DENVER — Facing rising outrage from Democrats and his fellow Republicans, State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt refused to apologize Thursday for his comments on his evangelical YouTube program attributing the death of an unborn child, cut out of a pregnant woman’s stomach, to an act of God.
“I believe the Bible and I quoted the Bible and I applied it to current events,” Klingenschmitt said Thursday afternoon during an interview with FOX31 Denver. “If other people are offended by the Bible, that’s okay, they don’t have to agree with me or come to my church or watch my TV show. It’s a free country.”
Klingenschmitt’s preaching on his “Pray In Jesus’ Name” show first caught attention of political observers after he emerged from a Republican primary last fall to represent a safe GOP seat from El Paso County, as Democrats salivated over the prospects of a new GOP with a propensity for saying outrageous things that would put his party on the defensive.
On Sunday, he focused on the recent attack on Michelle Wilkins, whose baby was brutally cut out of her by a female assailant, and quoted Scripture in order to argue that the crime was an “act of God” in retribution for America allowing women to have abortions.
“This is the curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb,” Klingenschmitt said. “And part of that curse for our rebellion against God as a nation is that our women are ripped open.”
On Thursday, there was no joy among Democrats over the comments and the prospect of scoring easy political points — only disgust.
“I think that this statement is reprehensible and disrespectful,” said House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Gunbarrel. “Given the sensitive nature of the events, as well as respect for the victim and her family, I’m not going to comment any further.”
Earlier this year, conservative activist Laura Carno launched a “Conservatives Against Gordon Klingenschmitt” Facebook page, an indicator that Republicans harbor real concerns about the lawmaker’s political brand tarnishing their party as a whole.
On Thursday, Assistant Minority Leader Polly Lawrence, R-Littleton, tried to distance Republican lawmakers from Klingenschmitt and his comments.
“When I saw what he said about the woman being attacked, I was appalled,” Lawrence said. “He does not speak for the Republican caucus. In fact, we’ve counseled him numerous times, as we counsel everybody, that what you say outside of this building because you’re an elected public official sometimes spills over into your official capacity.”
Interviewed Thursday afternoon in the Capitol basement, Klingenschmitt seemed unwilling to heed that advice, adamant that what he says as a preacher on his Sunday morning program should be viewed separately from his work as an elected official.
“I’ve said many times that I wear two hats; and on Sundays, I’m an ordained minister and I preach the gospel and I quote the bible,” he said.
Klingenschmitt directed his own outrage at Hullinghorst and Democrats at the Capitol who have blocked personhood measures that, he argues, would afford adequate justice to Wilkins for the death of her unborn baby.
As for upsetting members of his own party?
“I didn’t come here to be a career politician,” he said. “I came here to speak the truth.”