Hundreds sign petition to stop Liberty state’s setup at Spokane Interstate Fair
SPOKANE, Wash. — Nearly 700 people have signed a change.org petition calling for organizers of the Spokane Interstate Fair to stop supporters of a 51st state from setting up a booth when the fair opens Sept. 6.
“The fair should be about winning ribbons, live music, rides, and regrettable food choices,” petition organizer Jessa Lewis wrote. “Not advancing an agenda affiliated with Christian Dominionism, misogyny, racism, and recruiting potential extremists willing to carry out armed revolution.”
Rep. Matt Shea (R) has been leading the charge on splitting Washington state in two, even introducing a bill in the House this year which calls for creating a new state called Liberty. The state’s website claims Liberty will be home to lower tax obligations, limited government, economic prosperity and a ‘greater amount of freedom.’
Supporters like Jason Christina, who serves as Liberty’s Spokane County captain, says Shea’s support is overshadowing their mission.
“There’s no doubt about it, that Matt has a target on his back but this is not about Matt Shea,” Christina said. “You know, I mean, everyone’s got a right to petition. I just feel this was politically motivated more than anything else.”
Calls for Rep. Shea to resign have grown louder over the last year, as he’s come under fire for allegedly condoning surveillance and violence against liberal activists. A recent article published in The Guardian claimed Shea supported a group called ‘Team Rugged,’ which is said to offer training to young men on ‘biblical warfare,’ which includes lessons on how to use knives, pistols, and rifles based on teachings from a neo-Confederate pastor. Shea can be seen talking to members of Team Rugged at the God and Country Celebration in Marble, Wash., in this video posted to Facebook.
“I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there in the media and we want to make sure people get the correct information about what it is we’re doing and what our goals are,” Christina said. “There’s gonna be no religious domination by anyone and all people will be free to worship or not worship as they please.”
Rep. Shea, who represents Washington’s 4th legislative district, was also reported to have written a four-page document called ‘The Biblical Basis for War,’ which lays out rules for war, the requirements for a ‘Holy Army’ and lists and end to abortion and same-sex marriage as ‘terms of justice and righteousness.’ Shea posted a video to his personal Facebook page after the document surfaced to defend himself.
Lewis believes those headlines centered around Shea are cause for concern.
“You know, yes, it’s a small group right now but there are several stakeholders and some of them are more radical than others,” Lewis said. “It’s not all about Matt Shea, but Matt Shea is still the champion for it. He still is a person who’s introducing this rhetoric.”
Lewis also writes those signing the petition are expressing their ‘willingness to boycott if necessary.’
“I understand that we need to respect everyone’s Constitutional rights even those who are seeking to strip Constitutional rights from other people and that’s what’s frustrating… What’s running through my head is, ‘how is there some way that we can respecting the laws of our republic, protect kids and families from being exposed to this?’,” Lewis said. “There also comes a point of where, if those beliefs are denying other people their rights or are inciting harm or violence, that then it’s not protected speech.”
4 News Now reached out to organizers at the Spokane Interstate Fair for comment, but has not heard back.
To read the full petition, click here.
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