Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Can Muslims and Christians Co-Exist?

CAN MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS CO-EXIST? | Interfaithspeaker.com

Yes, an overwhelming majority of Muslims and Christians have co-existed for nearly 1400 years, and will continue to do so. However a few among each one of them (less than 1/10th of 1%) are intolerant, not because of religion, but because they did not get their religion right.

There will always be rogues no matter what religion they wear, we have a choice to be dumb and blame the religion or be smart and blame the bad guys and punish them and restore trust in the society.  Barking at religion is useless - you cannot kill, beat, kick, slaughter, shoot, behead, hang of bury the religion, why bark at it?  


Mike Ghouse and Karen Hollie baptized at Baptismal site
What does this mean?  
Historical Event - Christmas and Milad celebrated for the first time in world history
by American Muslim Institution. 

Mike Ghouse praying at Jesus' Grave
This flag was used by Egyptian Muslims and Christians in the early 20th century to signify their unity against the occupying British forces. It continues to symbolize Muslim-Christian unity.
Good religious people want the world to be a peace, want to get along with all - that is what kingdom of peace on earth means. Half-ass religious leaders are dividers, like the devil in the center of the two towers.

90% of people of any group are moderates, and do get along with others. 4.5% each is liberal and conservative, then there is 10th of 1% who are intolerant. No religion or group of people are free from that tiny group of people.




Mike Ghouse
Text or Talk at (214) 325-1916

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, terrorismhuman rightsIndiaIsrael-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Pope Frances on Trump's Christianity

POPE FRANCES ON TRUMP’S CHRISTIANITY | www.InterfaithSpeaker.com

Pope Frances is one of my mentors, the man whom I admire and call a mercy to humanity, the man whom I would listen to in building a world of harmony. Keeping in line with his pronouncements replicating Jesus' wisdom - blame the sin and not the sinner. 
I wish he had said, "Those of us who are followers of Christ have responsibilities to fulfill towards fellow beings, one among them is to build bridges and not walls, I pray that we all live up to our responsibilities including those who are deficit."


“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” Francis said when a reporter asked him about Mr. Trump on the papal airliner as he returned to Rome after his six-day visit to Mexico.


"Pope Francis waded into the United States’ immigration debate, criticizing presidential candidate Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall across the entire US/Mexico boarder. The comments came after a six-day trip to Mexico, culminating in the border city of Ciudad Ju├írez. Read the Human Rights Watch roadmap to immigration reform which emphasizes protection of immigrant families."

Mike Ghouse
Text or Talk at (214) 325-1916

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, terrorismhuman rightsIndiaIsrael-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Elections: Texas Faith - Commander in Chief or Preacher in Chief

Is God a villain of Jeb Bush, Carson, Kasich, Fiorina, Paul, Huckabee, Santorum and others? Is God a friend of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio?
Here is my write up at Dallas Morning News  published February 16, 2016.
MIKE GHOUSE, Foundation for Pluralism
My father’s words jumped at me when I read the phrase, “outward professions of faith.”
He was a mayor as well as a respected uncle of the town, and everyone came to him with their problems for solutions. It was a small town called Yelahanka, a suburb of Bengaluru, India. Obviously the majority was Hindus, but we had Muslims, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Jains, Christians and the Dalits.
Every time someone came and said, “Believe me, I am a good Christian, Hindu, Muslim or a ….” My father’s ears would perk up, and he would become extra vigilant. After the individual left the house, he would tell my mother, “I am still waiting for an individual who would say, I am an honest guy and I have this problem with the other person. He would add I rather believe the person who does not profess “outward professions of faith”; Why does he need to use God or a religious shield?
Indeed, my ears perk up when I encounter those who wear their religion on their sleeve. In fact, a handful of imams, rabbis, priests, and pastors have not failed me in my caution, no one has robbed me, but they have not been truthful to their congregations in my interfaith interactions with them.
When Ted Cruz said, “Let me first of all say, to God be the glory” and Marco Rubio uttered “my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Is God favoring these two over others? Is God a villain of Jeb Bush, Carson, Kasich, Fiorina, Paul, Huckabee, Santorum and others?
God expression should be personal and not for public consumption. God loves each one of us equally and does not favor one over the other. If he does, we don’t need a prejudiced, discriminatory God like that. Would God place an individual in the White House to carpet-bomb civilians elsewhere or bomb the nations to the ground? Heavens no, God is not in the business of bombing people. He has given us the discretion: Some get it, and some don’t. We the people need to elect those who are determined to preserve harmony of the creation be it among individuals, between nations and the environment.
When God created animals, he gave them horns, fangs and paws to settle their disputes with an attitude of you survive or I. But when he created humans, he did not give us fangs, paws or horns to fight, but a tongue to talk and resolve our disputes. Anyone who wants to bypass talks need not be our president.
Cruz and Rubio (and others) are running for public office and not the pulpit. I have seen politicians of all religions deliberately use God in their language. It may be a part of their nature to make God expressions, but when they say it in public, making it obvious for the camera, I question their sincerity. Maybe God is all that’s left to rescue them rather than their record or their abilities. Should I trust a candidate because he or she invokes God or because he or she is capable?
Please don’t invoke God in the public for the purpose of show, unless you are God deficit and need God to side with you to hurt others.
# # #

