NORFOLK, Virginia – A jury recommended Thursday that a Navy chaplain receive a letter of reprimand for disobeying an order by appearing in uniform at a political news conference at the White House.
The jury also recommended that Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt forfeit $250 pay per month for a year but suggested that the monetary punishment be suspended.
The jury of five officers at Klingenschmitt's special court-martial determined Wednesday that he had disobeyed a superior officer's order prohibiting him from wearing his uniform during media appearances without prior permission.
Klingenschmitt said he believes he was punished for making a political speech in uniform because he prayed in Jesus' name. He had argued that he was allowed to wear his uniform if conducting a "bona fide worship service."
"I will continue to pray in Jesus' name, I will continue to worship in public and I will not be broken," he said Wednesday.
He said he would appeal the conviction and fight to remain a chaplain. He said senior naval officials had already decided to fire him before the March 30 event, which protested Navy policy requiring nondenominational prayers outside of religious services.
Last December, the chaplain went on an 18-day hunger strike in front of the White House over the right to invoke Jesus' name outside such services.