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The Washington Insiders Helping Sean Feucht Spread Christian Nationalism in Congress

By Jack Jenkins
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Musician Sean Feucht performs in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, March 9, 2023, in Washington. (RNS photo/Jack Jenkins)

Soon after the sun set in the nation’s capital on an early March day in 2023, Sean Feucht, an evangelical Christian worship leader turned anti-COVID-19 vaccine activist, led a brief worship service in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Feucht, who had spent the previous three years performing in front of sprawling crowds, drew only a smattering of members of Congress and their aides to an event that had been promoted as a mobilization of “an army of prayer warriors.” One member, Colorado’s Lauren Boebert, who calls Feucht a “great friend,” knelt and spread her arms wide as he sang. 

Other conservative House members — U.S. Reps. Barry Moore of Alabama, Josh Brecheen of Oklahoma, Tim Burchett of Tennessee, Michael Cloud of Texas and Tracey Mann of Kansas — stood less conspicuously in a loose clump, swaying in time with the music or holding a hand aloft. Lingering at the back was Rep. Doug LaMalfa of California, who had endorsed Feucht when the singer unsuccessfully ran for Congress himself in 2020.

LaMalfa’s presence may have been telling: Years after Feucht was denied by primary voters in California’s eastern 3rd district, he is still vying to build influence on Capitol Hill, looking for allies to help him in pursuit of a nation where, as he puts it, “Christians are making the laws.”

Since that appearance in the Rotunda, Feucht, who has tied himself to Christian nationalism and been connected to political extremists, has created a small coalition of Republican strategists, staffers and lawmakers, meeting with them in a Capitol Hill townhouse known as “Camp Elah,” named for the valley where David slew Goliath.

Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “What If Jesus Was Serious about the Church?” by Skye Jethani. To donate, click here.

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Republican strategist Timothy Teepell, rear left with arms raised, attends a Sean Feucht performance in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, March 9, 2023, in Washington. (RNS photo/Jack Jenkins)

And while Feucht often frames himself as a Washington outsider, arguably his most powerful ally is a figure who hovered along the edge of his Rotunda concert, hands raised in prayer: a Republican strategist named Timothy Teepell.

Teepell moved to Washington from Baton Rouge when he was 18 to work for Michael Farris, the leader of the Christian homeschool movement who later became CEO of the conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom. Soon he was back in Louisiana, attracting national attention for managing the congressional campaigns of Bobby Jindal, and then Jindal’s run for Louisiana governor in 2008. When Jindal won, Teepell became chief of staff.

After Jindal’s unsuccessful run for president in 2016, Teepell is credited with then-Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley’s ascension to the U.S. Senate in 2018. Teepell’s name later came up in an investigation into Hawley’s Senate campaign, ending in a 2022 ruling by a state judge that Hawley’s staff “knowingly and purposefully” subverted the state’s open records law by concealing emails between Hawley’s attorney general staff and his campaign workers — in particular, Teepell.

The political operative eventually joined the conservative strategy firm OnMessage Inc., which subsequently launched a public affairs firm, OnMessage Public Strategies, featuring Kyle Plotkin, a fellow Jindal and Hawley alum.

Feucht waded into politics about the same time as Teepell’s star began to rise, with the singer kicking off a nationwide “Let Us Worship” tour that featured large worship services to protest pandemic restrictions against churches. Though they were mostly held outdoors, the services tested and often violated local restrictions against COVID-19, making Feucht, with his long blond hair and his ever-present acoustic guitar, a culture war lightning rod with a counterculture vibe.

At a multi-day worship session in early 2021 in West Palm Beach, Florida, Feucht told the crowd, “I’d like to call up Timmy Teepell.”

Teepell, boyish and baldheaded, strode onstage with his then 20-year-old son, Thomas, and other members of his family. Teepell smiled as Feucht launched into a more than 10-minute speech and prayer. “The Lord sent this man of God into my life in a season where I … had just finished running for Congress and just getting beat up,” Feucht said. “God sent me a brother.”

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Sean Feucht, right, prays over Republican strategist Timothy Teepell, left, and his family in West Palm Beach, Florida, in February 2021. (Video screen grab)

Feucht recounted calling Teepell for advice after he received criticism during the Let Us Worship tour, to which Teepell allegedly replied, “Man, you can’t back down.”

As he laid hands on Teepell, Feucht declared: “We pray that Timmy would put more revivalists in public office.”

