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 Read more
For the past six months, US Navy Chaplain (LtCmdr) Wes Modder has been fighting for his career after his commander, CAPT Jon Fahs, requested he be “detached for cause” (PDF) and then defend why he should be retained in the Navy. The primary charge was he “failed to show tolerance and respect” when he made certain statements about sexuality.
Last week, the US Navy Personnel Command informed Captain Fahs that his request for Chaplain Modder to be Detached for Cause was denied, as was his request for Modder to “show cause” to remain in the Navy. Rear Admiral David F. Steindl wrote (PDF):
Your request for detachment for cause in the case of LCDR Modder…has been reviewed and is disapproved. I have found the evidence of substandard performance in this case does not meet the standard of gross negligence or complete disregard of duty… LCDR Modder will not be detached for cause.
In other words, the Admiral said CAPT Fahs was wrong.
To be “detached for cause” (DFC) in Read more
US Navy Chaplain Wes Modder, currently facing a discharge board for statements about homosexuality made during private counseling sessions, has filed a complaint with the Navy with the goal of being able to continue ministering to his sailors:
Chaplain Wes Modder spends his days basically alone in the base chapel. He is no longer allowed into his office. By order of his commanding officer, he is not allowed even to speak to the sailors in his unit. If anyone from his unit comes into the chapel, he may not speak with them…
His commanding officer, Captain Jon Fahs…requested various actions against Modder, including taking him off the promotions list, separating him for cause, and initiating a board of inquiry. None of that has happened yet and, in the meantime, Modder sits alone unable to help his fellow sailors…
Modder and his lawyers at the Liberty Institute have Read more
A variety of media outlets continue to cover the story of Navy Chaplain (LtCmdr) Wes Modder, who was removed from his unit after complaints that he made offensive statements in counseling.
At the Daily Signal, Kelsey Harkness notes there are actually two chaplains facing sanction right now. Besides Modder, Army Chaplain (Capt) Joe Lawhorn was also punished for telling personal stories involving his faith; his story has faded somewhat from the press, but it is still ongoing.
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the only U.S. congressman to also serve as an Air Force Reserve chaplain, believes the military has gone too far in punishing Modder and others like him.
“It’s First Amendment rights for a reason,” Collins told The Daily Signal in an exclusive interview. “Not because you agree with it.”
Rep Collins went further, repeating Read more
In a rather surprising development, US Navy CAPT J.R. Fahs issued a “No Contact Order” (essentially, a restraining order) prohibiting Navy Chaplain (LtCmdr) Wes Modder from ministering to — or even communicating with — the Sailors he formerly served:
When a sailor in Modder’s previous unit unexpectedly died…Modder was about to reach out to the sailor’s grieving family when he was stopped by a member of the command.
He was slapped with a “no contact” order – the Navy’s version of a restraining order – banning him from providing counsel or ministering to any members of his unit.
The order also reportedly banned Chaplain Modder from even entering the base on the day of the memorial service.
Liberty Institute attorney Mike Berry said the Navy Read more
Chaplain (LtCmdr) Wes Modder was relieved of his duties for expressing, during private counseling sessions, beliefs consistent with his endorsing agency. He appealed the dismissal, and he also filed a formal request for religious accommodation, seeking the freedom to
discuss matters of faith, marriage, family, and human sexuality from a Biblical perspective when the issue is relevant to pastoral counseling.
Shockingly, his request was denied — sort of. Navy CAPT J.R. Fahs wrote a rambling response (PDF) that addressed the reasoning behind firing Chaplain Modder but never actually said whether the Request for Religious Accommodation was approved or denied. Rather, CAPT Fahs implied the request was unnecessary: Read more