Did US Navy Illegally Expose Information on a Chaplain?

By Liberty Institute, Special for  USDR

Recently 35 members of Congress expressed their support for decorated Navy Chaplain Wes Modder. The members sent a letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Chief of Chaplains Rear Admiral Margaret Kibben, asking them to protect military chaplains’ religious  freedom.

Liberty Institute is defending Chaplain Modder, whom a Navy official has threatened with career-ending punishment because he expressed faith-based views on faith, marriage and human sexuality in private pastoral counseling sessions. Liberty Institute asserts that censoring Chaplain Modder’s religious expression is unconstitutional religious discrimination. Read congressional letter of support for Chaplain Modder and learn more about his case:  http://ModderFacts.com

“As members of Congress, we are deeply invested in protecting the vital role of chaplains in the United States military,” said a joint letter of support for Chaplain Modder from the 35 Members, led by J. Randy Forbes of VA, Dr. John Fleming of LA, Vicky Hartzler of MO, Doug Lamborn of CO, and Doug Collins of GA, among others. “Military chaplains fill a crucial religious need that exists uniquely in the realm of military service—a need that is imperative to the well-being and operational readiness of the troops. Their religious guidance and self-service are crucial pillars to the health and success of our service members. For two hundred and forty years, Navy Chaplains have been the unsung heroes of the American  warrior.”

The Congressional members point out that federal law, military regulations, and naval policy “[protect] a chaplains ability to preach and teach consistent with the tenants of his or her endorsing denomination, even when Sailors may disagree with the chaplains remarks.” The members asked the Navy to ensure “all investigations be conducted in accordance with laws protecting a chaplain’s right to express and conduct himself according to his religious beliefs,” and asked for confirmation of “what steps the Navy is taking to reinforce the policies and protections in place for service members and chaplains to freely exercise their religiously-informed beliefs, including the freedom of chaplains to adhere to the tenets of their faith as they perform and provide in all aspects of their ministry, including in counseling  sessions.”

Congressman Doug Collins, who also serves as a reserve military chaplain, signed the joint letter, but stated in a separate letter that he has “questions about the important issue of officers respecting the sacred trust of confidentiality that exists between chaplains and service members.”  Mr. Collins asked if the Navy has investigated how Chaplain Modder’s private, confidential communications were obtained, and whether any regulations that protect confidentiality were violated. Read Collins’ letter:  http://ModderFacts.com

Mike Berry, Director of Military of Affairs for Liberty Institute, said, “We are grateful that Members of Congress have reminded theNavy of its constitutional obligation to provide for religious freedom. We hope the Navy will respond to this letter in a way that upholds Chaplain Modder’s right to serve his sailors according to his faith, as well as protecting the religious liberty of all our service  members.”

Chaplain Wes Modder is a Navy chaplain and former Marine who previously served as the Force chaplain for Naval Special Warfare Command. He has deployed overseas multiple times during the War on Terror, including in support of DEVGRU (aka “SEAL Team Six”) and other Navy SEAL teams in high-profile operations around the globe. Modder’s commanders call him a “national asset” and “the best of the  best.”

About Liberty  Institute
Liberty Institute is the largest nonprofit legal organization in the nation dedicated solely to defending religious liberty in America. Liberty Institute protects freedom of religious expression in our military, schools, churches, and throughout the public arena. For more information, visit www.LibertyInstitute.org.

 

SOURCE Liberty  Institute

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