trans troops

Army Chaplain Who Defended Trump-Era Policy On Trans Troops Avoids Career-Ending Reprimand

An Army major who faced punishment for criticizing the Pentagon’s handling of transgender troops will not be sanctioned.

The First Liberty Institute, the conservative public interest law firm that defended Maj. Andrew Calvert, a chaplain at Fort Hood, Texas, said in a recent press release that a letter of reprimand handed down by his commander was rescinded. 

“The decision clears the way for Chaplain Calvert’s record to be cleared, resulting in the possibility of future promotions and assignments,” the Institute said.

“We’re very happy for Chaplain Calvert and we commend the Army for making the right decision,” Mike Berry, general counsel for the Institute, said in a statement. “No service member should ever be punished because of their religious beliefs.”

Calvert, in his own comments, added, “I am grateful for this favorable decision, and I look forward to continue meeting the spiritual needs of the soldiers with whom I serve.”

The Free Press has followed Calvert’s case.

Calvert landed in hot water on Jan. 28, eight days after Joe Biden became president and three days after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced his support for Biden’s reversal of former President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender troops serving. 

At the time, Calvert said on social media, “How is rejecting reality (biology) not evidence that a person is mentally unfit (ill), and thus making that person unqualified to serve. There is little difference in this than over those who believe and argue for a ‘flat earth,’ despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”

He added, “The motivation is different, but the argument is the same. This person is a MedBoard for Mental Wellness waiting to happen. What a waste of military resources and funding!”

Calvert’s commander, Lt. Gen. Robert White, subsequently denounced Calvert.

In a formal letter of reprimand, White took the chaplain to task for “violating military equal opportunity policy and violating Department of Defense policy on political activities.”

“Your actions cast serious doubt upon your character and future as a leader in the Army,” White added.

Calvert appealed.

His defense team made a novel argument: Not only did the punishment violate Calvert’s religious beliefs, but he also was expressing his support for a Defense Department policy that was still in effect at the time of his comments.

Biden had issued the order in late January, yet it did not take effect until March 31, after a two-month Pentagon review.

In its June 24 press release, the Institute reiterated that point:

“At the time of his [social media] post, Chaplain Calvert’s statements were fully consistent with and supportive of existing DOD policy. … First Liberty successfully appealed the reprimand, likely saving Chaplain Calvert’s career and his reputation.”

The group noted that Calvert has served his country for 16 years, including in several deployments to combat zones. He has received a Bronze Star and three Meritorious Service Medals during his career.

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