Sunday, November 30, 2008
Imam Warith Deen Mohammed
3:00 PM Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thanks-Giving Square Chapel
Welcome by Mike Ghouse
I am pleased to greet our gathering with greetings from a few faith traditions to represent all.
Greetings are simply a goodwill sound to extend friendship to the stranger, it shows one’s desire to know the other, and most certainly it is simply “wishing and invoking” the goodness in others. The idea of greetings is about peace and friendship.
Please feel free to repeat after me;
• Allah Abho (Bahai)
• Buddha Namo (Buddhist)
• Peace to you (Christian)
• Namaste (Hindu)
• Salaam (Muslim)
• Jai Jinendra (Jain)
• Shalom (Jewish)
• Sat Sri Akaal (Sikh)
• Hamazor Hama Asho bed (Zoroastrian)
• HI (all inclusive)
"Let us join hands. As a group we must strive to meet our common
goals, and so I ask:
"May God send us enough joy to keep our hearts singing...enough sorrow
to make us understanding...enough hope to enrich our lives...enough
trials to keep us strong...enough leisure to refresh our spirits...and
enough love to make our world seem beautiful.
Bless us all, in Your Name. Amen."
Imam Warith Al-Deen Mohammed is one of the most distinguished Muslim leaders in the United States, who passed away on September 8, this year. He has been the spiritual leader and inspiration of the Muslim community in general and African American Muslim community in Particular. It is indeed a great loss of leadership. Warith Deen Mohammad is recognized worldwide as a leading Islamic thinker, philosopher and a religious leader.
# # #
Dallas - He was “America’s Imam.” In 1975, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed saw beyond the limited world of his father’s black separatist Nation of Islam and boldly transformed it into a diverse, open religious community following the true principles of Islam. Imam Mohammed’s philosophy of bringing all faiths together for the good of humanity will be celebrated by numerous religious leaders of different spiritual paths this Sunday, November 30. 2008, 3 p.m. in the Chapel of Thanks-Giving Square, 1627 Pacific Avenue at Ervay, Dallas, 75201, 214-969-1977. The celebration is free and open to the public.
Estimated to have about two and a half-million followers at the time of his death, September 9, 2009, Imam Mohammed’s leadership changed the face of not only African American Muslims, but how Muslims are viewed around the world. He worked with Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, world leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Anwar Sadat, and religious leaders from all faiths such as Pope John Paul II, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rabbi and Catholic Focolare Movement founder Chiara Lubich, to name a few.
His father’s teaching of black business independence had proved very valuable but the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s conveyance of Islam had been misguided. After studying the Qur’an, Imam Mohammed realized the way of Islam is peace and that it has many things in common with other religions that could be shared. He reached out to Christians and Jews fostering understanding about how they could all work together for the common good.
This is his legacy and what will be celebrated by Lutheran Bishop Mark Herbener, Methodist minister Don Benton, Baptist minister Sidney Jackson, Sr., Sikh Harbans Lal, and a leader of the Jewish faith, Muslim Imam Muhammad Shakoor, Catholic Focolare leader Isabel Furtado and a leader of the Jewish faith to be confirmed. The Evolvers, a local Muslim girls’ dance group will perform.
Videos on Imam Mohammad’s interfaith work and excerpts from his lectures will be shown during a reception following the program.
Listings, psas and coverage will be appreciated. For interviews and media info please call Thanks-Giving President and Executive DirectorTatiana Androsov, 214-969-1977, email@example.com; Marzuq Jaami, 214-924-0270-cell; or Alexis Yancey 214-335-4744-cell, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
# # #
Muslim leader urges shift from black theology
Matthai Kuruvila, Chronicle Religion Writer
Monday, April 21, 2008
Bay Area residents had a rare opportunity Sunday to hear a man who may be the single most influential Muslim in America. But the limits of his reach were also on display.
When Imam W. Deen Mohammed stepped to the podium at the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco, there were perhaps 300 people in the audience, almost all of them African American.
Though most of his hourlong talk was not about race, the issue that made him a revolutionary in American religion, he didn't shy away from it. He urged audience members to think of themselves not in racial categories but in human terms.
Mohammed spoke of how the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a day when his children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character. But after King's death, Mohammed said black leaders chose another direction.
"Now how come after he died, our leaders talked nothing but 'black' to us," he said. Mohammed said the use of the adjective "black" to describe the community's achievements degraded them - and insulted others.
Noting that African American leaders in Congress refer to themselves as the Congressional Black Caucus, Mohammed questioned how people would react if there was a "white caucus." Mohammed urged those gathered to think about the universality of all people - and that defining religion for any one race is dangerous.
"Black theology weakens our ability to gain from scripture, guidance from scripture, to make ourselves a better religious community," he said.
The words are dramatic considering the path that Mohammed has taken.
Mohammed is the son of Elijah Muhammad, who for more than 30 years led the Nation of Islam, the black separatist religion that deemed all white people to be "devils" and black people to be "gods." W. Deen Mohammed was chosen by his father to carry on his legacy.
But after Elijah Muhammad died in 1975, the son chose a different path. He gradually dissolved the Nation of Islam, leading believers toward the Sunni branch of Islam. All people were equal, regardless of race. Women were the same as men, except for physical strength.
While his father's Nation of Islam explicitly referred to the U.S. flag as a symbol of "slavery, suffering and death," Mohammed started New World Patriotism Day in 1979, according to Imam Faheem Shuaibe, who leads Masjidul Waritheen, an Oakland mosque.
The effort was intended to show that the ideals set forth in the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are the same ideals called for in the Quran.
"We should be most American," Mohammed once said, according to Shuaibe. For a Muslim to reject those documents, Mohammed reportedly said, "You reject our greatest opportunity."
Mohammed does not reject what his father did entirely, calling it a necessary step in the evolution in the psyche of African Americans. For a people who had been degraded into a status of inferiority for centuries, believing that they were gods helped level the playing field, he maintains.
In his talk Sunday, Mohammed, who now leads a Chicago-based nonprofit the Mosque Cares, said his father had "prepared" the community.
As a result of the huge religious migration away from the Nation of Islam, many scholars believe African Americans are the single largest ethnic group of American Muslims today. (Louis Farrakhan would resurrect the Nation of Islam, though it would be far diminished in size.)
Sunday's talk was notable for the remarkable absence of Muslims of immigrant descent. Though American Muslims often say that Islam has no racial bounds, most Bay Area mosques parallel the demographic patterns of Christians - segregated by ethnicity or race. The Muslim Community Association in Santa Clara is the most notable exception.
Hatem Bazian, a UC Berkeley lecturer, appeared to be the sole prominent figure in the immigrant Muslim community who showed up. Bazian gave a speech before Mohammed's talk about the promise that could be had if the two communities worked together.
But the absence of immigrants left some bitter at the slighting of the American Muslim most beloved to Muslims of African American descent.
"We are once again disappointed by our brothers who are immigrant Muslims," said Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin, who leads the San Francisco Muslim Community Center. "Don't call on me in the future."
Saturday, November 29, 2008
10 Candles were lit by representatives of a faith or an India based organization to commemorate the tragedy of Terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
It is one of my favorite holidays; it is a day to express gratitude to all those who have helped shape our lives. It is also a day to express friendship and kindness to those who are struggling with the difficulties of life, Thanksgiving is a day of sharing. It is just not you, ask Bill Gates, whom God has blessed proportionately for his intelligence, he would answer, not enough! Ask the Homeless the same question; the answer is still the same, not enough. Who has enough then?
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Given the Lack of opposition in the three branches of our Government, I will do my best to keep pointing to the OBAMA BLUNDERS and I hope the media takes the responsibility for our disaster by not speaking out during Bush times, and will fulfill its responsibilities to speak up now. We have our freedom back now.
