Dallas Morning News – http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/04/texas-faith-does-special-legal.html
Religious Organizations must be held to the same standards as the secular organizations in terms of employment and accountability to the public. They must be subjected to audit of the policies as well, then the questions of exceptions will dwindle and a sense of clarity will emerge. We have to rise above our own petty agendas for the overall good of America, in our case and formulate policies that treat every one justly.
The employment situation with religious organizations does bring up issues in selection of the candidates; almost all the religious and secular organizations circumvent it by narrowing the criteria. In the coming years that may be tested out if the unemployment rates become unmanageable.
We have to consider the qualifications and nature of Job but that will begin the process of splitting hair and creates more conflicts and butting into the internal affairs of a religious organization. What happens to equal opportunity employment laws, where does it stop?
Religion is like the nuclear power which can be beneficent in the hands of the righteous ones and destructive in the other.
A few religious organizations have refused to volunteer serving food to the homeless because the facility was managed by a Gay pastor. How far can it go? Refuse to serve people who do not believe like you do? Is it our responsibility to prevent abuse of the scriptures to fit group’s agenda? Should the majority ideas be forced on those who differ? We should not forget the genesis of religions be it Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism or any ism, it always started as minority opinion and practices and because of their universal appeal it became a majority on a voluntary basis in their respective regions, should that makes us arrogant ?
There are some good examples as well, there is an Islamic school in Mumbai India, where some of the teachers are Hindus and they wear the full Hijab while on the school premises. There is another Madrassa in Bengal where Hindu Children are enrolling to learn about Islam, what if they remain Hindus and want to preach Islam? John Esposito is one of the most respected scholars on Islam in America, he is a devout Catholic, and he must have an equal opportunity to run Islamic Organizations, should he not?
Building cohesive societies to function smoothly and bring productivity to every human should be our civic responsibility. Wasn’t that the call of Jesus, Moses, Muhammad, Krishna, Bahaullah, Nanak and others to create the kingdom of heaven? Didn’t they want societies where no one had to live with apprehension of others?
The world has indeed become a global community. Everyone is a neighbor to everyone else; we aspire to nurture the concept of good neighborliness in the world. The advisory board for World Muslim Congress will be represented by individuals from every faith. It is time for us to be equal citizens of one world; our home. This is a major paradigm shift in how the religious organizations would be conducting their business in the coming years.
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Mike Ghouse, President of America Together foundation is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day, and is available to speak at your place of worship, work or in seminars and conferences. He is a speaker thinker and a writer on the topics of pluralism, cohesive societies, Islam, interfaith, India and Peace.
The Foundation for Pluralism champions the idea of co-existence by respecting and accepting the otherness of other, and World Muslim Congress is committed to nurturing the pluralistic ideals embedded in Islam. His work is reflected in 4 website’s and 27 Blogs at http://www.mikeghouse.net/