Contact from the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers
For more information contact Jason Torpy, President, 202-656-6223, [email protected]
See these and other stories of interest at http://militaryatheists.org/
Rewards continue for those who were found to have violated regulations by promoting Christianity at the Pentagon in Uniform. 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.
"Just like Chuck Hagel embraced gay and lesbian service members to erase his anti-gay past, LTG Caslen should now embrace nontheists and other non-Christians in order to erase his history of evangelizing in uniform, " said Jason Torpy, President of the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers. "This is the only way to bringing the taint of rewarded evangelism to West Point."
The professional accomplishments of the officers in the video 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.
Article text attributable to Jason Torpy, President of MAAF, except as otherwise noted.
The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers is a community support network that connects military members from around the world with each other and with local organizations. In addition to our community services, we take action to educate and train both the military and civilian community about atheism in the military and the issues that face us. Where necessary, MAAF identifies, examines, and responds to insensitive practices that illegally promote religion over non-religion within the military or unethically discriminate against minority religions or differing beliefs. MAAF supports Constitutional State-Church Separation and 1st Amendment rights for all service members. We also coordinate with other national organizations who hold the same values.