Feucht suggested the strategist was at least informally advising him and hinted that his efforts in Florida received more attention after he told Teepell about his plans. “Immediately, we had state representatives and people retweeting the story of this place because of Timmy,” Feucht said.

Teepell did not respond to interview requests for this story. A representative for Feucht declined an interview request.

In September of that year, Teepell was listed as a speaker at Feucht’s “Hold the Line” conference at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. By that time, Teepell’s political clients had been welcomed into Feucht’s orbit: Hawley, who has increasingly embraced Christian nationalism, appeared onstage at a Feucht event on the National Mall in 2020. Feucht prayed over the senator, calling on God to elevate “men and women of faith” into positions of political power.

Sean Feaucht
Christian musician Sean Feucht, right, prays with Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., left, during a rally at the National Mall in Washington, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Hawley showed up to speak at subsequent Feucht events, in one instance waving a Bible as Feucht declared to God that he and others in attendance “promise to pledge our support” to “men and women just like Josh” in the 2022 midterms.

Three OnMessage clients — Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, Montana U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale and Virginia Senate candidate Hung Caoaccording to OpenSecrets — have appeared on Feucht’s podcast since 2021. Cao’s appearance took place just days after he announced his candidacy, with Feucht saying, “We’re going to get behind you, we’re going to support you.”

Though Feucht joked that Teepell is “very expensive” during the Florida laying-on of hands, formally employing Teepell could be tricky, as nonprofits such as Feucht’s are forbidden from explicit electoral political work such as endorsing candidates. It’s unclear if Teepell officially works with Feucht: Neither Teepell nor OnMessage appears on tax disclosure forms of Sean Feucht Ministries, Feucht’s primary nonprofit (he runs multiple). But since 2021, when tax records show Feucht asked the IRS to recategorize Sean Feucht Ministries as a subcategory of nonprofits known as “a church or a convention or association of churches” — which do not have to file public tax disclosures — the organization’s finances have been shrouded.

The organization, according to A News Cafe, raised more than $5 million during the Let Us Worship tour in 2020 — a massive increase over the previous year’s earnings.

Teepell’s connections to Feucht now extend to Thomas Teepell, Timmy’s son, a Senate aide (“I get to do cool things,” says his LinkedIn explanation of the job) who credits Feucht with his spiritual transformation from a self-described weed-addicted frat boy into a dedicated Christian. In a podcast episode recorded in April, Feucht interviewed Thomas, who recounted how the Holy Spirit “hit” him as he and his father were called onstage in Florida years earlier.

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Sean Feucht interviews Thomas Teepell at a house Feucht calls “Camp Elah” in Washington, D.C. (Video screen grab)

In the podcast, Feucht said Thomas helps out with services at his Capitol Hill base, Camp Elah. Feucht purchased the property sometime between February and August of 2022. One video asking supporters for donations to maintain the house features Hawley.

In another video, Feucht makes clear his intention in buying the house, which is close to Congress and steps from the Supreme Court: “It is time in America that we take back territory.” 

The building’s previous owner was Brandon Harder, chief of staff to Rep. Mann, the Kansas Republican who attended Feucht’s Rotunda service. Harder and his wife, Kristina, a Trump Health and Human Services staffer, were among multiple congressional staffers who were identifiable by their security badges at Feucht’s Capitol Rotunda worship last year. The next day, the couple appeared on Feucht’s Camp Elah podcast.

Harder has also been featured in Camp Elah in videos for Feucht, recalling how he felt a call to ministry after going on a day-long, nearly 35-mile prayer walk through the Capitol grounds in 2015. He has also organized a “staff prayer breakfast” on the Hill, he said, a monthly gathering where staffers “come together and talk about Jesus, and talk about what we need to do in this place.”

As for Camp Elah, aside from worship services held in a living room area, documented on social media, the site hardly buzzes with activity. Last April Feucht announced plans for daily prayer walks from the site to the Capitol, but, despite advance notice, reporters from various outlets had difficulty spotting prayer walk participants leaving or returning to the house until the last day, when roughly 10 people made the trek. Repeated visits to the house have found no one on the premises, or none who answered the door. Recently the doorbell was removed, its wires left dangling.

Sean Feucht
Thousands braved chilly, wet weather to worship in front of the U.S. Capitol. (RNS photo by Jack Jenkins)

But it’s clear Feucht is doing his best to build a cohort of legislators and aides around his Christian nationalist fusion of faith and politics, and to advertise his Capitol Hill ties to his followers outside the Beltway. He has repeatedly mentioned the Rotunda worship service on his 50-state “Kingdom in the Capital” tour conducted in partnership with Turning Point USA — a conservative activist group that, like Feucht, has pushed forms of Christian nationalism. Boebert and Mann have spoken at Feucht events in their respective state capitals; LaMalfa and Burchett have appeared on his “Hold the Line” podcast.

