US Navy Defends Treatment of Chaplain Wes Modder

While most of the story regarding US Navy Chaplain (LtCmdr) Wes Modder faded into the background with the news of his victory a few weeks ago, one media story included a quote from the Navy that seemed to indicate a bit of self-righteousness [emphasis added]:

A spokesperson for the Navy said the system in Modder’s case worked as it is supposed to, with an investigation following complaints lodged against Modder.

The Navy takes issues like this very seriously, said Lt. Jessica Anderson, public affairs officer and writer for the Chief of Naval Personnel in Arlington, Va.

When there are allegations of misconduct like this, we investigate — as we did in this case,” Anderson said.

Part of Lt Anderson’s statement is actually fair: With some allowance for nuance, it is reasonable that an investigation might follow accusations against someone. (However, it is also worth noting that some people, like the MRFF’s Chris Rodda, seem to think an investigation alone is proof of wrongdoing.) The problem, which Anderson coyly ignored, wasn’t the investigation — it was the attempt by Modder’s commander to get him kicked out of the Navy after the investigation.

Anderson’s final quote was a coup de grĂ¢ce:

The Navy values, and protects in policy, the rights of its service members (including chaplains), to practice according to the tenets of their faith and respects the rights of individuals to determine their own religious convictions.”

If the Navy has policies that protect chaplains’ abilities to practice according to their faith, why was Modder investigated at all — and why was Capt Jon Fahs not sanctioned for trying to kick Modder out for doing what the Navy says is protected by policy?

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