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Things changed for me in 2008, and I switched to writing at www.TheGhousediary.com or TheGhousediary.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Celebrations

I am pleased to share the following articles about thanksgiving and it’s significance in our lives. I am committed to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill amongst people of different affiliations, that is my passion and I speak about it.


Dallas Morning News: Why should we be thankful?

It is a day to pull ourselves together and tie up the loose ends of life. Through the year we receive a lot of good from others in the form of words and actions, and many a times it is a one way transaction and remains incomplete.
Those who achieve balance in life are the happiest people. Indeed, our happiness is directly dependent on fulfillment of our desires; lesser fulfillment yields greater discontentment. So, the enlightened Buddha says, fewer the desires, lesser the sorrows!
A full narrative is at:
http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2011/11/texas-faith-why-should-we-be-thankful.html



2. Huffington Post – A Pluralist’s Thanksgiving.
The article weaves through several religions touching the heart and soul of each one. It's just not you, ask Bill Gates, whom God has blessed, he would say not enough! Ask the Homeless; the answer is still the same, not enough. Who has enough then? Then read the incredible story of gratitude. Appaiah turned around and asked me instead “Isn’t there so much to thank the lord?” I was rendered speechless. Here is a man with nothing to hope for, yet he is not complaining, that is gratitude!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse . If not published on Thursday, go to: http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2011/11/essence-of-thanksgiving.html



Americans Together building a cohesive America


Our Mission is to build a cohesive America, where no American has to live in anxieties, discomfort or fear of the other. As a society, it is our responsibility to keep law and order and faithfully guard the safety of every citizen. Hate, prejudice and stereotyping are some of the many sources of disrupting the peace in a society and it is our duty to track down the source of such hate and work on mitigating it and nurturing goodwill. We need your input.

http://americatogetherfoundation.blogspot.com/2011/11/americans-together-documentary_11.html



Happy thanksgiving
Mike Ghouse is committed to building a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day to the media and the public. He is a speaker thinker and a writer on the topics of pluralism, cohesive societies, Politics, Islam, interfaith, India and Peace. Over a thousand articles have been published on the topics and two of his books are poised to be released on Pluralism and Islam. Mike's work is fully indexed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and you can find all of his current articles at www.TheGhousediary.com

ADDITIONAL READING, IF YOU HAVE THE TIME

KENTUCKY STATE SENATOR WILLIAMS REMARKS OFFENDS HINDUS
It is not only a Hindu issue; it is indeed an American issue. The speaking out shouldn't be just from Hindus, but Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Pagans, Wiccans, Zoroastrians and others as well. Why should anyone stand up for you, if you are not willing to do the same for others? No one has a right to belittle other's faiths.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/senator-williams-offend-hindus_b_1075392.html
SIKHS AND MUSLIMS CAN COME TOGETHER FOR GURPURAB The ill-will between Sikhs and Muslims has run deep for over 350 years based on mistranslation of a verse from Quraan by Emperors sycophants, and carried further by the leaders of the Sikh community without any one making an effort to correct the translation and remove the misunderstanding. I was blessed to have that opportunity to interact with Dr. Aulakh Singh in Melbourne, Australia and hope, the ill-will mitigates. The good news is that, most of the Sikh youth are not familiar with it and I am glad they are not. Finding the truth is one’s own responsibility. Full story at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/sikhs-and-muslims-on-542n_b_1087327.html
ESSENCE OF EID-AL-ADHA: A MUSLIM FESTIVAL OF SACRIFICE
The following article, "Essence of Eid-al-Adha" was written for non-Muslims as well as Muslims, so they can relate with the essence of our celebrations. Unless we connect and relate, myths continue to flourish about us. There is a slight humor in the dialogue between Prophet Abraham and God with the intent of understanding what love and sacrifice mean in a relationship. A few Muslims may not see it, but Insha Allah it will go a long way in building bridges. I do hope the last item about appreciating men and women in the uniform goes a long way in building relationship.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/essence-of-eidaladha-a-mu_b_1075393.html
 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Senator Williams' Remarks Offended Hindus

Huffington post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/senator-williams-offend-hindus_b_1075392.html

It is not only a Hindu issue, it is indeed an American issue. The speaking out shouldn't be just from Hindus, but Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Pagans, Wiccans, Zoroastrians and others as well. Why should anyone stand up for you, if you are not willing to do the same for others?

