by Matt Lacy –
The founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation may end up unwittingly fulfilling the same prayer he sued a former Navy Chaplain over following the dismissal of his case by a judge who said it was “frivolous.”
“This has been hanging over my head like a Damocles Sword for the last two and a half years and now the string has been cut loose,” Former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt said.
Klingenschmitt is a former Navy chaplain who was dismissed from the service after commanders objected to the nature of his prayers. He ended his prayers by saying “In Jesus’ name” and superiors pressured him to offer prayers that were more sectarian and did not use the word Jesus so as not to offend non-Christians.
Following his dismissal, Congress passed legislation granting chaplains the right to pray according to their conscience. Klingenschmitt is currently suing the government seeking reinstatement as a chaplain.
His Colorado Springs based ministry, the Pray In Jesus Name Project promotes the rights of Christians to practice their faith freely including the right to share their faith.
Klingenschmitt was sued by Michael Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation in 2009 after he posted a prayer on his website asking God to defend him against verbal assaults by Weinstein and as part of the prayer he quoted portions of Psalm 109 which was written by David who is asking God to protect him from evil men who wanted to destroy him.
Weinstein is an outspoken critic of evangelical Christianity, blaming for the riots and murders of US soldiers that occurred after soldiers burned Q’urans that were being used by terrorists to send messages to each other.
On the MRFF website he said, “The last several days of furious protests in the streets of Afghanistan have been the inevitable outcome of a culture of utter impunity within the US military. This culture of religious bigotry is fueled by militant, unchecked Christian fundamentalism. Its attendant Islamophobic racism is carefully coddled and nurtured. The result is total disdain and denigration of the values of the Afghan nation.”
He also took the Air Force Academy to task last year over an e-mail sent out by cadets promoting a toy drive for children. The toy drive was for Operation Christmas Child which is a ministry of Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse.
In 2009, following several verbal assaults by Weinstein including one to the Chief of Naval Operations over Klingenschmitt posting a picture of himself in uniform while he was on active duty, Klingenschmitt posted the following prayer in 2009 on his website:
“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 prompted Weinstein and his wife Bonnie to file a lawsuit against not just Klingenschmitt, but the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches and its founder Elmer Ammerman claiming the prayer was a call to violence and a “fatwah” against him despite the prayer never mentioning the word death or violence.
“In other words, Klingenschmitt called upon his followers to commit violence against, or even kill, Michael Weinstein, and even his family,” he alleged in his petition.
As part of the proof of his allegations Randal Mathis, Weinstein’s attorney said people had fired shots at the Weinstein’s home, set fire to his lawn and left animal carcasses on the porch.
However, the problem is the incidents actually happened between one to three years before Klingenschmitt posted his prayer. Stephen Casey, Klingenschmitt said “Mikey actually alleged that a time-traveler went back in time in order to answer my prayers.”
Last week when the case finally came before Texas Judge Martin Hoffman, he issued a summary judgment dismissing the case as frivolous, noting that Weinstein was unable to provide any factual proof the prayers were part of any conspiracy against him or had caused them any harm worthy of damages.
Klingenschmitt said that Weinstein knew the case had no merit however the sole reason for bringing it was to silence the Christian message in the military. “Mikey wants to get 500 chaplains kicked out of the military and the way to do that is to sue the organization that sponsors them, in this case the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel churches.”
Interestingly, Weinstein’s lawsuit may very well be the instrument used by God to answer Klingenschmitt’s prayer.
The judge’s dismissal of the lawsuit means that Klingenschmitt is now entitled to attorney’s fees which are estimated to be in the six-figure amount and possible damages.
“I will now sue Mikey Weinstein for deformation, unless he immediately repents with a public, written apology, admitting he lied, both in court and on national radio,” said Klingenschmitt noting that a Google search of the words “Klingenschmitt” and “animal carcasses” returns over 2000 search results.
Klingenschmitt said Weinstein has unwittingly proven that God answers the prayers of his children.
“We never expected to get sued, I was just praying the Psalms and now God is answering the same prayer he sued me over,” he said. “This is like one of those Bible stories like Esther where God turns everything upside down.”
Tags: case, Christian, culture, God, Jesus, judge, lawsuit, Michael, Michael Weinstein, Mikey Weinstein, Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Navy Chaplain, part, proof, right, search, self, time, US, week