Conservative Christian talk show host and state congressional candidate Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt backed off of a meeting with local LGBT residents out of alleged fear for his safety, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.
Klingenschmitt, who is running to represent Colorado’s 15th Congressional district, demurred when contacted by the advocacy group One Colorado to discuss his history of anti-gay statements.
“My schedule for this type of discussion is full until after the election, at which time I will coordinate with my security staff to consider whether or not a safe meeting with your group can be arranged,” Klingenschmitt wrote in an email to One Colorado organizing director Daniel Ramos. “Sadly, I’ve recently received threats from people who hate religious freedom, and I wonder if the following video is representative of the behavior of some people with whom you are inviting me to meet?”
Klingenschmitt, a former Navy chaplain, then included a link to footage of singer Anita Bryant having a pie thrown in her face by activists while defending her “crusade to do away with the homosexuals” during an October 1977 press conference:
He also requested to receive the names, home addresses and “sufficient information for a background check” for each prospective attendee.
One Colorado executive director Dave Montez told the Gazette that he did not know what to make of Klingenschmitt’s response.
“These are his neighbors. These are people who work and pay taxes and are just trying to raise a family and make ends meet,” Montez said. “Is it customary for meetings with his constituents in general for security screenings? Is that the threshold of meeting with your neighbors?”
State Republican lobbyist Steve Durham said that Klingenschmitt was rebuked by party leadership for his response to the group’s request. Both current and retired party officials have sought to distance themselves from Klingenschmitt’s candidacy in the past, arguing that he does not represent their views.
“The response from the party was that Mr. Klingenschmitt’s email was inappropriate and uncalled for and that he should chose his words more carefully,” Durham said. “There was a note of pretty strong disapproval.”
[h/t Right Wing Watch]