Gordon Klingenschmitt in all his glory: Ride ‘em Cowboy!
Note: Please know that I am not attacking historic, Evangelical Christianity, nor Christians, Evangelical or otherwise who live their faith proclaiming the Gospel in this post. Nor am I attacking anyone’s right to deeply held political beliefs. This post focuses on Gordon Klingenschmitt and others like him who make their living by lying about others using character assassination, the promotion of sedition, secession and pray for the deaths of their political opponents. Peaceful, law abiding protest and dissent are indispensable in our country. Likewise the New Testament teaching of Jesus to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” is antithetical to what Klingenschmitt and the Klingenban are now doing. Unfortunately this bright but unstable man promotes himself in the crassest manner. Though he says what he is doing is for Jesus, it is readily apparent that he is not proclaiming Jesus but himself. His lies and distortions have become legendary, yet he is a media darling of the Uber-Right. So please, if you are a conservative Christian, Protestant or Catholic who lives a life upholding the Gospel, love your neighbor, living peaceably with others this does not apply to you. It applies to those who have been so consumed by hatred for the political and religious left that rules of good behavior, respectful dialogue and public decency have been abandoned. They have been defined by and are now more faithful to extreme right wing political ideology than the Christian faith. For literary purposes I will refer to them by naming them after their most prominent figure: Former Chaplain disgraced Naval Officer, convicted criminal professional malcontent and protester Gordon J. Klingenschmitt. His followers are the Klingenban.
“One-Minute Prayer: Let us pray. Almighty God, today we pray imprecatory prayers from Psalm 109 against the enemies of religious liberty, including Barry Lynn and Mikey Weinstein, who issued press releases this week attacking me personally. God, do not remain silent, for wicked men surround us and tell lies about us. We bless them, but they curse us. Therefore find them guilty, not me. Let their days be few, and replace them with Godly people. Plunder their fields, and seize their assets. Cut off their descendants, and remember their sins, in Jesus’ name. Amen.” The Prayer of Gordon Klingenschmitt
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” Matthew 5:44 Jesus Christ
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. Romans 13:1-2
There are two types of religious Fundamentalists who exist in every religion including Atheism and Secularism, which can for some have an almost religious quality. There are those who while having and proclaiming their beliefs treat their opponents with respect, love and care. These folks live their faith, treat others as they would want to be treated, understand that others, even if they believe them to be wrong and maybe even “Hell-bound” still have a right to their beliefs and equal treatment under the law. In fact many of our nation’s most respected figures have been just these kinds of people. They have helped make the United States a place where anyone can live peacefully and have the chance to better their lives while contributing to the general welfare of the nation. They do not seek or desire that the Government take the side of any religious group. In fact the religious liberty provision in the Bill of Rights was the result of Virginia Baptists who were being discriminated against by the Anglican Church which at the time was the State Church in Virginia. These Baptists went to James Madison and presented their case and Madison included this in the Bill of Rights. This was an extremely important event in the life of our Nation. People forget that almost all of the original 13 colonies, save Rhode Island and Pennsylvania had established “State Churches.” Eventually these all were disestablished, the last being the Congregational Church in Massachusetts in the 1830s. The second type is the radical Fundamentalist. As I said these exist in every religion, even those religions which acknowledge no God. In recent times the focus has been on Moslem Extremists such as Al Qaida, the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic Jihad, radical Iranian Ayatollahs and other radical Moslem groups. Likewise there are extremes in Judaism, Hinduism and other religions. Some atheists and secularists too have had their moments of insanity.
