B U L L E T I N

Happy New Year!

1. New Year Message - A purposeful life – Huffington post
2. A Note about Sean Hannity, Stuart Varney and Fox News –request
3. Note about Bridgette Gabriel’s comment on Fox News – upon request
4. American Muslims are proud of taking the right step - Link
5. Moderate Muslims Speak out? Link

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Pope Francis, the pluralist

Pope Francis is my hero and an inspiration.  He is one of the true pluralists, respecting God and respecting every one God has created. Ever since he became the Pope in March, I have read up on him and now read almost everything about him.He gives me hopes that he can influence the world to be a better place to live for every human. He has already performed the acts of Jesus by embracing humanity regardless of their beliefs and practices. 

The age old conflicts between Judaism and Christianity, and Christianity and Islam, and denigration of Paganism and Hinduism have been down cast on the peace and tranquility of the world. 
 

After Gandhi, MLK and Mandela, Pope Francis is one person that does not have barriers between him and humanity. He is almost following the teachings of Jesus and Prophet Muhammad in spirit. Let's pray that he becomes an instrument of mercy to mankind. 

I have written 15 articles about him and hope to meet up with him. 


http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2013/12/pope-francis-articles.html

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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.
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Festivals of the World: Essence of Christmas

Should Christmas be an exclusive Christian event? This Muslims' answer is no. We cannot limit Jesus to be exclusively owned by any group of people, nor can anyone monopolize his message. Jesus and his message belong to the whole of humanity. For Christians, he is the son of God, and for all others, he is a great man who brought the message of hope and peace to the world. Whether we believe in God or not, 

Continued http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/festivals-of-the-world-es_1_b_4492571.html#es_share_ended

 




Thank you
Mike Ghouse
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links. 
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Texas Faith: Does a white Christmas mean Santa and Jesus have to be white?

Some of the white Christians will resist the idea of Jesus to be anything but what they have come to believe, as if Jesus will cease to exist if he were black.  The black Christians may feel the image of white Jesus and Santa was imposed on them, and it is human to resist anything forced on you against your will. I am certain they had their own un-articulated image of Jesus and Santa for as long as they have been Christians. Mike Ghouse

TEXAS FAITH: Does a white Christmas mean Santa and Jesus have to be white?
By Wayne Slater - wslater@dallasnews.com
1:54 pm on December 17, 2013 | Permalink


A cable television anchor named Megyn Kelly told viewers last week that Jesus and Santa Claus are both white men. At issue was a Slate article written by a black writer titled “Santa Claus Should Not Be A White Man Anymore.” The context of the piece was the tendency of cultures to view important figures in the most familiar and comfortable light. On her Fox News program, Kelly took issue with the writer.


“Just because it 
makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change. Jesus was a white man, too. It’s like we have, he’s a historical figure that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa, I just want kids to know that. How do you revise it in the middle of the legacy in the story and change Santa from white to black?”

Both sides pounced. Liberal web sites and late-night comics lampooned her. Conservative web sites defended her. Saturday Night Live did a skit featuring a black Santa. The debate went viral on the Internet. Kelly subsequently suggested she was joking and cast herself as a victim of identity politics. Clearly, her facts were flawed. Jesus was a 1st Century Jew who was likely dark skinned and Santa Claus is a mythological figure whose historical antecedent was from Turkey.

People believe what they are prepared to believe. What’s interesting was the passionate reaction to the remarks. Why the fierce dustup? Why did the idea that a white Christmas means Santa’s white cause so much consternation? What did this episode say about the way we see the world and our willingness — or reluctance – to see things in different ways?

Our Faith Panel weighs in thoughtfully (and with a few fireworks) on history, ethnic identity, political correctness and the virtues of faith and the holidays:

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism and speaker on interfaith matters, Dallas

If Jesus is our lord, and Santa Claus represents the joys of Christmas, I have to relate with them to call them “our Lord” and “our Santa”. Just as God claims to have created humans in his own image so he can relate with them, I would say, we have created God in our own image, a whopping 7 billion perceptions of God.

Even though God is stamped onto our memory with certain images, features and characteristics, some of us have developed our own embellishments to it to personalize him, her or it. While a majority of Christians, Hindus and others have a built-in image of God, the Buddhist, Jains, Zoroastrians and Native traditions do not have a set image, yet they have created their own image of God. The Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Baha’i and others do not take God as a being or an entity, and certainly have a built-in resistance to collapsing God into an image or a shape. But deep down, they imagine and describe God as a being, however, they knock it out instantaneously. It’s human to relate God as their own.

I am blessed to have universalized God. Even those who knew me, particularly Muslims in Dallas, thought I was a Hindu, Buddhist or a Baha’i, and the Hindu community thought I was a Christian and a Buddhist until ten years ago. Three years ago, I was in a Muslim conference and an Arab Muslim came over and started praising my articles on Islam, and said he has translated and published them in Arabic. He then asked me how do I know so much about Islam, and when I said, I am a Muslim, he was taken back and said he thought I was Jewish all these years! One of my Hindu friends of 20 years, until recently, insisted that I cannot be anything but a Hindu or at least a Christian.

If someone likes you, they want to see you as their own, in their own image. Of course the white Christians saw Jesus in their own image, and the African Americans just took that image when they became Christians. But I am certain; they had their own un-articulated different image of Jesus and Santa for as long as they have been Christians.

