Lessons of the Catholic Church Sex Abuse Scandal

I’m sure that everyone is by now aware of the sex abuse scandal plaguing the Catholic church. What was once talked about in hushed tones, if at all, is now openly and hotly debated in the media and the pews.

The image and reputation of the Vatican and the Catholic church lies in tatters as evidence has come to light that there was a systematic and methodical process in place to protect the Church and priests instead of protecting the innocent and helpless victims of the heinous crimes being perpetrated.

Many are even pointing out that Ratzinger’s nomination was motivated by the legal trial in the US. Of course, now in his position as the Pope, he claimed immunity from appearing as a witness.

The effect of this has been nothing short of devastating for the Church, especially in the Pope’s home country of Germany.

As Hitchens points out, the Vatican’s claim of statehood hangs on the flimsiest thread, having been originally created out of thin air by the Italian fascist dictator Mussolini to cement his ties with the Catholic church and gain its support.

Hitchens, by the way, participated in a spirited debate as part of the Intelligence Squared forum on the question of whether the Catholic church is a force for good:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

While Hitchens is up to his usual standard of eloquence, I found Fry’s articulate arguments to be completely devastating. And they clearly had the intended effect as the vast majority of the undecided switched to his side as did a great many of those that had initially agreed that the Catholic Church is a force for good.

For those with a pitch black sense of humor, here is Louis CK learning about the Catholic church – WARNING! Video contains harsh language and suggestive imagery. But the solitary tear running down CK’s cheek makes it worthwhile.

Baha’i Catholic blog is surprisingly quiet but then again, there hasn’t been an update since late last year.

What we have here is an institution that has lost its way and rather than existing to serve a higher purpose, it merely exists to prolong its own existence and further its own pomp and grandeur.

This is a danger that can befall any organization. Those which purport to be divinely guide and free from error are especially susceptible because those within the institution believe that theirs is a heavenly task which must be protected at all costs and those outside often dare not question or criticize it.

It is all too easy to overlook the fact that the Church has been protected by the law. For many decades when victims went to the police and to the public prosecutor, no action was taken simply because the perpetrator was the Church and it was considered sacrosanct.

The Baha’i Faith has its own, albeit small, share of these sort of public scandals. In the 1990′s Dr. Hossain Danesh, a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada (and a long time secretary of the body – from 1985 to 1989) lost the right to practice psychiatry as a result of charges of sexual abuse brought forward by a handful of his former patients.

Far from being sanctioned and sent away in shameful seclusion he was soon given a plum job at the new Baha’i Landegg university in Switzerland. He then proceeded to run that institution into the ground. The university closed its doors in 2005.

Recently Danesh’s “old boy” network connections at the NSA got him a heavily promoted gig in Canada. With the full backing of the national Baha’i institution, he conducted a $50/person seminar on “Healthy Marriage and Family Life”. Here is a promotional flyer for one of the many planned seminars:

They key element in this is to ask whether Danesh would be able to slink back to Canada and receive such a warm welcome had he not been a long-standing member of the NSA. Would the NSA have gone out of its way to promote the workshop of a regular Baha’i who had a checkered past?

The other question is why other Baha’is who are infinitely more qualified in this field and have a stainless reputation are not being given the same platform? The only distinction is the personal connections that Danesh made through his many years of membership on the NSA. This is what leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Rather than being loyal to virtues and principles, the NSA has betrayed itself as being loyal to personal connections.

There was another scandal a few years ago involving a young Baha’i in the developing world who alleged that she was being sexually abused by her father. It turned out that her father was a member of the country’s NSA (and its chairperson). Instead of considering her physical and mental health as the highest priority, the institutions instead focused on how to mitigate any fallout this might have on the Baha’i administration and the image and reputation of the same.

Obviously we cannot expect such institutions to police themselves. There is no reason whatsoever why similar allegations which involve the Catholic church or the Baha’i administration must be submitted to them for internal deliberation. Refreshingly enough, from what I’ve read of guidance from Baha’i institutions, they are in agreement with this and encourage victims to approach the proper authorities and seek legal recourse through appropriate channels. The best panacea for such tragic crimes remains transparency and public scrutiny.

  • Marcello

    “What we have here is an institution that has lost its way and rather than existing to serve a higher purpose, it merely exists to prolong its own existence and further its own pomp and grandeur.”

    And being the world's largest charitable organization counts for nothing? Really?

  • Baquia

    Have you been to the Vatican and seen the wealth stashed away in there? should a charitable organization that purports to represent Christ have such gaudy and gilded property? should its head dress in red leather Prada loafers, Gucci sunglasses and silk garments?
    The charitable works of the Church come with strings attached and are often used to gain leverage to influence society rather than to serve.

  • rhapsodist

    No, quite frankly Marcello has a point.