Mike Ghouse
Text or Talk at (214) 325-1916

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, terrorismhuman rightsIndiaIsrael-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Trump does not spare the Pope

There is a petition out by the Faithful calling on Catholic Bishops to speak out against Trump's attack on the Pope. I suggest they remain quite and let Trump bark as much as he wants. Ignoring him will bring some humility to him.

Here is their appeal:

Dear Faithful America member,

The nation's Catholic bishops don't hesitate to condemn Democrats when they consider their views un-Catholic. But now that Republicans are launching vicious attacks against immigrants, most of the bishops are nowhere to be found.

Donald Trump just ripped into Pope Francis for the pope's plans to visit the U.S.-Mexico border, calling him "a very political person" and saying that "Mexico got him to do it because they're making a fortune and we're losing."

Yet so far there has been no official reaction from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, nor have any of its officers or leaders made public statements about Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Tell Catholic bishops: Condemn Donald Trump's un-Catholic immigrant bashing

Pope  Francis is one my heroes: http://mikeghouse.net/PopeFrancis.asp


Mike Ghouse
Text or Talk at (214) 325-1916

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

America the beautiful, Valentine Day Celebrations

What a joy it is to sing songs about America while praying for other nations to be blessed like ours,  and live like us, which is live your life and let others live theirs. There is nothing like America.

Yasmeen and I were at Brazarios Restaurant in down town Louisville for the Valentine’s Day lunch. What I want to share is our conversation and what we saw around us, which I have captured to a little extent in the camera, though the pictures aren’t good, but you can see through them.

On the table to our right were African American Couples, two tables down was a white middle aged couple, and behind to the right of us were a Chinese Couple with a few Japanese with them, and one directly behind two tables was a gay couple and way to the right was a Jewish couple.

I can’t tell you the euphoric feeling to be in the midst of this environment. This is the America we all cherish and want to sustain.  Just 55 years ago, this would not have happened, none of this would have been possible. Thanks to Martin Luther King, John F Kennedy, Lyndon B Johnson and the majority of White Americas for uplifting America to be one of the most exemplary nations on the earth.  


Regardless of the rhetoric of a few (yes a few) men in the fore front, who are misogynists, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic, America ain’t like them and a majority of American’s are like them either. The presidential candidates are not a representation of Americans.

America is a nation where we respect the otherness of others, and accept the God given uniqueness of each one of us whether we are Atheists, Baha’i, Buddhist, and Christian, Jain, Jewish, Muslims, Native Americans, Pagans, Sikhs, Wicca, Zoroastrians and every one in between.