Mullah Omar: Klingenschmitt’s Kindred Spirit
The common thread that runs through all of these groups is that they want to be in control of the government wherever they are and enforce their interpretation of their beliefs on others. They are bullies of the faith. What they cannot convince you to agree with you on they will push the state to do. If the state is unwilling then be it through democratic process or hostile takeover they attempt to control the state and by doing so inflict their tyranny on others. Europe had a long history of this. It has occurred elsewhere in the world. In 1979 it was on full display when the Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers helped topple the Shah of Iran and then forced more secular reformers out of the government imposing their version of Islamic law. While not to the same degree we have seen similar things happen in the United States both before and after our founding. The Plymouth Bay Colony, which we are taught was founded on the principle of religious freedom, was just that. It was founded so that these colonists could be free from the Church of England and be the State Church. They were so heavy handed with dissenters that Roger Williams escaped, swimming the Narragansett to found the colony of Rhode Island. This became the first colony to guarantee religious freedom. Secularists in Revolutionary France conducted routine religious purges. Radical Hindus in India routinely target Christians and Moslems as well as Hindus of lower castes. All of this was or is done with the active cooperation or tacit approval of the state. If given the chance to actually influence policy Klingenfraud and his ilk would impose draconian measures on anyone who disagrees with them.
Yet, Klingenschmitt and the Klingenban exemplify this some of the most radical and compromised people who claim the name “Christian.” Klingenschmitt’s prayer while unusually bold faced is not an uncommon belief among this radical fringe. Numerous preachers re-interpret Romans 13: 1-7 180 degrees from what Paul and the early Church believed. They seem to forget that Paul lived his life in the Roman Empire, which for Christians who were called atheists because they refused to call Caesar “Lord” were persecuted and killed. Paul included. Yet at no time do we see Paul telling Christians to take up the sword or to rebel against the Empire. They died not for political power but for their faith which they refused to compromise. The early church was known for their peaceful response to their tormentors. The Epistle to Diognetus writes of the Christians’ response to the hatred they received stating that Christians: “…love those who hate them.” Tertullian in the Apology writes of Christian loyalty stating that Christians “…call upon God for the safety of the Emperor…” and that believers should know from Scripture “…that a superfluity of benevolence is enjoined on us, even so far as to pray God for our enemies and to entreat blessings for our persecutors.” Such responses are far from those of the Klingenban.
In opposition to the early Church the Klingenban seek political power and the negation of those that oppose them. Thus we see Klingenschmitt’s excoriation and prayer for the death of Michael Weinstein and Barry Lynn. Additionally we see the calls for Christians to be prepared to use violence to resist the state. Such attitudes in effect baptize behaviors that are not merely un-Christian but anti-Christian. Praying for the death of people because they insult or demean you is not a Christian attitude. It flies in the face of Jesus’ words on the Cross: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” It is as self seeking as those who came to this continent seeking religious liberty only for themselves and those willing to submit to them.
Klingenschmitt in practice actively question the faith of those who disagreed with him during his Navy career. I know of a Priest in a conservative Anglican church who while in seminary elected to go to the Norfolk Chapel to discuss the Navy Chaplaincy with a Navy Chaplain. He met with Klingenschmitt who instead of discussing what it was to be a Chaplain insinuated that the man was “unsaved.” Accordining to crew members who served with him on the USS Anzio he accosted those who were not his definition of Christian. He harrassed sailors when they returned to the ship from liberty. Instead of looking out for the mulitude of religious needs and protecting the religious liberty of his sailors, Klingenschmitt used his time in the Navy to advance his own agenda. Chaplains are mandated to protect the First Ammendment rights of men and women who away from home and away from thier religious tradition. They are also called to care for those with no religious beliefs. In both cases the requirement is to protect the religious rights of our sailors, not to advance our own agenda. We actually sign a statement when we come in the Navy that we will do this. His commanding officer gave him every chance and gave him more personal time that most commanding officers would ever give to a Chaplain, hoping to help him. For his efforts Klingenschmitt ensured that his commanding officer’s name was smeared in the right-wing media machine. He did the same to the Commanding Officer of the Naval Station Norfolk. Klingenschmitt spread such demented lies about this man that he was shunned by his church and pastor because they elected to believe the right wing media machine. It shows that if you repeat a lie often enough that people will believe it. Klingenschmitt is a bully and he was rightfully court-martialed after he refused non-judicial punishment for failing to obey a legal order not to wear his uniform at a political event, something that no-one in the military is allowed to do. He made life hell for us who served honorably and rather then submit to authority he avoided combat by bad mouthing his country, the Navy and his corps. He took your tax dollars and for months avoided providing ministry to any sailor or Marine. This was solely a result of his actions. While hundreds of Evangelical Christian Chaplains deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and served honorably in combat, Klingenschmitt made up story after story to keep himself in the news. He even still refers to mhimself as “Chaplain” because the group which re-ordained him after being defrocked has endoresed him as “Chaplain to America.” His website shows him in uniform protesting outside of the White House at the end of his hunger strike in 2006.
