Navy Chaplain Threatened with Discharge as Counsel Against Fornication Called ‘Recipe for Disaster’

ModderCHARLESTON, S.C. — A decorated former Navy SEAL who has served as a chaplain for 15 of the 19 years of his military career is been threatened with discharge after superiors called his Christian counseling against premarital sex and homosexuality a “recipe for disaster.”

Chaplain Wes Modder served in Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield, and also served as the Force Chaplain for Navy Special Warfare Command (WARCOM). Last year, he was assigned by a four-star admiral to the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command (NNPTC), where he was to provide counsel and spiritual encouragement to sailors.

In December of last year, Captain Keith B Davids, the Commanding Officer of the Naval Special Warfare Center, wrote a letter recommending that Modder be promoted to Commander. Davids stated that he was “impressed by [Modder’s] character, integrity, moral center and approach to ministry in the Navy,” and referred to the chaplain as a “skilled ethics adviser.” Other letters in recent years had also offered high praise for the Navy chaplain.

But several sailors had allegedly filed complaints against Modder, stating that he was guilty of discrimination for the way that he had provided counsel regarding issues of sexual morality. In a “detachment for cause” letter dated Feb. 17, Navy Capt. Jon Fahs, NNPTC commander, branded Modder as being “intolerant and “unable to function in the diverse and pluralistic environment.”

Among the incidents that Fahs cited as being inappropriate, included an alleged statement to a female sailor that she was “shaming herself in the eyes of God” for having sex outside of marriage, “berating” another female for becoming pregnant out of wedlock, and advising several other sailors that homosexuality was wrong and goes against human physiology. He also noted that Modder said that if policies conflicted with his faith, he must still stand for his faith.

Fahs contended that to allow other students to be exposed to Modder would be a “recipe for tragedy.” Calling Modder’s counsel “misconduct,” he recommended the chaplain’s removal. Modder has until March 16 to respond to the “detachment for cause,” where he must show cause for retention in the Navy. In the meantime, the chaplain has been reassigned to the Naval Support Activity Charleston.

“I think what we are seeing is a hostility to religious expression in the military now,” said Liberty Counsel Attorney Michael Berry, who is representing Modder in the matter. “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.”

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The organization also states that “federal law and military regulations forbid the Navy from taking adverse action against a chaplain based on his faith.” Christianne Witten, a spokesperson for the Navy Chaplain Corps agrees that the military does make provision for religious liberty for its chaplains.

“The Navy values, and protects in policy, the rights of its service members, including chaplains, to practice according to the tenets of their faith and respects the rights of each individual to determine their own religious convictions,” she told the Military Times.

“[F]or the Navy to detach me for cause, I feel betrayed. I feel dishonored for my 15 years—almost 20 total of service to my country,” Modder said.

“My hope and my prayer is [that] the truth will prevail, that religious liberty can be restored, that what is taken away from us—my first Amendment rights, my freedom of speech and for me to be able to operate as a military chaplain, an ordained minister with my church to our American military men and women—[will be restored],” he continued. “That has to be the outcome, but that’s who we are as America.”


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  • TheBBP

    Move along folks, nothing to see here. There is no war on Christianity, it’s just a myth.

    …sarcasm aside, people are praying for you, Chaplain Modder.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/EyrtheFyre Regina Forbes

      I bet the next response is some atheist. Yep, no war on Christians here. LOL

      • Terry Roll

        War on Christian exceptionalism? Yeah. Your fairy tales should hold no more credence than my personal relationship with reality. Is that angry atheist enough for you?

  • The Last Trump

    “We just want to be left alone!”….”What difference does it make to YOUR life?!”
    Uh huh. And the casualty list continues to grow.
    There is no compromising with evil.

    • thoughtsfromflorida

      He is an employee. His employer determines what his job functions are and the way in which they want them implemented. He is a causality of his own making.

  • Gary

    ALL CHRISTIANS, if there still are any, in the us military should get out at once. This chaplain should try to force the Navy to discharge him, then look into whether he can sue them.