It saddens me to see “a few” radicals among Hindus and Muslims, who are hell bent on  terrorizing or harassing the lovers in India and Pakistan, be it in a store or restaurant, let alone in the parks. I wish the heads of the states in both nations speak up and tell everyone that they will not tolerate harassing and terrorizing fellow countrymen for celebrating Valentine’s day. Here is a note for them atwww.TheGhousediary.com or www.Interfaithspeaker.com

I also appeal to a few religious parents in America not to put down our culture, you can tell your kids that Valentine’s day is not a part of your tradition, but you cannot put it down, as their friends do celebrate and your kids don’t see anything wrong with the celebration.  If you oppose them, you are pushing them to live two lives – one a pretentious life with you and the other with their friends and that is wrong. You have a choice to raise them in another country where they live their lives in silos. No one should live two lives and it is not good for them or you.

Next year, if I am alive, we will have discussions within the ethnic and religious groups who are yet to integrate in our society.  Meanwhile, enjoy my current article at www.TheGhouseDiary.com




Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine's Day will morph into universal affection day

Valentine's Day | www.InterfaithSpeaker.com 

Love has no bounds; it is between two people in love, husband and wife, mother and son, father daughter, brother sister, brothers, sisters, friends, uncles, aunties, Grand Pa and Grand Ma and any one you care about. From an exclusive meaningful rendezvous between two lovers, the Valentine's Day will morph into an all inclusive romantic day. It will become a universal affection day within a decade.  



Throughout the history of language, words have taken on new and expanded meanings; Valentine's Day is no exception.
From an exclusive meaningful rendezvous between two lovers, the Valentine's Day will morph into an all inclusive romantic day. It will become a universal affection day within a decade.
Valentines Day is a universal expression of affection between two individuals. Love has no bounds; it is between two people in love, husband and wife, mother and son, father daughter, brother sister, brothers, sisters, friends, uncles, aunties, Grandpa and Grandma and any one you care about.
Please feel free to say happy valentine to your sister, mother, brother, daughter, dad, uncle or a friend. It is a much bigger word now than it started out to be. Take them out for dinner and send them flowers to let them know that you care if you are the only one for them at this point in life.
Sadly, some of you are going to feel lonely, if you miss the love in your life; you have an opportunity to fulfill it. There is plenty in you that you can give by feeding the homeless, visiting lonely patients in the hospitals or nursing homes, disadvantaged women and children, and our veterans... share whatever little you have with them including the time and just listening to them. When a homeless person asks, give whatever you can, that is the most affectionate thing to do, you will enrich yourselves far greater by sharing.
Whenever the word affection comes to mind, I picture my dad and recall the way he called out my Mother's name Khairun, it was romantic and filled with affection and I have always enjoyed the sound of it, it was simply soothing to hear.
Well, I am wishing a Happy Valentine's Day to my loved ones and friends and the same to your loved ones and friends. 

Mike Ghouse
Text or Talk at (214) 325-1916

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Interfaith questions, pluralism, Muslims in America and Islam

What is the need for interfaith dialogue? What is Pluralism? Religious intolerance in India?  What can I do for the American Muslim community? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Swl2_zYCoi8

YouTube VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Swl2_zYCoi8


February 12, 2016 – Washington, D.C.,  The Capitol Forum TV show in Washington has released a video of my interview.  Frank is a philanthropists in Washington DC and has generously contributed $2 Million to his Alma Mater AMU setting an example of contributing back to the place that made him who he is today.

Your feedback is requested.


Mike Ghouse
Text or Talk at (214) 325-1916

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics,terrorismhuman rightsIndiaIsrael-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Don't Judge me because I am friends with ......

Don’t judge me because I am friends with | TheGhouseDiary.com

You may be anxious to express the same sentiments that I have expressed here, and I hope this note assures you and I for who we are. A majority of us are moderates, meaning individuals who want to get along with others, mind our own business, not judge others until we have the first hand knowledge, respect the otherness of others and wish the very best for others. The moderates believe in the Golden rule, treat others as you want to be treated. Moderates is not a group of people, it is the attitude of individuals, you and I can be a moderate most of the times, all the times and a few times.

