Navy chaplain removed for counseling on homosexual sin

3/9/2015 – A chaplain who once ministered to Navy SEALs could be thrown out of the military after he was accused of failing “to show tolerance and respect” in private counseling sessions in regards to issues pertaining to faith, marriage and sexuality, specifically homosexuality and pre-marital sex, according to documents obtained exclusively by Fox News.

Lt. Commander Wes Modder, who is endorsed by the Assemblies of God, has also been accused of being unable to “function in the diverse and pluralistic environment” of the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Goose Creek, S.C.

“On multiple occasions he discriminated against students who were of different faiths and backgrounds,” the Chaplain’s commanding Officer Capt. Jon R. Fahs wrote in a memorandum obtained by Fox News.

Modder told me he was devastated by the accusations. He believes charges have been trumped up.

Modder is a highly decorated, 19-year veteran of the military. Prior to becoming a Navy chaplain, he served in the Marine Corps. His assignments included tours with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Naval Special Warfare Command – where he served as the Force Chaplain of the Navy SEALs.

His record is brimming with accolades and endorsements – including from Capt. Fahs.

In Modder’s most recent review, Fahs declared that the chaplain was “the best of the best,” and a “consummate professional leader” worthy of an early promotion….

Zollie Smith, the executive director for the Assemblies of God, U.S. Missions, told me they stand firmly behind the chaplain.

“We stand behind him 100 percent,” he said.

In hindsight, Berry believes the officer was setting up his client – and in doing so may have committed a crime.

“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,” he said. “He abused the position he was placed in as a chaplain’s assistant.”

By Todd Starnes – Fox News –

Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts

What would you say if you found out that our public schools were teaching children that it is not true that it’s wrong to kill people for fun or cheat on tests? Would you be surprised?

I was. As a philosopher, I already knew that many college-aged students don’t believe in moral facts. While there are no national surveys quantifying this phenomenon, philosophy professors with whom I have spoken suggest that the overwhelming majority of college freshmen in their classrooms view moral claims as mere opinions that are not true or are true only relative to a culture.

A misleading distinction between fact and opinion is embedded in the Common Core.

What I didn’t know was where this attitude came from. Given the presence of moral relativism in some academic circles, some people might naturally assume that philosophers themselves are to blame. But they aren’t. There are historical examples of philosophers who endorse a kind of moral relativism, dating back at least to Protagoras who declared that “man is the measure of all things,” and several who deny that there are any moral facts whatsoever. But such creatures are rare. Besides, if students are already showing up to college with this view of morality, it’s very unlikely that it’s the result of what professional philosophers are teaching. So where is the view coming from?

A few weeks ago, I learned that students are exposed to this sort of thinking well before crossing the threshold of higher education. When I went to visit my son’s second grade open house, I found a troubling pair of signs hanging over the bulletin board. They read:

Fact: Something that is true about a subject and can be tested or proven.

Opinion: What someone thinks, feels, or believes.

Hoping that this set of definitions was a one-off mistake, I went home and Googled “fact vs. opinion.” The definitions I found online were substantially the same as the one in my son’s classroom. As it turns out, the Common Core standards used by a majority of K-12 programs in the country require that students be able to “distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.” And the Common Core institute provides a helpful page full of links to definitions, lesson plans and quizzes to ensure that students can tell the difference between facts and opinions.

So what’s wrong with this distinction and how does it undermine the view that there are objective moral facts?

First, the definition of a fact waffles between truth and proof — two obviously different features. Things can be true even if no one can prove them. For example, it could be true that there is life elsewhere in the universe even though no one can prove it. Conversely, many of the things we once “proved” turned out to be false. For example, many people once thought that the earth was flat. It’s a mistake to confuse truth (a feature of the world) with proof (a feature of our mental lives). Furthermore, if proof is required for facts, then facts become person-relative. Something might be a fact for me if I can prove it but not a fact for you if you can’t. In that case, E=MC2 is a fact for a physicist but not for me.

But second, and worse, students are taught that claims are either facts or opinions. They are given quizzes in which they must sort claims into one camp or the other but not both. But if a fact is something that is true and an opinion is something that is believed, then many claims will obviously be both. For example, I asked my son about this distinction after his open house. He confidently explained that facts were things that were true whereas opinions are things that are believed. We then had this conversation….

By Justin P. McBrayer – New York Times –

The Real “Old-Time Religion”

People in the South who are intuitively attuned to its culture and history suspect that what passes for popular, evangelical religion in the region is not precisely what it has been in the past. Besides the fact that the South, like other parts of the country, is slowly giving in to the forces of secularism, those states from Maryland to Texas, and halfway up the Mississippi Valley, exhibit a kind of religion that is less distinguishable now, than earlier in their history, from New York, Minnesota, and California. The Crystal Cathedral in Anaheim, California, might just as well be in Atlanta. And the seeker-sensitive Willow Creek Community Church will find its imitators in Oklahoma City, Dallas, and New Orleans. The fundamentalist-liberal rift that once plagued Northern mainline Protestantism, now has its mirror image all across the South, especially in the Southern Baptist Convention.

In order to understand what has changed in the South, it is necessary to have clearly in view the kinds of disorders that the religious communities of the South, whether consciously and intentionally or unconsciously and intuitively, resisted. What they rejected at almost every significant point were three movements that had considerable impact in other parts of the country, and especially in the Northeast. These were (1) fundamentalism, (2) Puritanism, and (3) vulgar pantheism. All three of these have enjoyed some success in the United States, but until recently none of them have been favorably received in the South. That is not to say that they did not exist in the South: for each represents a kind of permanent temptation for all people everywhere. But each of them also represents something to which some cultures have developed a degree of resistance. The South has historically been somewhat resistant to the first, more resistant to the second, and until relatively recently almost untouched by the third….

It is worth mentioning that the very fact of the South’s brutal experience of war, and its humiliating defeat, played a part in that section’s resistance of a religious error that has otherwise seemed endemic to the United States. It is the same error to which ancient Israel was so prone: the belief that right religion would always triumph, and defeat is a sign of divine disfavor. This error belongs to the adolescence of religion, but not to its maturity, as the prophets Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, were to teach their people.

Southerners also had to deal with their own defeat and ruin, as well as with the eventual recognition of their own sins—even while the virtues of their oppressors were exaggerated and their sins ignored. Nevertheless, certain virtues can only come prominently into play under conditions that are mostly foreign to the bourgeois comforts of twentieth century America. Flannery O’Conner worried that Southerners were losing this sense of difference and alienation that has something in common with the very idea of holiness. She said once, “The Anguish that most of us have observed for some time now has been caused not by the fact that the South is alienated from the rest of the country, but by the fact that it is not alienated enough, that everyday we are getting more and more like the rest of the country, that we are being forced out, not only of our many sins but of our few virtues.”

By A.J. Conyers – Abbeville Institute –

Does Money Make You Mean? (Testing…)

It’s amazing what a rigged game of Monopoly can reveal. In this entertaining but sobering talk, social psychologist Paul Piff shares his research into how people behave when they feel wealthy. (Hint: badly.)

But while the problem of inequality is a complex and daunting challenge, there’s good news too. (Filmed at TEDxMarin.)

By Paul Piff – TED Talk –