State Senate candidate Bruce Lachney has decided not to keep a campaign donation from controversial figure J.Z. Knight after a video surfaced in which she criticized the Catholic faith and its position on birth control.
Lachney’s campaign received $3,600 from Knight, the leader of the Ramtha School of Enlightenment. In response to the video of her that was widely disseminated online last week, Lachney said he will donate the money for educational scholarships.
“I met Ms. Knight only once,” Lachney said, referring to an invitation he accepted to meet her prior to her campaign donation. “Her thoughts and beliefs are her own. As a member of the same Lutheran church for more than 20 years, I find the language and tenor of her discourse disturbing.”
Lachney announcement that he won’t keep Knight’s campaign donation was made last Sunday, four days after Sen. Randi Becker, his opponent in the general election, issued a statement in response to the video. She condemned Knight’s “hateful and profane remarks about Catholics” and urged Lachney to “return the contributions” his campaign accepted from Knight.
In the video, Knight is seen and heard making profanity-laced comments about Catholics, Mexicans and birth control in an apparent speech or planned remarks.
Lachney is one of several candidates for the Legislature and Congress in Washington who received campaign donations from Knight. Becker didn’t.
The Ramtha School of Enllightenment, which takes its name from an ancient warrior and spiritual leader who Knight claims to channel, is based in Yelm within the Second District, where Becker and Lachney are battling for the district’s Senate seat. The school is called “an academy of the mind” by Knight’s organization. Outsiders call it a cult.
Knight’s official web site issued a statement last Friday, claiming that postings of the video weren’t authorized and that legal action might be taken because of a possible violation of copyright law.
Lachney said he’s confident that voters will pay more attention to issues such as education and the economy than the flap over Knight’s video.