Apparently, Lots of Clergymen Pretend to Be Navy SEAL Veterans

By
Moats. Photo: JENNY KANE, The Patriot-News

It frankly doesn't surprise us that someone who never served as a Navy SEAL would try to bask in the adoration currently being heaped upon the new American Heroes That Everyone Reveres (sorry, firefighters). What's slightly (just slightly) more surprising is that a man of god — Reverend Jim Moats of Newville, Pennsylvania — would be the one to do it. It all started when Moats's sons, who both served in the Army, made him a plaque commemorating the SEALs about five years ago. (We're not sure why, since neither the sons nor the father ever served in the SEALs.) When members of Moats's church saw the plaque on the wall of his office, they understandably assumed that maybe he had been in the SEALs, and Moats just went with it for some reason.

His ruse was uncovered when he was featured in a local paper this weekend and readers immediately spotted problems with his story — for one thing, parts of it mirrored the plot from Under Siege. Don Shipley, a retired SEAL who maintains a database of all former SEALs, called Moats on Saturday, and on Sunday, Moats admitted that he had lied to the paper. "We deal with these guys all the time, especially the clergy," Shipley says. "It’s amazing how many of the clergy are involved in those lies to build that flock up."

Newville pastor admits his tale of being a Navy SEAL was just 'an ego-builder' [Patriot News]