Military chaplains are members of clergy assigned to bases in order to provide spiritual counseling to servicemen and women. For Wesley Modder (second from right), a Pentecostal chaplain once assigned to elite Navy Seal units, those duties also seem to have extended to making claims of being able to “save” gay people and scolding soldiers for premarital sex.
His commanders have now determined that he is “intolerant” and “unable to function in the diverse and pluralistic environment” at his post at the Navy Nuclear Power Training Command in South Carolina.
Modder is fighting the dismissal, maintaining that he’s done absolutely nothing wrong. He’s lawyered up with the Liberty Institute, which advocates for religious expression in the military and in public institutions.
He’s served 19 years, and if the dismissal stands, he could stand to lose his retirement benefits which would have been locked in at year 20.
But don’t feel too sorry for the guy.
These are the specific complaints being brought against him:
– Told a female that she was “shaming herself in the eyes of god” for having premarital sex.
— Told another student that homosexuality was wrong and that “the penis was meant for the vagina and not for the anus.”
— Suggested to a student that he, Modder, had the ability to “save” gay people.
— “Berated” a student for becoming pregnant while not married.
Or as he likely calls it, “spiritual counseling.”
Trouble started for Modder when multiple sailors filed equal opportunity complaints about him with command, alleging discrimination.
In response, Modder told command “he will not follow Navy policy if it conflicts with his faith.”
And as wacky as that sounds, he might have a point. In 2013, Congress passed a law that no chaplains will be forced to “perform any rite, ritual or ceremony that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles or religious beliefs.”
Because apparently religious bigotry sounds a lot different when you just call it “faith.”
Modder’s lawyer, Michael Berry, has an even more insulting version, of course. As he tells it, Modder is the real victim here:
“I think what we are seeing is a hostility to religious expression in the military now,” Berry said. “What we’re seeing is this new modern, pluralistic, Navy where service members are encouraged to be hypersensitive, especially about issues of faith, marriage and family.”
It’s hard out there for a Pentecostal Christian, we get it.
via Military Times