WHITE HOUSE – It's almost Christmas, and U.S. Navy chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt is on a hunger strike that includes nightly prayers outside the White House.
Lieutenant Klingenschmitt, an Evangelical Episcopal priest, says he won't eat until President Bush signs an executive order allowing military chaplains to pray according to their beliefs.
Klingenschmitt, who began his fast on Tuesday, says Navy admirals have told him that he can't pray publicly in Jesus' name unless he's wearing civilian clothes. He's continuing to pray as the Bible says Jesus instructed, but not in uniform.
More than 70 members of Congress and 170,000 petitioners also are calling on President Bush to let chaplains pray according to their faith instead of being limited to generic invocations.