Thousands of Americans, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and famed evangelist Franklin Graham, have come to the defense of a chaplain who could be thrown out of the Navy because of his Christian faith.
Lt. Cmdr. Wes Modder has been accused of failing to show "tolerance and respect" in private counseling sessions regarding issues pertaining to faith, marriage and sexuality -- specifically homosexuality.
Michael Berry, an attorney at Liberty Institute, a law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases, told me his client categorically denies making any such statements. He said the chaplain is the victim of a setup.
The highly decorated, 19-year military veteran previously served in the Marine Corps and has had several high-profile assignments – including being named force chaplain of the Navy SEALs.
Just a few months ago, Modder's commander called him "the best of the best" and a "consummate professional leader" worthy of an early promotion.
But all that changed after Modder's assistant, a married gay officer at the base who was upset about the minister's views on same-sex relationships and homosexuality, filed a complaint against the chaplain.
The young officer had been working for the chaplain only for about a month when he began peppering him with questions about homosexuality.
"His five-page letter of complaint was unconscionable," Modder told me. "It was insulting and it was devastating. I felt I discriminated against."
Modder is also accused of:
* Telling a woman that she was "shaming herself in the eyes of God" for having premarital sex.
* Telling a student that homosexuality was wrong and that "the penis was meant for the vagina and not for the anus."
* Berating an unmarried student for becoming pregnant.
"I believe some of what the lieutenant has alleged could constitute a military crime -- false statements, taking what the chaplain said and twisting or misconstruing it in an attempt to get the chaplain punished," Berry said. "He abused the position he was placed in as a chaplain's assistant."