Pray in Jesus’ Name org fights NC General Assembly
August 2, 2010
Amanda Greene — Star News Online
There’s a new dog in the fight to defend a chaplain’s right to pray as he or she chooses in the North Carolina General Assembly.
I got calls last week from an organization called Pray in Jesus’ Name. It’s lead by Virginia-based Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, an evangelical Protestant Navy chaplain who was honorably discharged three years ago after he wore his Naval uniform to a protest against the general policy that chaplains aren’t to say sectarian prayers.
Klingenschmitt is joining a fight in Raleigh over the dismissal of a Baptist chaplain Rev. Ron Baity in the NC General Assembly after he ended a prayer in Jesus’ name.
Following his Navy ouster, Klingenschmitt created a new organization, Pray in Jesus’ Name, dedicated to defending the rights of chaplains who pray sectarian prayers.
Now, he’s taking the fight to Raleigh, snowing legislators with thousands of faxes protesting the firing of Rev. Baity of Winston-Salem. Klingenschmitt said in the next few weeks some 170,000 individual faxes will hit offices while the legislators are on their summer breaks.
“Everywhere the government tries to stamp out the name of Jesus, the people will rise up,” Klingenschmitt told me in a phone interview. “This gives the people a voice. People are frustrated, and they want to communicate with their legislators on this issue.”
The chaplain sees this as an election issue that he plans to press representative to recognize sectarian prayers in the General Assembly.
In North Carolina, for now, precedent isn’t in his favor.
Generic prayers to God are allowed – though the practice of praying in Jesus’ name has wide cultural acceptance in local government meetings across the state.
What are your thoughts? Should chaplains in the General Assembly be allowed to pray in Jesus’ name?