SEATTLE — California worship leader Sean Feucht returned to Seattle for a Labor Day “Let us Worship” rally that, like his rally last month at Cal Anderson Park, drew hundreds of people, most not wearing masks or social distancing.
The rally was originally planned to take place at Seattle’s Gas Works Park, in defiance of Washington’s coronavirus restrictions, but the city temporarily closed the park ahead of Labor Day, citing safety concerns and “unpermitted” public events not being allowed in city parks. Seattle did not specifically name Monday’s rally or Feucht as the reason for the park closure.
“If this was about COVID that would be one thing,” said Feucht in an interview with KIRO 7 Monday, addressing criticism over his defiance of coronavirus restrictions. “But this is about a blatant discrimination against Christians because the same questions were not asked and are still not asked about protesters.”
Faced with a closed park and park rangers moving people along, Feucht and his supporters met for more than two hours across the street from Gas Works Park, singing and worshiping as some in the crowd were baptized.
“The opposite side of it is the CHOP,” said one man who drove from Pierce County to attend the rally but did not want to be named. “They open it up and let them do whatever they want but they don’t let Christians come here and peaceably assemble. I don’t understand the hypocrisy of that.”
KIRO 7 spoke with several people who, despite the coronavirus mask mandate and crowd limits meant to slow the spread of the virus, believe people should have the right to choose whether to wear face coverings.
“I actually have an autoimmune disease and I’m putting myself in this situation knowing that God is going to protect me,” said a woman who attended Monday’s rally.
King County health officials told KIRO 7 after last month’s worship rally that those in attendance, at a minimum, should wear masks afterward when close to others in order to reduce the risk of possibly spreading the virus before any symptoms appear.
“People are dying of this,” said Jade Gee, who held a sign at Monday’s rally encouraging people to wear a mask. “I am not out here protesting you. I’m just asking to please, if you’re going to visit our city, please keep our citizens safe and please wear a mask.”
Gov. Inslee’s office said while the worship rallies were not in compliance with state social distancing and mask requirements, it’s up to local law enforcement to enforce current restrictions on gatherings.
“We want to come together and peacefully gather,” said Feucht, who first held rallies in California in defiance of that state’s coronavirus worship restrictions. “Which is our right to do.”
Cox Media Group