Lawsuit alleges chaplain prayed for lawyer’s demise

NEW YORK (JTA) – The founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is suing a Dallas-based religious organization for praying for his demise.

Mikey Weinstein, a former military lawyer who is Jewish, is suing the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches, The Dallas Morning News reported Monday.

Weinstein is accusing Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former U.S. Navy chaplain endorsed by the chaplaincy group, of  “asking Jesus to plunder my fields … seize my assets, kill me and my family then wipe away our descendants for 10 generations,” the newspaper reported.

The Dallas Morning News also reported that Weinstein’s lawsuit called for Klingenschmitt and chaplaincy founder Jim Ammerman to stop “encouraging, soliciting, directing, abetting or attempting to induce others to engage in similar conduct.”

In the past few years Weinstein, who comes from a long line of Jewish Republican military members, has received death threats and had his home vandalized with swastikas, animal carcasses and feces.

Weinstein claims the harassment started several years ago after he began protesting Christian proselytizing in the U.S. Air Force Academy and founded the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to combat the strong influence of extremist evangelical Christians in the armed forces.

Klingenschmitt, in a phone interview with The Dallas Morning News, said he has "never incited anybody" to hurt Weinstein.

Weinstein said he hopes his lawsuit will cripple the chaplaincy group financially and have the organization stripped of its status with the Department of Defense.

While religious denominations usually endorse chaplains from their own congregations for military chaplain positions, the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches represents independent churches that may not be affiliated with a denomination. The group has been approved and authorized by the Department of Defense to place military chaplains since 1984, according to its Web site.

 

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