You will find me in the company of people who are on the extreme right, left and the center, liberals and conservatives,  progressives and regressives,  religious and atheists, gays and straight, republicans and democrats, communists and capitalists, and enemies and friends.

Mother Teresa is one of my ten mentors, and she had said something to the effect that, "If you want to make peace with those who differ, go talk with them, talking with friends will not change the equation." I strongly believe in it and am driven by it.

Please don’t fall in to the trap of judging me because who I am with, God has blessed me with the wisdom to have strong convictions, but be open to knowledge.  I remain who I am, and you are who you are,  and I will always make an effort to know the other. The more we know about the others, the fewer the conflicts we will have. We have to take the time to understand other’s fears and aspirations to find solutions.

A few people I knew did not want to invite me to speak in their gatherings,  because I was on Sean Hannity show, they did not even hear what I say on the show,  but drew their own conclusions. The other day I posted a picture with Ayaan Hirsi Ali and got some nasty e-mails for being with her. I was surprised even Katrina Lantos of US Human Rights agency is perceived negatively.  Once I defended Pamela Geller's right to speak in London that produced a lot of hate mail. On the other hand, I have vigorously defended CAIR on Hannity and other shows, and the right did not like that either.

A month ago, I was standing with a man who wore a hateful T-shirt against LGBT community, a few people chewed me out for merely standing with him, and of course, I speak out.  A few months ago, I was with a Bicyclist who made from San Francisco to Washington defending the rights of the Unificationist church members who are being persecuted, I was called names for associating with the ministry of Rev. Sung Myung Moon, what do they know about him?   Just a week ago, some one wrote 'ugly' emails for standing up for the rights of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.  One of these day, if I live on, I will chronicle these incidents. Don't laugh, every groups has men and women who are sadly misinformed. There is one from every faith group from Atheist to Zoroastrians and every one in between, and there is from every race and ethnicity as well.  No one can cast the first stone, Jesus was right!

Some of us will always be searching (consciously and subconsciously) and working to free ourselves from malice and prejudice, indeed,  it is liberating and brings genuine peace of mind.

We held symposiums about the Genocides around the world, as many as we can, the Indians were ticked off because we talked about Sikh Genocide and the Gujarat Massacre which happened in India, but the Pakistanis were happy about it.  When we talked about the Bangladesh Genocides, the Indians were happy as it reflected badly on Pakistan, and when we talked about the harassment of Hindu minorities in Bangladesh, a few Muslims were ticked off, and when we talked about the plight of Kashmiri Pundits, there was no appreciation from a few Hindu friends.  Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had said, standing up for Justice is one of the most important values and the right thing to do,  if you cannot stop it, the least you can do is speak up, the Prophet was right! 

I have stood up with the Jewish community at three Synagogues, Jewish Post, Jewish Schools and Holocaust Museum when Pastor Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church held his hateful rallies in Dallas, and within a few months I stood up with the people of Gaza in a rally in downtown Dallas. Was I against Jews or in support of Jews?  Neither, I was there for the human rights of individuals regardless of who they were.  (Google search for articles and pictures).  Can I stop people from misunderstanding me?  Check outwww.HolocaustandGenocides.com  and www.Standingupforothers.com

Do all Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Christians and others act that way? Hell no! Only those who have not understood the value the human rights of others act like that.  They have also not outgrown out of the selfishness they are obsessed with. While we talk about the Genocides of one, they scream out loud, what about me without even taking the time to see if they were included or not. Guru Gobind Singh, the Sikh Guru encouraged his men and women to treat the wounded enemies in a war, and if you recall Dr. Sanjay Gupta had treated an Iraqi combatant in the conflict.  

We did a skit in one of the programs where the (actor) son screams 'what about me and my problems?' He continues to whine about being ignored…. Then the father (actor) walks up and slaps him and tells him, I did not teach you to be that selfish to the point of not seeing others difficulties and quit screaming about your own, quit the me-me-and-the-me attitude.  Lord Krishna had said in Bhagvad Gita, finding the truth is your own responsibility, and truth shall set you free. Krishna was right!

