“How About We ‘Take The Land’ and ‘Bring Heaven to Earth’”: Gubernatorial Candidate Brian Dahle Hopes Mobilizing The Religious Right Will Help Him Win California

A recent conversation Dahle had on controversial worship leader and political activist Sean Feucht’s podcast highlights the collaborative political strategizing that is occurring between America’s dominionist Christian leaders and conservative politicians. Together, Dahle and Feucht are pushing hard for more Christian influence on California policy.

On a recent podcast appearance, California state senator and gubernatorial candidate Brian Dahle referenced a Biblical story about two spies who brought back a report that God’s chosen people had what was needed to “take the land” or gain control of new enemy territory. 

Dahle shared the biblical allegory on the July 12 episode of Christian activist Sean Feucht’s Hold the Line podcast. Referencing the story of the spies, he told Feucht’s audience that to turn California around, “We just got ‘to take the land’ and bring heaven to earth.”

His tone contrasted with previous efforts to identify himself as a reasonable, moderate Republican, instead strongly messaging philosophical agreement with those in the far Christian right. The “bring heaven to earth” terminology is well known in Christian churches that subscribe to dominionist, or Seven Mountain Mandate theology, including the internationally-known Redding megachurch Bethel, which teaches that Christians should “infiltrate” all parts of society, including the government, to “bring earth into alignment with heaven.”

For Dahle, Feucht, and others, the language is used as a rallying cry used mobilize Christians who believe God holds the solutions to America’s current fall from its religious and moral heritage. But for many, the language is a frightening indicator of a slide towards theocracy. If codified into law, Christian dominionism would lead to the loss of significant rights, including access to abortion and gay marriage, neither of which, in the minds of dominionists, represents God’s will for earth.

Dahle’s view on abortion was clear on the podcast. “This (election) will be the first time that people actually go in and check the box (for abortion),” he said, referring to Proposition 1, which is scheduled to appear on the fall ballot. “It’s on you, if you want the blood on your hands, then you vote for it.”

He did not respond to Shasta Scout’s three requests for comment over the last two weeks. 

Screenshot from a YouTube video of Sean Feuch’t podcast with Brian Dahle.

This is not the first time Dahle has messaged his Christian identity to appeal to voters. In 2019, he received criticism for holding what appeared to be a Christians-only town hall event with Redding City Council Member and Bethel Church Elder Julie Winter. But aligning with Feucht, who commands such a deep following with the evangelical right, is a visible and significant move for Dahle.

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After Feucht’s failed run for Congress in 2019, which was financially supported by Bethel’s two top leaders, Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton, he launched Hold the Line and began holding his politicized worship events, designed to push back against COVD mandates. Along with others from Bethel Church, during former President Donald Trump’s impeachment process in 2020, Feucht participated in a worship event in the White House and prayed over Trump in the Oval Office. He seems to maintain connections with the former president; Trump made a video appearance for one of Feucht’s events held last year on the National Mall in D.C.

Feucht’s also aligned himself closely with far-right conservative politicians, including U.S. Senator Josh Hawley and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert. Feucht uses some of his events to register Christian megachurch attenders to vote, and says that he’s looked at the numbers, and if Christians come out to vote, California, and the nation, could swing red. 

Sean Feucht and others pray over former President Trump in the Oval Office. Official White House photo by Tia Dufour.

Recent reporting by Rolling Stone Magazine documents Feucht’s stunning financial success since shifting his attention from worship leading and missionary activities to political activism. Dahle used his podcast appearance to pull on that fundraising success, asking Feucht’s supporters to help him win California by donating a dollar a day to his campaign for governor.

A seed company owner from Lassen County’s tiny far northern town of Bieber (population less than 300), Dahle announced his candidacy for California governor last fall. He began his political career on the Lassen County Board of Supervisors in 1996, serving for 16 years before being elected to the California Assembly in 2012. Dahle left that role in 2019, after winning a special election for California Senator representing a number of northern California counties, including Shasta. (His wife, Megan Dahle, successfully campaigned for his vacated Assembly seat.) This June, Dahle finished second in the primary election for governor, with 18 percent of the vote. 

A July 28, 2022 post on Sean Feucht’s Hold The Line Instagram account.

Feucht used the podcast to express his undivided support for Dahle in the run for governor, saying he’s excited about how God is opening doors for Christian leaders in America. He cited as proof the recent fall of Roe v. Wade, and politicians across America who are running for office on overtly religious platforms. Mixing church and state in that way doesn’t bother Feucht at all.

“People call it Christian nationalism,” Feucht explained “they call it all kinds of things, but I really see that there’s a new standard of bold leaders in politics that are unafraid to put God in the center.” 

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