Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TEXAS FAITH: Should the ban on political activity by churches be repealed?

Should the federal ban on political activity by churches and religious institutions be repealed – or remain in place? Our Texas Faith panel weighs in – and they don’t agree on the answer. This is a weekly column at Dallas Morning News, addressing the issues facing the nation. http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2012/03/texas-faith-should-ban-on-political_20.html

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas, Texas

As Americans of Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, independent and other persuasions, we are collectively and partially funding religious institutions through tax subsidy, and the least we can expect from them is to remain neutral to each one of us on political matters.

Every American has 1/312 Millionth of a share in such subsidy, why would I, a Republican want my money to go to a church that supports democrats or vice-versa?
As a nation we have to debate the need for giving tax breaks to religious organizations, and why do they need the tax break? We may disagree with Governor Perry on a lot of issues, except the idea that every foreign nation must justify their need for even a dollar to go to them. How does giving a tax break for religious organizations benefit every American indiscriminately?

Dallas Morning News had a similar question a few months ago. Can the Pastor of a Church publicly endorse a candidate without influencing or dividing his or her congregation? That is the fine line that blurs the separation of Church and state.

The fact of the matter is, every one of us is politically inclined towards one candidate or the other; for a majority of us it is an emotional decision. Nearly 2/3rds of Americans have decided through party affiliation who they will vote for – it is a clear choice to them; Democrats or Republicans. It is really the 1/3rd of undecided voters that the parties are vying for.

So the top ten evangelicals ganged up on Romney, simply because of his faith - cloaked in the disguise of not conservative enough. Wouldn’t their congregations follow their lead? The most conservative states are following that lead and giving boost to Santorum. He in turn has followed the bait by going to the extreme and becoming Mullah Santorum.

If we allow any majority to dictate the nation, we will lose the very essence of America; a God’s country where everyone of His creation lives in harmony.

We are not a mobcracy-democracy, where the majority bullies the minorities, like the Republican house bullied the Democratic minority in holding out the payroll tax break for majority of Americans. We need to follow the rule of law and temper the majority with righteousness and honor everyone’s space and right to the pursuit of their happiness.

Greatness of our nations lies in our system, the checks and balances. The representative form of governance has not let us fall into a pit like most other nations. We must keep the separation of church and state and strip the tax breaks from those institutions that break the rules.

Had it not been for bad politics, there would have been one Christianity; one Islam, one Judaism, one Hinduism and one Native Tradition. Now let’s not allow the same bad politics to divide our nation based on religion.

For all the responses from the panelists, please visit Dallas Morning News at
- - - - -
MikeGhouse is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, civic affairs, Islam, India, Israel, peace and justice. Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he writes weekly at Dallas Morning News and regularly at Huffington post, The Smirking Chimp and several other periodicals. His daily blog is www.TheGhousediary.com

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Happy Purim, one of the happiest Jewish Holidays

I am pleased to wish a very Happy Purim to our Jewish friends across the globe.  Purim is one of the happiest of holidays of the Jewish people, it the story of freedom from anxiety of being annihilated.  This has reference to a point in history where an evil man plots to annihilate the Jews, but the Persian king is persuaded by Esther otherwise. It was a major victory and thus the celebration.  Happy Purim.

I have written a heartfelt article on Israel and Palestine, published in 3 installments at Huffington post.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/israel-and-palestine-moving-forward_b_1258261.html . You might understand the history of Jewish people to understand Purim.

The book of Esther

The story of Purim is told in the Biblical book of Esther. The heroes of the story are Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman living in Persia, and her cousin Mordecai, who raised her as if she were his daughter. Esther was taken to the house of Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to become part of his harem. King Ahasuerus loved Esther more than his other women and made Esther queen, but the king did not know that Esther was a Jew, because Mordecai told her not to reveal her identity.

The villain of the story is Haman, an arrogant, egotistical advisor to the king. Haman hated Mordecai because Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, so Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish people. In a speech that is all too familiar to Jews, Haman told the king, "There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm. Their laws are different from those of every other people's, and they do not observe the king's laws; therefore it is not befitting the king to tolerate them." Esther 3:8. The king gave the fate of the Jewish people to Haman, to do as he pleased to them. Haman planned to exterminate all of the Jews.

Mordecai persuaded Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jewish people. This was a dangerous thing for Esther to do, because anyone who came into the king's presence without being summoned could be put to death, and she had not been summoned. Esther fasted for three days to prepare herself, then went into the king. He welcomed her. Later, she told him of Haman's plot against her people. The Jewish people were saved, and Haman and his ten sons were hanged on the gallows that had been prepared for Mordecai.

The book of Esther is unusual in that it is the only book of the Bible that does not contain the name of G-d. In fact, it includes virtually no reference to G-d. Mordecai makes a vague reference to the fact that the Jews will be saved by someone else, if not by Esther, but that is the closest the book comes to mentioning G-d. Thus, one important message that can be gained from the story is that G-d often works in ways that are not apparent, in ways that appear to be chance, coincidence or ordinary good luck.

