Navy Chaplain: Keep Calm and Carrier On

By Tony Perkins

Remember when the Pentagon said religious liberty wouldn’t be a casualty of open homosexuality in the military? So does Wes Modder. So imagine his surprise when the long-time chaplain was sent home for exercising his. Unfortunately, the Navy Lt. Commander is yet another victim of the President’s broken promises during the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Sabotaged by his own staff, Chaplain Modder was ordered to clean out his office for counseling troops in accordance with the biblical teachings of his sponsoring church. It’s an outrageous report — one that has become all too familiar in the Obama military, where Christians are being forced underground. Of course, the Defense Department insisted that stories like Modder’s would never happen in a post-DADT world. In fact, the Navy — like most service branches — went so far as to reassure its ranks with a special memo about how unaffected chaplains’ religious rights would be.

“Chaplains,” officials explained, “will continue to have the freedom to practice their religion according to the tenets of their faith. In the context of their religious ministry, chaplains are not required to take actions that are inconsistent with their religious beliefs (e.g. altering the content of sermons or religious counseling, sharing a pulpit with other chaplains or modifying forms of prayer or worship).”

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The U.S. Navy must have a short memory, because those protections have certainly eluded Modder. When he was served with a five-page “discrimination” complaint, the chaplain’s only crime was offering moral advice and guidance based on the Bible’s interpretation of sexuality. As a Christian, that includes discouraging homosexuality, premarital sex, and out-of-wedlock birth. The Navy itself says that chaplains are to “minister” and “advise” on matters of religion, morals, ethics, and morale in accordance with — and without compromising — the tenets or requirements of their faith.”

This is exactly why FRC worked to change the language of the National Defense Authorization Act last year! With the help of conservatives in Congress, who fought to include these protections, the Pentagon is bound by federal law to “accommodate individual expressions of belief of a member of the armed forces reflecting the sincerely held conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the member and, in so far as practicable, may not use such expression of belief as the basis of any adverse personnel action, discrimination, or denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment.”

Unfortunately, we have an administration that has little regard for the law, therefore we need to force them to abide by it. You can help put pressure on new Defense Secretary Ash Carter by signing our petition demanding Modder’s reinstatement. Click here to add your name to more than 45,000 — and then forward it to your family and friends!

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.

(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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