By one count, there are over 7,000 Americans serving as state legislators nationwide, and with a group that big, there are going to be some strange, fringe figures that most of the American mainstream would find cringe-worthy. It’s hardly worth the effort to point out every nut who somehow gets elected to help write a state’s laws.
a very special case.That said, Gordon Klingenschmitt – a.k.a. “Dr. Chaps” – is
Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, a radical anti-gay Religious Right activist who brags of having once tried to rid of woman of the “foul spirit of lesbianism” through an exorcism and who openly proclaims that “American law needs to reflect God’s law” and that our foreign policy must be based on the Bible, won election to the Colorado House of Representatives last night.Klingenschmitt, who wrote a book about how President Obama is possessed by demons and once performed an exorcism of Obama, ran an utterly embarrassing campaign yet nonetheless managed to defeat his Democratic opponent by nearly 40 points.
It’s probably worth emphasizing, in case anyone isn’t sure, that this is entirely serious. Klingenschmitt really believes in exorcisms for gay people and that the president is demon-possessed. And 17,000 voters in Colorado really did choose, on purpose, to make Klingenschmitt a state lawmaker.
That said, one might be forgiven for thinking Right Wing Watch’s profile of the newly elected legislator is some kind of joke. Klingenschmitt believes “only people who are going to heaven are entitled to equal treatment by the government.” He’s said “teaching kids about gay marriage is mental rape.” He’s argued that the Affordable Care Act “causes cancer.” He’s described Islamic State militants as a sign of the Biblical End Times.
But again, this is not a joke.
Perhaps my personal favorite was the time that Klingenschmitt declared, “You know what, citizens, if you don’t have a gun, I’m telling you – as a Christian chaplain – sell your clothes and buy a gun. It’s time.” (Really, that’s what he said. It’s on video.)
It’s also worth emphasizing that while Klingenschmitt ran and won as a Republican, Zack Ford noted that Colorado GOP officials have not been eager to embrace the fringe figure and his bizarre worldview. After Klingenschmitt won his primary, state Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call said, “Gordon does not speak on behalf of the Republican Party. To suggest otherwise is inaccurate and dishonest.”
That said, it is accurate and honest to note Klingenschmitt has shared truly nutty ideas in public and now the Republican is, in fact, an elected state lawmaker in Colorado.