    If the mother be ignorant, even if the father have great knowledge, the child's education will be at fault, for education begins with the milk. (Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 86-87)

    The most great work to accomplish is this: — that ye must strive so that the believers of God in America may arise to union and concord. The most important feat in this day is harmony and agreement. No soul must interfere with another and no one must find fault with the rest. (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith – Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 408)

    All religions teach that we should love one another; that we should seek out our own shortcomings before we presume to condemn the faults of others, that we must not consider ourselves superior to our neighbours! (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 147)

    O ye Cohorts of God! Beware lest ye offend the feelings of anyone, or sadden the heart of any person, or move the tongue in reproach of and finding fault with anybody, whether he is friend or stranger, believer or enemy. Pray in behalf of all and entreat God for forgiveness and bounty for all. (Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha v1, p. 44)

    It is my hope that you may consider this matter, that you may search out your own imperfections and not think of the imperfections of anybody else. Strive with all your power to be free from imperfections.” (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 244)

  • rhapsodist

    I applaud your desire to focus on current events and their relation to the world and Baha'i instutions.

    While I sympathize with your frustrations and hunger for justice, I encourage you to reconnect with your communities (if you have severed yourself from them) and investigate the current state of affairs with an open heart and an open mind. If you feel there is some injustice, I further encourage you to quietly and confidently seek the counsel of the Assembly in order to bring forth your concerns.

    As my mother always says: you'll attract more bees with honey than with vinegar.

    Less commonly known is… “Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.”

    I do not doubt that there are faults in the current administration. Ruhiyyih Khanum herself pointed out that there must be. I agree also that the example of neighboring orders (catholic, orthodox, jewish, muslim, etc) stand as examples. But I fail to agree that seeking outside channels is the solution.

    Furthermore, if we sit here and argue, are we not FOLLOWING the example of those orders and administrations? Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians because they were fighting and not consulting. Are we, through blogs like these, to REPEAT that failure to communicate?

    I would much rather that blogs like these be used as examples of edification, of peaceful speech, suggestions for action, and devices of unity.

    Verily it is my firm and unwavering opinion that the only solution is to deepen our relationships with all our friends, no matter what their beliefs or convictions, and continue to personify more greatly the virtues of the Spirit, that the administration may, through the very actions of its lowest believers, be transformed into the glorious institution it ought to be.

    Sincerely yours,
    James

  • Baquia

    “immature institutions”? Saints preserve us! If two thousand years delivers an “immature” institution of the kind we see in the Catholic church, then what hope do we have for the Baha'i administration?

    It isn't so much immature as rotten to the core. Read a little about the history of the church and you'll realize that what we are seeing with the protection of pedophile priests is a huge stride forward.

    After all, this was a church where the Papacy was bought by favors and money where one luminary example of the Papacy dug up the grave of his predecessor, sat in judgment of the corpse and desecrated it… twice.

  • peyamb

    I guess Abdul-Baha wasn't taking your advise either Rhapsodist when He complained about the Popes in “Some Answered Questions”. And for the record, I thank God for Baquia's website. It has done more for open and true consultation among Bahais than anything I've seen inside any of the Bahai communities that I used to be active in. But I digress, here is the quote from SAQ:
    “Moreover, let us compare the lives of some of the Popes with the religion of Christ. Christ, hungry and without shelter, ate herbs in the wilderness, and was unwilling to hurt the feelings of anyone. The Pope sits in a carriage covered with gold and passes his time in the utmost splendor, amidst such pleasures and luxuries, such riches and adoration, as kings have never had.

    Christ hurt no one, but some of the Popes killed innocent people: refer to history. How much blood the Popes have shed merely to retain temporal power! For mere differences of opinion they arrested, imprisoned and slew thousands of the servants of the world of humanity and learned men who had discovered the secrets of nature. To what a degree they opposed the truth!

    Reflect upon the instructions of Christ, and investigate the habits and customs of the Popes. Consider: is there any resemblance between the instructions of Christ and the manner of government of the Popes? We do not like to criticize, but the history of the Vatican is very extraordinary. The purport of our argument is this, that the instructions of Christ are one thing, and the manner of the Papal government is quite another; they do not agree. See how many Protestants have been killed by the order of the Popes, how many tyrannies and oppressions have been countenanced, and how many punishments and tortures have been inflicted! Can any of the sweet fragrances of Christ be detected in these actions? No! in the name of God! These people did not obey Christ, while Saint Barbara, whose picture is before us, did obey Christ, and followed in His footsteps, and put His commands into practice. Among the Popes there are also some blessed souls who followed in the footsteps of Christ, particularly in the first centuries of the Christian era when temporal things were lacking and the tests of God were severe. But when they came into possession of governmental power, and worldly honor and prosperity were gained, the Papal government entirely forgot Christ and was occupied with temporal power, grandeur, comfort and luxuries. It killed people, opposed the diffusion of learning, tormented the men of science, obstructed the light of knowledge, and gave the order to slay and to pillage. Thousands of souls, men of science and learning, and sinless ones, perished in the prisons of Rome. With all these proceedings and actions, how can the Vicarship of Christ be believed in?

