A July 14 Sunday news article raised questions about the Seventh District’s appointed Senator, John Smith.
The article focused on Smith’s history of attending a racist Christian Identity church, a.k.a. the “Ark,” and his marriage to the granddaughter of Christian Identity minister Ray Barker.
The Smith’s first wedding took place at the Ark. Sen. Smith said his family quit attending the Ark in “2007 or 2008,” after hearing racist comments there. It’s hard to believe they’d never detected racist connections before, since news articles and courtroom testimony in the late 1990’s linked convicted murderer and racketeer Chevie Kehoe and his brother Cheyne to both the Ark and Barker.
Chevie spearheaded the murderous Aryan People’s Republic army, whose goal was to create a whites-only nation.
One of his Aryan soldiers even kidnapped a Colville business couple; it was indicated he did so because of the husband’s Jewish ancestry. Those headlines could not have escaped Sen. Smith’s attention.
Sen. Smith would have been in his mid-20’s when Cheyne went to Barker to accompany him when he surrendered to authorities after an Ohio shoot-out with police. Sen. Smith could not have missed such prominent news about his neighbors and father-in-law.
Claiming the racist element of the Ark was unknown to him during his years of involvement causes one to gravely doubt Sen. Smith’s integrity. He had ample opportunity to be aware of the church’s ideology and the illegal and reprehensible activities of people affiliated with the Ark.
Add to that the uncomfortable fact that Sen. Smith has accepted campaign donations from the leader of the Ark.
Around the time Smith’s family switched to a different church, the Spokane article said postings on Christian Identity and British-Israelite sites, using the name Brythstone (the family’s farm name) began appearing. Asked about those, Sen. Smith claimed ignorance. Oddly, most of the postings disappeared that day, the paper said.
Sen. Smith claims he does not share the Ark’s outlook. But the rest of us can wonder if his church switch was politically motivated.
Given his unusual past riddled with poor choices, and the way he’s dodged owning up to his past, it seems logical to replace Sen. Smith with a more capable candidate with a history of wiser choices.