Evolution, Revolution, and the U.S. Senate Confirmation of Lt. General Robert L. Caslen
"The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget."
-Thomas Stephen Szasz
Since receiving word a little over a week ago of President Obama's nomination of Lt. General Robert L. " Aroma of Jesus Christ" Caslen to become the next Superintendent (i.e. "Commander") of West Point, I have been voraciously digesting volumes of information in order to determine what position I should take on his pending Senate confirmation. West Point faculty, staff, cadets, concerned parents of current West Point cadets, and even near-term future cadets (entering in a few months with the Class of 2017) have been stridently begging and beseeching me to use the Military Religious Freedom Foundation's (MRFF's) hard-won military influence and take immediate action in order to ensure that this man, who once publicly demonstrated that his personal mission of Christian proselytizing and evangelism was significantly superior to his sworn oath of commission to the United States Constitution in the scandalous Christian Embassy video (Caslen appears from approximately 4:04 to 4:14 in the linked video), would never again be given the chance to produce another religiously hostile and toxic environment for those who don't share his faith as the most senior ranking officer at West Point.
You see, Lt. General Caslen is a devout, evangelical Christian. Was it that fact alone that has caused so many in the last few days to petition me for MRFF's expeditious and aggressive intervention to prevent his U.S. Senate confirmation? No, not in the slightest. MRFF is truly honored to enjoy a plethora of evangelical military MRFF clients, MRFF donors, and even treasured and beloved MRFF staff who share Caslen's evangelical version of the Christian faith. Indeed, it was never Caslen's chosen denomination of Christianity, nor his professed personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which was the gravamen of our unconstitutional charges and effusive outrage. Far from it. What WAS the source of this "anti-Caslen" fury was the time, place, and manner in which the General chose to promote and practice his faith. He chose wrong on all three categories – egregiously so. Well, that was then and this is now.
OK, everyone, please grab your coats - because hell is apparently freezing over. After literally painstaking consideration of every salient detail available to me, I am pleased to announce that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation fully endorses the United States Senate's confirmation of the President's nomination of Lt. General Robert Caslen to the position of Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point.
I know, I know. Please let me explain. I'm as utterly surprised as you are.
It is important for me to make something exceedingly clear to the nearly 200 MRFF clients at West Point, along with the well over 31,200 MRFF clients throughout the U.S. armed forces (the overwhelming majority of whom - approximately 96% - are either practicing Protestants or Roman Catholics). The Lt. General Caslen who, pending likely Senate confirmation, will soon be returning to West Point as the Superintendent, does not at all appear to be the same Brig. General Caslen who chose to use his position as the 70th Commandant of Cadets at West Point (from 2006-2008) to unconstitutionally endorse his dominionist, fundamentalist, evangelical Christian faith in uniform. In point of fact, Caslen was actually President of the notorious fundamentalist / dominionist parachurch organization, Officers Christian Fellowship, while simultaneously serving as West Point's Commandant.
After breaking and catapulting the Christian Embassy video story into viral proportions in late 2006 and demanding an aggressive investigation by the Pentagon, MRFF took a strong stance against this man, and the six other military officers and DoD officials who appeared with him in open, brazen contempt of both bedrock military regulations and directives as well as the No Establishment Clause (First Amendment) and No Religious Test (Clause 3, Article VI) provisions of the United States Constitution. In the video, Caslen appear in uniform at the Pentagon, stating, "I'll see a brother in the Lord from these Flag Fellowship groups, and I immediately feel like I'm being held accountable – because we're the aroma of Jesus Christ." The military's "response" was predictably pitiful, pathetic, and toothless. Even though the DoD Inspector General found that Caslen and three other uniformed Christian Embassy video participants "improperly endorsed and participated with a non-Federal entity while in uniform," and went on to recommend that "appropriate corrective action" be taken against them, no legitimate or meaningful formal punishments were ever levied against Caslen or any of the other truly odious offenders. And, thus, the not-so-tacit "message" of DoD-sanctioned acceptance and encouragement of this unconstitutional malfeasance of fundamentalist Christian supremacy and putrescent exceptionalism was trumpeted loud and clear to the American military's legions of rank and file. There was no nuance. There never is. There will be no forgetting.