As people of faith, we condemn the statement made by Kentucky State Senator David Williams, "Williams charged that the actions of Beshear were tantamount to "idolatry." He stated that as a Christian, he would not participate in Jewish, Muslim or Hindu prayers, and hoped Hindus would open their eyes and "receive Jesus Christ as their personal saviour." Williams made this comment about the ground breaking ceremony of a manufacturing plant in Elizabeth Town in Kentucky that Governor Steve Beshear attended.

As a moderate Republican I am embarrassed that almost all of the bigotry in our nation is flowing out of fellow Republicans. It is time for the good Republicans to speak up and stop this flow and at least lose gracefully in 2012. If the economy turns around a little bit even a useless Democrat will win against a Republican. It is time to wake up and speak out against the bigotry of Williams and all others including the Presidential candidates.

Williams also criticized the Governor for sitting cross-legged with a "dot on his forehead," and described the ceremony as "polytheistic."

I have condemned and talked about similar pronouncements from Pat Robertson, Robert Jeffress and a few Muslims and Jewish clerics for their take on idolatry with a primitive understanding. Idols or icons are representations of God for the Hindus, just as the holy books are God's words for the Jews, Christians, Muslims and others.

No one has a right to belittle other's faiths. If Senator Williams has a problem let it be his problem and one should not malign Christianity for his bigotry. Each faith is dear to the believer and no faith is superior to the other. Faith is about humility and not arrogance. All faiths are designed to bring solace to its followers. Religion is a mechanism that gives hopes and restores one's balance with what surrounds one; people and the environment,.

Indeed, we are one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. We are represented by every race, nationality, ethnicity, language, culture and religion. We see God as one, none and many and in every form; male, female, genderless and non-existent, being and non-being, nameless and with innumerable names. Americans together are committed to preserve this pluralistic heritage of America.

No one should have a problem with other's belief, but it should become our problem when someone denigrates it. We must stand up for each one of the 312 Million Americans.


Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer committed to build a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His work is fully indexed at www.MikeGhouse.net

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Palestinian Statehood must be approved

Since President Truman, none of the American presidents have had the balls to take a stand and do the right thing; facilitate a lasting solution for the conflict between Israel and Palestine. The talk of two states remains a hoax without recognition of Palestine as a nation. It is a necessity for the security of Israel to recognize Palestine; it will tie the loose ends.



Two videos:..


MR. PRESIDENT, YOU MUST VOTE FOR PALESTINE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Hb0Y-4lRkM


Sixty three years have been squandered with no signs of genuine security for the Jews; they have been living with an unsettling fear and have been on-the-run for their whole history. Not a week goes by where Anti-Semitism is not countered in Europe, it is there in Latin America and it is there in Asia. 

The Jews have not been able to breathe freely. There is a genuine phobia that someday a segment of radical Christians will uproot them as Germany did in the recent past and Spain some five hundred years ago, those were the only nations where the Jews felt home twice in their history but were betrayed both the times.

Shamelessly, anti-Semitism continues to operate under the radar in the United States. Not a month passes here in the United States without the markings of Anti-Semitism. Some one’s house is painted with Swastika, someone yells at them “you people” or opens the fire in the Holocaust Museum or demonstrates hateful placards like “Christ Killers”, there are still a few Christians out there who cannot shake this off from their chests.

Shame on our civilization that one group of people has to live in apprehensions of the other. It is just not the Jews but many a minorities in the world live in fears of the other. Shouldn’t we feel bad about it? Are we evil that someone has to be afraid of us? It has got to change.

Recognition of Palestine will put an end to the phobias and fears. The Jewish anxieties will subside when they realize for the second time in their history (first one was creation of Israel) that they are able to live a life of justice, which is a central tenet of Judaism that they had abandoned for security. It will free their psyche. It will have a domino effect, one by one, the Arab nations will recognize Israel’s right to exist over a few years. It simply means acceptance of Israel and a welcome call to the neighborhood.