    The Papal See has constantly opposed knowledge; even in Europe it is admitted that religion is the opponent of science, and that science is the destroyer of the foundations of religion. While the religion of God is the promoter of truth, the founder of science and knowledge, it is full of goodwill for learned men; it is the civilizer of mankind, the discoverer of the secrets of nature, and the enlightener of the horizons of the world. Consequently, how can it be said to oppose knowledge? God forbid! Nay, for God, knowledge is the most glorious gift of man and the most noble of human perfections. To oppose knowledge is ignorant, and he who detests knowledge and science is not a man, but rather an animal without intelligence. For knowledge is light, life, felicity, perfection, beauty and the means of approaching the Threshold of Unity. It is the honor and glory of the world of humanity, and the greatest bounty of God. Knowledge is identical with guidance, and ignorance is real error.”

    (Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 135)

  • rhapsodist

    Once again, I applaud Baquia for endeavoring with this site.

    Peyamb, to you I thank for pressing a very important and indispensable truth. Like you, I also thank God for Baquia's website for reasons which I will enumerate at a later time and place.

    Indeed, we cannot take one of Abdu'l-Baha's statements alone, without considering the rest. It would be irrational of me to accept those statements of Abdu'l-Baha's which are convenient to me and ignore the rest!

    Both the admonishion to seek our own faults,rather than the faults of others, and the example whereby the Perfect Exemplar discusses the Papacy, let us consider this…

    “The beloved of God must each be the essence of purity and holiness; so may they be known by their purity, freedom and meekness in every land; they may drink from the eternal chalice of the love of God, enjoy its ecstasy, and through meeting the Beauty of ABHA, they should be joyful, active, aglow with zeal and wonderful. This is the station of the sincere. This is the quality of those who are firm. This is the illumination of the faces of those who are near.

    Therefore, O ye friends of God, ye must in perfect purity attain spiritual unity and agreement to a degree that ye may express one spirit and one life.” (Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha v1, p. 22)

    The challenge, the difficulty — and in my life both great and constant — is to discuss the issues of pressing need in a spirit of meekness, joy, oneness, and so forth.

    In the midst of what might otherwise be a quite depressing review of historical facts, Abdu'l-Baha goes on to say: “…Saint Barbara, whose picture is before us, did obey Christ, and followed in His footsteps, and put His commands into practice. Among the Popes there are also some blessed souls who followed in the footsteps of Christ…”

    Peyamb, since you've been here longer than I seek your opinion on the matter of consultation. You said, “It has done more for open and true consultation among Bahais than anything I've seen inside any of the Bahai communities that I used to be active in…” May you please tell me more about the spirit of consulation and how you see it reflected here?

  • rhapsodist

    I am not contradicting you, Baquia =)

    “There are so many ways in which I agree with your concerns and your grievances, that I don't want you to feel that I am belittling your purpose.” – me

    In fact I agree that what we are seeing, with a global increase in awareness of the current state of affairs in the Catholic church, and the challenges against it, is a huge stride forward :D

    There are many things which still need to be done to impose/stimulate changes on the strings you refer to, regarding the charitable organizations. I just think it's important to put a larger emphasis on the positive changes that we see in the world. There is an uncontrollable wind of change in the world and, though institutions like the Church and other groups opposed to peaceful progress vigorously oppose harmony, goodness WILL succeed.

  • http://www.sonjavank.blogspot.com sonjavank

    J wrote: “I fail to agree that seeking outside channels is the solution.”

    I don't read Baquia's blog in this way, in fact I read it as meaning we need independent channels, so we can have unity in diversity.

  • peyamb

    Easy. Consulation can only begin if taboo topics are allowed to be discussed. Most of the Bahai communities that I have lived in will NOT even touch 90% of the topics brought up on this site. If they do, it will be a very general passing over with some narrow quotes from the Writings to basically shut up consultation.

  • rhapsodist

    Let me rephrase the question, what is consultation?

  • Baquia

    “But I fail to agree that seeking outside channels is the solution.”

    Then you are in disagreement not with me but with the Baha'i institutions. There has been clear guidance that when there is a criminal act (for example, sexual abuse) Baha'is are asked to seek justice with the civil authorities. Unlike the Catholic church, the Baha'i administration does not demand a monopoly on the process.

    Personal experience with the institutions has taught me that internal procedures never produce just results. There are simply too many internal conflicts, from the thought of protecting the institutions to protecting family/friends who may be involved. There are too many cliques and overlapping interests and sadly people in power do not recuse themselves nor are they removed from the decision making authority by those higher up when these conflicts of interest are clear.

  • rhapsodist

    I'm gonna keep this short because I'm in a hurry and need to meet a friend on the way into the city.

    I'm sorry that I didn't express myself more clearly. Had I done so, you would not have assumed I disagree with the use of the justice system.

    But let's be fair. I already told you I agree with the strides forward made by the challenges to the Catholic church, and I also expressed vague agreement with you on “many” of your grievances.

