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Watchdogs Decry Chaplain's Book

By Bryant Jordan
Friday, January 4th, 2008

Soldiers in riverBy regulation and custom, military chaplains are required to serve Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen of all faiths.

But some of the writings of Lt. Cmdr. Brian K. Waite, currently chaplain for the Naval Submarine Support Center in Norfolk, Va., has a watchdog group wondering how he can deal honestly and professionally with Muslims, who, he argued in a 2002 book, Islam Uncovered, "embrace a religion that is hostile to peace-loving Christians, Jews, and anybody that does not conform to [their] beliefs."

Waite may be better known for a more recent book, For God and Country: One Chaplain's Perspective of War and the Life Lessons Learned, about his service in Iraq. There he served with Marines during some of the early, heavy fighting of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

But before Iraq, while head of a large Oklahoma church, he wrote Islam Uncovered, in which he held that the Muslim faith is itself culpable for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Since 9/11 was carried out "with the battle cry of 'Jihad'," he wrote, Islam should be subject to attack as much as the terrorists who plotted it and the countries that harbored them.

The book was published by HeartSpring Media, a Christian publishing house in Texas, but Waite took it out of circulation after allegations that significant portions of the book were lifted from other sources and that endorsements on the back of the book from evangelist Franklin Graham and syndicated columnist Cal Thomas were not authorized, according to 2002 reports in two Christian publications.

Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which recently turned up a copy of Islam Uncovered, said the book is evidence that Waite cannot properly meet his duties as a chaplain, given his anti-Muslim views and impugned scholarship.

"Given the fact that he's the dubious author of a plagiarized book he's about as helpful to Islamic members of the United States military as Michael Vick would be at a local dog shelter," said Weinstein, whose foundation has been waging a court battle to try and end proselytizing in the military.

Waite, who reportedly is also an instructor at the Navy's Operational Ministry Center in Norfolk, Va., could not be reached for comment; nor was Navy public affairs at the Pentagon able to comment on Waite's writings by publication time.
In Islam Uncovered, Waite argued that Islam should be as much a target of the United States after 9/11 as the terrorists who plotted the attacks and the country's that harbored them.

"What about the religious infrastructure that has created the terrorist by teaching them to hate and kill anything that does not fit their mold?" he wrote "Should Islam be immune from attack because it calls itself a religion? If Adolph Hitler called Nazism a religion, would we be speaking German today? Evil is evil, no matter what nomenclature it hides under."

Referring to suspicions against Muslim Americans that the 9/11 attacks would provoke, "To them I would say, 'Deal with it!' The suspicion that you encounter is merely a consequence to your own belief system," he wrote.

According to March 2002 reports in the publications Charisma Christian and The Alabama Baptist, Waite, then head of a 3,600-member church in Oklahoma City, admitted to falsely using the endorsements and that "significant information" in the book was not properly attributed.

Charisma Christian magazine said that about 2,000 copies of the book were printed, of which about half had been sold for $16.95 each. It said Waite stopped selling the remaining copies after the plagiarism and the phony endorsements reports surfaced.

"The issue with the plagiarism was that the work was not properly cited," HeartSpring president Russell Lake wrote in a Jan. 4 email to Military.com, "and as the publisher we withdrew the book and no longer sell it."

Lake also recalled that the unauthorized endorsements were due to a miscommunication, and that Waite used them believing Graham and Thomas approved them. Graham could not be reached for comment, but a spokeswoman for Thomas told Military.com that the columnist has no recollection of offering an endorsement of the book.

According to Waite's biography on the HeartSpring Web site, Waite had previously been a chaplain from 1992 to 1996. In August 2002 he accepted a new commission and reported for duty at Camp Lejeune, N.C., eventually to accompany the 2nd Recon Battalion (Special Forces) to Iraq.

While with the Marines in Iraq, according to a story published in The Baptist Press, Waite baptized 60 Marines and one journalist in the Tigris River. But at one point he turned away about 20 Marines because he felt they weren't ready to make the commitment.

For Weinstein, this suggests Waite even failed to give Christian Marines going into harm's way what they wanted and needed at the time, based on his own view of who is ready.

"Father Mulcahy [of MASH] is dead," Weinstein said. "The majority of chaplains in the armed forces today … see the military as a mission field, filled with low-hanging fruit in a target-rich environment for fundamentalist Christian evangelizing and proselytizing."

Sound Off...What do you think? Join the discussion.


Some selected comments from the article discussion:

quote:
Referring to suspicions against Muslim Americans that the 9/11 attacks would provoke, "To them I would say, 'Deal with it!' The suspicion that you encounter is merely a consequence to your own belief system," he wrote.

Obviously, this man is about as spiritually-conflicted as any man of "Faith" could be, therefore he is NOT serving the best interests our the troops, if he cannot serve a large percentage of them because of a religious bias (in this case Muslims), and especially in that area of the world?

He should be canned.

Posted By Weatherguesser


I agree. he is not fit to be a Chaplin for the religiouspeople in the military then he should be kicked out. That's what he agree to when he came in.

