WHO IS CHAPLAIN GORDON JAMES KLINGENSCHMITT, PhD?
The former Navy Chaplain who dared to pray “in Jesus’ name.”
Gordon James Klingenschmitt (aka “Dr. Chaps”) is the national TV show host of PIJN NEWS on the NRB network, former State Representative in the Colorado legislature, occasional affiliate faculty at Colorado Christian University, Air Force Academy graduate in Political Science, and the former Navy Chaplain who made national headlines by daring to pray “in Jesus’ name.” An ordained Pentecostal minister, he earned his PhD in Theology from Regent University and is ranked among “the top 1% most endorsed in United States for Preaching” by Linkedin in 2013.
SUMMARY: Gordon James Klingenschmitt (aka “Dr. Chaps”), earned his PhD in Theology at Regent University, who also holds Doctor of Divinity, MBA, M.Div, and B.S. Political Science degrees. A graduate of the Air Force Academy, he is now a motivational speaker, and former U.S. Navy Chaplain who made national headlines and was vindicated by Congress after he took a stand for the rights of military chaplains to pray publicly “in Jesus’ name.” By sacrificing his own ~16-year officer career and a million dollar pension, by demanding his own court martial for the “crime” of worshiping in public, he inspired 300,000 petitioners, 85% of polled voters, 35 pro-family groups, and 75 Congressmen who mobilized to overturn the national military “non-sectarian prayer” policy, restoring the rights of military chaplains of all faiths to pray publicly, in uniform, according to the dictates of their conscience, even if they pray “in Jesus’ name.” His national petition organization, The Pray In Jesus Name Project, has delivered 5 million fax petitions to Congress supporting pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-freedom causes, and overturned government bans in 12 states restoring your right to pray “in Jesus name” in public settings.
DOCUMENTED BIOGRAPHY: Who is Gordon James Klingenschmitt? PhD Theology (Regent University), Air Force Academy graduate (B.S. Political Science) with two Master Degrees (MBA, M.Div), “Dr. Chaps” served America nearly 16 years as a military officer, and was honorably discharged. As Navy Chaplain during wartime combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom aboard USS ANZIO with 350 Sailors, his programs won six awards for community service (including “best in Navy”). His preaching and counseling ministry led 45 Sailors to faith in Jesus Christ in two years, (including an atheist, a homosexual, and a wiccan), and he saw the Holy Spirit do dramatic healings and exorcisms, but suddenly his career was threatened by a commander who punished him in writing three times, punished for quoting “exclusive” Bible verses in church that claim Jesus is the way to heaven (likeJohn 3:36), during one optionally-attended sermon inside a Navy base chapel. Investigators confirmed the skipper also downgraded Chaps’ evaluations for praying “in Jesus name” on the ship’s microphone, for obtaining Kosher meals for his hungry Jewish Sailor, and for refusing to support mandatory attendance quotas for a homosexual church, but Navy lawyers violated the First Amendment by ruling commanders had authority to punish his sermons and prayers. Navy public affairs repeatedly self-contradicted and misled the press when these facts went public.
When this religious discrimination threatened to end his career, the Chaplain staged an 18-day hunger strike in front of the White House. His story was reported on the front pages of the Washington Times, Washington Post, and New York Times, Hannity and Colmes, MSNBC, the 700 Club three times, the Coral Ridge Hour with D.James Kennedy, and he declared victory when the Navy backpedaled to renew his contract for 3-more years. So the chaplain ended his hunger strike, and returned to work. Do you think the Navy brass were happy to see him back?
Navy brass told Klingenschmitt three times he must deny Christ, and stop praying “in Jesus name.”
