Members of Congress have written a letter (PDF) to the Secretary of the Navy asking for details on why US Navy Chaplain (LtCmdr) Wes Modder is facing adverse action for his religious beliefs [emphasis added]:
Our understanding is that Chaplain Modder’s commanding officer has requested that Chaplain Modder be Detached for Cause after a Sailor at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command complained about Chaplain Modder’s views on pre-marital sex and homosexuality…
These beliefs on sexual intimacy do not constitute a legally viable reason to bring action against Chaplain Modder or any member of the military… It is dangerous to fall prey to the fundamentally false proposition that individuals who support natural marriage can only be motivated by animus for others.
Realize that these are the members of Congress who wrote the law they are now explaining to the Navy. They’re telling the Navy 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
An interview with US Navy Chaplain (LtCmdr) Wes Modder at Breitbart revealed a few more details about the Navy’s decision to remove him and attempt to discharge him from the military over complaints about his beliefs.
It seems the Lt(JG) complainant, at points described as a “chaplain’s assistant,” was in fact a new officer filling a temporary job while waiting for his next assignment. With apparent time on his hands — and an agenda — it seems the new officer decided he would go out of his way to make his mark on the Navy.
It turns out the young officer seemed to be running his own private investigation into Modder’s Christian beliefs and how they may conflict with his interpretation of proper tolerance for LGBT individuals.
To be clear, there were (reportedly) no complaints in Read more
In an incident that homosexual advocates claimed would never occur, US Navy Chaplain (LtCmdr) Wes Modder has been removed from his duties — and threatened with dismissal from the military — because his religious beliefs conflict with homosexuality:
A chaplain who once ministered to Navy SEALs could be thrown out of the military after he was accused of failing “to show tolerance and respect” in private counseling sessions in regards to issues pertaining to faith, marriage and sexuality, specifically homosexuality and pre-marital sex, according to documents obtained exclusively by Fox News.
Lt. Commander Wes Modder, who is endorsed by the Assemblies of God, has also been accused of being unable to “function in the diverse and pluralistic environment” of the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Goose Creek, S.C.
Chaplain Modder had been at NNTC since April. Around November, a new assistant started working in the office: Read more
An article at the Stars and Stripes, making a reference to the congressional testimony a couple of months ago, notes that “both sides agree” that there continues to be confusion over the US military’s policy on religious liberty. The article led with the story of US Army Chaplain (Capt) Joe Lawhorn — who was punished for mentioning his faith during a briefing and who was cited again recently in the Washington Times — as an example.
Nearly a year after the Department of Defense issued a heavily revised religious expression policy that advocates said would bring a new level of religious freedom, the dispute at Fort Benning, Ga., is evidence that the new wording hasn’t done away with old disputes. The fight Read more
- Jewish Endorser Backs Punished Christian Chaplain
- Chaplain Lawhorn Requests Religious Accommodation
- Commander Denies Request to Rescind Letter of Concern
- Atheist Soldier Derides Christian Faith
Jewish Endorser Backs Punished Christian Chaplain
Yeshiva Pirchei Shoshanim, a Jewish endorsing agent for US military chaplains, has publicly backed US Army Chaplain (Capt) Joseph Lawhorn — a Christian chaplain punished for sharing his personal story of how faith enabled him to weather depression [emphasis added]:
[YPS] believe[s] the Letter of Concern is inappropriate and will have negative consequences on all military chaplains…
YPS supports the right Read more
Update: Chaplain Lawhorn’s attorney responds to the Army characterization here, and Chaplain Lawhorn says
As is the case with every endeavor or circumstance in my life, my ultimate intention will be to bring honor to God. To that end, I will be praying and pursuing as this case and these circumstances continue to evolve.
The Army responded to the outcry over the story of US Army Chaplain (Capt) Joe Lawhorn being punished for sharing his personal story of battling with depression by saying he wasn’t, in fact, punished:
Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, [said] in a statement on Friday: “A local letter of concern is not punishment. Rather, it is an administrative counseling tool, with no long-term consequences.”
So the Army is saying that an officer was ordered to report in to his boss’s boss, was told he was violating US Army regulations, and was told his personnel record would reflect this adverse response — but he wasn’t being punished?
Whether it is “punishment” within the military lexicon is ultimately irrelevant. The Army officially responded negatively to a chaplain only because an atheist complained that the chaplain said something religious — even when there was nothing wrong with him saying something religious. The chaplain’s lawyer maintains the official negative response is inconsistent with military regulations and the US Constitution — charges to which the Army has not yet responded.
The chaplain’s ecclesiastical endorser has likewise asked the commander to rescind the letter.