21 December 2005

Navy Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt, an evangelical Episcopal chaplain who claims that he “may be fired next month” for refusing to comply with new sensitivity guidelines about praying to Jesus during official military ceremonies, has begun a hunger strike outside the White House in the hopes of convincing President Bush to issue an executive order allowing “Jesus” prayers. The order has been called for by 73 members of Congress in the last month. The Congress members claim that it’s becoming difficult for chaplains to pray in Jesus’ name. Advocates of evangelical chaplains bolster this argument with iffy comparisons — no rabbi has been punished for referring to Hanukkah — though, as this report comes courtesy of The Washington Times, no challenge to the appropriateness of such a comparison is made. Klingenschmitt, who seems to have had a somewhat militaristic faith since finishing divinity school — whereupon he attended strategy sessions for the Christian Coalition in Colorado Springs — says his specific troubles date back to the summer of 2004, when he gave an unwanted “evangelistic” sermon at the funeral of a fallen Catholic soldier.