Some of the white Christians will resist the idea of Jesus to be anything but what they have come to believe, as if Jesus will cease to exist if he were black.  The black Christians may feel the image of white Jesus and Santa was imposed on them, and it is human to resist anything forced on you against your will.

The need of the day is to upgrade Jesus, above all human imaginations and limitations and accept him in essence rather than in physical form. It is his love and sacrifice to humanity that needs to be appreciated. I hope and pray that at least from this Christmas season forward, we accept and embrace Jesus without reserve just as he set the example of embracing the humanity without reserve. Let him be meaningful to us in every which way he can be imagined.

To see the take from 12 different panelists, go to Dallas Morning News at:http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2013/12/texas-faith-does-a-white-christmas-mean-santa-and-jesus-are-white.html/

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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest onSean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links. 
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Monday, December 9, 2013

Gee Dad, God can be worshipped in so many ways! Lessons in Pluralism

GEE DAD, GOD CAN BE WORSHIPED IN SO MANY WAYS. LESSONS IN PLURALISM
I am pleased to share the wisdom of a seven year old girl, my daughter. Who wants to raise their child as a bigot? Some of us recklessly do.
When we hear hate spout out of the mouths of men and women in politics or religion against Jews, Muslims, Christians, Atheists, Hindus, Blacks, Mormons, Gays and Lesbians, Hispanics or Immigrants, we just shake our heads with disbelief, that is of course, if we are not bigots ourselves.

I must give credit to face book, a great equalizer for humanity. Even though the hate mongers and bigots don't survive on the face book, they still continue to rant with a few or no friends liking their hate material. They still don't get the message - hate is not natural. .

When she was visiting the Baptist Church, as a father, I just advised her, if the Pastor by any chance denigrates other faiths, he is not being truthful and you don't need to listen to him. She was around 9 then, and argued with me, a part of our routine to argue as equals, "Dad, if he does not say bad things about other religions, why would people to go his Church when they can go somewhere else? I know it, don't worry Dad, I won't hate anyone".

I took my kids to every place of worship, so they were raised with familiarity of fellow humans with no bigotry towards others. At each place of worship, I would summarize to her what they were saying…over the years, I learned that, all she wanted to hear, a six year old, was a simplified version of the talk. I had gotten it down well - a standard reply - "Sweetie, they are telling that we must thank God, that God gives us life, ability to breath and live…" Mind you, I was an atheist then, but not anti-religious.

One day, we were in DFW Hindu Temple joining the group singing Bhajans (Chanting) in the sanctuary. In the middle of a Bhajan, she leans over me, and asks the standard question, "Dad, what are they singing"… out came my standard reply. To that, oblivious to the crowd, she gets up, and throws her hands up in the air, and cheerfully announces "Gee Dad, God can be worshiped in so many ways" to the amazement of the devotees!

That, my friends is pluralism. "Respecting the otherness of others." Thank God she ain't a bigot today. She is a rationalist and would question any one's ill-will or hate towards the other. If nothing else in my life, I have feel good about raising my kids with no bigotry. Like me, she would defend any faith, we won't let any one put down a faith, any faith - individuals yes, but not their faith.

I am writing a fuller article with Religion News with a few more anecdotes with my daughter. Meanwhile, enjoy this.
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Power of Faith - Hindu woman and Muslim man praying together

This is a good story of pluralism, i.e., respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one of us.  This a common scene in India, sadly a few Hindus and Muslims are corrupted and have become intolerant towards each other. Thank God, they are still a few and we have to work in preventing that poison from spreading. Mike Ghouse

URL -http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-power-of-faith-hindu-woman-and.html


Beauty as seen in a sufi shrine.

[Text and picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

One humid Saturday afternoon I was at the dargah of sufi saint Sarmad Shahid. It is in Old Delhi, just outside Jama Masjid’s gate no. 3.

The red-walled shrine was empty, save a few pilgrims. There was a man, with a beard and a skull cap, praying in front of Sarmad's tomb. Just then a young woman appeared in a sari and stood by his side. With the sindoor spread length-wise on the parting of her hair, and a black-beaded mangalsutra wound round her neck, it was clear that she was a Hindu.

The woman had a few agarbattis in her hands. The sari’s pallu was drawn modestly over her head. Her eyes were closed, her lips were moving, and so were the agarbattis in a never-ending circle, just the way Hindus do in their temples.

I do not know what the lady was murmuring to her saint. I’m not even certain if she was familiar with the ethos of Islam, but the sight was beautiful. Here was a Hindu woman, standing beside a Muslim man; both making their own personal prayers. Both had their eyes closed. Neither minded the other's presence. Neither felt 'impure'.

We Delhiwallas are just amazing people.

These two were from different religions, different backgrounds, but for a short time, they came together in a place of spirituality and, rather unintentionally, stirred up a joint communion.

It does not matter if the shrine belonged to a sufi saint, or a Hindu god, or a Sikhu guru. It does not matter if they were not in the pursuit of spirituality, but merely petitioning for personal favors. What matters is that together they showed all that is beautiful in our city, and in our religions.

While there is no argument that all faiths have caused conflicts, cruelties and communal riots, the same religions have, at times, brought out the best from their followers. That is why that Saturday afternoon I thought of Samuel P. Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations and laughed.