As we noted yesterday, after several days of controversy, Colorado state legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt finally apologized for having said last week that a brutal attack on a pregnant woman in the state was due to the “curse of God upon America” for legal abortion.
But it seems that his apology is not making the controversy go away, as yesterday the Republican leader in the Colorado House of Representatives stripped Klingenschmitt of one of his two committee assignments as punishment for his statement:
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.”
“This is one of the few tools I have in my toolbox, and this seemed like the appropriate course of action,” said DelGrosso, a Loveland Republican.
Klingenschmitt, of course, is not happy with the move and is complaining that he is being unfairly persecuted for quoting the Bible and being a Christian:
Now The Denver Post reports that because I quoted unpopular Bible verses from the pulpit in my Sunday ministry, the legislative branch of the Colorado government will remove me from a committee.
While I respect his position, I disagree with Leader Brian DelGrosso’s decision, because it clearly establishes an unprecedented religious litmus test for which representatives can sit on what committees.
I was not driving drunk, I was not arrested by the police, I am literally being punished for quoting unpopular Bible verses in my Sunday church, or interpreting the Old Testament differently than Leader DelGrosso interprets it, during my private ministry outside the Capitol. Is that suddenly a crime?
This is not the first time that a branch of the government has reached into my chapel and punished me for my sermons. It also happened when I was a chaplain in the Navy in 2005. That unlawful punishment helped launch 300,000 petitions and I was eventually vindicated by Congress, because their voters demanded religious freedom. Will we?
Here in Colorado, officials can’t claim we have freedom to preach, then levy government punishments for doing that. That endangers everybody’s religious freedom.
The government is now forcing me to choose between obeying God on Sunday, and representing the people Monday through Friday. That’s a hard choice. I want to do both, but party leaders are essentially saying I cannot.
But realizing that the comments he made on his television show have “begun to overshadow” his role as a state legislator, Klingenschmitt announced that he is suspending his ministry and TV program until the end of the state legislative session:
I therefore announce that I will suspend my Christian preaching ministry for the next six weeks, and I will take a Sabbatical from my television show until the end of this legislative session. We will air a few more new programs created this week, but starting next week we plan to only air TV re-runs until the end of the legislative session on May 7th.