The following comes from a Nov. 8 press release from Military-Veterans Advocacy.
A lawsuit filed Friday alleges that the leader of a San Diego-based Department of Veterans Affairs chaplain training program severely mocked two Christian participants because of their faith. One of the chaplains eventually left the program voluntarily because of the treatment; the program leader eventually ejected the other participant.
Military-Veterans Advocacy filed the suit against Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki on behalf of the Conservative Baptist Association of America, the organization that acted as an endorsing agent for the two chaplains.
“No American choosing to serve in the armed forces should be openly ridiculed for his Christian faith, and that is most obviously true for chaplains participating in a chaplain training program,” said Commander J.B. Wells, U. S. Navy (Ret.), executive director of Military-Veterans Advocacy. “Not only was the treatment these men received inappropriate, it was also a violation of federal law and the religious freedom guarantees of the First Amendment.”
Chaplains Maj. Steven Firtko, U.S. Army (Ret.) and Lt. Cmdr. Dan Klender, U.S. Navy, entered the San Diego VA-DOD Clinical Pastoral Education Center program in August 2012. Shortly thereafter, the program’s supervisor, Nancy Dietsch, began to harass the two men for their beliefs. On various occasions and without provocation, she admonished them not to pray in Jesus’ name or cite Scripture, sometimes pounding her fists on her desk, accusing them of “not giving a rat’s ass” about VA patients and other members of the military, and threatening to fail them. She continued to openly ridicule them and their beliefs openly in class.
In February, Klender voluntarily withdrew from the program solely because of Dietsch’s harassment. Firtko, whom Dietsch placed on probation, received a letter dated Feb. 15 from the VA and Dietsch notifying him that he would be dismissed from the program March 1. Both Klender and Firtko filed formal complaints with the VA in July.
As a retired soldier, I never saw disrespect for chaplains as there is today. Nutcases in the Pentagon classes have classified Catholics as possible terrorists. Chaplains have been harangued for declining to marry same-sex couples. Now the VA has joined the campaign. This entire campaign is condoned by DoD and directed from the top in my estimation. I believe Catholic chaplains should be withdrawn from the military.
Withdrawing is what they want. I believe that the Catholic chaplains should stay and be witnesses for the Truth!
Patrick, after what you wrote, I am wondering how you came to the conclusion that “Catholic chaplains should be withdrawn form the military”? Can’t you see that the current forces in government, as well as most government agencies, are working toward effectively removing, or at least neutering all Catholic thought? How is this any different from what has been the practice of any Communist country, that has existed in the past or currently exist, with regards to the Catholic Church?
The least we can do is protest!
As a Clinical Pastoral Education survivor, I can tell you that some instructors in the program are dysfunctional idiots. When I took CPE training in 1985, there were no real screening tests done for CPE teachers, only that they themselves must have taken CPE a certain amount of times. Both my CPE trainers were alcoholics (not in recovery), were brutally nasty, and had no business training anyone. Sad to see it has not changed. Unfortunately the CPE program has made itself a requirement for almost all chaplaincy positions. But until there is some form of uniform quality in instructors, it is nothing but a monopoly and a destructive hoop clergy must endure. And of course, financially pay for as well!
Elaine, thank you for shedding further light onto this issue. Another fine example how we can’t build the perfect “utopia society without our government bureaucracy managing everything.
Patrick, why should Catholic chaplains leave the military? All the servicemen and women would be deprived of spiritual care and that is exactly what the Leftists want: secularism. I have contributed to the Archdiocese of the Military for years. Archbishop Broglio does a terrific service in leading chaplains. It is hard to imagine that a program supervisor of a Clinical Pastoral Program would harass participants for saying Jesus or citing Scripture. Satan raises his head in the most unlikely places…
I am glad that they are suing….it needs to happen…..don’t mess with us Christians! enough is enough….
Perhaps Patrick is saying that there may come a time that we can no longer fight for a country that is becoming more and more like the pagan Roman Empire, with decadent leaders. He can correct me if I am wrong, but if we do not change the situation and this country does not turn back to the God of the Bible (and there are man gods that people worship), this country will certainly split into many different ones because so many of our states are so far apart on the moral issues already. United we stand; divided we far, but in the end, it might be for the better. Why kill and die for a second pagan Rome. Remember St. Valentine, who tore down the Emperor’s signs against Christian marriage, and was murdered because of it. It seems as if it can happen all over again, with St. Valentine’s Day being celebrated as nothing more than a pagan Lupercalia in some quarters. I wished some would take the name Valentine off of the day as it no longer represents that for which he stood, Christian matrimony, except among faithful Christians. No siree, as Attorney General John Ashcroft once said, as for me I have no king but Jesus Christ. He refused to stand before a statue of a pagan goddess to have his picture taken. Good for him! at least that was one so-called heretic who understood the will of God at that time. Just some ponderings from the pew. St. George, St. Valentine and all the hosts of God pray for us that this does not happen again, and if it does please give us the fortitude, courage and wisdom to do what is right to the end.
Leave our military personnel without access to the sacraments? Have you really considered the seriousness of that suggestion, Patrick?
Fortunately, Catholics had more backbone when the original North American Martyrs served here.
As our military becomes more and more secularized, Godless and more……the more we become like the Roman’s…godless, more will have the mentality like even the Nazi military only lead by their godless leadership…ordering persecution of all that we hold dear in our morals. It may come to that some day….