How Sean Feucht Helped Bring the Devil's Music to Indiana's State Capitol - Word&Way

How Sean Feucht Helped Bring the Devil’s Music to Indiana’s State Capitol

(RNS) — A conflict between The Satanic Temple and musician and Christian activist Sean Feucht is poised to escalate as the Temple prepares to host its first Let Us Burn concert in the Indiana State Capitol on Sept. 28 at noon.

The concert is meant to offer an alternative to Feucht’s Christian-themed concerts being held at or around state capitols.

Satanic Planet performs in Brooklyn, New York, in April 2023. Photo by Becky DiGiglio

Shortly after announcing the Let Us Burn concert, the Temple received a cease-and-desist letter from Feucht’s lawyers demanding it stop using the tour logo in promoting the event, citing trademark infringement.

“Your use of the “Let Us Burn” and its corresponding logo is a violation and infringement of the Ministry’s duly registered trademarks, as “Let Us Burn” is a confusingly similar mark,” read the letter from Feucht’s lawyer.

Feucht also protested the concert in spiritual terms.

“The devil always tries to counterfeit the authentic,” he tweeted in mid-June.

In a more recent statement to RNS on Monday, he said, “You know you’re doing something good for the Kingdom of God when your opponent is literally Satan.”

For the past three years, Feucht has been touring the country, putting on concerts and rallies, often in public spaces. Those concerts began as protests to COVID lockdown rules known as “Let Us Worship,” but they’ve since taken on a more Christian nationalist tone. This past spring, Feucht teamed up with the right-wing youth organization Turning Point USA to launch a Kingdom to the Capitol tour of statehouses.

The first event was held March 17 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The latest events were held outside Oregon’s and Idaho’s statehouses.

In a July interview with The Washington Times, Feucht said that it is essential for Christians to step outside the four walls of the church and bring worship to every state capitol.

“We believe this is a season for revival for our nation,” the tour’s website reads.

All of the tour events were held outside, with the exception of the May 7 Indianapolis concert, which was hosted within Indiana’s statehouse. Feucht’s “Let Us Worship” concert ran 90 minutes and was attended by Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. During the concert, Feucht said a blessing over Crouch.

Following the event, members of The Satanic Temple, a nontheistic 501(c)(3) religious organization known for its political activism, took notice.

Riley Phoebus, head of the Indiana Congregation of The Satanic Temple, sent an inquiry to Tracy Jones, the state’s director of events, asking to schedule its own concert event inside the capitol.

“That stage is as much ours as it is his,” said Phoebus. The application was rejected because, as Jones’ email response read, the “type of event was not permitted.” Phoebus responded by “demanding equal opportunity to do what Sean did,” she told RNS in an interview. The state did not budge.

Then the Temple’s lawyers stepped in.

“Feucht’s public performance in this public facility removes all doubt that ceremonious activity is a historically permissible use of the facility,” their demand letter read.

The state acquiesced, and the Satanic Temple’s event, which will include music and ritual, was confirmed for Sept. 28 at noon inside the Indiana Statehouse.

“We are not asking for special treatment; we are just asking for equivalent representation,” said Phoebus.

Music will be provided by Satanic Planet, the organization’s band. TST co-founder and spokesperson Lucien Greaves is the frontman for the band. Greaves said the event will bring the message of pluralism to counter Feucht’s self-proclaimed attempt to “hijack” state capitols.

“(Satanic Planet’s) purpose was to be a band like any other,” Greaves added, “However, after becoming aware of what Feucht was doing, we felt perfectly poised to assert” this message.

“We intend to play as many locations as Sean Feucht played, on the same terms that Feucht played them, to whatever extent our fundraising will allow,” Greaves said. They can’t sell tickets.

An online fundraiser has earned to date 74% of its $15,000 goal.

The Indiana concert will be the first in the Temple’s own capitol tour, which was named Let Us Burn in direct response to Feucht’s mission, Let Us Worship.

The tour is what Phoebus called “an inversion of what Feucht is doing.” He wants to bring Biblical concepts back into government, she explained, and the Temple is looking to “support religious pluralism,” freedom of expression, and a government free from religion.

The tour will go on as branded, Greaves said. The response from the Temple’s lawyer to the cease-and-desist letter was: “We are not impressed.”

Meanwhile, Feucht continues his own Kingdom to the Capitol tour through August.