Saturday, your Spiritual Living Examiner sat down to chat via telephone with former US Navy Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt. You may remember former Chaplain Klingenschmitt from the headlines in years past. The Navy did not renew his contract when it expired because he prayed in Jesus’ name, rather than offer up a neutral prayer, as was the policy of the Navy at that time. Former Chaplain Klingenschmitt fought back. Congress agreed with him and overturned the ban. Since that time, he founded The Pray in Jesus Name Project, a national religious speech organization that has successfully overturned “Jesus bans” in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Oklahoma, Oregon, California; and, most recently, Virginia.
SLE: Chaplain Klingenschmitt, tell us how you are now?
CK: It was 3 years of struggle. But, we have now overturned the “anti-Jesus” ban in 7 states.
SLE: What are you doing now?
CK: I founded the Pray in Jesus’ Name Project (http://www.prayinjesusname.org/). I am currently an evangelist with this ministry.
SLE: What makes you interested in North Carolina at this time?
CK: North Carolina Speaker of the House Joe Hackney recently fired Dr. Ronnie L. Baity of Berean Baptist Church in Winston Salem, (http://www.wpipbereanradio.org/) from his volunteer invocation [prayer] appointment for including Jesus’ name in his prayer before the NC state legislature and he contacted me for help.
SLE: I’ve never been kicked out of anything before. Tell me what happened. How does getting kicked out of the House of Representatives work?
CK: The process is this: After the first day, Pastor Baity pre-submitted his invocation in writing to the Speaker of the House Joe Hackney’s secretary. The secretary reported the prayer in Jesus’ Name to Speaker Hackney and Speaker Hackney fired Pastor Baity.
SLE: When did this happen? I never heard much about it locally.
CK: The week of May 31st .
SLE: What can the average person sitting at home do to help?
CK: Go to the website (http://prayinjesusname.org/blog_post/show/64), and sign the free petition.
SLE: I thought online petitions were not valid.
CK: We have a special process. All comments are printed and sent by fax to all 120 representatives and to all 50 senators. A thousand people signed it the first day. 170,000 faxes are landing in Raleigh right now. And we hope that the speaker listens to the voice of the people and reverses his anti-Jesus ban on prayers.
SLE: What else can our readers do?
CK: Call your own [local] representative and ask that prayer in Jesus’ Name be re-instated [(919)-733-4111)].
SLE: How can someone reach you to speak?
CK: Through my website. I would love to come to North Carolina to speak or to attend a rally!
SLE: Please keep our readers posted.
CK: I will update you all on our progress.