First Amendment

Suit by Ex-White House Lawyer Says Prayers Incite Violence Against Him

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A lawyer who challenged a foundation’s right to endorse military chaplains claims in a lawsuit that representatives of the organization are inciting violence against him through their prayers.

Lawyer Michael Weinstein and his wife, Bonnie, claim in the suit that they want Gordon Klingenschmitt to “stop asking Jesus to plunder my fields … seize my assets, kill me and my family then wipe away our descendants for 10 generations,” according to the Dallas Morning News.

The suit (PDF posted by Texas Lawyer) also says Klingenschmitt and Jim Ammerman are encouraging others to engage in similar conduct. Ammerman is founder of the Dallas-based Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches, the group Weinstein opposed.

Weinstein is a former military lawyer who served in the Reagan White House and was general counsel for Ross Perot.

Weinstein’s lawyer, Randal Mathis, told Texas Lawyer that people have fired shots at the Weinsteins’ home, set fire to their lawn and left dead animals there. “A threat is a threat and a call to violence is a call to violence,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “And those are not constitutionally protected.” He told Texas Lawyer he hopes the case will reach the U.S. Supreme Court for a ruling on whether threats cloaked in a prayer are protected by the First Amendment.

Klingenschmitt denied praying for violence in interviews with both publications. He told Texas Lawyer he merely quoted scripture that said “Let his days be few” and “Let his posterity be cut off.”

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