- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 6, 2020

Seattle plans to shut down a park to prevent a Christian rally from being held there on Labor Day even as left-wing protesters descended on the city for a holiday weekend of mass anti-Trump and anti-police demonstrations.

Sean Feucht Ministries had scheduled a worship rally Monday at Gas Works Park, but Seattle Parks and Recreation said in a Friday statement that the park would be closed that day “due to anticipated crowding that could impact the public health of residents,” citing the risk of novel coronavirus transmission.

“Out of concerns for the safety of all those who visit Gas Works Park we have opted to close the entire park for the day,” said the department. “Seattle Parks and Recreation does not allow unpermitted public events to take place in Seattle parks and asks the public [to] continue to adhere to current public health guidelines so that we can keep our parks open.”

Mr. Feucht, who has held “Let Us Worship” events in 19 cities in the last two months as part of his Riots to Revival movement, accused the city of religious discrimination, given that Seattle has been for months a hub of mass protests as well as left-wing rioting.

“This is the height of hypocrisy for the City of Seattle to turn a blind eye to riots, looting, and AntiFa, while refusing to let Christians gather in a public park to sing and worship,” said Mr. Feucht in a statement. “First the government shuts down churches. Now it’s shutting down parks to stop us from worshipping. Time to stand up church!”

He indicated in a Facebook post Saturday that he planned to hold the event anyway, posting, “We’ll see ya in Seattle on Monday” at Gas Works Park.”

The closure came as more protests were held over Labor Day weekend in Seattle. Refuse Fascism led a “Trump/Pence Out Now” street march Saturday featuring demonstrators holding signs and chanting anti-Trump slogans, as shown on video.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Alliance Against Racial and Political Repression held a rally Sunday evening to “protest the reprehensible treatment of Seattle’s most marginalized communities by the Seattle Police Department.”

That event was scheduled for Cal Anderson Park, the site of the three-week Capitol Hill Protest Occupation [CHOP], which saw Black Lives Matter protesters and others take over a six-block neighborhood for three weeks in June.

The parks department said it has been “committed to keeping parks open during this pandemic as they provide critical physical and mental health supports to our community.”

“However, we are also committed to ensuring that parks do not become spaces where COVID-19 is transmitted,” said the department. “Prolonged close contact with a large group, without the use of a mask, is the type of behavior that public health experts have determined to hold a high risk for transmission of COVID-19.”

The Washington Times has reached out to the city for comment.

Compliance with mask-wearing rules at mass gatherings during the pandemic has varied. A Sean Feucht rally last month in Portland drew hundreds with “very few masks in [the] crowd,” according to KGW-TV.

Mr. Feucht, a missionary and musician known for his distinctive long blond hair, is no stranger to Seattle. He drew hundreds of worshippers to an Aug. 9 rally at Cal Anderson Park, along with protesters shouting “Hail, Satan” and “white Antifa yelling & threatening black local pastors,” he said in an Instagram post.

Protesters tried to rush the stage where the worship band was playing and shut down the generators.

Nevertheless, “we saw salvations, healings, miracles and baptisms! It was on another level!” said Mr. Feucht on Instagram.

King County, which includes Seattle, is now in Phase 2 of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s coronavirus guidance, under which churches may hold outdoor services on their property with up to 200 participants, as long as they are wearing masks and households are distanced 6 feet apart.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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