Baha’i Faith & Homosexuality: It’s Getting Better

On January 3rd, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States sent out a letter to the American Baha’i community, quoting parts of a letter from the Universal House of Justice to an individual:

…With respect to your question concerning the position Baha’is are to take regarding homosexuality and civil rights, we have been asked to convey the following.

The purpose of the Faith of Baha’u’llah is the realization of the organic unity of the entire human race, and Baha’is are enjoined to eliminate from their lives all forms of prejudice and to manifest respect towards all. Therefore, to regard those with a homosexual orientation with prejudice or disdain would be against the spirit of the Faith. Furthermore, a Baha’i is exhorted to be “an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression”, and it would be entirely appropriate for a believer to come to the defense of those whose fundamental rights are being denied or violated.
(Letter from the UHJ to an individual, 27 October 2010)

And further in the same letter:

[The Bahai Faith] does not see itself as one among competing social groups and organizations, each vying to establish its particular social agenda. In working for social justice, Baha’is must inevitably distinguish between those dimensions of public issues that are in keeping with the Baha’i Teachings, which they can actively support, and those that are not, which they would neither promote nor necessarily oppose. In connection with issues of concern to homosexuals, the former would be freedom from discrimination and the latter the opportunity for civil marriage.

It seems to me that this letter would indicate that the Baha’i community should now not be publicly supporting or opposing actions such as the anti-gay activities in Uganda in 2007.

Detail of a screenshot from The Guardian with mention of the Baha'is involved in the 2007 rally in Uganda.
Above is a screenshot accessed 6 January 2011.

The article in the Guardian shown in the screenshot above continues, lower on the page:

The rally was organised by the interfaith coalition against homosexuality, an alliance of Christian, Muslim and Bahai organisations.


This wasn’t a case of Baha’is just being associated with any interfaith organization but with an association called the Interfaith Rainbow Coalition Against Homosexuality. It has been suggested to me that an individual Baha’i got caught up in the events without the knowledge of the local Ugandan Baha’i community. When I first heard the reports, I too thought that, while individual Baha’is are certainly free to participate in activities such as this, Baha’is would not be participating in any representative sense, and newspapers can get things wrong. But how then, did the newspaper reports come to mention the word Baha’i, if this was not the case? Moreover, these reports first appeared a month before the Guardian story in the screenshot, and there were, as far as I know, no statements made from the Baha’i Community in Uganda to indicate that Baha’i representatives were not involved.

Detail of a screenshot from The Christian Post, 22 August 2007
Above is a screenshot from The Christian Post. Accessed 12 January 2010.

The following links, all dated in August 2007 and mentioning Baha’i involvement, indicate that it is not likely that the Ugandan Baha’i community was unaware of this association that had been made:

Whether this was one individual who joined this anti-gay coalition or not, the 3rd of January letter from the UHJ seems to mean that it is no longer appropriate for Baha’i communities to take an anti-homosexual stance. This has happened in the past, for example when the UK NSA made submission to a London educational advisory committee in 1996, and in 1999 when the Guyana NSA issued a statement against a government bill for equality.

I realise that this new policy of the Universal House of Justice is going to be difficult for some Baha’i communities, in countries where interfaith groups are against homosexuality, as you see in the screenshot below where Baha’is are named as members of the interfaith group.

Detail of a screenshot from Voice of Africa
Above is a screenshot from The Voice of Africa, 30 June 2010. Accessed 12 January 2010.

The same report also mentioning the Baha’is by association appears in:

Should Baha’is now remove themselves from interfaith groups which take an anti-homosexual stance? Baha’is have a long history of working with interfaith groups. Rather than leaving these groups, perhaps Baha’is will be motivated to discourage these groups from acts of discrimination against homosexuals.

However there are other also ways Baha’is can act to remove discrimination, and that is within the Baha’i community itself. In August last year, the North American Association for Baha’i Studies hosted a conference in Vancouver on the theme: “Rethinking Human Nature” and there was an extensive line-up of impressive-sounding presentations.

Under the topic “Psychology and Sociology I” was the announcement of this presentation:

Lynne Schreiber,
Rethinking Same-Sex Attraction and General Principles of How to Overcome It

The fact that some people experience same-sex attraction as unwanted and take measures to overcome it remains somewhat hidden from society, including much of the mental health profession. Shedding light on this process may be encouraging news to those who struggle with such attraction. Understanding the complex factors that commonly shape same-sex attraction unlocks the possibility to conceptualize a new framework for growth.

There’s nothing wrong with an individual expressing their views at a Baha’i conference, although I wonder if a person would have been allowed to present the view that homosexuality does not need to be overcome.

Lynne Schreiber ABS 2010

However what drew my attention to this presentation was the fact that a handout she presented had been taken up by at least one American ABM (while the Baha’is do not have clergy, a person in this role has a function akin to a counsellor, and while his or her advice is not mandatory, some Baha’is would give it great weight) in his mission to put pressure on Baha’is who are gay in his area. Moreover Lynne Schreiber is giving presentations and workshops, I assume on how to ‘overcome’ being gay, in Baha’i communities in various locations in the US.

Again, one could argue that this is not discrimination. That it is not discrimination to promote the view that people need to change their orientation. I would disagree. But allow me continue.

Her handout is here and the quotations from the Baha’i writings in relation to morality, obedience and the importance of independent investigation do not refer to homosexuality. But she has placed these here as if there is some connection with homosexuality. Her handout also includes some quotations from the UHJ, such as:

…the Faith does not recognize homosexuality as a ‘natural’ or permanent phenomenon. Rather, it sees this as an aberration subject to treatment
(to an individual, 22 March 1987)

and I wonder if she used such statements as support for reparative therapies or not. Then what caught my eye were the links at the end of the handout to organizations associated with extreme right-wing political agendas such as Exodus International and in particular to NARTH (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuals), which advocates what I would consider barbaric reparative therapies. And while some readers here might think that providing conversion therapy to a five-year-old “prehomosexual” boy is an extreme case, this unfortunately is just one of many many examples in this article.

A summary of the unscientific methodologies of NARTH and their activities can be seen on this webpage.

So then I went to the NARTH website to see for myself and was surprised to see that Baha’is were mentioned as members.

Detail of a screenshot taken on 11 January 2010 of the NARTH website
Above is a screenshot of the NARTH statement page, last updated 19 May 2008. Accessed 11 January 2010.

Since this page was last updated on 19 May 2008, this support has been on public show for over two years now, making it unlikely that various Baha’i communities are unaware of this. I hope this is removed in the near future, as I interpret this as the Bahai community taking sides by associating themselves with an organization that not only is geared towards ‘curing’ gays but makes clear statements that homosexuality is wrong.

The Baha’i policy as I see it, is that gays should be celibate, that is not the same as saying gays need to be cured or that they are wrong.

Whether individuals who are Baha’is are members of NARTH is another matter. We are free to use our conscience along with our own understanding of the Baha’i Teachings to guide our actions as individuals. For example Baha’is vote as individuals, we may even tell others who we voted for and discuss this, but we do this as individuals. The Baha’i community doesn’t take a particular position. And likewise some Baha’is might individually support same-sex marriage as a positive thing while other Baha’is would not.

What the 3rd of January letter implies is that gays who are married shouldn’t be discriminated against and that gays are to be treated just as heterosexuals are treated except that the Baha’i community is not to be seen as taking any position for or against same-sex marriage.

The implication of the January 3rd letter is that the area of same-sex marriage is to be treated like the issue of party politics. So the Baha’i position could be, that it does not take any particular position but adopts what the law of the land or that state has as its policy. I say could be, because we have a long way to go as a Baha’i community to work on the prejudice against homosexuality that currently dominates Baha’i discourse. Here are two examples of what I mean by this apart from Lynne’s presentation at a Baha’i conference.

An essay by Sam G. McClellan, M.D., “Some reflections on the Bah??’? Teachings as they relate to homosexuality.” (Prepared in consultation with the Institute on AIDS, Sexuality and Addictions) which used to be on the BNASAA (Bah??’? Network on Aids, Sexuality, Addictions, and Abuse website, argues for tolerance while at the same time stating that individuals should not call themselves gay or lesbian.

Some Bah??’?s struggling with their sexual orientation have accepted into their core identity the concept “I am gay” or “I am lesbian” as a way of explaining the experience of uninvited sexual feelings towards others of the same sex, and even to imagine giving up this identity and the supportive community that goes along with it can be a fearful experience, calling for a major effort at sympathetic awareness by others of the difficulty involved. To change one’s self-definition requires much effort, support and encouragement, and it will, most likely, be a complex and lengthy process marked by small, cumulative successes and a great deal of struggle.

Excerpt of essay, Some reflections on the Bah??’? Teachings as they relate to homosexuality by Sam G. McClellan, M.D. Accessed 12 January 2010. This essay is on a page noted as being last updated in November 2004.

He ends with:

In 1992, a group of these professionals formed a new organization, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). Four Bah??’? mental health professionals attended the annual meeting of NARTH in Philadelphia in May 1994. Within the Bah??’? community a committee was recently appointed to assist Assemblies and individuals dealing with issues of homosexuality.

The link is to a 2007 version of the page.

The website Religious Tolerance summarizes the Bahai position on homosexuality as being:

-The Baha’i Faith teaches that homosexual behavior is unacceptable among its members. Voting rights of some of their lesbian, gay and bisexual members (LGB) who are out of the “closet” have been suspended; some memberships have been terminated.

My hope is that the Bahai community will show that such statements are no longer true. That, if there are sanctions that these are applied to heterosexuals or homosexuals, equally. That if a gay couple decide to join the Bahai community that their marriage will not be discriminated against and that youth will not be taught that homosexuality is a disease or an aberration, or that they must keep their orientation secret, but rather, the focus will be on celebrating the equality and diversity of humanity. And saying to any individual “we will tolerate you” is still a form of prejudice. In order not to discriminate we need to be welcoming.

  • SueB9

    AMEN!!!

  • Oscar Wilde

    The baha’i faith is not gay-friendly. Period. Baha’u’llah was not gay friendly, like most people of his time and place, period. Why beating a dead horse. The House of Justice will NEVER accept homosexuality, it’s actually one of the things that at least show coherence. This from the mouth of somebody who does NOT hate gay people and does not think gay people don’t deserve a place in world religions, even though homosexuality could well be a “disease”, why not. But the baha’i faith, Baha’u’llah and and the UHJ are NOT gay-friendly and if this changes I’ll go “oh”!

    Gay people of today usually make the world a slightly worse place just like heterosexuals. The worsening effect is orientation-independent. This to make clear, I’m not friend of all of you gay people. I only like the attractive ones. Preferably beautiful swedish lesbian women. Those are very welcome in my house, also in groups.

  • Baquia

    Thanks for this meticulously researched and reference rich article Sonja. I’m afraid that unless the UHJ wakes up soon they will have set the Baha’i Faith on an unavoidable collision course with science.

    By clining to the illusion that homosexuality is an ‘illness’ or ‘aberration’ or something abnormal to be overcome,

  • My heart is completely broken by this, to see our beloved faith entering into such flagrant acts of bigotry and homophobia… while asking the world to respect the Baha’is of Iran seems so very contorted, so confused, so awful… asking the world to respect the Iranian Baha’i community yet at the same time to be condoning this hatred is astonishing in its ignorance and hypocrisy. It is one thing to deny GLBT full membership, to kick the out of community life, it is another thing to support acts of ignorance, hatred, violence such as this. People’s lives are at stake and they support this? My heart is broken for the Baha’I leadership that condones such hatred!

  • Jacob

    “…though I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the endeavour, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been, if I had not attempted it…” – President Benjamin Franklin

    Fret not, fair “dco.” All of us, at all times, have our demons to confront, our virtues which will never be completely perfected.

    In some cultures, it is still a challenge to accept that a child may choose their own spouse! In others, we have todays example of prejudice and hate against people called homosexuals. Millions still struggle with racial equality and equality of the sexes. By America’s most recent standards, parental consent is a struggle!

    We must remember that we’re human. Bigotry of any kind is unacceptable and it’s important for the international community to put the foot down when necessary and say “cut the shit”

    Here again President Franklin remembers his experience:

    “I entered upon the execution of this plan for self-examination, and continued it with occasional intermissions for some time. I was surprised to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined; but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish.”

    That’s what it’s all about. We work to see them diminish in our lifetimes.

  • Littlewolfdan

    So much going on here…first off Baha’u’llah never mentioned homosexuality, the Guardian is the first one who does and his notes in the Aqdas are not Baha’u’llah’s as many try to misquote. As a fairly deepened Baha’i of over 35 years who is gay and recently cut my Baha’i ID card and returned it to the NSA of USA officially removing myself from official and administrative rolls-this after much self deliberation and discussion with Baha’i friends and discussions at BNASAA conferences.
    A couple of years ago I was told by our local ABM for protection that the Faith would grow best in those places that (also?) hated gay people and would not grow so well in those places that loved and supported their gay friends and family members. The Baha’i Faith I was taught teaches the oneness of manking, elimination of all prejudice and the treatment of every human being with utmost loving kindness, and that when religion becomes the cause of disunity it should be abandoned. I guess the Faith of God has been replaced by another religion of man if our ABM is spreading info like this; he apparently has been given info that is not readily available to Baha’is or he is another example of a religious authority who has overstepped his bounds as the clergy of the past religions has done and turned the teachings into hypocricy. I decided that if this is the trend this early in the history of the Faith, then God help the future Baha’is as well as the next Manifestation of God who will have to undo the damage being done by hypocrits of the Faith. I have wondered that if Shoghi Effendi had known that his words would bring out the worst excuses for prejudice in the Baha’is if he would have said things differently.
    I have read an administrative letter that states that while gay families are not to be broken up by the Faith, neither should they be invited to become Baha’is. This is somewhat stated in the recent letter which was posted here. I guess the only people who will not be allowed to be Baha’is throughout this dispensation are gay families.
    I have been openly gay as a Baha’i and not had any problems but I am also single and assumed, apparently, to be sexless. My first BNASAA conference a few years ago caused a bit of a stir when I said after the conference I was arranging the 50 state flag bearers for the local gay pride parade. Being so open and having no interest in changing was an exciting, although scary idea for BNASAA participants. I was asked to be on the planning committee following that first conference and did so for several years.
    My feelings at this point in time is that gay people should be taught the teachings of Baha’u’llah but not the Faith and that Baha’is who are gay should abandon the religion if they are going to maintain a healthy relationship with God. If what I suspect has actually happened, then the safeguards Baha’u’llah had set up to protect the Faith weren’t enough to protect it from His followers and administrative corruption. The bigots and other hypocrits have changed the face of the Faith of God, what will He do to clean house? I shudder to think…

  • Littlewolfdan

    Regarding the article mentioning the Baha’i involvement in Uganda’s antigay protests, I would like to reply about my knowledge of the facts which are not as they appear in the article. I received a call from a local representative of an international civil rights group, when this article was published, on the Baha’i info line that still rings at my home as he was appalled at the membership of Baha’is in this protest. He was gay, had known Baha’is in Africa while admnistering at schools there. I took the info he gave me and called the Baha’i Office of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C. They were shocked and said they’d find out what the facts were. I found out later that the Baha’is had in fact removed themselves from the interfaith council in Uganda over the antigay protests but their membership was still listed when given to the press. The news service which printed the article was asked to print a correction stating the facts and that Baha’is would not participate in such an activity that was obviously against the Baha’i teachings of oneness and eliminating all prejudice. So perhaps the best thing that Baha’is can do is remove themselves from those organizations that plan activities that would be against the teachings of Baha’u’llah after making sure that the reasons were stated to the group as a way of teaching them what the Faith stands for. My experience as a member of our local interfaith council was that talking about religious matters that were not Judeo-Christian was not welcome, so I suspect trying to make sense of such nonsense as in Uganda would be futile.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for that clarification. I would draw your attention to the fact that Baha’is are not allowed to be members of Amnesty international. I am left speechless when we have a standard where a Baha’i can’t be a member of an organization like AI which stands up for the rights of all (including the persecuted Baha’is) but then play fast and loose when it comes to an organization like this one in Uganada.

  • StarChild

    Baha’is seem to play fast and loose in the UK and Guyana too. Were there similar letters like the January 3rd letter from the US NSA in other countries? , or was this just a unique example for a Western Country who is more tolerant of Gay Rights?

  • Desir0101

    1. desir0101 said
    January 12, 2011 at 2:29 pm
    Good DAy.
    Just a quotation from the BiBle, Roman.1(24 to 32)
    24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. 29 They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.
    2.
    Sen said
    January 12, 2011 at 3:18 pm
    Thank you. Re ?deserve to die? – would you be willing to do the deed yourself? Or to give the order directly to the executioner to do the deed?
    Or shall we say, with Abdu’l-Baha:
    …the foundation of this most great dispensation has been designed in such a way that its laws can remain appropriate to and consonant with all ages and eras, unlike the bygone religious laws, whose implementation is unattainable and impossible today. For example, consider the laws of the Torah. Today, they definitely cannot be implemented, for they include ten capital offenses. Likewise, Islamic religious requires the amputation of a hand for the theft of ten dirhams. Is it possible to enforce such a law today? No, by God!
    (Tablet on religious law and the House of Justice)
    No, by God!

    Hello Mr.Sen. 15/01/2011
    Its as if my response did not meet your approval. But Iam sure other people like to know my response.
    The Bible (new testament) is a book of peace, love, submission and forgiveness.
    There no place in the Bible where should act ferociously with sinners as in the Coran, amputation, lapidation and in the Aqdas Burning alive of arsonist and murderer.
    And no one can say the contrary against the Bible.
    So there is another explanation.
    If you read with mortal eyes will understand that “” deserve to die”” is physical but read with the spiritual eyes and understand with your heart.
    Bahaullah many times proclaimed that by the justice of God there will be no survival, no man deserve to live . we are all dead before God. But God is compasionate And Love.
    So I believe that the Bible would say spiritual death. Bahaullah many times approved that we are dead even if we are living in this world.
    Spiritually dead.
    Jesus say, sorry its in French.”Laisser les morts enterrer leur mort”.

    Excuse me Baquia if I use your blog.
    Thanks a lot

  • No problem Desir; better to start a discussion here than make my blog a discussion forum. See ‘about the comments’ on my “About” page:
    http://senmcglinn.wordpress.com/about/

  • You wrote: “I have read an administrative letter that states that while gay families are not to be broken up by the Faith, neither should they be invited to become Baha’is.”