Mr Bush let the time run out.
Five Health care reform lies
Bush Rove Cheney Troika
Mr. Bush, please resign
Regime Change: USA
Fix the President now
Impeach VP Cheney?
Prayers for our President.
Republicans paid a price
I could kill George Bush
Betty Williams and the Truth
Beyond Bush - Fareed Zakaria
VP Cheney to be impeached?
Déjà Vu in Dallas - Neocon folly again
Republican Obession with Terrorism
Are you still a Republican?
Republicans are waking up
Republicans are screwed
Laser Barking at Terrorists
Bush world is round
Will John McCain Apologize?
Did Senator McCain Betray?
Congressman Tom Tancredo
Blind War on Terror
Krauthammer - the sycophant
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Should not have teased that dog
Suspected fascist in Obama Admin
Obama Brings tears of Joy
Hope for America
Should Obama Attack McCain?
Peace is the result of Justice
Obama's religious advisor
Obama a Perfect Union
Obama the Shepherd
Obama Rally in Carrollton
Romney has the instincts
Republican or Democract,
I am a big supporter of Obama, campaigned and have held rallies for him and have written over a dozen articles listed at www.mikeghouseforamerica.com. However, we owe it to our democracy to have a strong opposition, without which we could be making the same mistakes we did during the last eight years, and shamefully the Republican party is loaded with bullies and the American public will not give them a lift as long as they have the likes of Gingrich, Giuliani, Cheney, Romney, McCain, Palin and others, and as long as they listen to the Neocons. It is effective and economical to solve the problems through a dialogue, no need to be macho and a show off. Hilary for secretary of state would be a mistake, she does believe in pushing others to the corners and dig in their heels. All his appointees need to go through a strict scrutiny. I will be monitoring this President under the title OBAMA-BLUNDERS at my Blog. It is patriotic to speak up, and that is how democracy survives and you and I will continue to have the rights to speak up.
Kaaba and the Wikipedia Blunder
I cannot believe Wikipedia is taken as a gospel by so many, every word in it is taken as the ultimate truth. You will discover it's danger in the following report. A statement is made "While destroying each idol, Muhammad recited [Qur'an 17:81] which says "Truth has arrived and falsehood has perished for falsehood is by its nature bound to perish." . A few of my Hindu friends have assumed that Terrorism has it's origin in the above act, of course the very same statement is a fodder to the Neocons, who rejoice and pass it one to every one with a comment, "I told you so, Islam is an intolerant religion".
Thursday, November 20, 2008
To see the pictures of attack dog click here: http://www.mikeghouse.net/Articles/Obama-you-should-not-have-teased-that-dog.asp
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I could not resist going out for lunch to Madras Pavilion, a South Indian Vegetarian Restaurant in Richardson, Texas. I was the first one and until I finished my food leisurely, I was the only one in the Restaurant.
While eating, I journeyed through a whole lot of memories and thought. The most important discovery was the phrase “Home Made”; it really had not gotten into me all these years. I almost wanted to scream “eureka” when I realized what it was.
That special smell of Uddin Vada with Sambar was making me feel like I am back in my cradle, indeed that was the food I grew up eating. I remembered complaining to my Dad that my sister ate eight of them leaving me four, and the younger ones had one each. My Mom explained to me that she ate only two, but I insisted eight. Idli Sambar was followed by Masala Dosa; there was Lemon rice, Pongal, lemon pickles and ending it with the Kesari baath. Man I was in my element. It felt like home, it was like the only food I wanted to eat. The expression “home made” made a whole lot of sense to me.
A month ago, I had visited with my fatherly friend Mr. Maini; he is Punjabi and was enjoying the ‘phulke’ – chapati or tortillas, whereas I was focused on the varieties of Rice dishes. He asked “beta, you are eating a lot of rice” and I looked at him, he was eating a lot of “wheat”. What makes one want to eat a particular food and relish it? It is amazing how mothers condition our taste buds, whatever is conditioned becomes the “home” to our buds.
I consider my taste buds to be pluralistic – that is everything is made for us to experience, the larger the universe, the greater you become a part of that horizon. But, no matter how much I have enjoyed every imaginable food, my home food is what my mother and my sister had conditioned me to enjoy. It may not meet the calories and other nutritional elements, but that is the food that would make the bud feel at home.
Thinking about conditioning the bud, my mind drifted to my son Jeff and daughter Jazzie who live a few miles from Madras Pavilion and probably in their classes, but then he was conditioned to enjoy the North Indian food and my daughter was into tacos and burritos. Would they relish Uddin Vada? They may eat to give me the company, but on their own, the may not. The excitement of eating Uddin Vada with Rasam will not be there for them. So, all alone, I have to make the pilgrimage to eat Uddin Vada, Masala Dosa and Idli Sambar.
Deep down, each one of us is an Island within, no matter how close one can get, we still have to live with our own fears, Uddin Vada’s, concerns, Joys (Sukh) and Sorrows (Dukh). Good relationships do lighten the apprehensions and enhance the joys, but never zero them. Being ourselves in our own element is being home. If you don’t have a Uddin Vada in your life, try meditation and enjoy the pleasant moments of your life.
Every so often I go to lunch by myself and enjoy that journey. You shouldn’t miss an opportunity like this. I just could not resist humming Charlene’s good old song “Never been to me”. It is beautiful.
No doubt, the extreme left and the right does cause changes in the society, in fact they are the ones that clash in preserving the status quo and or stretching out. While the majority, which is more than 95% of the society, simply become spectators and follow the winner of the duel.
Since WWII, America has led the world in every expression of culture, be it the movies; every film made in any part of the world is either a year or at most 50 years behind what Hollywood does.
The hair styles, the singing dancing musicals, the romance, living single, living together, divorce, single moms, dads, gay and lesbian, Jeans, hamburger, coke, Pepsi, disco, rock-n-roll, the music, business, customer service, computers, info tech, cars....
Whatever America does, the world follows; they are all on the same trajectory that stems from freedom and independence.
The author has taken exceptions and explored the possibilities.
We need to explore the possibility if Oppression has traveled from the western societies to the world. Certainly from times immemorial or the recorded History, the Romans were the oppressors, Alexander was the agressor, the Europeans were the colonizers, crusaders and inquisitors... and we, the Americans are the destabilizers in the name of democracy, we place the Shahs, Saddams and their likes in power and see it degenrate, Israel and Palestine, India-Pakistan, we fund and equip the mujahideens and when the job is done, they turn against us, as they had no oneelse to vent their anger at.
I hope the Obama admin take us from destabilisers to educators of the world with Education in democracy, pluralism and multi-culturism.
Is there a future for Multiculturalism?
November 17, 8:03 PM
by Brian Trent, Independent Examiner
Does diversity have a future any longer?
The standard of multiculturalism has long been accepted as the preferred avenue for the world's future. After all, the Earth is covered with multitudes of different customs and races, religions and philosophies. The idea of purity which motivated entire political regimes through time is now seen as backwards, and the fascism of the Nazi Party fled into cellars and KKK newsletters. While ethnic cleansing is a reality for many parts of the world including Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East, the larger world frowns and condemns it (and sometimes sees fit to render aid.)
The War on Terror has given new fuel to those who question the Age of Tolerance, however. A new wave of anti-immigration ideology took hold in the United States, and fueled a foreign policy born from hard-line xenophobia.
After all, how does one tolerate jihadists whose all-consuming purpose is to destroy everyone who is not them?
Others staunchly defend the precept of tolerance. We must try to tolerate everyone and remain nonjudgmental, these advocates say.
