Sean Feucht, a church musician who emerged from his unsuccessful run for Congress this year as an organizer of resistance to “tyrannical” pandemic-related public health restrictions on church gatherings, held a “worship protest” on the National Mall Sunday that began in late afternoon and ended in darkness some four hours later. Feucht’s “Let Us Worship” tour has alarmed public health officials in one city after another with his pandemic-be-damned public gatherings.
Feucht combines the upbeat, high-energy worship style of Northern California megachurch Bethel, where Feucht is a worship leader, with the right-wing politics he is promoting with Hold the Line, a political organization he launched after failing to make it through the California congressional primary in March. Feucht ran as a pro-Trump, culture-war Republican who was endorsed by dominionists, Christian nationalists, and Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk.
In Washington Sunday, with the U.S. Capitol as a backdrop, Feucht and his fellow speakers and performers encouraged the thousands of attendees—mostly mask-less and packed closely together on a damp and dreary afternoon—to sing, shout, and dance. Feucht noted that the election was just eight days away and said he wanted the country to see Christians dancing with joy.
Feucht portrays racial reconciliation as one goal of his movement, but he has denounced the Black Lives Matter movement as a “fraud” and “a dark movement with hidden agendas.”
For part of the rally, Feucht shared the stage with his spiritual mentor, dominionist Lou Engle. Longtime anti-choice activist Engle made a name for himself with a series of large-scale political prayer rallies in sports stadiums—including one in California in 2008 to mobilize support for the anti-marriage-equality Proposition 8. Feucht has frequently described his attendance at Engle’s “The Call on the Mall” event in D.C. in 2000—when Feucht was 17—as a turning point in his life.
Feucht and Engle believe that God orchestrated the timing of their D.C. event to come the day before the U.S. Senate is set to vote on the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, whom Engle and other dominionists have declared anointed by God to end abortion in the U.S. Earlier in the day Sunday, Engle hosted a prayer meeting on the steps of the Supreme Court.
Feucht described the Barret vote as “a moment of history,” adding, “We’ve been praying for this since 1983, that God would move, that he would shift the courts that would bring a change over the death decree.” When his tour stopped in Dallas two weeks ago, participants walked to the courthouse where Roe v. Wade was first argued.
Engle, who is a member of the leadership council of the pro-Trump “prophetic” network POTUS Shield, has frequently urged people to pray that God would “remove” pro-choice Supreme Court justices to give Trump an opportunity to make good on his pledge to give the religious right a Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade.
From the stage in D.C. he recounted prophetic dreams in which God said he was raising up a women’s movement to confront witchcraft and “pull down abortion.” Engle said he had cried for the “Esthers” and “Deborahs”—prominent women figures in the Bible—to arise, saying, “As Amy Coney Barrett is a sign, let the women arise!”
“I believe these elections are not a referendum on the character of former Vice President Joseph Biden or a referendum on the character of President Trump. I believe this election is a referendum on where the church will stand on the foundational biblical standard of ‘Thou shalt not kill.’”
“But America is a government of the people, by the people, for the people,” Engle shouted. “Therefore, you are the government. And when you vote for the shedding of innocent blood, you’re part of the rebellion [against God].”
“I want you to see that there is a court above the Supreme Court,” Engle said. “It’s the highest court in the land. With Amy Coney Barrett, we believe we could be really at the end—or at the beginning of this end—of Roe v. Wade.” Engle encouraged people to gather in small groups to “pray the blood of Jesus over your state, over your city … Pray for a pro-life government.”
Sen. Josh Hawley, a religious-right wunderkind and Feucht ally, stopped by and spoke from the stage. Hawley talked about just having voted to advance Barrett to a confirmation vote Monday night, saying to cheers, “Tomorrow night the final vote on the floor of the Senate to confirm a justice who is not ashamed to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord … not afraid to say that abortion is wrong and every child in America has the right to life.” He called Barrett’s confirmation a “historic moment in the life of our nation,” adding that Barrett will be “the most openly pro-life justice on that Supreme Court in my lifetime. It’s going to be absolutely unbelievable.”
Also appearing on stage was Trump-supporting megachurch pastor Jentezen Franklin, who preached on the expressions of worship that he said create “invisible praise vapors,” perhaps an unfortunate metaphor at a time in which COVID-19 is invisibly but alarmingly spreading around the country.
Feucht praised the organizers of David’s Tent, a worship space that has been allowed to set up semi-permanently on the National Mall near Feucht’s “Let Us Worship” stage. Feucht said that when there was some discussion of moving the tent during restoration of the Mall, “the vice president and his wife said, ‘You can’t move it.’” Feucht added, “Let’s just thank God for elected officials that stand for righteousness.”
The event included an arm-twisting, guilt-manipulating plea for money as well as an altar call and prayers for miracles. Feucht ended the night with the song “Our God reigns.”
D.C.’s event was not the final stop on Feucht’s tour. Like other religious leaders aligned with the New Apostolic Reformation, Feucht believes that transforming society requires spiritual revival. He and Engle believe they are helping to spark the rise of a new “Jesus People” movement—which energized Engle in the 1970s—and a spiritual Great Awakening that will transform the U.S.
The tour will continue to Las Vegas, Nevada on Halloween, and then on to Phoenix, Arizona. A Feucht colleague announced that the group will be celebrating New Year’s Eve with a rally on Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California, site of an early 20th Century revival that is widely considered the birthplace of Pentecostalism in the U.S.