A U.S. Army chaplain who was reprimanded for questioning the Biden administration's transgender policy has won his case on appeal.
Major Andrew Calvert, an Army chaplain with Fort Hood's 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade in Texas, had received a formal reprimand following a January Facebook post in which he asserted that individuals who identify as transgender are "rejecting" biology and are "mentally unfit." Such a reprimand can be career-ending by blocking advancement.
Calvert, though, appealed the decision, and on Thursday, the Army agreed not to issue a formal reprimand, according to First Liberty Institute, the legal organization that represented Calvert.
The decision by the Army "clears the way" for Calvert's record "to be cleared, resulting in the possibility of future promotions and assignments," First Liberty said in a news release.
"We're very happy for Chaplain Calvert and we commend the Army for making the right decision," said Mike Berry, general counsel for First Liberty Institute. "No service member should ever be punished because of their religious beliefs."
Said Calvert, "I am grateful for this favorable decision, and I look forward to continue meeting (sic) the spiritual needs of the soldiers with whom I serve."
Calvert has 16 years of service.
His Facebook post referenced a news article about a Biden executive order that allows individuals to serve openly under their gender identity.
Calvert's post read, "How is rejecting reality (biology) not evidence that a person is mentally unfit (ill), and thus making that person unqualified to serve? There is little difference in this than over those who believe and argue for a 'flat earth,' despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The motivation is different, but the argument is the same. This person is a MedBoard for Mental Wellness waiting to happen. What a waste of military resources and funding!"
First Liberty, in its appeal, argued Calvert was expressing his constitutionally protected religious beliefs.
The appeal further noted that in 2019, "active duty service members, in uniform, marched in a political parade 'to show opposition to the Trump Administration's ban on transgender troops.'"
"Clearly, if uniformed, active duty service members are permitted to express political opposition to their commander-in-chief's policy, an active duty chaplain may express support for that same policy," the appeal said.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/MivPiv
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.