Russell Collier is a pastor in Sandy, Oregon whose church, the Rivers of Living Water United Pentecostal Church, holds periodic rallies devoted to a variety of conservative causes, especially opposing LGBTQ rights. This is an example of a flyer used for one of their rallies.  (Rivers of Living Water United Pentecostal Church of Sandy, OR, 2021)

On August 30, 2021, the church held a rally in Sandy. Mark Shull was a featured speaker at the rally. He stated that Americans had become untethered from their values, that in order to be strong, society must hold Judeo-Christian values. He stated that what was happening in “Portland and Chicago” was a result of losing these values. He also expressed an originalist interpretation of the Constitution.  

Immediately after he finished his speech, Pastor Collier spoke and delivered a sermon condemning “perversion,” shouting anti- LGTBQ propaganda.

There is no chance that Mr. Shull did not know with whom he was sharing the stage. He and Pastor Collier had been sighted together on several occasions at Trump-supporting “flag waves” founded by Dixie Bailey, a Proud Boys supporter who menaced her critics with a gun and threatened Black Lives Matter protestors who showed up at a rally. (Budnick, 2020) (Allen, 2020) These flag waves are heavily promoted by Pastor Collier.

These are screenshots of both Pastor Collier and Mr. Shull at the 8/24/2020 flag wave, which was also attended by Alan James Swinney (Britton, 2020), a Proud Boy who was later arrested for threatening antifascist protestors in Portland with a gun. (Wilson, 2020)

Pastor Collier at the 8/23/2020 flag wave
Mark Shull at the 8/23/2020 flag wave

Open-carry is a feature of these rallies, where participants express their fears that Antifa might attempt to disrupt them.

Screen capture from “Live: From Sandy Oregon Back The Blue Flag Wave” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOqbTLKEsTU&t=464s

They often also feature anti-Black Lives Matter speech. (BehindEnemyLines, 2021)

Mr. Shull also participated in pro-Trump rallies, such as this one on September 7, 2020 in Oregon City, Oregon.

Shull participated in the Trump rally that led to violence in Downtown Portland.

At this rally, Mr. Shull delivered essentially the same speech that he had at Russell Collier’s rally. He was followed by Joey Gibson, the founder of Patriot Prayer and later convicted felon Flipp Todd, vice president of the local Proud Boys chapter, who promoted the group (Read, 2020.) The Proud Boys are an SPLC-designated hate group. (Southern Poverty Law Center)

CLACKAMAS, OREGON, USA – SEPTEMBER 07: A conservative candidate for the Clackamas County Commission,Mark Shull speaks to the crowd as hundreds of Donald Trump supporters gather for a “cruise rally” at Oregon Community College in Clackamas, United States on September 07, 2020. Supporters paraded along the I-5 corridor between Salem and St. Johns. (Photo by John Rudoff/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Some participants in this rally then drove to Salem and confronted Black Lives Matter demonstrators, beaten, punching and macing them.   (Levinson & Olmos, 2020)

The Western States Center, a nonprofit focused on far-right extremism, has concluded that Trump caravans are intimidating to voters, especially immigrants and other marginalized groups. (Hauslohner, 2020)

This discussion is much more than implying “guilt by association.” A public official or candidate for public office should be held to high ethical standards. By choosing to repeatedly associate with groups and individuals who spread hateful ideologies, Mr. Shull gives the appearance of condoning and encouraging such behavior. Certainly, he has not spoken out against it. For people who are members of the groups targeted by these ideologies, his actions create distrust.