Former Navy Chaplain Prays for the Death of Those Who Disagree With Him - updated 10/15/12

Sheila Musaji

Posted Oct 15, 2012      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Former Navy Chaplain Prays for the Death of Those Who Disagree With Him

by Sheila Musaji

If you go to this link on the “Pray in Jesus” site, you will see a list of things to pray for during the week of April 19th to 24th, 2009, and prayers for each item that only take one minute each.  Here is item number 7 exactly as it appears on the site:


Let us pray.  Almighty God, today we pray imprecatory prayers from Psalm 109 against the enemies of religious liberty, including 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.

**Listen below! And call & ask your local Christian radio station to broadcast this 60-second prayer many times throughout the day on Saturday, 25 Apr 09.

Click on “evening” to hear an audio recording of former US Navy Chaplain (and Air Force Academy graduate) Gordon Klingenschmitt reciting this prayer. 

Who deserves such “prayers”?  What sort of people would a “Christian” former chaplain believe deserve to have American Christians pray that they would die?

Mikey Weinstein heads up the Military Religious Freedom Foundation which is “dedicated to ensuring that all members of the United States Armed Forces fully receive the Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom to which they and all Americans are entitled by virtue of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment and the ‘no religius test’ of Article VI.”

Reverend Barry W. Lynn is the Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State

That means defending the right of all members of the military (and the rest of us citizens) no matter what their religion or lack of religion to the free exercise of their personal religious beliefs — Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs — everyone.

It would seem that whatever form of “Christianity” the good chaplain represents, it has more in common with the sort of “Islam” represented by the Taliban than anything else. 

It is probably legal to issue such a statement, but the morality is questionable.

I hope that all of the mainstream Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs — everyone other than these nuts offers prayers for compassion, justice and peace for all of us, and I am pretty sure that such a prayer has more chances of being heard by the God who loves us all.

UPDATE 8/24/10

In the article Obamaphobia and Islamophobia Revisited I discuss a bumper sticker that said “Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8”.  This is the same imprecatory prayer.  Here is the passage from my article discussing this:

This week when I was at the grocery store I saw a car with a fish logo (one symbol of Christianity) on the back, and a bumper sticker that said “Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8”.  Here is a picture of what the bumper sticker looks like

When I got home and looked up the Psalm, it turns out that this wasn’t a prayer for our President to have wisdom, or to be successful in leading the country, or even to wish that he would lead the country in a more compassionate direction.

I began looking this up on the internet and found many sites noting this bumper sticker, and now also tee-shirts  with the same message.  And, it is being twittered  and is all over Facebook.  Yet another viral piece of hate mongering.  How, you ask could a prayer be hateful?

Well, one of those selling these, Cafe Press was selling the bumper stickers, then pulled them, then put them back online to purchase again.  They can’t make up their mind if they cross the line into hate.

In some cases those commenting tried to say that this was a benign wish for President Obama’s term of office to only be four years, etc.  However, if you read what the Psalm says in its entirely, and particularly the verses that immediately follow 109:8 it is obvious that this is a prayer for his death.  That is the only that his wife would be widowed or his children be left wandering beggar orphans.

Here is Psalm 109:8 to

8 May his days be few;
      may another take his place of leadership.

9 May his children be fatherless
      and his wife a widow.

10 May his children be wandering beggars;
      may they be driven from their ruined homes.

Look it up yourself.  The entire Chapter, all 31 verses is an imprecatory prayer, and some pretty nasty stuff.  For anyone to attempt to say this is not a serious threat against the President of the United States is pretty naive.

Frank Schaeffer, discussed this on the Rachel Maddow program and according to Raw Story ”...he emphasized that in a religious context “it means something more threatening.”      “The situation that I find genuinely frightening right now,” Schaeffer explained, “is that you have a ramping up of biblical language ... and what it’s coalescing into is branding Obama ... as ‘not us.’ ... Now he joins the ranks of the unjust kings of ancient Israel ... who should be slaughtered, if not by God then by just men.”   You can read the full article and view video of the program here

Those folks are right up there with the Dove World Outreach Church,  and former SBC second vice president Wiley Drake who is praying “imprecatory prayer” against Obama, and Rev. Steven L. Anderson, at Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona who said he was “... going to pray for Barack Obama to die and go to hell.”  All of these people need to spend a little time learning something about Christian brotherly love, and less time praying for people to die.

