Spokane Valley Rep Matt Shea
This isn't the first time Matt Shea has been in hot water for his political opinions. Recently, the Spokane County Sheriff turned documents over to the FBI indicating that Shea sought to surveil his political opponents and local activists he disagreed with.

Last year, just before his successful re-election, Spokane Valley Republican Matt Shea denied a leaked manifesto he penned was a road map for a Holy War. The manifesto pitted conservative Christian "patriots" against Muslim and Marxist "terrorists."

This week, The Guardian released leaked emails that showed Shea communicated with a known religious militia. That group, known as Team Rugged, trained children, teens, and men in their early 20s for armed combat in a perceived Holy War.

Team Rugged

"The entire purpose behind Team Rugged is to provide patriotic and biblical training on war for young men," wrote the group's self-described leader Patrick Caughran to Shea back in July 2016. "Everything about it is both politically incorrect and what would be considered shocking truth to most modern christians. There will be scenarios where every participant will have to fight against one of the most barbaric enemies that are invading our country, Muslims terrorists."

Team Rugged expounds "biblical" teachings based on the works of Christian militia enthusiast John Weaver. Weaver is a racist preacher who's defended slavery, praised the Confederacy and condemned interracial marriage.

Consequently, Team Rugged promises to offer practical weapons training. Said Caughran: "Those who attend will learn combatives, the use of a knife in defense, close quarters shooting with rifle and pistol and how to work effectively in teams of 2, 3 and 4."

"Acrobatic Special Forces"

The Spokesman-Review obtained the emails between Caughran and Shea through multiple sources. A team of private investigators hired by the state House of Representatives is now using those emails to determine whether Shea had promoted political violence. 

Team Rugged's Facebook page and website have since disappeared, so it's unclear if the group remains active elsewhere, either physically or online.

What should be crystal clear is Shea's apparent affection for the group.

"I love the fact that you guys looked like almost an acrobatic special-forces team out there," said a beaming Shea in a July 2017 interview with Team Rugged members. That glowing endorsement came on the heels of one of those young men describing the group as providing "all the foundational learning and skills that they need to be effective in Christian warfare." Shea seemed particularly impressed with one young man, who claimed he could hit a target with his firearm while doing a one-handed cartwheel.

Records show a company called Team Rugged LLC formed about a year after Caughran emailed Shea.

Holy Warrior

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich has since urged fellow Republicans to denounce Shea as an extremist, comparing Team Rugged to the Hitler Youth of Nazi Germany. While Shea has not responded directly to any of the allegations, he recently shared a political blog post on Facebook, adding: "THE CURRENT DIRECTION OF WASHINGTON IS DECIDEDLY ANTI-CHRISTIAN."

Shea might continue to insist that his original "Biblical Basis for War" manifesto is little more than a scholarly sermon on war in the Old Testament. But the company he has chosen to keep over the last few years proves otherwise.

As a result of the recent rise of Christian nationalism, Shea's language and conduct are rightfully raising eyebrows in his community and beyond. Recently, Spokane's mayor and police chief joined Sheriff Knezovich in calling Matt Shea unfit for office.

However, whether voters see it that way remains to be seen.


  1. Greg's Avatar Greg

    This man is a dangerous extremist who is unfit for office and should resign immediately. America is not your church.

  1. Carrie's Avatar Carrie

    This is definitely a member of the death cult.

  1. John Eftimiades's Avatar John Eftimiades

    What is more disturbing than his views is the fact that he was elected to office. If we have learned nothing else in the past few years is that there are a tremendous number of Americans who are afraid of personal responsibility and are willing to blame everyone "else" for their lot in life. There has been a dumbing down of Americans for years and now we see the result in the number of blind, ignorant followers to dangerous home grown extremist.

    1. Lori's Avatar Lori

      Wow. Yes. It's is a very disturbing thing. These are the people who are suppose to promote love. These are the extremists that distort the bible, just as the extremists who distort the koran.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    Well, of course if any god truly existed, there wouldn’t be any need for a holy war because any god worth his salt wouldn’t sit back and let everyone else fight his battle. He’d wave his magic want and zap his enemies. We know that’s not going to happen, don’t we? And I think we all know the reason why it’s not going to happen, don’t we? All together now......HE JUST AIN’T THERE.


  1. Maurice Slaunwhite's Avatar Maurice Slaunwhite

    The only way people can allow their children to train for Holy War is through all parents first and also and only Doctors allow this through Military medical and training. Most of all that everyone go to the Lord first in a huge hall through Prayer. If this is not done right everyone Will lose.God allowed it and he will do it again when he has to. Remember the Black cloud Over Israel in 2017 well God will do it again And the Enemy will Fail and flee once more. God bless you all and be very careful out there and do things according to the Lord who Brought you into this world. This is not a suggestion this is a Warning Saith The Lord. Follow his commands and he will fight your battles For you. Remember murdering is deliberate Killing is for a Purpose. God bless and stay safe out there. Remember God Loves You.

