Over the last few days, public reaction to news that state Rep. Matt Shea wrote and distributed a manifesto entitled “Biblical Basis for War” has been escalating. The story was originally reported by the Spokesman-Review, and Shea has since taken credit for the document — and defended himself — in a Facebook Live video.
The manifesto runs through how a biblical war might be conducted; its now-frequently quoted steps include phrases like “stop all abortions,” “no same-sex marriage,” and “if they do not yield — kill all males.”
Spokane Public Radio reported that the manifesto’s release has been enough for some of Shea’s major campaign contributors to reconsider their donations — and at least one, The Northwest Credit Union Association, to request its donation back.
The news is also impacting the campaign of Ted Cummings, who’s challenging Shea for his seat in the 4th LD. Cummings told us that donations to his campaign have picked up since the news broke.
“It’s been a steady stream that started last night,” Cummings told us. “They’ve ranged from $400 to $5, and are coming from all over the U.S. — New York, Pittsburgh, California. It’s just been heart-warming. I’m blown away by the outpouring of support and the positive comments. It’s really energized me and encouraged me and heartened me to see how many people have become aware.”
The photo Cummings sent us of his calculations puts the total of his last day of contributions at $1,267.20. But, at this point, Cummings told us that total doesn’t matter.
“I think it’s a gesture that they want to be part of this and say, ‘No, this is unacceptable anywhere in our country,’” Cummings said.
Cummings, a Kaiser Aluminum employee and union member, said he was first drawn to the race in support of right-to-work legislation. But as he’s learned more about Shea, his focus has shifted.
“I had no idea the depth and breadth of this man’s hate and intolerance,” Cummings said. “Or the level of this insidious, diabolical plan he’s been spreading. The campaign inadvertently went there once I identified it: We need to talk about this man’s personal agenda and what a danger he is to our community and to our nation.”
As for the actual manifesto, though, Cummings hasn’t read it.
“I can’t bring myself to read it,” Cummings said. “It’s gibberish, let’s be honest. I’m not going to read Ted Kaczynski’s [The Unabomber] manifesto and try to make sense of that either. Crazy is crazy. The overall intent of this man is to control, to hurt people who disagree with his beliefs. It boils down to the essence of hate speech.”
In the August primary, Cummings got 42.6 percent of the vote; Shea got 57.4 percent. As of November 1, 38.8 percent of ballots had been returned in Spokane County, home to the 4th LD.
“Maybe it’s too little too late,” Cummings said. “No matter what happens, we accomplished what we set out to do: Bring this man out into the open.”