Sean Feucht is described by KGW-TV in Portland, Oregon — where he recently preached — as a “controversial worship leader.”
Those three words might generate a mental image as to who you’re dealing with. Maybe he’s a Farrakhan type. Perhaps he has an unusual hang-up on certain cultural issues. Maybe he’s one of those pastors who, like the charismatic grifter with the aptronym Creflo Dollar, ask their congregations for a $65 million offering so they can buy a private jet.
Nope, none of these things: According to KGW, he’s simply “holding outdoor revivals in states across the country in defiance of state coronavirus restrictions.”
Feucht heads the “Let Us Worship” movement, which opposes state restrictions on religious gatherings. In Oregon, for instance, faith gatherings are allowed to consist of 50 people or less, no matter where you hold the events.
Gatherings around the federal courthouse aren’t, um, held to the same restrictions.
Feucht has visited numerous cities for revivals under the specter of the coronavirus, and the same concerns are raised in every one: Social distancing rules aren’t necessarily followed, not everyone is wearing masks or taking similar precautions and, if media reports are accurate, these rules are deliberately being flouted.
Now, for starters, we aren’t exactly dealing with some crank here. Feucht is a musician and worship leader with California’s influential Bethel Church — although, according to Christian publication Relevant, Bethel has stressed it has nothing to do with the events and says “concerns were shared with Sean” by leadership.
(The Let Us Worship events are sponsored by Feucht’s non-profit Hold The Line.)
Feucht has defended the events for a reason that’s become obvious to many Christians: that there’s “a double standard” when it comes to how faith gatherings are treated under the coronavirus rules, and it’s time for the faithful to stand up.
“I would say at best it’s hypocrisy and at worst, it’s bigotry. You know there’s a target on churches,” he told Fox News.
That double standard was on full display when Feucht held an event Sunday afternoon in Seattle, where most of the media coverage has been focused on the dangers posed by the potential of COVID-19 spread and almost none has been focused on allegations that agitators tried to disrupt the performance with knives and signs saying “Hail Satan.”
Not that this shouldn’t have been expected. Seattle is a city that’s seen numerous riots in the past weeks, plus the lawlessness of the CHAZ/CHOP “autonomous zone,” where protesters took over a few blocks for an extended period of time and turned it into a cop-free utopia (with a few shootings, but hey).
This was the scene Sunday in Cal Anderson Park in Seattle, the latest stop on Feucht’s Let Us Worship tour:
According to KIRO-TV, the event was attended by hundreds of people — smaller than the thousands estimated at the Portland Let Us Worship event, but still a significant number.
“Worshipping through the chaos, confusion and attacks of last night in the area formerly known as CHOP released such courage across America and the world. Seattle: You stiffened our SPINES!!!!” Feucht wrote in a Facebook post.
“The time for courageous Christianity is here. No more backing down and fleeing for the suburbs. Jesus is coming for the hardest parts of our cities and He’s jealous for praise, love & salvation to fill the streets.”
“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”
However, this being Seattle, there were demonstrators, including one who allegedly had the “Hail Satan” sign. Given that every soi-disant metalhead rebel when I was in high school had this scrawled on the front of their binders, this didn’t faze me, and I’m sure Feucht was unfazed.
The other behavior he described, however, was a little more faze-worthy.
“Violent protestors showed up flashing knives! We had an entire satanic cult march through the worshippers the entire time yelling ‘Hail Satan!’ ” he said in a separate Facebook post that wasn’t available Wednesday.
“We had white Antifa yelling & threatening black local pastors! They yelled obscenities and cursed at my wife and kids all night long!”
Feucht said he had roughly 30 bodyguards protecting him and his band on stage, as protesters repeatedly tried to tackle Feucht and band members. Demonstrators were able to damage some of the band’s equipment, however.
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“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” Billy Graham Worshipping through the chaos, confusion and attacks of last night in the area formerly known as CHOP released such courage across America and the world. Seattle: You stiffened our SPINES!!!! My phone is blowing up all morning from this testimony going VIRAL! (Even the Middle Eastern church is proud!????) The time for courageous Christianity is here. No more backing down and fleeing for the suburbs. Jesus is coming for the hardest parts of our cities and He’s jealous for praise, love & salvation to fill the streets. The last video (SWIPE) is from a protestor’s LIVE FEED showing his bewilderment that the church did not stop!!! It’s VERY EXPLICIT language (so don’t swipe and then be offended at me please ???). Can you believe they broadcasted God moving live FOR US?!? ? These are REVIVAL DAYS my friends but there is A COST. So many were saved, healed and delivered last night! We can’t stop now! #LetUsWorship On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” – Matthew 16:18
KIRO didn’t mention this in their web coverage and only briefly mentioned the “Hail Satan” agitators in their video segment on the gathering. Instead, KIRO focused on whether the outdoor event was safe — an unusual approach from a Seattle TV station, although it quoted a man who seemed to be a counter-protester who swore they were more careful in their outdoor protests.
“It’s very disheartening and frustrating to have people come into our community and potentially be spreading disease,” the unnamed individual said.
“Ultimately, a large gathering of people is a large gathering of people, right, and the same rules apply there or here; in the protests, our medics were always handing out masks and hand sanitizer.”
However, a woman who said she’d been to Black Lives Matter protests and the Let Us Worship rallies said there was a difference in outsiders focusing on coronavirus prevention measures.
“When I was out at the protests for Black Lives Matter, I didn’t get much backlash from not wearing a mask. But now that I’ve been out at worship events, I do get more backlash on not wearing a mask,” Morgan Daughtridge told KIRO.
Feucht, meanwhile, is asking for donations to replace the gear damaged by demonstrators:
Help us replace the gear Antifa destroyed in Seattle!
— Sean Feucht (@seanfeucht) August 11, 2020
Unless Feucht’s claim about being threatened by knife-wielding demonstrators is false on its face, it should have been reported on. The reason I doubt that was the case is that if it were false on its face, it would have been reported on; there’s nothing the media love more than beating up on a dishonest preacher, as anyone familiar with the cases of Jim Bakker or Robert Tilton will attest to.
Nearest I can tell, there also haven’t been any clusters of COVID-19 cases tied to Feucht’s revivals — something the establishment media also would be waving in our faces.
People need faith and faith institutions now more than ever. Yet, in Washington — as in Oregon — religious gatherings are limited to 50 people, even outdoors. You don’t need long to think about something that isn’t limited to 50 people that happens outdoors, and not infrequently, in places such as Portland and Seattle.
At the very least, none of these Let Us Worship gatherings have ended with anything burned down.
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