Christian Embassy video culprit given top post at West Point
Aroma of Jesus Christ
Rewards continue for those who were found to have violated regulations by promoting Christianity at the Pentagon in Uniform. MAAF has learned that Lieutenant General Robert Caslen, past President of the Officers’ Christian Fellowship, is slated to be the next Superintendent at the US Military Academy. LTG Caslen was found in 2007 to have violated regulations for his participation, in uniform at the Pentagon, in an evangelical Christian video. In the video, he stated, ”we’re the aroma of Jesus Christ” referring to his participation in Christian fellowship with other general officers. At the time, he was serving as the Commandant at the US Military Academy. For his action, he was not removed from his position and has instead been promoted to greater levels of responsibility.
His Christian Embassy video appearance violated regulations but were consistent with his role as President of the Officers’ Christian Fellowship (OCF), an organization consisting of about 15,000 officers, with chapters on virtually every U.S. military installation worldwide. He was allowed to serve as Commandant at West Point while simultaneously serving as President of an organization dedicated to turning military officers into evangelists, and now he’s back. The OCF organization is a major military ministry taking in millions annually. Caslen’s appearance in the Christian Embassy video, proselytizing in uniform, plays out the damaging intentions of the OCF purpose to encourage officers to evangelize the military by integrating Christian faith and the military profession.
LTG Caslen is a West Point graduate, combat veteran, and distinguished officer by many accounts. But his appointment to serve as head of West Point is another example of the evangelist’s promotion. The Christian Embassy video, which found wrongdoing by these leaders, has seemed to catapult the career of those featured in the video.
Six individuals were named in the Inspector General investigation and were deemed to have violated regulations by appearing in the video. Acting Secretary of the Army Preston “Pete” Geren was exonerated but was selected to continue as Secretary of the Army before the investigation was even complete. Maj Gen Peter Sutton retired immediately without loss of rank, cutting little if anything from what had already been a 35-year career. Chaplain Benson took almost all of the blame and retired, without loss of rank, after a 30 year career. He now serves a Senior Chaplain at Dulles Airport, a position he was slated for as early as April 2006. That’s hardly a punishment. Major General Jack Catton retired the following year to join Boeing. Then-Brigadier General (one-star) Brooks is also a Lieutenant General (three-stars) with a soaring career. While now-LTG Caslen will be the Superintendent at West Point, now-LTG Brooks is already honored as one of the only active military officers with a dedicated room at West Point’s Thayer Hotel.
Major General Brooks commanding under Christian flag
Three comfortable retirements without loss of rank, an immediate promotion to Secretary of the Army and two still-soaring careers. Years later, the message of the Christian Embassy video is that senior military officials who promote Christianity will be rewarded handsomely.
The professional accomplishments of these officers cannot be denied. That’s how they acquired the positions they abused. But there must be a strong effort for them to distance themselves from abusing power for Christian evangelism. In his new position LTG Caslen must explicitly disavow the military-proselytizing mission of the Officer’s Christian Fellowship. Stories like that of Blake Page, nontheist who recently left the academy due to lack of support, cannot continue. He should take special effort ensure support to the atheists and humanists at the US Military Academy, including the West Point Secular Student Alliance. LTG Caslen should take time in his new role to reach out to non-Christians who may be concerned that his rank will be used for proselytism at West Point.