Is This Christian Chaplain Issuing a Death Threat? April 26, 2009

Is This Christian Chaplain Issuing a Death Threat?

Gordon James Klingenschmitt is a former Navy chaplain who is using his uniform and title (illegally) on his website, Pray In Jesus Name. It gives the false impression he’s still in his Navy role.

Barry Lynn (of Americans United for Separation of Church and State) and Mikey Weinstein (of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation) sent a message (PDF) to Admiral Gary Roughead, United States Chief of Naval Operations, asking him to investigate this.

How did Klingenschmitt respond?

First, he created a disclaimer page on his website, explaining that’s he’s no longer a Navy Chaplain. (Doesn’t that imply his guilt?)

Then, he made these comments in a morning prayer (MP3):

“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 recently issued a press release attacking me personally. God, do not remain silent, for wicked men surround me and tell lies about me. 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.”

Is he calling for a hit on the men? Freaky.

Naithom says this on Daily Kos:

The FBI and other police agencies have already been informed. It sickens me to hear a man who claims to be of G-d suggest the murder of people like something out of the Godfather. “I would be indebted to anyone who would rid me of this problem.” and then when people are killed they can claim they had no responsibility.

If Klingenschmitt were still employed by the government, this would be a bigger issue. For now, he’s just a fired official with delusions of grandeur.

(via Chris Rodda)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Eliza

    How awful. I’d say he’s not being “Christian”, but unfortunately I suspect he thinks he is acting perfectly in concert with his religious beliefs.

    From his point of view, he’s calling on god to to the dirty work – that’s what an imprecatory prayer is – though of course he might well think that god had answered his prayer if some nutcase (human nutcase, that is) listened to this and did go ahead & rid him of these people he sees as his enemies.

  • Or if not the Godfather then Henry II “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” and any student of British history knows what happened next. You’d think a chaplain might have maybe studied some religious history and learned from that incident not to suggest people should be killed. I guess he (like many christians) missed the parts in the bible about love, forgiveness, and who should be casting stones.

  • Richard Wade

    Wait, I’m confused. God, who knows everything ahead of time and can do anything at all, will respond because this preacher orders a hit? A single mortal’s mind convinces the Almighty’s mind to do something for him? God wouldn’t kill the heathens unless the holy man said the imprecatory prayer? Who works for whom?

    Paranoia strikes deep
    Into your life it will creep
    It starts when you’re always afraid
    You step out of line, the man come and take you away
    We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
    Everybody look what’s going down

  • Richard T

    You might sensibly ask if he behaves like this now, what was he like when he was in the navy as a practising chaplain?

  • Some of the scariest people are the ones who think they have gods on their side, and who can’t tolerate any dissent.

  • Jeff

    I’m a Christian, and this prayer does seem strange to me. If the shoe was on the other foot so to speak, I would have prayed for guidance and a general prayer for the ones “against me”. I don’t know the condition of others hearts and minds but this would seem to be the best thing to do when faced with this sort of obstacle.

    In order to flip this thing around and try and get some kind of good out of it, a prayer that obstacles would be removed would have sufficed. Coming from a military family and understanding what that means, You don’t ever get the military out of the man. That perspective should explain a lot, not to trivialize things, but its the military attitude, that’s all.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    In response, let us pray Voltaire’s prayer: “O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.”

  • stogoe

    Is he calling for a hit on the men?

    No, see, God owns the universe, and He can do what He wants with it.
    It’s just like how you can totally just kill your pets when they annoy you. Because you own them. See?
    Or like melting your sister’s Barbies in the microwave, because you’re older than she is and that makes it okay. Really.

  • Ryan

    Lenin’s question of “Kto kogo,” or Who (does what to/is in charge of) whom?” is particularly applicable to this situation.

    PS: Hemant, get some Cyrillic character support on this blog!

  • Ex Partiot

    As an Athiest I really am not worried about his BS as there is not a sky daddy to answer the idiots mumbling’s

  • Richard Wade

    Ex Patriot,
    Like Eliza, I’m only worried about the thousands of other idiots who have access to guns and airplanes but not to medications.

  • Polly


    PS: Hemant, get some Cyrillic character support on this blog!

    Da, saglassen. 🙂

    Kto-nibud yeshyo?

  • AnonyMouse

    I lol’d pretty hard at this. I find it absolutely hilarious when one of these guys resorts to King James English when he’s…

    …what would you call that…

    …cursing his enemies?

