Only Huckabee, Cruz, Santorum Rally Behind Navy Chaplain Attacked for Christian Beliefs

A U.S. Navy chaplain leads a church service in Iraq in 2005 (public domain photo via U.S. Marine Corps)
A U.S. Navy chaplain leads a church service in Iraq in 2005 (public domain photo via U.S. Marine Corps)

Lieutenant Commander Wes Modder, a highly decorated veteran who has served 19 years in the Navy and now serves as a chaplain, is now at risk of losing his job because of an accusation that he is unable to “function in the diverse and pluralistic environment” in the Navy.

Modder was on track for early promotion until his assistant, a married gay officer, filed a complaint making claims that Modder says are completely false. The claims include being critical of premarital sex, telling a student that homosexuality was Biblically wrong, and criticizing an unmarried student for becoming pregnant. Modder insists that none of this is true and that he is being set up. Modder’s assistant had been working under Modder for less than a month.

More than 40,000 Americans have signed a Family Research Council petition urging the Pentagon to drop the complaint and restore Modder to his previous position.

At least three GOP presidential candidates have protested, most prominently Mike Huckabee, who wonders if it is “becoming illegal to be a Christian” in the military. Huckabee told Fox News: “Today’s military planners seem to think there should be nothing but atheists in foxholes, and that includes chaplains.”

Earlier this week, Rick Santorum released a statement urging the Navy to “take the appropriate steps to ensure Chaplain Modder and the many men and women of all faiths like him have their God-given and constitutionally protected free exercise of religion embraced.”  And Ted Cruz also addressed the controversy, tweeting that Modder is the latest “target in a series of assaults on religious liberty” in the military and across the country.

But so far the GOP “frontrunners” Jeb Bush and Scott Walker are silent, as are both of the military veterans in the field, Rick Perry and Lindsey Graham.

Will the next Commander-in-Chief protect Christian military chaplains? Or will more American heroes be thrown under the bus?

Stay tuned. And ask any presidential candidate you see: What do you think? Should the Navy be suspending decorated soldiers because they believe sex is reserved to men and women in marriage?  Should Christian military Chaplains be punished for teaching Christian morals?

Jon Schweppe is Deputy Director of Communications for American Principles in Action.