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Thursday, January 4, 2007
Governor Perry's insensitivity
The American Muslim Congress joins the Jewish community and the Hindu American Foundation in their efforts to keep Religion and State as two distinct entities. This is in response to the letter published on November 10 and a press release by HAF.
Indeed, Governor Perry's comment is in-sensitive. He could have said, "as a Christian, if I do not follow the path of Jesus Christ, I will go to hell" and could have added, “this is applicable to me alone if I deviated from my personal belief” As a public officer, addressing in a public forum, his statement was thoughtless.
I urge Governor Perry to consider repentance and release, so he can govern us with a pure heart. Jesus welcomed all and Jesus asked all of us to follow him, not just Christians but every one.
May our Governor follow the universal embrace of Jesus, and that would be following the teachings of Jesus. God bless us.
I am pleased to see this letter below to Dallas Morning News from the Jewish American Community, and want to re-acknowledge Jewish community's contributions ( http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/TG2005_REPORT.asp ) to making America a better and pluralistic society, where every one's sentiments are honored.
The World Muslim Congress joins you in your efforts to keep America for every American.
A few days ago, I wrote a note to our members and the groups:
1) Indeed, Governor Perry's comment is in-sensitive. He could have said, "as a Christian, if I do not follow the path of Jesus Christ, I will go to hell in a non-stop bullet train " and added, that this is not applicable to people who follow a different faith. As a public officer, addressing the public, his statement was insensitive.
2) On the issue of Ten Commandments, I have written extensively against the display of Ten Commandments in the public places. No matter how dear a faith is to the follower, his/her faith should not be displayed on public property giving the impression that this is the official faith of that space.
3) I am posting this to several groups and urge ya'll to write to Governor Perry, asking him to be sensitive, and apologize as a form of repentance and release, so he can govern us with a clean purified mind. Jesus welcomed all and Jesus asked all of us to follow him, not just Christians but every one. Following him is following the essence of his teachings; welcoming Lepers ( i.e., people regardless of the disposition) , giving space and room to the socially condemned and forgiving people.
May our Governor's follow the big universal embrace of Jesus, that would be following the teachings of Jesus.
If not, I will ask him....
Any one willing to join? - Mike@foundationforpluralism.com
Speak up, Silent no more!
The Rabbinic Association of Greater Dallas and the Jewish Community Relations Council submitted a "Letter to the Editor" at The Dallas Morning News regarding recent comments made by Governor Rick Perry. This letter was published in The Dallas Morning News on Monday, November 13, 2006. A copy of the original letter sent can be viewed below.
November 10, 2006
To the Editor:
As reported in the Dallas Morning News, (November 6, p. A1), Governor Rick Perry stated after church services on Sunday, November 5 that “he believes … that those who don’t accept Jesus as their savior will go to hell.”
Governor Perry’s remarks leave us stunned and dismayed. The fact that the Governor practices his Christian religion and values his Christian beliefs is not what concerns us - in fact, we applaud him for doing so. However, when the Governor of the state publicly articulates his conviction that non-Christians are condemned to hell, we are gravely concerned.
The Governor is the political leader of all of the people in the state of Texas. We strongly believe that no form of government, and certainly no leader who holds political office, should endorse or appear to endorse any religious denomination. How one practices his or her religion is a personal matter and should be kept in the personal domain. The state of Texas is comprised of a mosaic of individuals belonging to different faiths, cultures and ethnic groups. What does Governor Perry’s statement say to those of the Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, or Bahai faiths, (just to name a few) who make Texas their home?
We call upon Governor Perry, as he enters his new term as Governor of the State of Texas, to be mindful and inclusive of the large constituency that he governs and to respect the diversity of all the citizens of this state.
Rabbinic Association of Greater Dallas
Rabbi David Stern, President
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Dallas
Marlene Gorin, Director
Here is another letter from the Hindu American Foundation.
HAF Condemns Texas Governor's Religious Bigotry
WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 9, 2006) – The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) strongly condemned the egregious and bigoted remarks by Texas Governor Rick Perry wherein he said that non-Christians are doomed and condemned to go to hell.
According to The Dallas Morning News (November 6, 2006), Gov. Rick Perry, after attending a sermon with nearly 60 Republican candidates on Sunday, November 5, 2006 said that he concurred with the Rev. John Hagee's comment during the sermon, in which Rev. Hagee said, "If you live your life and don't confess your sins to God almighty through the authority of Christ and his blood, I'm going to say this very plainly, you're going straight to hell with a nonstop ticket." The Governor told reporters that, "In my faith, that's what it says, and I'm a believer of that."
He is later said to have remarked, "Before we get into Buddha and all the others, I get a little confused there. But the fact is that we live in a pluralistic world but our faith is real personal. And my Christian faith teaches that the way is through Jesus Christ."
"Such remarks are not only divisive but silly," said Ramesh Rao, HAF Executive Council Member. "In times when interracial and interfaith dialogue are imperative, it's shocking that a high-level elected government official should abuse the state's podium by using it as a pulpit to spread contempt for non-Christians."
The Governor's remarks are not the first to be considered an affront to religious minorities under his governance. In 2005, the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) spearheaded the filing of an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief with the United States Supreme Court in Van Orden v. Gov. Perry, a case involving the State of Texas defending its placement and management of a permanent monument of the Ten Commandments on government property.
HAF also expressed deep concern at the Governor's efforts in organizing the Texas Restoration Project, in which ministers are encouraged to get their congregants politically involved in their communities. "It is unfortunate that Governor Perry has not learned from the mistake of his predecessor governor, George W. Bush, who was roundly criticized for his 1993 statement that 'those who do not accept Jesus as their personal savior cannot get to heaven'," said Aseem Shukla, member of the HAF Board of Directors. "We hope now that the mid-term elections are over, and the results are in, better sense will prevail among religious fundamentalists in the United States. We are a multi-faith, diverse nation, and we believe that people will not countenance such bigotry, especially from those who hold high office."
The Hindu American Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting the Hindu and American ideals of understanding, tolerance and pluralism. Contact HAF at 1-877-281-2838 or on the web at www.hinduamericanfoundation.org .
Foundation For Pluralism
If we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each
one of the 7 billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
THE SEVEN COMANDMENTS OF PLURALISM
1) We shall not ridicule anyone that God has created.
It amounts to ridiculing the creator God himself, herself or itself.
2) We shall not attempt to undermine the divinity of other faiths.
It amounts to arrogance, a quality to get rid of, and become a righteous person.
3) We shall not commit another sin in attempting to enforce that one religion is better
than another by claiming that we have the best solutions, or hinting any superiority.
4) We shall not blame any religion or a group for the acts of the individuals
just because they belong to that faith or group.
5) Let’s learn to differentiate the wrong doers from the religion,
while appreciating the goodness of each religion.
6) We shall strive to rid ourselves of greed, anger, hate, haughtiness,
ill-will, pettiness, malice, and ignorance to achieve spirituality.
Our salvation, our peace of mind, our nirvana, our Moksha, our mukti, our freedom
and our joining the kingdom of God is directly dependent on living a prejudice free life
and a life as described in the 6th commandment. Every religion frees us from the negative
engagements. When we truly believe in the ultimate oneness of God and the ultimate
oneness of mankind, we have accepted God’s greatness and parity of human beings.
The world is a better place today because of the spirituality, without which there would be chaos.
All the religions are on the same side; that of goodness for mankind.
If you wish to join the discussion group:
Please send an email to Foundationforpluralismemail@example.com