Seattle shut down a park on Labor Day to stop a Christian prayer rally, so the Sean Feucht Ministries moved the event to the streets, renaming it a “worship protest.”
Hundreds of worshipers turned up Monday night to the “Let Us Worship” rally, which Mr. Feucht held on a blocked-off street and parking lot after Seattle barricaded Gas Works Park, the original venue, citing the risk to public health.
Mr. Feucht blamed the city’s decision on “bias,” given that at least three protests were held over Labor Day weekend, including a Monday melee that saw demonstrators throw rocks, bottles and homemade explosives outside the Seattle Police Officers Guild building on Fourth Avenue South.
“It’s so wild because yesterday they had on Fourth Avenue in Seattle, they had Antifa rioters throwing Molotov cocktails at policemen, and yet the city focused their energy on our peaceful worship and prayer rally in Gas Works Park,” said Mr. Feucht on “Fox & Friends.”
He said Gas Works Park was fenced off, adding, “I don’t even know how much tax dollars were wasted on that.”
“They were blocking us out from gathering to worship,” said Mr. Feucht. “They just said anticipated crowding from an event. We were the only event that was planned. We were the only rally planning to be there, so it was obviously a targeting and a discrimination toward believers in this city.”
Mr. Feucht has held 21 worship rallies in two months, including a Sunday event that he said drew about 12,000 people to the California state capitol in Sacramento, and that “it’s just continuing to build momentum.”
He accused elected officials of targeting religious activity in their novel coronavirus public-health orders, saying the restrictions have produced a backlash.
“Last night we just pivoted, we called it a worship protest, so now technically it’s legal, and we just went to the streets,” said Mr. Feucht. “But what we’re experiencing now across America, especially with the churches being closed and these godless politicians that are taking aim at the church, people are rising up. There’s a backlash that’s growing.”
Rachel Schulkin, communications manager for Seattle Parks and Recreation, said in a Tuesday email that the park was closed off for the day “to prevent public health concerns related to park use.”
“The City received information that a large public gathering would take place on Monday, September 7 in Gasworks Park,” she said. “The organizer of the planned event had previously held an event in a Seattle park that violated multiple public health standards in Washington State — participants were unmasked, in large numbers, and in close proximity.”
She said the decision was made without regard to the content of the event.
“This action was unrelated to the nature of the planned event, and was consistent with other parks closures and modified hours for several parks across the system for the same reasons,” she said. “The Parks Department has made it clear that crowded parks will lead to closed parks.”
Seattle police arrested 22 people in the Fourth Avenue rioting on charges that included arson, obstruction and failure to disperse. Police also recovered “intact Molotov cocktails” dropped at the scene, according to the SPD blotter.
“There’s just a bias,” said Mr. Feucht. “It’s the height of hypocrisy right now that they’re letting these cities succumb to rioting and burning and pillaging, and yet they’re targeting Christians.”
A video posted on Mr. Feucht’s YouTube account showed both masked and unmasked attendees at the rally, which featured a worship band, dancing, cheering, and at least one baptism.
“People need hope, especially right now during the craziness of life,” Jenny Pund of Puyallup told the Seattle Times. “The government is not going to give you hope, seemingly. Jesus is the answer.”