    Clearly I misunderstood your desire to use outside channels, and I'm sorry I didn't ask you to clarify what that means to you. Language is a strange beast.

    In the future, I will attempt to more clearly and briefly express my opinion in order that we avoid these unnecessary misunderstandings.

  • Baquia

    This recent event and the response of the Church juxtaposes the warped value system that they practice.

    Making a difficult choice in consultation with medical professionals to save the life of a mother by aborting her child merits swift excommunication but a pedophile priest….? The Catholic church believes that he should be moved around to new parishes to prey on the innocent and defenseless and any criticism should be hushed.

  • Barb Ruth-Wright

    Where is the outrage from Baha'is that the Baha'i Faith in Canada is still promoting the services of Hossain B. Danesh in counseling for healthy marriages, of all things, despite this past scandal? Surely he would not have agreed to pay $10,000 toward therapy for his victims, and to cease the practice of his chosen profession, psychiatry, forever in return for the charges being dropped, had he not been guilty. The Baha'i Faith seems very similar to the Catholic Church in regard to its response to sexual scandal. And we are at the very early stages of the faith – what is to come in future centuries if this sort of deceit and reckless disrespect for victims of sexual abuse is tolerated? The NSA of Canada is loyal to nothing other than its own public image, just as the Catholic Church has been, in trying to shove this under the rug and go on allowing Danesh to counsel people on proper family life.

    Barb

  • rhapsodist

    Disclaimer: I neither know Dr. Danesh nor know any of his colleagues acquaintances. At no point have I attempted to contact him or anyone connected with the scandal.

    Just as everyone here is outraged at the Catholic church's demonstrable unwillingness to punish its priests and end their tenures, there is a visible outrage amongst contributors to this blog that the practice may have been mirrored on one or more occasions within the Baha'i administrated.

    The question is, what happened? What do we KNOW?

    Let's investigate some indispensable concerns.

    Dr. Danesh came into scrutiny and faced multiple allegations for personal vices; this is evident by the record of his legal troubles and the revocation of his license to practice medicine.

    Has he sought counseling of his own? Was counseling a condition of his employment at Landegg? Does anybody know this information?

    1. Dr. Danesh is not allowed to practice psychiatry anymore.
    a. can we demonstrate that he has practiced psychiatry since his license being revoked?

    2. Were *all* the details of his settlement made public?

    3. Did his contract at Landegg require him to seek counseling on a weekly/bi-weekly/monthly basis?

    4. What documentation do we have on his tenure at Landegg? Why was the school closed?

    5. Does a man's personal vice that compromised his ability to practice privately as a psychiatric physician compromise his intellectual ability to give sound advice to couples? What advice does he give? Who knows this information?

    6. Can we demonstrate based on the feedback from attendees of his seminars that he is, as a result of his past transgressions, unable to give sound advice in such seminars to a wide audience?

    Again, do not be confused, I am NOT defending Dr. Danesh.

    What I want to know is what is demonstrably true regarding Dr. Danesh's career since his license to practice was revoked. It is not possible to draw such an immediate parallel between the Church and the Canadian Baha'is without first addressing those conditions.

    That brings me to my last 2 questions:

    7. How long was Dr. Danesh head of Landegg? What is the public record regarding the closing of Landegg? Was it economic or adminstrative? Why did it close?

    8. Is there evidence that Danesh's seminars and talks pose a danger to the community?

    The Bible tells us that ignorance is unacceptable. Therefore, I will not make a decision on Dr. Danesh's case based on my own ignorance. If someone can help me uncover the answers to these questions, I will be grateful for such assistance.

  • rhapsodist

    Forgive me, but, if they allowed the mothers to live and the babies to die, who would they have sexual relations with?

  • rhapsodist

    “just sayin'” —

    My actual opinion on the matter, is much worse than even that. It would be one thing if it was just a “we're wrong but we're just gonna hide it.” What I see, demonstrated by the Church's unwillingness to conscientiously investigate the matter of life and death with humility, compassion, mercy and forgiveness, is that their hands are tied by pride, dogmatic tradition, and greed. It doesn't mean all priests are bound by all these traits, but enough are that it hurts the global community.

  • http://www.sonjavank.blogspot.com sonjavank

    The fact is a professional who has had charges of sexual abuse “agreed to pay $10,000 toward therapy for his victims, and to cease the practice of his chosen profession” is then hired to work in an institute giving education to young people.

    I was appalled and shocked when I heard that he was appointed and vowed never to return to Landegg. I didn't. Perhaps many other Bahais thought the same and that's why it collapsed. Who knows?

    However Rhapsodist, how could a person with a track record like this, now in 2009 be able to give a Bahai promoted seminar on marriage and family life of all topics?
    Seems a lot like the Catholic Church's old boy network to me.

    Rhapsodist, Baquia and Barb have both already provided plenty of evidence to show there was a very serious case of sexual abuse, if you choose to ignore this, fine. But it has already been clearly shown.

