Local Insurrectionists on Parade
The usual suspects leading their flock
An article by Nick Portuondo appeared in the August 21 Northwest Section of the Spokane. That’s the Saturday “paper” that is available only online. The title (in the “paper”) read, “HUNDREDS GATHER TO PROTEST INSLEE’S MASK MANDATE
‘FREEDOM, NOT COERCION’”. They gathered at the Spokane Regional Health District building and marched across the Monroe Street Bridge to Spokane City Hall.
One of the protesters, Mr. Joe Bodey, is quoted as saying, “The vaccine is not fully approved yet, it’s an experiment.” Three days later the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) robbed Mr. Bodey of his argument by granting official approval of the Pfizer mRNA-based vaccine. The Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines have been in use under an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA since early this year.
As this group of whining anti-vaccination, anti-mask protestors wended their way through downtown Spokane, the local hospitals were filling up with patients hit hard by the delta variant of Covid-19, nearly all of them unvaccinated, with most of them younger and previously healthier than those hospitalized in last winter’s surge. The irony of the timing of their protest was no doubt lost on the protesters.
Who organized this march? Caleb Collier and Matt Shea. Matt Shea, a former state representative from Legislative District 4, Spokane valley north to Mt. Spokane, is the author of “The Biblical Basis for War,” an outline in support of armed conflict essentially in the pursuit of establishing a theocratic state that sounds a whole lot like the “State of Liberty” Shea and company have been promoting for years. Shea was briefly the “pastor” of the Covenant Church on Spokane’s near north side, and, with many of the parishioners there, is an organizer and frequent flier with “The Church of Planned Parenthood.” Caleb Collier has also been on stage at Covenant. Collier is the “executive field coordinator for the John Birch Society” in the western states (and a former City Council person in the City of Spokane Valley). Both Shea and Collier are frequent promoters of their “right to bear arms.” I have listened to Shea pumping up an assault-weapon toting crowd at Franklin Park near the North Town Mall. It was a chilling spectacle. How many of Friday’s protested were packing heat?
In light of that background and the events of January 6, Caleb Collier’s quote from the rally about vaccine mandates, “People have had it with their rights being infringed on, and they’re ready to do something about it,” takes on an ominous and threatening tone.
Keep to the high ground,
P.S. A friend sent me an article written by Daniel K. Williams, a professor of history at the University of West Georgia and the author of several books on religion and American politics. It is thoughtful and, for me, sheds some light on the relationship between this protest, Shea, Collier, and Ken Peter’s Covenant Church organization. The article is “‘Worldview’: No Substitute for Facts”
P.P.S. It is unfortunate that the Nick Portuondo’s article on Friday’s protest does not offer more background on its two leaders (beyond Caleb Collier’s position in the John Birch Society). The reader can easily skip over the names of the two without grasping more than a whiff of their motivation and ideology.