First, Chief of Navy Chaplains Rear Admiral Louis Iasiello told Klingenschmitt in writing he should stop praying publicly “in Jesus name” because “any chaplain’s continued insistence on ending prayers ‘in Jesus name’…could reasonably tend to denigrate other forms of faith.” That same week Iasiello deceived the Washington Post, contradicting his own written statement to Klingenschmitt, now telling the public “we don’t direct how a person’s going to pray…we would never – it’s that whole separation-of-church-and-state-thing – we would never want to direct institutionally that a person could or couldn’t [pray in Jesus’ name.]” Iasiello thus admits he violated the First Amendment, which he swore an oath to uphold, by censoring Klingenschmitt.
Second, the Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter signed an illegal prayer policy, SECNAVINST 1730.7C, which was later rescinded by Congress andrescinded under duress by Winter himself, (because Congress agreed with Klingenschmitt), which bad policy directly required all chaplains to stop praying “in Jesus’ name” outside of Sunday chapel, and authorized commanders to punish chaplains who prayed “in Jesus’ name.” The new policy changed the law since 1860, saying: “Other than Divine/Religious service, religious elements [prayers] …should be ‘non-sectarian’ in nature.” Chaplains who pray in Jesus’ name were now punishable, or “accountable for following the commander’s [non-sectarian prayer] guidance.”
Third, his immediate supervisor, Chaplain Norm Holcomb directly told Klingenschmitt he would be punished if he continued to pray ‘in Jesus name,’ while explaining SECNAVINST 1730.7C, and Holcomb was recorded on tape saying this. Holcomb later lied and conspired with Americans United to defame Klingenschmitt (and may soon face a lawsuit), since AU still today publishes Holcomb’s false statement: “He was not court-martialed for praying in Jesus’ name…He was never told that he could not pray in Jesus’ name. If fact, the issue of prayer had nothing at all to do with his dismissal from the Navy.” Really? NEVER told he could not pray in Jesus’ name? Let’s play the tape of Holcomb himself, saying: “Chaplain Klingenschmitt, will you go pray at this? Yes. Are you going to pray in Jesus’ name? Yes. You can’t go. If you do go, and you pray in Jesus’ name, you can be punished. Because it is the C.O.’s call. It’s the C.O.’s call.” Both Chaplain Norm Holcomb and AU are thus proven to be defamatory liars. Holcomb made similar false statements on the witness stand, imitating Judas who betrayed Jesus himself.
Klingenschmitt obtained prior written permission to wear his uniform during public worship, even in the presence of news media, see proof here. Holcomb however falsely claimed that Klingenschmitt violated Naval Uniform Regulations, which actually favored Klingenschmitt’s rights (see p.38): “6405: Chaplains have the option of wearing their uniform when conducting worship services and during the performance of rites and rituals distinct to their faith groups.” And Klingenschmitt’s commanding officer CAPT Loyd Pyle also admitted in writing that Naval Uniform Regulation 1401.3.b.4.b. authorizes service members to wear their uniforms, even at partisan protest events, whenever “incident to attending or participating in a bona fide religious service or observance.” But these permissions were ignored by the court-martial judge, who instead enforced SECNAVINST 1730.7C to punish the Chaplain for “worshiping in public,” something Holcomb has never admitted, but Congress agreed by rescinding that bad prayer policy.
Klingenschmitt faced a choice, whether to deny Christ and stop praying “in Jesus name,” or to take a stand.
Chaps took a stand for Jesus, and for free speech. And his stand for Jesus cost him a ~16-year officer career, and a million dollar pension. (With 4+ years as an Air Force Academy cadet, Gordon actually served over 20 consecutive years on active duty, but his cadet years do not count toward pension.)
He was inspired by Peter and John, who were ordered in Acts 4 to stop preaching and teaching “in Jesus name,” but they disobeyed men, and obeyed God, who commands us in Colossians 3:17, “whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of Jesus Christ.” He said, quoting Luke 9:26, “I cannot be ashamed of Jesus, or he would someday be ashamed of me on Judgment day.”
