Sign in to follow this  
prisonchaplain

Victory for Religious Freedom - Chaplain Modder Continues as Navy Chaplain

Recommended Posts

Some here followed the case of Chaplain Wes Modder, who was accused of being insensitive and intolerant in his spiritual counsel to LBGT service people.  His commanding officer had requested he be "discharged with cause."  The Navy disapproved the request.

 

http://penews.org/Article/Assemblies-of-God-Pleased-with-Navy-s-Ruling-on-Chaplain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

I would like to see an objective account of the proceedings to understand how the plaintiffs presented their case and how the defense countered it.  I haven't researched the issue very much, but a casual google search yields only the typical media-style versions "hooray for our side" (from each side) without much detail.  I'm not trying to re-try the case. I'm merely interested in the facts and how they were presented.

Edited by UT.starscoper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to see an objective account of the proceedings to understand how the plaintiffs presented their case and how the defense countered it.  I haven't researched the issue very much, but a casual google search yields only the typical media-style versions "hooray for our side" (from each side) without much detail.  I'm not trying to re-try the case. I'm merely interested in the facts and how they were presented.

 

I'll do my best to recap it, minus the cheer-leading.  Chaplain Modder was assigned to a new station, and received a chaplain's assistant, on temporary duty basis, who happened to be a married gay man.  He engaged the chaplain in discussions about homosexuality and marriage, from a spiritual perspective.  Modder gave standard Christian answers that it was against God's will, against scripture, and that he would pray for anyone seeking to be delivered from same sex attraction.  Allegedly, the assistant organized other sailors to seek out spiritual counsel from the chaplain, included an unmarried, pregnant sailor.  The chaplain allegedly said during counseling that she had shamed herself before God.

These sailors filed a complaint against Modder, saying he had been insensitive and intolerant of their religions and their sexual orientations/practice.  The commanding officer concurred, and filed a request that Modder be discharged from the Navy, with cause, having demonstrated an inability to perform his duties in a pluralistic environment.  Again, the decision was that the discharge with cause was disapproved.

Edited by prisonchaplain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

I'll do my best to recap it, minus the cheer-leading. ...

I appreciate your efforts. Having participated in several jury trials I think it would be very interesting to read a transcript of the testimonies in this case. I'm also thinking of training I received during my career [to anticipate and deflect set-ups by some employees] in order to protect my employer from inappropriate lawsuits. I would think the Navy would provide similar direction to Chaplains and other officers. Perhaps not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate your efforts. Having participated in several jury trials I think it would be very interesting to read a transcript of the testimonies in this case. I'm also thinking of training I received during my career [to anticipate and deflect set-ups by some employees] in order to protect my employer from inappropriate lawsuits. I would think the Navy would provide similar direction to Chaplains and other officers. Perhaps not.

 

There are conflicting issues in this suggestion.  I'm sure the Navy trains its leaders (in all disciplines) to be cautious about line staff who seem disgruntled.  Likewise, theological training schools train clergy in counseling, including considerations for avoiding false accusations (and temptations).

 

On the other hand, the counseling office--especially in a spiritual context--is unique, in that there is an enhanced confidentiality.  Generally this protection from disclosure is meant to allow the counselee to feel free to express their concerns without fear of legal reprisal.  Thus, chaplains would not likely feel that they need to self-censor their counsel--especially for reasons of political correctness.

 

This case was appalling for chaplains, on the face of it.  Even though Chaplain Modder "won," there has still be something of a loss.  If we are no longer safe to offer unfettered spiritual counsel, due to possible complaints, then most will indeed resort to offering direction that is safe.

 

The good news is that religious freedom seems to have won an extension here.  Alas, this battle is far from over.  The reality that our First Freedom is now on the defense is a perilous matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

... The good news is that religious freedom seems to have won an extension here.  Alas, this battle is far from over.  The reality that our First Freedom is now on the defense is a perilous matter.

Presuming the chaplain was innocent and the whole thing was a set-up by hateful people I agree that it is a single battle won. And I agree that the larger conflict is not over. But perhaps in the long run a larger good is accomplished when justice is served in the arena of rights in general. We should of course protect the rights of people to say what they think and live how they wish to live within legal bounds without fear of some who simply don't like what they think and how they live. When conflicts arise and rights are protected, then over time both sides learn to live side-by-side.  (Sorry, hahaha, I'm feeling the urge to break out into a chorus channeling McCartney and Wonder) :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this