    The letter is online:
    http://www.bnasaa.org/sexuality.html#homosexuality

    It says “if persons involved in homosexual relationships express an interest in the Faith, they should not be instructed by Baha’i institutions to separate so that they may enrol in the Baha’i community, for this action by any institution may conflict with civil law. The Baha’i position should be patiently explained to such persons, who should also be given to understand that although in their hearts they may accept Baha’u’llah, they cannot join the Baha’i community in the current condition of their relationship. They will then be free to draw their own conclusions and act accordingly. Within this context, the question you pose about the possibility of the removal of administrative rights should, therefore, not arise.”

  • Thanks for this information about “Uganda’s antigay protests”.
    What I note in my blog is that this was not just any interfaith coalition but one with the title: “Interfaith Rainbow Coalition Against Homosexuality”, so it would be hard for the Bahai/s or Bahai representative who joined to be unaware of the goals of this group. And the misfortunate in having the locals news and then the international news pick up on the Bahai involvement could have been avoided if the local Bahais had taken acton as soon as they knew that a Bahai had joined such a group.
    I am aware that Bahais had taken action as soon as this was in the news, but the point of my blog and the point, as I see it, is a Bahai shouldn’t have joined such a discriminatory group to start with.
    The culture of the Bahai community needs to change so that Bahais don’t think it is OK to join such groups. That Bahais don’t think it is perfectly within the principles of the Bahai Faith to join any group or association which treats or views homosexuality with prejudice. And the references to the NARTH connections illustrate that this is the case and that the BNASAA shares the views that homosexuality is problematic, to put it lightly. Considering homosexuality as problematic is discrimination and the UHJ’s letter stating that homosexuals are not to be discriminated against, is in my view, a start on a change for the better. This is an opportunity for LSAs to start working at showing the community that the Bahai principle of equality applies also to homosexuals.

    The reference to the Guyanan news items is different in that it is possible that Bahais were not actively involved in the protests, but yes, perhaps Bahais have to remove themselves from interfaith groups such as this. I agree it would be a wonderful teaching opportunity if they were to state publically why they are removing themselves.

    Perhaps, as the Guyanan news item shows, Bahais are going to have to take some steps to show the world that the Bahai Faith is not anti-gay to counter the impression that it is. I see the 3rd January letter as a start in this direction. Another start would be for the BNASSA to stop associating homosexuality with illness.
    It is no longer reasonable for Bahais to look the other way when another Bahai expresses their discrimination towards gays. The letter states Bahais must act to combate discrimination.
    And if more Bahais publically showed support of gays then the impression would be that not all Bahais discriminate – that the Bahai community is diverse.
    We need acts of positive discrimination bring in a change for more diversity. Your example of your involvement in a gay parade is one example. Now Bahais could do a lot of good by being present as a community in these. Bahais could even work as bridges here in fact. Having some presence at a gay pride parade where they promote unity in diversity, society for all, etc.

  • Oscar Wilde

    If you feel loved by God, it’s alright.

    I don’t really think he loves you BECAUSE you’re gay, though.

    And for fuck’s sake, PRIDE is something considered evil by God in any religion or non religion. Let’s stop being PROUD of anything. Be humble period. What’s good in being PROUD of that or that. I’m no even proud of what I should be, because it wouldn’t make me happy. Humility makes one happy, for OTHERS don’t APPLAUDE you for being GAY or black or white.

    Irrationality and believe me people, you didn’t understand a fuck of what Michael Jackson said in that song, even though you sing it all the time. If black people are proud of being black and white of being white, that’s EXACTLY the problem, so stop being proud of anything, period, gay or non gay that you are.

    I’m not inviting you for an argument, I’m just filling the page with Truth, it’s my single duty, I have no concern for any result whatsoever.

    You are all evil, gay, non gay, black or white…it’s a world of morally dead people.

    Pride is a sin.

  • Oscar Wilde

    Then what are you waiting to leave this faith, Jesus, there’s nothing “baha’i” in you by the definition of “baha’i” given by the baha’is, you’re just a person with her own beliefs, which is absolutely excellent; you disagree with a lot of core things of the baha’i system, then it’s evident that you don’t believe in it, and of course that’s something unpleasant to get to know, and so what, life is hard and it should be, and I wouldn’t do you a favor in encouraging your mistakes, and if you ignore what I’m telling you, what is that if not a PROOF that I’m right.

    WHO ever said that truth is NOT unconfortable at the beginning? Who? Who ever said that people who say the truth aren’t ignored, ridiculed and banned? It’s like one of the main rules of the world still most of you act like it’s not truth. Because you are ridiculous ignorant human beings, that’s why! Your problem!

    Most of the things I say in the comments of this sites are TRUTH and that’s exactly why you are scared and you ACT LIKE you ignore them while I know that people read and say “hhmmm…that’s the ttruth but hey…life would be over if I accept it, so let’s keep the lies going”. Childish behavior of course! And the majority of people do that. Whoever said that the majority of people are RIGHT and brilliant and know the truth? What the fuck are you all, STUPID? I’m sorry but you DO deserve to be called stupid, you peope who ignore the truth and keep talking and talking about nothing and ignoring those who are endowed with REASON. You people are RIDICULOUS and there’s been MILLIONS of intellectuals and people much more intelligent and famous than you who said that. Oh, they must all be morons, and you gotta be the only one who is right! You and your mum are right, everybody else is wrong! This is your mentality…in religions it is suggested that those who have too much attachment for his own sake, for his family, will never know the truth because FAMILIES DON’T OWN THE TRUTH. IT must be seeked OUTSIDE of families. Until you have this EXCESSIVE love for your MUM, which is EXAGGERATED and childish, believe me, adults should even HATE their parents and that’s NATURE – you can neversay anything that makes any sense, you’ll always be far removed by truth…take responsibility for your own laziness…respect is something to be EARNED. But of course, a lazy person wouldn’t take responsibility for anything. But let me tell you you are WEIGHTS for the world and nothing else. No intelligent person RESPECTS people who bring nothing to the table and ignore those who do. You suck as people. You are IDIOTS. It’s the TRUTH. Your ARROGANCE in not realizing that me, a 20-something italian guy whose written english is much better than that of a lot of americans and english people of today, is so much wiser than you to put you to shame, is very big. This indifference and ignoring only proves my superiotity and enlarges my ego, in case you were so stupid – just like a dumb little girl who ignores the guys she likes – to think the opposite would happen. You just don’t know how to get results. You fail at life. And a lot of intelligent people ae too coward to tell you but I AM NOT A COWARD. I am not even afraid od death. I am going to be a nemesis for lies and stupidity for these two things are the ROOT evils of the world, not the baha’i this or that, homosexual this or that, which are DETAILS and consequences of LIES and STUPIDITY ruling. It is the LIES and STUPIDITY, the way people THINK that has to be discussed and fought, not the fuckin’ details, even if you solve them there will always be other problems because the LIES and STUPIDITY are still there. Am I saying something that can ever be proved WRONG here? No, but still you ignore it like I say something stupid or something. Who is the stupid? I think you who ignore, the ignorants are the stupids!

    Nowadays I even meet people who DON’T BELIEVE most people are ignorant and low…what are you, blind? No, it’s that you are so similar to them, that you don’t see the obvious…and then, you ignore who points out this obvious. You are just giving the pointers more and more strength, more and more anger and you will only succumb to that…that will be the day of justice…when the mistreated and ignored will take their revenge on you IDIOTS who are so PROUD and arrogant not to realize that some people are much above you. You are communists who think everybody is the same and has right to the same things, but that is not truth and only your ego speaking, because that is the only way you would get the same things of people better than you. Democracy is unjustice for the brilliant, and for the stupid alike! Democracy makes the idiots WAY more confident than they should be while brilliant minds succumb to them. Oh, what a just system! I think you Baquia mentioned that quotation from Russell, and please tell me WHY, o WHY it isn’t what happens when my extremely witty and to the point comments are COMPLETELY IGNORED on this site while you participate with joy to the banalities that other BANAL people say. Did you occur to you to think that BANAL=bad and NON BANAL=better? You never act with REASON. You only follow your lowest emotions and automatism…how is it possible to call you a HUMAN BEING. Human beings control themselves and put JUSTICE before their own caprices…can we say that you do that? You live only and exclusively for yourself and your own selfish needs…and it wouldn’t be a problem if that wouldn’t be the ONLY thing you do ALL the time and you NEVER act in a just way. You are way too self centered. We are all way too self centered and it’s good that I’m reminding this becuse self centeredness is a problem and nothing that I have the DUTY to respect and allow you to do undefinedly.

    People respect your self centeredness just not to deal with your petulancy…”I need this, I want this”….this society is based on WANTS that have become NEEDS. You have everything you NEED, nobody owes you anything anymore.

    Going back to your BELIEFS,
    your “bahaism” is inhexistent, you simply have your own religion which is what a billion of other people including me do. Of course it’s hard to leave a religion or group but many did it before you. It was very troubling for me but I did it, nothing is harder than these religious, belief and “spiritual” issues, albeit I have no idea what you call “spiritual”, not everybody knows what “spiritual” means and I cannot take for granted that you do, you actually PROBABLY DON’T for a matter of statistics and common sense.

    It is evident that if you don’t want to keep being a living contradiction NOT OF THE INTERESTING KIND, because yours is nothing but excessive attachment to society and its conventions, it is impossible for a woman to be a REAL rebel unless you’re Joan of D’Arc – and these attachments are UNSEXY LAME, and the reason why an intelligent man finds most women of today LAME in character and attitude, and we miss the REAL WOMEN of a time, which WILL COME BACK, you pessimistic devils – if you want to stop being this ball of confusion you’ll have to stop calling yourself this or that – baha’i or non baha’i, and practice “killing all adjectives” how wise men before have suggested, and stop thinking that this recommendation is NOT UP TO YOUR GREATNESS AND NOT WORTHY OF YOUR INTEREST, you who are ignorant and humble like all and each one of us. Baha’i or not baha’i is NOT THE ISSUE…

    Don’t be mistaken, you’re not alone, welcome to the club of people who don’t embrace any specific religion but like some of this and some of that, after all, that is exactly what the concept of “all faiths are from God” is about. Then you will truly be happy! Then people will begin ignoring you…because that’s the law for now in an evil world…what can we do! People ARE stupid…people ARE lame…it will give you happiness just to know the truth, doesn’t matter what ignorants do.

    Please ignore also this message of mine, so I can feel myself more superior to you than I truly am.

    What should I do, saying “oh my god she ignores me, she must be so much better than me and I must be so unworthy of her attention”…what am I, an idiot without self confidence, like most men on earth? You wish you could control even my…….

  • Littlewolfdan

    I was never sanctioned in any way at a BNASAA conference for saying I was fine as a Baha’i who was gay. There was surprize mixed with relief that someone present was okay with his being gay, felt a good connection to God, couldn’t understand why Shoghi Effendi wrote what he did as he felt it did not make sense, and had no interest in changing. BNASAA doesn’t associate homosexuality with illness but allows someone with that view to speak about it only as it pertains to the individual speaking. No one speaks for another or discloses another’s story. You may not be aware of this if you have not been to one of their conferences. If you saw something of that nature on their website you may have mistakenly felt that this was the only view of BNASAA. Not being a big fan of computers myself I feel the personal approach is best when exploring the facts about something. You may wish to attend a conference for a more balanced viewpoint where you will hear the truths of all who attend instead of reading an article by someone who feels their intellectual prowess is more enlightening than a person’s spoken truth. If you have been to a conference I don’t understand how you could come away from it with the misunderstanding.

  • Littlewolfdan

    Baha’u’llah said that God created us noble, but we abase ourselves; God created us rich, but we bring ourselves down to poverty. Evil is the absense of good, there is alot of good going on out here. If we are morally dead we can look in the mirror to blame the one who looks back at us and if we are still living we can choose to change our moral status. It is only after death that we no longer have options. You make many assumptions and I’m sure you’ve heard what that can make of you. Filling pages with truth is not your job, putting your truth on the pages is fine; however you might not want to mistake YOUR truth for THE truth.

  • Littlewolfdan

    President? Benjamin Franklin? President of what? I must live in another United States of America or come from another dimension altogether.

  • Littlewolfdan

    Oscar, Oscar, show these rants to your physician; there is no easy, or polite way to say this to you but I do believe it is time for your dosage to be adjusted or changed before you injure yourself-or even worse- others. Calm down boy, maybe you need an attitude adjustment in order to improve your outlook. Perhaps less use of the words “evil” and “truth” would help? Certainly less hurling of the insults at others couldn’t hurt.

  • Craig Parke

    I think that little known fact was in The Ruhi Book Course: “President’s of the United States and Stuff”. I guess you missed taking THAT “deepening”. For that one people actually got a certificate of completion “suitable for framing” from the ITC.

  • Bird

    LOL

  • Bird

    “Furthermore, a Baha’i is exhorted to be ?an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression?, and it would be entirely appropriate for a believer to come to the defense of those whose fundamental rights are being denied or violated.”…. I am encouraged by this statement and agree Baquia the whole “afflicted” crap has to stop. People are people and it is against Bahai law to judge. I take this statement as a forward lesson.

    Once upon a time smoking pot was against Bahai law (LOL) Now 18 states have legalized it. Now it is a medicine… Soon enough as states allow more civil unions whether gay or straight… the Bahai’s in America will continue to spearhead the way to change. Sonja, this was a great read, TY

  • StarChild

    I am glad you were allowed to be yourself at BNASAA, I just wish BNASAA would remove articles from their website that supports “fringe science” with ideas shared by Exodus International and NARTH (Reparative Therapy).

  • Ziznbub

    Yes ..thank you Sonja..I would like to see you stand and speak at a conference…It does seem strange to me that we are having this difficulty with the faith ..we have been around since time began. We are not confined to one particular race or culture but as diverse as the world.. The faith seems so old fashioned in its approach to homosexuality…its like stepping back 80 years..some how the lynne’swords don’t seem contempory, and the majority of Bahai seem to follow on ..excepting ideas as if they are set in concrete ..where are all the thinkers?… .. … I guess …if you want to stay in a community you don’t disturb the norms .. …

  • Concourse on Low

    When will you stop trying to twist this obsolete 19th-century Iranian Shia reformist theology into a 21st-century progressive social democratic ideology?

  • Concourse on Low

    When will you stop trying to twist this obsolete 19th-century Iranian Shia reformist theology into a 21st-century progressive social democratic ideology?

  • DCO

    Littlewolfdan, thank you…

  • Littlewolfdan

    The followers(Baha’is) may have screwed things up beyond repair(maybe not) but the only way this planet is going to survive is with the teachings of Baha’u’llah and Abdul-Baha. Every culture has waited for this message to arrive but they are all so wrapped up in their own nonsense(political and otherwise)that they can’t see see anything else anymore. Obsolete? Read the actual writings before you judge it-forget about reading what someone else says or how the Baha’is act-read the writings-they are correct. We will not survive without them; we may not survive anyway because of the damage we have done to ourselves, the shadow of which is following us closely.

  • Concourse on Low

    Thank you for your arrogant and prejudicial reply.

    I have, indeed, read all the English-language works of the Bab, Baha’u’llah, Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi. Unfortunately, most Baha’is haven’t, and are content with sticking to selective compilations of warm and fuzzy passages. And that’s why they’re so ignorant of the backward norms deeply entrenched in their scriptures.

    Your trite distinction between the adherents of a religion and the content of the religion’s scripture holds no water, as the content of the scriptures are the root cause of many of the backward paradigms and beliefs of Baha’i adherents and organizations.

    We do not need more regressive ideas about divine absolutism, infallibility, and immutable god-based ethics packaged in the Baha’i Faith’s shallow and glossy veneer of progressive thought.

  • Oscar Wilde

    Being dismissed as crazy is typical treatment of those who speak out the truth.

    This is the only thing that is happening here.

    Why don’t you just challenge my ideas instead.

    My physician says that I’m a genius among idiots. That’s what he says. And my psychologist, too.

    Fuckin’ gay moron.

  • Oscar Wilde

    Fuck yourself.

    Tell me what I said that you disagree with, and most of all WHY, potentially intelligent being.

  • Oscar Wilde

    Of course, using “evil” and “truth” less, because it’s the very two words you are scared of, MORON, being you not a good person, and being you a liar first and foremost to yourself. How obvious is that?

    You have to change more than I have to, arrogant prick.

  • Littlewolfdan

    You are a perfect example of someone who is looking in a mirror and talking to themself. All of your adjectives are perfect references describing yourself. Clearly Baha’u’llah was correct when he said that the most intelligent of people who has not been taught any virtues has as much worth as wood for the fire. Challenging your ideas is pointless since you make no sense whatsoever. You seem to be sceaming at the top of your fingers but you have nothing to say. You take your extreme negativism to the precipice but refuse to jump, which would put you and everyone else out of their misery. You may be a genius, sociopaths can show signs of genius, but who cares? I think it is time for you to stop screaming about how bad it all is, how bad we all are, and find someplace where you can live a happier life. All of your anger is just ugly and after a while nobody wants to hear/read it anymore. I have been like this before and after a while I didn’t want to hear myself either, then I made a change to a more positive life. You really do need an attitude adjustment. If I am correct this conversation is a good example of someone trying to make sense out of nonsense. It is almost impossible to make changes to nonsense when the nonsensical person doesn’t get it. Do you spend much time on street corners yelling at everyone about their evil/immoral ways or just do it on the computer where you don’t have any real personal interaction? Just wondered because you sound so familiar, but then I guess there are people on street corners in every city who do this and because of their methods their words fall on deaf ears too. There are much better ways to get your point across that will encourage others to listen. If I want my mom yelling at me because I’ve been a bad boy, I’ll call her and listen. I don’t have any further interest in hearing it from you. With all of your name calling, I’ll tell you that I have a big bag of stuff I’ve picked up from my dogs this past week that has more value to me than you in your current condition. Telling you to shut the fuck up is probably the best sentiment I can offer you right now. For you to respond any further would only make sense at this point if you’ve mistaken me for another person who gives a damn about what you have to say. I guess most other folks have not bothered to respond because they have heard from you enough to last a lifetime; I am new here and didn’t know any better until now…consider me a person who doesn’t hear you anymore either. You can wear your fingers to the bone before you will get anyone to care about what you have to say in your current method of communication, except maybe for those who are egging you on for their own pleasure, not yours. They are laughing at you, not with you. As a special ed. teacher I have worked with kids like you and you definitely need a time out. Remember…sticks and stones, etc., etc…Your words will never be able to hurt me. I’ve heard far worse from much better. Try to be a little nicer to yourself and you may find that being nicer to others may follow. You may actually make a friend or two. Who knows? Things won’t change if all you do is complain and you don’t try to help make positive change. Mix your intellectualism with helpful community action and see if roses don’t replace whatever you’ve been trying to smell. Good luck and good bye…

  • Littlewolfdan

    The insults keep coming…I guess a couple of bullys are alive and active on this site, huh? A good way to keep conversation down, for fear the bullys might get mad and throw a tantrum, call everyone names, insult evryine else’s intelligence, hold themselves as the end all and be all. I have been called a gay moron, arrogant, prejudiced and trite…again, I have been called far worse by much better. You may have read everything from the writings in English but apparently got nothing from it. That’s the way it is I guess…those with the ears to hear, will hear… I hope you are able to take what you know and help make positive change so the world can benefit from your having been here for awhile. If not, what point have you made with your existence besides your rants? Please read my recent response to OW, so I don’t become a broken record…

  • Baquia

    Lesley Pilkington, a UK psychotherapist that engaged in ‘conversion therapy’ faces a disciplinary hearing and possible expulsion. From the article:

    The Royal College of Psychiatrists issued a policy statement last year condemning conversion therapies. It stated: ?There is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be exchanged.”