    • Frank

      Donate all money won to a church. Even Paul appealed to Ceasar when confronted. It’s lawsuits against other believers that is forbidden. It doesn’t say anything against fighting for your legal rights and the lawsuit and winning would be a deterant against any future infringements.

  • Ray Watson

    THE CHAPLAIN IS CORRECT, AND THE NAVY BRASS BE DAMNED

  • Brenda Golden

    This is all because he was targeted by homosexuals who wanted to force the issue then got mad when they didn’t get their way. But because homosexuals have infiltrated every level of the govt they feel free to attack anyone who doesn’t agree with them. No, there is no war on Christians, just because they are attacked at every turn doesn’t mean anything is going on.

    • Paul Hiett

      Please, Brenda, Christians in the US have no clue what real persecution is. Just because someone has a different opinion than you, or another religious belief asks for equality, does not mean that Christianity is “under attack”.

    • jviscont1

      ‘Counsel Against Fornication’ seems to include you straight shooters too.

  • Bolvon72

    If he has to follow his faith over policy, he might as well bugger off to some private church and leave the military to the professionals.

  • guestus

    Homosexuals in the Navy? No way… 😉

  • Knowledge is Power

    Believe it or not He is serving as a chaplain. He is not a politician. He is speaking the truth and not saying what many want him to say. ie Don’t go to a scientist to give you information about politics, or Go to a religious figure to tell you what you want to hear to serve your purpose and not God’s.

  • thoughtsfromflorida

    The Navy, in their employment contract with this individual, as put forth standards of conduct. If the Chaplain violated the conditions of his employment, then he should face the consequences of that violation. Nothing more complicated than that.

  • Deina

    “Modder said that if policies conflicted with his faith, he must still stand for his faith.”

    Sorry, but he swore an OATH BEFORE GOD to follow the policies OF THE NAVY. Many thousands of other chaplains have had no trouble melding their faith with military policy. Why does he think he’s so special?

    Bye-bye, scumbag! Maybe you can start your own cult somewhere. I think the Jim Jones property in Guyana may still be available.

    • KenS

      Sorry but you are way off base here, The chaplains have always been able to practice their faith, until after this Obama infidel became the Commander in Chief…I know, i am a disabled veteran that served 13 years from 1990 to 2013 and spent many years volunteering with the Chaplains and their work.

      • Deina

        I’ll see your 13 years & raise you 11 more.

        The Oath of Office (for officers):

        I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the _____ (Military Branch) of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.

        “I will WELL AND FAITHFULLY discharge the DUTIES OF THE OFFICE upon which I am about to enter; SO HELP ME GOD.”

        Any questions?

        • thoughtsfromflorida

          It appears that he did NOT well and faithfully discharge the duties of his job.

          • Bruce Morrow

            How did this chaplain do this exactly???

          • Deina

            It’s listed in his commanding officer’s response to his request for special treatment (sorry) Response To Request For Religious Accommodation ICO LCDR Welsey J. Modder, USN You can find it at http://www.libertyinstitute.org/file/Navys-Denial-of-Modders-Request-for-Religious-Accommodation–20150316–Redacted.pdf

            You will probably find paragraph 2 particularly enlightening. While there be sure to note the closing sentence of that paragraph: In making my determination I considered all applicable Navy rules and policies, specifically those delineated in reference (b), and consulted with the Navy Chief of Chaplains office.

        • KenS

          You completely misunderstand what I have said. I took a very similar oath of enlistment myself. The point that I was making is that Chaplains did not use to have a problem with this oath, because they were allowed to practice their faith freely without any conflict between their oath and their service. I am simply stating that this does not seem to be the case now and I noticed this change come about after Obama took office. I can say that with assurance, because of both my service and volunteer work with the chaplains and the fact that My son is now serving in Navy.

          Also, as someone has mentioned before, soldiers have a choice to see a medical counselor or a spiritual counselor, if they do not want to be counseled on God’s rules, then they should seek the appropriate counselor, rather than seeking a counselor that they know is going to give them counsel that goes along with the Bible, rather than man’s

          The chaplains have always been there to help guide the spiritual well being of the military to include spiritual counseling.
          IF a military member wants non spiritual counseling, they need to avail themselves to the numerous medical professional counselors that the Military has on staff for said counseling and leave the Chaplains alone to provide for the spiritual needs of his flock.

