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Wednesday, April 29, 2009
WND Hides Full Truth About Chaplain
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We all know that WorldNetDaily keeps its readers in the dark about facts that interfere with its right-wing agenda -- its obsession with Barack Obama's birth certificate is just one example.

Another example of this is WND's longtime promotion of Gordon Klingenschmitt, a Navy chaplain who defied orders by praying in Jesus' name at non-religious public events -- a cause celebre promoted by evangelical fundamentalist Christians -- and was ultimately court-martialed. WND has whitewashed his situation by misleadingly claiming he was court-martialed because he appeared "a White House function in March 2006 at which he wore his uniform and prayed 'in Jesus' name'"; in fact, it was a protest at the White House, not a "White House function," and he had received clear orders from his superiors not to wear his uniform at media events or political protests. He was court-martial for disobeying an order, not for praying in Jesus' name.

WND has generally refused to give its readers an honest account of the other side of the story. As artciulated by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, demands to pray "in Jesus' name" interferes with the free exercise of religious freedom in the military. Further, as noted by military history Bob Bateman, the events that activist chaplains like Klingenschmitt want to pray "in Jesus' name" at "have nothing to do with religion, and enlisted men of all religions are required to be there," and that the effect of allowing chaplains to go beyond a nonsectarian prayer coulde be to "take the simple step of just not inviting the chaplain at all."

You won't find these arguments at WND -- at least, not unless Klingenschmitt or his sympathizers are responding to it. Indeed, MRFF president Mikey Weinstein is named in only two WND articles -- both of which are columns by Klingenschmitt attacking him.

Nor has WND offered the account of Klingenschmitt's former superior at Naval Station Norfolk, Norm Holcomb:

“I was the dishonored ex-chaplain’s supervisor for the past 2 years,” Holcomb wrote in his message. “I found him to be totally untruthful, unethical and insubordinate. He was and is contemptuous of all authority. He was not court martialed for praying in Jesus’ name. I sent him out in uniform every week to pray at various ceremonies and functions. He always prayed in uniform and in Jesus’ name. He was never told that he could not pray in Jesus’ name. In fact, the issue of prayer had nothing at all to do with his dismissal from the Navy. He disobeyed the lawful order of a senior officer. I am sure that you understand that Navy Regulations forbid any of us, regardless of rank or position, to appear in uniform in support of any political or partisan event.”

Holcomb goes on to say, “He appeared in direct support of a political event, demonstrating contempt for the order of his Commanding Officer and Naval Regulations that we all swear that we will abide by…. The ex-chaplain is a man without honor and you have accepted his story and in doing so you have had ‘the wool pulled over your eyes.’"

That goes double for anything that makes Klingenschmitt look bad. So don't expect WND to breathe a word about a prayer Klingenschmitt issued the other day that sounds a lot like a death threat (h/t Gawker):

Let us pray. Almighty God, today we pray imprecatory prayers from Psalm 109 against the enemies of religious liberty, including [Americans United for Separation of Church and State executive director] Barry Lynn and Mikey Weinstein, who issued press releases this week attacking me personally. God, do not remain silent, for wicked men surround us and tell lies about us. We bless them, but they curse us. Therefore find them guilty, not me. Let their days be few, and replace them with Godly people. Plunder their fields, and seize their assets. Cut off their descendants, and remember their sins, in Jesus' name. Amen.

Praying for the deaths of one's critics, however much WND likely sympathizes with the sentiment, doesn't make for good PR. So expect WND to hide this from its readers it as it has the full truth about Klingenschmitt.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:18 AM EDT

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