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The story of a homeless man who stole Sean Feucht's guitar, then found God, is a lie
Christian Nationalist Sean Feucht claims a thief got baptized at his concert. Reality, however, tell a very different story.
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Do you remember our Long National Nightmare from over the summer?
Back in June, Christian Nationalist and COVID super-spreader Sean Feucht (rhymes with “exploit”) announced that his guitar had been stolen. Someone had broken the back window of his SUV while he was away and made off with the musician’s “IRREPLACEABLE” possession.
That was awful, no doubt. Not just the theft but the crime. Feucht was right to be upset about it; he wasn’t making this up.
But a few days later, Feucht was miraculously reunited with his guitar. He explained that it had been “traded in for dope” and ended up in a pawn shop. One of his friends saw it there, bought it, and returned it to Feucht.
Lovely. That was quite a series of coincidences but I was glad he got it back. I’d feel just as relieved.
But this is Sean Feucht we’re talking about. He’s a Christian Nationalist who denies reality for a living. You knew this story wasn’t going to end there.
So just a couple of weeks later, there was another update to the story: Feucht’s team had found the guy who stole the guitar! That man confessed to the crime, repented, and asked for forgiveness! Aren’t God’s ways incredible?!
But this is Sean Feucht we’re talking about. He revels in lying and exaggerating to build up his Christian brand. You knew this story wasn’t going to end there.
Which is why it wasn’t surprising to see, several weeks later, that Feucht invited the guy who stole his guitar to a concert, where the man allegedly “GAVE HIS LIFE TO JESUS!!!!”
There was even video from the event where “Zach,” the thief, was brought up on stage:
That video short ends with Zach getting baptized.
What a twist. Truly a miracle.
Feucht’s message was clear: God works in mysterious ways. Even situations that seem horrible at first can eventually have happy endings because “God always writes the best stories.” (Oh, and if you attend Feucht’s concerts, you, too, might witness a miracle right in front of your eyes!)
If that story seems all too perfect, though, you’re right to be skeptical.
Aaron Hedge of RANGE Media just published an incredible article that explores every facet of this supposed miracle. He got in touch with Zach Williams, the man at the center of Feucht’s anecdotes, to find out what aspects of this story were accurate, made-up, or blown out of proportion. The whole thing is worth a read.
For starters, yes, Williams admits to stealing the guitar. That was true. The 33-year-old has lived on the streets of Spokane, Washington for decades, and while he’s been trying to find work so he can get his life in order, theft is the easiest way to get the things he needs to survive. (He’s not allowed to panhandle due to local laws that could land him in jail.) When he saw a guitar case in the back of a vehicle one day, he figured he could steal it and sell it.
But he didn’t end up doing that. Before Williams could take the guitar to a pawn shop, evangelist Dean McCarty, a member of a local church where Feucht had been preaching, tracked Williams down. McCarty had a hunch where the guitar might be because he often prayed for unhoused people and knew Williams personally. As Hedge writes, McCarty “quickly tracked Williams down and convinced him to give the guitar back for a reward of $110.”
Williams agreed to the trade, even though selling it to a pawn shop might have been more lucrative, because “I thought it would be the right thing.”
So why did Feucht lie and say the guitar was found in a pawn shop?
McCarty says his buddy texted Feucht and said the guitar wasn’t found in a pawn shop. Maybe Feucht just misread it. But even after Feucht acknowledged the mistake, he still ran with the lie.
Weeks later, when Feucht was doing a concert in the area, he asked McCarty’s church if Williams could appear on stage with him, and McCarty went to work tracking Williams down once again. Williams agreed to show up.
But he didn’t agree to anything else that happened:
Speaking to RANGE, Williams denied having converted, saying, “Definitely not.” He also said being onstage was unpleasant. “It kind of made me feel … like I was being showboated. I didn’t know the dude. I don’t like being touched by people, especially if I don’t know them. It’s just weird.”
Williams said the group then asked if he would get baptized, the Christian ritual in which sinners’ unclean past is washed away as they are dunked in water and they are born anew. “I’m like, ‘No, I don’t want to get baptized right now.’”
Williams said they replied, “Oh, c’mon, man, you gotta get baptized.”
Williams said he again refused, but that they continued to pressure him.
“And they kept on doing it for like 15, 20 minutes, begging me to get baptized, and I’m like, ‘Fuck, okay, let’s go do it.’”
Williams didn’t realize his reluctant dunk into ice-cold water was being filmed so that he could be exploited by Feucht’s ministry.
Needless to say, he didn’t actually accept Jesus. He didn’t at the time. He doesn’t now. He’s got more pressing issues to deal with, like finding a home. In hindsight, he referred to what Feucht did as “creepy.”
Even McCarty, the guy who “delivered” Williams to Feucht, isn’t happy with how the story was spun out of proportion:
McCarty correctly suspected that Williams did not accept Jesus on that stage and criticized Feucht for exaggerating the tale. “You’re stretching it to make a story, and you’re full of crap,” McCarty said, pretending he was speaking to Feucht. “We don’t need to make a show of this deal.”
Maybe the most damning aspect of the piece is how, the day after Williams was dunked into water for Feucht’s Christian marketing machine, no one from that ministry did anything to actually help him.
The morning after he allowed himself to be pulled onstage, photographed, videotaped and eventually submerged in water, Williams says, he woke up back on the street in an area he has spent countless hours in the last few years: near the City Gate Fellowship, a church for unhoused people.
Williams is still on the street. You may not approve of his decisions regarding crime and drugs, but his struggles are no different than what countless unhoused people have to put up with every day. And instead of doing something to make his life incrementally better, Christians like Feucht only care about what people like Williams can do for them.
Kudos to Hedge for getting to the bottom of a story that Feucht has exaggerated and twisted for months. It’s not the first time a Christian grifter has been caught in a lie and it certainly won’t be the last, but it’s a reminder of just how despicable Feucht is—even when you go beyond his alliance with a domestic terrorist and everything he’s done to exacerbate public health emergencies.