SAN DIEGO – Two California chaplains have filed suit against the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), alleging that they had been forced out of a training and placement program because of their Christian faith.
Chaplains Major Steven Firtko and Lieutenant Commander Dan Klender state that they were repeatedly harassed and threatened while enrolled in the San Diego Clinical Pastoral Education Center program last fall and winter. The men claim that their instructor/supervisor, Nancy Dietsch, hassled them throughout their time at the center over their Biblical beliefs.
Firtko and Klender outline that they were informed during the classroom instruction period that both Dietsch and the VA “do not allow chaplains to pray in Jesus’ name in public ceremonies.” When they attempted to quote Scripture during class discussions, they were personally reprimanded.
“Ms. Dietsch informed the class she believes God could be a man or woman. Chaplain Firtko [then]recited the Lord’s Prayer, stating, ‘Our Father, who art in Heaven,’” the lawsuit states. “In response, Ms. Dietsch angrily pounded her fist on the table and shouted, ‘Do not quote Scripture in this class!’”
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