With over 7,000 state legislators nationwide, it’s inevitable some that oddballs are going to get elected, but by any fair measure, Colorado’s Gordon Klingenschmitt is a very special case.
As we discussed back in November – shortly after he got elected to Colorado’s General Assembly for the first time – Klingenschmitt is not just another social conservative activist. Rather, the former Navy chaplain is a rather extraordinary figure in the religious right, best known for, among other things, claiming to have rid a woman of the “foul spirit of lesbianism” through an exorcism. He also wrote a book arguing, in all seriousness, that President Obama is possessed by demons. He didn’t mean that metaphorically.
Given this background, the question was not whether Klingenschmitt would embarrass himself, his party, and his office, but when. With this in mind, the Denver Post reported yesterday:
The leader of the House Republicans on Monday stripped Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt from one of his two committee posts, saying the lawmaker’s “curse of God” comments about a woman whose fetus was ripped from her womb were in “poor taste” and “insensitive.”Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso said he removed Klingenschmitt from the Health, Insurance and Environment Committee because he believed “there needed to be some kind of disciplinary action.”
Klingenschmitt considers the punishment unfair. I’m not sure why anyone would agree with him.
In terms of the backstory, it was this Right Wing Watch report that generated the controversy in Colorado.
Last week, a pregnant woman in Colorado was attacked by a stranger who stabbed her in the stomach and cut her baby out of her womb, and Republican state legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt is attributing the attack to God’s curse upon America for the sin of legal abortion.On his “Pray In Jesus Name” program today, Klingenschmitt discussed the story and tied it to a passage from Hosea in which God curses the people of Samaria for their rebellion by declaring that “their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women ripped open.”
“I wonder if there is prophetic significance to America today in that scripture,” Klingenschmitt told his audience. “This is the curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb and part of that curse for our rebellion against God as a nation is that our pregnant women are ripped open.”
GOP leaders in Colorado’s state House decided this warranted a demotion. That seems quite reasonable under the circumstances.
For his part, Klingenschmitt apologized for his reaction and announced he’d take a break from his TV-preacher responsibilities for six weeks, focusing solely on his duties as a legislator.
According to the Denver Post, one of Klingenschmitt’s constituents reached out to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, seeking information about a possible recall campaign against the radical TV preacher.