Republicans' domination in the recent midterm -- John Hickenlooper's squeaker of a reelection win was among the few Democratic bright spots -- extended to the Colorado State Senate, which will now be under GOP control owing to a vote count not formally announced until days after the election. And while the Dems retained control of the House, that chamber is sure to be a livelier place owing to the victory of Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former Navy chaplain whose skill set includes exorcisms and claims that Jared Polis wants to behead Christians. Really. Learn more about him below.
Klingenschmitt, nicknamed "Dr. Chaps," prevailed in House District 15, a slice of El Paso County so conservative that a Republican candidate would probably have to slap a baby on live TV to lose -- and if the tot was the offspring of a Democrat, that still might not be enough. But even by the area's standards, he's on the fringes.
In addition to being behind the website PrayInJesusName.com, which boasts of sending "petitions to God & government to defend religious freedom," he's known for YouTube sermons in which he makes assorted claims that have provided fodder aplenty for the progressive outfit Right Wing Watch.
Among the Klingenschmitt salvos shared by the group -- assertions that "Obamacare causes cancer," the Bible "commands people to own guns in order to 'defend themselves against left-wing crazies,'" and the FCC is "allowing demonic spirits to 'molest and visually rape your children.'"
And then there's his virulently homophobic anti-gay rhetoric. Writes RWW: "Gays, he says, have something inhuman and demonic inside of them, which is why he declares that teaching kids about gay marriage is mental rape and advocates that Christians should print anti-gay Bible verses on the backs of gay wedding photos."
Klingenschmitt hasn't turned the other cheek when it comes to Right Wing Watch's attacks. Last year around this time, he sent copyright infringement complaints to YouTube that temporarily resulted in RWW's account being suspended.
After Klingenschmitt won the Republican primary in District 15 earlier this year, GOP party chair Ryan Call found himself in the position of having to address some of these remarks. In August, a Colorado Pols piece quotes Call as stressing that Klingenschmitt "does not speak for the Colorado Republican Party" and espouses views that "do not reflect my personal position or the position of the party" in the wake of this statement about Congressman Jared Polis:
The open persecution of Christians is underway. Democrats like Polis want to bankrupt Christians who refuse to worship and endorse his sodomy. Next he'll join ISIS in beheading Christians, but not just in Syria, right here in America.
Not everyone is aghast at Klingenschmitt's victory. World Net Daily, a news site that treats Barack Obama like the anti-Christ, champions Klingenschmitt as a "Navy chaplain who fought for prayer." And when it came to winning a seat in the Colorado House, he clearly had one.
Below, see five videos: a clip from his campaign website celebrating his primary performance, an interview in which he talks about shutting down Right Wing Watch's YouTube channel, RWW items focusing on gay-bashing and demons and a segment from Rachel Maddow's Friday program, in which Klingenschmitt received some national cable-TV face time.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.