I played the son, and it was difficult for me to find anyone to play father or mother and slap the son on the stage. Americans just don't do that, it is our culture. I talked to Rev. Petra Weldes, my sister in spirituality, she said, she would have loved to slap me. Petra, you will get that opportunity, LOL!
   
Our communities and the world would be a better place to live if we value our rights as humans first. Let’s look at each other as fellow beings, which we are, and not look down upon what they eat, drink, wear and believe or how they appear.  

We have crystallized the definition of pluralism to mean, “Respecting the otherness of the others and accepting the uniqueness of each one of us”. Pluralism is nothing but an attitude of live and let live, and it is applicable in every aspect of life including culture, society, religion, politics, gender, food, ethnicity, race and other uniqueness’s.

You are who you are, and I am who I am. As long as we don't mess with each other’s space, sustenance and nurturance, and mind our own business, we all will do well.  If we can learn to respect the otherness of other and accept the God-given uniqueness of each one of the seven billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. 

Every religion is beautiful and is committed to teach us all to learn to live with each other with least conflicts. A majority of the followers of each religion get that right, a few don't. It is our responsibility to reach them out, the allay their fears about others. The Torah says, don't look down on strangers, for once we were strangers too, indeed Torah is right! 
Pluralism is not a set of rules, it is simply the attitude of live and let live religiously, politically, culturally and socially.  We are committed to building cohesive societies, where no human has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of a fellow being.
I am blessed to be a pluralist with zero bias towards my fellow humans, and
 urge you to read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You do your part and let others do theirs.  
http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

Please don't judge me for who I am with, as I plan to be with every one of God's creation.


Mike Ghouse
Text or Talk at (214) 325-1916

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, terrorismhuman rightsIndiaIsrael-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in. 

Interfaith picture of the month - a Monk and a Hijabi

Interfaith Pictures Monk and Hijabi | InterfaithSpeaker.com 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., --
As I was walking from the Jefferson Library of Congress towards my office on Maryland Avenue, I saw a unique activity happening on the road in front of Capitol Hill.

A Muslim Hijabi (scarf over head) girl was taking picture of a Buddhist monk; I thought that was unique, as the Monks usually refrain from taking pictures. I guess America does it to everyone; Supreme Court was behind in the picture.  I grabbed my cell phone, and took a quick shot of it. 

As I walked closer to them, the role was reversed, and now the Monk is taking the picture of the woman in scarf. 




It is common for tourists to stop the person walking by to ask him/her to take the picture.  A monk and a Hijabi girl together?

I walked up to them and told them how unique it was to see those taking pictures of each other. She was from Indonesia and he was from Burma.

Burma?  The image that comes up is the extremist violent Buddhist Monks who are raping and pillaging the local Rohingya Muslims, and the other image is the Protest they held some ten years ago, tens of thousands of them walking in peace to protest against dictatorship. These are two contrasting images and I have written about both the incidents at TheGhousediary.com

This has been my fight all my life – not to stereotype people. In every community, every neighborhood, you will find the good, bad and ugly behaviors.

Mike Ghouse
Text or Talk at (214) 325-1916

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Interfaith barriers and interfaith understanding

Interfaith barriers and interfaith understanding   | InterfaithSpeaker.com 


You may be anxious to express the same sentiments that I have expressed here, and I hope this note assures you and I for who we are. A majority of us are moderates, meaning individuals who want to get along with others, mind our own business, not judge others until we have the first hand knowledge, respect the otherness of others and wish the very best for others. The moderates believe in the Golden rule, treat others as you want to be treated. Moderates is not a group of people, it is the attitude of individuals, you and I can be a moderate most of the times, all the times and a few times.

You will find me in the company of people who are on the extreme right, left and the center, liberals and conservatives,  progressives and regressives,  religious and atheists, gays and straight, republicans and democrats, communists and capitalists, and enemies and friends.

