Lieutenant Commander Brian K. Waite's dismissal comes nine days after an investigative story I wrote click here exposed his stance on Islam as well as the chaplain’s numerous degrees and training which were obtained through discredited diploma mills, one of which was the subject of a criminal investigation.
Chaplain Waite first came under scrutiny last year after a senior researcher for the government watchdog group The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org, an organization that seeks to enforce the separation of church and state in the US military, discovered that Waite appeared in uniform on a website for a fundamentalist Christian group. Waite used his position as a Navy chaplain to promote the fundamentalist organization in what appears to be a violation of long-standing military rules.
In an email I obtained, John Morgan, president of the Graduate Theological Foundation (GTF) in South Bend, Indiana, wrote to members of his faculty March 20 that Chaplain Waite was “dismissed” from the school’s faculty and “is NO LONGER affiliated with the Foundation in any capacity” because of offending material in Waite’s book, “Islam Uncovered.” The book, which was first discovered by MRFF last year, was not included in Waite’s lengthy bio that was once posted on the foundation’s website.
In the book, Waite writes that the Islamic faith itself was culpable for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
"Undoubtedly our world will experience additional terrorist attempts or strikes all in the name of Allah. Some of these attacks may occur within the borders of our own nation by the remaining cell groups interspersed and hiding among the Muslim population of the United States. My words may make a number of Muslims in this country and abroad very uncomfortable. To them I would say, 'Deal with it!' The suspicion that you encounter is merely a consequence to your own belief system. ..." Waite's book says. "...Should Islam be immune from attack because it calls itself a religion? If Adolf Hitler called Nazism a religion, would we be speaking German today? Evil is evil, no matter what nomenclature it hides under."
The publisher of the book, HeartSpring Media, withdrew the book from bookstore shelves after they discovered that Waite had plagiarized much of the material and that the supporting blurbs on the back cover of the book from prominent members of the religious community had been fabricated. Waite is also the author "For God & Country: One Chaplain's Perspective of War and the Life Lessons Learned," published in 2005, also by HeartSpring Media.
In addition to relieving Waite of his teaching duties, Morgan, the GTF president, said the school has scrapped its Military Ministries program which Chaplain Waite presided over in an effort to “distance ourselves profoundly from his name and his ideas.”
“It has come to our attention that a "former" member of our faculty, Brian Waite, has written a book which is now withdrawn by the publisher attacking Islam!” says a copy of the email written by Morgan sent to Muslim faculty members. “Please know that we have dismissed him from our faculty and terminated our military ministries program... If anyone enquires of You regarding Brian Waite (a military chaplain serving in Iraq), please assure them that he was appointed to the faculty without our knowledge of his book or his feelings about Islam. Please know that the Foundation as an institution and myself as its President are deeply committed to our Islamic program, faculty, and students.”
Neither Waite, who is currently assigned to the U.S. Navy Operational Ministries Center in Norfolk, Virginia, nor a Pentagon spokesman responded to telephone and email queries seeking comment.
Mikey Weinstein, president and founder of the MRFF, said Waite’s dismissal from GTF was welcome news.
"We at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation heartily commend the Graduate Theological Foundation for its expeditious action in removing Chaplain Waite from its faculty,” Weinstein said. “Sadly, the United States Navy has not only allowed this well recognized plagiarist into its Chaplains Corps, it has also taken absolutely no action whatsoever to rid this miserable disgrace from our nation's honorable armed forces."
GTF scrubbed its website removing all references to Waite and in an interview Thursday Morgan said the school is now referring all students interested in military ministries studies to Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut.
“After it became know to us that Mr. Waite wrote this book we immediately terminated our relationship with him,” Morgan said in an interview. “We had no knowledge whatsoever about this publication. If we had he never would have been appointed to our faculty. We have Muslim students and faculty and our Islamic studies program is very well respected. Our Islamic faculty are practicing Imam’s. In fact, there are a wide range of religious studies at this school and there is simply no place here for a person like Mr. Waite whose views on Islam are not only offensive but conflict with our beliefs and practices.”
In the summer of 2005, GTF launched the Military Ministries program offering chaplains who are on active military duty doctorates in military ministries and philosophy in military ministries. Waite was appointed director of school’s military ministries program in July 2005 and taught chaplaincy classes at the school on a periodic basis.
Waite’s resume says he holds two doctorates, a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Georgia's Covington Theological Seminary, and a doctorate in Religious Studies from American Christian College and Seminary in Oklahoma.