Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Muslim’s Christmas, Huffington Post

As a Muslim I will be celebrating Christmas, recommitting myself to listen to Jesus and follow his path. And in my Islamic tradition, I will reflect on chapter 19 of Quraan, dedicated to Maryam, Mother Mary, and pray on his birthday. I will pray that we all honor his message of creating peace and building cohesive societies where no one has to be apprehensive of the other. Amen! 

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; he is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and several nationally syndicated radio talk shows. Over a thousand articles have been published on the topics and two of his books are poised to be released on Pluralism and Islam in America. Mike's work is reflected in several websites and blogs indexed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/.
 

Thanks to Dallas Morning News and Sean Hannity

We hope to create comprehensive leadership programs to produce public leaders who would be committed to work towards building a cohesive America and put America's interests ahead of their own. 


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; he is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and several nationally syndicated radio talk shows. Over a thousand articles have been published on the topics and two of his books are poised to be released on Pluralism and Islam in America. Mike's work is reflected in several websites and blogs indexed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bigotry against Hinduism in Russia

Incredible attack on the Holy Bhagvad Gita
http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2011/12/bigotry-against-hinduism-in-russia.html



You and I have allowed blatant bigotry to be preached on our land unquestioned and unchecked. The damned thing is contagious and spreading to Russia and other nations. Bigotry exists not because of bigots, but because we have not spoken out against it.


Six years ago in December of 2006, the Archbishop of Russia called Krishna a Satan, and five years ago, the city of Moscow made serious attempts to usurp the land belonging to Krishna Temple. Of course, a few of us wrote about it and now per the news reports, the “Bhagvad Gita, one of the holiest Hindu scriptures, is facing a legal ban and the prospect of being branded as "an extremist" literature across Russia. A court in Siberia's Tomsk city is set to deliver its final verdict Monday in a case filed by state prosecutors.”

I would have never thought this day would come, when Bhagvad Gita would be attacked, the sacred text of Hinduism, it is rather a dialogue on reflections of one's conscience. It is one of the best self help books to find answers to the eternal questions about righteousness and one's duty to the self and the world. Hinduism is not a proselyting religion and Bhagvad Gita should not threaten any one of those weak men of religion.


The Holy Qur'aan has been deliberately mistranslated by medieval European Kings to paint Islam in bad light so they can frighten their subjects and buy their loyalty, and of course a Muslim Hilali Khan matched those kings and injected words into the translations that were not in Quraan, he wanted to build up ill-will against Jews and Christians for his presumed gain to restore the Caliphate. He has mistranslated nearly 60 Verses of Quraan. Fortunately there are still 20+ translations that are good, and thank God for that, the Arabic text has remained intact, although a group of proselytizing Christians have made attempts to mis-write Arabic version of Quraan in late eighties and distribute it in Kuwait. The best available translation is by Muhammad Asad, even this needs updating, but a good guide.

The attacks on Quraan and Bhagvad Gita are not based on knowledge but based on selling hate and collecting cash from the gullible congregants who trust the fox that guards the hen, all in the name of the man who taught to tell the truth and love thy enemy.



The good news is this bigotry is controllable, it has afflicted less than a percent of the population, and all of us together have to work on keeping those cancer cells from multiplying and harming our civilization and our civility.

I urge Non-Hindus to pick up the phone and call the Russian Embassy, if you cannot stand up for others, why should anyone stand up for you? The least you can do is fax a few words to their embassy “This is not a good thing” or write your comments at www.facebook.com/speakermikeghouse or in the comment section of www.Theghousediary.com

Russian Embassy
2650 Wisconsin Ave, NW
Washington, CD 2007
Tel: 202-298-5700
Fax: 202-298-5735


Please remain polite and ask their government to take responsible action and not let a few among them dictate a national policy. We are a small world, interdependent, interconnected and one fragile unit. Let’s preserve it.


When Robert Jeffress, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, John Hagee, Herman Cain, Tom Tancredo, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and a bunch of talk show hosts spewed hate against fellow Americans, very few of us have spoken out against them in public medium, and they take that as an encouragement and spill out more. You and I are further responsible for remaining silent, when they make shameless comments against Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Wicca, GLBT, Hindus and other. This is not the America we want, nor is this world we like to see. We have to enter into a positive dialogue with a singular goal of building cohesive societies where none of us have to live in apprehension of the other.


