Monday, May 17, 2010

Is Phil Liberatore being misleading about Chuck Smith's Support?

In April, 42nd Congressional candidate Phil Liberatore released a campaign press release titled, "Congressional Candidate Phil Liberatore Praised by Calvary Chapel Founder Pastor Chuck Smith."

The release started by saying,

"Pastor Chuck Smith, founder of the Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, CA is publicly expressing his admiration for Congressional candidate Phil Liberatore in his race for the GOP nomination in the 42nd district."

"Unless righteous men stand for public office our country will surely crumble," said Smith. "I have known Phil for a number of years and have great respect for him. He loves God, his family and his country and right now our nation needs men like Phil who will stand in the gap. I'm glad he's answering the call to service"

Later the release said, "I'm honored to receive such kind words from a great man like Pastor Chuck Smith," noted Liberatore. "Calvary Chapel has blessed the nation and Southern California with the wonderful work they've done these last four decades. I'm honored but also humbled by his gracious words."

To continue reading click Read More below.

Yesterday we received a comment from someone claiming to have called Calvary Chapel about the "endorsement" of Liberatore. They claimed they were told that Calvary Chapel had received "tons of calls" about it and that Chuck Smith had not endorsed Liberatore.

Today they forwarded me an email from Calvary Chapel that states the following,

"Pastor Chuck has not endorsed any candidate for Congress. Pastor Chuck always expresses his admiration for Christians who desire to enter into Public Service, but it is not his intent to endorse any particular candidate for Congress. I hope this helps you to understand his position."

So, is the Liberatore campaign being misleading?

The release never used the phrase "endorsement," but the campaign put out a press release touting that Liberatore was "praised" by Smith. The quotes, which I am sure are legitimate, are used in a way to make you think this is an endorsement.

I think the average person would take the release to mean that Chuck Smith was actively supporting Liberatore for Congress, which he is not.

I do not know where the quotes came from but this isn't the first time Liberatore has used quotes from Christian leaders as campaign support. In January we posted a story about how Liberatore was using two quotes of support from his book as campaign endorsements.

Liberatore is challenging Rep. Gary Miller, Lee McGroarty and David Su for the Republican nomination in the 42nd Congressional District.


  1. Has anyone even checked to see if you are just making this crap up? Seriously, Pastors can't endorse but it's no secret that Phil has advertised for years on kkla and kwave, one would assume the pastor smith and phil spoke about him running for office. pastor smith knowing phils character must have signed off on the above press release. This is really a non story, let's talk about Rancho or maybe the salary of a guy work
    ing at a government funded non profit that makes more than the president, who received earmarks from Gary Miller.

  2. I guess you will have to take my word for it, but feel free to contact Calvary Chapel to confirm it. The email from Calvary Chapel has a staff name, title and direct phone number on it, so it sure looks legit.

    By the way, Pastors can endorse candidates. They just cannot talk about that endorsement from the pulpit.

    I think what makes this interesting is that Liberatore picked his words VERY carefully. In a time when people are upset with politicians not being honest and using "double speak" , he choose to put out a release like this. It may be accurate but it could really backfire if one of his opponents decides to make an issue about it. But I doubt they will.