[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ike many of you, I’m surprised it took nearly three months for Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt to finally implode.
I’d have guessed six weeks — max.
He was the surest bet for legislative disaster since Doug Bruce, who kicked a photographer his first day on the job and would be censured on a 62-1 vote. Dr. Chaps didn’t invent TABOR, but he has an even longer list of goofy ideas on his resume.
I thought the goofiness — like his claim to have exorcised the gay out of a lesbian soldier — would do him in. It’s been a few years, after all, since any of our elected representatives had compared same-sex marriage to marrying a horse, and we were due.
But Dr. Chaps’ transgression turned out to be worse. Much worse.
[pullquote]It’s easy to see how Dr. Chaps would not be taken seriously. It’s difficult to see how anyone would have elected him to serve in the legislature.[/pullquote]
It was so much worse that no one could have predicted it — because no one could have even imagined it. He took the story, the true-life horror story, of the pregnant Longmont woman who had her unborn child carved from her womb and, somehow, made it even more horrifying.
Only from the fevered mind of Dr. Chaps — state legislator by day, fire-and-brimstone minister by day or night — could we get this explanation for the crime: It was an act of God, he said. A punishment for America’s abortion laws, he said. God’s will, in other words.
I don’t want to paraphrase him. Here’s the direct quote from his “Pray in Jesus Name” show: “This is the curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb, and part of that curse for our rebellion against God as a nation is that our pregnant women are ripped open.”
If you know your scripture — and I confess I don’t — this is straight out of Hosea. I watched the video. According to Dr. Chaps, back in the day, God was quite upset with the Samarians, who apparently weren’t godly enough, and, as a punishment, he said “their little ones shall be dashed in pieces and their pregnant women ripped open.”
“I wonder,” Dr. Chaps said, “if there is prophetic significance to America today in that scripture.”
I wonder how much thought Dr. Chaps gave to the victim, Michelle Wilkins, whose baby had died and whose trauma had already been made all too public.
When the story blew up, Republicans couldn’t run fast enough away from Dr. Chaps. They’ve been holding their collective breath ever since he was elected, knowing that something like this — if not quite this — was inevitable. It must have become even more worrying as the Republican-controlled Senate has dominated the headlines this session passing one going-nowhere culture-war bill after another.
Over on the House side, Dr. Chaps had his moments — his motion from the floor delivered to the tune of “Yesterday”; his original take on the same-sex wedding cake issue — but the biggest surprise was how little attention he had demanded. Right Wing Watch — which broke the act-of-God story — has been paying close attention to Dr. Chaps’ ministry. But no one else seemed to notice.
It’s easy to see how Dr. Chaps would not be taken seriously. I mean, Dr. Chaps? It’s a little more difficult to see how anyone would have elected him to serve in the legislature. How do you vote for someone who predicts that “openly homosexual congressman” — his words — Jared Polis would join ISIS and behead Christians? Or who cites biblical verse to determine that Madonna was possessed by demons? Or who says Obamacare causes cancer?
But now he has crossed a line. It’s not the line between his ministry and his political work — which he says should be seen as separate. It’s not a line between serious and unserious. This is the line between decency and indecency. It’s the line you cross when you presume to tell the victim of an unimaginable crime that it is God’s punishment for all America.
Maybe the most astute quote on his line-crossing comes from Laura Carno, an El Paso County Republican who runs a Facebook page called “Conservatives against Gordon Klingenschmitt.” She told ace reporter Lynn Bartels: “It’s disgusting. I thought Gordon Klingenschmitt would be our next Todd Akin. I didn’t know he would be our next Westboro Baptist Church.”
Dr. Chaps, meanwhile, met with every reporter in sight and wouldn’t apologize for his statement, saying that he was quoting the bible and that if people were offended by the bible, that wasn’t his problem. But I didn’t expect him to apologize. I didn’t expect him to understand that people weren’t offended by the bible, but by him.
I’m sure Dr. Chaps doesn’t think he has done or said anything to apologize for. And, in a way, he may be right. The people who should apologize are those from House District 15 in Colorado Springs who — no joke — actually voted for him.
[Image: Screen grab of Gordon Klingenscmitt from his Pray in Jesus Name web series.]