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Far-right cult leader Sean Feucht sent his acolytes to spread Covid on purpose to unhoused communities in LA. The police and the city cheered them on.
The contrast was stunning: as 50 or so black-clad protesters marched past LA’s Twin Towers jail on New Year’s Eve, dozens of LAPD cruisers surrounded the march, with some officers brandishing riot-control weapons. Outside the jail, Sheriff’s deputies dressed in riot suits declared an unlawful assembly precisely at midnight, as protesters celebrated by lighting road flares and smoke bombs.
But over the past 48 hours in LA county, hard-right cultists had been harassing houseless community members and knowingly spreading COVID19, while receiving a warm welcome from LA law enforcement and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s staff. Uniformed LAPD officers waved and gave thumbs-up as maskless cultists marched through skid row, and officers later stopped to chat amiably and laugh with cult members before they left the area. The next day, a member of the LA Mayor’s Crisis Response Team joined a prayer circle with the maskless cultists, violating the city’s own social-distancing rules as he openly offered support to their deadly mission.
The cultists had gathered in LA at the urging of their leader Sean Feucht, a pro-Trump and pro-COVID-spreading zealot. As Southern California’s ICU capacity remained at 0.0% and morgues and private mortuaries ran out of space to store dead bodies, Feucht’s cult decided it was the perfect time to add more corpses to the pile.
Feucht, the son of “medical missionaries,” has built a sizable cult across the nation by luring in thousands of people to watch him sing and play guitar while defying Covid-19 orders with his protest movement Let Us Worship. He tells his followers that he dedicated his life to Jesus at the age of ten while traveling through the Amazon rainforest with his parents, where he fished for piranhas before being baptized in the river, surrounded by cheering members of the Manaos tribe dressed all in white.
Feucht’s backstory is filled with wild claims, like his improbable assertion that he visited Afghanistan shortly after 9/11 and staged a one-man sit-in at the Afghan embassy until they granted him entry to the country. Feucht also plays up a visit to the Korean DMZ, and shares on Facebook the dreams he has of visiting North Korea. He claims that he had written lyrics for his song Finish What You Started (Song for North Korea) in the exact same spot where Trump made history as the first US president to walk over the dividing line at the Korean demilitarized zone. (The lyrics in question: “Oh my God you can do anything, Oh my God Nothing is too hard for you.”) He boasts on Instagram of having the same DMZ photo as Trump.
Feucht’s first leap into cult leadership came with the founding of his organization Burn 24/7 in his dorm room at Oral Roberts University. Supposedly frustrated with a blasphemous, hip-hop loving roommate at the extremely conservative Christian school, Feucht and his future wife Kate decided to start a ministry that would pray 24/7. He asserts the group has now expanded to over 60 countries, including Saudi Arabia.
Feucht went on to join the Bethel Church in Redding, California, a nondenominational charismatic megachurch that also houses his record label, Jesus Culture. Feucht’s official position with the church is volunteer worship coordinator, but he quickly monetized his religious devotion. Politico reports one of his nonprofits had over $300,000 in assets by 2018.
In 2019, he unsuccessfully ran as a Republican candidate for California’s 3rd Congressional District, losing badly in the primary but raising $333,000 in the process. He was endorsed by Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk among numerous Christian nationalists for this position.
Feucht visited the White House in Dec. 2019 for a “faith briefing” with Mike Pence followed by a prayer and photo-op with President Trump. An infamous photo shows Feucht leaning across several people to touch Trump’s sleeve. The prayer that included about 50 worship leaders across America was an attempt to spiritually protect Trump during the intensifying impeachment probe on Capitol Hill. For Feucht, it was also an opportunity to discuss his candidacy for Congress.
In February 2020 Feucht visited Washington D.C. again for the National Prayer Breakfast, and also held his own event at the National Mall alongside Kris Vallotton, senior associate leader at Bethel Church. Standing next to Feucht, Vallotton guaranteed to his audience that Trump would win a second term because that is “what the Lord wants.” Right Wing Watch reported that at the event Vallotton warned of “potentially fatal consequences for people who resist God’s plans for Trump.”
After his failed Congressional bid, Feucht began a series of “worship protests,” defying Covid regulations and insulting the Black Lives Matter movement from coast to coast. He has called the BLM movement a fraud and a “dark movement with hidden agendas” and condemned its support for “radical gender theory and the complete denuclearization of the family.” He also started a “cancel cancel culture” campaign on social media and had a Trump-esque response when his posts were removed for “sensitive content.”
On June 13th, 2020, Sean Feucht held an unannounced performance next to the George Floyd memorial in Minneapolis while people were mourning there. He called it the “HOPE RALLY” and said in an Instagram video that this performance was “one of the most powerful times of worship and ministry and revival I ever had in America.” Later he went to the Floyd memorial site and on camera renamed his event the “Minneapolis miracle,” going on to say, “The trauma happened right here. The injustice happened right here. And now, right here on this corner, the move of the Holy Spirit is happening.” Feucht bragged about the concert’s “racial reconciliation moments,” where a performer onstage would encourage audience members to find someone of a different race, hold hands and ask for forgiveness.