As usual, these extreme polarities are the lingua franca of today’s media, dominating political sites, channels, and commentaries. Two fictional camps are posited and attract very real supporters:
The Far Right wishes to root out and destroy anything that’s different, fueling this intolerant society with militant nationalism and jingoistic conformity.
The Far Left wishes to tolerate everything, and claims we have no right to judge other cultures. A great example of this is Della Sentilles, the co-author of a feminist blog at Yale, who insisted, after former Taliban deputy foreign secretary Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi was inducted into Yale as a student, that, “As a white American feminist, I do not feel comfortable making statements or judgments about other cultures, especially statements that suggest one culture is more sexist and repressive than another.” (Ms. Sentilles should try living in Afghanistan before she suggests that America’s gender issues can be uttered in the same breath as those of women under Taliban rule.)
The correct stance is one of moderation. And aside from a small percentage afflicted with the fanatic’s pathology, most people agree with the moderate stance.
Consider the Dutch, who famously embrace other cultures, but have finally been forced into a hostile defense against radical Islamists. Their parliament recently legislated a countrywide ban on wearing the burqa in public. Says Jan Wolter Wabeke, High Court Judge in The Hague:
“We require that [Muslim men] send their daughters to school, and we demand they stop bringing in young brides from the desert and locking them up in third-floor apartments.”
This clash of civilizations in Europe reached a boiling point when a Danish paper published a cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, deemed offensive by radicals. The resulting riots saw over 100 dead.
The truth is that multiculturalism isn’t an absolute. If someone’s trying to kill you, you have an obligation to survive. If someone’s culture teaches them to incinerate your neighbors, then you have an obligation to not tolerate them.
I’ve pointed out before that this clash of civilizations isn’t between Islam and the West. Not really, and not in the final iteration. It’s about the fundamentalist and the progressive. Certainly, there are Jewish, Christian, and even Hindu leaders who subscribe to fundamentalist mindsets. It is this mindset which must not be tolerated. Freedom and fundamentalism are not equal; the latter is opposed to the former. If we value the former, we must deal with the latter.
Multiculturalism and pluralism are and have long been the lifeblood of America; that they will be the standard of tomorrow is an inevitability. But if radical perspectives don’t like freedom of speech, then they must change. They must accept it. In the end, they won’t be given a choice.
Multiculturalism is not unique in history; the cross-pollination of progressive cultures has given history its grandest Golden Ages. The intercourse of Greece and Egypt resulted in the scientific and philosophical powerhouse of Alexandria with its Great Library. In the year 1100 A.D. in Toledo, Jews, Christians, and Muslims enjoyed a bizarre and rarely seen plurality -- all the more remarkable considering that outside the walls of Toledo’s universities, other representatives of these same religious groups were slaughtering one another on the Crusader battlefield. In the last forty years, American and Japanese cultures stand as testament to successful cross-pollination in business, science, and art.
Multiculturalism does indeed have a present and future, if implemented in accord with sound humanistic principles. But the jihadist and fundamentalist does not fall underneath that banner. It falls, and should ultimately be crushed, beneath the wheels of progressive civilization.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I am pleased to share an article called "An Open Letter to Barack Obama " that appeared in Arab News, it is posted right after my commentary.
Reading about Obama, reading his write ups and interviews, I have come to believe that his focus would be working for a just world, because justice is the only thing that guarantees and sustains peace.
No matter how one crushes and takes advantage of the other, in the end such benefits are deleterious and work against the oppressor, as the oppressed would be waiting to get even. In the process neither one will have peace. You cannot have peace when others around don't.
The Jews around the globe have not had security, when they felt they did, Hitler betrayed it, rather the world shamelessly stood by in silence while the Holocaust was undergoing. Security is living without fear, without caution and without guards, that is something Israelis and Jews around the world have not had. It is the time for it.
The Palestinians are deprived of the very fundamental right of life; Hope. For 60 years generations have lived in camps and squalor with no hope. Every Palestinian child must be endowed with hope, to go to school, play in the streets, job, marriage, house, family… The world bears a burden of shame for not focusing on it and rather be cruel to them and oppress them more. They need hope.
Blaming has not worked and we just have to do what works. Begin the dialogue.
When Justice becomes a norm in that land, the Jews, Christians, Muslim and other habitants can hope for peace and prosperity for one and all. Every one must put in vigorous effort to achieve it. Palestinians cannot have hope if they deny security to Israel, and Israel cannot have security when they deny hope to Palestinians. We have to dump all the previous policy makers, they were the real impediment to peace and they will never understand these values.
Almost every one in the world, including Tony Blair have emphasized that most of the world problem will find solutions, once there is peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. I hope Obama does it right with a focus on solutions, if not they won't leave the room.
I am thrilled to read the following letter and will be writing on all other issues; China, Balance of Trade, Long term Job movements, North Korea, Congo, Rwanda, Darfur, Iran, Amazon Indians, India, Rain forests, environment, Pakistan and of course Iraq and Afghanistan. Then there are religious issues where minorities are persecuted, it needs to stop for the good of the given nation where it is happening and there are a few of them out there.
An Open letter to Barack Obama
Aijaz Zaka Syed - http://www.arabnews.com/
Dear Mr. Obama,
Salaam, I am not sure if this will ever pass your eyes. At a time when the whole world is excited about your landmark election, this is likely to be dismissed as just another outpouring of emotions from the Middle East. But write I must. And I hope to God it does find its way to your table. Even if it doesn't, I'll at least have the consolation of having tried to persuade you what the world, especially the Middle East, expects from you and what a great opportunity you have of changing it for the better.
I may be ridiculed for my naïve idealism and for daring to hope the agenda of the reigning superpower could be influenced by individuals sitting thousands of miles away in Dubai. But there's no harm in trying, is there? Besides, after your own incredible victory riding on a wave of idealism and message of hope, no one can ever suggest idealism doesn't work. You wouldn't be where you are today without idealism and faith and the incredible power of dreams. It's this power that can take a "skinny kid with a funny name" to White House. By now you must be conscious of the impossibly high expectations the Americans and the rest of the world have of you.
These hopes are only natural considering what the world has been through over the past eight years under the current incumbent. Your predecessor has somehow managed to gang up the whole world against America, a feat that eluded even Richard Nixon. From the total destruction of Iraq to the shame of Abu Ghraib, from spying on Americans to abduction of innocents by CIA, and from dumping hundreds of civilians as enemy combatants down the hole called the Guantanamo Bay, this administration has never been short on ever-new ideas of violating human dignity.
But to give your predecessor his due, he's been equally indifferent to the business of governance at home. So while New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, was being ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, the leader of the free world went biking. Ditto the current economic crisis. W. slept while the Wall Street burned.
Dear Mr. Obama, the Americans have elected you hoping you could put out the Bush fires. They believe you could clear this spectacular mess.
By electing you they have in one stroke changed global perceptions about America, restoring the world's faith in the land of the free.
Because at heart we are all Americans and love America and all that it stands for - or once stood for. Your election proves, as you argued in the thrilling election night speech in Chicago, that all things are possible in America. But if your victory was groundbreaking, the hopes and expectations it has generated in and outside America and challenges you face now are equally formidable.
If anyone can meet these daunting tasks confronting America and the world at large, it's you. Your unusual life story is a celebration of the audacity of hope. You are after all the blessed one. Barack in Arabic, as you must know, means blessing. So perhaps there's a design in your being chosen for this most difficult of all jobs. I am sure you can, and will, successfully negotiate your great country through the minefield of difficult times ahead.
But your responsibility does not end with America. There's a message in the frenzied adulation for you and celebrations around the world over your victory: The world sees you as its leader and expects leadership from you.
Which is why it's heartening to see you move with remarkable alacrity to put America back on track. Even though you are yet to formally take over from Bush, you already have your team in place and are taking steps to reverse the divisive and most disastrous policies of this administration.
