- (Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)
Three pastors listed as part of presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's "Florida Faith Leaders Coalition" have said they have had no contact with the campaign and have not expressed support for Gingrich.
Sarah Posner, a journalist who covers religion and politics, made the discovery as she was reporting on the campaign ahead of Tuesday's Florida primary.
When Posner asked Pastor Scrivner Damon of New Life Community Church in North Palm Beach, Doug Maners of Catalyst Community Church in Orlando, and Amar Rambissoon of Deeper Life Assembly in Orlando, about their participation in the Gingrich campaign, they all expressed bewilderment.
Rambissoon told Posner he had not been contacted by the campaign, Maners said he keeps his political opinions to himself, and Damon said he did not even know who he would vote for.
Posner posted her findings Tuesday at 9 a.m. on the Religion Dispatches blog. Posner provided a copy of the press release to The Christian Post, which, by Tuesday afternoon, does not appear on the campaign website.
Gingrich's national Faith Leaders Coalition is chaired by evangelical pollster and author George Barna, Pastor James Garlow, American Family Association founder Don Wildom, Pastor Richard Lee, former Congressman J. C. Watts, Dr. Michael Youssef, founder of Leading the Way, and Liberty Counsel founder Mathew Staver.
In a Jan. 11 interview with The Christian Post, Barna said the purpose of the coalition is to "help Christians understand Speaker Gingrich's strong views about the importance of and means to defending freedom of faith, helping them to know about his positions on social issues that matter so deeply to the Christian community (such as abortion and family), and to enable them to better understand the speaker's vision for the future of America within its global context."
The Christian Post has been in contact with the Gingrich campaign, but at the time of publication has not received clarification as to how the pastors' names got on the list.