Wednesday, August 3, 2011

TEXAS FAITH: When is it okay to apply moral absolutes to public policy?

Dallas Morning news weekly question: When is it okay to bring a faith-based belief grounded in moral absolutes to public policy debate?

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas

The faith-based belief grounded in moral absolutes has always been a part of the public policy debate though not postured as such. After all we are conditioned with certain beliefs and are driven by it. Most of the issues that were debated have had strong religious grounding and opposed or supported the Women's rights, Roe v Wade, the civil rights, the Catholic president, Civil Unions, GLBT marriages, immigration and other.

Despite the emerging moral absolutes, I am confident that the moderation (in terms of giving space to the other) will prevail in the long haul.

The ones who speak up in general and Teavangelicals in particular are driven by strong absolutes, while the majority of any group of people tends to be moderate and gives space to another point of view.

However, the nations, religions, politics and the communities are not driven by the majorities; the initiatives are taken by the extreme right and the left and the outcome is determined by their wrangling and is supported or rejected by the majority at the polls when things get out of handle.

Even the budget that just passed did not have the full support of all the Tea party candidates, the votes were divided and that is how things should work, we cannot stereotype the Tea Party, liberals or the conservatives, each one of us is a composition of different values. Indeed, we have come a long way to accept and respect the otherness of other without resorting to extreme solutions. That is the benchmark of civil societies.

Thanks to the wisdom of the founding fathers and the strength of our constitution for giving durable governance in the history of mankind. The extremes will fizzle out in the long haul, and moderation will prevail. I salute the checks and balances built into our system and as long as the Americans give the house and senate to different parties, America will be safe and the governance of the people will endure and the idea of live and let live remains intact.

Dallas Morning news - 8 panelists respond:

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, writer and a frequent guest on Hannity show and nationally syndicated Radio shows and Dallas TV, Radio and Print Media. He presides America Together Foundation and is committed to building a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Over 1000 articles have been published on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, India and cohesive societies. Two of his books are poised to be released this fall on Pluralism and Islam. He is available to speak at your place of worship, work, school, college, seminars or conferences. His work is encapsulated in 27 blogs, four websites and several forums indexed at

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.