    Click here for more official positions from professional organizations.

  • L wrote: “I was never sanctioned in any way at a BNASAA conference for saying I was fine as a Baha’i who was gay. There was surprize mixed with relief that someone present was okay with his being gay, felt a good connection to God, couldn’t understand why Shoghi Effendi wrote what he did as he felt it did not make sense, and had no interest in changing. BNASAA doesn’t associate homosexuality with illness but allows someone with that view to speak about it only as it pertains to the individual speaking. No one speaks for another or discloses another’s story. You may not be aware of this if you have not been to one of their conferences. If you saw something of that nature on their website you may have mistakenly felt that this was the only view of BNASAA. Not being a big fan of computers myself I feel the personal approach is best when exploring the facts about something. You may wish to attend a conference for a more balanced viewpoint where you will hear the truths of all who attend instead of reading an article by someone who feels their intellectual prowess is more enlightening than a person’s spoken truth. If you have been to a conference I don’t understand how you could come away from it with the misunderstanding.”

    Thanks for sharing your experiences of BNASAA conferences but the fact that the title of this organization throws sexuality in with addictions seems a very strong indication that BNASAA sees homosexuality as some form of illness. If not, then why not change the title, change the association with illness? It seems incongruous to pretend this is about illness if the conferences are then about treating homosexuality as a part of the diversity of humankind.
    My question then is what types of talks were given? Were these talks, as it seems from the website, talks on overcoming homosexuality or on suppressing this?

    The BNASAA website (further on the same page ) has a section titled:
    Considerations for Assemblies, Dealing with Same-Sex Issues

    4. The Assembly should strive to maintain the dignity if the individual. Many women and men struggling with same-sex issues have low self-esteem and are in desperate need of love and acceptance. Confidentiality needs to be maintained and inadvertent exposure carefully avoided.

    5. Discuss with the individual the relevant Bah??’? laws and teachings on chastity, marriage, and same-sex issues. Because of the sensitivity of the issue, the individual being counseled may be extremely sensitive, and individuals counseling them may want to take care to ensure that their assistance is received in a spirit of sharing and support.

    6. It is impossible to consult on situations without some basic knowledge of the subject itself. The Assembly should recognize that there is no known cure for homosexuality. Comparing same-sex issues to alcoholism is a very helpful method of avoiding the naivet? of suggesting that Bah??’?s struggling with same-sex issues should simply pray, read the Writings and teach the Faith. It is very important to understand that the struggle with same-sex issues may be a lifelong ordeal. Even so, it is fundamentally important for the Assembly to encourage the individual to pray fervently, to continue or begin to deepen, to involve him or herself in the activities of the community – especially in teaching activities – and to develop supportive spiritual friendships within the community.

    7. The Assembly is not a “mental health center,” and should not assume responsibilities for functions that it is not competent to carry out. Tactful referral of homosexuals – as in the case of any other person with special needs for skilled professional assistance – should be made to appropriate outside resources. It should be noted that several attempts may be necessary before finding the appropriate therapist. In addition to encouraging the individual to seek therapeutic help, the Bah??’? Network on AIDS, Sexuality, Addictions and Abuse (BNASAA) can provide Bah??’? support and assistance.

    I am not suggesting that the atmosphere of any BNASAA conference would be hostile. Not at all, and you can see above, the tone is very gentle.
    However the goal, the view or focus compares homosexuality to illness. In this case to alcoholism! There’s a long history of members of majority groups judging minorities as lesser, as having low esteem for example, because they don’t operate in ways that are familiar or are not visible to the majority. And I’ve been told so many many times by well-meaning Bahai’s, “ah but so and so isn’t really gay or they would be more clear about being gay” and so on.
    It is easy to give the stamp of low self-esteem when the other person is silent or does not come back with a similiar mode of expression, when in fact they are hurt and insulted. When operating in a second language here in the Netherlands, I’ve been told that I have low self-esteem, by well-meaning individuals who do not have a clue what my life really is like! They make their judgements on what they see, and so given that the Bahai community in general treats homosexuality as something wrong, it is no wonder that gays who are Bahai’s, have to tread on thin ice when with other Bahais. The Bahai community is not gay friendly. This needs to change.

    As a woman I’d feel insulted if the only committee currently allowed to exist in the Bahai community, that dealt in some way with being female, was also a committee on alcoholism, and then here all sorts of talks about how wonderful women are, how women need to be tolerated, given compassion for the affliction of being female, were all made in the spirit of trying to help us because basically there’s something wrong with being a woman to start with. I hope you can see how such an attitude is insulting however lovingly the expressions of tolerance are. It isn’t enough to tolerant, Bahais need to accept gays as equals – as individuals with perspectives and values.

    You suggest that what I wrote on my blog above in reference to the BNASAA has little relevence as the website doesn’t reflect the experiences of the conferences, so I asked a friend to share some experiences:

    “Yes I don’t think anyone is outright sanctioned. As in names aren’t written down and then the NSA goes ok, and removes his voting rights. HOWEVER, from the very beginning of the meeting it was made absolutely clear that BNASAA was NOT the place to challenge the official view that homosexuality is supposed to be corrected and that it is a wrong lifestyle. I absolutely did not feel like it was a affirming place for someone who is gay, Bahai, and wants to be in an open relationship. The meeting I went to was in Northern California back in 2002. So things may have changed since then, I don’t know. Pose this question to the reader: “Would BNASAA now invite a person like Daniel to come and tell his story about having his voting rights removed for getting married?” I doubt it.
    What I got out of BNASAA at my one meeting was that it was a great place for people with some serious issues (sex addiction, incest, rape, drugs, etc.) to find solace and talk openly with others. There really weren’t classes per se, mostly just sharing of stories and prayer circles, which were beautiful and all. But I felt completely out of place. In a weird way, I felt bad for being there because, well… there was nothing wrong with me. It’s wrong of them to lump my sexuality with all these serious issues that people are battling with. My two cents worth. 🙂 So no, from my experience it is absolutely NOT an affirming place for gay and lesbians who are happy with themselves.”

    Daniel formalized his Brazilian marriage when it became legal to marry in California. In response the NSA of the USA removed his voting rights citing his same-sex marriage as the reason (I wrote a blog in response to this here) in 2009. Now with this new policy of the UHJ, if the NSA of the USA were to reinstate his voting rights, they would no longer be discriminating against an existing same-sex marriage.

    And finally a question out of curiosity, did you experience any talks or workshops given at a BNASAA conference, where the homosexuality was presented as part of the diversity of humankind, or as not needing to be cured or changed. I am aware that Bahais do have these views but until now I’m only aware that presentations from these perspectives within a Bahai context are not allowed or their papers have been rejected.

    You wrote that they “allows someone with that view to speak about it only as it pertains to the individual speaking.”, does this mean that current scientific research on this topic would be disallowed.

    5. Discuss with the individual the relevant Bah??’? laws and teachings on chastity, marriage, and same-sex issues. Because of the sensitivity of the issue, the individual being counseled may be extremely sensitive, and individuals counseling them may want to take care to ensure that their assistance is received in a spirit of sharing and support.

    6. It is impossible to consult on situations without some basic knowledge of the subject itself. The Assembly should recognize that there is no known cure for homosexuality. Comparing same-sex issues to alcoholism is a very helpful method of avoiding the naivet? of suggesting that Bah??’?s struggling with same-sex issues should simply pray, read the Writings and teach the Faith. It is very important to understand that the struggle with same-sex issues may be a lifelong ordeal. Even so, it is fundamentally important for the Assembly to encourage the individual to pray fervently, to continue or begin to deepen, to involve him or herself in the activities of the community – especially in teaching activities – and to develop supportive spiritual friendships within the community.

    7. The Assembly is not a “mental health center,” and should not assume responsibilities for functions that it is not competent to carry out. Tactful referral of homosexuals – as in the case of any other person with special needs for skilled professional assistance – should be made to appropriate outside resources. It should be noted that several attempts may be necessary before finding the appropriate therapist. In addition to encouraging the individual to seek therapeutic help, the Bah??’? Network on AIDS, Sexuality, Addictions and Abuse (BNASAA) can provide Bah??’? support and assistance.”

    I am not suggesting that the atmosphere of any BNASAA conference would be hostile. Not at all, and you can see above, the tone is very gentle. However the goal, the view or focus compares homosexuality to illness. In this case to alcoholism! There’s a long history of members of majority groups judging minorities as lesser, as having low esteem for example, because they don’t operate in ways that are familiar or are not visible to the majority. And I’ve been told so many many times by well-meaning Bahai’s, “ah but so and so isn’t really gay or they would be more clear about being gay” and so on. It is easy to give the stamp of low self-esteem when the other person is silent or does not come back with a similiar mode of expression, when in fact they are hurt and insulted. In fact when operating in a second language here in the Netherlands, I’ve been told that I have low self-esteem, by well-meaning individuals who do not have a clue what my life really is like! They make their judgements on what they see, and so given that the Bahai community in general treats homosexuality as something wrong, it is no wonder that gays who are Bahai’s, have to tread on thin ice when with other Bahais. The Bahai community is not gay friendly. This needs to change.

    As a woman I’d feel insulted if there was the only committee currently allowed to exist in the Bahai community, that dealt in some way with being female but it was also a committee on alcoholism, and then here all sorts of talks about how wonderful women are, how women need to be tolerated, given compassion for the affliction of being female, were all made in the spirit of trying to help us because basically there’s something wrong with being a woman to start with. I hope you can see how such an attitude is insulting however lovingly the expressions of tolerance are. It isn’t enough to tolerant, Bahais need to accept gays as equals – as individuals with perspectives and values.

  • Mark Fisher

    Excellent article Sonja. Kudos to you for all the information and insight. The Unitarian Bahai Association has no problem with the acceptance of all LGBT human beings. Hats off to them for this and for all the other stances that they take to truely strive to make their faith a true path of goodwill for all humanity. Keep up the good work.

  • Oscar Wilde

    Leave him alone Concourse, he’s just too…dumb and doesn’t want to look undumb. By the way I agree completely with you and I am the one who liked your comment. Godspeed. May intelligent people unite and not allow this children to rule just because they’d like to. So far we have failed. That is why I have become a “bully”. Being kind doesn’t work, being a bully possibly doesn’t work either…they think we are just “bullies” and not fighting for good actually, attached as they are to personal insults and appearance. Then we must find a third way. I suppose nuclear bombs?

    I now believe that intellectuals and non intellectuals are two races apart and should never live in the same world. That’s a problem, isn’t it? Nuclear, I say.

  • Oscar Wilde

    Little wolf, do you see those two “likes” on my posts? It appears like the bullies are THREE here, and not just one or two. Time to change site and make the world a more intelligent place here, and a more nonsensical, even though you call me, the person more attached to REASOn you know, nonsensical. You’re crazy…

    I’m a genius…you’re an idiot…the purpose of life is not being LIKED by you…that’s why you are gay…you want people to like you at all costs…being gay is just a narcissistic operation…good for you…there’s still people who don’t like you…deal with it…

    the purpose of life is being RIGHT no matter what people call you…you talk like my words are useless…not at all…your words are a bit more useless…my words are absolute truths or attempt to be so and as such have way more social and educational relevance than yours. I win, you lose…

  • Oscar Wilde

    Rewrite: ” and a more nonsensical – even though you call me, the person more attached to REASON you know, nonsensical – there”.

  • Zureick1

    The real Oscar Wilde is turning in his grave over your horrible diction. Dude, I agree with you when it comes to matters of organized religion vs. free thought, but you need to get over yourself. You are no genius, your writing clearly demonstrates that.

  • Oscar Wilde

    I am italian, you stupid idiot. Please find me an italian who writes better english. Go on. You’re stupid no.1.

    Second, you the fuck are you to judge my diction. That is your opinion. I have no proofs that your diction is any better. Very coward to judge without exposing yourself. You’re stupid no.2.

    Third, diction or non diction it doesn’t prove shit about genius or not. Right? You’re COMPLETELY stupid no.3.

    Are you stupid? Why not? I don’t understand why not. So far you’re three times stupid to me.

    Definitely it’s not you who judges who is a genius or not…then everybody else must be wrong? I don’t understand…I thought they were saying the truth…oh man…I don’t even know what I am anymore.

    But that you are three times stupid, I have NO DOUBTS.
    You better keep your mouth shut next time…use it to praise and give value instead of putting down when you don’t even have proofs. If you think my “diction” is bad relatively to the fact that I’m italian you’re a moron. And you are. Peace.

  • Littlewolfdan

    Sonja-In response to your questions about BNASAA…I attended several BNASAA conferences beginning in 2005 at the Baha’i school in N. CA and one at the Baha’i school in Maine. I was on the planning committee at all but the first of the California conferences, as well as leading the breakout group about male sexuality during the conferences. I was curious to see if the change in area of the U.S. where the conference was held would attract a different segment of Baha’i community. There are half a dozen or so conference sites around the U.S. and I thought the country’s subcultures might make each conference’s recipe change, and along with it the flavor of the conference.
    I learned several things after attending the different conferences, I discovered that I didn’t really need to change conference location to feel a change in atmosphere. Each conference’s participants represent various parts of the BNASAA community, no 2 conferences has the exact same particpant population and the attitudes of each participant at one conference may not be the same attitude that that individual may be experiencing at another conference. The Baha’i Network on AIDS, Sexuality, Addictions and Abuse conference can have participants representing those infected or impacted by HIV/AIDS-so a person with the disease or a person related to someone with it, or someone who works in some part of the field of HIV/AIDS might attend, someone who is a member of the GLBT sexual orientation community who is a Baha’i, or occasionally a parent or spouse of someone in this community might attend, someone who is dealing in some way with an addiction of any kind-drug, alcohol, food, etc.-might attend, and a person who is dealing with abuse of any kind-sometimes even an abuser, instead of an abused person-might attend. They may all have different issues that they are dealing with but they have one thing in common-they are all members of a disenfranchised group even in the Baha’i community. Since nobody is controlling the population that attends it is possible for a gay man/woman to attend a conference where no other gay people are present, or someone with an addiction or abuse issue might attend a conference where the population mostly consists of gay men/women and nobody else may be dealing with their particular issue. If the planning committee is functioning at full strength this should not become a problem. All participants should be made to feel welcome no matter what, they should all feel safe in the confines of the conference space. The sharing which happens at the beginning and end of the conference has strict rules about cross-talk and judgements of any kind and everyone is told as the conference guidelines are discussed that breaking this important rule will not be accepted. Each individual’s story is unique except where our paths cross over into becoming disenfranchised, then, hopefully, we all may be able to empathize with each other and the pain that we associate with the ostracism that each participant may have experienced.
    There are breakout sessions that relate to each particular area of BNASAA-separate sessions for men’s and women’s sexuality as well as a combined group if their are people interested in these, sessions about addiction and abuse issues have been broken up by type of addiction or abuse and combined together if the interest in the commonalities exists in the particular conference group. People who have expertise/experience in the area of breakout have been chosen prior to each conference to facilitate each session and several sessions are held during the weekend so that people dealing with muliple issues can get the most out of the BNASAA weekend experience. At these sessions people may be able to speak moe in depth about their life, someone may give a short talk about the issue at hand and then open for general discussion.
    People can share their stories, or not share them, as their comfort dictates. I have attended a conference where an individual chose not to share anything but came back the next year and, trusting the group, finally shared things that they had kept secret from others.
    Particularly regarding gay issues, nobody who feels comfortable as a gay man or woman is told they are afflicted and should seek professional help, and likewise if someone were to express a desire to explore psychotherapy or meeet with someone to discuss their issues with in more depth, help would be offered to find someone in their hometown area. Occasionally there are help professionals attending the conference who can be ready to assist if necessary. I have not had the experiience of anyone asking for this assistance but I’m aware that it has occurred. Gay Baha’is who have lost their administrative rights have attended BNASAA conferences in which I was persent. Their stories have needed to be told and heard as well.
    At one conference I humorously referred to myself as a “bad” Baha’i, which was picked up by others who understood the sarcstic sentiment and this idea of the group being “bad” Baha’is became a point of humor that weekend. Each conference develops an energy that is composed of the particular individuals in attendance, no 2 conferences is alike except that many forms of healing takes place.
    There are also keynote speakers who attend the conferences that may speak on a particular BNASAA subject. The first conference I attended had a public health nurse from S. Africa speaking about HIV/AIDS issues there. To my knowledge there has not been a speaker on changing gay orientation at a BNASAA conference. The point as I have experienced it is not to change people but to help them heal on a spiritual level as well as physical levels, to feel better about the person they are, the person God created. People approach this in different ways, as many ways as there are people approaching.
    There is also a member of the auxiliary board in attendance who comes to maintain the relationship between Baha’i administration and BNASAA. I find that they learn alot about the community that has been kept somewhat secret and have their own story to share most of the time as most people with a secret believe they are the only one with a secret.
    You wanted to know about the name BNASAA. In other countries it is called the Courage Network. BNASAA doesn’t just exist in the U.S. It is under the administrative jurisdiction of the NSA of Canada, but has relations in countries outside of North America. There has been work towards changing the name here because of some of the issues which you brought up. The debate has been a long one for many years with the national planning committee.
    There are definitely issues in BNASAA with regard to homosexuality which still need to be addressed, things are not perfect. The changes will only come with participation. I’m sure I brought changes to BNASAA by my presence. I know some people make assumptions about BNASAA having only looked at the website. I feel this is a mistake, as I have said before. Even getting my description about BNASAA is not totally appropriate. Independet investigation of truth is paramount in Baha’i teachings and wisest before making judgements.
    The friend who felt uncomfortable at the conference which she/he attended may have chosen not to share their story and certainly felt uncomfortable around people with the other issues they presented. I wasn’t at that conference so I cannot speak to it. Your friend felt what they felt. If they had been at a conference that had more gay people perhaps would they have felt more comfortable?
    I think that the more important issue in the writings is chastity, which is an issue for everyone, not just gay men and women. What does chastity even mean in our cultural context? I’m not sure beyond the obvious rules against sex outside of marriage, which is written as between a man and a woman in Baha’i writings. While the laws are rightfully changing around the world regarding gay marriage, because of what Shoghi Effendi wrote in the Kitab-i-Aqdas I doubt that it will ever change in the Baha’i law; I may be wrong. There are writings that say not all gay people can change but that they must remain celibate and single. If I am reading the recent letter as I have seen it written in another letter, gay families can be taught the teachings of Baha’u’llah and decide the corrct path for them, but could only become Baha’is if they separate. The issues of gay couple’s children and so many other issues regarding gay families have yet to be approached by the Universal House of Justice, but they will need to be addressed sooner than later. Baha’is want to know, not just gay Baha’is.
    Baha’i’s mistreatment of gay people must end if the oneness of mankind is to be realized. I can tell you though that there are Baha’is who are racist and sexist too, they haven’t yet figured out the primary teaching of Baha’u’llah. I often ask aloud why anyone would join a religion whose main teching is this and be okay as a bigot. Nobody has answered that one to my satisfaction yet. Baha’i bigots, jewish nazis, gay republicans-go figure? I can’t…
    I tried to learn as much as I could about what the Baha’i writings said about homosexuality long before I even understood that I was gay. If the issue was so important to God, then why didn’t Baha’u’llah or Abdul-Baha address it. Their focus was on oneness and how we should treat each other without concern for what group anyone belonged to. If we don’t get that into our heads adn hearts soon, I believe that things will only degrade further so that over the centuries we will be abusing each other as has happened in the other religions, which long ago stopped treating otheres as they wanted to be treated. Perhaps that is why Baha’u’llah raised the standard to try to treat others better than ourselves, so that maybe we could finally reach the earlier Manifestations’ goal. I hope it doesn’t take the next Manifestation to sort it all out for us in a thousand years.
    Your questions were many and not answerable in brief if to be answered well. I am not a computer person, don’t even own one, only on at friend’s when dogsitting, so I may not have done you justice; I can only hope. My apologies in advance if this lengthy response was not adequate. Dan