  • rhapsodist

    Sonja,

    You said, “if you choose to ignore this [very serious case of sexual abuse], fine”

    Paron me, in no way did I ignore it.

    “this is evident by his legal troubles and the revocation of his license to practice medicine”

    My whole post was regarding his case of sexual abuse. My whole post was asking questions that, to my knowledge, noone has actually answered (you stated you don't know the answer to question #7).

    You said: “Baquia and Barb have both already provided plenty of evidence to show there was a very serious case of sexual abuse”

    Not only did I already acknowledge the serious case of sexual abuse, but–again to the best of my knowledge– none of the evidence presented is relevant to the questions I'm asking.

    The questions I ask are questions any reasonable gentleman would want to ask. And that's all they are, questions.

    Last I checked, this was a place for diversity of thought. So let's play a little game called “the reasonable gentleman.” Would a reasonable gentleman get angry because someone asked some questions? Just think about it.

  • Baquia

    I'm pressed for time so allow me to highlight one important point. As you can see in the poster above, Danesh is referred to as Dr. and as a psychiatrist. This is completely untrue. He gave up the right to practice psychiatry and was stripped of that rank by the governing body of that profession as part of his settlement. He was accused of sexual abuse not by one patient, not by two but by three patients.

    To shield him, the Baha'i administration moved him away from Canada where his reputation was in tatters to the lakeside resort in Switzerland called Landegg Academy to be the grand-poobah there with a paid salary. Now with about 15 years having gone by and people's memories faded, he returns and is presented thusly:

    “Dr. Danesh was an Associate Professor of psychiatry at the University of Ottawa, establishing and directing the Marriage Therapy Centre. He is an author, international lecturer and consultant, with more than 35 years of academic and clinical experience as a phsychiatrist and peace educator. He is also a former member of the National Spiritual Assembly.”

    If someone is going to give a seminar on weight loss, you would balk if they waddled onto the stage, wheezing from the exertion of having to cart their massively obese form around. I think it is as ludicrous to have a man who was disgraced and thrown out of his profession for sexual misconduct to give a seminar on relationships.

    Especially when the Baha'i community has no shortage of excellent and impeccable professionals that have the same or better academic qualifications. Why is Danesh given the star treatment? why are seminars arranged for him? why are the seminars promoted heavily by the NSA in Baha'i communities through the national Baha'i publication and through LSA notices? why is the truth about his past hidden? why is he referred to as “Dr.” and a “psychiatrist” when he does not have the right to use those titles by law?

    Why indeed. The answer is as clear as it is unpalatable. The Canadian NSA is showing that it values personal relationships more than the principles that it is charged to protect and promote.

  • Barb Ruth-Wright

    Another point to consider is that there is a double standard in the Baha'i Faith regarding sexual misconduct. Mr. Danesh was both excused and rewarded for apparent sexual misconduct which took advantage of the provider/client relationship. Daniel Orey, whose “sexual misconduct” consisted of dignifying his consensual and loving, committed same-sex relationship with the ceremony of marriage when California law made that possible, lost his administrative rights, and I doubt the U.S. NSA would put Daniel forth in the public eye as representing the Baha'i Faith now, however much Daniel might (and does) deserve that honor.

    And where is the “infallible supreme institution” in all of this? Surely they are aware of what has happened in the case of Mr. Danesh and are thus complicit in the showcasing of “Dr. Danesh” now. If there is some good and honorable reason why his indiscretions should have been overlooked and then rewarded, let's hear them. If he was innocent of the original charges, the reasonable step to take would be to make proof of that public, so as to clear his name.

    If Baha'i institutions are now encouraging transparency and public scrutiny in such cases as Baquia mentions above, then I am glad to hear it. That does not, however, explain the current treatment of Mr. Danesh. I never heard of a satisfactory resolution of the case of the young woman who said she was being sexually abused by her father, either. Certainly leaving it to Baha'i institutions to handle was a bad idea. Was it ever brought to a civil institution for investigation and resolution?

    Baha'is have got to stop treating the Faith as if it is a never-never land where no wrong can be done. We need to hold our institutions accountable in their handling of cases of apparent wrong-doing.

    Barb

  • rhapsodist

    It's fine, I'm pressed for time these days too.

    Fact is, Doctor is a title. Did you know that my college choir director, english diction teacher, and theory instructor was a Doctor of Music?
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/doctor

    Doctor is a title recieved when one completes such a degree. He recieved a Doctorate from medical college. He is absolutely entitled to use the title.

    As to the use of psychiatrist in the biographies in his seminars, it would be better to mention that he is retired. efpinternational.org references that he is RETIRED and there's no reason that his seminars shouldn't mention it either.

    No research has been presented to discuss whether or not he discusses his retirement with attendees at his seminars. Does he tell them he's retired? Nobody has bothered to ask such questions or present such data.

