Former Navy chaplain faced death threats from gay activists during successful run for Colorado assembly
A former military chaplain who was discharged for publicly praying in uniform has won election to the Colorado General Assembly, despite several alleged death threats from homosexual activists.
Gordon Klingenschmitt, Ph.D., was elected on Tuesday with 70 percent of the vote. However, the victory was marred by three death threats the controversial opponent of same-sex "marriage" says were received in the last two months.
According to Klingenschmitt, the threats came in September and October, after he publicly called for religious liberty for Christian business owners when it came to same-sex "marriage" ceremonies. One of the two emails received by the then-candidate referenced shooting Christians in the head, while a voice message told Klingenschmitt that the caller "will slit your [expletive expletive] throat."
In his report to the FBI, the former Navy chaplain said that he wanted to press charges if the people making the threats could be identified. He also referenced alleged death threats received in 2013.
Klingenschmitt came to national fame in 2006 after saying a sectarian prayer at a protest at the White House. The protest, which included a news conference, was dedicated to his insistence that President Bush allow chaplains to say non-generic prayers. Klingenschmitt argued that he had permission to be in uniform while engaging in "a bona fide worship service or observance."
However, a jury of five officers found him guilty of one misdemeanor charge -- that of disobeying a lawful order -- because he had been told to not wear his uniform during media events or political protests. According to the lawyer who prosecuted Klingenschmitt, the news conference was neither a service nor an observance.
The jury gave the chaplain a reprimand and took $250 per month from his paycheck for a year -- though the jury also recommended the fine be suspended.
He was eventually honorably discharged, and Congress changed the law to allow sectarian prayers by military chaplains. Since then, Klingenschmitt has regularly blogged and otherwise commented on same-sex relationships and other issues.
"Some say they want me dead, but I would risk my life to defend religious freedom," said Klingenschmitt in a press release after his victory on Tuesday. "In seven years of daily blogging, I have never once written that I fear or hate any person, but sadly, false accusations of phobia or hatred are published by dishonest activists who incite their angry readers to attack our Christian faith and push their divisive agenda."
Klingenschmitt has vowed to "work hard to represent all people of my district, regardless of political or religious belief. As a Chaplain, veteran, and PhD in Theology, I will defend everybody's First Amendment rights."