Episode 10: White domestic terrorist arrested for burning down Black churches

Transcript, Web links and Credits below.


It’s Thursday, April 11th and on today’s episode I’m going to tell you three breaking stories that just emerged early this morning. In fact, our team had already recorded and produced a completely different episode for today, but decided that we needed to go in an altogether different direction. Early this morning a white supremacist was arrested for burning down three churches in Louisiana, the President of Sudan stepped down after three straight months of nationwide protests, and 14 senators just co-sponsored what I think is one of the most important pieces of legislation that has been introduced in our lifetime.

This is Shaun King and you are listening to (THE BREAKDOWN)


When I hear people say that the United States was founded on the noble principles of freedom and liberty, I immediately know that they are delusional. The founding of this nation was rooted in violence, theft, genocide, and slavery. Without any one of those things – without the violence, without the theft, without the genocide of millions of indigenous people, and without the forced labor of millions of enslaved Africans – the United States could not and would not exist – not as we know it today.

And from 1492 until this very moment, racism and bigotry – and the violent forms of intimidation that come with them - have been deeply woven into the fabric of this place

Which brings me to my first story.


Late last night a conservative Louisiana Sheriff’s Deputy, Roy Matthews, turned his 21 year old son, Holden Matthews, in for burning down three different Black churches in St. Landry’s parish – which is about an hour west of Baton Rouge. The fires began on March 26th at St. Mary Baptist Church, followed by Greater Union Baptist on April 2nd and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on April 4th.

And what I am about to say is why we rebuilt and relaunched The North Star. It’s why I spend hours and hours in the studio 5 days a week writing and recording The Breakdown podcast – because I just studied every national news outlets’ coverage of this case and they each said some version of “we do not yet know the motive” behind these church burnings.

Let me help you with that.

St. Landry’s parish has white churches all over the place. On every corner. Rural. In the town square. Everywhere. New. Old. Methodist churches. Episcopalian churches. Pentecostal churches. Catholic Churches. The parish has several predominantly white Baptist churches. But Holden Matthews, who was known to frequent Neo-Nazi and white supremacist websites – didn’t burn those churches down. He targeted and set ablaze three Black churches and made sure they all burned straight to the ground. And this comes just weeks after a bigoted targeted Muslims praying in a mosque in New Zealand, and just a few months after another bigoted shot and killed 9 Jewish senior citizens at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, and just a few years after another white supremacist targeted and killed the pastor and 8 others at a Bible study at a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

2018 had more documented hate crimes than any year ever measured in generations. And they are continuing to increase this year.

And here’s what I know – had this man been anybody other than a white man – had he been an immigrant, had he been a refugee, had he been a Muslim, had he been Black – the President of the United States would be tweeting about him as we speak. But what we’ve come to understand very, very clearly is that the bigotry and violence of white men is not even on radar of the United States government – and consequently – the overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks in the United States come from these men. And it’s dangerous. After burning down his first Black church, Holden Matthews waited a week, saw all of the press coverage, and burned down another, saw all of the press coverage, waited two days, and burned down another.

And what we see, not just in the United States, but all over the world, is that white supremacists feel emboldened and empowered to not just think what they think, but to act on their instincts.

And one thing we must demand from each and every presidential candidate – and truthfully from every elected official on the local, state, and federal level - is their plan to confront white supremacy head on. We don’t just want platitudes. Talk to us about your plan, your budget, your staff, and how you are going to wield your power to confront the very real threat of white supremacy. And we don’t need open forums and conversations on healing. This is domestic terrorism. And we must make it clear to people who want our vote that they have show us their plans.


Which leads me to my next story.

Hours ago, the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, stepped down in disgrace, after 4 months of relentless around the clock protests brought the entire country to its knees. At least 38 protestors have been killed by the government and hundreds of them have been arrested and detained since the protests first began this past December.