The real enemies of Israel are those who are milking monies in the name of Israel. It is business to them, they are the Madoffs whose sincerity to Israel is doubtful but loyalty to cashing in the name of Israel is certain. They are manipulators and constantly coerce our congress and senate and get their way. Heck, they have made it worse for Israel by aggravating the conflicts.

The Judeo-Christian phrase was thrown around 40's to make up for the guilt. A whole industry of opportunists was born from that. The two faced support for Jews by Billy Graham, Richard Nixon, Pat Robertson, John Hagee, Glenn Beck and other chest thumpers had ulterior motives. They wanted to cash in on the name of Israel and perhaps convert them or pre-empt God for the Armageddon.

Jews need sincerity and not duplicity to feel secure. A genuine security is like a child in mother’s lap; safe and free from fears. Jews need to feel there is a home for them, where they can chat with friends in a cafĂ© and carry on conversations without any fear, have zero fears for their school going children or ride the bus without fear. More than that, Jews can live their life again as they wanted to; to be a just people.

All of that is possible once the Palestinians feel justice is finally served to them. Shame on our cvilization, we have not cared for the lives of Palestinians, they are deprived of the very basics of life; a home and a nationality. We have stripped them from their hopes, it will change with this recognition.

President Obama has an opportunity to finalizing the transaction for Israel which was opened by President Truman. Prior to President Truman’s decision to recognize Israel, he was vehemently opposed by many in his administration including the Secretary of State George Marshall, Truman was threatened that his administration will be wrecked, indeed “the wise men” firmly opposed recognition of Israel. Did Truman budge?

President Obama will be equally hounded by Fox News and the right wingers. He has a choice to stand up and act with courage and become a one term president with balls and leave a lasting legacy of bringing genuine security to Israel and hope for the Palestinians.



If President Obama vetoes for Palestinian Statehood, he will do more damage to America’s stature in the community of nations besides keeping Israel in the state of anxiety until another Truman is born.


Let’s recognize Palestine and continue the peace process. It will abate the strife between Jews and Muslims and restore the cordiality that existed prior to the World War I. It is good for Israel, good for Palestine, good for America and good for the Middle East and the World.

Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive Societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day to the media and the public. He is a speaker thinker and a writer on the topics of pluralism, cohesive societies, Politics, Islam, interfaith, India and Peace. Over a thousand articles have been published on the topics and two of his books are poised to be released on Pluralism and Islam. Mike's work is reflected in 4 website's and 27 Blogs indexed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and you can find all of his current articles at www.TheGhousediary.com

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Texas Faith - Should we pray for rain?

The creator has designed a perfect ecological system for the planet earth to sustain on its own; however a few anomalies are built-in as a reminder for us to accept our own imperfections. Rain is one of the major components of that system and every so often, the system breaks down resulting in famines.
Dallas Morning News
Texas Faith, September 13, 2011


Should Texans or for that matter, others afflicted by drought pray for rain? If so, how would you pray? And what would you expect? If not, why wouldn’t you pray for rain?

Rain is a major source of life-giving water. It fills the lakes, runs the rivers, grows the food, tends the plants which produce oxygen and facilitates all that we consume for nourishment and survival. Lack of rain brings disasters.

The creator has designed a perfect ecological system for the planet earth to sustain on its own; however a few anomalies are built-in as a reminder for us to accept our own imperfections. Rain is one of the major components of that system and every so often, the system breaks down resulting in famines.

We have not had rain for a long time, what are our choices? When our intellect does not produce alternatives, we turn to the creator; it is our only hope.

Gov. Rick Perry’s proclamation to pray for rain may have its origins when he was a Commissioner for Agriculture. Indeed Jesus had made frequent references to it, in Matthew 13; four parables were mentioned relating to agriculture.

Doesn’t the creator know his operation has gone bonkers and needs fixing? He does, the mother knows what her children want, the employers know what the employees want, yet we have to ask for it. So, we pray!

The Native Americans felt the need to appease the creator and initiated rain dances. The Egyptian prayed for rain so the Nile can flow and they can get their water for sustenance.

