Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson is using an untraceable church to raise money for his legal bills and political activity after multiple crowdfunding sites and payment processors severed ties with accounts linked directly to him and his right-wing group.
Gibson began promoting the “Church of Faith and Freedom” across his social media platforms last month, telling supporters that he now prefers that they send him donations through the organization’s website.
In recent solicitations, the conservative activist claims his political opponents have “done everything they can to shut down ways for Christians to fund raise, accept donations, or make any money at all.”
“Thankfully,” Gibson’s pitch continues, “‘The Church of Faith and Freedom’ is helping us Christians by accepting donations on our behalf in order to legally fight back against this discrimination.”
The church, according to its website, seeks to help “Preachers hit the streets by helping to protect them legally and financially” and allows people to give money to evangelists who are working in Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and Tacoma.
There is no record of such a church in California, Oregon or Washington, according to officials who oversee charities and non-profits in each state.
Its website, registered in May, provides no address, contact information or list of staff. Online searches show the only reference to the Church of Faith and Freedom comes from social media accounts connected to Gibson or Patriot Prayer.
Reached by phone Wednesday, Gibson declined to answer multiple questions about the Church of Faith and Freedom and his connection to it.
“No comment,” he said. “What else do you want to ask?”
Gibson, a Vancouver-area resident, has led marches and rallies in Portland and other liberal bastions on the West Coast, including Seattle, Olympia and the Bay Area, often drawing strong — and sometimes violent — opposition.
He faces felony riot charges and a $1 million lawsuit in connection with a bloody brawl May 1 outside a Northeast Portland pub and cidery. Police and prosecutors allege Gibson and several Patriot Prayer associates provoked the confrontation against left-wing activists, including masked antifa members, who were celebrating May Day at Cider Riot.