Winners of MRFF's Bad Chaplain Award: Head Chaplain at USAFA and Army 1st Recruiting Brigade Chaplain
Here at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), we get a constant stream of emails from service members telling us about chaplains who just can't seem to uphold the oath they took to the Constitution, and see their position as a chaplain as a vehicle to fight secularism in what is supposed to be -- ummm -- a secular military.
Earlier this week, we heard from an Air Force Academy professor and active duty officer who had attended a new faculty orientation at which the Academy's head chaplain, Colonel Robert Bruno, informed over a hundred new faculty members that there is no wall of separation between church and state.
Here's what the faculty member wrote:
"I saw the recent MRFF release about the USAF Academy (USAFA) Chaplain's office publicizing books for evangelical Christian authors and, frankly, I'm not surprised. After all, what can you expect from an organization headed by a callous, unprofessional and uneducated individual who doesn't even understand the Constitution his organization defends? During new faculty orientation this summer, this same Chaplain (USAF Academy Head Chaplain, Col. Robert Bruno) stood up in front of over a hundred new USAFA faculty and told them that 'there is no wall' between church and state! Maybe for him there isn't, but for the rest of us, it's a pretty clear concept. He then railed against the 'increased secularization' that has eroded morality in our society and proceeded to deliver a 15-minute 'homily' on why USAFA has only the 'perception' of religious intolerance, despite documented instances of proselytization and even 'HR decisions influenced by faith affiliation!' Seriously! If this is the individual that the leadership is relying on for counseling in religious toleration matters, no wonder the institution has completely lost the bubble!"
But was that the worst display of a U.S. military chaplain flagrantly deriding the Constitution that they swore an oath (presumably to God) to protect and defend? Hell no!
We got in one today that may just take the prize. This one came from the U.S. Army's 1st Recruiting Brigade. At last count, forty-one Army recruiters -- thirty-four of them Christians -- have contacted MRFF, stunned and appalled by a "Thought For The Day" email sent out by Major Wayne Keast, the 1st Recruiting Brigade's chaplain.
This is the email from the chaplain, sent out this morning to all Army recruiters up and down the eastern seaboard.
"I was reading an article yesterday about those being trained as officers in the service academies. Those who chose not to go to religious services when they were held were encountered by cadre and put on detail. They were seen as being punished for not going to chapel. Now there is the Atheist and Freethinker groups that are holding their separate meetings. We have equated agnostic, atheistic and other ideas to stand alongside Christendom as a viable belief system. We have freedom to believe or not believe presently in our country. What I wonder is how will this affect our future officer leadership and where will we go in our ethic? Christianity has been the ground and foundation for our Ethical Core Value system ever since George Washington. The further we move away from Christianity in our ethic and practice the greater the problems will get within the infrastructure of our military, (If you haven't noticed). We are removing the foundation for all behavior for all other belief system are based on relativism and nothing objective and unmovable. We are in a constant flux in our values. We will soon remove all GOOD reason for having a workable ethic."
MAJ Wayne Keast
United States Army 1st Recruiting Brigade Chaplain
Major Keast might just as well have come right out and told all the recruiters he emailed to be careful not to recruit any atheists or agnostics, or, for that matter, any other non-Christians! The message would have been the same. The hell with that pesky "no religious test" clause in that pesky Constitution that the major swore an oath to protect and defend.
After hearing from over three dozen recruiters who received Major Keast's email, MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein responded in his usual understated manner:
"DO SOMETHING, Air Force and Army! But we all know you won't, will you? You NEVER do. Which is precisely why your afflicted come to MRFF by the multiple thousands. The time for action is now! US Air Force Chaplain Colonel Bruno and U.S. Army Chaplain Major Keast should face immediate criminal charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for these disgusting, prima facie examples of dereliction of duty by flagrant violations of the solemn oaths they took; oaths NOT to Jesus or the New Testament but to our clearly secular United States Constitution. They are both heinous Poster Children of unconstitutional, fundamentalist Christian supremacy and exceptionalsm. Thus, they are base and vile criminals and religious predators. Try them both by courts-martial immediately!"