Washington State Republicans called Yelm spiritual leader JZ Knight “an intolerant bigot” Tuesday, after video of her surfaced online making a variety of insensitive remarks about Catholics, Jews and homosexuals.
Knight, who claimes she channels the 35,000-year-old Ramtha at her School of Enlightenment, has stepped into politics this campaign season after donating $50,000 to the Democratic party and $8,100 to other candidates.
She also contributed $5,000 to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
“She can say she’s channeling this spirit,” said Washington Republican Chairman Kirby Wilbur, “But c’mon.”
The video is heavily edited and clearly targeted at Knight’s practice and her support of Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero, who is up for reelection. Among other things, she is heard saying, “F*** you Catholics, you a**holes,” and, “I take your f***ing faith on.”
“I suppose you could say it is a twenty minute speech and we have two minutes of (the video),” Wilbur continued, “But it’s a pretty venom-filled two minutes.”
Wilbur called on Democrats to return the money, which does not appear likely. A state Democratic spokesperson said the party does not support comments in the video, but calls the Republican charges “ironic” given the party’s platform on gay and lesbian issues.
But the Washington Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, which received $900 from Knight, went even further. It released a statement saying, “We will refuse all contributions from her in the future.”
Susan Owens, who is running for State Supreme Court, received $1,800 from Knight and did not return our call. Bruce Lachney, candidate for State Senator, had not seen the video but said, “I listen to every voice. Intolerance comes from not listening to others.”
Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero, who received $3,600 from Knight and her school, also had not seen the video.
“JZ Knight is a member of the community,” Romero said, “She has lived here for 25 years. She gives money to the Yelm School District, she gives money to the Fire District.”
A spokesperson for the Ramtha School of Enlightenment also released a statement which 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.”
It continues, “JZ Knight has always supported the rights of the LGBT community including marriage equality and legal benefits.”
Knight’s supporters said when she channels Ramtha, the spirit is often blunt and uncaring of what is said. Ramtha’s main message is human beings are all part of God, and mastering the spirituality is the power to create with your own mind.
For more than 25 years, Knight’s Ramtha practices have brought in thousands of followers including celebrities. She gives long lectures in a large arena at her Yelm property. Knight had long been a controversial figure in Thurston County, but largely stayed out of the limelight until recently.
In an interview for San Francisco NPR, she explained why she began making donations.
“It was time to give equal funding to what the Republicans are throwing into this state,” Knight told the radio station. She added that she hesitated before getting involved because of “people’s ignorant perceptions” of her faith.