    “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…”

    That sounds like a curse to me. A true Christian would wish them a long and happy life and eventual salvation with God.

    Anyway, it gets terribly funny when they go off on one of their Biblical tangents. The fellows down at FoC do this quite a bit. “Help us not to bite and devour one another, O Lord…” Great stuff. And the best part? The material never changes. They criticise the Catholic Church for “vain repetitions”, yet I can recite one of their prayers by heart.

  • Wes

    Richard T Says:
    April 27th, 2009 at 4:29 am

    You might sensibly ask if he behaves like this now, what was he like when he was in the navy as a practising chaplain?

    A guy named Norm Holcomb, who comments over at Ed Brayton’s blog, used to be this guy’s supervisor. According to Holcomb, Klingenschmitt has always been insane:

    Perhaps you are getting a clear picture of what I had to deal with for 2 years as this guy’s supervisor. He was like a “bull in a china shop” as he created adversarial relationships throughout the command. I had never seen anyone become “persona non grata” on such an immediate and grand scale. And yet, recognizing that he was inexperienced and had a woefully inadequate theological education, I tried to mentor him and assume some responsibility for his development. All my efforts were frustrated by his idiotic actions at practically every level. There was no doubt in my mind that I was dealing with a certain level of certifiable mental and psychological pathology but I refrained from recommending psychological evaluation because our self-anointed prophet, priest, messiah and king would have declared our attempts to help him as “reprisals” against him.
    I am not surprised by anything that he does or says. Each sick action merely confirms my initial assessment that this person is in serious need of help.

    Posted by: Norm Holcomb, CAPT, CHC, USN (Ret) | April 27, 2009 11:07 AM

    It’s not surprising at all that people who know this guy think he must have a psychological disorder.

  • Eliza

    Prayers which are curses may sound odd to our ears (including to Christians like Jeff), but they’re part of the Bible. It’s just that they don’t get much airing these days – considered shameful or something, I guess.

    Here’s a page on Imprecatory Psalms; the bottom line wrt Christianity is quoted here:

    Imprecatory Psalms…are those which invoke judgement, calamity, or curses, upon one’s enemies or those perceived as the enemies of God. Major Imprecatory Psalms include Psalm 69 and Psalm 109, while Psalms 5, 6, 11, 12, 35, 37, 40, 52, 54, 56, 58, 69, 79, 83, 137, 139, and 143 are also considered imprecatory…. As a sample, Psalm 69:24 states toward God, “Pour out Your indignation on them, and let Your burning anger overtake them”.

    The New Testament contains passages which quote Imprecatory Psalms. Jesus of Nazareth is shown quoting from them in Matthew 27:24, John 15:25, and John 2:17, while Paul the Apostle quotes from Psalm 69 in the Epistle to the Romans 11:9-10 and 15:3.

    Heck, if they’re good enough for Jesus and Paul, why shouldn’t Chappy Klingenschmitt use them??

  • Brian Westley

    Klingenschmitt sometimes posts to the religionlaw mailing list:

    Some religious right types from the ACLJ post there, but also strong church & state separationists like Marci Hamilton.

    Lots of interesting C&S cases get discussed there first.

  • Bill Walker

    One of you tell him that I, god, said ‘screw him’. I’m not HIS servant, he’s MINE.

  • “Klingenschmitt” Is that German for “dumbass”?

    Rhymes with “clingy shit,” which kind of describes the way Klingenschmitt is clinging to his former title.

    Sorry, I couldn’t help it. (Please forgive me, all reasonable Klingenschmitts.)

  • Doreen

    That’s horrible.

    The unthinkable in a similar situation in politics happened a while back at a U.U. Church in TN. A man who was a fan of conservative commentators in the media took a few remarks in those commentators’ books a little too seriously and shot up a liberal church because shooting the people who voted liberals into office was the next best thing to shooting liberal politicians.


  • There is only one thing worse than an atheist and that is an American atheist. You people are screaming and then some. You insist on freedom of speech and then want everyone with a religious viewpoint to SHUT YOUR FACE!

    You insist that if you have to be religious then at least have some integrity about it and then take one example of a man as screaming as you are and use him as a stick to beat the rest of us. Pitiful, truly pitiful.

    Of course it is not a death threat any more than your determination to shut the mouth of every believer is an assault on freedom of speech – Oh, hang on. On that basis it has to be a death threat. I take it all back. You and he are singing from the same hymn sheet – if you will pardon the pun.

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