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-Can Someone Really Sue to Stop Another’s Prayers? Yep, Guess So!

by Dr. D ~ October 6th, 2009

U.S.

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Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said he wants Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former U.S. Navy chaplain, to “stop asking Jesus to plunder my fields … seize my assets, kill me and my family then wipe away our descendants for 10 generations.”

Weinstein, a lawyer, is suing in court to stop the defendants – Klingenschmitt and Jim Ammerman, the founder of the Dallas-based Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches – from praying ‘imprecatory prayers’ and “encouraging, soliciting, directing, abetting or attempting to induce others to engage in similar conduct.”

Weinstein and his organization are campaigning to restrict how Chaplains minister in the military while Klingenschmitt and his organization are an official sponsoring organization for military chaplains.

Weinstein says that his family has received death threats, had a swastika emblazoned on their home in New Mexico, but that was several years ago and not really connected in anyway to this case but in response to his ongoing cause to have restrictions placed upon the ministry of chaplains in the military.

Gordon Klingenschmitt says that he has never personally prayed for death and violence to come upon anyone but has only quoted scriptures (Psalm 109 and Deuteronomy 23) during his prayers. Also, in no way has he incited anybody to hurt Weinstein.

But he does say that Weinstein challenged him to a fight and said that he "would like to beat the expletive out of him in a boxing ring or in an alley."  Weinstein didn’t dispute the quote saying that he would be happy to meet Klingenschmitt in a “fair fight." Does sound rather personal doesn’t it?

Response: So let me get this straight—Weinstein is suing to stop Klingenschmitt and Ammerman from saying imprecatory prayers against him? That would seem to limit free speech and the free exercise of religion wouldn’t it? Secondly, how can one force another to change their personal prayers? That would seem to be rather impossible.

I am not an advocate of public imprecatory prayers—I believe that Jesus taught us to pray ‘for’ our enemies. Nevertheless I support the right of anyone to say what they want in their prayers. 

I can’t see how this lawsuit can be successful in anyway. The real intent on Weinstein’s part must be to cause trouble for these folks and this chaplaincy organization. In a moment of candor Weinstein admitted as much in an interview:

“Weinstein said he also hopes to cripple the Chaplaincy financially and to have the organization stripped of its status with the Department of Defense.”

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