Moses declared in Deuteronomy 11:14 " I will give you the rain of your land…" and laid a condition, “to love the Lord your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul."

Lord Krishna says, “Beings are nourished by food, food is produced by rain, rain comes from sacrifice, and sacrifice is performed by action” and in chapter 19 of Bhagvad Gita he says “O Arjuna, I control heat, the rain and the drought.”

Indeed, it is a routine in India for the Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Jains to gather up and sing songs for rain. Even eminent scientist like C.N.R. Rao has inaugurated festivities to Goddess Chamanudeshwari to bless the State with bountiful rain.

James 5:18, “Then, Elijah prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops”

Martin Lings, a Muslim scholar writes, “In Quraan the ideas of Mercy and water, in particular rain are in a sense inseparable” he compares that to the idea of revelation and the rain, both sent down by all Merciful God and both are spoken of as life giving. He adds that “the divine mercy reaches the uttermost confines of creation.”

In April this year, the Council on American Islamic Relations urged Muslims in Texas mosques to offer special Islamic prayers, called Salatul Istisqa, simply meaning asking God for water. This prayer was offered by Prophet Muhammad during times of drought. Muslims pray 2 units of optional prayers either personally or in congregation, it is in the same format of daily prayers except the supplications for rain.

As a pluralist, I want to assure that this piece is meant to represent all religious traditions even though they are not mentioned. May God bless us with rain now, Amen.

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The weekly column called Texas Faith at Dallas Morning News asks the religiously oriented to write about the issues facing the nation from their faith perspective. I have been blessed to be sharing my take for over a year now. At the morning news, you can read at least ten other takes on the question. http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/09/texas-faith-should-we-pray-for.html

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Mike Ghouse is committed to building a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day to the media and the public. He is a speaker thinker and a writer on the topics of pluralism, cohesive societies, Politics, Islam, interfaith, India and Peace. Over a thousand articles have been published on the topics and two of his books are poised to be released on Pluralism and Islam. Mike's work is reflected in 4 website's and 27 Blogs indexed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and you can find all of his current articles at www.TheGhousediary.com

Thursday, September 8, 2011

American Public will punish the Tea Partiers

American Public on the Tea Partiers

I am glad President Obama came through poised, clear and precise with stronger than ever conviction. He was Reaganesque when he thundered and said, he will go to every nook and corner of America and talk to the American Public, if the Tea Party members do not approve the Job Creation plan. It is time that American Public hears about them.


What’s wrong with the Republican Party? Party because they are getting run over by the Tea Partiers. How long they want to look macho guys, a few will fall for that talk even if they don’t have food on the table. Most Americans will give to them in 2012 if they don’t behave. The 2010 was fluke; they will not win the public in 2012 with 2010 arrogance, they are not in tune with the American public as they were in 2008.

The Tea Party candidates are beyond reason and logic, they act like the Toddlers throwing pranks and rejecting everything. Don’t they need to go to school and get some basic economic lessons? If the nation is going downhill, you don’t accelerate it. You pump Money in to the economy to generate jobs and create activity, which spurs economic growth and recovery.

Finally Obama did the right thing, to tell them take it or face the wrath of the American People. I hope they see what America needs now and not what they want.

Mike Ghouse is committed to building a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day to the media and the public. He is a speaker thinker and a writer on the topics of pluralism, cohesive societies, Politics, Islam, interfaith, India and Peace. Over a thousand articles have been published on the topics and two of his books are poised to be released on Pluralism and Islam. Mike's work is reflected in 4 website's and 27 Blogs indexed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and you can find all of his current articles at www.TheGhousediary.com

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Do Jews, Christians and Muslims better understand each other since 9/11?

TEXAS FAITH: Do Jews, Christians and Muslims better understand each other since 9/11?

Abstract: Jews need sincerity and not duplicity. Native Americans need an apology and there is a good amount of phobia embedded in Hindus about conversions. We believe in Jesus as a Prophet and not as a son of God. Unless we deal with tough issues about our differences, we will continue to fake being nice to each other and brood with ill-will within. There is indeed improved understanding among faiths since 9/11. But there also is deepening suspicion among them. One is spiritually motivated and the other is political. Please note, most of my writings are inclusive of all theist and atheists traditions, we all inhabit the earth and we need to figure how best to co-exist cohesively.

