Controversial Military Chaplain to Join Clergy at White House Protest

Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt who will be fired from his post as a Navy chaplain for offering public prayers ending in Jesus’ name, will join church leaders in front of the White House tomorrow, December 20, at 10:00 AM for a news conference protesting military policies prohibiting chaplains from praying “in Jesus’ name.” Chaplain Klingenschmitt will appear as a guest of Bill O’Reilly tonight on Fox’s O’Reilly Factor.
Christian clergy leaders of various denominations under aegis of the National Clergy Council including representatives of the Churches of Christ, Evangelical, Methodist Episcopal, Pentecostal and Presbyterian churches will publicly ask President Bush to sign an executive order ensuring that chaplains may in all cases offer public prayers according to their own faith traditions.
The event is sponsored by the National Clergy Council and the Christian Defense Coalition. The moderator is the Reverend Rob Schenck (pronounced SHANK), an Evangelical minister and president of the National Clergy Council. Rev. Schenck is also a board member of the Evangelical Church Alliance, an official endorser of military chaplains.
“This new policy of the military is an outrage. We now have well documented proof of this blatant violation of First Amendment guarantees. It is an egregious insult to the good men and women of every religious persuasion who serve in the chaplain corps,” said Rev. Rob Schenck.
The Reverend Patrick J. Mahoney, a Presbyterian minister and director of the Christian Defense Coalition, said, “Sadly, we are witnessing a growing hostility toward expressions of faith in the public square. It is important the public be reminded that the First Amendment promises freedom ‘of’ religion not freedom ‘from’ religion. We call upon President Bush to issue this Executive Order, allowing each military chaplain to pray according to their respective faith tradition, to ensure that religious freedom and the First Amendment are honored and protected.” Pluralism and tolerance toward religion is not the removal of faith from the public square. Rather, it is allowing expressions of public faith without government favoritism or intimidation.”
The group will gather on the north side sidewalk in front of Lafayette Park, opposite the White House gates. to ask President Bush to sign an executive order allowing chaplain prayers “In Jesus’ name” as well as prayers faithful to other religious traditions.

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