The state Democratic Party has decided to rid itself of $70,000 in donations from JZ Knight, the founder of the Ramtha School of Enlightenment, after videos surfaced of the Yelm mystic making offensive, profanity-laced comments about Mexicans, Jews, gays and Catholics.
After resisting calls to return the cash when some of the videos surfaced earlier this week, a party spokesperson Friday evening said the Democrats have decided to donate half the Knight money to the campaign for Referendum 74 to legalize gay marriage, and half to the Anti-Defamation League.
“Recently, we’ve been made aware of comments made by a contributor to the Democratic Party that do not reflect our party’s values. While we did not solicit any contributions from JZ Knight, it is important that we make it clear that we view her comments as offensive and do not condone this kind of vitriol,” said state Democratic Party Dwight Pelz in a statement.
Knight made the controversial comments in one of her famous sessions in which she claims to channel “Ramtha” – a 35,000-year-old warrior. She has thousands of students who follow the teachings of the ancient spirit and founded an 80-acre school complex in 1988 in Yelm.
The Democrats’ about-face came after more videos of Knight were released Friday by the Freedom Foundation, a conservative Olympia think tank. In one video, recorded last year, Knight goes on a profane rant about “the invasion of the Mexicans who just breed like rabbits.” In another, from the same event, Knight says that “all gay men were once Catholic women.
That followed earlier videos, distributed by the state Republican Party, in which Knight made other offensive comments about Catholics, Jews and others. Republicans had called for the Democratic Party to return the Knight donations but were met with refusal until Friday.
(The videos can be viewed at this web site, but be warned, they contain vulgar and offensive language.)
A spokesperson for Knight did not immediately respond to a phone call and email Friday. Earlier, the Ramtha school issued a statement claiming the videos had been taken out of context.
Knight has also been a donor to other Democrats, including the campaign of President Obama. Knight attended a pricey fundraiser for the president last September, and has posted a photo of her and her granddaughter meeting Obama.
Federal Election Commission records show Knight has donated more than $45,000 to the Obama campaign and $50,000 to the Democratic National Committee.
An Obama-campaign spokesperson condemned Knight’s comments but did not indicate whether her donation would be returned: “The Obama campaign rejects this type of hateful language. It has no place in the political discourse. The president obviously does not endorse or embrace every supporter’s personal affiliation, action or utterance.”