Even by the lofty standards of the religious right, Gordon Klingenschmitt is pretty far out there. After all, this is the guy who says gay people are “demonic” and who recommends parents spank their children to cure them of homosexuality. Needless to say, such nutty views got Klingenschmitt elected as a Republican (of course) to the Colorado state House of Representatives last month. On top of this, Klingenschmitt is seriously deficient in irony, having nicknamed himself “Dr. Chaps.”
But a federal court has given Klingenschmitt a lesson in the limits of lunacy. Klingenschmitt had been arguing that the military unfairly dismissed him as a chaplain because he was praying to Jesus (really). In a pointed opinion, the court made it clear that Klingenschmitt was canned for deliberately disobeying orders and for being, as the Navy put it, being “professionally unsuited for further service as a naval officer and chaplain.”
No kidding. Klingenschmitt responded to one negative performance review by accusing his superior officer of being a Unitarian.
Besides being a lousy chaplain, he was insubordinate as well. The Navy told Klingenschmitt that he could not wear his military uniform when appearing at a right-wing political event, but Klingenschmitt showed up in uniform anyway. Fed up with Klingenschmitt’s poor performance and disobedience, the Navy eventually showed him the door.
Klingenschmitt sued, demonstrating the unwillingness to take personal responsibility that has become the hallmark of the right. He insisted that he was a victim of discrimination, a claim that the court repeatedly dismissed as meritless. He also said that his freedom of speech was violated. Not so, said the court. Klingenschmitt was free to speak, but not in uniform.
Needless to say, none of this sits well with Klingenschmitt’s supporters, who immediately attacked the judge in the case, Elaine Kaplan. “Lesbian judge takes on Jesus in court,” World Net Daily, the repository for the furthest fringes of wingnuttery cried in a headline.
Klingenschmitt promised to appeal the ruling “if necessary all the way to the Supreme Court.” Well, it’s his money and he can waste it anyway he wants.