It shouldn’t have taken more than one viewing to know state Democrats and several of their candidates had a problem.
While it was obviously edited, splicing scenes from different events together, the video sure seemed to show Yelm mystic and channeler JZ Knight in a less-than-positive light. And because she was a donor to a batch of Democrats, as well as the state party, that light was cast on them as well.
The video showed Knight, or maybe the 35,000-year-old warrior she calls Ramtha, saying things like: “(Expletive), you Catholics, you (expletive),” after a rant about pedophilic priests. Then: “Think I blaspheme? How much more do you want me to do it? I’ll do it all night long and all day long.”
With both hands giving the finger, she shouts: “I take your (expletive) religion on.” And, “We will come on you in a terror... We will bring ... St. Peter’s temple down and we will swallow it in the sea.”
There were also comments that might have been anti-Semitic and homophobic, but the snippets were too short to tell for certain.
The fact that the video was produced by opponents of Knight, and is similar to those produced by former members of her School of Enlightenment might give some pause. That it was made public by the Washington State Republican Party to embarrass Democrats might also raise red flags. But neither fact is enough to disregard the disturbing words.
Yet the party and the candidates initially rejected the GOP demand to return Knight’s money and instead attacked its chairman, Kirby Wilbur.
“The Wilburs, the O’Reillys and Limbaughs of the world are actors looking for an audience,” said 2nd District Senate candidate Bruce Lachney. “I generally do not respond to their comments.”
State Democratic Party spokesman Benton Strong, who at least condemned the contents of the video, said the party would keep Knight’s cash. Then he tried to spin the issue against the Republicans.
“The other thing we don’t condone is the kind of divisive policy positions taken by the (GOP),” Strong said.
Only Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero took a reasoned position, saying she was surprised by the videos and would look into the issue before deciding what to do.
Then it got worse. Partly in response to complaints from a Knight spokesman that the first video took statements out of context, her opponents released three more videos on the Freedom Foundation website, longer and mostly unedited. In them, Knight profanely insults Mexicans, Catholics, gay men, Catholics again and, of all things, organic farmers and vegans.
“The invasion of the Mexicans who just breed like rabbits, they are poison,” she says in one video. “I’m telling you this. Every (expletive) Mexican family is Catholic.” Both comments draw tittering and applause from some in her audience.
In a rambling explanation of why gods such as Ramtha came down and mated with human women, she said, “So, no god that ever came here was gay. Our lust for beauty proves that.” “Gayness,” therefore, is women coming back as men.
“All gay men were once Catholic women,” she says.
These videos were too much for the Democrats. The state party said it would give Knight’s money away, $35,000 each to the Anti-Defamation League and the Yes on the Ref. 74 campaign. Lachney too reversed his earlier defiance, giving $3,600 to scholarships.
Congressional candidate Denny Heck said he would give Knight’s $3,500 contribution to SafePlace, a domestic violence and sexual assault center. The Senate Democratic Campaign Committee gave $900 to Yes on Ref. 74.
Romero first said her investigation showed that Knight isn’t bigoted and is, in fact, inclusive. Then, when it appeared she was alone, she reversed course and split the $3,600 between SafePlace and a Latino cultural center.
I’m not sure how regifting the money cleanses it of taint. But I guess it is better than keeping it.
The lessons here seem clear, yet none of the candidates or party committees learned them all. First, don’t rush to judgment. Second, don’t make a two-day story into a 10-day story. Third, don’t take money from email@example.com 253-597-8657 blog.thenewstribune.com/politics @CallaghanPeter