Mother Teresa is one of my ten mentors, and she had said something to the effect that, "If you want to make peace with those who differ, go talk with them, talking with friends will not change the equation." I strongly believe in it and am driven by it.

Please don’t fall in to the trap of judging me because who I am with, God has blessed me with the wisdom to have strong convictions, but be open to knowledge.  I remain who I am, and you are who you are,  and I will always make an effort to know the other. The more we know about the others, the fewer the conflicts we will have. We have to take the time to understand other’s fears and aspirations to find solutions.

A few people I knew did not want to invite me to speak in their gatherings,  because I was on Sean Hannity show, they did not even hear what I say on the show,  but drew their own conclusions. The other day I posted a picture with Ayaan Hirsi Ali and got some nasty e-mails for being with her. I was surprised even Katrina Lantos of US Human Rights agency is perceived negatively.  Once I defended Pamela Geller's right to speak in London that produced a lot of hate mail. On the other hand, I have vigorously defended CAIR on Hannity and other shows, and the right did not like that either.

A month ago, I was standing with a man who wore a hateful T-shirt against LGBT community, a few people chewed me out for merely standing with him, and of course, I speak out.  A few months ago, I was with a Bicyclist who made from San Francisco to Washington defending the rights of the Unificationist church members who are being persecuted, I was called names for associating with the ministry of Rev. Sung Myung Moon, what do they know about him?   Just a week ago, some one wrote 'ugly' emails for standing up for the rights of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.  One of these day, if I live on, I will chronicle these incidents. Don't laugh, every groups has men and women who are sadly misinformed. There is one from every faith group from Atheist to Zoroastrians and every one in between, and there is from every race and ethnicity as well.  No one can cast the first stone, Jesus was right!

Some of us will always be searching (consciously and subconsciously) and working to free ourselves from malice and prejudice, indeed,  it is liberating and brings genuine peace of mind.

We held symposiums about the Genocides around the world, as many as we can, the Indians were ticked off because we talked about Sikh Genocide and the Gujarat Massacre which happened in India, but the Pakistanis were happy about it.  When we talked about the Bangladesh Genocides, the Indians were happy as it reflected badly on Pakistan, and when we talked about the harassment of Hindu minorities in Bangladesh, a few Muslims were ticked off, and when we talked about the plight of Kashmiri Pundits, there was no appreciation from a few Hindu friends.  Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had said, standing up for Justice is one of the most important values and the right thing to do,  if you cannot stop it, the least you can do is speak up, the Prophet was right! 

I have stood up with the Jewish community at three Synagogues, Jewish Post, Jewish Schools and Holocaust Museum when Pastor Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church held his hateful rallies in Dallas, and within a few months I stood up with the people of Gaza in a rally in downtown Dallas. Was I against Jews or in support of Jews?  Neither, I was there for the human rights of individuals regardless of who they were.  (Google search for articles and pictures).  Can I stop people from misunderstanding me?  Check outwww.HolocaustandGenocides.com  and www.Standingupforothers.com

Do all Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Christians and others act that way? Hell no! Only those who have not understood the value the human rights of others act like that.  They have also not outgrown out of the selfishness they are obsessed with. While we talk about the Genocides of one, they scream out loud, what about me without even taking the time to see if they were included or not.

We did a skit in one of the programs where the (actor) son screams 'what about me and my problems?' He continues to whine about being ignored…. Then the father (actor) walks up and slaps him and tells him, I did not teach you to be that selfish to the point of not seeing others difficulties and quit screaming about your own, quit the me-me-and-the-me attitude.  Lord Krishna had said in Bhagvad Gita, finding the truth is your own responsibility, and truth shall set you free. Krishna was right!

I played the son, and it was difficult for me to find anyone to play father or mother and slap the son on the stage. Americans just don't do that, it is our culture. I talked to Rev. Petra Weldes, my sister in spirituality, she said, she would have loved to slap me. Petra, you will get that opportunity, LOL!
   
Our communities and the world would be a better place to live if we value our rights as humans first. Let’s look at each other as fellow beings, which we are, and not look down upon what they eat, drink, wear and believe or how they appear.  