# # #

Since September 11, 2001, many conversations have taken place among Muslims, Jews and Christians. There are official interfaith conversations occurring all over the globe, where participants dig into each other's texts. And numerous personal dialogues have been established over the last decade. Many of us have learned more about the three Abrahamic faiths since September 11, 2001 than perhaps we knew before that day.

But here's this week's question, which is simple in its wording but not necessarily simple to answer: Do followers of the three Abrahamic faiths really understand each other better since 9/11?

Eight Texas Faith Panelists including Mike Ghouse weighs in at: http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/09/texas-faith-do-jews-christians.html

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas

There is indeed improved understanding among faiths since 9/11. But there also is deepening suspicion among them. One is spiritually motivated and the other is political.

We were better off when we knew very little about each other. But as we faced the hostage crisis in 1979, the evangelical foray into politics, the Baptist convention on harvesting poor souls and finally 9/11, religion moved on to center stage. It will get better when we know more about each other.

On September 11, 2001, I was on the radio in Dallas attempting to make sense out of the chaos of the day and pave the way for relevant actions. Interfaith-faith prayers, blood donation and fundraising for the men and women in uniform were all in place by evening. The fog was clearing up. Osama bin Laden was the bad guy and Muslim-Americans had nothing to do with his actions, nor did they authorize him to terrorize any one. Indeed, he placed a wedge between Americans that still needs to be undone.

Atheists, Baha'i, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Jews, Native Americans, Pagans, Sikhs, Wicca and Zoroastrians along with area city mayors, FBI, police and fire chiefs and community leaders graced the first interfaith event in Frisco. Out of which a new tradition evolved called Unity Day. It continues year after year.

But while we are trying to know more about each other, more needs to be done. Here are a few examples;

* Mosques in Dallas/ Fort Worth area opened their doors right after the 9/11 incident. As Christians walked in, they were naively welcomed by yet-to-be trained volunteers who said, "We believe in Jesus as a Prophet and not as a son of God." However, the volunteers were trained to welcome without conflict the very next week.

Of course, back in the 8th Century, a Syrian bishop had declared that Islam was a false religion. That declaration has remained in the psyche of a few Christians forever.

Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas reiterated the statement and added, "Quran is a false book written by a false prophet." He was asked to prove it but failed.

There are several verses in Quraan that are mistranslated for political gains. Steve Blow in Dallas Morning News quoted me, "In the Middle Ages, European leaders commissioned a hostile Quran translation to foster warfare against Muslim invaders. Later, Muslim leaders produced another translation to inflame Muslims against Christians and Jews."

One such difficult passage is "Kill the infidels wherever you find them." Ten such propaganda verses were read to separate the myths from reality. They were not read by Muslim clergy, but by Baptist, Mormon, Protestant, Catholic, Unitarian, Methodist, New Age, Unificationists, Sikhs, Hindu and others at the Quraan Conference

*Shamelessly, anti-Semitism continues to operate under the radar. The anti-circumcision bills in San Francisco and Santa Monica were irksome to some, but frightening to others. Indeed, there are still a few Christians out there who cannot shake off what Fred Phelps was demonstrating with reckless posters such as "Christ Killers."

The Judeo-Christian phrase was thrown around in the 40's to build relationships between Jews and Christians. A whole industry of opportunists was born from it. The support for Jews by Billy Graham, Richard Nixon, Pat Robertson, John Hagee, Glenn Beck and other chest thumpers have ulterior motives. They want to cash in on the name of Israel and perhaps convert them. Jews need sincerity and not duplicity to feel genuinely secure.

*Native Americans need an apology for the destruction of their religion and there is a good amount of phobia embedded in Hindus about conversions. Some of them feel that Governors Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal made it in politics because they converted to Christianity.

