The city of Minneapolis was aware of Sunday night's Christians-for-COVID event in the Lake Street Kmart parking lot, and from the sound of it, they'd rather it hadn't happened at all.
Spokesman Casper Hill says event organizers had initiated the process of getting requisite permits to hold an outdoor concert on the city-owned property. The city was in contact with "Unity Revival Movement," a newly formed religious outfit founded as a direct response to George Floyd's murder by Minneapolis police.
Unity Revival is an offshoot of the International Outreach Church, a Burnsville house of God founded by Rev. Charles Karuku and his wife Lindsay. According to his website biography, Karuku "flows in miracles, healing, deliverance and the prophetic ministry," which is, by any measure, a lot of things in which to flow.
Karuku is endorsed by no less an authority on Christianity than Sen. Dan Hall (R-Burnsville), one of the most conservative members of the Minnesota Legislature, who says Charles and his team's "practical and spiritual advice will set you on the right course and teach you leadership through sacrifice."
Unity Revival Movement's ongoing partnership with singer Sean Feucht is heavy on sacrifice -- especially for people who have to listen to Feucht sing -- and not so into practical advice, especially for people trying to survive a pandemic.
Hill says organizers would've needed a facilities use permit, a temporary use permit, and an amplified sound permit, all standard issue for an event like this in a normal year. This not being a normal year, they also needed to have a "COVID-19 Preparedness Plan," and express their intent to follow it.
"The City spoke with the organizers at Unity Revival in advance of the event to work through the approval processes," Hill wrote. "Organizers stated they were unwilling to comply with the State COVID-19 guidance for outdoor events by limiting the event to a maximum of 250 individuals at one time."
From clips and photos Feucht posted, it appears the concert was attended by well over that number, with social distancing and mask-wearing at an absolute minimum. (Maybe those plastic tub baptisms were dunking people in pure oleandrin?)
Minneapolis told Unity Revival it wasn't permitted for the concert, and asked organizers to remove any references online to a concert in the former Kmart parking lot. They didn't, and carried right on with the event anyway.
"The City chose not to ask police to arrest trespassers during the event," says Hill, who adds some sort of retroactive enforcement action "is being considered."
Feucht and Karuku, meanwhile, are long gone. Last night they rallied outside the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, again demonstrating an upsetting music-to-mask ratio. They'll be in Milwaukee tonight, before moving on to Kenosha, a city still on edge after the police shooting of Jacob Blake and a vigilante's killing of two protesters, before appearing in Chicago on Thursday.
If Minneapolis or any other city on this ill-advised tour does decide to take action, Feucht and Karuku are leaving a digital trail of evidence about their flouting of COVID-19 protocols. To any investigators compelled to watch for professional reasons, trust us when we say: sound off.