“I think that in America, we’ve been through a really difficult season, and people are starting to come awake, they’re starting to become aware,” he told Fox News during an interview last week.
Feucht attracted controversy last year for holding outdoor worship sessions where people ignored social distancing and masking guidelines. Undeterred by labels like “Jesus Christ Superspreader,” the 38-year-old pastor is starting the New Year with yet another tour that’s set to end just before the midterm elections in Washington, D.C.
“I want the politicians and the leaders in Washington to know that the church is a force and … throughout history, the church has 2,000 years of history of growing amid persecution ,and amid pandemic, and in the midst of bad leadership and in the midst of calamity and crisis.”
His first concert is scheduled for Dec. 31 in Miami as the nation closes out nearly two years enduring some kind of coronavirus restrictions and a corresponding political environment whose tension has been amplified throughout the media.
To be sure, his activism has created division alongside the apparent unity seen at concerts. A former congressional candidate, Feucht espouses conservative views on culture war issues (he described Roe v. Wade as a “death decree” and has criticized the Black Lives Matter movement). Recalling the influence of his ministry, Feucht reflected on the rally that took place around the time of Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation.
And while Feucht has energized many, he’s also encountered plenty of backlash – from counter protesters to political officials to alleged death threats and attempted property destruction. He’s been described as a “plague rat” and preaching an “irresponsibility gospel,” among other things.
Feucht’s event in Nashville last year prompted the local police chief to express concerns. “I’m very disappointed in the organizer and the people at Sunday’s event for not prioritizing their public health,” said then-interim Chief John Drake.
Hugh Atkins, who serves as director at the Environmental Health Bureau for the Metro Public Health Department, reportedly said: “So many people didn’t have a healthy respect for their fellow citizens being crowded in like that.”
A spokesperson for the health department reportedly said no COVID-19 cases had been tracked back to Feucht’s event. But, he added, “if there are cases associated with the event among people from out of state, then those cases would not be reported.”
Feucht has found support, however, from some Republicans. In a statement to Fox News, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said: “Sean Feucht and his team are doing important work as our country faces an historic moment. I’ve loved attending past Let Us Worship events and look forward to seeing Sean continue his ministry.”
A focus on changing hearts, changing votes
In a charged media environment, Feucht is walking the narrow line that Christians have long tried to traverse: Speaking love without discarding what they view as the truth. Sure to engender controversy, his latest tour allows him to once again travel the country – with states as blue as New York and as red as Louisiana – as he seeks to unite the nation as one under God.
“We just feel like God’s called us to come in and bring a movement of unity and hope and love – and also, at the same time, to say … we’re going to stand up for our right to worship,” Feucht told Fox News. “This is guaranteed in the Constitution, and it’s also our calling as believers in an hour when we need this more than anytime before.”
For Feucht, “there’s a correlation between the spiritual awakening and the political awakening because I believe that as people come alive, and they begin to give their life to Jesus – get saved, follow the Bible … I think they begin to see what values will line up with that.”
He added that he felt “the spiritual awakening always leads to a cultural shift, and politics is downstream from culture. So, as we see culture being changed, transformed, we’re going to see things changed in the political realm.”
Combining politics and religion is always a potential powder keg, but Feucht believes Christians have an obligation not to shy away from what he sees as the political implications of his faith. His organization “Hold the Line” is a self-described “political activist movement” with the goal “to engage with the church and with millennials in a way that charges them to become more politically active.”
Pointing to the Virginia gubernatorial race, Feucht suggested the political winds were shifting. Topics like education have brought cultural issues front and center in American politics while some have opined that Virginia foreshadowed a future upset for the 2022 midterms.
For Feucht, voicing his sometimes-controversial beliefs isn’t just an imperative, it’s something he sees as an opportunity.
He told Fox News: “You would be shocked at the amount of people that receive and come to our events and are willing to hear the message … I think it’s because we’ve been so bold on issues is the reason why they’re willing to hear because they know that there’s a sacrifice in that – you know that it means something to us.”