Story of the Center for Pluralism

Dr. Mike Ghouse   May 9, 2022   Comments Off on Story of the Center for Pluralism

The word “Pluralism” came into currency in the mid-90s, even though the term was always there, very few people understood its effective meaning. We have explained its simple meaning, as “Respecting the otherness of the others” in Religion, Politics, Society, and the Workplace, in fact, in every sphere of human existence.

In 1996, Mike Ghouse was denied membership at the Thanksgiving Square in Dallas, Texas, as he did not fit in a religious pigeonhole requirement at that time, he was an Atheist but a Pluralist. Disappointed, he established the Foundation for Pluralism to welcome every American into the fold except the Cannibals, who would eat him up before he could explain pluralism to them.  

The scope of the foundation at the start was primarily about Religious Pluralism, and the purpose was an education to open people’s hearts and minds toward each other. Thanks to our fellow Americans, we have made significant achievements; we invited Americans from Atheists to Zoroastrians and everyone in between to our programs, and they walked out of the events less prejudiced towards fellow attendees.   

In our radio show[ii], we broadcasted 780 hours of talk shows explaining the wisdom of each faith tradition, for instance, if Jesus said follow me, Krishna said surrender to me, and Allah calls on his creation to submit to him – what does that mean to a person who has no idea about God or Religion? We chose not to give the loop answer – God said so. We also presented live workshops sharing the essence of each faith. In our weekly Radio Show called Festivals of the world, we explained the essence of each festival occurring that week on Saturday mornings.

We believe that when individuals learn about others, they will be less biased and more open to the people of other faiths. Knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance of the otherness of the others.

Religious Pluralism is respecting others’ beliefs to be as valid as ours. It is not easy to accept that given the religious arrogance inculcated in us, we reject the genuineness of other faiths as if it amounts to a betrayal of the faith we follow.

We developed the definition of Pluralism from a few sources including but not limited to the teachings from Jainism called, Anekantavada – “No-one-perspective-ism”, resisting philosophical dogmatism and recognizing the good qualities of many different points of view. The Quran teaches how to conduct civil dialogue respectfully, and never to undermine the value of other religions, it says in verse 109:6, “You have your religion (with whatever it will bring you), and I have my religion (with whatever it will bring me).” Indeed, almost all religions have similar teachings. How does this sound, “My mother is dear to me as yours is to you?” No arguments about our mothers will go anywhere but the ditch.

On November 17, 2011, we received our approval from IRS[3] as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization under the name America Together Foundation doing business as the Center for Pluralism.

In 2016, we attended the C-Pac meeting, which pushed us to add Political Pluralism to our agenda, and separated Religious Pluralism into Religious and Societal Pluralism. The violent incidences in 2017, made us add Pluralism in the Workplace to create a cohesive work environment for the benefit of the individuals at the workplace and at home. The additional work we took up was about human rights and religious freedom worldwide. We have stood up for every community, from Atheists to Zoroastrians and everyone in between[4]. Now we really need a few committed individuals to join us and take this further.

All we want to do is build a cohesive America, where every American feels secure about their faith, race, ethnicity, culture, political and sexual orientation, or any other uniqueness. Indeed, all the great spiritual masters committed their lives to building cohesive societies

Our annual flagship events are Thanksgiving Celebrations[5] (Since 1996) – a dinner event, and Unity Day USA[6] (2005) – Americans coming together to rededicate their pledge for one nation. The Holocaust and genocides[7] event (2006) reflected on the atrocities we have perpetrated on fellow humans, and the Festival of Faiths[8]-celebrates all religions. We have invited Americans of all hues to these events, and the impact is they walk out with an open mind toward fellow Americans. Our accomplishments are published on the website www.CenterforPluralism.com

We follow Mother Teresa’s wisdom[9], if you want to make peace with your enemies, she said, go talk with them, and we do. We reach out to the people on the extreme right and left in faith and politics. 

Our central role in all our events is conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturance, and opening people’s hearts and minds toward fellow humans.

In addition, we have several zoom meetings and workshops planned.  