Posted By 6738122


Much of the support for America's ME misadventures is predicated on unwarranted bigotry against Arabs, Muslims and so-called Islamofascists. This brand of bigotry is prevalent in many posting here on Mil.com and may be typically representative of the attitudes inculcated in the minds of our military personnel by influences such as military chaplains. I recall mandatory Troop Information and Education (TI&E) sessions that I was subjected to while in the Army. These were subtle propaganda sessions "preached" by chaplains to captive audiences. I usually went away from these sessions feeling that my intelligence had been insulted by US Army Political Officers hiding behind the Cross. IMO, the US taxpayer should not be required to support the military chaplaincy whose primary mission is to propagandize the troops.

Posted By Misanthrope2


quote:
Originally posted by TerryPaggi:
... The problem is not with this Navy Chaplain, who speaks the truth but with Islam. Has anyone noticed that we never saw any of the Islamic groups in the U.S. come out against the 9/11 attacks? That is because they serve their religion first, then the country. Semper Fi

Ever read a dollar bill, or a Quarter? "In God We Trust"? It doesn't say "In Each Other We Trust", nor "In Our Country We Trust"... and the fact is that MOST Muslims in this country DID decry the 9-11 attacks, and most of not all Muslim "citizens" of the U.S. are just as patriotic as YOU are. (Just like most Japanese citizens were in 1941, just before we locked them up in concentration camps...?).

Posted By Weatherguesser


This is a slippery slope. Everyone believes that "their" religion is indeed the true gospel. Although they may be tolerant of other religions up to a point, deep down they believe theirs is aligned with the beliefs of their God. A Baptist minister and a Catholic priest may both pray to the same God, but in the dark of the pew, each believes deep down that the views of his particular church have the ear of God.

And for that belief, this nation has fought several wars. You and I each have the right to choose our own religious belief and prothesize accordingly. That said, a chaplain in the military, just as the chaplain in a hospital, has an obligation to be respectful of all recognized religions and be tolerant in their views. Now if the chaplain believes that a particular religion does indeed foster views that are not in harmony with his fundamental beliefs, then he has a problem. The chaplain in question appears to be an educated, enlightened man who indeed believes that Islam can be a violent religion, as pointed out in his book. I can definitely see where any rational thinking individual would come to that conclusion. If the military is comfortable with accepting Muslim members into it's ranks, then a chaplain whos personal beliefs are not sympathetic to Muslims, then he has a fundamental problem with his job and probably should not be in a position where he has to counsel members of religions where he is not in harmony. If he can not put aside his personal beliefs and just "cowboy up", he is likely not the man for the job.

Posted By retrop1


I wonder what the reaction would be from those who are in support of this chaplain if the tables were turned

If it was a Muslim chaplain who wrote a book pointing out the violent verses in the Bible, and then stated that he could not "honestly and professionally deal with Christians" who are serving in the military....

I'll even take it a step further...what if he pointed out all the crimes committed through out history by Christians...against other Christians, Jews, and Muslims...

would you all still react similarly and say "well it's his free speech?" Or would you suggest that he is not fit to be a chaplain in the US Armed Forces?

Posted By Bsnizzle


Something to bear in mind is that all religions have their violent poop-churning elements. Many of you Christians here today probably do not think of the various White Power movements out there as "True Christians" but believe me, Christian Identity types, linked to neo-Nazisim and the Klan, do indeed see themselves as the purest of Chistians-- and from their perspective, all of you are the watered-down PC types.

So when a gay nighclub gets nailbombed, or a anti-abortion sniper goes on a rampage, you may not realize it (you may well be quite disgusted by it, in fact) but I guarantee you that there are people out there saying "there go those whacko Christians again." And in the Islamic world, remember that they're getting their news from other sources-- sources we don't pay any attention to, such as news from India, where Christians and Hindus frequently riot and attack Mosques and Muslims (and yes, the same holds true in reverse).

By no means is Judaism 100% innocent, either. We have the Kahane movement, which openly considers Arabs to be subhuman and promotes the ethnic cleansing of them within Israel.

These may be small groups but to outsiders with a bone to pick, they can look much bigger than they really are.

Now consider the reverse of Islam-- but put a few other problems into the mix. Namely, modern political power plays. In the Arab worlds, you have a lot of unemployment, a lot of poor economies, and a lot of bad national leadership. However, you also have the idea that the leader of an Islamic country is to be obeyed. These tyrant leaders take angry, poor people and tell them "it isn't me; it's those [Jews/Christians/Infidels/etc]. Go attack them and keep things stable here at home".

Making it worse is that the US allowed this to happen for years because for awhile it served our purposes. "Go jihad against hose Soviets. Here's some missiles." --while doing nothing to address the poor leadership in the home countries of these Jihadis.

Now, I'm not saying "it's America's fault". I don't believe any amount of mismanagement justifies terrorism. But there's a lot more at work here than just "Islam is violent! Raaarrgh!"

This Chaplain in question may make a great Evangelical Christian preacher in the "real world", but as a Military Chaplain he fails.

And for the love of all that is holy, baptising anyone in the Tigris River? He should be slammed for negligence. How many of you have seen the Tigris and Euphrates rivers? Would you get baptized in an industrial sewage outlet? That's what you're getting.

Arrange an environmental leave and hop over to Israel and dunk in the Jordan. That's just got some pesticides in it-- veritable springwater compared to the Tigris.

Posted By CanisLatrans


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