Chaps took a stand, and dared to violate SECNAVINST 1730.7C, which restricted Jesus prayers to the Sunday chapel. “If they plan to punish chaplains who pray in Jesus name, I volunteer to be the first,” he said. He attended a press conference outside the White House on Thursday 30 Mar 2006, and prayed “in Jesus’ name” on national television, in his full dress uniform, standing beside Judge Roy Moore (the 10-commandments Judge). News reporters confirmed Chaps refused to talk to the media or make political speeches in uniform, he simply read a prayer that ended “through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.” He returned to work and demanded his own court-martial, daring the Navy brass to enforce the new prayer policy, which prohibited prayers “in Jesus name” outside of Sunday chapel. The Navy brass granted his request.
Klingenschmitt was charged with one misdemeanor crime of disobeying “lawful” orders of CAPT Loyd Pyle, by praying in Jesus’ name in uniform in the presence of news media, outside of Sunday chapel, which Pyle and Holcomb had forbid. The so-called “lawfulness” of Pyle’s order depended entirely on SECNAVINST 1730.7C, since the Navy Judge, CDR Lewis T. Booker, ignored Klingenschmitt’s rights under Naval Uniform Regulation 6405 and 1401.3.b.4.b, and only enforced the new prayer policy that outlawed ‘worshiping in public.’ Booker admitted that federal law since 1860 protected Klingenschmitt’s rights to conduct “public worship” even in uniform, but that “public worship” was now restricted to the Sunday chapel, and Chaps’ prayer at the press conference was not public worship, nor a religious observance. “Much of the weakness of LT Klingenschmitt’s argument is his insistence on reading ‘public worship’,” Booker ruled, “as that term is used in Section 6031 of title 10, United States Code, and the current Religious Ministries instruction, to mean the same thing as ‘worship in public.’ It is clear, however, from testimony offered by two chaplains and from the Religious Ministries instruction (SECNAVINST 1730.7C), that ‘public worship’ is a term of art…One who reads a biblical verse or who recites a prayer at The Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park is not engaged in ‘public worship,’ although he may be worshiping in public…The order issued to LT Klingenschmitt was lawful.”
On 14 Sep 2006 in a Naval Station Norfolk courtroom, Klingenschmitt was found guilty of “worshiping in public” in uniform, disobeying “lawful” orders, and violating SECNAVINST 1730.7C by praying in Jesus’ name outside of Sunday chapel. 520 Newspapers ran the shocking news. That same day, 1000 miles off the Virginia coastline, Hurricane Gordon was swelling at full strength, and Chaps’ first name is Gordon. “That was my sign, God was smiling in heaven, and tears of joy filled my eyes,” Chaps said. “I was finally found worthy to share in Christ’s suffering.” But after his sad crucifixion, came a victorious resurrection.
Chaps was vindicated by Congress, who restored freedom to pray “in Jesus name.”
By enforcing SECNAVINST 1730.7C, the Navy brass fell into Klingenschmitt’s trap. The public was outraged, and Chaps had an 85% to 94% approval ratingamong polled voters. Klingenschmitt gave national talk-radio interviews all week with Janet Folger, who broadcast the phone numbers of all five state offices of Senator John Warner, (R-VA), who was flooded with phone-calls by outraged Christians. Klingenschmitt personally visited Warner’s office on Monday 18 Sep 06, and spoke to his Chief of Staff, revealing how SECNAVINST 1730.7C was enforced by the Navy court. The next day, Tuesday 19 Sep 06, Senator Warner made a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, and gave Klingenschmitt a great victory over the Navy.
“I am besieged by telephone, by bloggers, by everything else,” Senator Warner said in his floor speech. “I think that we should put in report language in our bill two things: First, that the Secretary of Defense will stay–that means hold in abeyance–enforcement of these newly promulgated regulations… I ask unanimous consent that additional materials regarding this subject be printed in the RECORD…as follows: Department of the Navy SECNAV INSTRUCTION 1730.7C.” Warner ordered the policy stayed.
