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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Texas Faith: What words of religious faith should politicians really hear and heed?

Even though religion is equated as a pathway to God, its bottom line is creating societies under a common umbrella where every living being feels safe. If the words like God and religion are removed from the work of spiritual masters like Zarathustra, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira, Jesus, Confucius, Muhammad, Guru Nanak, the Bab and several others, what we find are principles of building and sustaining peaceful societies. - Mike Ghouse
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Texas Faith: What words of religious faith should politicians really hear and heed?
By Wayne Slater, Dallas Morning News, Published: November 12, 2013, 1:12 pm


Dick Thornburgh, former Pennsylvania governor and U.S. attorney general, gave a speech last month entitled “The Role of Faith in Public Service.” In it, he said not only that his religious faith was important to him as a lawyer, governor and cabinet member under two presidents – but also that he tried to keep “a particularly instructive passage of scripture” in mind. It was Micah 6:8, a well-known passage for many Jews and Christians: “Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.”

In his speech, Thornburgh explained why he tried to keep that particular passage in mind.

As a prosecutor, Thornburgh said the idea of justice meant making a good-faith effort to combine the toughness necessary to govern with a compassion for people in need. Of kindness, he said: “This admonition encompasses the highest claim upon those of us in public life – that of assisting others.” As for walking humbly, that sometimes means admitting when you’re wrong.


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

Over the years societies have evolved with the unstated goal of self-preservation, and invariably justice is the foundation upon which societies function. Indeed, the purpose of the Bill of Rights was to guarantee the individual rights of its citizens under the constitution.

Even though religion is equated as a pathway to God, its bottom line is creating societies under a common umbrella where every living being feels safe. If the words like God and religion are removed from the work of spiritual masters like Zarathustra, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira, Jesus, Confucius, Muhammad, Guru Nanak, the Bab and several others, what we find are principles of building and sustaining peaceful societies.

Now coming to my religion Islam, and if I were to define it in one word, it would be Justice.  Indeed, justice is the key to building cohesive societies where every human can live out his God given life as he chooses without fear of the other. However, most Muslims get that and a few don’t, and that is the case with every religion. No society is free from violations of its civil, religious and criminal laws.

For those who serve in public office, I would recommend the following verse.

Quran, 5:8 (Asad translation): “O YOU who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity; and never let hatred of any-one lead you into the sin of deviating from justice. Be just: this is closest to being God-conscious. And remain conscious of God: verily, God is aware of all that you do.”

The word hatred has multiple meanings in this case – bias to color, race, appearance, deport and other temperamental proclivities are destructive to everyone at the end. Injustice to one is injustice to all – MLK.

There are innumerable examples of Prophet Muhammad and the first four Caliphs punishing their own kith and kin against the complaints of injustice from others. They paid a price to build a society, where one can trust each other and mind their own pursuit of happiness.  Justice is what keeps the society going forward.

Islam is built around five core values; Mercy, Justice, truth, equality and humility.  Everything else is structured to achieve these combined values lumped out as Taqwa, Trust or simply piety. The most dominant characteristic of God, as repeated in Quran is Mercy.

To see the response of other Panelists, go to Dallas Morning News at - http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2013/11/texas-faith-what-words-of-religious-faith-should-politicians-really-heed.html/?nclick_check=1#more-31522

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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 has done that throughout his life as an activist. Mike has a 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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