A senior Navy SEAL chaplain is fighting for his career being set up by an “assistant” who accused him of violating Navy policies by just believing what he believes: that homosexual acts are sinful.
Lt. Cmdr. Wes Modder, a 19-year veteran, enjoyed outstanding reviews from his superiors — until December, when a young assistant entered his office one morning with two Equal Opportunity representatives in tow and a five-page complaint in hand, according to Fox News.
The assistant, a lieutenant junior grade, had only been working for Modder for about a month before he lodged his complaint. During that time, he incessantly questioned Modder on his beliefs regarding same sex marriage and homosexuality.
It turned out the chaplain’s new aide was gay, married to another man and was obviously setting Modder up to take a fall.
“His five page letter of complaint was unconscionable,” Modder said. “He said I had a behavioral pattern of being anti-discriminatory of same sex orientation.”
His reviews went overnight from “the best of the best,” and a “consummate professional leader” to an officer who was unable to “function in the diverse and pluralistic environment.”
And these words are all from his same commanding officer — Capt. Jon R. Fahs.
Michael Berry, a military veteran and attorney with Liberty Institute a law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases is representing Modder. He accused the military of committing a gross injustice against the chaplain in a letter to the Navy. He told me they will respond forcefully and resolutely to the allegations – which they categorically deny.
“We are starting to see cases where chaplains have targets on their backs,” Berry said to Todd Starnes of Fox News. “They have to ask themselves, ‘Do I stay true to my faith or do I keep my job?’”
He said the Navy is disregarding the function of a chaplain.
“They want chaplains to be glorified summer camp counselors and not speak truth and love into people’s lives,” Berry told told Fox News. “There are some anti-religious elements in our military. Anytime somebody wants to live their faith out – there are people who say that is offensive.”
Berry also believes Modder was being set up from the beginning.
“I believe some of what the lieutenant has alleged could constitute a military crime – false statements – taking what the chaplain said and twisting or misconstruing it – in an attempt to get the chaplain punished,” he said. “He abused the position he was placed in as a chaplain’s assistant.”
The Pentagon released this statement Tuesday:
Chaplain Modder has been temporarily assigned to Naval Support Activity Charleston as one of the chaplains on staff. The detachment for cause action will be reviewed by Navy Personnel Command. The senior chaplain remains in place at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command to provide religious ministry to the students and staff. 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 each individual to determine their own religious convictions.
But Modder’s been in limbo for three months now. Will this be another Bowe Bergdahl situation and drag on interminably?
For the sake of a senior officer of conviction, I hope not.
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