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Navy chaplain post delayed

The promotion of an ELCA pastor to chief of Navy chaplains was stalled following a complaint of discrimination by a Navy chaplain who was twice passed over for promotion.

President Clinton nominated Rear Adm. A. Byron Holderby, an ELCA chaplain who is currently deputy chief of Navy chaplains, to the top post. But the nomination was stalled in the U.S. Senate pending an investigation of charges that he discriminated against a Lutheran Church­Missouri Synod chaplain, Lt. Cmdr. Stan M. Aufderheide, because of his denomination. The promotion board reviewed 35 candidates and selected 20 for promotion, four ELCA chaplains were promoted to commander and two LCMS chaplains were passed over.
President Clinton nominated Rear Adm. A. Byron Holderby, an ELCA chaplain who is currently deputy chief of Navy chaplains, to the top post. But the nomination was stalled in the U.S. Senate pending an investigation of charges that he discriminated against a Lutheran Church­Missouri Synod chaplain, Lt. Cmdr. Stan M. Aufderheide, because of his denomination. The promotion board reviewed 35 candidates and selected 20 for promotion, four ELCA chaplains were promoted to commander and two LCMS chaplains were passed over.

Aufderheide appealed the board's results to a Navy anti-discrimination officer, who ruled he had been "improperly denied promotion." Following a more thorough investigation, the Navy Inspector General overturned that ruling, saying Aufderheide's denomination had not been an issue.

Lloyd Lyngdal, head of the ELCA Office for Federal Chaplaincies in Washington, D.C., said he was surprised by the allegations since relations between ELCA and LCMS chaplains have been excellent. He does not believe there was any denominational discrimination. Lyngdal said he's confident that Holderby's well-known even-handedness will be borne out.

The [Baltimore] Sun quoted a Navy spokesman as saying "the Navy has been very, very fair" in the matter.

Holderby's stalled promotion may clear the Senate Armed Service Committee as soon as a review by the Defense Department's inspector general is completed.


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