The world is already delighted by your decision to shut the Guantanamo Bay and either free the detainees or try them in the US courts. This is something that your heroes Lincoln, Emerson and King would all approve. But in all honesty, most of those men at the Bay have already suffered enough for crimes they did not commit.
Did you know that one of them, Omar Khadr, was captured in Afghanistan during the US invasion in 2001 when he was only 15? He has spent six years of his life in a hole. His crime? Being the son of parents who had been working in Afghanistan. There are hundreds of Omar Khadrs out there. And all of them deserve justice.
Others who demand your attention are Palestinians. They too have been paying for crimes they did not commit for nearly seven decades now. Or rather, they've been paying for someone else's crimes. The Palestinians are being victimized for Europe's crimes against Jews, as Ahmadinejad says. Today, prisoners in their own land and their ghettos, they are fighting for survival, literally! Throughout your campaign, you've talked of hope and change and America believed in you. It has embraced you because it knows it needs someone like you to bring it the change it badly needs.
Mr. Obama, we in the Middle East believe in you too. I know there are some who are already nervous about your choice for the White House chief of staff. But I would rather look at the big picture. A Jewish chief of staff doesn't necessarily mean you are anti-Arab or anti-Muslim. What matters is the general direction and outcome of your policies.
I still believe that if anyone can bring hope and change to the world's most volatile region, it's you. With your unusual background, representing both Christianity and Islam, both black and white and both East and West, you are uniquely placed to bring hope and change to the region that has been the cradle of civilizations and three great faiths. And you must begin this mission right away, before you get used to power; or power and its compulsions get the better of you. The Middle East, more specifically Palestine, is the key to world peace. From the war in Iraq to militancy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, everything is linked to Palestine. You bring peace to the Middle East and the world will find its peace. You change the Middle East and you'll change the world.
Friday, November 14, 2008
At the bottom of this essay is a list of articles that I have written on Obama.
Ever since, I read Obama's article on Faith and Politics that my friend Bernie forwarded to me at beginning of the last year, I have become a fan of Obama and have done my share in working for his election campaign, held rallies, written over a dozen pieces supporting his candidacy while writing 20 plus pieces showing that McCain or the other Republican candidates are not the right leaders for our nation at this point in history.
I have been listening to his speeches and writings, and spiritually I relate with him and perhaps I can write his speeches. I was excited when a few friends had nominated me to be his Religion Advisor.
Now in the interview below, which took place in March, which I had missed, he mentions his mentors – who are my mentors as well.
Obama has the largest embrace of all humans; he will not exclude any one from his embrace.
If God was a being and was to land on the earth, he (she or it) will be addressing all of us;
God will not discriminate you whether you are an Atheist, Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Hopi, Inca, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Oloriyo, Pagan, Shinto, Sikh, Toltec, Wicca, Zoroastrian or some one else.
God will look to you as a human from the planet earth. He may even go the extent of identifying you as some one who followed the beautiful systems delivered by Zoroaster, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Rama, Buddha, Mahavir, Muhammad, Nanak, Bahaullah and other great spiritual masters.
When Jesus said follow me, Krishna said surrender to me, Allah said submitt to my will, and other masters have said similar things, they all meant for us to become like God, who loves us all.
We are blessed to have Obama as our President, the man who will follow Jesus,
Jesus was not a bully and Obama will not be one,
Jesus embraced all including the socially unacceptable at that time
Jesus created a model of co-existence, Obama will follow in his foot steps.
Jesus cared for all, so will Obama.
Obama is the closest follower of Jesus our nation has witnessed in a leader.
Jesus was not a threat to any soul, so would be Obama, regardless of your race, ethnicity, color, size, profession or any other identifier, Obama will have no bias towards you.
We hope Obama will bring the world together based on the common goodness we share.
Obama's Fascinating Interview
with Cathleen Falsani
Tuesday November 11, 2008
The most detailed and fascinating explication of Barack Obama's faith came in a 2004 interview he gave Chicago Sun Times columnist Cathleen Falsani when he was running for U.S. Senate in Illinois. The column she wrote about the interview has been quoted and misquoted many times over, but she'd never before published the full transcript in a major publication.
Because of how controversial that interview became, Falsani has graciously allowed us to print the full conversation here.
Falsani is one of the most gifted interviews on matters of Faith, and has recently published an outstanding memoir called Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace. To get a free download of the audio book, click here.
* * *
At 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 27, 2004, when I was the religion reporter (I am now its religion columnist) at the Chicago Sun-Times, I met then-State Sen. Barack Obama at Café Baci, a small coffee joint at 330 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago, to interview him exclusively about his spirituality. Our conversation took place a few days after he'd clinched the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that he eventually won. We spoke for more than an hour. He came alone. He answered everything I asked without notes or hesitation. The profile of Obama that grew from the interview at Cafe Baci became the first in a series in the Sun-Times called "The God Factor," that eventually became my first book, The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People (FSG, March 2006.) Because of the staggering interest in now President-Elect Obama's faith and spiritual predilections, I thought it might be helpful to share that interivew, uncut and in its entirety, here.
Interview with State Sen. Barack Obama
3:30 p.m., Saturday March 27
Café Baci, 330 S. Michigan Avenue
He: alone, on time, grabs a Naked juice protein shake
What do you believe?
I am a Christian.
So, I have a deep faith. So I draw from the Christian faith.
On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences.
I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and 10.
My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim.
And I'd say, probably, intellectually I've drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith.
(A patron stops and says, "Congratulations," shakes his hand. "Thank you very much. I appreciate that. Thank you.")
So, I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people. That there are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and there's an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived.
And so, part of my project in life was probably to spend the first 40 years of my life figuring out what I did believe - I'm 42 now - and it's not that I had it all completely worked out, but I'm spending a lot of time now trying to apply what I believe and trying to live up to those values.
Have you always been a Christian?
I was raised more by my mother and my mother was Christian.
Any particular flavor?
My grandparents who were from small towns in Kansas. My grandmother was Methodist. My grandfather was Baptist. This was at a time when I think the Methodists felt slightly superior to the Baptists. And by the time I was born, they were, I think, my grandparents had joined a Universalist church.
So, my mother, who I think had as much influence on my values as anybody, was not someone who wore her religion on her sleeve. We'd go to church for Easter. She wasn't a church lady.
As I said, we moved to Indonesia. She remarried an Indonesian who wasn't particularly, he wasn't a practicing Muslim. I went to a Catholic school in a Muslim country. So I was studying the Bible and catechisms by day, and at night you'd hear the prayer call.
So I don't think as a child we were, or I had a structured religious education. But my mother was deeply spiritual person, and would spend a lot of time talking about values and give me books about the world's religions, and talk to me about them. And I think always, her view always was that underlying these religions were a common set of beliefs about how you treat other people and how you aspire to act, not just for yourself but also for the greater good.
And, so that, I think, was what I carried with me through college. I probably didn't get started getting active in church activities until I moved to Chicago.
The way I came to Chicago in 1985 was that I was interested in community organizing and I was inspired by the Civil Rights movement. And the idea that ordinary people could do extraordinary things. And there was a group of churches out on the South Side of Chicago that had come together to form an organization to try to deal with the devastation of steel plants that had closed. And didn't have much money, but felt that if they formed an organization and hired somebody to organize them to work on issues that affected their community, that it would strengthen the church and also strengthen the community.
So they hired me, for $13,000 a year. The princely sum. And I drove out here and I didn't know anybody and started working with both the ministers and the lay people in these churches on issues like creating job training programs, or afterschool programs for youth, or making sure that city services were fairly allocated to underserved communites.
This would be in Roseland, West Pullman, Altgeld Gardens, far South Side working class and lower income communities.