Colin Powell has made the strongest statement to date, basically “so what” if Obama is a Muslim.  Here is what he said:

I’m also troubled by - not what Senator McCain says - but what members of the Party say, and it is permitted to be said: such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is he is not a Muslim. He’s a Christian; has always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, “What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?” The answer’s “No, that’s not America.” Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim American kid believing that he or she could be President? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own Party drop the suggestion he’s Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.
I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery. And she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards - Purple Heart, Bronze Star; showed that he died in Iraq; gave his date of birth, date of death. He was twenty years old. And then at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross. It didn’t have a Star of David. It had a crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Karim Rashad Sultan Kahn. And he was an American. He was born in New Jersey, he was fourteen years old at the time of 9/11 and he waited until he could go serve his country and he gave his life.

I am praying for God to bless us all, for God to guide us all, for God to protect us all, and for the extremists among those who say they belong to any faith to discover love, compassion, forgiveness, mercy and justice which are the core teachings of all religions.  I am also praying for everyone to protect our President and our country.

UPDATE 3/22/2011

Chris Rodda has reported that

Klingenschmitt also posted a very strange disclaimer on his website, in which he defended his right to call himself “Chaplain,” stating that he had a current endorsement as a “Chaplain and Evangelist to America” from the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches (CFGC). It was this statement that led MRFF to take a closer look at the CFGC, a chaplain endorsing agency founded by retired Army colonel and chaplain Jim Ammerman, and authorized by the Department of Defense to provide the ecclesiastical endorsement required by the military for all military chaplains, with several hundred of its chaplains currently serving in all branches of the military.

It didn’t take long to find out that Jim Ammerman was a dangerous conspiracy theorist with a long record of making statements to foment anti-government sentiment and incite violence as a speaker for the Topeka, Kansas based Prophecy Club, an organization that promotes a plethora of conspiracy theories against the U.S. government—everything from 9-11 being a government conspiracy to the United States being in imminent danger of being placed under the control of U.N. forces to the entire U.S. government being an illegal government founded by the Illuminati and satanists. In fact, way back in 1997 a three-star general had called for an investigation of Ammerman and CFGC with a memorandum including nine pages of excerpts from Ammerman’s radio appearances and his Prophecy Club video, “Imminent Military Takeover of the U.S.A.,” a video being circulated among militia groups at the time.

Ammerman’s statements included everything from saying that Bill Clinton (president at the time the video was released) should have been executed to inciting the militia types by making claims that his chaplains were reporting back to him that they had inside information that the U.S. military was preparing to attack U.S. cities, and claiming inside information from other sources indicating an imminent threat of the United States being placed under martial law.

Ammerman’s more recent statements include a “suggestion” in his September 2008 CFGC newsletter that the four democratic senators who were then candidates for president—Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, and, of course, Barack Obama—should be arrested and executed for voting against making English the official language of the United States. He has also advocated armed violence against law enforcement officials.

(To read more about Jim Ammerman, see my previous post, “Conspiracy Theorist Military Chaplains Promote Anti-American Militia Activity.”)

UPDATE 6/2012

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State reports

A Texas court has declared it legal to pray for harm to come to someone as long as no one is actually hurt.

Judge Martin Hoffman, presiding judge of the 68th Civil District in Dallas County, dismissed a lawsuit brought by Mikey Weinstein against former Navy chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, who allegedly used “curse” prayers in an attempt to harm Weinstein and his family.

According to the suit, Klingenschmitt urged his followers to pray for the destruction of Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation. He used Psalm 109, an “imprecatory” prayer text that calls for the death of an enemy and curses for his family.

Weinstein said Klingenschmitt’s actions have led him to receive death threats and resulted in damage to his property, including windows shot out of his home, according to the Religion News Service (RNS).