  • Peyamb

    So if a gay couple wanted to have a commitment ceremony at a BNASAA conference it would be completely welcome now? I doubt it, but maybe things have changed. I still really don’t see how it is an gay affirming place. Non-judgemental, free place to all share their stories in an atmosphere of love? Sure, I believe that. There are Christian groups that say the same thing about their groups for gay people. But at the end of the day, the group is there to affirm the official stance of the Bahai administration that homosexuality is not someting to be reconciled with, but rather to be controlled and overcome (as Sonja has showed from what is on the BNASAA website). That was my experience with BNASAA. My friend (who also was in the original planning group) has had a similar experience. He no longer is active with it because he finally just gave up on the idea that the Bahai community will ever be gay affirming. The Bahai had the chance to do something good when the gay association was created before BNASAA but then forced to disband by the UHJ. BNASAA was created as a result in order to keep everything in check under the AO. Oh well….

  • Littlewolfdan

    No. No gay couple is ever going to be getting married at a BNASAA conference or in the religion because of what was written by Shoghi Effendi, not because of anything written by either Baha’u’llah or Abdul-Baha. Baha’u’llah was the mouthpiece of God in this age, not Shoghi Effendi. If a gay person doesn’t always feel safe being themself around the general Baha’i community, they may feel safe enough to express themself at a BNASAA conference, paranoid expectations not withstanding. Not all Baha’is are out to get us, bigoted Baha’is are out there and perhaps the religion itself has failed, maybe it is just a temporary setback-God only knows and He isn’t sending me any “CLUE” cards about it. I guess the next Mouthpiece will fill us in, just like the other Manifestations of God have done every time they came-told us the whatfor of clerical corruption in the previous dispensations.
    I myself decided to officially and administratively withdraw from the religion, which I separate from the Faith that I still believe in. I have closed the door on religion so that I could try to maintain a healthy relationship with God. When religion becomes the source of discord or disunity it should be abandoned, accodring to Baha’u’llah, and since I feel the Faith has reached that point, I have abandoned it. Joining the ranks of the invisible/inactive Baha’is was not what I needed to do again, it was not good enough this time. I will not become a hypocrite if I can help it. Everyone needs to decide what to do for themselves. Beating a dead horse, however, is not going to get anyone anywhere. Gay people have an inherent spirituality that is explained in Native American cultures which explains why so many gay men join the priesthoods. They may not understand why, closetedness is not the true reason. As one Native American elder said in a book I read in 1988, “Spirit and the Flesh”, just before I moved to the Navajo Nation to teach/learn after being invited there by a Navajo elder woman; gay people will not achieve their true status until they embrace their spiritual natures to balance their sexual natures. Understand that I am paraphrasing but that was his point. Gay people who are Baha’is need to do this so that they may be at peace with God, if not religion. I don’t know if any of this ranting is going to help any of you to be at peace. I feel the best decision I have made is officially withdrawing from the religion, I feel at peace since doing so.
    I am only on this at the request of a Baha’i friend while I am at friends, dogsitting for the weekend. They’re back and I probably won’t be on for quite a while to see responses and further discussions. I am having surgery next week and won’t be dogsitting for a while. Good luck in your individual searches and good bye for now…

  • Johnie

    Well, its two points — what does it meant o be a Bahai — to be a follower of Bahaullah.
    He has given various laws and injunctions — there is flexibility in interpretating and following these injunctions.
    I basically am a Bahai — I believe Bahaullah is the messiah.
    I am also homosexual. Whilst I accept that Homosexuality is not allowed I also can see that there is flexibility in (a)A persons implementation of Bahai laws — its between me and my consciounce and (b)in interpretation and implementation by the institutions.

    Its not so black and white.
    (Just what does the Aqdas say? I have to reread it)

    Its usually a function of age. Older people of whatever age dont accept homosexuals Younger ones do.

  • Anonymous

    Whether anyone likes my post or not, I will share my thoughts. I am a Baha’i, and I understood the statement of the Universal House of Justice as being clarifying of positions already held by the Faith. What I write is my own understanding, mind you, and not authoritative. But I do share in the spirit of dialogue. The Baha’i Faith holds that homosexual acts are immoral, and forbidden, and consequently, homosexuality is a hardship for an individual striving to live according to the laws of God, as understood in the Baha’i revelation. The question of homosexuality as being curable is certainly within the scope of possibility, but it is not a tenet of the Faith. Rather, the Faith deals specifically with the morals of the matter.

    One of the reasons Baha’is are encouraged NOT to join political groups, is because political groups often take stances contrary to the Baha’i position, and entangle Baha’is in their politics. It is difficult, these days, to avoid politics – an interfaith group is all of a sudden embroiled in political stances! So these are challenges.

    My reading of the Baha’i Writings suggests that Baha’is ought to withdraw from coalitions that take on oppressive stances toward homosexuals – but that does not mean that the Baha’is in question see it so clearly. Among other things – the Baha’is in Uganda (for instance) are themselves products of Uganda in the main. They are shaped by the political and social climate as well as by the guidance of the Baha’i faith. We here in the US or other countries with more tolerant attitudes cannot fairly judge the people of Uganda – we can only exhort them to live up to the principles of their Faith. I trust that God will bring their actions into alignment with His guidance, and I pray that while they are not in alignment, that people are not harmed by their actions.

    In any event, the guidance is clear – and the Universal House of Justice has made it so – we are not to persecute or oppress homosexuals, not even the ones who are actively homosexual. Nor should we side with social movements that encourage oppression or persecution of anyone. Baha’is are human beings like any other, and make mistakes. God is our Judge and our Guide.

  • thanks for your comments.
    You refer to Uganda but actually my blog is more about how in the U.S. Bahais are mentioned as members and supporters in the NARTH statement page. Of course individual Bahais are free to join NARTH but my point here is, that as I interprete the recent letter from the U.H.J., just as Bahais may not be named as being supporters for any political party, Bahais should also not be named as being supporters for or against homosexuals. NARTH clearly exists with the mission of advocating discrimination against homosexuals.

    So far from judging Bahais in Uganda, I’m saying, look at the U.S. Bahai community and from that any Bahai community anywhere where Bahais are publically supporting anti-gay organizations.

  • Sweetpea

    actually sweetpea, as more ppl become Bahais youre going to get more and more homosexuals becoming Bahais.
    Bahai laws are spiritual in nature, and also flexible.
    Did you know that Moslems in the east who had more than one wife who became Bahais were advised to keep both wives but treat them fairly? Or that Bahais in the west were allowed to drink alcohol until 1935 or so? there is a lot of flexibility in living a private Bahai life, AND in being an upstanding member of the Bahai community.

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  • pLease light a candle for David Kato
    http://justabahai.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/we/

  • Anonymous

    Sigh… thank you Sonja for letting us know about this tragic death. Hopefully it will spark some meaningful change in Uganda and elsewhere.

  • Peyamb

    Just a quick update on BNASAA. Littlewolf when was the last time you attended a conference? You may be referring to the early years of BNASAA where you say it did not promote gay reparative therapy. But I spoke to my friend who went to the anniversary of BNASAA a year or two ago. I believe it was held at Greenacre Bahai school. He told me that one of the meetings was being conducted by Lynn Schreiber and some guy and the title was, I quote, “Overcoming Homosexuaity”. My friend was very upset about this and has since given up completely on the Faith (not just the community, but he has come to believe that the religion does not want gays and lesbians). But what is scary is that he told me of a young, effeminate Persian guy who was ecstatic about attending this workshop. He didn’t want to be around the gay affirming people (the very few who were there) who has you just want to discuss their lives and figure out how to function in the Bahai community. No, he wanted someone to help him change- and there enters people like this Lynn character. Will she take responsibility if this kid kills or hurts himself because her suggestions didn’t work? Of course not. Anyway, I want to clear up your claim that BNASAA is somehow this innocent group of people who just get together and share stories without judgement. It is more than that. Now it looks like it includes reparative therapy for gays as part of its activities.

  • Anonymous

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSQQK2Vuf9Q
    Beautiful! Compare his words with the UHJ saying:
    “There is a wide range of sexual abnormalities. Some people nowadays maintain that homosexuality is not an abnormality and that homosexuals should be encouraged to establish sexual relations with one or more partners of the same sex. The Faith, on the contrary, makes it abundantly clear that homosexuality is an abnormality, is a great problem for the individual so afflicted, and that he or she should strive to overcome it. The social implications of such an attitude are very important. The primary purpose of sexual relations is, clearly, to perpetuate the species. The fact that personal pleasure is derived therefrom is one of the bounties of God. The sex act is merely one moment in a long process, from courtship through marriage, the procreation of children, their nursing and rearing, and involves the establishment of a mutually sustaining relationship between two souls which will endure beyond life on this earth.”
    (Letter of The Universal House of Justice, 5 June 1993, Homosexuality, p. 11)
    How can anyone, including the UHJ, view this young man and his family as an abnormality?

  • Johnathan Y

    man glad i’m not a member of the Baha’i Faith anymore. Openly Gay and lovin’ it and love to read Baha’u’llah’s writings. I find it strange so many non-Arab speakers know definitively as to what Liwat is. There are sexual acts and their is sexual orientation, an act is forbidden not an orientation. Believe it or not Gays have intimacy many different ways some of which does not involve liwat.

  • Anonymous

    Right and you are supposed to stay what? Silent when it comes to actually fighting for the right of gays and lesbians to be free to marry and be treated equally before the law as straight families? Your silence allows for persecution and you see nothing wrong with this? Gays and their families are not “abnormalities” as the UHJ wants you to believe. They product beautiful families and wonderful kids. Some wayyy better than the kids I”ve seen produced by straight Bahais in fortresses of well-beings inside the Bahai community. You can stand on the side of prejudice or the side of justice. Which one do you think Abdul-Baha would want? Btw, here is a video I posted once before, ask yourself if God seriously views a couple who raises such a fine young man as an “abnormality”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSQQK2Vuf9Q

  • sheids

    Oscar – you’re idiot

  • sheids

    Littlewolfdan – I’m not sure why you try on here. I can see you’re a good person who means well, but you’re not going to get anywhere here.
    You’re only going to get hostility, and its not worth trying to convince them of anything – they’re ignorant and they’re assholes

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  • Sarmad

    Sorry, but the information presented here shows the ‘leadership’ outlining a tolerant position – ie as tolerant as possible whilst still saying that homosexual sex is not acceptable. The bigotry you mention is coming from individuals who are making foolish mistakes. But they are members of the religion – they are not the essence of the religion.

  • Sarmad

    Your membership of so many years and your many positive words make me feel that it is indeed possible to be a gay Baha’i. As a Baha’i I am totally happy to be friends with a gay member (whether they are privately active or not) – and I am also happy with the official teaching. I am sorry if this is contradictory. What worries me here is that you have been so persuaded by the idiotic comments of some individuals. That’s a real shame. I personally don’t give two turds about the views of an individual believer. (I use the vernacular here to prove a point about the freedom of expression I enjoy as a Baha’i. This may be coarse language, but I am so tired of people asserting that the Baha’is can’t speak out, that they can’t do this or that etc.) There have even been Universal House of Justice members who have made silly statements as individuals. For instance, Taherzadeh told audiences that he believed that the lesser peace would be in place by 2000 AD. I then had to spend many hours trawling through the documents throughout 1998-99 to see if there was any legitimate basis for this view (there wasn’t). I have held conversations with Baha’is who have held the most idiotic views and expressed them with such arrogance. This alas goes right back to the earliest days and appears to be one of the great flaws in numerous believers who cannot control their ego. I am angry that such people have affected you so badly (although not at the Faith.) I’d say that until the believers are more mature we don’t actually deserve your membership. But this is the sort of thing that will be corrected. If there is no God then this religion will fall to dust. But if He does exist then this religion will continue on its course. And you sir will converse further with me on this topic in the Garden – and you will speak to me of what you endured in following the path.

  • Sarmad

    I strongly suggest that we stop taking the behaviour of individual Baha’is and using this as a means for making deductions about the Faith. Please. Peter Khan gave a talk in which he described how a ‘Baha’i’ in a certain country was running a brothel. Do we then assume the Faith is holding a hypocritical position about prostitution? Or do we assume that this guy hadn’t read enough of the Texts?

  • Sarmad

    Yeah, there are definitely some really stupid Baha’is. When I was at university there was a ‘committee’ who wrote themselves a memo about how all ‘the youth’ were using bad words in their verbal discourse and what can we do? I knew an LSA member who believed in reincarnation and attempted surreptitiously to fondle a colleague’s bosom. This is human weakness and frailty and does not change the Truth. In my view there will be no Entry by Troops until the current membership learns a bit more about its own Faith!

  • Sarmad

    Well, I have myself read them all too. Obsolete? The continued membership of people from every background provides evidence to the contrary. My own background coudn’t be more different and yet this Faith is the Light in my life.

    You’ll now conclude that you are better educated than me. Perhaps, but I am not so bad either – PhD, professional academic etc. Interestingly, however, the internet-age buffoons who spend their time attacking the Faith, most often from an apostate perspective (I don’t associate you with these by the way) are all academics. So the level of education means nothing. In fact, you’ll remember that the ‘sifter of wheat’ was the only believer to be mentioned both in the Bayan and the Aqdas. Intelligence/education counts for nothing. What is important is the souls response to the Word of God.

    If you are right and this Faith is obsolete, then it will fail and fall to dust. If you are wrong then nothing you can say, no matter how insulting, will make any difference. So why bother?

  • Greetings,
    I don’t understand what you are referring to by “stop taking the behaviour of individual Baha’is and using this as a means for making deductions about the Faith.”? If you are referring to anything I’ve written please quote that so I can respond to your comment.

  • Sarmad, would you consider the removal of voting rights from a legally married couple as an individual’s foolish mistake? This is happening to many (but not all) married gay Bahais.

    I wouldn’t call this a “foolish mistake” but rather a situation where the Bahai administration is breaking the rules of the country. I realise that in countries such as in the U.S., same-sex marriage has been associated with party politics and I see the wisdom in the letter by the U.H.J. in asking Bahai communities to stay out of the debate, however this is a different situation to then removing voting rights from those who marry or are married. That is gay Bahais, who are legally married according to the laws of their country or state (sometimes these are called civil unions, but the law is a legally recognized union) then lose their voting rights.
    The worst thing about this whole scenario, in my view is the constant fear gay Bahais live with knowing that tomorrow they might have their voting rights removed. And for Bahais such as myself, knowing of so many stories where the administration appears to do this after an individual Bahai makes an issue of this.
    Meaning that the administration seems to leave gay couples be, if no individual Bahai makes a fuss about this but then they act when some individual does. I can understand that an LSA might find it difficult to proceed and accept a gay union as having the same rights and responsibilities as is accepted by the law of the state or country, if then Bahais complain that homosexuality is forbidden, but I think in light of this latest letter by the U.H.J., L.S.A.s should be able to take a position of not discriminating against those who are married.
    I know this is not the same as promoting equality for gays but it is at least not a practice of discrimination.

    If administrative decisions are not the essence of a community what are they then? I agree they need not be the essence of a religion, although one would hope that there would be a close connection.

    Just calling these “foolish mistakes” misses the point. The point that our Bahai communities have two standards. One lot of values and standards for heterosexual couples and families and another set of values and standards for gay couples and families.

  • Thank you Sonja… foolish mistakes indeed… the foolish mistakes are the enabling of homophobia and making GLBT Baha’i unwelcome and treated as second class citizens…

  • Littlewolfdan

    What the Aqdas says is from the Guardian, not Baha’u’llah.

  • Baquia

    Sonja, to me it is not clear if in that letter the guidance is for individual Baha’is or the institutions.

