notice—but she discounted modern day social media. At least in part thanks to former Pastor Joseph Peterson’s post (at @josephdpeterson) on “X”, formerly Twitter, (see one of his photos shared below)—Woodward’s appearance made front page news (pasted below) in yesterday’s, August 22nd’s, Spokesman—along witha scathing, must-read opinion piece by Shawn Vestal in the Northwest Section.
Mr Vestal writes:
Just how politically radioactive is Matt Shea these days?
Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward is about to find out.
Shea – the former state rep, Bundyville radical and far-right pastor whose own party booted him from its legislative caucus after he was declared a “domestic terrorist” for his actions in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation – has long been a bellwether for far-right radicalism in our region.
From the Liberty State to the Church at Planned Parenthood to training boys for “biblical warfare” to COVID conspiracies to Stop the Steal rallies, if it’s hateful and nutty, Shea’s in the mix.
Woodward’s attempts in the aftermath to pretend that she thought she was attending a prayer event for victims of the regional wildfires are laughable—Shea’s and former City Council President Ben Stuckart’s refutations of her claim (in the article pasted below) give it the lie it deserves.
In Peterson’s photo pasted above Mayor Woodward is receiving the blessing. Sean Feucht stands with his guitar, his left hand on the Mayor’s right shoulder. “Pastor” Matt Shea stands behind Feucht’s outstretched arm. City Council Candidate Earl Moore appears on the far right in the photo, her finger pointed to heaven and Jessica Yaeger stands to Moore’s right with dark hair and a white top.
Prior to the Spokesman coverage, RANGE media published two great articles I urge you to read (and sign up to receive RANGE articles):
One wonders if Joseph Peterson, Aaron Hedge, and Luke Baumgarten pointing out the candidates participation in this local Christian Nationalist event was the spark that drew the extensive coverage in the Spokesman.
Emry Dinman’s writeup that I’ve copied below is excellent. If you have a subscription click the link to see more of Joseph Peterson’s coverage of the event.
Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward is facing calls for her resignation after she appeared on stage Sunday night and received a blessing and endorsement from former state Rep. Matt Shea, a controversial figure and religious extremist.
It came as smoke from fires in Medical Lake, Elk and elsewhere shrouded the city. Woodward and City Council candidate Earl Moore joined Shea on stage at the Podium during Sunday’s stop on the Kingdom to the Capitol [K2c] tour. The religious and conservative political series was organized by self-declared Christian nationalist Sean Feucht and his organization Let Us Worship, as well as Turning Point USA Faith, a recent offshoot of the broader organization founded by right-wing political activist Charlie Kirk.
Placing a hand on Woodward, Shea called on the crowd to join him in prayer as the mayor extended her hands forward.
“I want you to extend your hands right now,” Shea said. “Because we’ve got an enemy we need to fight, and his name is Satan.”
In 2016, Shea led a group of lawmakers to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, where Ammon Bundy and other armed protesters were involved in a standoff with federal officials. Shea said they made the trip to help negotiate a peaceful resolution to the standoff; local officials said they had asked the legislators to stay away.
In a statement Monday afternoon through the Woodward re-election campaign, the mayor wrote she was not aware that Shea would be at the event or leading her and the crowd in prayer, and that she did not seek or accept Shea’s support.
“I am opposed to his political views as they are a threat to our democracy, and I regret my public appearance with him,” she wrote. “I was invited to share in prayer with several thousand citizens out of heartfelt concern for fire victims, first responders and our whole community.”
“I was not aware that he would be at the event last night and it only became apparent as I was walking on stage that he would be leading the prayer,” Woodward continued. “I should have made better efforts to learn who would be speaking at the event.”
The Woodward campaign, which originally suggested Woodward would be available for an interview, did not immediately respond to clarify whether an interview would still occur. Shea did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
However, Shea took to Twitter on Monday evening to dispute Woodward’s characterization of events.
“This is an annual event planned months ago to worship Jesus,” Shea wrote. “It wasn’t for ‘fire victims.’ She was invited and she accepted BEFORE the first started on Friday.”
“She is the one that politicized what everyone knows was a worship event,” he added. “We are praying for Nadine.”
Moore initially declined an interview, saying only that she was a “prayer warrior,” and that she did not know Shea would be in attendance. In a text shortly before 2 p.m., Moore added that she was invited by a personal friend.
“I was not standing on a platform of any individual, but there to pray for my city and for unity,” Moore wrote. “I stand strong against hatred of any kind.”
Feucht, who ran unsuccessfully in 2020 for Congress in Northern California as a Republican against Democratic incumbent John Garamendi, is best known for holding outdoor concerts during the COVID-19 pandemic. He held these as a form of protest in response to mask mandates and other pandemic-related restrictions.