We have crystallized the definition of pluralism to mean, “Respecting the otherness of the others and accepting the uniqueness of each one of us”. Pluralism is nothing but an attitude of live and let live, and it is applicable in every aspect of life including culture, society, religion, politics, gender, food, ethnicity, race and other uniqueness’s.

You are who you are, and I am who I am. As long as we don't mess with each other’s space, sustenance and nurturence, and mind our own business, we all will do well.  If we can learn to respect the otherness of other and accept the God-given uniqueness of each one of the seven billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. 

Every religion is beautiful and is committed to teach us all to learn to live with each other with least conflicts. A majority of the followers of each religion get that right, a few don't. It is our responsibility to reach them out, the allay their fears about others. The Torah says, don't look down on strangers, for once we were strangers too, indeed Torah is right!
Pluralism is not a set of rules, it is simply the attitude of live and let live religiously, politically, culturally and socially.  We are committed to building cohesive societies, where no human has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of a fellow being.
I am blessed to be a pluralist with zero bias towards my fellow humans, and
 urge you to read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You do your part and let others do theirs.  
http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

Please don't judge me for who I am with, as I plan to be with every one of God's creation.


Mike Ghouse
Text or Talk at (214) 325-1916

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, terrorismhuman rightsIndiaIsrael-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Interfaith Marriages


It is disappointing to many a religiously oriented first-time marrying couples. Their clergy or a parent invariably insists that the other person to convert to their faith tradition, some do, and some fake it and some are not comfortable with the idea at all.


When a couple is deeply committed to marry, they go ahead and get married any way but sorely miss out on the ceremony. Over the years, I have seen too many couples miss out on the joy of that additional sense of completeness that comes with a religious ceremony. Marriage is between two individuals, and their families and friends ought to be supporters and cheerleaders to celebrate and complete their joy.

As a Pluralist, I have chosen to officiate the weddings of such couples to reflect the essence of Bride and Groom's tradition. I laud such couples who embrace genuine humanity by respecting the otherness of other, and accepting each other's uniqueness. If the couple prefers to please the religiosity of their parents, relatives and friends, the sermon would include reflections and essence of the faith of the couple.

I am blessed to have performed some uniquely beautiful combination of weddings; Jewish Bride and a Christian groom; Muslim bride and Jain groom, Hindu Bride and Muslim groom, Christians Bride and Atheist groom..... it was such a joy to see their families cheer at the end.

I had a difficult father of a Christian groom who was vehemently against the Hindu girl marrying without conversion, he did not even want to be a part of the wedding, but I felt, a good heart to heart conversation will make a dent, and it did. The man who did not talk with his son for two months and did not want to be a part of the wedding was grateful for the semblance of Christian wedding and then hung out with the kids for celebrations. Oh, there are lots of good stories to share.

By the way, officiating wedding is not my business, I do it for the joy for fulfilling the religious needs of the couples.

Mike Ghouse is a member of the American Marriage Ministries, a non-profit established in Washington State in 2009.

"We provide all people the ability to celebrate marriage and other religious functions according to their beliefs. We believe that this is an innate human right and is also protected by the 1st Amendment. Our values come from the understanding that all people, whether religious or not, have deep personal values and should be treated with respect, acceptance, and understanding."

Marriage is a celebration that brings people together, and we want to extend that ethos further by being a church comprised of a wide cross-section of people that have found common ground in the service of bringing people together.

To begin, the legal dimension to officiating a wedding simply involves completing a piece of paper, the marriage license. The marriage license is the legal document of marriage. It is filed for by the couple from their local government prior to the wedding.

The role of the minister is to conduct the wedding, have the couple present their marriage license, make sure that the information is correct, and complete the license. The couple then returns the completed license back to its office of issuance.

Personally, Mike 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, interfaith, politics and civic affairs.

Visit http://interfaithmarriages.blogspot.com/

Mike Ghouse
Text or Talk at (214) 325-1916

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in. 