*The spiritual balance in the community needs to be restored through observing and following the Golden Rule, which is treat others as you would like others to treat you. Although we have failed in the past, such as when the city of Plano rejected a permit to build a Hindu temple in the early 80's and Richardson did not permit a Muslim school to open there in the mid-1990s, we still have come a long way. Thank God, those are now history and the public in the metroplex welcomes diversity.

* Interfaith meetings are still social gatherings. Leaders from smaller groups are invited as tokens rather than to genuinely get to know each other. Unless we deal with tough issues about differences, we will continue to fake being nice to each other and brood with ill-will within. There is plenty of room for honesty to grow and mature.

If we can learn to respect the otherness of other people and accept the God-given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. One of these days we will get there. Meanwhile, I am pleased to invite you to the 7th Annual 9/11 Memorial, the Unity Day USA on Sunday September 11 at 5:00 PM at the Unity Church of Dallas on Forest Lane. Details are at www.UnitydayUSA.com
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Quraan Conference program sequence: http://quraanconference.blogspot.com/2010/12/quraan-conference-program-sequence.html

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Mike Ghouse is committed to building a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day to the media and the public. He is a speaker thinker and a writer on the topics of pluralism, cohesive societies, Politics, Islam, interfaith, India and Peace. Over a thousand articles have been published on the topics and two of his books are poised to be released on Pluralism and Islam. Mike's work is reflected in 4 website's and 27 Blogs indexed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and you can find all of his current articles at www.TheGhousediary.com

Monday, September 5, 2011

9/11 and Dallas Muslims

You would be pleased to know that Muslims have taken initiatives to work towards a cohesive America and I am pleased to invite you to the 7th Annual 9/11 Memorial, the Unity Day USA on Sunday Sep 11 at 5:00 PM at the Unity Church of Dallas on Forest Lane. Details are at www.UnitydayUSA.com. Kindly rsvp to Unitydayusa@gmail.com Thank you

Mike Ghouse, Texas faith panelist
(214) 325-1916


Invitation to 7th Annual 9/11 Memorial
UNITY DAY USA -2011
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2011 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Unity church of Dallas, www.UnitydayUSA.com
6525 Forest Lane, Dallas, TX 75230


We are pleased to invite you to the 7th Annual Unity Day USA; a purposeful event to bring Americans together. This is the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, from this day forward we hope to effect the change to make. It is an initiative to come together to stand up for the safety, security and cohesiveness of America.

On this Unity Day, we the people of the United States of America of every faith, race, ethnicity, culture and background will gather to express our commitment to co-existence, unity, prosperity and well being of our nation.

Unity Day USA is about re-affirming our faith in the goodness in humanity, and the longing for harmony and co-existence. The traditions include but are not limited to Native American, Atheist, Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Earth-traditions, Hindu, Muslim, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Wicca and Zoroastrians; thus it is an all inclusive event.

It is an experience to feel a sense of unity with fellow Americans that will bring a feeling of coming home to where we drop all of our identities and to be united together as an American family.

As Americans we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in our constitution. Our faiths reinforce the idea of one nation with liberty and justice for all.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

TEXAS FAITH: Is America a "Christian Nation" and what does that mean?

Do you agree with those religious leaders who say that America is a "Christian nation" or a "Judeo-Christian nation?" and what does that mean in practice? Our Texas Faith panel weighs in at Dallas Morning News. http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/08/texas-faith-is-america-a-chris.html

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas

I welcome the Judeo-Christian label for America as a first step in inclusiveness of our religious and non-religious traditions. The phrase Judeo-Christian was meant to reflect the commonality between the two public religions of the time.

Here's the Oxford English Dictionary on the term: The earliest use of the phrase "Judeo-Christian" came in 1899, and then comes WWII, with a 1939 reference in New English Weekly 27 July 237/2 to "The Judaeo-Christian scheme of morals" which fits in with Novick and Silk's comments that this was an attempt at universalizing Christian terms and shoehorning Jews in as a matter of inclusiveness. It wasn't until 1960 that "Judeo-Christianity" appeared. Today, the phrase is over emphasized by the religious right not to reflect inclusion, but to highlight exclusion of Islam, Hinduism, Atheism and the rights of GLBT community. The term is divisive and does not represent the values of America today; it is political and insincere at the outset.