We hope to resume the workshops on Religion, every religion to remove the myths about each religion. http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2007/04/understanding-hinduism-workshops-by.html
Mike Ghouse is committed to do his share of building a cohesive world and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His work is indexed at www.MikeGhouse.net and his current articles can be found at www.Theghousediary.com
 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hinduphobia | Islamophobia | Bible Learning | Lowe's | Christmas

This week's bulletin:

Bigotry against Hinduism in Russia




You and I have allowed blatant bigotry to be preached on our land unquestioned and unchecked. The damned thing is contagious and spreading to Russia and other nations. Bigotry exists not because of bigots, but because we have not spoken out against it.

Six years ago in December of 2006, the Archbishop of Russia called Krishna a Satan, and five years ago, the city of Moscow made serious attempts to usurp the land belonging to Krishna Temple. Of course, a few of us wrote about it and now per the news reports, the “Bhagvad Gita, one of the holiest Hindu scriptures, is facing a legal ban and the prospect of being branded as "an extremist" literature across Russia. A court in Siberia's Tomsk city is set to deliver its final verdict Monday in a case filed by state prosecutors.”

Continued:
http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2011/12/bigotry-against-hinduism-in-russia.html



My Sermon at Pathway Unitarian Universalist Church, South Lake


It’s a blessing to understand the beauty and wisdom of many a religious traditions and most certainly, I find a common ground at the Unitarian Universalist Church, a universal place of worship where all traditions are welcome. If you unchain yourselves from any pervious conditioning about a faith or a tradition, your boundlessness will offer the joys of seeing the beauty in every tradition. I thank God for blessing me with no boundaries.




Bible Workshop in Chicago

I'm in a Bible Workshop on "Original substance of divine principle" by Unificationist Church Ministry by Rev. Moon. I'm in Chicago for four days.

This learning is reaffirming my belief that religion is about bringing a balance to an individual and creating a cohesive world. It sounds so much like Islam and Hinduism in a few spots and Bahai at times.

I hope to attend the next conference by Unitarian Universalists. I'm blessed to have attended the Jewish, Hindu and Sikh workshops. The more you know the lesser you know, but the search for truth is wonderful, it's the same truth expressed differently and I thank God for helping me see the beauty and wisdom of each faith.



What should American Muslims do in case of Lowe’s?

There is hope for Muslim Americans. We have to look up what Prophet would have done in a situation like this. He was the ultimate peace maker and applied a simple formula; conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturance to situations. We know clearly that evil begins with an individual and acquires support from a few core members. The entire membership of Florida Family Association should not be held accountable for the actions of a few among them who are directly responsible to tear the cohesive fabric of America.

Texas Faith – Why music is central to Christmas or any religious story?

Music is one big part of the harmony that binds people; it is a reflection of one's moods. When we are joyous, we have to give expression to that sentiment to bring a sense of fullness to the feeling.

My Sermon at Pathway Unitarian Universalist Church, South Lake

 

It’s a blessing to understand the beauty and wisdom of many a religious traditions and most certainly, I find a common ground at the Unitarian Universalist Church, a universal place of worship where all traditions are welcome. If you unchain yourselves from any pervious conditioning about a faith or a tradition, your boundlessness will offer the joys of seeing the beauty in every tradition. I thank God for blessing me with no boundaries.

My sermon was about three key points.

Finding the truth is your own responsibility, as truth relives one from anguish, ill-will and pain. No matter who tells you what about others, you are the one to live through the anguish and not them. It behooves for you and I to find the truth for our own peace of mind.

Personal responsibility in creating a cohesive society, I cannot be safe when what surrounds me is not, I cannot be at peace when there is no peace around me, if I threaten others, I am the most frightened one in my vulnerable moments.

Patience is a virtue. Nothing happens instantaneously, the seed has a plan, a program and process till it yields a flower, and it took me sixty years to be at this point in life. Living a regret free life is the key to successful living.

I share the personal story of tying the loose ends of life and finding liberation. It is living a successful life free from anxieties, apprehension and in union with the self and the loved ones.

Mike Ghouse
Committed to build a cohesive America
www.MikeGhouse.net

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Puralist's 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

Thanksgiving Message, why should we celebrate?

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.


1. 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.


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

President Obama, you must vote for Palestine now

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.

# # #

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

~ ~ ~ ~
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.

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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