LA Class Newsletter [#34]

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My Notes:

It has been far too long since we heard the whine of the time machine and headed back to the 1970’s to join the LA Baha’i studies class.

This latest edition is wholly made up of letters from members and readers around the world. It offers a glimpse into the ideas that other Baha’is (outside of the immediate LA group) had.

The first is a wag of the finger about the relationship what was described in a previous class between the Baha’is of Iran and the then, Shah of Iran. Here is a brief account of the history the monarch’s of Iran and their reaction to the Baha’i Faith.

The second is a reaction to the previous discussion on Degrees of Reality. Personally, I found this letter very insightful. It made me think of the Baha’i view of evolution as well as how incomprehensible the next world must be. It also made me think of this segment from a scifi TV show where a human is trying to explain to non-human (“God like”) beings what temporal linear existence is like.

The final letter is from Denis MacEoin, a giant of Baha’i theology who after some very nasty run ins with the “appointed arm” decided to become inactive and leave the community. Reading his words, it is hard to believe that what MacEoin wrote is 30 years old! His letter is by far the longest but it is the primary reason why I put this edition together after so much procrastination. A must read.

No wonder that the next class will be a discussion of this very letter. Can’t wait for that!

If this is your first newsletter, you might also want to read the introduction to the LA study class, here.

On with the 70’s class . . .

[START DOCUMENT]

[Ed. personal address removed]

January, 1979
Vol. IV No. 1

Our newsletter this time consists of several stimulating letters which we have received from abroad. We are delighted to see that we have such an active and involved, international readership. Anyone else out there who has something that he wants to get off his chest, just drop us a line.

We hope that our readers will read the essay which we have received from Mr. Denis MacEoin of Cambridge, England, with particular care. He has raised a number of issues central to the crisis which the Baha’i Community is facing today and are in urgent need of discussion. Your comments will be welcomed.

THE NEXT CLASS WILL BE HELD on Sunday, January 28th at 3:00 PM at the unworthy hovel of Anthony Lee [Ed. personal address]. The topic will be a discussion of Mr. MacEoin’s essay (The one attached.) and it should be lively. You all come, yaheah?
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The Challenge of Homosexuality – Part Deux

a-mans-jobIdeas are like hugs – much better when they are shared. And minds are like umbrellas- they work better when they are open.

With that in mind, I hope the discussion continues from the previous location: The Challenge of Homosexuality.

As I explained, the reason for this change of venue is to rescue my poor, exhausted mySQL database from the non-stop barrage you have put it through. At around 650 comments I was afraid it would finally give way one of these days and take the whole blog with it. I’ve taken other measures to fortify the blog but won’t go into the boring technical details.

We leave the discussion with Steve requesting some clarification from Farhan. Masud suggesting that the UHJ has “self-executing” privileges and does not need to legislate on everything. And we hear that Ted Haggard is not gay! (he just keeps on having sex with men). Oh and Daniel brought to our attention a petition for LGBT rights.

If that isn’t enough to kick things off here, indulge me in sharing something I read recently on Baha’i LiveJournal; suivreletoile wrote…
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Did You Ruhi Today?

Sometimes Baha’is get a bit carried away with Ruhi. Click to embiggen the first Baha’i Rants comic:

ruhhing your conversation try it

What do Baha’is get carried away with sometimes? ____________

You should do what to embiggen the first Baha’i Rants comic? ____________

Yay! Now you’re an A+ cluster.

William Hatcher’s Letter to Yale University

A partial copy of this letter exists on the net, but this is the complete version:

Letter from William Hatcher to Dean Liston Pope
Yale University, Divinity School – May 21st, 1957

I am writing to inform you that, contrary to my previously expressed intentions, I will be unable to attend Yale Divinity School next fall. I do this with a feeling of grateful appreciation for your acceptance of my application and for your offer of a Grant-in-Aid of $400.00 which I accepted from you in my letter dated May 17, 1957. The reason for my decision not to enter Yale is wholly irrelevant to monetary considerations, and I would like to explain this to you.

Since accepting the Grant-in-Aid to Yale, I have become firmly convinced of the unanswerable truth of the Baha’i World Faith. During my four years as a student at Vanderbilt, I have been privileged to know and talk with some of the greatest leaders of Christianity in the United States and, to some extent, in the world. I have been in proximity, for the entire four year period, to Nels Ferre who, as you know, is one of the most creative theologians in Christianity today. The summer between my freshman and sophomore years I was fortunate enough to attend the full seventeen-day meeting to the Wold Council of Churches in Evanston, Illinois. There I was able to talk personally with some of the most dynamic spirits and the most creative thinkers the Christian world offers.
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Baha’is on Both Sides of Docket: US & Egypt

judge-gavelThe Baha’i community is receiving some good news from Egypt. In case you’re not familiar with the situation there, it involves the right of Egyptian Baha’is to have government issued ID cards. You can read more about it on Wikipedia.

According to the Muslim Network for Baha’i Rights, there ruling will probably come in a few days and it will most probably be favorable for the Baha’is. I hope it will put an end to this and the Egyptian Baha’is can live in peace.

Meanwhile, over in the US the Baha’is are also involved in a court case but they are acting as the plaintiffs rather than defendants. The case involves the Orthodox Baha’is and their use of Baha’i names, symbols and trademarks. You can read about it to get some background information. The US NSA was trying to enforce a crazy 1966 ruling against Mason Remey and his organization for infringing on Baha’i copyright.

The NSA of the Baha’is of the United States lost the case last year when the presiding judge ruled that there was no “substantial continuity between the NSA-UHG and the PNBC”. What she meant was that the 1966 ruling was enforceable on Remey’s organization but the current Orthodox Baha’i group has little if any resemblance to it.

Unfortunately the NSA of the Baha’is of the US decided to appeal this ruling. The case will come before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and be argued before a panel of judges on February 20th, 2009.

It is sad to see the NSA spend so much time and the precious resources of the Faith to engage in a legal wrangle of this sort. It is especially lamentable when you consider that it is all based on a flimsy ruling which will not stand up to the most superficial scrutiny.

Would any legal minds reading this care to offer their opinion as to why the Orthodox Baha’is haven’t simply attacked the trademark basis of the 1966 ruling? After all, the word “Baha’i” can not be owned by any one organization, just as the term Christian doesn’t belong to only the Catholic Church.