At least four of the eight members who attended the Rotunda service have hung the Appeal to Heaven flag outside their congressional offices. Feucht often waves the Revolutionary War-era ensign, increasingly associated with Christian nationalism and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, on tour.

As he builds his network in Congress, Feucht appears to be fostering ties to the executive branch should Trump win in November. In late June, Feucht convened a prayer call days before President Joe Biden’s debate with Trump, telling some participants he had convened the last-minute Zoom session in response to texts from his “friend Chris LaCivita,” senior adviser to Trump’s reelection campaign.

LaCivita, Feucht said, asked him for “intervention from the divine” ahead of the first presidential debate. “I think it’s important, man,” he said. “When people are crying out for God to move in their campaign, heaven’s going to respond.”

jack jenkinsJack Jenkins is an award-winning journalist and national reporter for the Religion News Service.

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35 Responses

  1. “…….When people are crying out for God to move in their campaign, heaven’s going to respond.”

    ………………….and what if heaven’s response is in the favour of your political opponent (enemy), will you then accept the result as Elohim’s will???? Or will you sulk, rebel with another rioting claiming it was rigged with satanic plot twists.

    Presumptuously assuming the answer will be in their favour because they “cried out for god to move….”. As if…………………………..

    It would behoove these NAR/Christo-Nationalist characters to learn from 2020 and exercise some humility, bearing in mind:

    Proverbs 19:21-23 “many are the plans in man’s heart, but it is the counsel of the LORD that shall stand.

    Provers 16: 33 “the lot (votes) is cast into the lap (ballots), but the disposition (decision) thereof is of the LORD’s.

    Daniel 2:20-22 ” for the LORD puts down one and sets up another. (*whether you think the person is “satanic, evil and antichrist” is irrelevant).

    Suffice it to say, Let there not be a reprise of Jan. 06, 2021.

  2. Jack, you did a wonderful job writing this article. It’s clear you did your research and I just pray that God helps us all. So many are deceived by clowns like this guy because they don’t bother to read scripture. Drives me crazy.

  3. I used to like Sean before he got bitten by the “political spirit!” 😆 But my question is, when will the IRS and DOJ take on the religious non profits like Sean’s, (who get tax breaks) and investigate them as a threat to American democracy? Sean supports the 7 Mt Mandate, Project 2025, Christian Nationalism & Trump. How does he get tax exempt status?

  4. Julie Roys you are going to lose support. You’ve lost mine. I used to respect your work. You are supposedly a journalist exposing corruption in the church. The Alliance Defending Freedom is “far-right?” What’s wrong with you guys? Why are you editorializing instead of doing journalism? It’s so clear that your writers are Leftists… you just alienated half the country and half of your readership. That was a bad call.

    1. I agree the ADF is not “far right”; I regret I missed that when I was editing. I have changed the characterization to “conservative.” For the record, Jack Jenkins is not one of our writers. He’s employed by RNS and we republished the article because I think Christians should be aware of Feucht’s political involvement.

      1. Thank you Julie for these articles.

        Christian Nationalism is a false gospel, and the most dangerous one I’ve seen in my lifetime.

    2. I must respectfully disagree with you. Do some research and look at sources besides Newsmax and Fox….also, get quiet before the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth, you may be surprised. Thank you Julie for featuring stories like this. So many believers are getting sucked into “Christian Nationalism” … it needs to be exposed for what it is.

  5. I’d be interested in hearing how people connected to the Roys Report have voted historically…

  6. Grifters gonna grift. Sean Feucht is such a fraud- capitalizing on Jesus’ name, leading people astray. it’s gross. thanks for shining a light on it.

  7. Apart from a few editorial comments from the author, this almost reads as a Wikipedia entry for Sean Fuecht, who honestly, I’ve never heard of before. I’m missing the point of the story. Some conservative musician is invoking God and scripture and praying over elected officials? Oh the humanity!

    I’ve noticed recently that Biden has been attending churches where some of the messages spoken from the pulpit are clearly partisan. Is this not Christian Nationalism? Or is that only when conservatives do it? I’m still trying to figure out what the Left’s definition for Christian Nationalism is. Maybe if we called Mr. Fuecht a Christian community organizer then everyone could move on to some more important issues facing the country.