    “In working for social justice, Bah??’?s must inevitably distinguish  between those dimensions of public issues that are in keeping with the Bah??’? Teachings, which they can actively support, and those that are not, which they would neither promote nor necessarily oppose. In connection with issues of concern to homosexuals, the former would be freedom from discrimination and the latter the opportunity for civil marriage.”

    So the opportunity for civil marriage is “neither to be promoted nor necessarily opposed”. But is this in terms of the institutions? or individual Baha’is? is it meant as a guide for the official Baha’i stance or policy in response to civil laws? or is it meant as a guide for individual Baha’is to not have prejudice against homosexual couples that are married or in a civil union?

    To me the wording is not clear.

  • Barbruthw

    Whichever it is, it seems to me to say that while the opportunity for civil marriage should never be promoted or supported by Baha’is, it might in some instances be necessary or permissible to oppose it publicly. Which is about what I would expect from Baha’is. Personally, I think it is both guidance for institutions and for individuals – don’t ever promote or support gay marriage, but you might be justified in speaking out against it, which reveals the bias/prejudice of Baha’is. In other words, support freedom from discrimination for gays/lesbians except when the discrimination is in regard to the choice of a life partner and the forming of legal, stable relationships/families. Baha’is tiptoe around and say ugly things in a very nice-nice way, so as to protect their public image. I’m not at all encouraged by what they say in this letter. The letter reveals, I think, their concern over their public image regarding gays/lesbians, but does not reflect any change in policy.

    Just my two cents’.

  • Baquia

    Barb, something else which just flashed into my mind is that the distinction the letter makes is a false one.

    That is to say, restricting homosexuals from entering civil union or marriage is itself, most emphatically, a form of discrimination.

    How can it not be?

  • Barb wrote: “while the opportunity for civil marriage should never be promoted or supported by Baha’is, it might in some instances be necessary or permissible to oppose it publicly.”

    Barb why do you write this? I agree Bahais do make public statements against homosexuality such as the April statement by the Malaysian Bahai representative but I do not think that the October 2010 letter by the U.H.J. supports this. In fact I would think that the purpose of the letter is to encourage Bahais not to publically side for or against civil unions:

    “In working for social justice, Bah??’?s must inevitably distinguish between those dimensions of public issues that are in keeping with the Bah??’? Teachings, which they can actively support, and those that are not, which they would neither promote nor necessarily oppose. In connection with issues of concern to homosexuals, the former would be freedom from discrimination and the latter the opportunity for civil marriage.”

    [link to the whole letter]

    How I read this is that Bahai communities must work against discrimination against homosexuals.
    And on the issue of civil unions Bahai communities should not be seen as for neither for not against, so if Bahais make any statements on this topic they can only do this speaking as an individual expressing their personal opinions and not as a representative of any particular aspect of the Bahai community.

    If Bahais continue to do this, and I agree with you, it seems to be the case, it could be that these representatives are unaware of this letter.
    I am hopeful, I think this is a huge step. Bahai communities are instructed not discriminate against homosexuals and in fact are encouraged “to come to the defense of those whose fundamental rights are being denied or violated.” (UHJ, 27 Oct, 2010)

    Baquia asked:
    “…something else which just flashed into my mind is that the distinction the letter makes is a false one.
    That is to say, restricting homosexuals from entering civil union or marriage
    is itself, most emphatically, a form of discrimination.
    How can it not be? “

    Well I think many Bahais assume that homosexual Bahais are restricted from a civil union, but it isn’t that black and white.
    And in my view the letter doesn’t imply this.

    The same letter from the UHJ states:
    “The Baha’i Writings state that marriage is a union between a man and a woman and that sexual relations are restricted to a couple who are married to each other. Other passages from the Writings state that the practice of homosexuality is not permitted.”

    However there are two things here: civil unions are not the same as a marriage. Does this mean that a civil union can be seen as one of the allowed forbidden degrees of marriage (I’m still researching on this so sorry folks no more details yet) as expressed by the Bab or is marriage a social law as Abdul-Baha expressed in His will and testament?

    Does this mean that civil unions are to be accepted as the same as a marriage and in that sense an expansion of what marriage is, meaning a possibility for same sex marriage?

    The above questions cannot be answered at the moment – more research needs to be done and I think most likely this will be a policy the UHJ or perhaps various NSAs will need to legistrate on.

    However at the moment so many Bahais still believe that homosexuality itself is wrong and we only need to search on the words “Bahai” and “homosexuality” to find many examples of this discrimination, so in general, Bahai communities are not welcoming places for out of the closet healthy well adjusted gays, and so understandably the topic of any expansion on the meaning of what ‘marriage’ can include is most likely not a topic likely to part of any legistration in my lifetime.
    However as Bahais we can certainly discuss this and the potentials or possibilities because this is the way we can develop our understandings of how the Bahai community can adapt, progress and remain relevant for a changing society – even if such discussions end showing that such a potential is not possible.
    So back to the letter and the current situation for gay Bahais.

    The letter states that on the question of civil union, Bahais (and here I read this as Bahai communities because of course individual Bahais should be free to form their own opinions) are not to be fore nor against, so it would mean that any said Bahai community should welcome any individual who is legally in a union, in the same spirit that Bahai communities welcome and accept heterosexuals who also have had civil unions or polygamous marriages before they join the Bahai Faith.

    I know this doesn’t help single gay Bahais but my advice here would be, that they follow Bahai law exactly as any heterosexual would need to and expect the same treatment and then when they are ready to marry that they resign, marry and then rejoin. Bahais must not discriminate, so they should not be rejected. If they are, they can appeal to the NSA and to the UHJ.
    Now you might be thinking but this is a work-around. Yes it is. However this work-around concerns a cultural custom – a social law. Marriage and acceptance, and not essential Bahai teachings such as Justice, Equality, Progressive Revelation and so on, and more importantly it does not contradict anything penned by Baha’u’llah, Abdul-Baha or Shoghi Effendi.

    And in societies where gays cannot legally marry my advice would be to show mercy, tolerance, and be welcoming as often Bahais are, so that Bahai law is not just ” a mere code of laws” used to hit the opressed over the head with but rather used with wisdom and power for the good of all. I still hope that NSAs will no longer remove voting rights from gays because some Bahai is making a fuss about them being gay, while a heterosexual in exactly the same situation is shown mercy and tolerance and is allowed to participate with local Bahai community activities.

    Bahais need to see their religion as a living breathing entity and if some Bahai communities welcome their gay couples into their communities with open arms I think that is much healthier for all Bahais than to have an atmosphere of hypocritical ‘don’t ask and don’t tell’, or worse, the idea that is ok for a Bahai to think that a gay Bahai is not equally welcome. If that gay Bahai re-joined the community now openly married and accepted with no back-biting nor threat that sooner or later an NSA might remove their voting rights, then an atmosphere of equality for all flowers of the garden is possible.
    I realise a lot of the fear that Bahais have towards gay couples and families is because it is a new idea and that the idea that our faith is flexible and can adapt is most likely the real reason there is so much resistance to the idea that Bahai communities can be societies where gays are treated with equal rights and responsibilities.

    Shoghi Effendi wrote: “I need not dwell upon what I have already reiterated and emphasized that the administration of the Cause is to be conceived as an instrument and not a substitute for the Faith of Bah??’u’ll??h, that it should be regarded as a channel through which His promised blessings may flow, that it should guard against such rigidity as would clog and fetter the liberating forces released by His Revelation.” (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 9)

    Let Bahai communities be channels for the Bahai principles of equality, justice, and unity in diversity.

  • Anonymous

    “when they are ready to marry that they resign, marry and then rejoin. Bahais must not discriminate, so they should not be rejected. If they are, they can appeal to the NSA and to the UHJ.”

    Sonja,
    I disagree with your advice that homosexual Baha’is resign, marry and then re-enroll into the Faith. There is a very strong possibility that they will not be accepted back and allowed to join again. Remember that membership is not automatic and it has been declined to people (usually without any explanation given).

    Perhaps I’m too jaded but I can’t help but think that you are making a rather brave and baseless assumption that the couple or the individual Baha’i (now in a legally recognized union) will be automatically accepted back into the Faith.

    Appealing to the NSA/UHJ rarely if ever results in the original decision being turned (with the exception of an sympathetic case involving egregious and clear breaches of Baha’i law). I’ve certainly never seen an appeal bring about the desired result.

  • Desir0101

    In reply to desir0101.
    Every thing is best at it’s place.
    There’s nothing misplaced at any level in universe.

    It was understood that animal follow their INSTINCT but human use their mental and spiritual faculties.

    Every thing has been created by pairs to complement their needs.

    Animal at a below level than ours will never have intimate or any kind of sexual relation between same sex.

    BUT WHAT ABOUT WE HUMAN THE TALISMAN OF CREATION.

    Any action we can justify because we are using our intellect,, but is it in the right or wrong direction.

  • Yes I know that membership is not always automatic and it has been declined to people (usually without any explanation given).

    Such as in Brendan Cook’s case in 2006: he was brought up a Baha’i in a Baha’i family and was a part of a Baha’i community all his life, in a smaller community where they did not have a system of youth signing cards when they declared. Then when he began to express his views on a Bahai-only forum, this was objected to by the administrator, Susan Maneck, with the reason that he wasn’t officially a Baha’i. At the same time he was told by Bahais in the Toronto community that he now needed a card in order to continue to be able to attend Bahai feasts. Then he met with representatives of the LSA in Toronto to officially enroll. They refused to accept him and the reason for this decision was informatively “On the basis of your own statements, expressed in various ways, we have reached the conclusion that you do not meet the criteria for Bah??’? membership and your enrolment application cannot be accepted.”

    Brendan has as much of a clue as to whatever this criteria must be as anyone reading this here because I always thought the criteria was as is stated on the US Bahai website:
    ?A person becomes a Bah??’? by recognizing Bah??’u’ll??h as the Messenger of God for this age, committing to abide by His laws and guidance, and informing the Bah??’? community of this commitment.? In New Zealand where I joined the card signed stated also that you believed in ‘Abdu-Baha, Shoghi Effendi as Guardian and would obey the Bahai Laws. Brendan is a writer of satire and some Bahais were objecting to this, but surely Bahais may engage in satire? I disagree with what some Bahais write but that shouldn’t be a reason to then say, that this person can’t be a Bahai.

    So yes, I realise that suggesting to gays that they resign so they can legally marry and then re-join without breaking any current Bahai law, might not go smoothly.

    And in fact I am not even sure if a gay couple would break a Bahai law if they did marry. It would depend on their L.S.A., because I know of a case where a gay was to marry following all the requirements, but then in the end one of the parents refused to give permission. This was to legalize a union where they had raised a son together who was now grown.

    In light of this January 3rd 2011 letter by the U.H.J. an L.S.A. now might not be so rigid about requiring parental permission.

    ?The National Spiritual Assembly is pleased to share with you guidance that it has received from the Universal House of Justice concerning Bahai marriage law and the requirement of parental consent.

    Finally, the right of the parent to consent can be forfeited if he or she seeks to use the requirement for consent in a manner which subverts the spirit and intent of the law or obstructs an individual’s right as a believer in Baha’u’llah to marry in accordance with the provisions of Bahai law. For example, ‘Abdu’l-Baha states, “As for the question regarding marriage under the Law of God: first thou must choose one who is pleasing to thee, and then the matter is subject to the consent of father and mother. Yet, in some instances, a parent has refused consent in order to deprive the child of the right to choose and to force the child to marry someone of the parent’s choosing. In other instances, a parent has denied consent in order to try to prevent the child from marrying anyone.”

    In the case of the gay couple I mention above, the main reason was the parents’ objection to their son being a Bahai. They did not want to support a Bahai ceremony. Of course an L.S.A. might not consider the above softening of the need for parental permission, in some cases, as applying to a situation where a parent objects because of religion.

    I also have some questions about the current policy of the rules for a Bahai marriage. Recently an acquaintance pointed out to me that she married an atheist, and because he felt it was immoral to state ?we will all verily abide by the will of God? when he didn’t believe in God, she couldn’t have a Bahai marriage. If an L.S.A. was being rigid, she would have lost her voting rights because of this. This didn’t happen, however Bahais around her gave her a very difficult time, implying she was doing something wrong, telling her that she was breaking Bahai law (because she was marrying someone she loved). In the end, although she loved the teachings, she resigned and removed herself from the community.

    I am certain that Baha’u’llah would never had intended the rules for a Bahai marriage to be so rigid. Bahais are free to marry whomsoever they wish. Anyway the point of this aside here is to show that perhaps a gay Bahai need not resign to marry, and might even be able to have a Bahai wedding ceremony, if the L.S.A. or N.S.A. did not object.

    Ideally an L.S.A. should treat them like any heterosexual couple and make an exception, if the L.S.A. sees a gay marriage as an exception, for the good of the Bahai community. I know of one happily married open gay Bahai who is welcomed in his local community with his voting rights intact, however when I suggested that gays should resign before marrying I was thinking of Daniel Orey’s case, where he legalized his marriage according to Californian law when it was possible and then had his voting rights removed about a year later by the U.S.A. N.S.A. in 2009. They gave the reason as being for having a ?same-sex marriage?. In his case, a Bahai in his community helped him to plan his wedding as Bahai as possible and she served as a witness. It couldn’t be declared as a Bahai wedding because his parents refused to give permission. And I am not sure what might have happened if the L.S.A. had accepted his wedding. Would the N.S.A. have annulled this? I don’t know.

    Anyway if Daniel had unenrolled, then the N.S.A. could not have used the reason for removing his voting rights as being because he had a marriage ceremony that was not a Bahai one. That was my thinking here.

    So yes, I agree with you, I must warn any gay that it would depend on their Bahai community as to whether they would be allowed to rejoin, and as to whether they should do this. Sometimes gay couples are welcome in their communities, sometimes, as in Daniel’s case, suddenly out of the blue, they might get a letter stating that their voting rights are removed, so I don’t have an answer here. Clearly something is amiss if the laws of a country are more egalitarian than the Bahai practice.

    Baquia wrote “Appealing to the NSA/UHJ rarely if ever results in the original decision being turned (with the exception of an sympathetic case involving egregious and clear breaches of Baha’i law). I’ve certainly never seen an appeal bring about the desired result.”

    I agree, the common lore is that a Bahai can appeal and can expect to hear a reason or have their case looked at with justice, but in practice I agree with you, when voting rights are removed or enrollment is refused and the reason is not clear, no reason is ever given. Still I hope that this situation will change as more Bahais become aware of this and the Bahai administration develops so that it is more transparent. I know of one case where a removal of voting rights happened without any explanation and because there was no explanation, rumours and backbiting by Bahais about the (imagined) ‘awful things’ this Bahai must have done were so abundant that I heard of them when I passed through this community. Thankfully I knew the person and knew that these rumours were untrue. Then after 10 years, as if by magic, this Bahai had his voting rights returned with no apology and no explanation.

    If there was a mistake made, a simple apology, would do wonders in gaining the respect of Bahais such as myself. No system is perfect but a just administration should be transparent as much as is possible, so that it can be informed by the community it serves.

    ?the Universal House of Justice is not omniscient; like the Guardian, it wants to be provided with facts when called upon to render a decision, and like him it may well change its decision when new facts emerge…?
    (The Universal House of Justice, 1977 Aug 22, Clarification on Infallibility)

    The Bahai adiministration should be there to serve the Teachings of Baha’u’llah and not be treated as if the administration itself was revelation.

    ?The duties of those whom the friends have freely and conscientiously elected as their representatives are … Their function is not to dictate, but to consult, and consult not only among themselves, but as much as possible with the friends whom they represent. They must regard themselves in no other light but that of chosen instruments for a more efficient and dignified presentation of the Cause of God. They should never be led to suppose that they are the central ornaments of the body of the Cause, intrinsically superior to others in capacity or merit, and sole promoters of its teachings and principles. ?
    (Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i Administration, p. 65)

    And of course I have my own story with my husband Sen McGlinn where there are all sorts of colourful reasons given for his removal as a member of the Bahai community. I understand Bahais believe that the Bahai administration must be just, and so they will assume that Sen must have done something wrong and believe that Sen is hiding something and do not believe when we say we do not know what this reason is. However this is nothing compared to my gay brothers and sisters who are not treated with equality, who are told they are spiritually diseased, or told that if they want to raise a family that this is against the Bahai Teachings.

    I hope that the letter of the U.H.J. urging Bahais not to discriminate means that Bahai communities will endeavour to treat all their community members with equality.

  • Desir0101

    Please, but who can clarify the Quote from Aqdas” We shrink, for very shame, from treating of the subject of boys”

    Thanks.

  • http://justabahai.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/mainly-about-homosexuality/#paederasty
    which is also a response to this question made in August 2009 and buried in the comments underneath this blog http://bahairants.com/change-is-a-law-of-nature-666.html

  • Barbruthw

    Hi Sonja,

    I appreciate what you are trying to do, but I think you are working very hard to re-interpret what the UHJ has clearly said. In your quote from the letter, the opportunity for civil marriage is clearly in the category of “which they [Baha’is] should neither promote nor necessarily oppose.” This is clearly saying that Baha’is should not promote the opportunity for civil marriage, but the word “necessarily,” which you ignore in your analysis, leaves the door open for possible opposition to it. They go on to define marriage as between a man and a woman, and sexual activity of any kind as being permissible only within marriage. Acceptance of those who have multiple wives (or husbands) before becoming Baha’is is a different situation, because it does not violate the underlying principle of marriage being between male and female.

    I would like for your analysis to be correct, but I just don’t see it. It would be interesting if you were to present your analysis of this letter to the UHJ, and ask them to clarify their position – are they leaving the door open for accepting legally married gay couples into the faith and allowing them to continue to live together as a married couple? And if they say yes, they are, I will be the first to faint and then apologize for my misunderstanding and rejoice at their new policy.

    As I said, I appreciate your effort to cast a better light on the possibility for change in Baha’i policy toward gay marriage, but I do not see the basis for it. I think you are trying very hard to offer a different understanding in the hope that the Baha’i community will come around, and maybe they will one day, but not on the basis of what the UHJ has said in this letter. I think it is better to see things as they are, not as we wish they were – and indeed it is dangerous to cast a better light on what the UHJ has said than they intended in regard to this subject.

    There is no question that the UHJ decries prejudice toward gays/lesbians as deplorable. The problem is, they do not see the lack of opportunity for marriage in regard to gay relationships as a prejudice. Baquia is right here, in my view – the distinction is a false one. They are saying in effect “don’t discriminate against gays” while at the same time approving a very basic prejudice in the form of refusal to sanction gay sexual relationships with the approval of marriage for gays.

