Chaplin Wes Modder left the Marine Corps in 1990 and decided that he would follow the calling that God asked, to be a minister. He also wanted to continue serving his country. So he chose to be a military chaplain. Now the U.S. Navy threatens to end his career as a decorated Chaplain for the Naval Special Warfare command, for expressing his view of being in favor of traditional marriage.
The former soldier and Christian minister, along with the Managing Director of Strategic Litigation of the Liberty Institute, Hiram Sasser, joined Breitbart Executive Chairman and host, Stephen K. Bannon, on Breitbart News Sunday, airing on Sirius XM Patriot radio channel 125. The Liberty Institute focuses on cases involving the First Amendment and other constitutional and civil rights issues.
Sasser explained that Modder received a letter of recommendation from the officer who carried the “football” (nuclear codes) for President Bush. Moreover, Modder was recommended for early promotion, but now the Navy may actually remove him from the promotion list completely. Modder earned outstanding fitness reports, and received a letter of recommendation from the commanding officer of Naval Special Warfare Command–the command to which Navy SEAL Teams belong.
Bannon observed, “so what you are saying is we have a pretty squared away Naval officer, those are the facts, that’s not just my opinion.”
Sasser then explained that Modder was assigned as Chaplain at a submarine school in South Carolina. “There he counseled sailors who came to him as a minister of the Assemblies of God, seeking spiritual advice,” said the attorney for the Liberty Institute. “He was hired specifically by the Navy to provide pastoral spiritual counsel.”
During his time at the school he had been asked to give his opinion in a private one-on-one counseling session about whether marriage should be between a man and a woman. “He said that the Bible says that marriage should be between a man and a woman. He said that homosexuality is not a sin, but that homosexual conduct is a sin,” Sasser recounted.
The top Naval brass took those statements, which he issued as a Christian minister, and used them as evidence “that he was not worthy of being in the Navy,” Sasser said. On top of that, Modder has a combined 19 and a half years of military service and the Navy is trying to drive him out before his 20 year retirement plan.
Significantly, before everyone of Modder’s counseling sessions he acknowledges that he is an ordained minister. He emphasizes that when one comes to talk to him, they are seeing him as a Chaplain. Modder explains to them that he gets his teaching from the Bible and that is the source of his counseling. Therefore, there should be no surprise, Sasser suggests, that Modder believes the way that he does.
Breitbart’s Executive Chairman asked Modder if he thought that the way he is being treated is fair. “No I don’t think it’s fair. I think it’s quite shocking,” he responded. “I can honestly say I didn’t see this coming. I’ve just been counseling sailors the way I have always done. I’ve served fifteen years in the Navy and was a former Marine. There is a great need for what I do and as an ordained Minister with the Assemblies of God, this is not a very typical experience.”
Bannon told Modder that “Andrew Breitbart built our site as a platform for your kind of story. We want to help you because this is just unsatisfactory.”
Modder said that with the help of the Liberty Institute, that he is going to fight this, because “I can’t in good conscience walk away… I’m hoping there can be a reconnection between policy at the highest levels and how we actually execute ministry to take care of our folks serving our country.”
“It looks to me like a witch hunt” said Bannon. “Knowing how serious a board of inquiry is–and quite frankly how rarely they are called—to come down on someone with this record and these fitness reports, it is so outrageous. We are going to make sure this situation is fully vetted, because this is one of the most outrageous things I’ve ever seen. It is truly a witch hunt by the United States Navy.”