    1. A nation where “Christians are making the laws” is a pretty good definition of CN both sides might agree on. If only being a “Christian lawmaker” translated into character, wisdom, and emotional intelligence.

    2. John, you really don’t see the difference between Biden going to church, and Feucht trying to gain power and influence by sidling up to lawmakers?

      not to mention, what Feucht is doing is likely illegal based on non-profit laws and political activities.

  8. Yes, this is outrageous! Christians in government worshipping God, and on capital grounds! Don’t they know about the separation of Church and State? Keep your religion in your churches – unless, of course, we tell you not to have church services – then you better obey. We Christians should not be trying to get godly people in our government. Let the wicked do what they want without any pushback from us. Resist not evil. And if they destroy the US, let them – our kingdom is not of this world. And these worship services at state capitals and even in Washington D.C. – how dare you! That’s like what they did on Jan 6!!

    1. David, maybe you missed the point. Julie isn’t disparaging worship music sessions at the capitals of the states. But a concern with Sean’s political involvement. Sean is connected with Bethel in Redding, CA and they have promoted dangerous teaching that is potentially heretical and comparable to New age teaching. There is a potential unhealthy tie between politics and religion. Even, Jesus warned his follower, when he said – Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. I can’t imagine any genuine Christian not wanting true better leaders. But we know history and sometimes people used God and Jesus as a means to seek power for there on selfish agenda. I am not accusing Sean of this but I think he is a concern. Also, Julie stated above she didn’t write the article but published and she gave her reasons.

      1. Jamie,
        I think this post is opinion and misinformation. You said yourself, “There is a potential unhealthy tie between politics and religion.” Potential is not the same as actual.

        I am no Bethel fan, but where in the article does it prove Feucht is now a political crazy because he is associated with Bethel? Oh, that is your bias and why you agree with this! Get my point?

        This article is taking a particular and undefined religious belief about politics and religion, and giving a spin against an individual.

    2. David –

      Would you feel the same way if these government officials were of another faith or religion (Islam, Baha’i, Hindu, etc)?
      If there were Islamic prayers, Buddhist chants, or Baha’i worship services taking place at state capitols, would your response be the same?
      What would your response be if leaders from the Nation of Islam were climbing the political ranks or meeting with major political influencers?

      I am a faithful Christian who finds Christian Nationalism to be a false gospel full of idolatry and blasphemy; I also understand how those of other faiths may feel when seeing these sorts of events not only happen but be encouraged by those who would throw an absolute FIT if it were another faith being represented….

      Our faith is a choice; not something to be mandated or legislated by our government. Our founding fathers literally came here for religious freedom and to get away from government-sanctioned religion. What happened to “small government”? I guess “big government” is ok when it’s enforcing what WE believe on others?

      1. You are correct – I would not be happy to see people of other faiths, or people of no faith (atheists) deciding the direction of our country. But they are. Ungodly people work hard to influence what our country stands for; why can’t believers who love God influence our country? Also, I have never heard Sean or people who work with him advocate FORCING people to become Christians. I would never support that.

        1. David –
          You didn’t fully answer the question: I asked how you’d feel if you saw other faiths (Islam, Baha’i, Hindu) praising, worshipping, meditating and/or praying at the US Capitol, with government officials. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable with it, what would you say to your fellow citizens of other faiths who may be uncomfortable with this display on government property with government officials (that their taxpayer dollars pay for)? While I am a believer, I would understand and empathize.
          Yes, it’s fine to vote and support those who share your same values. No one has said that’s problematic. That is far different from trying to legislate Christianity into being a national religion, or looking for Christians to get preferential treatment over those of other faiths.
          That is problematic. That is what Christian Nationalism supports. I believe many know this, but do word cosplays (saying things like “what’s wrong with wanting to elect people who are fellow believers?”) to try to sidestep how sinful, blasphemous, offensive, and discriminatory it is.

  9. Based on some of the comments, a good question may be, “Do we want to measure others’ Christian character and devotion based on their political affiliation rather than the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, etc? Doesn’t this point to a greater problem? So many churches have become political entities with primary allegiance to a political party over the local church. This in itself can become a form of idolatry. All political leaders and groups are flawed in some ways — we should be careful not to worship them. And if we ask aloud, “I wonder how the readers of this site vote?” we are measuring people by their political affiliation rather than the fruit of their lives (the true biblical standard) and unfairly suggesting that anyone who disagrees with my politics is a suspect Christian.