And it was in those places where I think what had been more of an intellectual view of religion deepened because I'd be spending an enormous amount of time with church ladies, sort of surrogate mothers and fathers and everybody I was working with was 50 or 55 or 60, and here I was a 23-year-old kid running around.
I became much more familiar with the ongoing tradition of the historic black church and it's importance in the community.
And the power of that culture to give people strength in very difficult circumstances, and the power of that church to give people courage against great odds. And it moved me deeply.
So that, one of the churches I met, or one of the churches that I became involved in was Trinity United Church of Christ. And the pastor there, Jeremiah Wright, became a good friend. So I joined that church and committed myself to Christ in that church.
Did you actually go up for an altar call?
It was a daytime service, during a daytime service. And it was a powerful moment. Because, it was powerful for me because it not only confirmed my faith, it not only gave shape to my faith, but I think, also, allowed me to connect the work I had been pursuing with my faith.
How long ago?
16, 17 years ago. 1987 or 88
So you got yourself born again?
Yeah, although I don't, I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up a suspicion of dogma. And I'm not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I've got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others.
I'm a big believer in tolerance. I think that religion at it's best comes with a big dose of doubt. I'm suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding just because I think people are limited in their understanding.
I think that, particularly as somebody who's now in the public realm and is a student of what brings people together and what drives them apart, there's an enormous amount of damage done around the world in the name of religion and certainty.
Do you still attend Trinity?
Yep. Every week. 11 oclock service.
Ever been there? Good service.
I actually wrote a book called Dreams from My Father, it's kind of a meditation on race. There's a whole chapter on the church in that, and my first visits to Trinity.
Do you pray often?
Uh, yeah, I guess I do.
Its' not formal, me getting on my knees. I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. I think throughout the day, I'm constantly asking myself questions about what I'm doing, why am I doing it.
One of the interesting things about being in public life is there are constantly these pressures being placed on you from different sides. To be effective, you have to be able to listen to a variety of points of view, synthesize viewpoints. You also have to know when to be just a strong advocate, and push back against certain people or views that you think aren't right or don't serve your constituents.
And so, the biggest challenge, I think, is always maintaining your moral compass. Those are the conversations I'm having internally. I'm measuring my actions against that inner voice that for me at least is audible, is active, it tells me where I think I'm on track and where I think I'm off track.
It's interesting particularly now after this election, comes with it a lot of celebrity. And I always think of politics as having two sides. There's a vanity aspect to politics, and then there's a substantive part of politics. Now you need some sizzle with the steak to be effective, but I think it's easy to get swept up in the vanity side of it, the desire to be liked and recognized and important. It's important for me throughout the day to measure and to take stock and to say, now, am I doing this because I think it's advantageous to me politically, or because I think it's the right thing to do? Am I doing this to get my name in the papers or am I doing this because it's necessary to accomplish my motives.
Checking for altruism?
Yeah. I mean, something like it.
Looking for, ... It's interesting, the most powerful political moments for me come when I feel like my actions are aligned with a certain truth. I can feel it. When I'm talking to a group and I'm saying something truthful, I can feel a power that comes out of those statements that is different than when I'm just being glib or clever.
What's that power? Is it the holy spirit? God?
Well, I think it's the power of the recognition of God, or the recognition of a larger truth that is being shared between me and an audience.
That's something you learn watching ministers, quite a bit. What they call the Holy Spirit. They want the Holy Spirit to come down before they're preaching, right? Not to try to intellectualize it but what I see is there are moments that happen within a sermon where the minister gets out of his ego and is speaking from a deeper source. And it's powerful.
There are also times when you can see the ego getting in the way. Where the minister is performing and clearly straining for applause or an Amen. And those are distinct moments. I think those former moments are sacred.
Who's Jesus to you?
(He laughs nervously)
Jesus is an historical figure for me, and he's also a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher.
And he's also a wonderful teacher. I think it's important for all of us, of whatever faith, to have teachers in the flesh and also teachers in history.
Is Jesus someone who you feel you have a regular connection with now, a personal connection with in your life?
Yeah. Yes. I think some of the things I talked about earlier are addressed through, are channeled through my Christian faith and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Have you read the bible?
I read it not as regularly as I would like. These days I don't have much time for reading or reflection, period.
Do you try to take some time for whatever, meditation prayer reading?
I'll be honest with you, I used to all the time, in a fairly disciplined way. But during the course of this campaign, I don't. And I probably need to and would like to, but that's where that internal monologue, or dialogue I think supplants my opportunity to read and reflect in a structured way these days.
It's much more sort of as I'm going through the day trying to take stock and take a moment here and a moment there to take stock, why am I here, how does this connect with a larger sense of purpose.
Do you have people in your life that you look to for guidance?
Well, my pastor [Jeremiah Wright] is certainly someone who I have an enormous amount of respect for.
I have a number of friends who are ministers. Reverend Meeks is a close friend and colleague of mine in the state Senate. Father Michael Pfleger is a dear friend, and somebody I interact with closely.
Those two will keep you on your toes.
And theyr'e good friends. Because both of them are in the public eye, there are ways we can all reflect on what's happening to each of us in ways that are useful.
I think they can help me, they can appreciate certain specific challenges that I go through as a public figure.
Jack Ryan [Obama's Republican opponent in the U.S. Senate race at the time] said talking about your faith is frought with peril for a public figure.
Which is why you generally will not see me spending a lot of time talking about it on the stump.
Alongside my own deep personal faith, I am a follower, as well, of our civic religion. I am a big believer in the separation of church and state. I am a big believer in our constitutional structure. I mean, I'm a law professor at the University of Chicago teaching constitutional law. I am a great admirer of our founding charter, and its resolve to prevent theocracies from forming, and its resolve to prevent disruptive strains of fundamentalism from taking root ion this country.
As I said before, in my own public policy, I'm very suspicious of religious certainty expressing itself in politics.
Now, that's different form a belief that values have to inform our public policy. I think it's perfectly consistent to say that I want my government to be operating for all faiths and all peoples, including atheists and agnostics, while also insisting that there are values tha tinform my politics that are appropriate to talk about.
A standard line in my stump speech during this campaign is that my politics are informed by a belief that we're all connected. That if there's a child on the South Side of Chicago that can't read, that makes a difference in my life even if it's not my own child. If there's a senior citizen in downstate Illinois that's struggling to pay for their medicine and having to chose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer even if it's not my grandparent. And if there's an Arab American family that's being rounded up by John Ashcroft without the benefit of due process, that threatens my civil liberties.
I can give religious expression to that. I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper, we are all children of God. Or I can express it in secular terms. But the basic premise remains the same. I think sometimes Democrats have made the mistake of shying away from a conversation about values for fear that they sacrifice the important value of tolerance. And I don't think those two things are mutually exclusive.
Do you think it's wrong for people to want to know about a civic leader's spirituality?
I don't' think it's wrong. I think that political leaders are subject to all sorts of vetting by the public, and this can be a component of that.
I think that I am disturbed by, let me put it this way: I think there is an enormous danger on the part of public figures to rationalize or justify their actions by claiming God's mandate.
I think there is this tendency that I don't think is healthy for public figures to wear religion on their sleeve as a means to insulate themselves from criticism, or dialogue with people who disagree with them.
The conversation stopper, when you say you're a Christian and leave it at that.
Where do you move forward with that?
This is something that I'm sure I'd have serious debates with my fellow Christians about. I think that the difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelize and prostelytize. There's the belief, certainly in some quarters, that people haven't embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior that they're going to hell.
You don't believe that?
I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell.
I can't imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity.
That's just not part of my religious makeup.