    I would like to be able to see this letter the way you do, Sonja – but I cannot honestly see it that way. I wrote what I did because it is what I honestly think, though it is not how I would like things to be.

    I will say here that, due to stories I have heard (which may not be reliable) I do wonder if there is prejudice within the Baha’i Faith in regard to placing openly gay Baha’is on assemblies, regional councils, etc. – in other words are openly gay Baha’is (or suspected gays for that matter) who are not vocally supportive of official Baha’i policy toward gays, considered equally for influential posts within the faith? That’s another issue, of course, but I am curious if anyone has any valid information on this topic.

    Barb

  • Barbruthw

    In regard to the possibility of such a turnaround (accepting back into the Faith, gay Baha’i couples or individuals who have resigned as Baha’is, gotten legally married in a same-sex relationship, and then asked to rejoin and be allowed to sustain their marriage relationship within the Baha’i community) – when pigs fly, I would say.

    Plus, it smacks of deception, rather than dealing head-on with the current Baha’i prejudice regarding gay marriage. And it takes membership in the Faith and/or resignation from it, lightly, which it should not be, in my opinion.

  • Baquia

    Desir, this is something that I’ve been pondering for a long time. Here is my personal attempt to understand what exactly Baha’u’llah meant by “the subject of boys”.

    Let me know what you think.

  • Fubar

    Ok, so it is “ok” for Ugandan bahais to be publicly homophobic, but not americans? What is the difference? Are you really implying that it is ok to be homophobic as long as you are poor/black? IS this some kind of bizarro postmodern political correctness?

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  • Fubar

    Actually, wouldn’t it be a sign of “progress” if bahais were willing to live with silly religious contradictions just like many other religions do that contain backward ideas that no oe wants to follow anymore? 🙂

    Sonja said:
    “And on the issue of civil unions Bahai communities should not be seen as for neither for nor against, so if Bahais make any statements on this topic they can only do this speaking as an individual expressing their personal opinions and not as a representative of any particular aspect of the Bahai community.”

    The above statement attempts to make bahai law look better than it is.

    Any common sense definition of “civil union” would classify it as an alternative form of marriage.

    Sonja attempts bypass common sense. She is to be commended for her sense of justice and compassion, but the violation of basic logic involved seems to go too far to be plausible given the typical manner in which people expect bahai law to be rational.

    (I would be the first to acknowledge that many important bahai laws and principles have been distorted massively to accommodate fundamentalists.)

    If bahais were being honest, they would be forced to admit to anyone asking about the “official” policy that there is no explicit allowance of the use of civil unions to do an “end run” around the bahai prohibition on gay marriage.

    So, the guidance from the UHJ seems to lead to a major contradiction: bahais are not to be seen advocating for any political discrimination while at the same time, bahai law is applied in a discriminatory manner. That seems to be very bizarro. If the UHJ and some NSAs think they can get away with a “PR” ploy of this kind, they are fooling themselves. Gay activists will immediately see the bald hypocrisy.

    As an ex-bahai, I personally think that bahai marriage laws are homophobic and backward, but again, the truth is that for those gays and lesbians that chose to remain in the faith, they should expect, consistent with current world wide policy, to be discriminated against if they want to have lesbian or gay marriages, and particularly if they have made “political” statements in public supportive of gay or lesbian marriage rights (as did Daniel Orey).

    The reality is that haifan bahai administration discriminates against dissidents, critics and nonconformists. They will attempt to obfuscate the nature of the discrimination as needed, where in the case of Sen, they almost certainly discriminated against him for writing nonconforming (anti-theocracy) ideas about Church/State, and in the case of Daniel Orey were they were almost certainly discriminating against him for publicly protesting in favor of a political position supportive of gay marriage.

    haifan bahai administration is highly allergic to even the fainest hint of reform, so people should not think that this contradictory “improvement” means all that much.

    the deep, entrenched stench that all the reformist bashing that bahai administration engaged in through the 70s, 80s and 90s put onto the bahai faith will not go away easily.

  • Fubar

    re: ?an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression?

    Yes, it would be nice if this was a real improvement.

    However, if a bahai was to protest the oppression involved in the bahai prohibition of gay marriages, I would not expect bahai administration to tolerate such “defense of the victim”.

    The contradiction simply seems to much?

    Even Sonja’s attempted semantic “loophole” of civil unions isn’t completely satisfactory. When he was still a bahai, Daniel Orey clearly stated that he thought that civil unions were unacceptable to gay activists like himself because they were an “unequal” alternative form of marriage!

  • Fubar

    re: “Every thing has been created by pairs to complement their needs.”

    In scientific/evolutionary terms, that is probably not biologically correct. The earliest organisms were asexual. Even the most primitive reproductive sex, which is a complex adaptation, evolved over a fairly long period of time (probably millions of years?).

    re: “Animal at a below level than ours will never have intimate or any kind of sexual relation between same sex.”

    That is not correct. Nature is not “pure”. Many animals, including primates (monkeys, etc.) have sex between partners of the same sex. Homosexuality is, from a biological-scientific perspective, perfectly “natural”.

    All religious laws and ideas are approximations of reality (including various ways of thinking that “god” exists).

    Absolutism is a form of cultural imperialism.

    (Western religions are full of cultural purity myths that reflected specific historical social circumstances. The “archeology” of such religious ideas can usually be “dug up” to reveal “artifacts” of culture that end up relativising later absolutist interpretations of the ideas.)

    The religious idea that nature is “pure” is just that – an idea. However it is very “unscientific”, and seems much more like an bad approximation of reality than a good one.

  • Fubar

    It seems very “convenient” to bahai administration that your case’s “ambiguities” will be widely perceived to be a “signal” that little or no reformist sentiment, or related non-conformance, dissent or criticism will be tolerated by bahai administration. If bahai administration wanted to clarify that they are open to dissent and discussion of reforms, they could very easily do so in your case.

    The fact that they have not clarified the matter seems to demonstrate that they have no respect for the concerns of people about the matter.

    As an ex-bahai, I personally think it is clear that haifan administration is highly dysfunctional and expects bizarre forms of loyalty to be displayed by public bahai intellectuals.

    Your attacks on the UBA seem to be the worst form of polemics: religiously inspired attacks on people involving distortion of facts. Scholarship is supposed to be objective and rational.

  • Fubar

    re: “There is also a member of the auxiliary board in attendance who comes to maintain the relationship between Baha’i administration and BNASAA.”

    This will create a predictable, chilling effect on anyone that is at all familiar with the pattern of abuses of authority by bahai administrators and attacks on reformers, critics, nonconformists and dissidents over the last couple of decades.

    It seems almost certain that if anyone that advocated any reformist ideas showed up at a bahai conference and spoke publicly that they would come under suspicion. If they were prominent in some manner, and refused to accept the “party line”, it is also likely that they would be marginalized. If they complained or persisted, they would be attacked, either by plain ol’ bahais, or possibly by rogue administrators.

    The best advice that Littlewolfdan offers gay bahais, after decades of attempting to reconcile sexuality and religion as a bahai (and studying the guidance, writings, etc. and participating in BNASAA), is to withdraw from membership.

    haifan bahaism is in deep trouble if a well educated, sensitive, compassionate, fair minded, long time gay bahais who is familiar with the writings like Littlewolfdan is so uncomfortable with the current unhealthy circumstances that he felt it necessary to resign.

    Littlewolfdan has clearly tried to contort himself around bahai belief for a long time, and could not come up with a good way to isolate the bad aspects of bahai belief/theology/scripture from the good.

    I personally see little reason to hope that bahaism will escape its autocratic/paternalistic cultural roots and limitations in the near future and open up to reforms.

  • Desir0101

    Fubar.
    Thanks for your comment.
    ”Animal at a below level than ours will never have intimate or any kind of sexual relation between same sex.”

    You are right, it’s just a typing error and inattention on my part.

    What I wanted to say:

    ”Animal at a below level than ours will have intimate or any kind of sexual relation between same sex.”

    BUT WHAT ABOUT WE HUMAN THE TALISMAN OF CREATION.

    And to your question of scientific proof , science is just the discovery of what has from time immemorial already exist and is call God’s knowledge.

    And human discoveries are far far away from.

    thanks again.

  • Fubar

    Desir,

    Thanks for the excellent feedback.

    I do not believe that an absolutist construct such as “God’s knowledge” has any scientific validity. I’m a buddhist in such matters (yes, there is some irony there), and thus, I see the concept of “God” to also be a construct. I prefer more broad, open definitions of Spirit and Transcendence that include evolutionary elements.

    My personal experience is that “Emptiness” is just as powerful an image of Ultimate-Spirit as is “Bearded Sky God” or “Divine Mother”.

    “Emptiness” = spiritual liberation (in buddhism, escape from the “conditioned” world).

    “Daddy God” = discipline, order. judgment.

    “Mommy God” = unconditional acceptance, love, nurturance, fertility.

    Why not believe in all three “Gods”, or even more?

    Hermes is the God of Information and Deception (the internet).

    Prometheus is the God Of Industrialization.

    Apollo is the God of Reason.

    Dionysus is the God of Wild, Uncontrolled, Primitive Urges (partying – gasp).

    etc.

    Monotheism is simply a tool of imperial slave-war cultures.

    (This is why bahaism will never be an actual “world religion”, at least not one of “peace and justice”.)

    Notwithstanding the bahai “principle” of the harmony of science and religion, bahai scripture contains gigantic mistakes about evolution. And all the previous western religions (and other spiritual traditions) are simply incapable of address evolution in a scientifically coherent manner.

    Please explain why, for 8,000+ years, “God” has had nothing to say about evolution (or other such important things as riding in airplanes, driving a Jeep, or eating enchiladas).

    From the viewpoint of studying pre-modern metaphysics, the idea of “God’s knowledge” can be understood as a psychological phenomena, and cultural construction. Such metaphysics are very valuable early attempts at “mapping” the “spiritual” aspects of consciousness, as seen from within the cultural limits of the contemplative traditions.

    The idea that humans are the “talisman of creation” is similarly false, and in my opinion, simply a form of “Daddy God” imperialism against “nature” that has allowed the destruction of much of the world’s ecosystems (Gaia is always a feminine image/archetype).

    What evolutionary theorists tell us is that humans have evolved the most complex form of consciousness known. We are far from actually understanding that consciousness (or the consciousness of other advanced species), but a lot of advances have been made by science.

    I do not agree with abdul-baha’s warmed over sufi metaphysics which state that “man” is somehow better than, or separate from, “nature”.

    Most human beings will die in about 10 minutes without air, 4 or 5 days without water, 10 days without food, and maybe a month or so with no ozone layer.

    Most religion is stupid.

  • Fubar

    bahaism has never done anything other than imitate and follow other emerging movements/ideas/paradigms.

  • Fubar

    Franklin was not an American President, but he was the most famous scientist in the world in his time.

    I think I heard that he was also bisexual? At least while in France?

  • Desir0101

    Fubar,
    Good points.
    I will take note.
    So, the evolution process from individual to societal life, religion was, is and will always be the sole instrument used, is using for the betterment of humanity.

    All your knowledge is the heritage from those before you.

    The masses need religion to evolute, a sense of spiritual life against the negative forces and evil thoughts.
    Religion has played fully its roll.

    But imagine that religion has not existed.
    I believe it will be total chaos in the world.
    A family life without disciplines, Every one does as he wish.

    There are some people that have been able to use the inherent power of transcendence need no form of religion.

    ”I prefer more broad, open definitions of Spirit and Transcendence that include evolutionary elements. ”
    You may use any form of letters combination, different from others, to depict This Universal consciousness, but it is understood and comprehend by all.
    Your are a son, a father, a husband, a grandfather, each one call you differently but you have not change, You are the same person.

    Because of “evolutionary elements’ today we have been moving from asexual and unicellular to male and female identities.

    Science is just the discovery of already existing form of thought
    We are just manipulating the four elements to have the physical result.
    If I have to rely only on scientific views there is nothing spectacular.

    With warmth greetings.

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  • @8276420a6fa120efc7c7e79200cb01cc:disqus , Sorry that it took a while to respond to your comment about “the word “necessarily,” which you ignore in your analysis, leaves the door open for possible opposition to it.”

    My response is here:
    http://justabahai.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/lady-gaga-born-this-way/#2010

    Let me know if you still think I’m ignoring “necessarily” – I agree the phrase is open to interpretation, but I think there is nothing wrong with the U.H.J. writing in such an open way, so Bahais need to think about how they respond. It seems a wise approach. Bahais should think for themselves.

    The area of marriage is a topic I am working on but it will take me more time to find material.

  • Pingback: It’s Getting Better: Baha’i Faith & Homosexuality « Just a Bahai Blog()

  • Littlewolfdan

    In a letter from the UHJ, I read when I was still a Baha’i, it stated that gay families were not to be encouraged to break up their families, as that would be against civil laws where gay marriage was legal, but also were not to be invited to join the faith.  They were to be told the laws and allowed to decide for themselves if it would be better for them to end their family to join the faith, if they really believed in Baha’u’llah and wished to become Baha’is. 
    In light of this it is absurd to think that a Baha’i who is gay would be allowed to marry while they are enrolled or not and remain a Baha’i in good standing.  They would lose their administrative rights.

    Issues regarding what I wrote have been discussed since I last checked out this site in January.  A question was asked regarding Lynne Schrieber giving a talk at the 20th anniversary conference in Green Acre.  I asked a member of the planning committee who told me that she gave a talk at a breakout session, not as a plenary speaker.  Anyone who wished to attend could.  The 2 people I asked , who were at the conference, did not attend her session because they had no interest in changing, so they did not know what was discussed there.  I also asked what the leadership of BNASAA would do if an ABM would not follow the confidentiality rules of the conference after finding out that a gay Baha’i had gotten married and was told the ABM would not be allowed to attend if they could not maintain a person’s confidence.  I further asked what she thought BNASAA’s response would be if the administration tried to use the conferences to collect info about gay Baha’is to use to remove administrative rights, or tried to have BNASAA remove the “S” from it’s title.  She thought BNASAA would vote to disband itself in either case.
    I have again been asked by the planning committee to attend the next BNASAA conference at Bosch, in Santa Cruz, CA in September, so that the new Counselor who is planning to attend and is interested in gay Baha’i issues can hear my story from my lips; I have declined. 
    It was suggested that I contorted myself around the laws and listened to individuals before withdrawing from the religion.  This is not the case.  I was fine with my life as a Baha’i who was gay.  I was not fine that an ABM, not acting as an individual, used his status to suggest that perceived mutual hatred of gays would fuel the growth of the religion when he spoke to me at my home after I was asked to help the administration know better the relationship between the Faith and homosexuality.  He then left my home to invite a gay Baha’i and his LSA member parents and sister to leave the Faith if he was going to remain gay and his family was going to be supportive of him. 
    God and hate clashed in my heart and I felt that the Faith had died and been replaced by another religion of man.  It took me over a year to make my decision to withdraw, not coming to it lightly.  The response of the NSA and the UHJ was short and to the point; they wished me well in my life.  I believe that I am right thinking that nobody cares about gay Baha’is leaving the religion.  Out of sight, out of mind?  At any rate, I am fine closing the door on religion so that I can continue my spiritual relationship with God. 
    While I know that the teachings of Baha’u’llah are the only thing that will assure the survival of this planet, I no longer believe it will come about through the Baha’is of today.  Perhaps some day, when the current stock of Baha’is have died off,  someone will discover the writings of Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha and wonder why nobody spread the news of these teachings.  The Baha’is have become the Faith’s worst enemies, as Baha’u’llah warned they might.  He said that if the Baha’is did not teach the Faith of God, then God would raise a race of men from the stones in the sea to take our place.  I think that day will come.  The planet will be better off it that day is sooner than later. 

  • Zreed9

    I found this quote on the old page of the BNASAA from the link you provided. 
    “They (homosexuals) should be treated just like any other people seeking admittance to the Faith, and be accepted on the same basis. Our teachings, as outlined in ?The Advent of Divine Justice? on the subject of living a chaste life, should be emphasized to them just as to every other applicant, but certainly no ruling whatsoever should be laid down in this matter. The Bah??’?s have certainly not yet reached that stage of moral perfection where they are in a position to too harshly scrutinize the private lives of other souls, and each individual should be accepted on the basis of his faith, and sincere willingness to try to live up to the Divine standards; further than this we cannot go at present. 
    (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a National Spiritual Assembly, 11 April 1948)
       the print is in white so you may have to highlight it to read it.  Sorry for the inconvenience…

    why is this not upheld when all the other letters written on behalf of the Guardian are? 

  • Littlewolfdan

    I have just received copies of 2 letters from the UHJ, written in 1999, to a friend of mine regarding the question of accepting gay couples into the faith.  Their reply affects the discussions which have been a big part of several gay Baha’i websites.  I am not the bearer of good news.
    The letters state that gay couples cannot join the faith unless they end their relationships.  They can decide for themselves whether or not to join after being “lovingly” taught the rules of the faith with regard to marriage as only being between a man and a woman, no sex being permitted outside of a heterosexually married relationship, as well as understanding the religion’s views about the unacceptability of homosexual relationships.  If a couple decide to maintain their relationship they could not be invited to become Baha’is.  Ending their relationship and agreeing that their sexual orientation is a mistake would make them welcome by the religion. 
    I have sent these letters to our mutual friend Sean for posting on this site, and others to which he belongs, that are debating this issue.  Posting these letters should resolve the need for further discussion about this issue on these sites, at least as those discussions relate to changing religious policy  However, for those Baha’is desiring to enter into a same sex relationship and maintain their status as a good Baha’i and lgb people interested in joining the religion is not the hoped for outcome.

    Lgb people are only going to be acceptable to the religion if they agree that they are not supposed to exist, ignoring their true selves, trying to become somebody who is acceptable to the religion. 
    Oneness of mankind, elimination of all prejudice, listening to scienctific truths be damned.  Treating people with utmost loving kindness is not the same as feeling sympathy for the sexual plight of lgb people and it’s effects on their souls.  There is plenty of misplaced self loathing in the lgbt community, as in other disenfranchised communities, leading to pervasive self destruction.  Nobody needs to feel imposed upon to believe that these self destructive feelings come directly from God with His sanction to be dispensed through His followers.
     