    Which brings me to your quotation, saying that he has “more than 35 years of academic and clinical experience as a phsychiatrist and peace educator. ” Where did you get it from? efpinternational.org clearly references him as retired and does not at all mention 35 years of experience. I can't load his personal website, as it sends me to a useless “your IP address is” page, so if you got it from there that would be welcome information.

    Be not confused: I agree that his pamphlets should say retired, just as his NGO's website states he is retired, but that doesn't excuse uneducated assumptions and a reluctance to ask reasonable questions. Furthermore, a man's doctorate is totally unrelated to his medical license. Indeed, it is his legal right to use the title Doctor.

    Until reasonable questions are asked and answered, I can't take your other questions seriously. This is just my opinion and obviously I'm not suggesting that you should make an “about face” on account of my comments, because that's all they are, comments.

  • Baquia

    When you have been stripped of the right to practice psychiatry because you betrayed the trust placed in you by your patients, you have no right to go around saying you are a “Dr.” and a “psychiatrist”. This is as plain as the nose on your face. Any attempt to spin it beyond that is just that, spin.

  • Guest
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  • Craig Parke

    What I find disturbing is not Dr. Danesh at all and what he wants to do by holding these kinds of “seminars”. Such people are a dime a dozen in such a conception of their self identity in life. But why the souls in the Baha'i Faith these days are so obsessed with having incessant “courses” and endless “seminars” on every subject imaginable to “teach” people how to essentially “wipe their behinds” in life? Aren't people supposed to essentially figure out how to “wipe their own behinds” in life THEMSELVES? Isn't that a daily minimum requirement of being a human being on this Earth: have some guts in life and think for yourself!

    What is the psychological need driving this in people? It is so odd? Why hold these incessant “courses” on everything under the sun to supposedly teach people what they are supposed to figure out FOR THEMSELVES in life! It is absolutely ridiculous. There are such profoundly weak, timid, and odd people in the Baha'i Faith these days. Maybe in all top down group think “organized” religions.

    If you want to learn something about living life successfully check between your legs and see if there is anything there and get up off your fat ass and go out and live life! Stop sitting in an endless planetary circle j**k passively waiting for some “expert” to tell you what to do.

    THOSE THAT CANNOT DO…TEACH! Avoid all such “courses” on anything! Be brave and think for yourself.

    It is the same with the paint-by-number Ruhi culture! Why would anyone believe that sitting in endless circles filling out blanks with pre-approved answers over and over is going to do anything to change the world?

    The Baha'is have to get off the crack pipe of such am inward and incestuous culture and get out into life and figure out how to help the world one by one by THEMSELVES.

  • Barb Ruth-Wright

    Yes, Craig. If you are uncomfortable to think for yourself, there are always others eager to think for you. Trouble is, that service comes with a very high price. You don't sell your soul for nothing.

    Barb

  • fubar

    the questions are legitimate/reasonable if the sociolinguistic “frame” that you are trying to validate is all about redeeming the current, dysfunctional form of spiritually vacant haifan bahai adminocentrism.

    if however, the “frame” is about authentic human meaning and social justice, then no, the questions are not “reasonable”, they are yet another example of the pointless, futile legalism and “PR spin” that haifan bahaism has descended into.

    any “reasonable” person will quickly realize that the probability that Danesh is a repulsive little creep is very, very high, and that he should not be associated, in a professional context, with the bahai community.

    any “reasonable” person will realize that very few of the questions can be answered definitively (at this time, and probably for many years) because of legal confidentiality, secrecy, etc.

  • fubar

    allowing people to tell the truth.

  • fubar

    the sad reality is that almost all “positive change” in the world is OUTSIDE the haifan bahai community, or ORIGINATES outside, and is then imported, usually with great resistance.

    anyone that actually wants to be part of “positive change” would tend to leave the haifan bahai community, it is a huge drain to get even the most minute “new” (good) idea accepted.

    the haifan bahai community readily accepts lots of BAD new ideas.

  • fubar

    James,

    haifan bahaism has a long historical pattern of being a deeply dysfunctional religion. 50+ years at least, probably 100.

    you are not saying anything new, just repeating meaningless platitudes that do not address the concrete problems that people are sick and tired of.

    people have been abused by the haifan bahai religion. it is totally irresponsible to send people back to an abusive, dusfunctional religion unless there is overwhelming evidence that the undelying cause of the abuse is gone.

    there is no such evidence.

    on the contrary, every statement/lie made by bahai administration is evidence that you are wrong.

    at this point in history, the traditional construct of a prophetic religion is outmoded, and a hinderance to the advance of humanity.

    haifan bahaism ceased being a force for good a long time ago.

  • fubar

    regardless, James/Rhap's opinion, which is wrong as usual, directly contradicts shoghi effendi's advice:

    “It is hoped that all Baha'i students will.. Be led to investigate and analyze the principles of the Faith and to correlate them with the modern aspects of philosophy and science. Every intelligent and thoughtful young Baha'i should always approach the Cause in this way, for there in lies the very essence of the principle of independent investigation of the Truth.”
    Aug. 6, 1933 Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer.

    http://bahai-library.com/conferences/common.thr

    The prevalence of the idea that there is something inherently wrong with things outside the haifan bahai organization is not only completely silly on its face, it is a deeply troubling sign of cultism and insularization.

