Sean Feucht, a pro-Trump culture-war Republican who ran unsuccessfully for Congress this year, has become an outspoken critic of public health restrictions placed on churches by California Gov. Gavin Newsom as cases of COVID-19 have surged in the state.
“What a tyrannical move and drastic overreach of government into our religious liberties!!” Feucht tweeted Monday in response to the latest public health orders from the governor, which ban indoor operations for places of worship (and many businesses) in the counties most impacted by the coronavirus.
“Silencing the church seems to be one of his main agendas,” Feucht said in a video included in the tweet. “This is insane! What a tyrannical overreach of the government. What an infringement on our Constitution and our free liberty to worship God. We are standing up. This is insane.”
Feucht, whose congressional run was backed by Christian nationalist activists, is a missionary and musician affiliated with the controversial Northern California megachurch Bethel. After he was defeated in the primary, Feucht launched “Hold the Line,” which he described as a “political activist movement” aimed at getting conservative Christian millennials to become more politically active.
Newsom’s restrictions on worship gatherings earlier in the pandemic were challenged by conservative church leaders, and in late May, he loosened restrictions. But with cases rising, the governor imposed a ban on singing and chanting—which has been proven to spread the virus further—in churches on July 1.
Feucht called the ban on singing hypocritical and discriminatory because he said state officials were “encouraging protests,” presumably referring to the nationwide anti-racism protests following the police killing of George Floyd. Feucht began gathering signatures for a “Let Us Worship” petition, which he launched just before the Fourth of July weekend, comparing Newsom to the biblical Pharaoh who was challenged by Moses to set the Israelites free. It reads in part:
But our freedom to worship God and obey His Word has come under unprecedented attack. Powerful politicians and social media giants have engaged in unchartered abuses of religious liberty, silencing the faithful, banning our voices, and outright attacking our God-given right to declare His goodness.
States across America, including here in California have shut down church services and even outlawed singing in church. Instagram and Twitter is censoring Christian voices every single day. And every hour that passes they grow bolder in their efforts to silence the faithful.
It’s time for the Church to rise up with one voice and tell our government leaders and the rulers of big tech that we refuse to be silenced!
Feucht told Charisma’s Kathy DeGraw of the “Prophetic Spiritual Warfare” podcast this week that he would be delivering petition signatures to the U.S. Senate soon. Feucht described the dispute over coronavirus measures as spiritual warfare, saying, “Now, more than ever, there really is an agenda from the enemy to come and silence the sound of the church.”
On Thursday, July 9, Feucht’s political organization, Hold the Line, organized hundreds of people to gather on the Golden Gate bridge to protest restrictions on worship. “Our heart in bringing worship outside was taking it to a place where we could have social distancing,” Feucht told a local Fox affiliate. But pictures he shared of the event show people crowded together, the vast majority of them not wearing masks.
Feucht, who is among the religious-right activists who believe the U.S. is about to experience a historic revival, is taking his “Let Us Worship” tour to Washington Square Park in New York City on Saturday, July 18 before traveling to Washington, D.C. with his petition.
The American Center for Liberty and Justice, the religious-right legal group run by Trump attorneys Jay and Jordan Sekulow, filed a lawsuit this week challenging the ban on singing and chanting.