The Matt Shea Show
The Dog and Pony Alternative Universe
Matt Shea, former WA State Representative from LD4 (Spokane Valley north to Mt. Spokane) has been transformed into the pastor of the Covenant Church. In a non-denominational church like Covenant, becoming pastor requires no theological training and no vetting by a wider church organization. It only requires a congregation willing to be led, in this case a congregation groomed by Ken Peters, the former pastor who has moved on to a congregation in Knoxville, Tennessee, with time off to attend the January 6th insurrection in Washington, D.C. Matt Shea’s new post is located at 3506 W. Princeton Ave on the near north side of Spokane.
The general feel of the Covenant Church website is familiar to anyone who grew up in any form of Protestantism. “In authentic church community, there is true friendship, grace and a full life of learning and growing together in faith, holiness, love, community and a focus on eternity,” (from the “About” webpage) is pretty standard Protestant wording. Photos of large, smiling families abound.
Matt Shea has interwoven conspiracy theory and religion for years. One glaring clue appeared with his featured speaking engagement with the “Red Pill Expo” held in Spokane in June of 2018 while he was still in office as a state representative. (For the flavor of Red Pill Expo, check out this year’s offerings.) These people never met a conspiracy theory they wouldn’t buy into.
I imagine most of you know what to expect at a Sunday morning 11AM Protestant church service, right? On March 14, 2021, at Matt Shea’s Covenant Church the 11AM service was, shall we say, unusual by Protestant standards. Dr. Simone Gold, M.D., was the featured guest speaker. The following link to the youtube video of the service covers the entire hour and a half. I recommend that you slide to the 37:00 mark and check out the short video introducing Dr. Gold and the first two or three minutes of her talk. She begins with a political conspiracy theory around the naming of the pandemic. She goes on to address the safety of hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) (it’s pretty safe) while failing to mention there are no reputable studies that support its utility against Covid-19. Then she tries to tie current day scientific consensus to the Nazi’s embrace of eugenics, all of this from a podium adorned with a cross.
Dr. Gold is the founder of America’s Frontline Doctors, composed of a small cadre of M.D.s who gained notoriety for making unsubstantiated claims about the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of Covid-19 in a video taken in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. The video went viral with the help of Trump family promotion. It was later removed from Facebook for promoting misinformation. Dr. Stella Emmanuel, M.D. was briefly made infamous as the featured speaker for the group. (Notably, Dr. Emmanuel now practices in a strip mall in Texas and is the founder of Fire Power Ministries where Dr Stella is self-proclaimed, “God’s Warrior Princess.”)
Dr. Gold is also notable for her participation in the January 6 insurrection. Listen to just the first few minutes of her presentation Covenant and decide for yourself if this is a church service or a far right wing political rally promoting conspiracy theories.
Pastor Matt Shea hasn’t converted to a career of tending his Covenant flock and comforting the ill and dying. With his sidekick at Covenant, Caleb Collier (former City of Spokane Valley councilperson and current field coordinator for the John Birch Society), Shea is still pedaling conspiracy theories to the gullible all over the Inland Northwest.
Unfortunately, tiny groups of true believers like America’s Frontline Doctors can seem far bigger, more credible, far more authoritative than is reasonable. A person with an M.D. behind their name (no matter their actual expertise and credibility in the medical community), who is possessed of a true believer mentality, a yen for self promotion, a gift for posing as a victim of “cancel culture,” and the basic funds and knowhow to produce a website like AFLDS can appear far more believable than their numbers or claimed expertise can possibly justify.
The only antidote to this is sunshine and a little research. The conspiracy theories of Matt Shea, Simone Gold, and “America’s Frontline Doctors” are only believable if one is insulated from wider reality and not taken in by a flashy website or a pastor’s endorsement.
Keep to the high ground,