From Judaism 101


Dallas' Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge opens on Trinity River

It is a tiny butterfly and not an eagle over Mike's head

March 3, 2012 - Dallas New Land Mark opened today. It’s the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge over Trinity River. One of these days, we will have River walk like in San Antonio, and probably bigger than that, as it is a huge basin with levy on either side…. It is scenic! It’s been debated for over 20 years now. The citizens have not approved the bond to make it happen.

It is amazing how a small group of people oppose prosperity, and not see the overall benefits to the common man in terms of jobs, economic growth and all...

Three pictures in the linked album are unusual….. What seems to be an eagle over my head in this picture is actually a butterfly; it is the same size as the one sitting on my head in the picture... I am trying to understand the magic of this picture....how did the photographer take the picture to make the butterfly look so big? The other picture is the contrast, looks like a scene from a movie... Dallas Skyline with Native Americans... indeed, Dallas is enriched with the presence of over 100 Native American nations. The story and a few amazing pictures at:http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157629141809118/

Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk and Coke Buchanan had organized the butterfly release synching with the opening of the bridge. I was unable to get the butterfly on my finger, she flew the moment I opened the packet… however, there was a kid on whose finger a butter fly rested… and took off … it was amazing… and I was simply admiring and watching it and woke up little too late to take a picture …however, the photographer took it is in the link !
I will write about how Cities function and dysfunction; Cities like Plano, Frisco, Garland, Carrollton, Dallas, Irving and Colorado Springs… That’s another story, you can watch for at www.TheGhousediary.com

# # #

Bridge -O-Rama Press Release
To honor Dallas’ cultural diversity, Memnosyne Foundation is gathered people attired in traditional regalia from international cultural organizations to release butterflies into the air. The butterfly is a sacred ancient symbol of freedom, independence, transformation, personal journey and faith. The image will imprint a message of Dallas’ growing diversity and desire for unity for years to come.
Dallas has become the incubator for America's future.
Forty-four percent of North Texas residents were born in another country or are the children of foreign-born who recognized the city's potential for ever-growing prosperity and we want to celebrate in unity!

To honor this diversity, Memnosyne Foundation gathered people attired in traditional regalia from international cultural organizations to release butterflies into the air. The butterfly is a sacred ancient symbol of freedom, independence, transformation, personal journey and faith. The image will imprint a message of Dallas’ growing diversity and desire for unity for years to come.
Memnosyne Foundation is grateful for its participation by
Paula Caldwell - Consul General of Canada for Texas, Cheryl Mansour - Chancellor of the Royal Norwegian Consulate; John M. Stich - Honorary Consul General of Japan in Dallas, Av. Nelu Prodan - Honorary Consul Of Romania in Dallas -Texas, Dr. Don Beck with The Center for Human Emergence, Ed Fjordbak with the Essilor Vision Foundation, Mike Ghouse with the America Together Foundation, Peggy Larney with the American Indian Heritage Day Council, Daniel Patricio with the Native Indian Youth Assembly, Natasha Ksendzoff with the Russian School of Dallas, Sandy Kloberdanz with the Ukrainian American Society of Texas, Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico, Polish American Foundation, Mayumi McDonald with the Japan America Society of Dallas, DFW Native American Chamber of Commerce, Unity of Dallas and over 200 others in its Butterfly Release celebrating Dallas’ cultural diversity at the Margaret Hunt Hill Celebration Bridge-O-Rama on March 3.

A special thanks of sincere appreciation to Grupo Cualli Tepec Danza Azteca Chichimeca Conchera with the sound of conch shells for opening the ceremonial sacred space, calling the spirits of the four cardinal directions—South, West, North, and East—and Mother Earth and Father Sky, and to Bandan Koro African Drum Ensemble for providing the heartbeat of Mother Earth in the ceremonial release of butterflies as a symbol of our nation’s most precious gift “Freedom”.
The event was joyful for everyone as the Monarchs were introduced to a new destination in their annual migration from Mexico to Canada – the banks of our Trinity River

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Texas - Re-Opened Filing Deadline (Major Parties)
MARCH 1, 2012:
Arkansas - Filing Deadline (Party & Write-In Candidates)
Nebraska - Filing Deadline (Major Parties)
MARCH 3, 2012:
Washington - Presidential Caucuses
MARCH 5, 2012:
Ohio - Filing Deadline (Independent Candidates)
MARCH 6, 2012:
Alaska - Presidential Caucuses
Georgia - Presidential Primary Election
Idaho - Presidential Caucuses
Massachusetts - Presidential Primary Election
North Dakota - Presidential Caucuses
Ohio - Presidential & State Primary Election
Oklahoma - Presidential Primary Election
Oregon - Filing Deadline (Major Parties)
Tennessee - Presidential Primary Election

