FFRF asks IRS to revoke Jack Hibbs’ Calif. church’s 501(c)(3) status

Pastor Jack Hibbs preaching in front of his congregation at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has contacted the IRS about continued electioneering by Christian hate preacher Jack Hibbs at the Calvary Chapel Chino Hills church in California.

On Feb. 25, Pastor Jack Hibbs used his Sunday service to endorse a political candidate, asking his congregation to “vote for Steve Garvey” in the upcoming California primary. He began:
I want to publicly right now, today, encourage all of you to vote for Steve Garvey. You gotta vote for Steve Garvey. It’s against the law for me to, I just remembered it’s against the law for me to say that in the pulpit so…

Hibbs stepped in front of the pulpit and continued:
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 your only, is the only guy on the ballot. Um, so there, that was legal. I just had to move from here to there.

Hibbs is a notable figure in recent news, including having been invited to pray before a session of Congress in January by House Speaker Mike Johnson. In the same sermon, Hibbs stated that he may not be able to fly to Washington, D.C., believing that he may be on a “no-fly list,” while also criticizing a letter from the Congressional Freethought Caucus outlining why having Hibbs deliver an opening prayer before the house was inappropriate. Hibbs has historically used his position to preach a militant agenda about the LGBTQ community, the Jewish religion, the Muslim religion and anyone else who has conflicted with his “biblical worldview.”

FFRF is urging the IRS to revoke the tax-exempt status of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills church so long as Hibbs uses his position to spread his political views.

“Some churches, like Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, have chosen to make a mockery of their 501(c)(3) status by reaping all of the benefits of tax exemption while knowingly violating the statute by openly endorsing political candidates running for public office,” FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line writes to the IRS.

The Internal Revenue Code states that to retain a 501(c)(3) status, an organization cannot “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.” Calvary Chapel Chino Hills has therefore breached the responsibilities of its tax-exempt status by openly endorsing a candidate for elected office, and FFRF is urging the IRS to ensure that Calvary Chapel Chino Hills no longer receives the benefits of its 501(c)(3) status.

“The church is blatantly and gleefully flouting tax-exemption regulations,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “The IRS must sanction it at once.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 40,000 members and several chapters across the country, including more than 5,100 members and two local chapters in California. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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