West Point’s Miracle on the Hudson
Caslen got a taste of MRFF’s passion in 2006, when he appeared to place his oath of commission beneath his personal prerogative to spread his beloved Christian faith through the means at his disposal, which in this case was his rank as a commanding officer with the rank of Brigadier General. Caslen, in his U.S. Army uniform, prominently appeared in a video on behalf of a surpassingly sectarian Christian proselytizing entity known as Christian Embassy. On camera in this video promo for the Christian Embassy, he referred to himself and his fellow Pentagon Generals as comprising the “aroma of Jesus Christ” (go to minute 4 of this video to view Caslen’s bizarre performance). It is important to make clear that Christian Embassy is a militant evangelizing outfit that tasks itself with providing “safe places and practical resources to help… leaders working in D.C…. to integrate their faith and their work.” The actual Christian Embassy video itself boldly made the following shocking claim:
“There are over 25,000 Department of Defense leaders working in the rings and corridors of the Pentagon. Through Bible studies, discipleship, prayer breakfasts, and outreach events, Christian Embassy is mustering these men and women into an intentional relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Need I say more? MRFF lost no time in exposing and denouncing this blatant sedition at a much publicized press conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. in early December of 2006. Our Constitutional advocacy compelled the then DoD Secretary, Robert Gates, to order the United States Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD/IG) to aggressively investigate and release a report that blasted the rank misconduct on the part of the multiple, high-ranking Pentagon officials featured in the video. The DoD/IG report also concluded that then-Brigadier General Robert Caslen, as well as his fellows, “improperly endorsed and participated with a non-Federal entity while in uniform.” For many Americans, the “Christian Embassy” video was their first introduction to MRFF, not to mention our raison d’être: the protection and re-establishment of the Constitutionally mandated wall separating church and state within the United States military.
At the time, Caslen’s unfortunate participation in the video cast him as a deservedly wretched Constitutional scofflaw in our eyes. Here was a man who committed a grave offense not just against his fellow soldiers, but also violated of his solemn oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and resultantly, all citizens of our nation. But did he mean well? It didn’t matter. Our mantra remains, “Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.” If a surgeon responsible for a mastectomy removes the left breast of a cancer patient when the right breast should have been removed, the damage is done. In such cases, ignorance is anything but an adequate excuse.
Caslen, however, has remarkably proven himself to be a very special soldier of an entirely different breed. Imagine the beautiful and awesome sense of irony I felt as I sat with him in his well-appointed office, along with his key senior staffers, just 72 hours ago at West Point as his invited guest. I was honored to be accompanied by my trusted friend, USAF Academy Class of 1977 classmate and longtime, loyal MRFF ally, recently retired United States Air Force Lt. Gen. William T. Lord. We were there to discuss serious religious respect problems and a myriad of related Constitutional religious issues at West Point where MRFF currently has 177 clients amongst the Academy’s cadets, faculty and staff (137 of them practicing Christians, I might add). Eye-to-eye and heart-to-heart, MRFF’s one-time enemy #1 (and former President of one of MRFF’s most profound enemy organizations, the uber-fundamentalist Officers Christian Fellowship) proved to be just as pious as I expected. But not only in terms of his religiosity but also in terms of his learned and professional loyalty to his mission in the U.S. military. Our one hour and forty-five minute meeting was both fruitful and significantly encouraging.