The Christian political activist conference Hold the Line, led by controversial conservative worship leader Sean Feucht, made its Colorado stop at The Road Church in Colorado Springs on Friday.
The event, which featured local politicians such as U.S. Representatives Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO), El Paso County Commissioner Stan VanderWerf, and Colorado Springs City Councilor Dave Donelson, among others, encouraged Christians to get more involved in politics. Feucht and conservative author Eric Metaxas used two well-worn topics to motivate the people in the pews: LGBTQ people and abortion.
Feucht, who gained notoriety for his “Let Us Worship” events flouting COVID-19 restrictions and who has come under scrutiny for alleged ties to far-right extremists, acknowledged the controversy. “They get shocked when they come to our events, and they’re the most diverse thing ever,” he said. “They get shocked when they see person after person battling same sex attraction get delivered. Person after person in transition therapy getting set free.”
Feucht has made headlines recently for organizing protests against Disney, which he claims is directing LGBTQ content at children. “Disney came out and it was exposed that they are deliberately trying to pervert our children and are intentionally trying to manipulate, intentionally trying to seed LGBTQ stuff into their stuff and they’re going on record saying, ‘Yes, we are trying to indoctrinate your kids,’” he told the crowd at The Road Church. “2022 is the year of the parents.”
Feucht highlighted Colorado Springs’ history of evangelical activism during the heyday of the Moral Majority and Focus on the Family. “It brings me to Colorado Springs in the 80s and 90s,” he said. “If Disney tried to pull this stuff in the 80s and 90s, Colorado Springs would have shut this thing down. Emails would have gone out from Focus on the Family. They would have mobilized a massive boycott and Disney would have shifted in a day. That’s the legacy of this city.”
That legacy was part of an era where Colorado was labeled the “hate state” following the passage of Focus on the Family-backed Amendment 2, a ballot initiative that prohibited local municipalities from enacting anti-discrimination laws protecting gay, lesbian, or bisexual people. Amendment 2 was ultimately overturned in the 1996 Supreme Court ruling Romer v. Evans, but not until after a concerted boycott effort cost the state millions.
Feucht also took a moment to celebrate the leaked Supreme Court draft decision that could potentially overturn Roe v. Wade. “2016 to 2020, we see three Supreme Court justices in one term,” he said. “People say, ‘Oh, the church got duped by voting for Trump.’ I’m like, ‘Really? Really, you want to talk about that now? The proof is in the pudding. We’re standing on the precipice of the death decree of Roe v. Wade being reversed.’ … You have pastors apologizing that Christians are celebrating that you won’t be able to murder babies anymore. This is astounding to me. These are the seasons where God is mobilizing and raising up a remnant.”
Metaxas, who is also a defendant in former Dominion Voting Systems executive Eric Coomer’s defamation suit against Colorado conservatives Michelle Malkin and Joe Oltmann, urged the audience to take a stand against LGBTQ issues. “If you avoid some of this stuff, folks, you’re guilty of allowing it to continue,” he said. “When a 14 year-old girl has her breasts cut off because you don’t want to be divisive, you clearly don’t love her. Jesus commanded you to love that girl, to speak truth, for her sake, but you’re saying, ‘No, I’m going to pass that by because I don’t want to be divisive. I’m just going to preach the Gospel, I don’t want to offend someone who may have pro-LGBTQ tranny views.’”
Metaxas was scornful of the idea that religious institutions should stay out of politics. “We’re being told by many that, ‘If you don’t just stay out of politics totally, you’re divisive if you take a stand,’” he said. “Another thing that’s important to say is, what season are you in in history? If you say in 1985 you can be a Democrat, you can be a Republican, you can be this, you can be that. I would say there’s something sensible about that, but what happens if the Democratic Party does become the party of — you name it. It has, fairly lately, become the party of cultural Marxism, and when I say ‘cultural Marxism’ I mean everything that goes along with that — the critical race theory, which is pure madness, it is evil. Socialism. Communism. All of these things, you understand, Bill Clinton of the 90s, the pot-smoking draft dodger guy, that guy was infinitely more conservative than anybody willing to open their mouths up today in Congress or in the Senate, with a tiny exception of maybe Joe Manchin.”
Greg Locke, another controversial, far-right faith figure, recently came under scrutiny for telling his congregation, “You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation.” Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Washington D.C. based nonprofit that advocates for separation of church and state, sent a letter to the IRS regarding Locke’s statements. The letter noted, “Though Locke stated he was not a ‘full-fledged Republican,’ he clearly told his congregants to vote against the Democrats, from the pulpit of his church. This violates the law and we ask for an investigation into Locke’s conduct.”
Metaxas, who is not a pastor at The Road Church, made similar, although arguably more nuanced, comments on Friday. “The left has changed,” he said. “It’s not the left of Paul Tsongas and Dick Gephart, and you plug in the Democrat. It’s not that world anymore. It is now a world that has given itself over to some of the most monstrous ideas. The idea, that just the other day they voted in the Senate and 49 Senators, on the Democratic side, voted to have 100% abortion rights in every single state. … There was a time when you could be a Christian [and] you could be a member of that party. The party has moved.”
The IRS does allow churches to engage in political activity over “issues of concern,” but requires that such activity be nonpartisan and not endorse specific political candidates. Todd Hudnall, pastor at Radiant Church in Colorado Springs, noted that pastors today are often, “Accused of being ‘political’ when we’re being biblical.”