Megachurch Pastor Confesses to Breaking the Law by Promoting Republican Votes in Church

Jack Hibbs, the pastor at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in California, who recently showed support for GOP Senate hopeful Steve Garvey during a sermon, has acknowledged that his endorsement breaches laws preventing churches from backing political candidates. 

God, Politics, and Pro-Life

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Hibbs told his congregation that he felt God supported candidates who are “pro-life,” with Garvey being his choice in the upcoming Senate primary on March 5. 

Pro-Life Stance Shakes Church

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Given that the church has a following of over 10,000, this move has sparked considerable discussion.

Vote for Garvey

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“How are you voting, regarding our upcoming local vote? I want to publicly, right now today, encourage all of you to vote for Steve Garvey. You’ve got to vote for Steve Garvey. I just remembered, it’s against the law for me to say that in the pulpit,” Hibbs confessed.

Pastor Steps Down for Politics

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Stepping away from the pulpit, Hibbs continued his endorsement as a private citizen, emphasizing that his support for Garvey stems from his personal views, not the church’s stance.

Baseball Legend Eyes Senate

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“As a public citizen, Steve Garvey is not only one of the greatest baseball players of all time, but we want Steve Garvey to represent us in the Senate, and so Steve Garvey is the only guy on the ballot,” he added. 

Tax-Exempt Tensions 

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Churches are required to steer clear of certain political activities to keep their tax-exempt status as nonprofits. While pastors can talk about political issues during their sermons, they are prohibited from supporting or funding specific political figures directly through the church. 

However, they do have the freedom to endorse candidates in their capacity as individuals.

Action Against Church’s Tax Status

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation announced on X (previously Twitter) their intention to request that the IRS review Pastor Hibbs’ church’s tax-exempt status, arguing that it should be revoked due to his actions. 

They argue that contributions to his church should not be considered tax-deductible anymore.

A Legal Battle Over Faith and Taxes

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“This is a clear violation of the law and we will be asking the IRS to ensure that Pastor Hibbs’ church no longer receives the benefits of 501(c)(3) status and that donations made to his church are no longer treated as tax deductible,” The Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote. 

Social Media Backlash

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This move comes in the wake of a video of Hibbs’ endorsement was shared on X by Right Wing Watch, drawing criticism from various quarters. 

Critics argue that churches involved in political activities should face taxation. 

Tax Time?

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Ramon Caudle commented on the platform that regardless of the setting, “Behind the pulpit or not, he’s still addressing his congregation in a political manner. Take away his tax exemption!”

Similarly, attorney Bradley P. Moss expressed his viewpoint succinctly: “Tax. Them. Already.”

Garvey Gains GOP Momentum

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Former baseball star Steve Garvey has managed to secure the support of numerous Republicans for his Senate campaign in a state renowned for its progressive stance. 

Yet, Garvey’s journey to the November general election is fraught with obstacles.

Jungle Primary Challenge

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In California, the unique “jungle primary” system could prove to be a formidable barrier. This system places candidates from all parties on a single primary ballot in March, with only the top two vote-getters advancing to the general election, regardless of party affiliation. 

This setup poses a particular challenge for Republicans, as it often results in two Democrats being chosen for the November race.

Tight Race for the Second Spot

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Adam Schiff is currently seen as the likely candidate to progress to the general election, leaving Steve Garvey and Katie Porter in a tight race for the coveted second spot. With no definitive front-runner between Garvey and Porter, there’s a real risk for Republican hopefuls to be edged out of the election altogether.

California’s Democratic Lean

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Even if Steve Garvey secures a spot in the general election, the overall competitiveness of the race is seen as minimal, given California’s strong Democratic leaning. The state’s voting history in the 2020 presidential election underscores this point, with over 63 percent of the vote going to President Joe Biden and only around 34 percent to Donald Trump. 

These figures highlight the challenges Republicans face in swaying a state with such a strong Democratic inclination.

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