How are we rounding out 2020? Most of us are staying safe and staying home, donning masks and heading into nature, or going out for essential work and errands and trying to stay as safe as possible. Some people, however, are attempting to hold maskless worship concerts. Yes, really.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, evangelical singer and pastor Sean Feucht, no stranger to maskless rallies to protest COVID-19 restrictions, has planned some concerts over New Year’s in the Los Angeles area in spite of community members vehemently asking him not to. Why? Because we’re, of course, still in a literal pandemic. On Dec. 30, homeless activists protested followers of Feucht in downtown Los Angeles over the maskless event, and the videos are pretty stunning.
Some background: The “skid row” location is particularly important because many of the people in that part of downtown Los Angles are unhoused. Unhoused people are vulnerable to begin with, but especially given the way we understand the novel coronavirus to spread, holding a maskless event for people who may not have access to face masks, regular hand-washing, or other hygiene opportunities is notably reckless.
How did this go down? According to the Times, roughly as you might expect. Activists encouraged Feucht followers to wear masks and use sanitizer. Some followers reportedly refused these options, while some arrived wearing masks. According to the newspaper, it wasn’t clear whether Feucht himself was actually present.
Who was present? The police. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Los Angeles Police Department officers would be available in case any violence arose during the event. Though the Times reported no incidents of violence, the paper did note that there was no social distancing among Feucht supporters to speak of.
Videos reportedly from the protest have gone viral on Twitter.
And some real help came hours before the maskless concert, too.
Disturbingly, according to local outlet CBS Los Angeles, two more events are planned in the LA area in the coming days. On Thursday, one outreach event is scheduled for a tent city in Echo Park. In the evening, a concert is scheduled in the parking lot of a church in Valencia.
If you heard about the maskless worship protest held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. back in the fall, you’re right in guessing that Feucht was behind that one, too. If you’re wondering how that came to be allowed, it’s because the Trump administration granted the permit.
We’ve seen a number of churches across the nation be linked to coronavirus clusters and outbreaks. Even still, a handful of churches in California have fought to hold indoor services. In fact, some have defied COVID-19 restrictions and refused to shut down. That’s scary in itself, but potentially exposing some of the most vulnerable among us—our unhoused neighbors—is downright wrong.
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