For those who don’t know, Gordon Klingenschmitt, was a Navy Chaplin who was discharged for misconduct more than four years ago. He wore his uniform to a rally hosted by the religious right which criticized the government’s policy on religious inclusion in the military, despite direct orders against this. I recently ran across this video of Gordon Klingenschmitt talking about doing a “gay exorcism” while he was in service in the military. He is now threatening to sue the navy. I see this attitude often from fundamentalist Christians when they are told they do not have the right to foist their beliefs onto others without limit, particularly when they use their job as a means for this and end up getting fired.
Now, some might say, “hey skeptimus I thought we had free speech,” and while this is true, free speech is not a license to interfere with people’s lives or create a captive audience for your beliefs. Consider the KKK as an example, every one of their members has a right to be a racist asshole. I would not impinge upon their right as long as they do not impinge upon my right to think they are horrid people, and to refuse to associate with them. They even have the right to speak about their beliefs publicly. However, they do not have the right to burn crosses in people’s front yards, or other things which may interfere with other people’s civil rights.
Make no mistake, this man is a bigot, and his use of his job in the military as a podium from which to put forward his religious beliefs, even if he was a chaplain, was an overstep of his authority. Things like “gay exorcisms” or just exorcism in general have no place in modern society. His ideas are both crazy and offensive even by the standards of many Christians, and I would say count as psychological abuse.
Of course none of this has stopped the religious right from making him the next poster child for their campaign to claim that they are victims of prejudice because these days they only have most of the power instead of all of it.