Published October 23, 2012
UPDATE - JZ Knight goes off on Catholics; state Dems won't return $60K in contributions from channelerBrad Shannon
The Washington state Democratic Party says it does not condone the profane comments that Yelm-based spiritual leader JZ Knight made in a videotaped talk earlier this year, but the party will not return an estimated $60,000 that the spirit-channeler gave the party. State Republican Party chairman Kirby Wilbur put out a news release on Monday that asked Democratic chairman Dwight Pelz to return the money. He pointed to the video – linked linked here (warning: it is loaded with profanity and offensive language) – – where Knight takes out against Catholics, saying “I take your (expletive) faith on,” and also makes references to homosexuals and Jews. Republicans say the video had been posted online by a third party. The video also was doctored to splice footage of Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero between segments of Knight’s ranting. Wilbur said Romero should give back donations from Knight for her re-election bid. A search of state Public Disclosure Commission records showed that Knight contributed $1,800 to Romero’s campaign – including $900 donations on July 18 and Aug. 22. “This video that was recently posted online is nothing short of repulsive. J Z Knight is an intolerant bigot and Sandra Romero is either ignorant of her views or shares them,” Wilbur thundered in his news release. “Which is it Sandra? I am personally disgusted by the sickening things uttered by Knight on the tape. She is anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, homophobic, vulgar and profane.” Democratic Party spokesman Benton Strong distanced the party from Knight’s comments, but said Democrats would not give back the money. “We obviously don’t condone the kind of divisive language that is seen here. The other thing that we don’t condone is the kind of divisive policy positions taken by the WSRP (Republican Party) – their discriminatory policies against marriage equality, which is the same position taken by Rob McKenna, their candidate for governor," Strong said. “We think it is unfortunate that Kirby would resort to these kinds of attacks instead of talking about the issues facing our candidates and the voters,’’ Strong added. Wilbur went on to say he doesn’t think Pelz shares Knight’s apparent statements in the video. Republican Party spokeswoman Meredith Kenny said was filmed in February and that the Romero footage was taped at a later date – purportedly during a talk she gave to Knight’s School of Enlightenment in Yelm. “We are a party of a big tent, but ours is not big enough to have room for such bigots,” Wilbur went on. “Do Dwight and the Democrats have that big a tent? We need an answer.” PDC data show that Knight also contributed $1,800 to Democrat Bruce Lachney who is running for Senate against Republican Sen. Randi Becker in the 2nd Legislative District. Knight also contributed $1,800 to Supreme Court Justice Susan Owens, who is running unopposed for re-election. Asked about the contributions today, Lachney said in an email: “The Wilbur’s, O’Reilly’s and Limbaugh’s of the world are actors looking for an audience. I generally do not respond to their comments; it doesn’t get us any closer to solving problems.” Our county-government reporter, Chelsea Krotzer, has spoken to Romero about the tape and donations and we are developing a story for Wednesday’s newspaper. UPDATE: Rob Wynne, a public relations consultant employed by the Ramtha School of Enlightenment, put out two brief two statements in response to The Olympian’s query about the videotape and the Republican Party comments. About the video, Wynne said: "The quotes were taken out of context and not meant to disparage Catholics. The comments were meant to draw attention to the abuses and subsequent cover-ups of the Catholic Church and not intended to criticize any individuals of any persuasion. JZ Knight has always supported the rights of the LGBT community including marriage equality and legal benefits." Concerning the campaign contributions, Wynne said: "JZ Knight is a private citizen and like, all Americans, has the right to support the candidates of her choice. JZ Knight is very concerned about the choices in this election, nationally, statewide and locally. She supports the rights of women, the poor, the elderly, the middle class and the environment. JZ has publicly urged hundreds of thousands of people on the importance of voting this year and she supports an honest and open election where all citizens have the right to vote."