"Judaism is Judaism because it rejects Christianity; and Christianity is Christianity because it rejects Judaism." Rabbi Eliezar Berkowitz, Chairman Jewish philosophy department at Hebrew Theological College, 1966.

"Judaism and Christianity are not parent and child; they are brothers, as were Cain and Abel." John Dominic Crossan, The Birth of Christianity, 1999.

"The term Judeo-Christian does not have a lengthy history." Peter Novick, Holocaust in American Life.

It is embarrassing to quote the founding fathers on Jews; here is Ben Franklin, "I fully agree with General Washington, that we must protect this young nation from an insidious influence and impenetration. That menace, gentlemen, is the Jews." We don't need to go that far, I am sure you heard the Nixon tapes with Rev. Billy Graham on the topic.

Glen Beck, John Hagee and other chest thumpers have ulterior motives to cash in on the name of Israel and perhaps converting the Jews. The Israelis, Palestinians and others need sincerity and not duplicity in finding security and hope for them respectively.
On the surface we get along, but under the radar there is deep distrust that we need to overcome to build a cohesive America, where no American has to live in apprehension of the other.

Time has come to be sincere and learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of us. When we opt for just societies, all the pandering, sycophanting and war mongering will fade and solutions will emerge. Indeed, it will free us from shameless two-facedness. It will put us all on a level playing field and we will start trusting each other from the core of our hearts yielding true freedom.

We have come a long way on the civil plains and a lot more to go. The most appropriate and applicable term for America is "Pluralistic nation" which will convey the full essence of God's own country; America. America is perhaps the only nation on earth that inhabits all of God's creation; represented by every race, nationality, ethnicity, language, culture and religion. As Americans we see God as one, none and many and in every form; male, female, genderless, non-entity, being and a non-being, nameless and with innumerable names and I am proud to be an American.

Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day to the media and the public. He is a speaker thinker and a writer on the topics of pluralism, cohesive societies, Islam, interfaith, India and Peace. He is available to speak at your place of worship, work, school, college, seminars and conferences. . Mike's work is reflected in 4 website's and 27 Blogs indexed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and you can find this article at www.TheGhousediary.com

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Texas Faith: How do you interpret the Genesis Creation Story?

TEXAS FAITH: How do you interpret the Genesis creation story?
An old Jewish folk tale makes the point. One day God said to Abraham, "If it weren't for me, you wouldn't be here," to which Abraham replied, "True, but if I weren't here there wouldn't be anyone to think about you." To conclude, we created God in our own image and let's give him wisdom as well.

Dallas Morning News shares 15 opinions on the topic including mine at http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/08/texas-faith-how-do-you-interpr.html
MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas

The simplistic understanding of the Genesis is that God produced the world in six days in a process that created the universe -- planets, water, earth, plants and life -- and wrapped it up with a final product: man in his own image so he can commune with them. Adam and Eve were set on autopilot to keep procreating themselves and we are here today, seven billion of us from that one single couple.

The conservatives among Abrahamic faiths believe that Adam was the outcome of an intelligent design, and was created in the same format as we are today. They believe that the idea of evolution is in conflict with creationism and goes against the very word of God.

Indeed, they have an unquestionable need to believe that what "they know" is precisely what God means; any other point of view is anathema and confusing to them.  The non-Abrahamic faith followers need not gloat; a new idea is usually an abomination to someone or the other including them.

The liberals on the other hand feel secure to explore unfamiliar territories and find new meaning in the theory of evolution. Both attitudes serve the basic motivations of the individuals: security in the cocoon and need to quench the thirst for knowledge. Together we grow into newer areas of knowledge and enrich life.

Our leaders have a personal right to believe in creation or evolution, or both. They are not mutually exclusive. However, they do not have the right to deprive the rights of citizens to their beliefs and shut one or the other. Most see creation as an understandable transition from evolution.
Is it possible that Adam was the first species in the process of evolution that was able to communicate coherently, take care of him and survive against the nature's oddities?
He was able to survive the fires, storms, blizzards, floods and furies of nature. Did God feel pleased with this new species that was fit enough to survive and become a permanent fixture of the universe unlike the others that faded into oblivion?

