MILLINGTON, Tenn. — Top Navy officials have quashed an effort by a commander at the Nuclear Power Training Command in South Carolina to fire a chaplain. Capt. J.R. Fahs relieved Lt. Cmdr. Chaplain Wes Modder from duty allegedly because he offered counseling on sexuality consistent with his Christian faith.
Fahs recommended that Modder be “detached for cause” after some service members who went to the chaplain filed a complaint against him for offering counsel they didn’t agree with but was nonetheless consistent with the chaplain’s faith. Navy Personnel Command rejected the recommendation Thursday, saying that the “evidence of substandard performance in this case does not meet the standard of gross negligence or complete disregard for duty” that Navy rules require for a detachment for cause.
“The Navy should be commended for ruling in accord with its own understanding and expectation that chaplains provide counsel according to the tenets of their faith,” said Chaplain (COL) Ron Crews, USA Retired, executive director of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. “No disciplinary action, then, can cite his religious views or his verbalization of them as a cause for the action. Further, Congress passed language in the National Defense Authorization Act to make clear that chaplains who provide ministry from their faith tradition are protected from adverse actions by command.”
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