N. Idaho sheriff candidate defends cross burning as 'Pro-Christian ceremony'


by Cole Heath and The Associated Press


Posted on May 9, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 7:16 AM

SANDPOINT, Idaho -- A white power activist campaigning to be the next sheriff in a north Idaho county hosted a cross burning last week with fellow members of the Idaho Ku Klux Klan.

Thirty-three-year-old Shaun Winkler is also defending the act, calling it a historic ritual steeped in Christian roots.

Winkler has been a member of the Aryan Nations and is a KKK imperial wizard. He is also courting voters in hopes of becoming the next Bonner County sheriff.

KREM 2 News spoke with him about what he calls a cross-lighting he held on his property near Priest River last week. “It’s a pro-Christian ceremony the fact it represents our father Jesus Christ and putting his life upon the world.”

For many the cross burning that happened around here is associated with hate. Winkler said, “It represents the love of out father Jesus Christ.

Winkler’s campaign is based on so-called old fashion justice towards sex offenders and drugs. “Whether your right black everyone would be treated the same, there would be no profiling”.

Winkler is running against police officer Tim Frye and incumbent sheriff Daryl wheeler. Wheeler said in a statement "Mr. Winkler’s world view is not accepted by 99.9% of Bonner County, his candidacy is an embarrassment to our beautiful community."

Winkler is firm in both his run for the badge and beliefs. “I don't only consider myself a pro-white racialist I also consider myself a Anglo Saxon that believes there’s, there’s a stance that needs to be taken against evil-doers there of.”

Voters will decide on one of the three republican candidates next Tuesday.