Vermont - Presidential Primary Election
Virginia - Presidential Primary Election
MARCH 9, 2012:
Idaho - Filing Deadline
MARCH 10, 2012:
Kansas - Presidential Caucuses
US Virgin Islands - Presidential Caucuses
MARCH 12, 2012:
Montana - Filing Deadline
MARCH 13, 2012:
Alabama - Presidential & State Primary Election & Filing Deadline (Independents)
Hawaii - Presidential Caucuses
Mississippi - Presidential & State Primary Election
MARCH 14, 2012:
California - Filing Deadline
MARCH 15, 2012:
Maine - Filing Deadline (D/R/Green)

Utah - Filing Deadline
MARCH 16, 2012:
Iowa - Filing Deadline (Major Parties)
Nevada - Filing Deadline
MARCH 17, 2012:
Missouri - Presidential Caucuses
MARCH 18, 2012:
Puerto Rico - Presidential & Commonwealth Primary Election
MARCH 20 2012:
Illinois - Presidential & State Primary Election
New Mexico - Filing Deadline (Major Parties)
MARCH 24, 2012:
Louisiana - Presidential Primary Election
MARCH 27, 2012:
Missouri - Filing Deadline (D/R/Libt)
South Dakota - Filing Deadline (Major Parties)
MARCH 30, 2012:
South Carolia - Filing Deadline (Major Parties)
APRIL 2, 2012:
Colorado - Filing Deadline (All Parties)
New Jersey - Filing Deadline (Major Parties)
APRIL 3, 2012:
District of Columbia - Presidential & DC Primary Election
Maryland - Presidential & State Primary Election
Mississippi - Primary Run-Off Election
Wisconsin - Presidential Primary Election
APRIL 5, 2012:
Tennessee - Filing Deadline
APRIL 13, 2012:
North Dakota - Filing Deadline (Major Parties)
APRIL 20, 2012:
Colorado - Primary Filing Deadline (Write-Ins)
Oklahoma - Filing Deadline
APRIL 18-21, 2012 - Nashville, TN
Constitution Party - Presidential Nominating Convention
APRIL 21, 2012:
Utah - Republican State Nominating Convention
APRIL 24, 2012:
Alabama - Primary Run-Off Election
 - Presidential Primary Election
Delaware - Presidential Primary Election
New York - Presidential Primary Election
Pennsylvania - Presidential & State Primary Election
Rhode Island - Presidential Primary Election
MAY 1, 2012:
Arkansas - Filing Deadline (Independents)
MAY 4-6, 2012 - Las Vegas, NV
Libertarian Party - Presidential Nominating Convention
MAY 8, 2012:
Indiana - Presidential & State Primary Election
North Carolina - Presidential & State Primary Election
West Virginia - Presidential & State Primary Election
MAY 15, 2012:
Idaho - State Primary Election
Michigan - Filing Deadline (Major Parties)
 - Presidential & State Primary Election
Oregon - Presidential & State Primary Election
MAY 18, 2012:
Washington - Filing Deadline
MAY 22, 2012:
Arkansas - Presidential & State Primary Election
Kentucky - Presidential & State Primary Election
North Dakota - Primary Filing Deadline (Write-Ins)
MAY 25, 2012:
Georgia - Filing Deadline (Major Parties)
MAY 29, 2012:
Texas - Presidential & State Primary Election - TENTATIVE
Virginia - Filing Deadline (Major Parties)
MAY 30, 2012:
Arizona - Filing Deadline
JUNE 1, 2012:
Alaska - Filing Deadline (All Parties)
Idaho - Filing Deadline (Write-Ins)
Kansas - Filing Deadline (D/R)
Maine - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)
Wisconsin - Filing Deadline
Wyoming - Filing Deadline (Major Parties)
JUNE 4, 2012:
Colorado - Filing Deadline (Independents)
JUNE 5, 2012:
California - Presidential & State Primary Election
Hawaii - Filing Deadline
Massachusetts - Filing Deadline (Major Parties)
Minnesota - Filing Deadline
Montana - Presidential & State Primary Election
New Jersey - Presidential/State Primary Election & Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)
New Mexico - Presidential & State Primary Election
South Dakota - Presidential/State Primary Election & Filing Deadline (Independents)
Texas - Primary Run-Off Election
JUNE 8, 2012:
Florida - Filing Deadline
JUNE 12, 2012:
Arkansas - Primary Run-Off Election
Maine - Primary Election
Nevada - Primary Election
North Dakota - Primary Election
South Carolina - Primary Election
Virginia - Primary Election & Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)
JUNE 14, 2012:
Vermont - Filing Deadline
JUNE 15, 2012:
New Hampshire - Filing Deadline (Party Candidates)
JUNE 17, 2012:
Texas - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)
JUNE 25, 2012:
Illinois - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)
JUNE 26, 2012:
Colorado - Primary Election
New Mexico - Filing Dealine (Minor Parties, Independents, Write-Ins)
New York 
- Primary Election
North Carolina - Primary Run-Off Election
Oklahoma - Primary Election
South Carolina - Primary Run-Off Election
South Dakota - Primary Run-Off Election
Utah - Presidential & State Primary Election
JUNE 29, 2012:
North Carolina - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)
JUNE (TBA), 2012 - Online
Americans Elect - Presidential Nominating Convention
JULY 2, 2012:
Indiana - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)
JULY 10, 2012:
Delaware - Filing Deadline (D/R)
JULY 13-15, 2012 - Baltimore, MD
Green Party - Presidential Nominating Convention
JULY 16, 2012:
South Carolina - Filing Deadline (Independents)
JULY 17, 2012:
Colorado - Filing Deadline (Write-Ins)
JULY 19, 2012:
Arizona - Primary Write-In Filing Deadlin
Michigan - Filing Deadline (Independents)
JULY 23, 2012:
Missouri - Filing Deadline (Minor Parites & Independents)
JULY 27, 2012:
Michigan - Primary Filing Deadline (Write-Ins)
JULY 31, 2012:
Georgia - Primary Election
AUGUST 1, 2012:
Pennsylvania - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)
West Virginia - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)
AUGUST 2, 2012:
Tennessee - Primary Election
AUGUST 3, 2012:
Georgia - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)
AUGUST 6, 2012:
Kansas - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)
Maryland - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)
AUGUST 7, 2012:
Kansas - Primary Election
 - Primary Election & Filing Deadline (Minor Parties) Missouri - Primary Election
- Primary Election
AUGUST 8, 2012:
New Hampshire - Filing Deadline (Independents)
North Carolain - Filing Deadline (Write-Ins)
AUGUST 11, 2012:
Hawaii - Primary Election
AUGUST 12-14, 2012 - Las Vegas, NV
Reform Party - Presidential Nominating Convention
AUGUST 14, 2012:
Connecticut - Primary Election
- Primary Election
Kentucky - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)
 - Primary Election
- Primary Election
AUGUST 15, 2012:
South Carolina - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties)
AUGUST 17, 2012:
Iowa - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)