          • Deina

            It appears that you have your dates a little skewed.

            • September 1993 — Former Air Force LTC Garland Robertson honorably discharged without benefits. He told the New York Times: “If you’re consistent with the teachings of your church, there will always be tensions between being a minister and being an officer”. He initiated a lawsuit and lost in both the District Court and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which found his free speech rights had not been violated, noted that “a chaplain is a member of both military and religious denomination institutions”, and reaffirmed the lower court’s finding “that the conflict between the Air Force and [Robertson] as an Air Force chaplain does not establish a constitutional violation of the religion clauses.”
            ·
            • September 2006 — Navy Chaplain Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt court-martialed for protesting in uniform in support of his and other chaplains’ complaint that the military restricted the free exercise of their religion by allowing only non-sectarian prayers at public ceremonies.
            Above from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_chaplains

            Apparently some military chaplains have been complaining that they’re not “allowed to practice their faith freely without any conflict between their oath and their service” long before President Obama took office.

            I have no statistics on how many chaplains currently serve, but in 2011 the Army had about 2900, so I’m going to guess about 8-10k total.

            So why aren’t the other 7,999 complaining the same as this dirtbag is?

          • KenS

            I was not aware of these incidents, but I still stand by my assertiion that we have seen more of this since Obama. You also have not addressed the fact that the military members can choose spiritual counseling or medical counseling and clearly these Navy members that have a problem with receiving spiritual counseling should have saught out medical counseling and left the Chaplain alone to freely practice his spiritual counseling which is clearly sound spiritual advice and should not be banned and he should not be punished for providing it.

          • Deina

            I’m sure you wouldn’t say that unless it was true, so show us the proof.

          • KenS

            Proof of what, that Chaplains give spiritual counseling and doctors give medical/psychological counseling, or that the soldiers have a choice, what am I supposed to be showing proof of?

          • Deina

            “but I still stand by my assertiion that we have seen more of this since Obama”

            As if you didn’t know.

          • KenS

            So you agree that these service members could have chosen to see a medical professional instead a chaplain? Why do you think they sought after someone they knew would give them the answer that they do not agree with?

          • Deina

            Probably because they can see a chaplain without waiting two weeks for an appointment. Maybe they grew up in a place where their minister was someone they could talk to, who actually followed the teachings of Christ instead of being a vindictive little twit. Maybe because they didn’t have any choice!

            You did notice that one of the complainants was his own chaplain’s assistant, didn’t you?

          • KenS

            He is following the teachings of Christ, he is not being vindictive, you are!

            You know very well that they had a choice, not wanting to wait for an appointment is no excuse to seek out help from someone you know is not going to give you want your looking for. That would be like going to lawyer for a broken foot, they both have doctorate degrees, one is a juris doctorate and the other a medical doctorate, which one will be able to fix the broken foot?

            You want spiritual help,see a chaplain, you want medial/mental health help, see a medical professional, if that means waiting for an appointment, then so be it.

          • KenS

            http://spectator.org/articles/34146/muzzling-military-chaplains

            http://traditionalvalues.org/content/article/37253

            http://www.redstate.com/diary/toddstarnes/2013/04/30/could-christian-chaplains-be-silenced-under-pentagon-rules/

            http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/religious-freedom-advocates-complain-about-pentagon-restrictions-on-faith/article/2556393?custom_click=rss

            Here are a few for you, Also, I have first hand reports from my son who is now serving in the Navy of the restrictions he has seen in the Navy Chapels. I have counseled him to seek out a new testament bible believing church off base to be able to attend until the chapels are restored back to their religious freedoms.

          • Deina

            ROFL!!!!!!

            Do you have any legitimate proof? Where are the court cases? Where are the reports from unbiased sources?

          • KenS

            No matter what i show you will not believe it. There does not have to be a court case to prove that it is happening.

