Navy Chaplain Discharged After Prayer Fight

The U.S. Navy has discharged a chaplain who waged a battle against military policy requiring respect for religious pluralism.

Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt has spent years criticizing Navy policy that allows sectarian worship at church services, but asks chaplains to give nonsectarian prayers at official functions where personnel of diverse faith perspectives are present. His crusade has made him a frequent speaker at Religious Right gatherings.

Last year, Klingenschmitt, an evangelical Christian, received a court-martial after participating in his uniform in a protest gathering near the White House.

The Religion News Service (RNS) reported that Klingenschmitt was to be discharged at the end of January, but it was postponed by a federal judge who granted the chaplain’s request for a restraining order against the Navy. When an appeals court overturned that injunction, Klingenshcmitt asked the Navy to renew his chaplaincy with a different denomination.

The Navy denied Klingenschmitt’s request and then discharged him.

According to RNS, Klingenschmitt is now studying theology at TV preacher Pat Robertson’s Regent University.

Klingenschmitt told the American Family Association’s "One News Now" that he will continue his lawsuit against the Navy and that he still had the possibility of being reinstated "with back pay."

"I want to be chaplain, I want to wear my uniform," he said, "and I want to pray in Jesus’ name."