Experiments in religious understanding

Experiments in religious understanding

Baptized Muslim Mike Ghouse in Jordan River

Baptized Muslim Mike Ghouse in Jordan River
I was blessed to be baptized in River Jordan last year in the same spot where Jesus was baptized. It was an enriching experience to me, particularly feeling the symbolic transformation. Jesus is my mentor, a true pluralist who had no barriers between him and humanity, as a Muslim I felt the affirmation of that thought; of being boundless. Article and pictures at http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2011/04/happy-easter.html

Interfaith Experiments

Interfaith Experiments

Interfaith Radio, wisdom of religion, all the beautiful religions

Interfaith Radio, wisdom of religion, all the beautiful religions
At the conclusion of two years of the daily Radio program called “wisdom of religions all the beautiful religions", where both Atheism and Pluralism were included, a handbook of Religion was released in 2005. Over the period of two years we read the Bible, Torah, Quraan, Bhagvad Gita and the other holy books. I will talk about the program in my speeches; it is thrilling to know that we all seek truth in our own ways. Finding the truth is our own responsibility.

TALK TOPICS

  • Ultimate Interfaith dialogue
  • Experiments in truth
  • Reversing Roles
  • God does not sign exclusive deals
  • Purpose of Religion
  • Psychology of Prayers
  • Arrogance and Humility
  • Wisdom of Religion

Pastor Robert Jeffress was challenged to find the truth

Pastor Robert Jeffress was challenged to find the truth
Pastor Robert Jeffress of Dallas (unfortunately representing the First Baptist Church of Dallas) called Quraan an evil book written by a false prophet, his congregants rewarded him with a standing ovation. However it cannot be the church doctrine, it was his individual take. Mike visited the pastor to offer the right translation of the Quraan so he can find the truth and share with his congregation. It was followed by interviews on Local Fox News and NBC channels, followed by Dallas Morning News exchanges leading to Quraan Conference to demystify the myths. Mike’s challenge to the Pastor was to “find me three verses in Quraan that are evil, and if you do, I will join your ministry.” The pastor has blown the opportunity to harvest the poor souls; he chickened out from holding the conversation on his turf in his church. Details, videos and write up at www.QuraanConference.com

Interfaith experiments, public understanding of other religions

Interfaith experiments, public understanding of other religions
Religious leaders representing different religions were asked to share about their religion in three sentences, then towards the end of the program audience was randomly given to read (other than their own religion) a 100 word summary of each one of the religions. It was an eye opener for the people to see the difference in what the media and the politicians say, and the holy books of the respective religions say. You have to read it yourselves the whole paragraph or chapter and not a sentence to get a fuller picture.

Interfaith Solidarity; standing up for the Gazans and the Israelis.

Interfaith Solidarity; standing up for the Gazans and the Israelis.
We have to stand up for the rights of all people, joined in at the Gaza Rally protesting the killing of Gazans and led the Pluralism Prayer for the wellbeing of the people of Gaza and Israel at North Haven United Methodist Church. Love and Prayers are the positive energies that prevent your heart from contamination of ill-will, malice, hate and prejudice. We have to be blind when it comes to justice and not appease or pander to any one.

Arab Imams on Interfaith

Arab Imams on Interfaith
I thank God for presenting limitless opportunities to talk about the Pluralistic values embedded in Islam and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) being an interfaith dialoguer. I have been a small part of the interfaith dialogue movement in Saudi Arabia, which began in 2003 in Dallas. In 2010 about twelve Arab Imams visited Dallas and I hosted the luncheon to talk about Interfaith in Islam. I can sum this up in one sentence, “those imams were ahead of us in pluralism in Islam, for every sentence I uttered, they produced Prophets Sayings and verses from Quraan.” God willing one major good is going to come out of it; stopping the printing and distribution of mistranslated Quraan by Muslims; Al-Hilali translation.

The Prestigious Slater Award

The Prestigious Slater Award
Mike Ghouse was honored with teh prestigious Slater Award as the Religious communicator fo the year.