    I have deliberately ommitted the “t” for transgender people in much of this commentary because transgender people are actually acceptable to Baha’i administration.  Transgenderism is considered a medical condition, not a sexual disorder, according to a letter I read from the UHJ.  Baha’i ingorance leading to unnecessary prejudice towards transgender individuals aside, they are not really part of this discussion unless a transgender person decides to marry someone of the sex to which they have been reassigned.
     
    Understanding that we are all flawed, with homosexuality being considered a flaw, is acceptable so that equality can be attempted based upon mutual flawness and utmost kindly treatment (i.e sympathy) can be dispensed with equal measure.  
    Hypocritical bigotry among Baha’is is never okay but is nevertheless alive and well, as Baha’is who have encountered racism, sexism, homophobia, or other forms of discrimination and the accompanying disenfranchisement can attest. 
    It should be noted that when a Baha’i tries to expose an offense it is downplayed in a false attempt at unity since the response is directly related to the administrative status of the offending individual, sometimes leading to the administrative sanctioning of the offended party.
     
    In the end I feel that ending relationships with religion, which is not the same as ending relationships with God, is still the best course of action for any lgb person with healthy feelings of self worth.  Now, a year or so after officially and administratively ending my relationship with the Baha’i religion I still consider my withdrawal the correct decision, even after over 35 years as a member in good standing.  I have no interest in presenting a false, more palatable self in an attempt at false unity.  I have a strong understanding that religion was intended to bring unity to the world and also understand that when it destroys unity it is a sick thing that must be abandoned.  Baha’u’llah understood this and wrote that it is better abandonded when it reaches such a state.
     
    I was born with an obvious physical disability which is as much part of my uniqueness as my sexual orientation.  Before my sexual orientation was apparent I understood that I would never be like other people and have always liked the person that God made me to be.  Although I have a flaw in my physical nature when compared to the physical nature of others, I have never allowed ignorant people who tried to reduce my humanity to be successful, even though I was emotionally damaged at the insults of the assailant at the time.  I had an inate understanding that they were ignorant people who might someday know better and remember the things they had said to me.  I was exposed to all the insulting, bigoted comments that could be hurled on a child for my physical distinctions long before I understood anything about the implications of the romantic, sometimes sexual, feelings that were growing inside me towards others of the same sex, feelings a child could not be expected to comprehend any more than he could understand why anyone would say such vehemently horrible things about his different physical attributes. 
    I  consider anyone trying to reduce my humanity based on my sexual orientation in the same way as I felt when ugly, negative comments were made about how I moved as a kid.  I have understood that for bigoted people the nouns may change but the associated adjectives and sentiments remain the same.  I will never allow others to lessen me to a subhuman.  My being will continue to remain intact and I will continue to assist other people understand that their uniqueness is rooted in their soul, being expressed during their life through their physical individuality.
       
    My relationship with God has always been and will always fuel my soul, as it does everyone’s. 

  • Littlewolfdan

    This letter in 1948 related to gay individuals, not gay couples, being accepted like any other individual.  My posting above may be helpful now that the administration has finally gone further than was needed at the time of Shoghi Effendi.  Remember that gay people were not as out at that time, so gay Baha’is and gays with interest in the faith were not asserting themselves as we do today.

  • Richard Rowland

    I terminated my own membership in the Baha’i Faith after almost 40 years because I was told I could be a homosexual but not practice it.  No different that many other religions.  I realized there never was a place for me in the Faith where I could be the wonderful person God had created, and I could not bring myself to believe God didn’t love and accept me.  I refused to live a lie any longer.  Now I realize that no church, community or organization is needed to have a rich spiritual life.    At 72 years of age I am free, loved (especially by myself) and still respected by my family and friends.   

  • Rr268

    dco:  It took me nearly 40 years to work through all this and finally withdraw from the Faith.  Baha’is are like everyone else…..I’m afraid. 

  • Richard Rowland

    I came to the same conclusion when I abandoned the religion after nearly 40 years.  I am happy to say that my relationship with Source Energy has never been better.   The love of my creator is with me and fills me every day.  

  • Richard Rowland

    YES, God created this homosexual as noble and rich, and to ask me to deny what God created is evil.  And I can only reach the conclusion, after 40 years of struggle, that Baha’u’llah could not be a messenger of the loving God who created me, wonderful in every way as I am.  The One who created me as a lover of my own kind.  It is certainly immoral to ask one to live a life lying about their reality or preventing them from the only love and companionship that is wired into their very being, by that loving God. 

  • Richard Rowland

    ‘celebrating the equality and diversity of humanity. And saying to any individual ?we will tolerate you? is still a form of prejudice. In order not to discriminate we need to be welcoming.”  How hypocritical!!!!!  This ex-Baha’i finally, after 40 years refused to accept that any more.   Thank God!  I left that community.

  • Anonymous

    Folks let’s face it, there really are only two options for out gays (especially partnered ones) who wish to be Bahais: 1) Don’t be active and worship on your own (which is what I have chosen; and so far it’s working out really well for me. I actually feel sorry for my family when I see how much time they waste on useless Bahai activities which they feel are actually benefitting mankind, but I digress…) or 2) Be lucky enough to find a local community that at the grassroots roots says the heck with what the AO mandates, we need members! SO they accept that loving gay couple and treat them as equals.  I think if too many local communities do that or really large ones do that, then the AO will clamp down. But since the Bahai community is not growing (and probably shrinking in the West), then I seriously doubt the Bahai administration would want to start closing down communities and shrinking them even further! 
    But above all else, most gay couples would not in their right mind want to be part of your average dysfunctional Bahai community. I mean here I am, generations Bahai with a lot at stake, and trust me, I don’t care anymore. My future partner would have to beg me to go back to the boring feasts and committee meetings. So gay couples are not banging on the door to enter the Bahai community; heck no one is right now. 
    Which of course makes the Bahais more perplexed, more insular as they wonder why the messed up world just doesn’t get their message; instead of looking to themselves and asking “maybe we aren’t applying the message correctly and our community really isn’t all that”. :o/

  • Richard Rowland

    Your comments really resonate with me.  I have chosen to be apart from those toxic communities, I never lived in one that wasn’t, and did indeed finally leave the Faith.  Your observations are so right on.  You seem to be Persian so I am sorry, but doubt your family will ever be able to accept your orientation. My experience as an officer on many Assemblies, and assistant to the Board only showed me that the homophobia in the Persian community and the insular disconnection of the American friends was impossible to overcome.   I wish you well.  Living honestly is so wonderful.   Hugs

  • Anonymous

    Thanks bud. Yea, it’s all really sad; not so much because it’s part of my heritage going back to the Dawn Breakers. No it’s not that. It’s because I actually still do believe in it! I believe Bahaullah is who He said He was- God’s Messenger. But I also believe He was a man inspired by God set in a time in history. I believe He created a religion that was to be more flexible- not just another strict Sharia law. There is so much of His Writings that we don’t know. It’s almost all that we are fed are Writings that push us towards mindless acceptance of authority with absolutely no questioning. But when I read some of Abdul-Bahas Writings, He did questions authority and criticized. It was a balance. But of course those in power, incumbents who have to keep their jobs on the Bahai payroll, need complete obedience for their job security. It’s just the way it is. Independent strong local communities don’t allow for centralized power.
    When you think about it, organized religions really are the very first franchise in history. What do franchises do? They set up as many localities as they can to get money to come in to one central location. But that central location puts out very little to foster and help those local communities. I know this sounds pretty negative, but unfortunately it is a very realistic observation. The Faith needs to just go back to the times of Abdul-Baha- a hodgepodge group of people that loved one another and tried to do lofty goals like eliminating prejudice in their local communities- that’s all. But oh well…

  • Anonymous

    Oh and you may want to check out http://www.gaybahai.net if you haven’t already. Cheers!

  • Littlewolfdan

    Yes, He did create you just the way you are supposed to be, and me too.  The mistake in your reasoning in saying Baha’u’llah was not a Messenger of God is that Baha’u’llah never mentions homosexuality; He was busy trying to teach us the oneness of mankind and the elimination of all prejudice, lgbt people were not eliminated from that by either Baha’u’llah or Abdul-Baha.  Baha’is have created their own exception list, thus destroying the Faith and replacing it with a religion that will have little to do with either Baha’u’llah or God by the time the next Manifestation arrives in 1000 years

  • Littlewolfdan

    I think that the important things to remember are that religion needs God, God does not need relgion and religion does not necessarily mean spiritual.  We have seen, ad nauseum, examples of religious people who are not spiritual.  We don’t need religion to have God, He created religion to bring us together, but when it doesn’t serve His purpose we are better off without it, according to Baha’u’llah.  I have always had a relationship with God, with or without religion.  I’m only sorry that it took you so long to realize this.  I feel sad for those who never come to understand it and live a life without understanding that God is with them at all times, under all circumstances.

  • Littlewolfdan

    You didn’t mention choice #3 Peyamb, officially and administratively withdrawing from the religion.  How can any lgbt person belong to a religion that treats them with sympathy, thus excluding them from the oneness of mankind as equals to be treated with the prejudice of sympathy.  You certainly cannot treat someone with utmost loving kindness if you feel sorry for their existance.
    I still spread the teachings of Baha’u’llah but have no intention of introducing anyone to the religion.  The writings specifically say to make sure that someone has the love of Baha’u’llah in thier hearts before introducing them to the Baha’is.  The reason for this should be obvious.
    The religion will be devoid of lgbt people in the future unles they agree that they have a deficiency that must be eradicated.  If all lgbt people disappeared tomorrow, more lgbt people would be born the next day to take our place.  We are a creation of God.  If we were an error, or if getting rid of us was imperative, I beieve that the Messenger of God, or His Exemplar, would have brought it up, God would not have waited for the Guardian.  God would have found a way, after all of the eons of existance, to erase us from the gene pool if we were not supposed to be here.

  • Craig Parke

    Littlewolfdan,

    I have been playing catch up reading these posts today as I was very busy in my professional work back in 01/11 when this thread had many posts and had not read them. I, for one, appreciate your posts very much!

    Thank you!

    Craig

  • Littlewolfdan

    WOW!  Thanks Craig!  I know some of what I have tried to post has not been accepted, so not all of my opinions are shared by those who run this site, just like things on this site are not acceptable to those who run Baha’i facebook.  I guess no matter what direction one comes from, consultation is abandoned over power of those who think they are in charge.  Don’t know when I will be on this again-no dogsitting plans in the works-only time I am on computer-glad I saw this note from you!  Anyone else besides me and Sean leaving the serious world behind to play with the original mouse, Mickey, next weekend?  Gaydays at Disneyland is October 1-2.  I will not miss this machine or the debates while there.

  • Craig Parke

    Well, enjoy yourself down there on your trip! My screenwriting partner on my current film script lives in Florida and she says things are imploding daily all around her on the Atlantic side. So putting some outsider money into the economy could help them because they are on the ropes down there. She has two condos that are not currently rented because there is such a glut with the housing collapse. So you are helping out on your trip! Good journey!

    The Baha’i Faith is going under but I salute the contribution of everyone here who tried to save something good in it in their years of dedicated service. But it can no longer be saved in it’s current terminal dysfunction. It is now an incestuous cult led by completely talentless OCD driven  people. So just enjoy the rest of the time you have on Earth. I enjoy my work in software engineering and screenwriting. Life is good.  I love to go to work each day. I work with tremendous people from many different backgrounds who love what they are doing for a living. In this I am so blessed!

    In the current Baha’i Faith anyone who has a talent and is good at what they do is often branded an “enemy of God” full of “self” and “passion” who will “sink in the depths” if they are not doing Ruhi books 24/7 or  going door-to-door in every free moment on weekends. This is what I was told. But I have left that all behind now.

    One should enjoy the great adventure of independent investigation of truth. I have gone back to my Sufi and Buddhist books and I am happy! The long nightmare of breathtaking indignity is over.

    This is what my current film script is about! It is very esoteric! And it is SO MUCH FUN!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndEzExxiMfw

    There is great joy among the souls of the Earth completely FREE to skate the Cosmic Powers of the New World Age who do not have to answer to a lifetime incumbent cult bubble of micro management sociopaths.

    Best to you and yours, Sir!

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_movements_within_Islam

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominational_positions_on_homosexuality

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT-affirming_Christian_denominations

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordination_of_LGBT_Christian_clergy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blessing_of_same-sex_unions_in_Christian_churches

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_and_sexuality

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_and_homosexuality

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_matters_and_religion

    The Baha’i Faith is paradoxically interested in reforming other religion while resistant to reform itself.

    http://www.fglaysher.com/

    http://www.reformbahai.org/

    Generally, most Muslims are moderate to conservative in their interpretations of Islam without spilling over into the radical extremist camp. There are liberal Muslims like in the first link like Irshad Manji and Quranists and Ahmadis.

    The Baha’i Faith was sent to modernize Islam and other religions, but these religions have been modernized or modernizing already. Generally, the Baha’i Faith assumes that Traditionalist Twelver Shi’ism is the true expression of Islam, which is one of the least modernized forms of it ie responsible for Iran’s current condition. Forms of Islam other than this have modernized: Druze, Nizaris, Alawites, Alevis, Ahmadis, Quranists, etc.

    Ironically, the explicitly defined authority system has made the Baha’i Faith rigid rather than flexible. Instead of having a body that allows it to officially respond flexibly to modernity, it has a body that officially rigidly defies modernity and stays in a mid-late 19th/ early-mid 20th century context. The Baha’i Faith’s centralized authority is more of a liability than an asset.
     

  • Another Guest

    Harming any soul has never been a part of any religion.
    Likewise, homosexuality has never been permitted by any religion.
    Why do some think it will be different in the Baha’i Faith?

  • Pingback: BBC Radio Hosts Frank Discussion on the Baha’i Faith | Baha'i Rants()

  • Bugbear

         The Baha’i position that homosexuality is not a legitimate form of sexual expression makes it appear worryingly ignorant. Many individual Baha’is who are also students of biology know very well that homosexuality occurs naturally in most animal species and may occur in 10% or more of the human population. However, the rules of the Faith about not challenging the core rules of the Faith forces many Baha’is – the biologists, the thinkers, those with gay friends and family members, those who are themselves gay, and all those at the forefront of the ever-evolving human-rights movements to … what? To live in great discomfort, is what.
         Having a sex drive and expressing that responsibly is one of the signs of biological health, and the Baha’i ‘compromise’ position that gays are okay so long as they they don’t pursue same-sex shennanigans is … well, worse than lame. The Baha’i faith has a tremendous amount to offer the world but it can no longer imagine that the core teachings will be good (as they stand) for another eight centuries. Many Baha’i beliefs need to be reexamined but the first, the most topical of these is the Baha’i take on homosexuality.

  • Mother28

    I recently resigned from the Baha’i Faith from my letter of resignation I said:

    “I always believed that the Faith would eventually consider science and the rigorous study of society, however it is clear from the activities of the Faith around the world that the Faith will not change its policy regarding marriage equality, the flexibility of gender roles, or gender identity.  I have found it particularly disappointing that a Faith I once embraced has supported hate groups against homosexuals and that Baha’i Counselors have in international forums promoted corrective therapy for LBGTQ members that has been condemned in the medical community as abusive, harmful and ineffective.”

    this was the straw that broke my back, I don’t want a religion in my life that is not tolerant and in alignment with science.

  •  The sexual impulse exists and has for some time in the history of humankind.

    As I recently wrote elsewhere a reason that the Baha’i religion is making a stand against gay, lesbian, and intersex Baha’i people engaging in ‘sex’ might be to ensure the abundant  procreation of Baha’i children through female-male sexual relationships so that in the envisioned goal of a World Commonwealth the Baha’i Faith plays a major role backed up by it’s population.

    In the animal world, it has been discovered that when a species becomes over-populated it naturally has an increase in homosexual behaviour as a means of maintaining balance. History also can demonstrate this natural inclination in the human society. For example, in the East it has been a common practice to introduce catamites into a marital bed so as reduce producing children beyond the capacity of the family (birth control).

    Today, seven billion people are just too many folks for the Planet Earth to support healthfully, thus nature has increased same-sex inclinations world-wide as a means of protecting the Planet from the ills of over-population.

    However, as mentioned above, this would be counter to the goal of the Baha’i Faith becoming central in a World Commonwealth, and on this point alone, it seems most unlikely that the Faith will ever alter its stand against same sex physical relationships.

    Once the political aspirations of the BF are made clear, then the gay, lesbian, and intersex folks no longer need to argue their case within the Faith because their case counters the long run goal. Even gay-lesbian-intersexual Leaders in the Baha’i Faith have ruled against their own natural inclinations in order to support this goal – and thus the Baha’is are left with  writings on this issue that wreak of discrimination and confusion countering the premise of peace and unity of humankind. Thus rendering the Baha’i Faith incapable of bringing Peace to the world, for full equality is a prerequisite of Peace and Unity.

    “With the Power of Equality injustice will be no more” – Qurratu’l-Ayn Tahirih circa 1840

  • Justice

     Many females die in painful child birth still in this day. Maybe some people are in sympathy with this condition and want to lessen suffering on the Planet.

    Painful child-birthing was a curse put upon women during the ‘separation’ by the creator god of the day. However, humankind is moving in a more vertical direction as part of the call of the Great Plan of Source to reconnect and move past the man-made construct of the Fall.

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  • Bob

       When I came into the Baha’i Faith it was because of a response to a resonance with the teachings of Baha’u’llah and the central teachings of the Faith. This was a response to the spirit of truth that is in most of us, if we choose not to fight it. This IS the Holy Spirit. As time went on I found it necessary to spend time to understand that the subjects covered by the teachings is virtually everything. Everything! If I had a question all I had to do was to give it time and I would find an answer to questions that were not easy to analyze. But I would always find an answer; and the answer would eventually be one that was in agreement with the tenants of the Faith.
       After years of doing this exercise in questioning it became apparent that at some point I must put away prejudiced misconceptions that I had absorbed in my younger years about many subjects and questions which were still unexplored. And I found myself facing my shortcomings where I found myself lacking in following the laws of God; efforts which are continuing and some which I may fail to achieve during my lifetime.
       As all this time and effort has passed, at no time have I, or will I consider that my opinion of what God’s will is has crossed my mind concerning what MY goals are to be in my lifetime, because of the obvious Laws of God revealed by Baha’u’llah for my education. Once we reach the understanding of what the Prophets of God are, these Manifestations, one and all, I can only conclude that those who would question the authority of these Prophets have never understood the Station from which They speak. They are the expounders of the laws of God. They don’t “imagine” things. They speak as directed by God with no interpretation of Their own.
       I have been in the company of those Baha’is who displayed homosexual tendencies and not once were they rejected by other Baha’is or disparaged in any way. In recognition of this, none of them promoted a way of life they knew was not in conformance with Baha’i teachings, nor did they question Baha’u’llahs teachings concerning these matters.
       At no time in history have ANY of God’s Messengers allowed homosexuality to be a part of what is permitted in God’s religion. In spite of this opposition to such activities I now find that a discussion concerning a rejection of homosexuality has NOW become a Baha’i issue, instead of being a continuation of the teachings of ALL the Manifestations. NOTHING HAS CHANGED! No law of God has become anything else than what it has always been through all recorded time; not because some have interpreted this as being an attack on people, instead of a statement of what the will of God is, do we find ourselves with this discussion. No one in the Baha’i Faith, including the UHJ, has ever promoted an attack on ANY group whether in or outside of the Faith. That has never been the non violent position of those in the Faith, even during those times when the Bah’is were persecuted, tortured, and martyred did they ever attack those who attacked them. Who doesn’t recognize this? To say that the Faith promotes intolerance shows a lack of knowledge of what the Baha’i Faith is or it’s history. For those who disagree I would advise a study of Baha’i history. Such are we now as we were then.
      