Part of the reason I think it's always difficult for public figures to talk about this is that the nature of politics is that you want to have everybody like you and project the best possible traits onto you. Oftentimes that's by being as vague as possible, or appealing to the lowest commong denominators. The more specific and detailed you are on issues as personal and fundamental as your faith, the more potentially dangerous it is.
Do you ever have people who know you're a Christian question a particular stance you take on an issue, how can you be a Christian and ...
Like the right to choose.
I haven't been challenged in those direct ways. And to that extent, I give the public a lot of credit. I'm always stuck by how much common sense the American people have. They get confused sometimes, watch FoxNews or listen to talk radio. That's dangerous sometimes. But generally, Americans are tolerant and I think recognize that faith is a personal thing, and they may feel very strongly about an issue like abortion or gay marriage, but if they discuss it with me as an elected official they will discuss it with me in those terms and not, say, as 'you call yourself a Christian.' I cannot recall that ever happening.
Do you get questions about your faith?
Obviously as an African American politician rooted in the African American community, I spend a lot of time in the black church. I have no qualms in those settings in participating fully in those services and celebrating my God in that wonderful community that is the black church.
But I also try to be . . . Rarely in those settings do people come up to me and say, what are your beliefs. They are going to presume, and rightly so. Although they may presume a set of doctrines that I subscribe to that I don't necessarily subscribe to.
But I don't think that's unique to me. I think that each of us when we walk into our church or mosque or synagogue are interpreting that experience in different ways, are reading scriptures in different ways and are arriving at our own understanding at different ways and in different phases.
I don't know a healthy congregation or an effective minister who doesn't recognize that.
If all it took was someone proclaiming I believe Jesus Christ and that he died for my sins, and that was all there was to it, people wouldn't have to keep coming to church, would they.
Do you believe in heaven?
Do I believe in the harps and clouds and wings?
A place spiritually you go to after you die?
What I believe in is that if I live my life as well as I can, that I will be rewarded. I don't presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. But I feel very strongly that whether the reward is in the here and now or in the hereafter, the aligning myself to my faith and my values is a good thing.
When I tuck in my daughters at night and I feel like I've been a good father to them, and I see in them that I am transferring values that I got from my mother and that they're kind people and that they're honest people, and they're curious people, that's a little piece of heaven.
Do you believe in sin?
What is sin?
Being out of alignment with my values.
What happens if you have sin in your life?
I think it's the same thing as the question about heaven. In the same way that if I'm true to myself and my faith that that is its own reward, when I'm not true to it, it's its own punishment.
Where do you find spiritual inspiration? Music, nature, literature, people, a conduit you plug into?
There are so many.
Nothing is more powerful than the black church experience. A good choir and a good sermon in the black church, it's pretty hard not to be move and be transported.
I can be transported by watching a good performance of Hamlet, or reading Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, or listening to Miles Davis.
Is there something that you go back to as a touchstone, a book, a particular piece of music, a place ...
As I said before, in my own sort of mental library, the Civil Rights movement has a powerful hold on me. It's a point in time where I think heaven and earth meet. Because it's a moment in which a collective faith transforms everything. So when I read Gandhi or I read King or I read certain passages of Abraham Lincoln and I think about those times where people's values are tested, I think those inspire me.
What are you doing when you feel the most centered, the most aligned spiritually?
I think I already described it. It's when I'm being true to myself. And that can happen in me making a speech or it can happen in me playing with my kids, or it can happen in a small interaction with a security guard in a building when I'm recognizing them and exchanging a good word.
Is there someone you would look to as an example of how not to do it?
... An example of a role model, who combined everything you said you want to do in your life, and your faith?
I think Gandhi is a great example of a profoundly spiritual man who acted and risked everything on behalf of those values but never slipped into intolerance or dogma. He seemed to always maintain an air of doubt about him.
I think Dr. King, and Lincoln. Those three are good examples for me of people who applied their faith to a larger canvas without allowing that faith to metasticize into something that is hurtful.
Can we go back to that morning service in 1987 or 88 -- when you have a moment that you can go back to that as an epiphany...
It wasn't an epiphany.
It was much more of a gradual process for me. I know there are some people who fall out. Which is wonderful. God bless them. For me it was probably because there is a certain self-consciousness that I possess as somebody with probably too much book learning, and also a very polyglot background.
It wasn't like a moment where you finally got it? It was a symbol of that decision?
Exactly. I think it was just a moment to certify or publicly affirm a growing faith in me.
Cathleen Falsani is author of Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace. To get a free download of the audio book, click here.
STUFF ON OBAMA:
On the lighter side...
You've got to give credit to these guys - Barak, John and Sara. Joe was not seen doing any humor, I mean Joe the VP. They made fun of themselves quite a lot and it was very nice to see the humor in them. No wonder, Readers digest calls it Laughter the best medicine, which I have been reading for nearly 40 years, by the way the 40 year clock did not start from my first birth day, the day my mother delivered me.
John McCain, said to Leno last night, that I slept like a baby and then he added, "every two hours I'd wake up and cry and go back to sleep again." That was funny John!
One touching moment the other night during Barack Obama's speech.
Oprah was crying, did you see that? Jesse Jackson was crying. Hillary
Clinton was crying. I think Hillary's still crying, if I'm not
mistaken. (Jay Leno)
FOX news reported today that the election never happened.
It was all just a dream. (Tim Hunter)
And political analysts are saying today that Barack Obama's win was
unprecedented. Which again confused President Bush. He
said, "Unprecedented? You mean, he didn't win? He got
unpresidented? " (Jay Leno)
At the end of the evening, the electoral vote count was 349 for
Obama, 148 for McCain. Or, as Fox News says, too close to call.
People all over the world were celebrating Obama's victory. Sarah
Palin watched the Russians celebrating from her house. (Craig
Barack Obama and Democrats will gain control of Congress and the
White House. World reaction is pouring in. Australia's prime minister
offered political asylum, safe passage and new identities to Sean
Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin. (Argus Hamilton)
Barack Obama was briefed this morning on the state of the economy,
and this afternoon, he called McCain to offer him the presidency.
According to recent news reports, Bill Clinton has now become an
adviser to Barack Obama. Bill Clinton is giving advice to Barack
Obama. Do you know who is really upset about this? Michelle Obama.
Democrat Barack Obama came up a big winner in the presidential race
in Dixville Notch, N.H., where the nation's first Election Day votes
were cast and counted early Tuesday. I don't want to say it's over,
but if you check e-Bay, someone in Alaska is selling designer
clothing. (Pedro Bartes)
President-elect Barack Obama, will make his promise good and get a
rescue puppy for his two young daughters. So far they have in mind a
runaway dog name Lieberman, a terrier named Bill Ayers, or a bitch
pit bull named Sarah. (Pedro Bartes)
Barack Obama is now gonna receive the daily White House intelligence
briefing on things like, you know, security and terrorism, stuff like
that. It's the same briefing President Bush gets every day, but
without the pictures and the color by numbers. (Jay Leno)
Set your clocks back an hour this weekend. I'm thinking, great idea —
if there's one thing we need it's an extra hour of 2008. President
Bush has already set the clocks back — to 1929, thank you. (David
Don't forget to turn your clocks back. It's the end of Daylight
Savings. That's too bad — that's all the saving most Americans have
now. (Craig Ferguson)
President-elect Barack Obama spent the day thanking the people who
helped him win the election. That's right. Yeah, and actually,
Obama's first phone call was to Sarah Palin. (Conan O'Brien)
Most of the newspapers with the picture of Obama on the cover were
sold out Wednesday morning. Democrats wanted a picture of Obama to
remember a historic moment, Republicans wanted a picture to use as
target for shooting practice. (Pedro Bartes)
Barack Obama was joined on stage by Bruce Springsteen in Ohio on
Sunday. There was one tense moment when somebody in the audience
yelled out "Born in the USA" and Obama said, "For the last time, yes,
I was!" (Jimmy Kimmel)
Right about now, John McCain is at home saying, "If only I didn't
anger Dave, if only I didn't anger Dave." (David Letterman)
A Republican operative has accused Sarah Palin of being unsure that
Africa is a continent. Although she reportedly was 99 percent certain
that McCain is incontinent. (Marc Ragovin)
A lot of speculation about Sarah Palin's future, but last night, she
denied rumors that she's getting ready to run for president in 2012.