    1. hsw's Avatar hsw

      Your opinion is just that. Your opinion. You’re entitled to it, but it sounds like you’re actually OK with this guy as long as he does it your way.

      FYI this isn’t a dedicated Christian site. We come from many faiths, backgrounds, and belief systems, including those of us who don’t believe in the biblical god.

  1. Ben's Avatar Ben

    Yet one more reason that Christianity needs to go. Christians like the the Westboro Baptist church, notorious for its hate speech against LGBTQ people, Jews, Muslims and other groups, all of which it condemns as “satanic frauds”. There’s the Trump administration, in league with the US religious right, which has been aggressively pushing anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ legislation, not to mention engaging in overt Islamophobia and caging children. Then there's the organized sect sexually abusing children on a global scale with impunity: the Catholic church.

    1. John Eftimiades's Avatar John Eftimiades

      I could not agree with you more

    2. hsw's Avatar hsw

      Yep. The current administration invites this stuff. I expect POTUS secretly admires this guy.

  1. William Waugh's Avatar William Waugh

    I'm still having trouble getting my head around the fact that this is now the world we live in. Trump invites these extremist out of their closets, then says they are good people and he will continue to publicly wax extremist because a lot of people believe this way and Moscow Mitch McConnell at this point just had a burning desire to add, "I think the president is onto something here"...........are today's students in high school and college viewing this as very.similar to Hitler's mind control over the german population? Get these men and others like him out of public office. Don't let them pull the wool over your eyes by claiming this issue or that issue is more important. Divide and conquer. White nationaliat extremists are the most dangerous ideology in the United States. Did you know that no sq. ft. of this country does not have Rush Limbaugh rallying the alt-right on at least 2 radio channels. This is mind numbing mind control. Wake up America!

    1. Lori's Avatar Lori

      I agree. People are very controlled by all sorts of things, political leaders, religion, fashion, substances, etc. Closed minds don't have to think, they just take it all in and accept the BS that is thrown at them, as "what is right". Closed minds don't grow, they don't believe that there is anything left to learn because they know it all already.
      Listening to people like Rush can be very stimulating. When I was younger I thought he was so on top of everything, but when I really started to HEAR what he was saying, I started to understand that WHAT he was saying was bleak and distorted. His words were making me angry and I realized I was being swept up in his rhetoric and it was not a good thing. Most people don't even realize what's happening to them. If we, as a people, don't stop allowing ourselves to be carried away with these negative narratives, we will continue to be pummeled by information that is intended to divide us. How can we not see that living in harmony could be a great thing? And I'm not talking about harmony under Christian control. I've been there too. I'm talking about freedom in living and of thought.

  1. Rod Gesner's Avatar Rod Gesner

    These are the Fools That Believe So Strongly in Their Profits and The Twisted End Times Fulfillment of Their Christian Destiny ;) that They would Bring the End of The World... Just To Prove Their God is Best...

    Wouldn't it Be Great if They Could Just End Their World and Leave Ours Alone???

    Like; Just Drink The Poison'd Koolaide and Get DONE WITH IT

  1. The Doctor's Avatar The Doctor

    This right here is a legit domestic terrorist. This guy makes the taliban seem sane, at least they have been in a country under constant war and strife for generations. To be like this in a country as well off as the U.S. in terms of general civil peace and resources is a sign of true madness only religious zealotry can inspire.

  1. Rev. Brien's Avatar Rev. Brien

    A home grown terrorist that needs to be treated as such. Gitmo is not out of the question. No trial, no lawyer, no statement. When it comes to indoctrinating children for terrorism or the planning of such an action, there can be no other response.

    1. The Doctor's Avatar The Doctor

      Sadly we have a buffoon in the WH, and the VP is likely funding this loon and others like him.

  1. Quasi's Avatar Quasi

    Any religious control freak who trains for a "holy war" is as looney as they come and needs to be locked up immediately and undergo PTSD treatment for debilitating religious brainwashing.

  1. Rich's Avatar Rich

    Luke 22:36-38 where Christ tells his followers to sell their cloak to buy a sword

  1. Rod Gesner's Avatar Rod Gesner

    When Jesus Supposedly Said That "Sell Clothes Buy Swords" They Wern't Xtians YET... There were NO Muslims Yet and he was Warning them That After he was Gone They Would be Persecuted By Their own People (and Romans) for Following Him??? How is That Relevant?? That is About as Asinine As The Folks That Say the Second amendment is There; So Their HATE Group Can have Military Weapons!?!! ( Like These Guys No Doubt ;)

  1. Richard Lee Cornell's Avatar Richard Lee Cornell

    Virginia Senate Bill 64 would make this person a Class 5 felony. Basicly it states that "a person is guilty of unlawful paramilitay activity that teaches or demonstrates to another person the use of firearms. Also includes as a Class 5 felony to assemble with one or more for the purpose of training with a firearm.

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