Liberal Chaplains May be Purposely Undermining Troops’ Liberties
Chaplain Wes Modder recently retired from the US Navy. Chaplain Modder was famously recommended for discharge from the Navy after he expressed his religious views regarding sexuality — in response to direct questions by a subordinate Sailor. (If you’ll recall, that was a scenario homosexual advocates said would never happen.) In an interview recorded at OneNewsNow, Modder notes that he ultimately realized he had been set up because of his faith:
“I came to find out later that he was a gay activist, and I was targeted,” the retired chaplain shared.
On one hand, that shouldn’t be too surprising. Many in the homosexual movement are relatively militant about their cause for erotic liberty, and they’re uncomfortable around those whose faith convicts them for their lifestyle choice. On the other hand, though, the US military preaches tolerance and claims it supports diversity. While it can’t stop every random Sailor from inappropriately targeting a chaplain with a baseless discrimination complaint, it should be able to handle those complaints — and those Sailors — appropriately.
It is disappointing, then, to note that Chaplain Modder was nearly railroaded out of the Navy in a very public format — yet, despite acknowledging that Chaplain Modder’s conduct did not warrant discharge, the Navy has never just as publicly said anything about the Sailors who tried to get Chaplain Modder kicked out.
Worse, though, was the conduct of other chaplains. According to Modder,
The chaplain I was working with at this Navy Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston — she was a very liberal United Methodist command chaplain. She decided to escalate it, brought charges that I was intolerant [and] not able to function in a diverse pluralistic environment.
US military chaplains are specifically charged in DoD regulations with assisting commanders with protecting the religious liberties of US service members — a group that includes fellow chaplains. Yet, rather than doing so, it appears Chaplain Modder’s fellow chaplain actually worked against him, a Pentecostal evangelical — presumably because his beliefs conflicted with hers. Her alleged conduct, predicated on the belief that Modder’s faith conflicted with a “pluralistic environment,” is the textbook definition of discriminatory. She was actually the one unable to conduct herself in a pluralistic environment, alongside a chaplain whose conservative beliefs she did not support.
Yet, while some still accuse Modder of wrongdoing, no one has said anything about either the chaplains or the military leaders who tried to take action against him because of his religious beliefs. That led Chaplain Modder to warn Christians entering US military service that “it’s going to be difficult for you.”
The chaplain Modder references is far from the only liberal-leaning chaplain to appear to be at odds with religious liberty in the US military. For example, chaplains associated with the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy have indicated their agreement that certain “fundamentalist” beliefs are incompatible with military service. US Army Chaplain (Col) Barbara Sherer, a Presbyterian, has publicly written the same thing.
A few chaplains are so afraid of conflict that they’ve discouraged their troops and their fellow chaplains from saying anything religious at all — acting to squelch their troops’ religious liberties rather than protect them. Another chaplain — another Methodist, in fact — explicitly (and very wrongly) told his congregants they had to accept — and could not speak any beliefs against — the transgender movement.
Quentin Collins, a recently retired command chaplain, has continued to harass Air Force leadership in a discriminatory effort against Chaplain (Capt) Sonny Hernandez — only because he doesn’t agree with his beliefs.
Collins, of course, is acting on behalf of Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, who would like to see Christians run out of the military altogether as part of his self-declared “war” against them. In fact, it turns out several of these cited chaplains are friends of Weinstein’s. They’ve been known to investigate and directly provide him information about their fellow troops, inappropriately initiate complaints based on Weinstein’s input, and generally act as Mikey Weinstein’s eyes and ears — when they’re supposed to be the commander‘s eyes and ears, and acting in the interests of their troops, not against them.
To be clear, from the perspective of the US government maintaining a military chaplaincy, there’s nothing wrong with chaplains having liberal beliefs. The issue lies in their problem supporting the religious liberties of military troops and fellow chaplains who hold beliefs they simply don’t like.
In other words, they are the ones whose intolerance is resulting in discriminatory conduct, both directly and indirectly. This is excruciatingly ironic because these are the same chaplains who express grave concern that conservative chaplains will “bring an end to the chaplaincy.” Yet the conservative chaplains they’re criticizing are actively helping US service members exercise their faiths — which is precisely the role of the chaplaincy. That those other chaplains — or Mikey Weinstein — don’t like those faiths is irrelevant; ultimately, it is their conduct that may endanger the future of the chaplaincy.
Chaplains and US troops who hold liberal-leaning beliefs may be wrong, but they are entirely permitted to serve and entirely free to be wrong. It is they who refuse to believe that chaplains and troops with conservative-leaning beliefs should be allowed to serve.
That is, these liberal-leaning chaplains are the ones who appear to be unable to conduct themselves appropriately in a pluralistic military environment.
As a result, these liberal chaplains are actually negatively impacting military religious freedom and the religious liberties of US troops.
Complaints against Chaplain Modder resulted in him nearly being booted from the Navy. Maybe troops whose liberties are being negatively impacted by these chaplains need to start filing complaints against them.