Former City Council President Ben Stuckart, who ran for mayor and lost to Woodward in 2019, cursed repeatedly as he responded to Woodward’s assertion that she was not aware Shea would be at the event and rejected that Woodward attended to pray for the victims of the region’s ongoing fires. It was well known that Shea would be in attendance, and the views of Feucht alone should have been enough for the mayor to stay away, Stuckart said.
“It’s just so disgusting,” Stuckart said. “If a Christian white nationalist asks you to stand up on stage and be prayed for, you say … ‘No,’ and you leave the room the moment you figure out that person is there.”
“You don’t go to white Christian nationalist events, put on by Christian nationalists and not expect the Christian nationalists to be there,” he said.
Stuckart called on Woodward to resign, saying she had irreparably damaged her legitimacy and sent a dangerous message to vulnerable and marginalized residents.
Woodward’s opponent in this year’s race for mayor, Lisa Brown, did not echo Stuckart’s calls for Woodward’s resignation, but she did condemn the association and called on voters to take note.
“It’s not just, here’s a difference in policy perspectives,” Brown said. “Shea is calling for armed insurrection with people who have a different perspective than he does – it’s inexcusable to be associated with him in any way at any time.”
Brown said she struggled to believe that Woodward was not aware of the nature of the event she was attending, noting that it had been planned for months in advance and that Woodward embraced Shea as she left the stage.
“I think one would have to be very much out of touch to not understand what was actually happening at the time it was happening,” Brown said. “That is beyond my belief, that she didn’t know what was going on.”
Kitty Klitzke, who faces Moore this November in the race to represent northwest Spokane on the City Council, called Moore’s attendance inappropriate.
“If you’re engaged with this community, you know when you’re showing up to an event with Matt Shea,” Klitzke said.
She noted that Moore has often declined to take a position on policy issues prior to the August primary.
“This is evidence of what someone who refuses to have a position on things will do,” Klitzke said.
Woodward had returned to Spokane on Saturday, cutting short an anniversary celebration with her husband, due to the region’s fires that have displaced thousands, she wrote on Twitter.
Hours after photos and video were publicized showing her on stage Sunday evening, she began posting on social media around 11 p.m. about her activities earlier in the day, showing she had visited fire crews and a Red Cross shelter at Spokane Falls Community College.
“All day yesterday not one fire victim or first responder asked me about my political views,” Woodward wrote in her Monday afternoon statement. “But, they did ask us to pray for them.”
An attorney first elected in 2008 in Spokane Valley’s 4th Legislative District, Shea was among the state House of Representatives’ most conservative legislators and a member of the Liberty Caucus, which backed what it called a “Freedom Agenda” that included calls for the federal government to turn over land to the states.
He also repeatedly sponsored bills to split Washington state in two at the crest of the Cascades, forming a separate state called Liberty in the eastern half. Although Shea predicted it would be the 51st state, the proposal never got a hearing in the Legislature.
In 2019, a former ally leaked emails in which Shea seemed to be calling for a holy war that would pit conservative Christian “patriots” against Muslims and Marxist “terrorists.” Shea insisted that the document titled “Biblical Basis for War” was actually just notes for a scholarly sermon on war in the Old Testament.
Later that year, a firm of private investigators hired by House leaders authored a report that largely corroborated previous news stories about Shea’s involvement in the far-right “patriot” movement, his preoccupation with military-style prepping and reconnaissance, his belief in an imminent civil war and government collapse, his conspiracy theories about Muslims and liberals, and his dream of achieving a Christian theocracy.
It also concluded Shea had been involved in standoffs with federal agents in Nevada, Oregon and Idaho, and determined that he had sought to intimidate political opponents and condoned acts of violence by his supporters.
Shea denied the allegations in the report, calling it a “sham investigation” and comparing it to investigations surrounding then-President Donald Trump.
House Republican Caucus leaders decided to remove Shea from their caucus, meaning he could not join meetings of the GOP lawmakers or use caucus staff. But he refused calls to resign, and House Republicans balked at an effort by Democrats to expel him from the Legislature.
Late in that session, he joined a group of Christian conservatives in an event that involved prayers, the blowing of rams horns and the sprinkling of oil on the Capitol steps as a counter-protest to a demonstration that day by the Satanic Temple of Seattle.
After the 2020 session, he announced he would not seek re-election. Although he was rumored to be considering a run for Congress, he instead became the pastor of the Covenant Christian Church.
Who is Feucht?
