John WorldPeace on religion
I believe that a person's religious preference is a private matter and yet I also believe that those who run for political office should make a religious statement.
My parents were Presbyterians and consequently I was raised as one. I was baptized as a baby per the custom in that religion. We went to church and Sunday school every Sunday, missing only four or five Sundies per year. At sixteen, I attended several Billy Graham crusades in the Astrodome in Houston and at the end of one of those crusades responded to Mr. Graham's call to come forward and acknowledge a faith in Jesus.
When I started college at the University of Houston in 1966, I was exposed to what for me was a very liberal environment and found it interesting that so many people had contempt for religion. Statements like "God is not dead, he is living in Argentina" and "A man without a god is like a fish without a bicycle" made me wonder about what others really felt about God. Personally, I always believed that there is a God that through angels and other spiritual beings helps us all the time.
I have always been interested in reading and studying the Bible and by the time I started college I could discuss its contents in depth. Yet while in college, I was exposed to other religions and I began to read about and study those religions. Through those religions, I was able to answer some personal spiritual questions that Christianity never completely answered. I also began a search for what I call the common denominators of religious experience.
After I changed my name in 1988, I began to rewrite all the major spiritual texts of all the major religions as a way of intensely studying those holy writings. The result of that study can be found on The WorldPeace Peace Page . In a word, what I have written is simply a personal perspective. I had and have no intension of starting a new religion or cult and consequently have no organization, followers, disciples or other things associated with organized religious groups. In the end, I am just one simple man with one simple message, "WorldPeace".
I believe that there is a distinction between God and spirituality and religion. I consider God to be the all encompassing essence from which all things manifest and at the same time a personal being. The religions of Buddhism and Hinduism emphasize the all encompassing essence more than the personal aspect of God and the religions of the Judaism, Islam and Christianity emphasize the personal aspect of God as a supreme being.
Spirituality for me is one's relation with God, whether that be the all encompassing essence or the personal God.
Religion for me is a religious bureaucracy which preserves and promotes the teaching of one spiritual leader or another. The primary objective of the religious bureaucracy is to preserve the religious bureaucracy first and spread the message of the founder second. This is the reason for some of the confusion in the various religious writings. The religious bureaucracy is the great Christian buildings and structures like those found in Rome and the Christian message is the life of Jesus who owned nothing.
In regards to my political campaign for governor, I will say that I was raised as a Christian and that I am best able to connect with my spirituality in a Christian church. Had I been raised as Buddhist, I believe that I would best experience those same feelings in a Buddhist Temple.
As an elected official, I believe that my personal religious preferences must be subordinated to the secular mandate of office. In other words, it is my job as governor to promote equality and justice for all citizens without regard to religion, race or sex and that is what I intend to do.