Klingenschmitt now markets himself as a victim of persecution, when in fact he brought everything on himself. In his last days as an officer, no longer a chaplain as his own Church had stripped him of both his ordination and endorsement to serve as a chaplain while waiting discharge. In spite of this one of his political allies in the Republican Party got Klingenschmitt invited to pray in uniform at the 2006 Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) Presidential Banquet at which the Vice President was scheduled to speak. I saw the notice online and promptly complained to the committee the day before the event about this as a Chaplain telling them that it “insulted all who served honorably.” I also let the Norfolk Naval Station Chaplain know what was going on. A call from the Commanding Officer of the base to the Chief of Naval Operations persuaded this political group not to let him attend the dinner or pray. Instead Klingenschmitt waited until the banquet was over and facing an nearly empty auditorium in his Service Dress Blue uniform prayed “in Jesus Name.” His photo at the podium was published in an article the next day on World Net Daily. The article obfuscated the fact that the conference had ended when he did this and the headline made it look like he had prayed there with CPACs blessing. Since then he has made his living in the margin of the far right speaking to churches and far right political groups and protesting wherever he can to keep some measure of media attention on him.
The Gordon Klingenschmitt Tour 2007
He, his allies and followers are no different than the Taliban except that they wear suits and not robes. Their agenda is eerily similar and should they ever gain control of this country they would bring in the worst type of persecution. Thankfully I think there is little chance of this, but they will still do everything they can to incite trouble and even violence. Klingenschmitt has prayed for the death of those opposing him, a group ran an advertisement in a Pennsylvania newspaper that said they wanted President Obama to meet the fate of Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy. Klingenschmitt’s allies actively twist and obfuscate the truth in order to advance their cause at the expense of those who oppose them. Klingenschmitt’s willing accomplice in the media Joseph Farah openly encourages military members to disobey orders because he does not feel that the President is eligible for the office. Unfortunately he is doing this in war, and if it were not for the tolerance of the Administration would be tried for sedition. This is something that Abraham Lincoln had no problem doing in the Civil War. Farah is opening promoting sedition in time of war, this is a crime. Conservatives were outrages when members of the Left did such things during the Vietnam war and the current war. Klingenschmitt, Farah and those like them will not only bring harm to others, but they will continue to discredit the Christian faith by everything they do. If they were not serious it would e funny. Klingenschmitt and the Klingenban are dangerous to all who believe in liberty and for the principles on which the United States was founded.
Finally, I know that there are many honest people who have been taken in by Klingenschmitt and his media spin machine. I encourage you to read for yourselves more about this man from sources other than his website and his allies who parrot what he says. Please know that I was a conservative Republican and worked for Gerald Ford’s campaign before I could vote. I harbor no animus to conservatives who oppose the Democratic Administration and Congress. The fact is that principled and respectful conservative opposition is needed, just as principled and respectful liberal Democratic opposition was needed when Republicans controlled the Presidency and Congress. Klingenschmitt and the Klingenban’s actions are neither principled nor respectful. Unfortunately they will attempt to destroy the country to save it. God help us all.