Sean Feucht got his start at Bethel Church, a megachurch in Redding, California, with significant influence in local politics there, said Shawn Schwaller, a history professor at California State University, Chico and a Redding-based freelance writer with a focus on far-right extremism.
While Feucht lost his 2020 bid for Congress, he found political momentum with the creation of Let Us Worship, which protested pandemic-restrictions on in-person church services.
“He hit the jackpot,” Schwaller said. “He toured the country on that and made millions.”
Feucht put out a documentary last year called “Superspreader: The Rise of #LetUsWorship.”
The Kingdom to the Capitol tour made stops in Missoula, Kalispell and Seattle before coming to Spokane. It is next scheduled for South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa before touring in Canada.
Kingdom to the Capitol and Feucht were condemned last month by dozens of faith leaders and elected leaders in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, including state Senate Majority Leader Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, who jointly signed a letter calling Feucht an extremist.
“Sean Feucht has spent the past year capitalizing on anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments by railing against Pride Month, even embracing the exclusionary label of ‘Christian nationalist,’ and declaring that people with his narrow view of Christian theology should make all laws in the United States,” the letter stated.
The Spokane County Democrats are hosting Adrian Fontes, the Secretary of State for the State of Arizona, the weekend of August 19 and 20. In the evening of August 19 Mr. Fontes will speak (see below) at the auditorium at Ferris High School on the South Hill at 3020 E 37th Ave. (Doors open at 5P, program starts at 6P.) This event requires pre-registration, see invitation below.
Check out Fontes bio in wikipedia. Fontes, at age 46, dislodged the seven term Republican Maricopa County Arizona Recorder Helen Purcell in the same election in 2016 in which Trump was elected. (In AZ the County Recorder oversees elections—like the County Auditor does in Washington State.) Purcell had shrunk the number of polling places in Maricopa County (which includes Phoenix) from 200 to just 60 before the presidential primary earlier that year. (The population of Maricopa County, at around 4.4 million, is 62% of the population of the entire State of Arizona.) The shrinkage vastly increased wait times, angered voters, and raised accusations of voter suppression, especially suppression of the Latino vote.
As Maricopa County Recorder near the end of his four year term, Mr. Fontes oversaw the ballot counting in the tumultuous 2020 election, an election in which Mr. Fontes himself narrowly lost his seat as Recorder to a Republican challenger. After leaving office Fontes was a vocal critic of the infamous, Trump-induced 2021 Maricopa County presidential ballot audit.
In July of the same year, 2021, Mr. Fontes announced his candidacy for the 2022 Arizona Secretary of State (SOS) election. In the fall of 2022 he won by a tidy margin of 4.8% over far right Republican Mark Finchem, an Oath Keeper ally of Cliven Bundy and our now disgraced but still very active former WA State Representative Matt Shea (“The Biblical Basis for War”).
Adrian Fontes’ family has been resident on land that is now southern Arizona for more than 300 years. He has an undergraduate degree from Arizona State University and a law degree from the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver.
Sign up (below is the link) to hear Adrian Fontes recount his experience in the tumultuous 2020 election cycle in Maricopa County and lessons learned from his subsequent Arizona statewide electoral victory (in a voting demographic with many similarities to eastern Washington).
Please join the Spokane County Democrats in welcoming ArizonaSecretary of State Adrian FontesAugust 19 at the Ferris High School Auditorium.
In 2022 Secretary Fontes defeated a MAGA-movement election denier who would have overturned the wishes of Arizona’s voters in the 2020 presidential election. Having served as a U.S. Marine, a prosecuting attorney, and county official, Secretary Fontes pulled together voters across the political spectrum.
Gonzaga University School of Law Professor Jeffrey Omari will share a pre-publication research preview in a speech we’re calling, “Political Disinformation and the End of the World as We Know It.”
Ballet Folklorico de Spokane will open the program, and simultaneous interpretation from English to Spanish will be available.
All supporters of democracy are welcome, regardless of party affiliation.
What “Stewardship” is freighted with in the minds of some Fundamentalist Christians
I was brought up in the United Methodist Church of the 1960s. Parallel to that upbringing I was introduced at an early age to the modern scientific understanding of the world that includes biological evolution, geologic time, and a vast universe in which the Earth is central only in the minds of some humans. At the time I was vaguely aware that some fellow Methodists, as well as members of some other Christian faith communities, adhered to a belief in the literal truth of words of the Bible (Fundamentalism). Through the years I naively (and somewhat thoughtlessly) assumed that Biblical Fundamentalism and the denial of science that it entailed would gradually recede into the past, much like the astronomical geocentrism of Roman Catholic doctrine gradually gave way to the heliocentrism of the observational and mathematical science of Galileo Galilei. (Nevermind that it took three and a half centuries for a Pope to concede that Galileo was correct.)