Did God call him "Adam" because he was the first one to stand out on his own?
God's word is all embracing and that is what he may have meant in the Bible, Torah and Qur'aan. I am sure the other scriptures carry similar wisdom. It is rather our shortcoming in understanding the spectrum of God's word by limiting the meanings to suit our security needs. Let's give some leeway to God's word, religion is about what we are conditioned to believe.

An old Jewish folk tale makes the point. One day God said to Abraham, "If it weren't for me, you wouldn't be here," to which Abraham replied, "True, but if I weren't here there wouldn't be anyone to think about you." To conclude, we created God in our own image and let's give him wisdom as well.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, writer and a frequent guest on Hannity show and nationally syndicated Radio shows including local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Over 1000 articles have been published on Pluralism, politics, Islam, India, Israel, Palestine, justice and civil societies.  Two of his books are poised to be released this fall on Pluralism and Islam. He is available to speak at your place of worship, work, school, college, seminars or conferences. His work is encapsulated in 27 blogs, four websites and several forums indexed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and www.TheGhousediary.com

Monday, August 15, 2011

A call to Republican Party

REPUBLICANS WITH GUTS OUT THERE?

Republican fall out in 2012 is preventable, if they do not let the extremists radical speak up for them. For about a decade Muslims got run over by their extremists resulting in a mess still to fade. I spoke up then, and I am going to speak up now. Any moderate Republicans out there? If you want to save the party and keep the majority in the house, speak up louder than the divisive men and women among us. Bark in unison, like they do? Any Republicans with guts?


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

TEXAS FAITH: What does feminism mean to you?

That question is the subject of a growing discussion given that Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann both claim to be feminists. Except their feminism differs from the days of Gloria Steinem. Lisa Miller, a religion writer for Washington Post.com and On Faith, describes Bachmann's feminism this way.

There are about 12 panelists in Dallas Morning News’ Texas Faith’s weekly column and all opinions including mine are at: http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/08/texas-faith-what-does-feminism.html

MIKE GHOUSE, PRESIDENT, FOUNDATION FOR PLURALISM

The Palin-Bachman feminism is a new phenomenon; indeed they are setting a new assertive standard for feminism, where the deferential role for a woman in public square may become extinct like the dinosaurs. Palin-Bachman may not be the right role models, but they are the first most visible ones.

Way back in the movie Disclosure, Demi Moore played a challenging role of an aggressive female boss which at that time was labeled as manly woman’s role, it went to the other end of the spectrum of feminism. During the last Presidential election campaign Hilary Clinton was firm and assertive but not an aggressive, gun-toting attacking tigress like the Palin-Bachman duo, she applied logic and reason and rightfully the media was not deferential to her because she was a female.
In case of Palin-Bachman the media is at a loss in handling their aggressiveness and not sure if they would cross the line of feminism and get attacked for seeking substantiated answers. They need to treat the duo like they would any candidate male or female, and on their part the duo needs to substantiate their responses to set the new standards of feminism and not chase the media out with incomplete brash answers as it will be injustice to the emerging healthy feminism. NPR had a great story on Bachman on Tuesday which addresses the media shyness.

Yet, the three candidates accepted the traditional role of a deferential female to the husband within the family setting believing it to be a religious duty. This is the new public standard for the role of a woman until the deference gets replaced with equal partnership, yet maintains the family harmony and cohesion; there is room for us to grow up.

We may have to modify the Virginia slims slogan to “You have come a long way woman (baby no more)” in establishing and defining the new feminism; genderless in the public square where no one dares to have an upper hand in any endeavor of life and yet and play feminine traditional role in the family setting. Helen Reddy’s song “I am woman” is playing in my ears now.
It has a lot of winning appeal to women; it authenticates their own vision of womanhood and offers a role model for them to emulate. Be yourselves, do what is right irrespective of the opinions out there, eventually that will become the standard and the norm of the society where you are viewed as an individual contributor for the wellbeing of the family and the society. I welcome this new benchmark, it was long overdue.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker committed to a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day – all his work is indexed at www.MikeGhouse.net