IN A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE CENTER FOR PLURALISM

  1. Non-Profit: We are a 501 (c) (3) Non-Profit Organization (NGO) approved by IRS effective Nov 17, 2011
  2. Our Impact: Since 1996, we have witnessed people opening their hearts and minds toward others and a gradual decline in bias towards each other.  
  3. Our Definition of Pluralism: “Respecting the otherness of the other and accepting the uniqueness of each other.”
  4. Our Mission — Our mission is to build cohesive societies.
  5. What is a Cohesive Society? A community or a nation where every member of the society feels secure about his/her ethnicity, faith, culture, and political and sexual orientation.
  6. Our Vision —  To see every human feel secure about his/her faith, ethnicity, race, political and sexual orientation, or any other uniqueness. Secure feelings bring freedom and prosperity to nations. 
  7. Scope of our work  – Standing up for the human rights and religious freedom of people across the world.  Practice, teach, write, speak and do workshops on Pluralism in religion, politics, society, and the workplace. 
  8. Our Goal — Is to open people’s hearts, minds, and souls toward each other, and live in harmony.
  9. Our Strategy — It is to bring individuals and communities together who are different and also polar opposites. The more we learn about each other firsthand, the fewer the conflicts. 
  10. Our Flagship Annual Events (click the tab on the site for all our events- thanksgiving Celebrations (Estd.1993), Unity Day USA (Estd. 2005), Holocaust & Genocides (Estd. 2006), Festivals of Faiths (Estd. 2017), Workshops on Religions (Estd.2003) and now Bridal Show/Interfaith Marriages. 
  11. Other Events: July 4th, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and other festivities
  12. Occasional Events: Workshops on Essence of Religions, Busting Myths about religions, Building a Cohesive America, Creating a cohesive productive workplace. 
  13. Human Rights — We have stood up for every category of humans from Atheists to Zoroastrians and everyone in between including LGBTQ and undocumented Aliens www.StandingUpforOthers.com
  14. Religious Freedom — We have stood up for the religious freedom of almost all humans and are a signatory to over 100 letters to the President and the US Department of State
  15. Our Accomplishments —  What have we accomplished?
  16. Shaping the future of America —  Link
  17. Our Mantras –
    1. If we can learn to respect the otherness of the other, and accept the God-given (or given) uniqueness of each other, then conflicts fade, and solutions emerge. We have the systems and programs in place to accomplish our mission and we bring good things to fellow Americans. 
    1. We are about Conflict Mitigation and goodwill nurturance (R).
    1. We do condemn what is wrong and appreciate what is good – However, we follow Mother Teresa’s wisdom, if you want to make peace with your enemies, she said, go talk with them, and we do. We reach out to the people on the extreme right and left in faith and politics. 
    1. Our work focuses on opening people’s hearts and minds toward fellow humans. 

We are looking to add a few Board Members to support the programs and to hire a director to run the operations. 

We also welcome interns to learn and develop our work.

If we can learn to respect the otherness of the other, and accept the God-given (or given) uniqueness of each other, then conflicts fade, and solutions emerge. We have the systems and programs in place to accomplish our mission and we bring good things to fellow Americans. 

Thank you.

Mike Ghouse,
President, Center for Pluralism 
Wedding Officiant – Interfaith Marriages 
Muslim Wedding Officiant – www.MuslimWeddingOfficiant.org 
Editor – Upcoming opinion Magazine – Pluralism Gazette
Cell (214) 325-196
Office (202) 290-3560
Washington, DC
Future – Shaping America’s Future
Profile – The Ghouse Diary


[1] Anekantavada – https://pluralism.org/anekantavada-the-relativity-of-views
[2] Quran 109:6 – https://worldmuslimcongress.org/islamic-value-civil-dialogue/
[3] IRS Approval – Avaialble
[4] Standing up for Others – http://standingupforothers.com/
[5] Thanksgiving Celebrations – http://thanksgivingcelebrations.blogspot.com/
[6] Unity Day USA – www.UnitydayUSA.com
[7] Holocaust and Genocides – https://HolocaustandGenocides.com
[8] Festivals of Faiths – Voice of America report
[9] Mother Teresa’s wisdom – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/141159769555908913/
[10] Don’t poison your Children – https://centerforpluralism.com/poisoning-your-kids/
[11] Shaping America’s Future – https://centerforpluralism.com/shaping-americas-future/
[12] Radio Programs – Dallas Morning News Report