A former Navy chaplain plans to appeal the decision of a federal judge who rejected his lawsuit aimed at restoring his military career.
In his suit, Gordon Klingenschmitt alleges that he was wrongfully discharged from the U.S. Navy eight years ago and seeks an award of back pay and allowances and benefits retroactive to his separation date and reinstatement as a chaplain. He also wants two bad fitness reports expunged from his record, and asks that the court vacate his court-martial conviction and that the letter of reprimand issued pursuant to his conviction be removed from his record.
In her decision rejecting the suit, Judge Elaine Kaplan wrote: "... The court finds unpersuasive Dr. Klingenschmitt's argument that his First Amendment right to practice his religious beliefs was infringed by [an order] that he not wear his uniform to the media event ... in March 2006." That order was based on Navy regulations that prohibit the wearing of a uniform in connection with political activities, according to Kaplan's ruling.
The former chaplain, who now heads The Pray in Jesus Name Project, believes his career was ended simply because he is a man of prayer.
"I sued the domestic enemies of the Constitution in the DC Court of Claims to redeem my career [and] to redeem my pension after I was robbed by people who punished me for quoting the Bible in chapel," he tells OneNewsNow. "[I was robbed] by people who punished me for praying in Jesus' name in uniform outside of chapel."
But Klingenschmitt says even though Congress subsequently rescinded the policies that cost him his military career, the judge refused to rule in his favor.
"That victory was never grandfathered back to my case," he laments. "... The judge recognized that but said that she did not have jurisdiction to review that policy because it was no longer in effect.
"So how can they punish you for a policy and then not give you freedom from that policy after it was rescinded by Congress?"
Klingenschmitt, who was elected to the Colorado legislature last month (representing District 15), says he plans to appeal the decision to a federal appeals court and will take his case to the Supreme Court if necessary.