Louisiana - Filing Deadline
AUGUST 20, 2012:
Texas - Filing Deadline (Write-Ins)
Wyoming - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties)
AUGUST 21, 2012:
Georgia - Primary Run-Off Election
 - Primary Election
AUGUST 27, 2012:
Ohio - Filing Deadline (Write-Ins)

Wyoming - Filing Deadline (Independents)
AUGUST 27-30, 2012 - Tampa, FL
Republican Party - Presidential Nominating Convention
AUGUST 28, 2012:
Alaska - Primary Election & Filing Deadline (Independents)
Arizona - Primary Election
Massachusetts - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)
Montana - Filing Deadline (Write-Ins)
 - Primary Run-Off Election
Oregon - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)
 - Primary Election
SEPTEMBER 1, 2012:
Guam - Primary Election
SEPTEMBER 4, 2012:
Delaware - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)

Georgia - Filing Deadline (Write-Ins)
Nebraska - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)
SEPTEMBER 4-6, 2012 - Charlotte, NC
Democratic Party - Presidential Nominating Convention
SEPTEMBER 6, 2012:
Illinois - Filing Deadline (Write-Ins)
 - Primary Election
SEPTEMBER 7, 2012:
North Dakota - Filing Deadline (Minor Parties & Independents)
SEPTEMBER 8, 2012:
US Virgin Islands - Primary Election
SEPTEMBER 11, 2012:
Delaware - Primary Election
New Hampshire
 - Primary Election

Rhode Island
 - Primary Election
SEPTEMBER 22, 2012:
Maine - Filing Deadline (Write-Ins)
SEPTEMBER 25, 2012:
West Virginia - Filing Deadline (Write-Ins)
OCTOBER 16, 2012:
North Dakota - Filing Deadline (Write-Ins)
OCTOBER 26, 2012:
Kentucky - Filing Deadline (Write-Ins)
Michigan - Filing Deadline (Write-Ins)
OCTOBER 31, 2012:
Maryland - Filing Deadline (Write-Ins)
NOVEMBER 6, 2012:

Louisiana - Congressional Primary Election
DECEMBER 1, 2012:
Louisiana - Congressional Run-Off Election (If Needed)
JANUARY 3, 2013:
New Congress takes office - Washington, DC
JANUARY 20, 2013:
Presidential Inauguration - Washington, DC

Connecticut - Filing Deadline
New York - Filing Deadline
Rhode Island - Filing Deadline