Two California military chaplains have filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs after they claim they were forced out of a training program by an instructor who antagonized them for their Christian beliefs.
The Conservative Baptist Association of America filed the federal lawsuit on Friday against Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki on behalf of retired Army chaplain Maj. Steven Firtko and Lt. Commander Dan Klender, a Navy chaplain. Firtko and Klender allege that they were repeatedly harassed and criticized for their Christian faith while enrolled in a San Diego Clinical Pastoral Education Center program during fall and winter 2012. The program is offered by Veterans Affairs to train chaplains to work in a Veterans Affairs hospitals.
Klender and Firtko claim in their lawsuit that the instructor of the course, Nancy Dietsch, repeatedly antagonized them for their Christian beliefs and banned them from praying in Jesus' name or reciting Bible passages while in class.