I noticed recently that there was a comment added to my article about the covenant and I wanted to reply to it. I have to explain that this comment was a result of a contribution I made to a thread regarding the covenant on LiveJournal’s Baha’i community website. I guess Dave saw my post there and decided to comment.I wanted to respond to a few things which Dave Howden says. First:
“Second, Shoghi Effendi did not /need/ any scriptural evidence to move this authority from the Hands of the Cause to the Guardian.”
Well, as much as we all love the Guardian, there must be scriptural grounds for such a bold move. And lets remember that Abdu’l-Baha laid out the way the Baha’i administration would function, with the roles of the different institutions and such. All I’m saying is that the authority of declaring covenant breakers was given – by Abdu’l-Baha, mind you! - to the Hands. He didn’t give it to the Guardian. That’s a fact. But we do know that the Guardian changed this and took this authority for himself. All I’m asking is, on what grounds?
Surely you are not suggesting that since he was the Guardian he could just do whatever he wanted. That would be absurd, as well as a mockery and an insult to the Master. So if we then are talking about this from the principle that for everything there must be good reasons and grounds, then my question stands.
Second, Dave says:
“It is a natural step for the UHJ to assume this role, because it is the head of the Baha’i Community of the World.”
Again, lets go back to what Abdu’l-Baha said. The Universal House of Justice and the Guardian of the Faith are the head of the Baha’i world community. Not the House by itself. If we can agree on this fact (hopefully all it takes is a reading of the Will and Testament of the Master) then we can agree that there is nothing ‘natural’ about this step.
I’ll say it again just to be clear:
Abdu’l-Baha gave the authority of declaring covenant breakers to the Hands of the Cause of God (which were to be appointed by the Guardian).
He did not give it to the Guardian.
He could have.
But he didn’t.
He did not give it to the Universal House of Justice.
He could have.
But he didn’t.
And finally, regarding the comments on shunning. I don’t want to repeat what I’ve already written. I know that we are instructed to avoid covenant breakers. I also know that this was written for a time and I believe we are past that time. I also know that Abdu’l-Baha defined faithfulness to the covenant as being so spiritual that entering into a city is enough for people to say, This is a Baha’i. And He says until you attain this station, you aren’t faithful to the covenant.
I dare say there should be a lot of shunning going on because I know that I’m definitely not there. I also know that 99.999% of the Baha’is out there aren’t there.