Democrats in Washington State may be forced to reconsider a pledge made Tuesday to hold on to $65,000 in political contributions from J.Z Knight, as video and audio recordings of inflammatory statements the Yelm-based spirit channeler made about Mexicans, gays, Catholics, Jews and even organic farmers have once again been made public on the Internet.
The resurfacing of the recordings comes one day after the Olympia Report broke news of the large sum of contributions made by Knight to the Thurston County Democratic Central Committee in 2014. Her recent contributions come only two years after Washington State Democrats were forced to offload a similar amount given by Knight in the 2012 election cycle, but only after recordings of a string of anti-Mexican, anti-gay, anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic remarks she made to large groups of people became public.
Some of Knight’s inflammatory remarks about Mexicans can be heard on the video embedded here. WARNING: The video includes the use of very harsh and offensive language. Please use discretion when viewing.
Some may wonder what message the reluctance of Democrats to cut ties with Knight may send to Hispanic, gay, Catholic and Jewish voters considering the ease with which the party excommunicated three Democrats—former State Auditor Brian Sonntag, soon-to-be retired state Sen. Rodney Tom and state Sen. Tim Sheldon—for taking positions and votes contrary to the desires of public employee unions. Sheldon is running for re-election this year. Coincidentally, a good portion of Sheldon’s 35th legislative district is in Thurston County.
Although Knight and her Ramtha School of Enlightenment have been signing the checks to Democrats, she consistently claims her ranting tirades are the voice of “Ramtha,” a 35,000-year-old warlord the self-proclaimed mystic purports to channel.
In one such channeling event—said to have occurred on New Year’s Even 2008 and documented on the Ramtha School of Enlightenment website—Knight/Ramtha declared Obama to be “the last black pope.”
“What do you have to look forward to in 2009? You have elected the last black pope, the last black pope of history. The seers of antiquity never knew what a president was. There was no such thing as a president. A superior, inspiring, spiritual leader was called a pope, so the seers saw in the lens of their future a black pope. He would be the runner to the end. He is called the last black pope.
“…Is he the last figment of hope? He absolutely is. But if he prays to a Christian God, he will lose.”
In a brief phone interview on Tuesday, Thurston County Democratic Party Chair Roger Erskine confidently stood by the unanimous decision of the central committee to accept the new contributions, explaining that Knight had been determined to be a legitimate Democrat—largely on the basis that she and her corporate entity had been major supporters in the 2012 re-election campaign of Pres. Barack Obama and that she supports the party’s platform.
Erskine also characterized Knight’s statements as “alleged,” a position at odds with the facts, considering that that Knight’s tirades had been captured on recorded audio and video and had received a great deal of media attention in 2012.
Now that Knight’s inflammatory statements are once again public, the dilemma for Democrats to reconcile their public persona as protectors of minorities with the reality of what a major donor can be heard saying on the recordings is substantial.
After all, it was only two years ago that then-State Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz was forced by fierce pressure from Republicans and a surge of negative coverage in the media to denounce Knight’s tirades. At the time, Pelz said, “…it is important that we make it clear that we view [Knight’s] comments as offensive and do not condone this kind of vitriol.”
Although Pres. Barack Obama’s re-election campaign refused to comment on Knight’s pattern of remarks and kept more than $60,000 in contributions from her and the Ramtha School, Pelz handed the contributions she made to the State Democrats over to the Anti-Defamation League and the referendum campaign to ratify same-sex marriage in Washington state.
Speaking to us Tuesday, Erskine confirmed his awareness of the 2012 controversy and the outcome.
In short, what happened in 2012 was a big deal. Big enough, in fact, that feigning organizational amnesia should be an explanation even Democrats won’t swallow. If they do keep the money, they will have to do so with full knowledge of the sort of company they’re keeping.