Ambassador Sam Brownback, welcome!
Department of State, Washington, D.C., February 23, 2018. A meeting was organized to hear from the individuals and organizations committed to religious freedom. I am pleased to share a few highlights.
Last week a reception was held to honor and welcome Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas as the newly appointed Ambassador-at-large for International Religious freedom. During his speech, he said, if you have religious freedom, people will get along, but if you push someone to the corner resistance will morph into extremism. I could not resist applauding.
Today, on my way to the Department of State, the taxi driver Gilbert and I started talking, and the conversation turned to the newly appointed Ambassador. Gilbert was blunt, “Watch him out he is a religious conservative, rather a fanatic, he won’t give his time for anyone other than conservative Christians.” Apparently, he had known him since he was a Congressman. I explained to him that was not the case with Ambassador Brownback.
I told Gilbert, “Look, people tend to live in their own tiny little world, and they will always chase their own tails as long as they have not met anyone other than their own ilk. But look at Ambassador’s record; he has served just about any public office one can dream of; Congress, Senate and the Governor’s office. The more people you deal with, the broader your perspective would become, and universal your embrace would be.”
Five minutes into the opening remarks at the Department of State, Ambassador Brownback said something very powerful and timely, “I am a conservative Christian, but when it comes to religious freedom, I am for the religious freedom of all people.” Once again, I debated about clapping as it may not be kosher, but then I could not resist applauding, and I am glad, others followed and appreciated it.
Ambassador Brownback is my man! I spoke with Dan Nadel later about how important that statement was and that we applauded with all our hearts, minds and souls. I am glad President Trump made the right decision choosing Governor Brownback to be the Ambassador. We needed an individual like him to boldly make the decisions and speak up when there is a violation of religious freedom. I am glad his belief does not come in his way in being just to fellow humans who believe differently. We needed someone who respects the otherness of others and accepts the God-given uniqueness of each one of the 7.5 billion of us.
I have rededicated a chapter I teach about Civil Dialogue. It was originally dedicated to Pastor Bob Roberts and now Pastor Roberts and Ambassador Brownback. http://centerforpluralism.com/quran-and-civil-dialogue/
2 minutes video – a humorous take on Free of Speech- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vQs1IcSdYA
You can view the pictures at Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/albums/72157693017084104
Dr. Mike Ghouse is blessed to have stood up for the rights of people of every faith from Atheists to Zoroastrians including Native Americans, Pagans, immigrants, Wicca and LGBTQ communities across the globe. He has a solid record of work for each one of these communities and a book is being written chronicling this work as an encouragement to people to enjoy the joys of “standing up for others”.
Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. As we learn to respect the “otherness” of others and accept the God-given uniqueness of each one of us, Mike believes that conflicts will fade and solutions emerge. He has dedicated his life for this purpose and offers programs to bring about the positive changes—to create cohesive societies.
What do we do at the Center for Pluralism
3BOOKS COMING UP:
Standing up for others
A Blueprint for American Muslims
As a community, American Muslims have not developed any concrete plans to extricate themselves out of the chaotic situations, hostility and incessant Islamophobic rhetoric they face. Each time a terrorist acts out, they start praying and wishing that the terrorist were not a Muslim. Then condemnations follow and statements are made that the terrorist is fringe, he is not one of them or he is an extremist. Then they will start combating the conservative media defending the faith. It is time to define Islam and its role in creating cohesive societies. This book offers solutions or at least seeds discussions leading to solutions. Book will be out in April. A few of the 2,500 Videos are at http://muslimspeaker.com/videos/