The rest of Congress was also outraged, and vindicated Klingenschmitt’s stand. 75 Congressmen led by Walter B. Jones and Senator Inhofe joined 35 pro-family groups who wrote to President George W. Bush using Klingenschmitt’s case as an example. Five times the White House spokesman was asked about Klingenschmitt, and President Bush said he supported chaplains’ free speech. Even Senator Hillary Clinton supported Klingenschmitt, after learning he was praised by the Jewish Welfare Board, the Anti-Defamation League, and Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation. Over 300,000 Americans signed petitions hereand here for Jesus’ name.
Congress heard these voters, and rebuked the Navy by rescinding the bad policy SECNAVINST 1730.7C, restoring liberty to all chaplains to pray freely “in Jesus name,” even in uniform, seven days a week. This conference report to the 2007 Defense Authorization Act was signed by President Bush, who also ordered the Navy to comply. Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter himself rescinded his own bad policy, reversing his ban on Jesus prayers. Free speech and religious liberty were restored for all, but at great cost to one man.
Chaps lost a ~16-year career as an officer, a million-dollar pension, and was evicted from his home.
The Navy lawyers refused to “grandfather” that legislative victory back to Klingenschmitt’s case, and they still defend that rescinded prayer policy in federal court, while denying his request to remain on active duty. The Navy honorably but involuntarily discharged the Chaplain after nearly 16 years of service as an officer, just short of the 20 years required for his pension, and even evicted him from his home, fired and criminalized after he quoted the Bible in the chapel, and dared to pray “in Jesus name” in uniform outside of Sunday chapel.
The Baptist Press and Worldnet Daily confirmed, “Navy Chaplain ousted on grounds overturned by Congress,” and “Navy fires and evicts Chaplain who prayed “in Jesus name.” But Chaps replied, “even if I sacrificed a million dollar pension, it was worth it, since Congress agreed with me, and gave other chaplains the freedom I was denied. I never watered-down my prayers or sermons. Jesus is worth more to me than everything I’ve lost for His name.” The Rutherford Institute represented Klingenschmitt and 68 other chaplains suing the Navy in federal court, and temporarily delayed his involuntary termination, but on 1 Mar 2007 he was honorably discharged from the Navy.
A 1991 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy with MBA and Master of Divinity degrees from Regent University, he’s now pursuing his PhD in Renewal Theology. In 2002 he volunteered for a demotion from Air Force Major to Navy Lieutenant, and took a pay-cut, just to become a chaplain. Ordained by the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches, “Chaps” has been married to his wife Mary since 1991.
A national ministry winning real victories for religious liberty in many states.
Since leaving the Navy, Chaps has defended others rights to pray “in Jesus name,” and has gathered and submitted millions of petitions and won real policy victories to restore free speech and the right to pray “in Jesus name,” in 13 states including Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Florida, Colorado, and California. His organization has led protest rallies with 1200 people in Florida, 1000 in Virginia, and 400 in California, taking a stand for pastors or chaplains who were punished or excluded for praying “in Jesus name.” He also faxed 5 million petitions to Congress against abortion funding in Obama-care, 1+ million petitions against theanti-Jesus pro-Allah Judge David Hamilton, and thousands of petitions to defend other pro-marriage, pro-life, and religious liberty issues. His faxes directly impacted the Virginia governor’s election in 2009.
Chaps now travels the country, accepting speaking invitations, and is able to mobilize an automated fax-network of 115,000 pastors and churches to stand up for Jesus and take back our country. He has preached in person to tens of thousands of people in 28 states in 200+ churches, and been a guest on 300+ different radio shows and dozens of TV shows nationwide. Would you please email this short biography page to your own Pastor now, or any conference or event organizer, or TV or radio host, who comes to your mind? To invite Chaplain Klingenschmitt to speak, please email email@example.com or call 719-360-5132. God Bless you, in Jesus’ name.
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Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, PhD:
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Phone: (719) 360-5132