Pastors Jurgen and Leanne Matthesius finished the evening with a prayer for Tucker Carlson. The crowd gathered at Awaken Church bowed their heads as Jurgen thanked the lord for Carlson's vision and honesty on April 2, 2022./ Photo by Jakob McWhinney

This post originally appeared in the April 9 Politics Report.

Awaken Church made headlines throughout the pandemic for repeatedly refusing to abide by COVID-19 regulations, even as multiple outbreaks occurred at their locations. The evangelical church wears these transgressions like a badge of honor.  

On Saturday, April 2, Awaken hosted Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson at its San Marcos campus, one of five countywide. Carlson is just the latest right-wing luminary to make the trip. Dennis Prager, Candace Owens and Charlie Kirk have all spoken at the church, and just three weeks ago it hosted a conference that featured Michael Flynn, Roger Stone and Eric Trump.  

There was an anxious energy in the shuttle from Palomar College’s parking lot to Awaken’s San Marcos campus. The sounds of someone listening to a Trump speech on their phone mingled with John Legend’s “All of Me” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” on the radio.  

Across the street from the church, protestors had lined up with empty strollers and shoes signifying the children killed during the fighting in Ukraine and holding signs accusing Carlson of making excuses for Russia. As the van passed by, one occupant said she wanted to punch the protestors.   

“Not very Christian of me,” she chuckled to her husband under her breath.  

The lobby of the church was buzzing. A line for the coffee shop snaked in front of tables set up for candidates, vendors hawking “Let’s Go Brandon” shirts, and antivax and conservative organizations promising to raise “an army to effectively influence local politics.”   

Among those present was former Oceanside mayoral candidate Louis Uridel, who sports a three percenter tattoo on his hand, and Amy Reichert, who runs ReOpen San Diego, the group that has steadfastly opposed the county of San Diego’s response to COVID-19. Her political awakening was fueled by pandemic politics. She’s currently challenging Nathan Fletcher in the District 4 supervisor race. 

Carlson’s speech was loose, but pointed. It oscillated between admiration of his four dogs and jokes about organic peanut butter, to talk of demonic forces and spiritual warfare. He also touched on another of his favorite topics, the “unraveling of Western civilization,” which he said was ultimately an effort to destroy Christianity.  

Carlson, who grew up in La Jolla, heaped praise on Awaken for choosing to stay open during the pandemic, citing the need for fellowship and community, and saying Christian leaders who “chose the path of cowardice and abandonment of their own flocks” had committed a “grotesque sin.” The crowd at Awaken erupted in applause when he scoffed at the idea of getting a second booster shot, and insinuated he hadn’t been vaccinated at all.   

“I skipped the first three, I’m not getting that one either,” Carlson said.  

The night wrapped up with a Q&A between the Fox News host and Awaken lead pastor Jurgen Matthesius, known for his especially vitriolic sermons, and his wife and fellow pastor, Leanne. They bantered about the best way to keep the spark alive in a marriage, what Carlson sees as the most concerning aspects of the current generation of children, and his experience quitting drinking.  

Then Jurgen closed the night with a prayer. Jurgen praised God for putting Carlson on TV.   

“We thank you that you’ve anointed him to be a seer, to be a voice, a voice of hope and a voice of reason, a voice that calls out the wicked one with his schemes and lies and deceptions each and every night, bringing hope to millions around this nation,” he said. “We ask that you continue to bless and honor this great man, Tucker Carlson. In Jesus’ name.”  

“Amen,” the crowd responded.  

Jakob McWhinney

Jakob McWhinney is Voice of San Diego's education reporter.

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  1. Nice Hit Piece Jakob. Here are some of the thousands of articles I’ve collected thru the branch covidian times. From the Book Money Ball – “If he’s a good hitter, why doesn’t he hit good?”

    29 May 2021 – Forbes reports; ‘Some Countries with The Highest Vaccination Rates Are Facing a Surge In Covid Deaths And Infections–Experts Say Complacency Is Partly To Blame’
    “Uruguay has endured the highest Covid-19 death rate in the world per capita for several weeks, despite having one of the world’s most successful inoculation drives, a common situation in a number of other highly vaccinated countries like Bahrain and the Maldives.”

