Navy threatens to end decorated chaplain’s career

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A decorated Navy chaplain is facing possible career-ending discipline because of the faith-based views he expressed during private counseling sessions with sailors.

Lt. Cmdr. Wesley Modder was given a “detachment for cause” letter after it was concluded that he was “intolerant” and “unable to function in the diverse and pluralistic environment.”

Liberty Institute attorneys are defending Modder. They assert that censoring Chaplain Modder’s religious expression is unconstitutional religious discrimination.

Modder denies any wrongdoing and says he was careful to point out to the sailors that he holds the views of an Assembly of God minister.

But after a “handful” of complaints the Navy has requested that Modder be barred from promotion, fired from his job as chaplain, and brought before a military Board of Inquiry, where he could be forced out of the Navy.

Modder is only months away from his twentieth anniversary of active military service.

“Chaplain Modder is a military hero who has put his life on the line to serve our nation. No chaplain should ever be punished for ministering to others according to their faith. That is the chaplain’s job; it’s exactly what they are supposed to do,” said Liberty Institute President and CEO Kelly Shackelford.

Mike Berry, Liberty Institute’s Director of Military Affairs, said, “The Navy is attacking a military hero who put his life on the line to serve our country – first as a Marine, then as a chaplain. They’ve given Chaplain Modder a choice: your religious freedom or your career. If the military can punish him for his views, what is the point of even pretending we have religious liberty in the military?”

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