TEXAS FAITH: Are Perry and Obama responsible for the religious company they keep?

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Is it  fair to link Perry to some of the more controversial ideas of his sponsors – any more than it was fair to tie Obama to Wright? What are the limits of guilt by association? What responsibility does somebody in public life have when organizing a religious event and bringing in sponsors with religious ideas others might find offensive?
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MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas

We should not tie Perry to Hagee or Wagner, nor should we have tied Obama to Wright. They stand on their own and should be accountable for what they say and do, and not who they listen to or friends with. 
If Perry were to run for the President, I expect him to meet with every individual or groups regardless of their affiliations; Klansmen, Wicca, Hindu, Muslims, Atheists, GLBT, Native Americans, Evangelicals or Mormons. He needs to meet with them and listen to them. If they ask him to visit their community center or place of worship, he should do so without being labeled. He represents every American without having to agree with their interests. He should communicate his stand clearly.
As a Pluralist, I have endured such labeling from the extreme right wingers among Muslims, Jews, Christians and Hindus. It is ironic that a few Muslims call me a Zionist and a few Jews call me an Islamist, and the Christians and Hindus don’t spare me either. I am neither and have no bias towards any. Not all right wingers resort to that rhetoric except the extremists among them. They expect your blind support, if you question them; they ambush you with, “you are either with us or against us.” We need to grow up; life has a lot more color than black and white. I am in touch with extremists to liberals with a lot of moderates in between, we have to learn about each other to understand and take a comprehensive pluralistic approach towards public policy.

Perry claims the Prayer fest was his idea; he has indeed an opportunity to prove that he is not under the exclusive influence of evangelicals. He can do so by holding inclusive prayers to demonstrate that he is fit to represent all Americans. We are one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all and are represented by every race, nationality, ethnicity, language, culture and religion. We see God as one, none and many and in every form; male, female, genderless and non-existent, being and non-being, nameless and with innumerable names.

Here is a verse from Quraan on the topic 5:8 “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.”

For all the 9 takes on the issues please visit Dallas Morning News at:  http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/07/texas-faith-are-perry-and-obam.html
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 http://www.mikeghouse.net/

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