Calvary Chapel San Jose is pastored by Mike McClure. The following are examples of problematic speech by McClure:
June 6, 2021 Protest of CC San Jose:
On June 6, 2021, at both their 9 and 11 am church services, Calvary Chapel San Jose hosted far-right extremist Tony Perkins. Perkins is the President of the Family Research Council (FRC), a designated hate group and a leading, national lobbying organization for white evangelicals and other Christian Nationalists. A former cop and ordained Southern Baptist pastor, Perkins has led the FRC since 2003. He often courts racists, speaking in front of white supremacist groups and buying mailing lists from the likes of Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke.
Perkins is known for his virulent opposition to LGBTQIA people and their civil rights. An enthusiastic proponent of California Proposition 8, which prohibited same-sex marriage in the state, Perkins also pushed the U.S. Congress to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment to outlaw marriage equality on a national scale. Frequently Perkins blames LGBTQIA people for natural disasters. He has even applauded a Ugandan bill that called for the execution of queer people.
Calvary Chapel San Jose, the church hosting Perkins, is part of the larger Calvary Chapel movement, a network of nearly 1,800 non-denominational evangelical churches in both the U.S. and abroad. Founded by pastor Chuck Smith in 1965 in Southern California, Calvary Chapel grew out of the larger Jesus Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Calvary Chapel grew in popularity in large part thanks to the young charismatic preacher Lonnie Frisbee. Sadly, Frisbee, who lived much of his life as a closeted gay man and later died of AIDS in 1993, has been largely written out of Calvary Chapel history.
Today, the vast majority of Calvary Chapels are far-right, authoritarian, evangelical churches that embrace white supremacist thinking, Christian Nationalism, queerphobia, and male supremacy. Most Calvary Chapel pastors—like San Jose’s Mike McClure—are also Christian Zionists who believe that Israel must be restored to the Jewish people in order for the so-called Second Coming of Christ to occur.
Operating under what pastor Chuck Smith termed the “Moses Model,” whereby a church is governed by one senior led pastor, Calvary Chapel pastors have almost entirely free reign to lead their church with virtually no oversight or consequences for toxic behavior. Not surprisingly, churches within the Calvary Chapel network have been mired in abuse scandals. Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale was charged with child molestation in 2017 and Pastor Bret Allen Welty of Calvary Chapel Boise was also accused of child sexual abuse in 2019. Calvary Chapel San Jose pastor Mike McClure himself has openly bragged about helping an allegedly reformed child molester become a missionary.
McClure frequently invites extremists and hate group leaders to his San Jose campus. In the past five months alone, McClure has hosted Jerry Boykin, Vice-President of the Family Research Council, conspiracy theorist and far-right activist Charlie Kirk, pseudo-historian David Barton, who has called AIDS the punishment for being gay, as well as Calvary Chapel Bangor Maine pastor Ken Graves, who has warned that a “militant homofascism” is destroying America. McClure has also drawn criticism for refusing to follow country health guidelines. Despite defying health orders, McClure’s Calvary Chapel still accepted Federal PPP money.
Calvary Chapel San Jose also runs a private classical Christian school for children, Calvary Christian Academy. The school offers both its own classes as well as caters to evangelical homeschooling families. On their website, the school prominently promotes Doug Wilson, another far-right extremist from Moscow, Idaho who has defended slavery in the U.S. as “a life of plenty, of simple pleasures, of food, clothes, and good medical care” and said that women who reject male supremacy “tacitly agree on the propriety of rape.”
Calvary Chapel San Jose is not the first Calvary Chapel to come under fire for supporting the leaders of hate groups. Last summer during their annual men’s retreat, at which San Jose pastor Mike McClure was a speaker, Calvary Chapel Sonora was met with protest when they hosted Family Research Council Vice-President Jerry Boykin.
As residents of the Bay Area, we believe Tony Perkins and his hateful views about us and our fellow LGBTQIA friends and family members have no place in our community. As June is Pride month, we joined together to protest Perkins’ talk and celebrated Pride at Calvary Chapel San Jose on June 6.
Here is news coverage of our protest:
• Left Coast Right Watch, “Covid-denialist San Jose church to host Klan-linked hate group leader Sunday”: link
• San Jose Mercury News, “Pride-month protest of anti-gay speaker at Calvary Chapel San Jose leads to curbside debates”: link
• San Francisco Chronicle, “San Jose church that defied coronavirus orders draws protest by hosting anti-gay leader”: link
• The Friendly Atheist, “As a church hosted a Christian hate group leader, protestors got the last word”: link
Here are images of our protest: