THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1994, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Wednesday, August 17, 1994 TAG: 9408180765 SECTION: DAILY BREAK PAGE: E01 EDITION: FINAL SOURCE: BY FRANK ROBERTS, STAFF WRITER LENGTH: Medium: 79 lines
BAHAISTS DO NOT talk about their religious beliefs unless someone brings it up. But when they talk about it, does the conversation ever get interesting.
``I have four kids,'' Dan Seals said during a telephone interview from Minneapolis. ``One of them - Jimmy - is a deejay in South Carolina on a station owned by the Baha'i faith.''
That did it. The cap was off.
Seals, who will be at the Boathouse on Friday for a free WCMS-sponsored concert, has been a Bahaist for 20 years.
``It satisfies my mind and my heart. I always had questions: Why so many religions? Why don't people get along? I found an answer in this faith,'' he said. ``I believe in my heart, prove it in my mind. It tells us that all religions are intertwined.''
His family illustrates that.
Seals, once known to pop music fans as half of England Dan & John Ford Coley (``I'd Really Love to See You Tonight'') was raised a Baptist. His wife was Jewish. His brother, Jim, who found success as half of Seals & Crofts, is married to an African-American.
As far as belief is concerned, ``we all totally agree,'' Dan Seals said. ``We are one.''
It was brother Jim who first embraced the Baha'i faith, now 7 million strong worldwide, including 120,000 followers in the United States.
``Me and Momma tried to get him out of it. We thought it was a cult,'' Seals said.
She traveled to Dallas to talk to Jim. By the time Dan arrived, his mother had also embraced the faith.
``I thought I had to save both of them and went right to work trying to do that, but everything I read was so invigorating, so unique,'' he said. ``It gave me a sense of hope for the world for the first time. I saw people who are supposed to hate each other . . . come together.
``Baptists, Catholics - everyone - are working together building a civilization. No one with Baha'i gives up their religion. We just embrace the new message. I can sum up Baha'i in a few words. It is the birth pangs of a new civilization that will emerge.''
He sang about it once - a song he wrote called ``We Are One.''
Seals is fired up about Baha'i and, to a lesser extent, about ``Fired Up,'' his upbeat new album.
It includes items such as ``Hillbilly Fever'' - appropriate for someone inspired in his youth by Ernest Tubb, Jim Reeves and Hank Williams. It also features the doo-woppish ``Still Reelin','' and the album's first single, ``All Fired Up,'' is already on the charts.
Seals has had 11 earlier chart-topping hits, including the bouncy ``Bop,'' ``Everything That Glitters'' ``You Still Move Me'' and ``Three Time Loser.''
There are no Seals losers. In addition to Dan and Jim, the family includes uncle Chuck, who wrote the Ray Price hit ``Crazy Arms'' and singer Johnny Duncan, a cousin.
Another cousin, Brady Seals, is keyboardist for Little Texas. Yet another cousin, songwriter Troy Seals, penned Ronnie Milsap's ``Lost in the Fifties Tonight'' and George Jones' ``Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes?''
Dan Seals fills his life with his faith.
``We use the Old and New Testament,'' he said. ``At a Baha'i service, you'll hear Christ's words, Buddhism, the 10 Commandments - all of it.
``It's like one voice. We believe in one mankind, one God,'' Seals said. ``Blacks and whites have no disagreements; there's no wall between parents and children.
``We're free from all that stuff. Baha'i is the only (religion) I've seen where something's being done to help.'' ILLUSTRATION: CONDERT FACTS
Who: Dan Seals
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: The Boathouse in Norfolk
How much: Free (capacity limited to about 2,000)
Tell me more: 622-6395