      

  • Baquia

    Bob, you assume that Baha’u’llah spoke about homosexuality when this is not true. You assume that letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi because he was so busy are Baha’i law, this is not true. You assume… quite a bit actually.

    You write: “At no time in history have ANY of God’s Messengers allowed homosexuality to be a part of what is permitted in God’s religion”

    First, this is not accurate. May I suggest you take a look at Buddhism? or maybe adelphopoiesis?

    Second, even if it were to be accurate, so what? of what relevance is it to the current discussion if no previous manifestation was ok with it?

    There are many things that previous manifestations were ok with that we are not ok with now. For example, we no longer stone women if on their wedding day they turn out not to be virgins. We don’t condone the marriage of a woman to her rapist with the payment of a small sum of money to her father as having settled the crime. And so forth.

    As you know, revelation is progressive and as civilization matures and develops so does the divine message.

    Angrily shaking our fists in the air and shouting at clouds for no reason other than we don’t like change is not good enough a reason.

  • JJJ

    I am not gay, and I have seen more gay friends buried than married. I was an active Baha’i, carrying a card from 1976 to 2007. I was the corresponding secretary of our LSA from 2003. I gave up. For MANY reasons, not least of which being the “gay” issue, I turned in my card and, although the NSA representative invited me to continue to attend activities for “non-Bahais”, I have lost communication with most of the community. I am regarded as misguided and I was openly told to NOT attend the social portion of feast activities, forcing me to no longer take my child to feast.

    Sigh. Just sigh. God save us from ourselves.

  • Roosterpen

    The beloved Guardian was the appointed Interpreter of the Faith and He interpreted the verse in the Aqdas in reference to the treatment of boys as referring to the practice of homosexuality being forbidden by Baha’u’llah and if we accept the Guardian then we must accept this as what Baha’u’llah meant. If we do not accept the Guardian’s authority then we cannot in all honesty call ourselves a Baha’i.

    Next. The oneness of mankind does not mean recognition and acceptance of anything and everything everyone does or wants to do. The Baha’i Faith rejects the practice of homosexuality just like it does pre-marital sex, drugs and alcohol which are popular lifestyles today. Popularity does not mean it is right. Baha’u’llah said in the Aqdas that complete freedom was the symbol of the animal and that in some circumstances it was approved and in others forbidden adding “We are All-Knowing”. Again it comes back to whether one accepts that this Covenant is from God or consider they know better than our Creator. One does not have to become a Baha’i if one disagrees with the truth of this Revelation but if a person does wish to join the Community of the Greatest Name then there are laws to follow and an administration to be obeyed. It’s up to people to choose. If a person wants to lead a life of drinking, gambling and sexual permissiveness then he is free to do so but within the Baha’i Community he is not free in this regard. The choice and call is the individual’s to make. The Baha’i Faith does not force people to give up homosexuality if they do not want to be a Baha’i but Baha’is must also respect the Faith’s rights to have its own laws and not try and force the Faith to go against its own basic Teachings one of which is that the practice of homosexuality within the Faith is forbidden. The Baha’i Teachings do not discriminate against people but forbids some forms of behaviour. Homosexuality is just one of many forms of behaviour which are forbidden.

  • Baquia

    Roosterpen, the Guardian did no such thing. All we have is a hand-written mark on the margins of his copy of the Aqdas which has been interpreted by some people to mean this.

    We don’t know exactly what the mark is, an arrow? a star? a note to himself, a line?

    The connection between the line in the Aqdas and homosexuality was made by those who at the time were translating the Aqdas using the partial translation of Shoghi Effendi.

    This is an important distinction which is lost on most Baha’is.

    Also, you write: “If a person wants to lead a life of drinking, gambling and sexual permissiveness”.

    What if a person just wants to settle down with their loved one in a committed monogamous relationship, raise a family and grow old together? what if those two people are both women? or both men? what exactly have they done wrong?

    They aren’t cavorting, drinking, gambling, being promiscous, etc.

    This warped bigoted image of sexual orientation that some people have is thankfully changing (slowly).

  • Barbruthw

     “No law of God has become anything else than what it has always been through all recorded time”

    Really?   Are you sure that is what you want to say, Bob?

    God is in a way The Great Trickster – He doeth whatsoever He willeth, and our inability to grasp the implication of that is what trips us up, every time. 

  • Dan

    The writings have always stated if you are gay you can lose your voting rights. I am a fairly new bahai and grew up with alcohol, friends and parties, this was what I had to give up for my faith. To me it was an easy choice, follow God’s laws or lose voting rights etc. But I also believe people should always be treated with respect and more importantly if you don’t have a scientific knowledge based background along with spiritual knowledge then don’t ever talk on a matter you have no idea on. At the end of the day humans make mistakes and I will always have faith in Bahaullah and the writings. Once science and religion start working together you will see amazing progress in science, we have a long way yet to go.

  • Dan

    Im sorry to hear you left, I hope u still have faith in God. Unfortunately humans can’t change over night and it will take patience and time. Hence the huge importance on teaching the youth, the next generation. Don’t give up your faith in God based on human actions. Take care 🙂

  • Dan

    While many will and should judge you based on the language lol, I see behind the emotional rant your passion and that you are actually very smart. You explain a Selfish society, consumerism, ignorance of society, selfishness of society, ego of society, proud society, patriotic society… There the issues, not if or not your Bahai or trying to prove the faith. If everyone just could go out seek knowledge removing ignorance, and help humanity the world would be a much better place. It’s now 2012 as I type this and the people are rising, Euro crisis, worldwide student protests, America poverty and wall street, they are sick of the world they live in. The world will drastically change in the next 50-100 years even now it’s beginning, so when our time comes what will we say to our God in regards to what we did for humanity? < a question to everyone on this page including myself. Let deeds not words be your adorning. Abdulbaha

  • Sonjavank

    Hi Dan, please quote where ”
    The writings have always stated if you are gay you can lose your voting rights ” – this is news to me. Sources please?

  • Steve

    85. Homosexual Acts Condemned by Bah??’u’ll??h+F1

    “Regarding the question you asked him about one of the believers who seems to be flagrantly a homosexual–although to a certain extent we must be forbearing in the matter of people’s moral conduct because of the terrible deterioration in society in general, this does not mean that we can put up indefinitely with conduct which is disgracing the Cause. This person should have it brought to his attention that such acts are condemned by Bah??’u’ll??h, and that he must mend his ways, if necessary consult doctors, and make efforts to overcome this affliction, which is corruptive for him and bad for the Cause. If after a period of probation you do not see an improvement, he should have his voting rights taken away. The Guardian does not think, however, that a Bah??’? body should take it upon itself to denounce him to the Authorities unless his conduct borders on insanity.”

    (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada: Messages to Canada, p. 39)

  • mike4ty4

    In another post you said pride is a sin, then you tout proudly how so much wiser and better you are. Think about that.

  • mike4ty4

    Instead of just bashing, you should be explaining HOW people who WANT to be truly good can become TRULY GOOD PEOPLE.

  • mike4ty4

    If you have oh so much wisdom, then what you should be doing is instead of just sitting on top of a high horse and lording over everyone else, flinging venom, is finding and then helping people who wish to become more wise to become more wise. You talk about enlarging your “ego”, when you yourself have said that “pride is a sin”. You yourself talk of humility. Don’t listen to me! Listen to you yourself!

    You also say to “hate” your parents, that’s “nature”. Well, guess what! “Nature” doesn’t make things “right”. What’s “nature” isn’t necessarily what is “right”.

  • DNA

    The letter from the House of Justice is clear. First we don’t discriminate against anyone for whatever reason. We show love to all people unconditionally. If someone is being discriminated against for any reason we have the obligation to protect them.

    Next: The Baha’i laws and Teachings only accept a marriage between a man and a woman and any other sexual relationships outside that or unions outside that are not recognised within the Faith.

    Next: We do not take up causes that are against the Baha’i Teachings.

    Next: We do not protest against causes that are against the Baha’i Teachings

    We do not lobby for or against any cause that is against the Teachings.

    To be more specific.

    We treat all people with love and respect and without discrimination worldwide whatever they believe or practice. We befriend all. None are rejected.

    However we do not protest against causes we disagree with nor promote causes we disagree with. We leave causes that do not agree with our teachings themselves. But if we are at school or university or at home and a person is discriminated against for whatever reason we would be expected to insist they be treated as an equal and with fairness.

    The Baha’i Faith is open to all but no-one is forced to join. If people do not agree with our teachings they are free to go their way and us our way. We do not interfere with them but they should also respect our rights and not try and force their beliefs and ways on our Faith. The Baha’i Teachings do not accept homosexuality or same sex marriage and it is the right of the Faith to have its own beliefs. No-one has the right to try and force upon the Faith their beliefs in homosexuality and same sex marriage. Our rights as a Faith must be respected just as we leave alone those who choose differently.

  • DNA

    This letter from the Guardian is clear. People have no right to force their beliefs on the Baha’i Faith and try to change our basic laws. This is our Faith and this is what we believe on this subject. We have a right to our own beliefs just like you do yours. We do not force our beliefs on you like you are trying to force upon us. If you can’t accept the teachings then don’t bully us into accepting your beliefs. Go your own way and do your own thing and allow us to do the same.

    We have the right to have our freedom of belief and so do you so please kindly respect our views. We don’t force you or bully you to accept our beliefs
    We don’t accept homosexuality as a legitimate behaviour nor same sex marriage and never will. If you don’t agree with the Baha’i Teachings and the Universal House of Justice what on earth are you a Baha’i for? These are our teachings you are free to take them or leave them but please do not attack our institutions and our beliefs just because you can’t get your own way.

    It is expected that people who join our Faith that they will try to obey our laws and if they turn against us just because we believe what we believe then that is very intolerant and amounts to bullying and trying to intimidate us to accept your views. The Faith doesn’t and never will accept homosexuality or same sex marriage so you’ll just have to live with that because all the bullying and slander in the world will not change the Bahai Revelation.

    Let us live our way just as we let you live your way. But as a Baha’i it is forbidden. Being a Baha’i is to accept the Baha’i Teachings in their entirety. Those that don’t should stop bullying and go ther own way and leave us alone as we don’t force them to join,MIT is their choice to join but with membership comes responsibilities to to uphold our laws.

  • AmadodeDios

    This is a key issue, in my opinion, because it does require us to figure out what our “Teachings” actually are! Must we slavishly follow every little detail by 9 guys in Haifa who would like us to think they are infallible but change their minds quite a bit? Must we grant 1000 years of enforceability to a phrase out of context by the Guardian’s secretary? Is the Guardian himself infallible – even if we find him opining about things that we know more about then they did back then? Does Abdul-Baha have to be 100% right about everything for us to take him as our best example of courage and constancy? Christian theologians have a hard job explaining why Jesus cursed a tree (the fig tree, for having no fruit just then). Can we hold Bah??’u’ll??h, Who was in a human body and had a very difficult life, to a very square, blindered vision of 100% quotability on everything, regardless of the context?

    Clearly, the Most Great Book of Laws prohibits child prostitution. Some of us feel that Shoghi Effendi (both himself and his secretary) went too far – were actually wrong – in extending this to include the X% of the human race who are clearly not 100% heterosexual. This is one way to be a Bahai – with our eyes open, using our minds and science to try to find the truth. There is the other way – blindly insisting on our current understanding of literal texts (bearing in mind that some 80% of Bah??’u’ll??h’s Writings are not yet translated or otherwise available yet). Yes, that is another way to be a Bahai, but it’s not the only way.

    I am a Bahai, too. I think questioning and investigating (Bahai qualities, right?) are good. I think Bahai Rants enhances the prestige of our Faith, showing that not all Bahais are fundamentalists. How can we make life better for ourselves and for everyone, as Bahais? (Certainly not by supporting narrow-minded persecution…)

  • Baquia

    Thank you for your comment. It opens up a very interesting facet of this discussion. One that I hope we can explore further together.

  • DNA

    The right to freedom of belief is what is at the heart of the discussion here I feel. The Baha’i Faith condemns the act of homosexuality not any individual for their color, race, gender, nationality, beliefs or sexual orientation. There is a world of difference between condemning an action and a person. The Baha’i Faith condemns no-one, embraces and accepts all humanity. Baha’is are not permitted or rather forbidden to discriminate against anyone for whatever reason. Baha’is are to stand up for the oppressed. But that is entirely different from claiming that because we do not accept the act of homosexuality that therefore we agree to persecute those who do. Baha’i Society outlaws the act of homosexuality but does not incite hatred against those who practice it. However it is a condition, just like the strict non-involvement in politics that we adhere to. Baha’is lose their voting rights for going against the teaching of being non-political. If Bahais become actively involved in politics they are usually asked to make a choice. The same with homosexuality. You go your way and we go ours but if you want to go our way you need to make a choice because we don’t want homosexuality in our Faith because according to our Teachings it is wrong. We have a right to have our beliefs. You don’t have to accept them but also you have no right to discriminate against us for not accepting homosexuality.

    Now, we have freedom of belief just as you do. We believe it is wrong and are told that in our Writings and others believe it is right. So go your own way and let us go ours respectfully. We really have no right to bully you and try to force you to change and accept our views and the same goes for you. Live and let live. We have our beliefs and you have yours. Let’s agree to differ and not attack the House of Justice because they are only following what our Interpreters have said about homosexuality. But they have told Baha’is not to discriminate , to show unconditional love. You can’t really ask for much more than that.

    The way you guys are acting here is like you are trying to force Muslims to eat pork when it is clearly against their teachings. We must respect every Faith’s right to have its own teachings and set of beliefs however much we may disagree with them. That is a proof of our open mindedness and tolerance.

    You are free to differ but when it starts to become condescending and abusive it gets beyond just the clash of differing views and starts to descend to bullying and intimidation.

    There are conditions of membership in the Baha’i Community and one of the main ones is to uphold its teachings and laws. If we have no intention of doing so then it’s better fir us to go our win way as the Faith is very clear about the act of homosexuality and it cannot change as our Interpreters have clearly stated it.

  • Fubar

    When I clicked the email link to reply to this comment, my anti-malware software stopped an attack by “Blackhole Toolkit Website 38” IP: 31.31.192.11 *,fm.gen.tr

    Has this site been hacked? If so, hopefully the owner will shut it down and do cleanup.

  • Baquia

    Fubar, not to my knowledge. I can’t say why you received such a warning without having further information. But I did check the site with securi’s online scanner: http://sitecheck2.sucuri.net/results/bahairants.com

    I also checked in with google:
    http://safebrowsing.clients.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=http%3A%2F%2Fbahairants.com

  • Fubar

    Ok, thanks. Possibly a drive-by ad feed malware attack. fyi: when I clicked on the s itecheck link, it redirected to a porn site.

    Please note the first incident was on windows , and the second on android.

    Good hearing from you, hope you have been well. Keep up the good work.

  • Fubar

    DNA, what you fail to state is the long history of bullying within the Bahai community. You also fail to bring up the extreme level of conformity and groupthink, and the inevitable scapegoating of dissidents and critics. I conclude that such omissions of fact mean that your real concern is not in fact bullying at all, but the opposite, maintaining an atmosphere that is hostile to alternate perspectives, and comfortable with authoritarian, fundamentalist perspectives. Bahai should not try to convert people by projecting a liberal/progressive image unless they want to attract criticism for practicing the opposite.

    That said, the issue of inconsistency by the PC/left is real. However unless you have real evidence of bullying, what is more likely is that protest against discrimination in the bahai community toward gays is being misinterpreted in an instrumentalist manner. Ultimately the truth claims made in the areas will be brought into scrutiny and will invalidate themselves for all but rubes and people with pre-rational values. In other words, backward, Axial religion can’t stand up to scrutiny in modern and postmodern culture.

    People with progressive values will never accept the idea that a religion that wants to stay in a insulated metaphysical bubble of backwardness should make public claims to be a peace movement that will create a new world order. The incoherence is just too much, especially given the ever widening gap between public acceptance of homosexuality and pre-rational, conservative religious movements.

    If people like yourself chose to make bahaism into an increasingly conservative religion, I hope you are clear on what the consequences will be. The hypersensitivity you are expressing over the gay issue is nothing compared to the far deeper hostility toward fascist religion that is likely to develop in the future as disgust with fundamentalism and imperialism grows.

  • Barb Ruth-Wright

    The right to choose one’s lifetime companion does not equate with the right to eat pork – bad comparison. To deny Baha’is who have fulfilled the requirements for marriage the right to marry, based solely on the gender of the person chosen, is discrimination, pure and simple. To force believers to choose between a life of integrity and true love, and membership in the Faith they love, is the greatest cruelty. To label some Baha’is as afflicted based solely on their sexual orientation, regardless of the purity of their souls, is the worst sort of blindness. The Baha’i Faith has lost so many pure souls over this issue. When will Baha’is realize the loss is theirs?

  • desirivans

    Hi,
    according to biblical story Sodome and Gomorhe was destroy because the people
    of that land was given free will to their abomination in sex practices and
    vile.

    Now the whole world is becoming as these two lands.

    The world will be destroy.

    Rest assure.

  • Baquia

    for those unfamiliar with the biblical story:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bar3GOzDNzg

  • desirivans

    Hi, In the creation there is always a saturation point or call it a critical point.
    Above which the state is altered and finally return to the original state.

    Laws of causE

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