Sean Feucht, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress this year as a pro-Trump culture warrior, is among right-wing Christian leaders in California engaging in and calling for resistance to restrictions that are part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19-related public health orders. Those orders currently ban singing in churches and temporarily forbid indoor worship in the hardest-hit counties. Feucht has called Newsom’s restrictions “insane” and “tyrannical.” Feucht has plenty of company among religious-right leaders in California. As Right Wing Watch has reported, conservative church leaders have been resisting public health restrictions for months.
In a podcast episode for worship leaders posted Monday, Feucht railed against the restrictions, claiming, “It is 100 percent unconstitutional to have any restrictions on the church for any reason,” including war or pandemic. There is an agenda to “silence the church,” he said, adding, “We have to rise up.”
Beginning with a July 9 event on the Golden Gate bridge, Feucht has held a series of “Let Us Worship” outdoor gatherings at which hundreds of people have gathered to sing and worship. Photos and videos from the events suggest there has been little compliance with mask wearing and social distancing guidelines. He is also gathering signatures on a “Let Us Worship” petition.
Last Wednesday, Feucht hosted an event at a bridge in Redding, home town of Bethel Church where he has long been affiliated as a musician and worship leader. With videos showing “hundreds of people crowding together and most of them not wearing masks,” CNN reported, county health officials have asked attendees to self-quarantine for 14 days. Feucht responded to criticism by saying, “The freedom to worship God is the constitutional right of every American citizen and those who exercise this right should not be unfairly targeted for criticism.” Bethel Church disclaimed any responsibility for the gathering.
On Friday, Feucht appeared in Bakersfield, where he was reportedly joined by Mayor Karen Goh and California Senate Minority Leader Shannon Grove, who had endorsed Feucht’s congressional campaign. “Sean, welcome to Bakersfield!” said Goh. “Bakersfield is city of righteousness, where our founder Colonel Thomas Baker said, ‘This is God’s country!’” Goh continued, “And so that’s been a declaration over the city of Bakersfield. And we continue to declare that. This is God’s country. This is a city of righteousness We are excited to be able to worship together.”
Feucht led an event at City Hall in Fresno on Saturday night while wearing a t-shirt promoting his new political organization, Hold the Line. The Fresno Bee noted Monday that the San Joaquin Valley, which includes Fresno county, is emerging as a COVID-19 hot spot in the state with more coronavirus cases than any other.
On Sunday, Feucht was on the beach in San Diego, where photos showed him performing for a closely packed, largely unmasked crowd that Fox News put at more than 5,000 people. The event drew criticism from county health officials and some local residents.
In the coming days, Feucht will be taking his show on the road, with stops in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, where undoubtedly public health officials will be delighted to see him.