    01 June 2021 – The Daily Mail reports; ‘EXCLUSIVE: COVID-19 ‘has NO credible natural ancestor’ and WAS created by Chinese scientists who then tried to cover their tracks with ‘retro-engineering’ to make it seem like it naturally arose from bats, explosive new study claims’

    01 June 2021 – Zero Hedge reports; ‘Washington Post Becomes Latest Media Outlet to Walk Back “Debunked Conspiracy Theory” Wuhan Lab Leak Coverage’

    01 June 2021 – Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, the Columbia University economist who oversees the Lancet’s COVID-19 commission, dismissed Daszak from the helm of a task force investigating the virus’s genesis, after he flatly refused to share progress reports from his contested research grant.
    • (… Daszak said he was ‘simply following NIH guidance’ when he declined Sachs’s request, because the agency was withholding the reports in question ‘until they had adjudicated a FOIA request.’ The reports are now publicly available, he said.)
    • ‘[Daszak] and NIH have acted badly,’ Sachs told Vanity Fair. ‘There has been a lack of transparency …’
    • He said that the NIH should support an ‘independent scientific investigation’ to examine the ‘possible role’ in the pandemic of the NIH, EcoHealth Alliance, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and a partner laboratory at the University of North Carolina. ‘Both hypotheses are still very much with us,’ he said, and ‘need to be investigated seriously and scientifically’ …”

    07 June 2021 – Great Game India reports; ‘How Top British Scientists Covered Up COVID-19 Bioweapons Research To Peddle Natural Origin Theory’
    “Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Welcome Trust, and Sir Patrick Vallance, formerly president of research and development at the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and chief scientific adviser to the British Government since March 2018, both feature in the ‘Fauci Files’, an explosive batch of emails released under freedom-of-information legislation in America. “

    Oct 30 2021 – UK Government reports suggest the Fully Vaccinated are rapidly developing Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, and the Immune System decline has now begun in Children
    The eight previous Public Health England / UK Health Security Agency ‘Vaccine Surveillance’ reports on Covid-19 cases show that double vaccinated 40-79 year olds have now lost lost 50% of their immune system capability and are consistently losing a further 4-5% every week (between 3.7% and 7.9%).
    “the boosters which will buy them a couple of months of improved Covid immunity which will hide the continuing gradual immune system degradation. These boosters are the same as the original vaccinations (because no other shot has yet been approved).”
    Latest Projections
    Everybody over 30 will have lost 100% of their entire immune capability (certainly for Covid and most likely for viruses and certain cancers – following the evidence from Cole Diagnostics in Idaho and Dr Nathan Thompson and Dr Ralph Baric) within 18 weeks.
    Fully vaccinated 30-49 year olds will have lost it by the 1st week in January. These people will then have no immune defense against Covid-19 at all. The question then becomes how much of the immune system is involved in defending against Covid-19? The worst-case scenario is that they effectively develop full blown acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and destroy the NHS.
    “In individuals aged greater than 30, the rate of positive COVID-19 test is higher in vaccinated individuals compared to unvaccinated”. – PHE Vaccine Surveillance Report for week 41.
    “There is the potential for ADE, but the bigger problem is probably Th2 immunopathology,” says Ralph Baric, an epidemiologist and expert in coronaviruses—named for the crown-shaped spike they use to enter human cells—at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  2. ouch.. little harsh Mr Article Writer. I hope I am not a bad guy for being a conservative and not being vaccinated. Can we disagree and still get along, I think so. I applaud those for standing up and choosing what is right for them. Those who protest have that right, just as those who attend that church and want to sit and listen. Hope you make it to church on Easter…HOPE is a good thing!

  3. Dangerous people all in the name of so called Christianity. The hypocrisy is thick. Btw Jesus was brown and he accepted people for who they were. Awaken church is all about the $$.

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