FIGHT ALL THE WAY TO THE SUPREME
Chaplain Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt is not going quietly. He vows a legal battle all the way to the Supreme Court.
The evangelical Episcopal priest and Air Force Academy graduate says his court-martial conviction for wearing his uniform to a news conference outside the White House is the latest attempt by top Chaplains' Corps brass to muzzle him and make the officer "an example" to other dissidents among military clergymen.
"They think this will silence me and intimidate fellow evangelicals like myself, but they are wrong," the soft-spoken chaplain told MilitaryCorruption.com. "I will continue to fight for my right to stay in the Navy and to pray in Jesus' name."
HOW THE TROUBLE BEGAN
Klingenschmitt first got in trouble two years ago when he gave a memorial service on the cruiser Anzio for a deceased petty officer. The skipper of the warship got his nose out of joint because he felt the chaplain's remarks were not "inclusive" enough of other religions represented on board the boat.
According to Klingenschmitt, Captain James Carr "punished" him with a less than positive fitness report. The cruiser's captain claims the bad report had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the skipper's opinion of the chaplain's performance of duty.
Since that time, a Navy review board declared Klingenschmitt was "without merit" in his charges that his commanding officer "retaliated" on him for using certain Bible quotations.
At the conclusion of his court-martial at Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia, the 38 year-old officer was hit with a letter of reprimand and a fine of $3000. The jury recommended the chaplain's fine be suspended, but the letter is widely seen by observers as a "career ender." The chaplain has more than 15 years of active duty service behind him, so losing his chance for any promotion and retirement pension could be very costly indeed.
FIGHTING FOR WHAT HE BELIEVES IS RIGHT
Klingenschmitt began a 19-day hunger strike on Dec. 20, 2005, which ended Jan. 7th at a public worship service (wearing his Navy uniform) in front of the White House.
William J. Holmes, Klingenschmitt's defense attorney, says his client had received written permission from his base commander, Capt. Lloyd Pyle, to appear in uniform at the service but not make a speech.
On March 30, after the Navy had issued a new doctrine declaring that religious expressions of chaplains outside of worship services, "should be nonsectarian in nature," Klingenschmitt protested the policy.
In front of the White House, and accompanied by former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, the chaplain offered what he called a "ceremonial prayer" which included the name of Jesus Christ. That, apparently, was the final straw, and court-martial charges were drawn up claiming the chaplain had "disobeyed a direct order."
"I will fight this all the way to the Supreme Court," Klingenschmitt told MCC, "and if we fail there, I will appeal to God Almighty, and He will give me justice."
"AN EDITORIAL: COURAGEOUS CHAPLAIN NEEDS YOUR HELP"
How far down the slippery slope of "political correctness" and violation of free speech have we come when a military chaplain can be railroaded like Lt. Klingenschmitt has been? Can we expect in the near future to have Wiccan "chaplains" and devil worship within once sacred chapels on our military bases? Will the Christian cross be turned upside down in some weird pagan ritual and the house of the Lord desecrated? That could well come to pass, unless the American people rise up and fight it now!
MilitaryCorruption.com applauds Chaplain Klingenschmitt's courage of his convictions. We have had the pleasure of talking several times with Gordon and his beloved wife Mary. They are prepared for whatever they must endure ahead in the fight for what is right We urge you, our readers, to go to the web site www.persuade.tv and e-mail this good man with your thoughts and support. He needs your help. Now. Thank you.
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