Victory for Army Chaplain Andrew Calvert Saves His Career and Reputation

July 2, 2021
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by Marlee Tomlinson • 4 min read

In our most recent military case, First Liberty attorneys filed an appeal with the U.S. Army on behalf of Chaplain (Major) Andrew Calvert, who was suspended and threatened with a formal reprimand due to comments he made on social media supporting then-existing DOD policy prohibiting service members diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

Because of the adverse actions taken against him, Chaplain Calvert’s entire sixteen-year career of distinguished military service was in jeopardy of being destroyed over his religious beliefs.

Today, we are pleased to report that this threat is over. Upon First Liberty’s appeal of the matter, the Army has agreed NOT to issue a formal reprimand against Chaplain Calvert.

This critical and timely victory paves the way for Chaplain Calvert’s record to be cleared, likely saving his career and reputation. And this means that Chaplain Calvert can move forward in his military service and continue fulfilling his duty to offer spiritual support, hope and encouragement to other military heroes fighting on the frontlines.

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No chaplain, or service member, should have to surrender their First Amendment rights when they choose to serve their country.

Throughout American history, military chaplains have served gallantly, some have even died in war making the ultimate sacrifice for their troops and receiving recognition for their valor. Chaplains today continue to serve and provide spiritual support and sustenance to our troops.

Indeed, it’s our military chaplains who ensure that our service members are spiritually strong.

In this time of heightened hostility to religious freedom, we must defend the fundamental liberty of service members to live and serve according to their faith. For chaplains, having religious freedom is the difference-maker, it’s what allows them to become heroes on the spiritual battlefront.

In addition to our most recent triumph for Chaplain Calvert, First Liberty has won every single case on behalf of military chaplains.

  • In November 2014, S. Army Chaplain Joseph “Joe” Lawhorn’s commander issued a “Letter of Concern” to be placed in Lawhorn’s file after he shared his personal testimony of how his Christian faith helped him counter depression in a suicide prevention class. After First Liberty Institute’s involvement on behalf of Chaplain Lawhorn, the Army agreed to remove the Letter of Concern from his file.
  • First Liberty fought on behalf of Chaplain Scott Squires, another Army chaplain who was faced with potential disciplinary action for adhering to his church’s religious teaching on marriage. Chaplain Squires was simply acting in accordance with the organization that endorsed him. Thankfully, with First Liberty’s action, the U.S. Army reversed its decision, honoring religious liberty and restoring Chaplain Squires’ career.
  • The U.S. Navy threatened decorated Chaplain Wes Modder in late 2014 with detachment for cause, removal from the promotion list, and a Board of Inquiry after Modder answered questions pertaining to marriage and sexuality according to his religious beliefs. First Liberty defended Chaplain Modder, and within a year the Navy exonerated him, dropping all charges and allowing him to continue to serve as a chaplain.

Thanks to YOUR SUPPORT, First Liberty continues to be the greatest hope for victory for military service members, for the heroes who sacrifice so much to protect our constitutional freedoms.

And while we rejoice in the incredible string of victories, cases of anti-faith discrimination in the military are on the rise—and First Liberty needs your ongoing support more than ever before.

Will you stand with First Liberty to defend chaplains—and all service members—against this wave of hostility sweeping through the U.S. Military?

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