Religious Tolerance in Action.

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Religious Tolerance in Action. http://www.dallasnews.com/religion/stories/122703dnrelconnect.ed78.html                                                    
4:07 PM CST on Friday, December 26, 2003
By MARY A. JACOBS / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News
During the holiday season, most people only wish for peace on earth and goodwill toward men. But Mike Ghouse has already rolled up his sleeves and gotten to work on it.
Mr. Ghouse hosts “The Multi-Faith Radio Program” weekdays at 6 a.m. on KBIS-AM (1150) and KYNG-AM (950). Each day, he interviews a guest from a local religious community, with the goal of helping his listeners learn to “cherish and respect every which way people have to come to praise and worship the divinity.”
He’s also a frequent visitor at gatherings hosted by the various faith communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and founder of the Foundation for Pluralism. He writes prolifically on his Web site (www.MikeGhouse.net) about religious tolerance and understanding different religions.
“I don’t see any conflict worshipping God in different ways,” he said. “I’m comfortable in a church or a temple or a mosque.”
Dr. Judie Arkow, executive director of the Interfaith Center of DFW and a frequent guest on the show, said, “Mike believes as I do, that it’s entirely possible to bring peace to the world, by chunking away at it one piece at a time.”
A series of childhood experiences spurred that conviction. Mr. Ghouse’s father was mayor of Yelahanka, near Bangalore, India. He frequently brought his son to gatherings for various faith groups – Muslim, Hindu, Christian and others. Mr. Ghouse also witnessed incidents where his father defused potentially violent conflicts between different religious groups.
Mr. Ghouse was raised in a Muslim family, but calls himself a Multifaith person. His wife is a Muslim, his daughter is a Baptist, and his son is wavering between becoming a Bahá’í or a Hindu.
All of which is fine with Mr. Ghouse.
“I look at it this way,” he said. “You like apple pie, I like peach cobbler. You can enjoy your favorite dessert and I can enjoy mine. It’s the same thing with how you choose to worship God.
“If I hate Hindus, then I’m the one who is suffering, not them.”
By appreciating the goodness in all religions, Mr. Ghouse believes, differences lose their power to divide.
A mortgage loan officer by trade, Mr. Ghouse once worked 16-20 hours a day at his job until about eight years ago, when his 8-year-old son asked him, “Why do you work for so many hours? I don’t need your money. I want your time.”
Mr. Ghouse cut back on his work schedule. Now, he’s still just as busy – he sleeps only five hours a night – but most of his time is devoted to projects he’s passionate about, including his interfaith work, his family, and the North Texas Cricket Association, which he spearheaded to promote the sport locally.
“This is a man with a good brain and a soft heart,” Dr. Arkow said. “I think that’s what drives him.”
Mary A. Jacobs, a Dallas free-lance writer, can be reached by e-mail at maryjacobs@aol.com.
DETAILS: Mike Ghouse’s Multifaith Radio will run a two-hour special at 6 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday featuring representatives from each of the nine major world religions.  
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