Palin said: "That's a long time away. I'll be a great-grandmother by
then." (Conan O'Brien)
President Bush is said to be hiding from the media until the
elections are over so he won't hurt McCain's chances. Apparently,
he's hiding where nobody expects him to be, at the White House
library. (Pedro Bartes)
Last night, after Barack Obama was declared the winner, President
Bush called Obama and promised to work with him to guarantee a smooth
transition. When we heard this, Obama said, "Thanks, but you've done
enough." (Conan O'Brien)
New York Mayor Bloomberg wants to charge shoppers six cents every
time they use a plastic bag. Enforcing morality through taxation is
not a new idea, and it's expected to grow as New York's cash-hungry
government imposes levies on other harmful substances such as
butterfat, sugar, and the New York Times. (Scot Witt)
With Obama's victory, Republicans are finally going to have the war
they have wished for such a long time. Unfortunately the war is going
to be within the Republican Party. (Pedro Bartes)
Assistant Secretary for Immigration Julie Myers has resigned. She
just doesn't have any more work to do now that the economy has tanked
and no one is immigrating to America anymore. (Jake Novak)
If this week has taught us anything, it's taught us that America's a
place where anything is possible, except maybe the Detroit Lions
winning a football game. (Jay Leno)
The Jewish Community Center in Dallas recently screened a documentary called, “The Monster among us”, produced and directed by Dallas filmmakers Allen and Cynthia Mondell. Watching this film (as well as other films in the past) and listening to the responses of the audience has confirmed my belief that one of the primary obstacles to peace is simply inadequate communications stemming from the unwillingness to see another point of view.
Muslims should participate in Jewish events and vice-versa. Staying away from each other will not contribute towards peace-making that both communities so deserve. We have to come together without conditions and learn each others concerns and clarify mis-information and together find solutions. If we don’t, the who will? Continued
If you wish to screen the movie in your town, please contact the producers or me to arrange for the same.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
they call the Republicans a Ship of fools
a Moderate Republican in Dallas, Texas
The Economist is calling the Republicans to “wake up”, (the article follows) and I hope they listen. I have made several calls over the last year, Dick Armey has called it too, and they still are not in touch with the public. They are sold on the foolish idea that the world peace comes from eliminating those who disagree with them, they simply don’t realize that as long we keep threatening others, we cannot be secure and safe.
There is a dire need in our country to have opposition; all the three branches of government are run by one party now, and it is dangerous, as dangerous as it has been in the last eight years.
The last few decades have been disastrous with the agenda of the extremists among Republicans, and they talk about this base, the kind that gathered in McCain election rallies who wanted to do wrong to the leader of the opposition party and foul mouthed. As the Economists put its and I add, all the intelligent people are distancing themselves from the Republican party or have remained silent.
We have to flush out the GOP from the ones who have destroyed our party, our nation, our economy and the respect we have had earned in the community of nations. They have parroted the idea of conservatism without knowing what it is and George Will had rightly pointed it that out to them. We were extremely liberal when it came to fiscal policy, reckless when it came to relationship with the members of the world community and had expanded the government like never before and McCain blew it when he talked about our government buying the houses and yet he called that one, a socialist.
The moderates should become the base and earn the right to govern, the overwhelming majority of American public is moderate who believes in live and let live and who want to get along with every one and enjoy the God given life.
The following members of the Republican party need to consider sitting on the side lines or taking a vacation and let the Republican Party survive; Cheney, Bush, McCain, Rumsfield, Romney, Giuliani and Palin – if they are in the front line, GOP is probably doomed.
The Neocon policy makers have made America and Israel less safe and secure, and have diminished the prospects of peace for a long time to come. They have made their wealth by selling fear and hate and that was their business, and the foolish Republican leadership bought it. We don’t need their advice any more; it has done nothing but wrong. They are the reason we do not have peace in the Middle East, they are the reason we have wars, they are the reason Israel is not secure and they are the reason we have become a part to some of the wrong in the world, be it in Iraq or Palestine.
I would spend my time on re-building the Republican Party, however negligible my contribution may be. I will be a loud voice to stand up against the short sighted, unstable, chaotic ideas of few in our party. A majority of Republicans are good people and our leadership need to reflect that.
A few of my articles on the subject, a total of 30 were written:
Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website www.MikeGhouse.net. Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com
Republicans, a Ship of fools
Nov 13th 2008
From The Economist print edition
Political parties die from the head down
Illustration by KAL
JOHN STUART MILL once dismissed the British Conservative Party as the stupid party. Today the Conservative Party is run by Oxford-educated high-fliers who have been busy reinventing conservatism for a new era. As Lexington sees it, the title of the “stupid party” now belongs to the Tories’ transatlantic cousins, the Republicans.
There are any number of reasons for the Republican Party’s defeat on November 4th. But high on the list is the fact that the party lost the battle for brains. Barack Obama won college graduates by two points, a group that George Bush won by six points four years ago. He won voters with postgraduate degrees by 18 points. And he won voters with a household income of more than $200,000—many of whom will get thumped by his tax increases—by six points. John McCain did best among uneducated voters in Appalachia and the South.
The Republicans lost the battle of ideas even more comprehensively than they lost the battle for educated votes, marching into the election armed with nothing more than slogans. Energy? Just drill, baby, drill. Global warming? Crack a joke about Ozone Al. Immigration? Send the bums home. Torture and Guantánamo? Wear a T-shirt saying you would rather be water-boarding. Ha ha. During the primary debates, three out of ten Republican candidates admitted that they did not believe in evolution.
The Republican Party’s divorce from the intelligentsia has been a while in the making. The born-again Mr Bush preferred listening to his “heart” rather than his “head”. He also filled the government with incompetent toadies like Michael “heck-of-a-job” Brown, who bungled the response to Hurricane Katrina. Mr McCain, once the chattering classes’ favourite Republican, refused to grapple with the intricacies of the financial meltdown, preferring instead to look for cartoonish villains. And in a desperate attempt to serve boob bait to Bubba, he appointed Sarah Palin to his ticket, a woman who took five years to get a degree in journalism, and who was apparently unaware of some of the most rudimentary facts about international politics.
Republicanism’s anti-intellectual turn is devastating for its future. The party’s electoral success from 1980 onwards was driven by its ability to link brains with brawn. The conservative intelligentsia not only helped to craft a message that resonated with working-class Democrats, a message that emphasised entrepreneurialism, law and order, and American pride. It also provided the party with a sweeping policy agenda. The party’s loss of brains leaves it rudderless, without a compelling agenda.
This is happening at a time when the American population is becoming more educated. More than a quarter of Americans now have university degrees. Twenty per cent of households earn more than $100,000 a year, up from 16% in 1996. Mark Penn, a Democratic pollster, notes that 69% call themselves “professionals”. McKinsey, a management consultancy, argues that the number of jobs requiring “tacit” intellectual skills has increased three times as fast as employment in general. The Republican Party’s current “redneck strategy” will leave it appealing to a shrinking and backward-looking portion of the electorate.
