MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) -- The Baptist Pastor at the heart of a controversy that roiled the closing days of the just ended Tennessee General Assembly is speaking out.
Shane Kastler leads the Heritage Baptist Church in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He’s also a self-described amateur historian and author of the 2010 book “Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Redemption.”
Kastler’s book chronicles the life of controversial Confederate General and slave trader Nathan Bedford Forrest. The focus of the book is the former general’s post war Christian conversion and what the author considers his reformed views on slavery.
“To look at the tremendous transformation that took place in his racial views. I mean, really, he was way ahead of even Lincoln.”
Kastler was commended in a routine resolution by the Tennessee House offered up by mid-state Rep. Mike Sparks. Black legislators felt they’d been duped into memorializing an early member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Kastler says he understands their concerns, but notes the resolution honored him, not the general. He also says his book angered those who despise General Forrest, as well as the Confederate apologists who revere him.
“If you’re going to judge someone’s entire life by one section of it, I don’t think any of us would have very much ground to stand on.”
Kastler defended his tome on Nathan Bedford Forrest this week in an op-ed written for the Tennessean. You can find the book “Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Redemption” on Amazon and most other major online book sellers.