  • rhapsodist

    One of the fundamentals involved in our administrative order, which we must remember will become the pattern for our World Order, is that even if an assembly makes an ill-advised decision it must be upheld in order to preserve unity of the community. Appeal can be made… But the principle of authority invested in our elected bodies must be upheld. This is not something which can be learned without trial and test.

    (Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v I, p. 151)

  • rhapsodist

    “The Bahá'ís must learn to forget personalities and to overcome the desire – so natural in people – to take sides and fight about it. They must also learn to really make use of the great principle of consultation.”
    (Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v I, p. 151)

    “…let us be on our guard…lest too much concern in that which is secondary in importance, and too long a preoccupation with the details of our affairs and activities, make us neglectful of the most essential, the most urgent of all our obligations, namely, to bury our cares and teach the Cause, delivering far and wide this Message of Salvation to a sorely-stricken world.”
    (Shoghi Effendi, Baha'i Administration, p. 42)

  • fubar

    James/Rhap,

    If you read all the quotes about bahai administation, you will find one that states that god will “bring to naught” assemblies for failing to allow people to openly speak truth, etc.

    bahai consultation, in practice, is dysfunctional because it has been hijacked by conformism, in violation of bahai guidance/scripture.

    in other words, “it doesn't work”.

  • Barb Ruth-Wright

    1. You can take sides without fighting, if you are an adult.

    2. Integrity and justice are never secondary in importance, or if they are, it is the beginning of the end.

    3. Representatives of the UHJ have made it clear to Baha'is that there are two plans – the Greater and Lesser ones. The lesser one is that of the Baha'i Administration, and it may or may not contribute to the Greater Plan of God – depending upon the Baha'is, God help us.

    Barb

  • fubar

    James/Rhap,

    (repeating myself)

    If you read all the quotes about bahai administation, you will find one that states that god will “bring to naught” assemblies for failing to allow people to openly speak truth, etc.

    bahai consultation, in practice, is dysfunctional because it has been hijacked by conformism, in violation of bahai guidance/scripture.

    in other words, “it doesn't work”.

    —new—

    the various bahai conversion schemes I've seen have all similarly been “brought to naught” by the dysfunctional aspects of bahai culture.

    even if the bahai scriptures are correct, which I do not think they are, bahais are not capable of implementing them. this is a sign that the ideas are not good ones.

    bahai scripture is full of outmoded metaphysics, contradicts science (especially evolution), is incoherent on politics, etc.

    the only way that bahaism can survive in a worl that is rapidly moving away from the culturally limited context of bahai is to turn to “outside” ideas, methodsand practices.

    this is simple matter of common sense.

    bahai scholars have already been told by the uhj to turn to the outside to adopt “integrative methods”, but have not done so in a significant way as far as I can tell.

    as you messages demonstrate, the prevalent insularized/cultish attitude of cultural imperialism in bahaism (even amongst the educated, intelligent) will prevent movement toward adoption of outside solutions.

  • fubar

    Barb,

    good points, as usual.

    James/Rhap is (contrary to scripture) himself taking sides: he is siding with the dysfunctional adminocentric version of haifan bahaism.

  • rhapsodist

    What my messages continue to promote is diligence.

  • fubar

    James/Rhap,

    There is no diligence, instead there are lies and corruption. The system has been deeply corrupted by patterns of dysfunctional organizational culture. Such patterns (actually “anti-patterns”) are very well understood by social theorists and similar people on the “outside”.

    See M.Scott Peck “People of the Lie”, Chris Alexander “The Nature of Order”, “Pattern Languages”, etc.

    —excerpts—

    http://www.geftakysassembly.com/Reflections/Per

    Elements of Spiritual Abuse

    Jeff Vanvonderen, author of The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse and Tired of Trying to Measure Up, defines spiritual abuse this way: “Spiritual abuse is when someone uses God's name to get people to do something he/she wants them to do, not what God wants them to do.”

    http://www.icsahome.com/infoserv_articles/lifto

    Certain psychological themes that recur in these various historical contexts also arise in the study of cults. Cults can be identified by three characteristics:
    1) a charismatic leader who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose their power;
    2) a process I call coercive persuasion or thought reform;
    3) economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.

    http://www.philosophy-religion.org/criticism/to

    Religious addicts are also usually the best workers in the church so their dysfunction is not only overlooked but rewarded. Meanwhile, their lives head for disaster.

    —end—

    It is only by incorporating such outside ideas that reform might be possible.

    The only way to get to the point where there is openness to such outside ideas is for a paradigm shift to happen in bahai culture, and for the people to demand the abandonment of outmoded metaphysics and other outdated constructs.