Why is this happening? One reason is that conservative brawn has lost patience with brains of all kinds, conservative or liberal. Many conservatives—particularly lower-income ones—are consumed with elemental fury about everything from immigration to liberal do-gooders. They take their opinions from talk-radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and the deeply unsubtle Sean Hannity. And they regard Mrs Palin’s apparent ignorance not as a problem but as a badge of honour.
Another reason is the degeneracy of the conservative intelligentsia itself, a modern-day version of the 1970s liberals it arose to do battle with: trapped in an ideological cocoon, defined by its outer fringes, ruled by dynasties and incapable of adjusting to a changed world. The movement has little to say about today’s pressing problems, such as global warming and the debacle in Iraq, and expends too much of its energy on xenophobia, homophobia and opposing stem-cell research.
Conservative intellectuals are also engaged in their own version of what Julian Benda dubbed la trahison des clercs, the treason of the learned. They have fallen into constructing cartoon images of “real Americans”, with their “volkish” wisdom and charming habit of dropping their “g”s. Mrs Palin was invented as a national political force by Beltway journalists from the Weekly Standard and the National Review who met her when they were on luxury cruises around Alaska, and then noisily championed her cause.
Time for reflection
How likely is it that the Republican Party will come to its senses? There are glimmers of hope. Business conservatives worry that the party has lost the business vote. Moderates complain that the Republicans are becoming the party of “white-trash pride”. Anonymous McCain aides complain that Mrs Palin was a campaign-destroying “whack job”. One of the most encouraging signs is the support for giving the chairmanship of the Republican Party to John Sununu, a sensible and clever man who has the added advantage of coming from the north-east (he lost his New Hampshire Senate seat on November 4th).
But the odds in favour of an imminent renaissance look long. Many conservatives continue to think they lost because they were not conservative or populist enough—Mr McCain, after all, was an amnesty-loving green who refused to make an issue out of Mr Obama’s associations with Jeremiah Wright. Richard Weaver, one of the founders of modern conservatism, once wrote a book entitled “Ideas have Consequences”; unfortunately, too many Republicans are still refusing to acknowledge that idiocy has consequences, too.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Fascism should have no place in Obama Administration or any nation for that matter. We just got out of it and we cannot let it sneak back in.
We cannot ruin our nation after the freedom we have received on Nov 4th. As friends of Obama we need to be hard on him, tough on him in his early decisions. We cannot let him go far that we cannot straighten him.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I choked and I felt the tears in my eyes, the tears of Joy, I was happy to think of the prospect of America becoming a great nation once again, in those few bare seconds I was imagining prosperity knocking on every American door fulfilling the dream of millions of Americans with a Job, health and education for their children.
A sense of safety permeated through my body, getting the chills to know in a few hours the Obama presidency would be a reality. America once again will be a strong, healthy and a prosperous nation.
I was still groping to understand my feelings of joy; some one came back on NPR and said it was like “birthing”. Wow! That was my feeling, when my son Jeff and daughter Jazzie were born; holding them in my hands moments after they were born was very joyous feeling. Then a chain of events passed through my eyes, I was still driving.
I remember that very same choking when Nelson Mandela was released from Prison, as a proud Immigrant American, I cherish freedom above everything else in my life. I felt the same in November 2006 when the public rejected and purged the extremists members of my good old Republican party.
Our Nation will become the strongest nation in the world under Obama administration, our strength would come from not kicking the beehive to gather honey, when we threaten to bomb other nations, our security is compromised, the more bullying we do, the weaker we get. Thank God for Obama who believes in live and let live. The more nations we threaten the less safe we become. A stronger America is when we have fewer enemies and more friends to rally with us. Obama's approach will have us raving fans from among the community of Nations.
Our Nation will see an unprecedented focus on health; we can aspire to become the healthiest nation by making health care affordable and available to every American. It is an investment in our health my friends and not a charity as the few upside down capitalist think, when we are healthy we become productive and produce more tax revenues to our government, and our children will have greater number of school days of learning and become smarter kids. A healthy America should be our priority; it is an investment in our human capital, like the other factors of production that brings prosperity to all of us.
Our Nation's prosperity has to be sustainable. Because of our free market policy, when other nations trick us to make our products less conducive to their markets, we have to seek a balance of trade, let us sell you as much as you want, and we will buy the same from you, at least in terms of the purchasing power parity. Obama will be a tough negotiator and bring a fair balance of trade.
Our Nation will be fiscally conservative and would reflect the values of American family; living within the budget. Spend what you got and not stretching beyond our means. Bill Clinton had brought a surplus and Obama will work on rebuilding it. It was a Republican ideal once, not any more.
Our Nation had earned the respect in the community of nations for our generosity, our moral strength to stand up for the weaker nations from getting run over by the bullies. Our nation was in the forefront to do good things. We let our Administration destroy that good will, no wonder they hate our admin, I know they don’t hate us the Americans, just as we don’t hate people of other nations. Obama is going to restore all the lost love and put us on a moral high ground.
I am living in euphoria today;
and I can relate the joy that I am feeling with so much in my life, if you do, please share with me in the comments section below.
I felt that serene joy when my Dad kissed on my forehead to say farewell when I left home
I felt that peacefulness in my mind when my wife Najma and I looked at each other in Kauai and said in unison, we need to move here, something we had never wanted to, to move;
I felt the same bliss when two hundred fifty people at the Unity Day on September 7th, 2008 pledged to speak up whenever they see a wrong in the society;
I felt awesome when Mahatma Gandhi appeared in my dream and said “son you have a lot of work to do”;
I felt faith in humanity when 39 individuals agreed to step up on the stage and wear a different faith for 15 minutes, not knowing what faith will be assigned to them; some of them were clergy;
I felt in heavens when MaryAnn spoke to me about building a campus for interfaith inquiry in Dallas;
I felt pureness of the gratitude when my Mom passed away, I was smiling and admiring sitting next to her body for giving the greatest lesson of my life - tying the loose ends of life and leaving the world with joy and leaving nothing for others to worry about;
I felt that joy when I greeted Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and felt the humility of this great man;
I felt sad when my Mom did not let me read the book “Eichman Killer of 6 million Jews” to protect me, and when I finally saw the Schindler’s list and felt a sense of completeness when my Muslim, Jewish and friends from 13 faiths joined me in commemorating the Holocaust to understand and share the suffering of a people, whose only fault was to believe in God in a different way”
I express my sense of gratitude at every thanksgiving day towards my first wife Ella who raised our kids with great values;
I felt very hopeful when my friend Dr. Shariff was appointed by the Prime Minister of India to study the status of minorities in India and felt the joy when his report "Sachar Report" became the standard across the world for such studies;
I felt a sense of gratitude when a limbless and armless man told me how grateful he was that he had the eyes to see, nose to smell, a tongue to taste and the ears to listen and enjoys the fresh smell of rain from the dirt.
I felt a sense of goodness in life when my daughter Jazzie returned $5 from $20 I gave her for her grades, she quietly returned with a note that she had a B and not all were A's.
I felt a sense of oneness of humanity when I hugged a man, my age, who was weeping for the loss of his parents in Holocaust;
I feel good every time when a conflict between people is mitigated and good will emerges.
Please get out and Vote for Obama.
The country has everything to gain by having this transformational catalyst that will make our nation and the world a better place to live.
One nation under God needs to be understood, it means a nation with least conflicts among her people. It is co-existence and living in harmony with different people, cultures, faiths, practices, races and ethnicities.
Obama is the catalyst to achieve this.
Enjoy this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaibPD0658c
Farshid Amin is the first Iranian -American singer ever to perform on election night.
Enjoy this clip and pass it to all your friends who want a positive change.
This song is as old as me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LF3zHvryCHo
This song is for the Subcontinentians -aka Desi's. Those who understand Urdu and Hindi and related languages.
Please share your moments when you felt this joyful or complete