Biblical Fundamentalism and all that it entails did not gradually recede, and now it has been harnessed for political purposes. I was vividly reminded of this as I did the background research for Monday’s post concerning the venue for the Deer Park School Board candidate forum at the Tri-County Christian Center (TCCC), an Assembly of God Church in the southern part of the community of Deer Park. In the “Answers to Questions” webpage of the TCCC I was introduced to the Cornwall Alliance’s 2006 Report, “an evangelical response to Global Warming”. The link to that document was stale, but the documentation at the Cornwall Alliance remains abundant—and worth examining for what it reveals about the Fundamentalist view of climate science, Dominian Theology, and humanity’s place in the universe.
Before quoting the Cornwall Alliance as representative of modern Christian Fundamentalist orthodoxy, it is worth noting that Christianity is not now (and never was) a monolithic faith. Conflicts (often deadly serious) between Christian belief systems, often based on differences between concepts most would now consider arcane (e.g. dualism, Catharism, Gnosticism), are as old as Christianity itself. It is dangerous and inappropriate to paint all modern-day Christians with the same brush—and it is equally dangerous for anyone to imagine that wearing a cross of one flavor or another means adherence to a universal belief system called “Christianity”. This is especially true of attitudes toward science in general and climate science in particular. Consider, for example. that Gonzaga University, a Roman Catholic institution, is entirely comfortable with the Gonzaga Center for Climate, Society, and the Environment—even as some self-identified “Christians” have insisted to me that “Roman Catholics aren’t Christians”.
25. We affirm that environmental policies that address relatively minor risks while harming the poor—such as opposition to the use of abundant, affordable, reliable energy sources like fossil fuels in the name of fighting global warming; the suppression of the use of safe, affordable, and effective insecticides like DDT to reduce malaria in the name of protecting biodiversity; and the conversion of vast amounts of corn and other agricultural products into engine fuel in the name of ecological protection—constitute oppression of the world’s poor.
If there is any doubt left about Fundamentalist adherence to Dominion Theology, check out point #13. I guess we can just abandon the idea of preserving anything of nature. After all, we were put here to dig up all that oil, coal, natural gas, and all the minerals that God put in the ground for us to find, extract, and use! There’s no need to preserve the cursed wilderness, that cursed natural world.
13. We affirm that the Bible normally associates wilderness or wildness with divine judgment and curse (Exodus 23:29; Leviticus 26:22; Deuteronomy 7:22; 1 Samuel 17:46; Isaiah 5:2–4; 13:19–22; 34:1–17; Jeremiah 50:39; Leviticus 16:21–22).
We deny that wilderness is the best state of the Earth.
14. We affirm that God placed minerals, plants, and animals in and on the Earth for His pleasure, to reveal His glory and elicit man’s praise, and to serve human needs through godly use (Genesis 2:5–16; 4:22; Numbers 31:21–23; Job 38–41; Psalm 19:1–6; Psalm 104).
The website of the Spokane Valley Assembly of God, the church of the recently elected chairman of the Spokane County Republican Party, Pastor Brian Noble, does not specifically subscribe to the precepts of Cornwall Alliance. The Valley Assembly website is much more cagey about its precepts of faith than is TCCC in Deer Park. It should come as no surprise, however, that once one digs down to the CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS OF SPOKANE VALLEY ASSEMBLY OF GOD, INC. one finds the classical definition of Biblical Fundamentalism as a “Tenet of Faith”: “The Bible is the inspired Word of God, a revelation from God to Man, the infallible rule of faith and conduct, and is superior to conscience and reason, but not contrary to reason (II Timothy 3:15-17; I Peter 1:23-25; Hebrews 4:12).”
Many, if not all, of the self-described “Christians” among Republican U.S. Representatives and Senators, most especially including U.S. Rep. McMorris Rodgers (R-CD5-eastern Washington), come to Congress with a view of the world based in Biblical Fundamentalism laid out among the statements from the Cornwall Alliance quoted above. Climate denialism isn’t just based on fossil fuel corporation money for these people, it is essential tenet of religious faith. The only way to gain representation for us on the issue of global heating is to vote these people out of office.
The tricky part of all this is that, as discussed above, for the voter to learn the specific guiding worldview that a particular candidate’s profession of “Christianity” entails often requires some sleuthing. Most candidate’s would preferDespite abundant evidence in McMorris Rodgers’ educational background (nearly all Fundamentalist Christian schools) it was possible to imagine that she had outgrown her Fundamentalist upbringing—until she professed it from the podium to an audience of admirers.