    Every single major paradigm shift that has happened at the leading edge of the social evolution of the human race for at least the last 50 years has left haifan bahaism's dysfunctional adminocentric paradigm in the dust.

    The more you fight for diligence in the haifan bahai system, the more you will expose yourself to either being attacked by the forces of stasism and orthodoxy/fundamentalism, or by the forces of assimilation.

    I have seen many highly capable people (and some not so capable people) attempt internal bahai reform by “diligence”. They have all either become absorbed into the mainstream and their efforts misappropriated (and then unwound and subject to conformity), or they have become marginalized, targets of attack, or scapegoats.

    Some people simply move to somewhere far from the dysfunctional bureaucracy, engage in development work, or some similar service to humanity, and hope that they do not have to deal with the fundamentalist goons, empire builders, or “bahai royalty” in any direct way.

    No one that has seen how the haifan bahai organization “really” functions for many decades will be able to honestly or realistically advocate for it becoming a world system that has any integrity.

    Instead of “diligence” (truth, compassion, altruism, openness, transparency), there is lies and “exploitation”.

    The only people that spout the party line that validates the haifan bahai system are people that are brainwashed, or that self-censor.

    Lies and corruption are deep, and the people that benefit from things staying that way will not give up power. They will not even allow people to publish ideas about contructive criticisms or alternatives that threaten the existing bureaucratic/fundamentalist logic in any meaningful way.

    In reality, the haifan bahai system completely violates one of the most important principles in its own scripture, the need for truth and justice:

    The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh
    Part I–From the Arabic
    2
    O SON OF SPIRIT!

    The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.

  • Justice

    This faith is so corupted and immotal. Please women stay away from this dangerous so called faith.

  • Pingback: Is the Baha’i Faith becoming like the Roman Catholic Church? « Dale Husband's Intellectual Rants

  • Wahid Azal

    Healthy marriage & family life seminar by Hossein Danesh. LOL! Well, these people have a sense of humor. I'll give them that :)

  • http://twitter.com/Dale_Husband_HS Dale Husband

    The comparison between the Catholic Church and the Baha'i Faith should be of interest to any ex-Catholics who may decide to convert to that religion. This story about Danesh should make them think twice about such a move.

  • Pingback: Hossain Danesh Heavily Promoted By NSA | Baha'i Rants

  • Johnpp

    Wooow, i find your article very miss informed and judgemental specially about the pope, did you know as a cardinal he was the only one to pass Cannon laws aiming to expell priests that were acused of abuse in the US? did you know he is the only only pope who has met with abuse victims instead of acting like it´s not happening???
    also, did you know child abuse is less in the Catholic church than in most of other religions? even those who have priest than can be married.

  • Baquia

    Your information is categorically false. Pope Ratzinger, as Cardinal Ratzinger was instrumental in the cover up of sexual abuse within the church:

    “In 2001, while he was a cardinal, he issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to put the Church’s interests ahead of child safety.

    The document recommended that rather than reporting sexual abuse to the relevant legal authorities, bishops should encourage the victim, witnesses and perpetrator not to talk about it.”

    The above is from thisislondon but for more, see this article from the Guardian which has the same point with more details. As well, here is a document from wikileaks showing that while giving lip service to the issue, Papa Ratzi did everything in his power to stymie the investigation rather than cooperate with it. Actions speak louder than words or as Baha’u'llah said: “Let deeds, not words be your adorning.”

    Many don’t know but Ratzinger was about to be subpoenaed for a US court trial. The Vatican brought great pressure on the US government to prevent it and when the judge wasn’t being bullied, his election to the papacy guaranteed him immunity… thanks to a deal the Vatican struck with the infamous Italian dictator Mussolini (who declared the small patch of land as a ‘state’ in return for the support of the church for his criminal government).

    The history of the papacy is the best argument for its abolition. Read it and if you don’t continuously throw up in disgust you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the corrupt a heritage that birthed Ratzinger.

  • flowerpetal

    That really doesnt surprise me. I was terribly abused by a man in the bahai community. Ten years before he had tried to murder his wife, by strangling her and making her beg for her life. This was all kept a secret and no-one really took any notice of what the young woman said, nobody even suggested she went to the police. The Bahais who knew what he’d done did nothing to warn me of what he was like. After he had abused me, and I wont go into that here, I went to the police and the LSA. The NSA sent me a letter telling me that if I continued to tell people who weren’t on the institutions about what he’d done, I would have my voting rights removed (chucked out). I never received a sincere and formal apology for this letter – which told me I was both ‘devisive and destructive’. So i told them to get knotted of course. Other Bahai’s refused to ‘take sides’ and fully supported and remained friends with this man, knowing full well what he did to me – disgusting hyposcrisy, but their understanding is that they musnt say anything bad about anybody and be friends with everyone, because otherwise they will impede their own ‘spiritual growth’. The police in the UK are not much better, as although I and his ex-wife reported his abuse, he was not arrested as I reported the main incident after 6 months – too late apparently to arrest someone.