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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Texas Faith: Beyond King, who has has had major impact.

Beyond King, which religious leader has had a major impact on American Politics and culture. Ten Texas Faith Panelists share their thoughts, here is Mike’s perspective, to see them all including this, please go to Dallas Morning News:
http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2012/01/texas-faith-beyond-king-which.html


Mike Ghouse, President, Foundation for Pluralism

I am pleased to share about a few Pluralist individuals who are making a difference in the religious landscape of Dallas Fort Worth.

Pluralism is an attitude of learning to respect the otherness of others, and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us. As we do that, conflicts fade and solutions emerge to create a cohesive America where no one has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other. In the context of religion, we define Religious pluralism as, learning to respect every which way one honors or worships the divine and accepts each path to be a valid one without denigrating any.

Pastor Bob Roberts of Northwood Baptist Church from Keller, Texas was clear when he opened up his church to a thousand Muslims for celebrating Ramadan. He said, you have your beliefs and your faith and I have mine, no matter how you view Jesus.

I take him as a son of God and my redeemer and the Muslims understood that and still talk about his eloquence. About a year and a half ago, when Pastor Jeffress said his famous line, Quraan is an evil book written by a false prophet; Bob Roberts wrote an op-ed in Dallas Morning News countering the poor understanding of the other Pastor, there were huge discussions on it honoring Bob Roberts for leading the way in accepting the otherness of other.

Pastor George Mason of Wilshire Baptist Church has helped me understand and propagate the grace aspect of God, it is not just your actions and deeds that are enough, but God’s ultimate grace is needed for salvation. This is one of the differences in understanding between Muslims and Christians and his teachings have built some bridges of understanding.

The Pastor of the Unification Church, Rev. Sun Myung Moon who is making a genuine difference in the world of Pluralism by practicing respect for other faiths in his congregations and organizations throughout the world.

I am highlighting Pastors Roberts and Mason, because they are Baptists of big Churches. There is a bias against Baptists out there in the market that I hope to remove. Each religion has its own share of bigots and we need to see that clearly.

Indeed, our first Unity Day event’s Christian prayers were led by Late Rev. Roy Harrell another Baptist Minister. There are many more great pastors I admire for their work; Rev. Bill Matthews, Rev. Petra Weldes, Rev. Diane Baker, Rev. Eric Folkerth, Rev. Dennis Hamilton and several others who are making a difference in our area.

The open mindedness of Swami Nityananda Prabhu of Hare Krishna Hindu Temple; a panelist on this forum is admirable. Where ever I run, people love to talk about his teachings from Bhagvad Gita on my Radio Show, called Wisdom of Religion. He has indeed opened up minds of non-Hindus to see the wisdom of Hinduism.

Dr. Imam Zia Shaikh of Irving Islamic Center has broken many records of stereotyping Muslims; one of the situations was when he led the Pledge of Allegiance in one of the annual Unity day programs. I was rather surprised to hear from a few calling me up to tell that, they did not expect a Muslim Imam to lead the pledge of Allegiance and they said we will not stereotype Muslims any more.

He is active in interfaith and perhaps one devoted and a committed Muslim who has attended every interfaith program in the last five years and he has demonstrated in respecting the other otherness of other.

Same goes with Dr. Imam Yusuf Zia Kavakci of Richardson Mosque, who is considered one of the 100 recognized Muslims Scholars in the world. The Muslims in Dallas Fort worth hear and see the open mindedness of these two scholars towards other faiths. Both of them are nurturing the values of pluralism in their congregations; that is thousands of Muslims in our area who are influenced by their teachings.

Each one of them is all about affection for life, non-discriminatory caring. They do not favor one person over the other for the heck of it, instead, they look at the good deeds, which Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] described as the good you can do to other beings, the goodness you bring to God's creation.

Mike's note: There are many more individuals who have done tremendous work in the Dallas Forth Worth Metroplex, God willing, I hope to write about them as well.


Mike Ghouse is committed to building a cohesive America, where no American has to be apprehensive, uncomfortable or fear the other. He is a speaker, thinker and a writer offering pluralistic solutions on issues of the day and a frequent guest on Sean Hannity Show on Fox and a regular guest on National syndicated radio show and Dallas Media. With over 1000 published articles he has two books poised to be released. Most of his work is indexed at www.MikeGhouse.net

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