Now I’m glad to see this – because Omar al-Bashir has been a brutal dictator for most of the post 30 years. He literally became President because of a military coup of his own in 1989, and has been a dictator every since. He is a prime example of why I believe all democracies should put term limits on their presidents. Al-Bashir is wanted for war crimes before the International Criminal Court and he should not be allowed to simply remain in hiding or exile.

While the people helped bring his presidency to an end – Sudan is now in the most fragile period for any nation – and here is where things can go horribly wrong, potentially even getting worse, if the right decisions are not made.

Moments ago the military announced that they are taking over the government. They also announced that they are temporarily suspending the constitution and that all border crossings are being closed. All of the airports were just closed down.

And so while protestors are celebrating the topple of Al-Bashir – as they should – what we have seen in other fragile democracies is that what comes next can be extremely problematic. I’m incredibly proud of the protestors there – this is a victory for them – and it must be noted that women have been at the forefront of forcing these changes there in Sudan, but we must watch closely to see what happens next. Several protestors on the ground wrote me this morning to say that the protests are going to continue and that the members of the military who’ve taken over the government are also wanted for the same war crimes as al-Bashir.

I’ll keep everybody posted.


Which leads me to our third and final news update of the day.

Did you know that every developed nation in the world has universal national health insurance? All of them.

Let me just name a few of them for you.

Australia, Austria, The Bahamas, Bahrain, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UAE, and the United Kingdom all have universal healthcare.

The United States is now the only major developed country in the world that does not offer single-payer, universal healthcare. Just us. We are the only developed nation in the world with people who simply can’t afford health insurance. We are the only nation in the developed world with people filing for bankruptcy over medical bills. We are the only nation in the developed world with healthcare CEOs getting filthy rich off of the industry.

Last year alone in the United States, 62 healthcare CEOS made a combined $1.1 billion. That’s $157 million more than what the entire Center for Disease Control spent on chronic disease prevention. Just about 100 years ago in the United States, all 50 states agreed to require public education of each child, and all 50 states agreed to fund it. That’s how we have our public education system. It’s how we have libraries. It’s how we have roads.

And for every major developed nation in the world, it’s how we have healthcare. For 3 straight years in the United States, for the first time since World War 1 that life expectancy has gone down for 3 straight years.

And yesterday, 14 Democrats, led by Bernie Sanders, co-sponsored a brilliant bill called the Medicare For All Act of 2019. In the House, over 100 Democrats, led by Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal for Seattle, introduced their bill.

And people can aim to scare us as much as they want on this – this is not a liberal idea. It’s not a liberal dream. It’s the basic standard for the entire world – even in nations with very conservative governments.

I think it is far more historic and important than it gets credit for. While the bills do not currently have enough votes to pass, they clearly have more support and more momentum than they’ve ever had. And making them a reality would literally be one of the biggest equalizers ever in the American economy. We currently spend more money person on healthcare than any other nation in the world, but we don’t even get good results.

Obamacare solved a few problems, but the core problems of healthcare remain. It’s why nearly 40 million people are still uninsured and why tens of millions more have health insurance but can’t even afford to use it. We can do so much better.

Listen – I’ve gotta run, but I’ll be tracking with all three of these stories and will keep you posted.


Thank you all for making it all the way through this episode of The Breakdown! We’re not just here to change the news, we’re here to change the world.

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Lastly, a shout out to our Podcasting Director and Senior Producer, Willis, for his hard work on this and every episode.

Take care everybody.



Produced by Willis Polk II

Additional production by Ryan Wisler

Additional Instrumentation by: Christian Idris “Idrys” Shannon, Lance "Lance Fury" Powlis, Markeith Black & Smok Tageous

Additional Engineering by Amond “AJ” Jackson for Salem Psalms Library

Additional Vocals by Garnett “Natti” Bush

Scratches by Kenny “DJ FlipFlop” Vanderberg

Contains elements from:

"Where Do We Go Now?" by The Off Daze

"The Prodigal" by JustMe & Deacon The Villain