  10. When will the Church realize America is no longer a Christian nation, and hasn’t been for awhile? The sooner Christians abandon the seductions of politics and power and passing laws, maybe then the simple truth will be embraced once more that only in Christ alone is true change possible.

    1. America (and any other countries) were never a Christian nation. Simply because God uses and transforms people, not countries. God’s kingdom is not of this earth. Despite what David Barton and Eric Metaxas may say.

      1. You’re right, America was constituted a secular nation, and there is one body of Christ, it’s members found in every nation. My comment was more of a nostalgic nod to an earlier time when a large majority of Americans professed Christian faith. To your point, Christianity is still the majority religion in the US, but we are not a Christian nation.

        1. america’s past only holds nostalgia for straight white christians. In the “ideal” 50’s, Black people were segregated, and women had no votes and very few rights. Turn of the century? Jim Crow. Before that? Slavery. So yes, Christianity was the “majority religion”, but that didn’t keep anyone from treating people horrifically. The past was only “better” for white people. thinking nostalgically about it just means you’re willing to trade other people’s rights and dignity for your own comfort.

          1. You’re right about the inequities that have characterized and plagued both society and the church historically and today, the reference to nostalgia was to when His people saw Christ as the only hope of salvation both of an individual and a country, while today many see politics as that hope.

  11. I have met Sean and he isnt a wacko guy, but someone who has a heart to see Jesus lifted up in america as well as the rest of the world. Building connections with politicians is great and praying for our leaders is biblical.

    1. As long as those politicians and leaders are conservatives/Republicans though, right?
      Why isn’t Sean building connections with and praying for leaders who are liberals/Democrats? (You DO know there are Christians on both sides of the aisle right?) But we know why, just as we know what the outcome would be: if Sean were praying with and for a liberal/Democratic leader (Biden, Pelosi, Obama, whoever), this thread would call it “Biblical” to question if he is a real Christian and call him evil.

      And THAT is a big part of the problem: political ideology getting mixed in with the gospel. It’s why I question the sincerity of ANY of this.

    2. Narcisists are often charming, so I can see how he might have come across that way. Sean is a grifter getting rich of of the Body of Christ, all while seeking power and control. he’s a charlatan and a thief, and it will go poorly for him on the day of judgement, according to Amos and all of the other prophets who speak out against people who use religion to oppress the marginalized. Woe to him.

  12. Sean Feucht is amazing! He is hosting Let us worship events all over the country! Worshipping God freely at beaches, in cities, in front of capital buildings! I see so much Pharisee in this post.
    Of course, we want Christian leaders… of course we as believers should be involved in politics and the direction of our country!
    Sean is a man on fire for God! I question if the person who wrote this would have criticized Jesus, John the Baptist or Paul…
    Just because Sean is charismatic and believes we should be involved in the direction of our country through politics and activism, doesn’t mean you should criticize him. The Bible says not to attack God’s anointed and is very against division.
    The Holy Spirit is for today including the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Read your Bible. Read Acts! It’s all in there for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
    Way to alienate the body of Christ!!

    1. There is nothing wrong with wanting a Christian leader or getting involved to have leaders whose values align with your own. That’s different from trying to legislate your religion into all practices of the nation.

      It IS wrong to start mixing the gospel with political parties and ideologies, as if only “REAL” Christians are conservatives (or liberals). Yes, be politically and socially active promoting the gospel of the BIBLE, not the gospel of the Republican (or Democratic) party. THAT is the rub. And the sad thing is, I believe few are Biblically literate and spiritually mature enough to know the difference.

      I’ll be impressed when Sean gets out there praying with and for leaders REGARDLESS of political affiliation, because the Bible says to pray for ALL leaders, not only Republicans.

  13. What a fascinating thread! The failure of some commenters to acknowledge that Christianity is not only superior to other “religions,” it is the ONLY way to God, is quite astounding. Jesus himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man comes to the father except through me.” (John 14:6)

    So, of course we should desire Christianity and its message for ALL people. The attempt to equalize all religions is similar to attempts made by some who would suggest that cultures cannot be ranked and are somehow all equally good.

    They are not.

    So, yes, the USA will thrive as a nation only if it keeps focused on the truth of the Gospel: Jesus is the only way to God and Judeo-Christian principles are far superior to principles based on…anything other than the Bible.

    We cannot mandate religion, but we can certainly fight for Biblical principles and against Satanic ones.

    1. While I do believe Christianity is “superior”, I do not believe I am to be given preferential treatment by the government for being a Christian.
      Christian Nationalism does so.
      That is wrong.
      Ironically, that is against both scripture AND the Constitution.

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