Navy Chaplain Found Guilty in Prayer Case

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A jury of five officers finds a Navy chaplain guilty of disobeying an order by appearing in uniform at a protest near the White House. Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt, an evangelical Episcopalian, persisted in mentioning Jesus in prayers despite the Navy asking him to stay nondenominational in his work.

Klingenschmitt, a three-year Navy veteran, spurned a quiet disciplinary hearing, and opted instead for a more public court-martial. His case has gained wide attention among some Christian conservatives, who see it as one of religious discrimination.

At an event in the spring of 2006, Klingenschmitt wore his uniform as he recited a prayer — despite orders from his commanding officer that he not wear his uniform at any press conferences or media events. The chaplain said he wore different clothes for most of the event.

At the trial, Klingenschmitt's supporters included former Alabama judge Roy Moore, who called on President Bush to intervene in the case.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from