Republican lawmaker from Washington state Matt Shea aided a Christian-separatist group in preparing young men for “biblical warfare.” This training includes instruction on how to use knives, pistols, and rifles. According to The Guardian, he supported the group by making public appearances with them and making videos supporting them. In 2018, Shea paid the leader of the group money from his own campaign fund.
The group, called Team Rugged, was founded by Patrick Caughran. Caughran reached out to Shea in July 2016 and asked him to publish a link to the Facebook page for the group and put him in touch with Jack Robertson, who is a rightwing podcast host.
Team Rugged website describes the group as “a Christian organization that strongly believes in building manly character and the capability to stand in adversity in young men”.
In an email to Shea, though, Caughran said the group provides “patriotic and biblical training on war for young men.” He says, “Everything about it is both politically incorrect and what would be considered shocking truth to most modern Christians.”
Caughran said, “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 (sic)”.
Caughran says the training includes “biblical teaching (some taken from pastor John Weaver’s works) on biblical warfare, the responsibilities, regulations, principles and mindset. So that our young men will be better prepared to fight against physical enemies, and to do so, God’s way and with His blessing”.
In an email to Shea, Caughron said weapons training was part of his group. The training will “show them how to work better as a team, both in achieving physically demanding tasks and on the battlefield. 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.”
In 2017, an LLC named Team Rugged was registered in Washington under Michael P. Caughran. The business is described in filing materials as such: “OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR YOUNG MEN AND BOYS TO INCREASE THEIR GOOD CHARACTER AND SKILLS TO PERFORM IN TEAMS AND LEADERSHIP ROLES”.
During a 2017 God and Country event, Shea interviewed Team Rugged and described it as “returning to basic patriotic principles.”
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