          • KenS

            Why is he a dirtbag?

            Also, if you served 24 years, and if you are a professing homosexual, not saying you are, but if you are and were during that 24 years of service, you were serving fraudulently because you would have been in while they had the ban on homosexual service? What does that tell you about your ethics if that was the case? If not, disregard the question.

          • Bruce Morrow

            He is a “dirtbag” in her eyes because she is hostile to his Christian faith. Its quite obvious to me and to many others. The tone of her post proves that.

          • Deina

            You obviously need to go back to see what the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals stated about former chaplain Robertson’s case, which is almost identical to this one, when they ruled that his free speech rights had not been violated, they noted that “a chaplain is a member of both military and religious denomination institutions”, and reaffirmed the lower court’s finding “that the conflict between the Air Force and as an Air Force chaplain does not establish a constitutional violation of the religion clauses.”

            Gee! Modder’s not only a smeghead, he’s an unoriginal smeghead at that!

          • Deina

            Who said I was gay? Did I say that?

            Here are a few others who “served fraudulently.” Tell us about their “ethics.”

            Calvin Leon Graham was the youngest U.S. serviceman to serve and fight during World War II. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the United States Navy from Houston, Texas on August 15, 1942, at the age of 12

            Audie Murphy After his sister provided an affidavit falsifying his birth date by a year, he was accepted by the U.S. Army on 30 June 1942.

            Sarah Edmonds lied about her gender to fight in the Civil War

          • KenS

            If you were to reread my post you will clearly see that I was asking if you were and specifically said that if it is not the case to disregard the question, seeing as you have decided to give me other examples of fraudulent service I would say you are admitting that you did it too?

          • Deina

            What absolute BS!

            Do you still beat your wife & kids?

            If not, disregard the question.

          • KenS

            Your question requires a knowledge before hand that I

        • Bruce Morrow

          Yet you never seem to care that the United States Constitution provides for religious freedom, even for Navy Chaplains. Unless you think they have to violate their Christian faith to accomandate a “government god” .

          • Deina

            He knew there were going to be conflicts between military duty and his faith from the first week of his training. He is the one who swore before God to follow Navy regulations.

            Another phrase from that oath that you seem to be overlooking: I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion

  • Terry Roll

    Why don’t we just replace Chaplains with psychologists or social workers for the counseling side. Chaplains have a place where there is a need to organize services and provide religious guidance to those who request it, but when it comes to actual counseling, it is best left to the professionals who can separate themselves from their religious beliefs without any moral dissonance.

    • TheBBP

      The military DOES have counselors and psychologists. Folks in need get sent that way by default. Seeing the Chaplain is a voluntary thing. You are asked if you want to see the Chaplain, you just aren’t forced into that office.

      • Terry Roll

        Most of what my Chaplain does is counseling. Very little is actually the religious side of his job. I think many of the billets are better suited to be filled with a psychologist than a Chaplain.

  • Gary

    Christianity and morality are now officially incompatible with military policy. Christians who are in the military should get out asap, and those who are not in the military should not join.

  • OldArkie

    Remember, Peter was jailed for obeying God, and for not obeying
    man.

    Ac 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to
    obey God rather than men.

    And Herod killed James, and would have killed Peter also, yet the prayers
    were heard and God took Peter out of that Jail. And James was the 1st martyr
    among the apostles of Jesus.

    Ac 12:1 ¶ Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to
    vex certain of the church.
    Ac 12:2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.

    Herod killed James simply because it pleased the Jews.

    Yet at times, like James, denying our self, bearing our cross, our cost may
    be our life. Yet if it cost our life, we should take that as gain, just as Paul
    did.

    Php 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
    Php 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted

    Yet most of us fear standing for Jesus, denying our self, bearing out
    cross, we will lose position, money, and possessions, which Paul such loss
    gain.

    Php 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency
    of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of
    all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

    So far this Chaplin has stood for the truth of Christ, and it may come at a
    great cost.

    Yet many Christians will give their life for this country, yet how many of us would give our life for Christ?