Lieutenant Commander Wesley Modder has served as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy for 19 years and was once assigned to elite Navy SEAL units. The head of Naval Special Warfare Command has called him "the best of the best" and a "talented and inspirational leader." Now he may be discharged from the Navy and stands to lose his retirement benefits.
According to reports, last December 6 an assistant in Modder's office filed a five-page document alleging grievances against the chaplain. Modder says that the young assistant had worked with him for only a month, and constantly asked him questions regarding homosexuality
. The chaplain did not know that the officer was gay, and in fact was married to another man
. After the officer made his allegations, Modder was immediately removed from duties and told to clean out his office.
Allegedly, the chaplain offered inappropriate counseling to sailors, warning a female that she was "shaming herself in the eyes of God" for having premarital sex and telling a student that homosexuality was wrong. He also allegedly suggested he had the ability to "save" gay people, and "berated" a student for becoming pregnant while not married. However, we may never know what Modder actually said to those he counseled, since conversations between service members and chaplains are typically considered confidential.
In addition, the Navy pledges to protect "the rights of its service members, including chaplains, to practice according to the tenets of their faith," and states that it "respects the rights of each individual to determine their own religious convictions." Nonetheless, Modder's commanders reportedly have concluded that the chaplain is "intolerant" and "unable to function in the diverse and pluralistic environment" of his current assignment. As a result, he has been reassigned and may be dismissed from the Navy.
His critics say that Modder acted inappropriately in stating his religious beliefs. He and his supporters say that he is being persecuted for his biblical positions
on sexual morality. According to Modder, "this new generation is very secular and very open sexually. The values that the military once held—just like the Boy Scouts of America
—are changing. The culture wants this. Culture is colliding with truth. That's at the heart of this." His Liberty Institute attorney agrees: "I think what we are seeing is a hostility to religious expression in the military now."
is becoming more unpopular in America than ever. A 2013 study by the non-partisan Pew Center reported that pro-gay marriage stories outnumbered stories about those opposed by five to one. A former Dallas Morning News reporter whose columns opposed same-sex marriage faced such harassment that the newspaper had to hire off-duty Dallas police officers to give his home and family round-the-clock protection.
Here's the good news: our Father is still the King of the universe. None of this surprises him. Jesus warned us, "In this world you will have tribulation." Then he added, "But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). So speak biblical truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), and know that the dark will never overcome the light (John 1:5). Our culture deserves to know God's word on the issues of our day. (Tweet this
) And it deserves to see his love in ours.
Publication date: March 12, 2015
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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