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GOP Candidate Steve Garvey Gets Open Endorsement from Megachurch Pastor Jack Hibbs, Who Admits Breaking the Law

The pastor of a California megachurch, Jack Hibbs, recently admitted to violating laws prohibiting churches from supporting political candidates.

During a sermon at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, Hibbs endorsed GOP Senate candidate Steve Garvey, prompting discussions about the intersection of religion and politics.

Pastor’s Endorsement of Garvey

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Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills openly endorsed GOP Senate hopeful Steve Garvey during a recent sermon.

“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.”

Law Breach

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However, he immediately added, “I just remembered, it’s against the law for me to say that in the pulpit.”

Endorsement in Violation of Church Law

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Despite the legal prohibition, Hibbs then proceeded to move outside the pulpit but continued to endorse Garvey, emphasizing that his endorsement stemmed from his role as a citizen rather than as a representative of the church.

Legal Constraints on Church Involvement

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Churches are prohibited from engaging in certain political activities to maintain their tax-exempt nonprofit status.

While pastors can discuss political issues, endorsing specific candidates is off-limits.

Pastoral endorsements are permissible as long as they are made in the pastor’s individual capacity.

Response from Freedom From Religion Foundation

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Following Hibbs’ endorsement, the Freedom From Religion Foundation immediately condemned the act.

The organization said it will “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.”

Social Media Criticism

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Video footage of Hibbs’ endorsement circulated on social media, prompting criticism and calls for repercussions.

Several users said that churches engaging in politics should lose their tax-exempt status, highlighting the contentious nature of church involvement in political matters.

Support for GOP Candidate Steve Garvey

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Steve Garvey, a former baseball star, has garnered Republican support in his bid for the Senate.

However, his candidacy faces challenges due to California’s unique “jungle primary” system, where candidates from all parties compete on the same ballot during the primary election.

California’s Primary Election Dynamics

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In California’s primary election, all candidates compete on a single ballot, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.

Garvey faces tough competition from Democrats like Representative Adam Schiff and Katie Porter.

Implications for General Election

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While Garvey’s chances in the general election remain uncertain, California’s predominantly Democratic landscape suggests an uphill battle for Republican candidates.

Overwhelmingly Democratic

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In recent elections, the state has overwhelmingly favored Democratic candidates, presenting challenges for GOP hopefuls like Garvey.

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