The Army said Thursday it will not reprimand a decorated chaplain for comments he posted on Facebook questioning Biden administration proposals to change the military’s policy on transgender troops.
The Army “agreed not to issue a formal reprimand against Maj. [Andrew] Calvert. The decision clears the way for Chaplain Calvert’s record to be cleared, resulting in the possibility of future promotions and assignments,” according to a statement by First Liberty Institute, a public interest law firm in Plano, Texas, representing the chaplain.
Maj. Calvert serves with the 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas. He is a 16-year veteran who earned a Bronze Star and three Meritorious Service Medals.
On Jan. 25, using his personal Facebook account, Maj. Calvert commented on the Army Times Facebook page about a report that the Biden administration would drop the Trump administration’s ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces. The newspaper is a commercial publication independent of the Defense Department.
Maj. Calvert wrote: “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.”
First Liberty attorneys contend that Maj. Calvert was expressing his religious beliefs and, at the time, was in step with then-current policy.
But an Army investigation resulted in his suspension from duty and raised the specter of a formal reprimand, generally a career-ending move.
“We’re very happy for Chaplain Calvert and we commend the Army for making the right decision,” First Liberty Institute general counsel Mike Berry said in a statement. “No service member should ever be punished because of their religious beliefs.”
Maj. Calvert said: “I am grateful for this favorable decision, and I look forward to continue meeting the spiritual needs of the soldiers with whom I serve.”