“We believe the judge made a mistake in not understanding that imprecatory prayers are code words for trolling for assassins for the Weinstein family,” Weinstein told RNS.

Klingenschmitt’s attorney John Whitehead praised the April 2 decision, saying that banning these types of prayers could force the shuttering of “half the churches, synagogues and mosques in this country.”

UPDATE 10/15/2012

Mikey Weinstein sent me an email he received from an individual claiming to be a former classmate from the USAF Academy class of 1977.  In that email, the individual says:

“...  First, we ask you to reconsider coming to our 35th reunion next week. Yes, we found out you are coming. And second we ask you to believe in and fear the Power of Prayer if you refuse to reconsider. I didn’t know you well at the Academy but well enough to see the darkness of spirit within you. You hate the followers of the Lord. You elevate Christ’s enemies over our Savior. Gays and Muslims and atheists are the object of your love. 

...  If you refuse to do it then we will pray the Psalm 109. We will pray at home and at church. Our families will pray it together. We will pray to the Lord to stop your poison. We will pray the Psalm against you and your wife and all those who give you sanctuary and protection in Colorado Springs.

...  Let me be clear. None of us will harm you or your wife. That would be illegal and wrong. It is not our place to mete out the justice and punishment you and your followers deserve and have earned. We won’t have to. The Lord will. It is our God-given right to pray for His intervention and protection from your evil. Even under the Constitution you worship as an idol in place of the Son of God. Reconsider and know the Power of Prayer. Fear the Power of Christ, Michael Weinstein (1 Peter 1: 17-21).”

This individual believes according to his own words that gays, and Muslims, and atheists are “the enemies of Christ”.  He also believes that insisting on defending the Constitution of the United States, and the first amendment of the Constitution are a sign of worshipping “an idol in the place of the Son of God.”  Basically, this is the Christian version of the Taliban perversion of Islam.  This individual, who was a career military officer would like to replace the Constitution with a Christian theocracy.  This is clearly a violation of his sworn oath.

Here is the oath that every officer in the U.S. military takes when he receives his commission:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.  So help me God.

It seems clear that as with some of our elected representatives, some individuals had their fingers crossed when they swore this oath.


See also:

Evangelical Christian missionaries embedded with American combat troops in Afghanistan, Mikey Weinstein

Conspiracy Theorist Military Chaplains Promote Anti-American Militia Activity, Chris Rodda

Documents from Rumsfeld Pentagon mixing religion and war

Wiley Drake, a former Southern Baptist Convention officer, says the the murder of George Tiller was an answer to “imprecatory prayer” and that he is praying for Barack Obama’s death.

The Crusaders : “The Christian Taliban Is Running the Department of Defense”,  Robert Koehler

Guns and God: Author sees network of hard-line Christians in U.S. military

Iraqis claim Marines are pushing Christianity in Fallujah

Is the U.S. Military “at war with Islam”?, Sheila Musaji (with a lengthy TAM article collection)

Jesus killed Mohammed: The crusade for a Christian military,  Jeff Sharlet

Military Religious Freedom Foundation Letter to the Secretary of Defense

MRFF and the Center for Inquiry Send Joint Demand Letter to the Pentagon

Navy Chaplain Guilty Of Disobeying an Order, Alan Cooperman

Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt presses issue of sectarian prayer

Naval Maneuvers: Ex-Chaplain Admits He’s Not All He Appeared To Be

Not so fast, Christian soldiers, Mikey Weinstein and Reza Aslan,1,2971273.story?coll=la-news-a_section&ctrack=5&cset=true

Praying for God to hurt someone is not illegal, judge rules

Praying for Obama’s death

Psalm 109 Imprecatory Prayer Case to Go Forward in Texas, Chris Rodda

Religious Civil Rights: Why Have the Washington Times and the Air Force Academy Savaged Them?, Mikey Weinstein

Sergeant Suspended for Imprecatory Prayer Against President Obama

Soldiers inAfghanistan given Bibles, told to “hunt people for Jesus”

Texas court ruling makes imprecatory prayers legal

The war against Islam,  James Carroll

Witness for Jesus in Afghanistan

First posted 4/26/2009