Feucht repeated his act in Portland, where he brought thousands of his worshippers in from out of town and performed a few blocks away from where protesters had been incessantly tear-gassed and brutalized by Portland police. His slogan this time was “Riots to Revival.”
Feucht wrote an article for The Federalist, a fascist media outlet funded by dark money, denouncing Antifa and the “godless politicians” who are “adopting tactics that more closely resemble those of jihadist ayatollahs than men and women who are sworn to uphold the rule of law.”
In Seattle, Feucht held a worship gathering at Cal-Anderson Park and highlighted the several baptisms that took place during the show. The original location for his gathering, Gas Works Park, was closed by the city that day in order to prevent what was widely recognized as a “super-spreader” event. Feucht proceeded to hold his concert elsewhere and then condemned the city for targeting religious groups and not paying attention to “antifa throwing molotov cocktails.”
Feucht also returned to Redding for a maskless concert, earning a rebuke from his own church. In a statement, Bethel leaders said of Feucht’s event “We share in the concerns of risk and potential negative impact that such an event could have on the recovery and reopening of Shasta County as we navigate COVID-19.”
In a story about the extreme irresponsibility of Feucht’s Covid rallies, Rolling Stone magazine referred to the cult leader as “Jesus Christ, Superspreader.” Feucht promptly began attempting to turn a profit on the coverage, offering “Jesus Christ Super-Spreader” t-shirts for $32 each, calling it “maybe our most epic merch idea yet.”
Fox News has featured Feucht numerous times, applauding his determination and innovative approach to religion amid the COVID-19 restrictions. Fox also put a spotlight on him when running for Congress and emphasized the picture of him and the other worship leaders with President Trump at the White House.
To close out the year, Feucht organized at least four pro-plague public events in LA county on Dec. 30 and 31.
First, cult members invaded LA’s skid row despite pleas from local community activists and religious leaders to stay away. Skid row community members branded the cultist invasion a form of “biological warfare” as the cultists knowingly spread COVID to a vulnerable population.
Community members, led by skid row-based faith organization Church Without Walls and the Los Angeles Community Action Network, organized a blockade of the cultists, with dozens of vehicles blocking the streets where Feucht’s followers planned to gather.
As the maskless cultists arrived, three of them performed an exorcism on a resident of skid row, placing the person at extreme risk as they bowed their heads in to within inches of the resident for an extended period of time.
Among the loudest and most extreme of the cult members was Meghan Rachelle Marks, whose Twitter profile indicates she’s acted as a kind of Johnny Appleseed of COVID, traveling extensively without a mask across Canada and the United States since August.
Begged to put a mask on, Marks threw the mask on the ground and stomped on it before becoming physically aggressive with community members.
Community activists prevented the cultists from moving deeper into skid row until they (mostly) put masks on. Several who refused to mask up were driven off by community activists angry at the cultists’ plan to kill houseless folks. At least two of the pro-COVID cult members were sheltered by Fred Jordan Missions, a skid row religious organization that describes itself as “the extended hands and feet of Jesus in the midst of COVID-19.”
Pete White, executive director of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, told the LA Times, “You cannot bring a super-spreader event into a community as vulnerable as skid row and think people won’t show up. Even when the city has refused to stop the event, the people will.”
The cultists ended the night with a march through skid row, as LAPD officers smiled and waved, with at least one officer offering the cultists a thumbs-up for their attempted murder of unhoused community members.
Feucht did not bother to show up to the skid row event, but he took to Twitter to lie about it the next day, claiming that his cultists were “assaulted with smoke bombs, pepper spray & death threats.” LCRW cannot definitively say that no death threats were made, but the claims of smoke bombs and pepper spray were outright lies.
In response to community calls to shut down the event, LA’s spectacularly worthless mayor Eric Garcetti responded through a spokesman that he hoped the cultists would wear masks. The next day, his office went from useless to actively harmful, as the cultists invaded an Echo Park encampment with the open encouragement of a member of Garcetti’s Crisis Response Team, who bowed his head in prayer with the cult members.
Feucht did not show up to the Echo Park event either, but he does appear to have made his way to Little Tokyo for an impromptu and highly illegal maskless gathering. Police did not intervene.
Finally, the night of New Year’s Eve, hundreds of cult members gathered at Higher Vision Church in Valencia for a music-and-Covid festival. The vast majority were maskless, but sheriff’s deputies stationed nearby did nothing to stop the illegal event.
Of course, Los Angeles law enforcement has no qualms with shutting down Black Lives Matter events, and has routinely brutalized peaceful marches and rallies since the George Floyd uprisings began this summer. As Feucht’s COVID party raged in Valencia and Sheriff’s deputies looked on, the Sheriff’s department instead decided to declare an unlawful assembly for a small group of anarchist protesters outside the jail.