Yes Virginia, Gay Baha’is Do Exist

gay-bahais.pngMichael, one of the bright and courages youth behind Year of Faith blog, posted his ‘debriefing’ on Baha’i Journal. He especially had a ‘burning question’… oh boy… here it comes:

What is your stance on homosexuality? I am aware of what the Baha’i position is, but I am curious if you agree or disagree. Why or why not?

I myself am unable to reconcile the Baha’i prohibition against homosexual behavior with the stance of the oneness of humanity. It seems contradictory to put so much emphasis on tolerance, mutual understanding, and equality, and yet maintain such a conservative view on sexuality and marriage. I also have trouble seeing how the Baha’i community could augment this, or any one of it’s ideas, without a new Prophet to set us straight on God’s Will.

As you can imagine that lead to a very interesting discussion. I followed along from a distance since I’ve long given up trying to actually get anything past the Taliban-esque moderators on Baha’i Journal. I was intrigued to find, among the Baha’i youth in that discussion forum, one or two that actually, Gasp! had an open mind.

In any case, take a look and see their discussion. If I could have contributed, I would have said one simple thing:

I challenge anyone, Baha’i or not, to find one sentence revealed by Baha’u’llah explicitly devoted to the subject of homosexuality.

And if you would like to peek into places where gay Baha’is and their friends gather and talk online, here are three forums:

Gay Baha’i Forum

(Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) GLBT Baha’is

Gay Baha’i Story Project

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    …Taliban-esque moderators on Baha’i Journal.

    Baquia, that is so insulting! Do you have any idea how hurt the Taliban are going to be, should they ever read your cruel words?

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    …Taliban-esque moderators on Baha’i Journal.

    Baquia, that is so insulting! Do you have any idea how hurt the Taliban are going to be, should they ever read your cruel words?

  • Desire

    I’m definitly sure that you’re a Jerk !
    High compliment.

  • Desire

    I’m definitly sure that you’re a Jerk !
    High compliment.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Thanks for your ‘high compliment’ but I’m not sure whether your intention was to award it to Steve or myself. Since I’m so selfish I would like to claim it for myself.

    btw definitely is spelled with ‘finite’

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Thanks for your ‘high compliment’ but I’m not sure whether your intention was to award it to Steve or myself. Since I’m so selfish I would like to claim it for myself.

    btw definitely is spelled with ‘finite’

  • http://blendmonthly.blogspot.com Todd Brogan

    Good job Baquia. The Baha’i stance on homosexuality has always been a bit troubling to me. The youth’s challenged, to find a saying explicitly aimed at homosexuality, is yet unmet I’m sure. Despite the words of the Guardian, when a Baha’i reviews the authority of the Guardian in relation to the Manifestation, it is actually quite easy to see how much of a non-issue homosexuality should be in the faith. It’s one of the Faith’s “black eyes” I fear. Good entry.

  • http://blendmonthly.blogspot.com Todd Brogan

    Good job Baquia. The Baha’i stance on homosexuality has always been a bit troubling to me. The youth’s challenged, to find a saying explicitly aimed at homosexuality, is yet unmet I’m sure. Despite the words of the Guardian, when a Baha’i reviews the authority of the Guardian in relation to the Manifestation, it is actually quite easy to see how much of a non-issue homosexuality should be in the faith. It’s one of the Faith’s “black eyes” I fear. Good entry.

  • We should return to the Greek decadence, and portray the hetrosexuals as bunch of “imbecile”.

    As simple as that ” take it or leave it”

    Discover you own creed and practice it, Baha’i have send you a “golden invitation”, we beg you wholeheartedly.

    “black eyes” booboo

    btw thanks for spelling correction.

    Love to you too

  • We should return to the Greek decadence, and portray the hetrosexuals as bunch of “imbecile”.

    As simple as that ” take it or leave it”

    Discover you own creed and practice it, Baha’i have send you a “golden invitation”, we beg you wholeheartedly.

    “black eyes” booboo

    btw thanks for spelling correction.

    Love to you too

  • TJ

    Greek you say?

    ‘This is madness’

    This… is… BAHAI !!

  • TJ

    Greek you say?

    ‘This is madness’

    This… is… BAHAI !!

  • http://www.whitehanky.blogspot.com White Hanky

    Baquia: it was because of the ‘abomination’ label leveled against Gays by Baha’i’s (and for those of you reading this (you know who you are) please don’t even bother to palm off that trite piece of garbage that we ‘love the sinner yet hate the sin’….let me know when you plan on inviting an openly gay Baha’i to your Feast ) that is the second reason I gave up teaching the Faith. How could I and not be a hypocrite?
    This was brought home to me two years ago when I marched in a Pride Parade and directly in front of me was a well known Gay Leatherman who had stated publicly on a National TV show he had been a Baha’i in his youth but left when he realized he was gay and that according to the Faith he was an ‘abomination.’ Those were his exact words.
    How tragic for him and for us that we lost someone like him.
    Baquia: let me know when Chapter and Verse of Baha’u’llah’s writings dealing specifically with this issue shows up somewhere in ‘provisional translations’…thank you.
    Waving a rainbow flag: WH

  • http://www.whitehanky.blogspot.com White Hanky

    Baquia: it was because of the ‘abomination’ label leveled against Gays by Baha’i’s (and for those of you reading this (you know who you are) please don’t even bother to palm off that trite piece of garbage that we ‘love the sinner yet hate the sin’….let me know when you plan on inviting an openly gay Baha’i to your Feast ) that is the second reason I gave up teaching the Faith. How could I and not be a hypocrite?
    This was brought home to me two years ago when I marched in a Pride Parade and directly in front of me was a well known Gay Leatherman who had stated publicly on a National TV show he had been a Baha’i in his youth but left when he realized he was gay and that according to the Faith he was an ‘abomination.’ Those were his exact words.
    How tragic for him and for us that we lost someone like him.
    Baquia: let me know when Chapter and Verse of Baha’u’llah’s writings dealing specifically with this issue shows up somewhere in ‘provisional translations’…thank you.
    Waving a rainbow flag: WH

  • JDO

    there’s also a facebook group

  • JDO

    there’s also a facebook group

  • Peyamb

    I’m generations Bahai, gay and inactive. Conservative Bahais always try to portray their stance on homosexuality as being the only way. At the same time, they try to convince the world that their stance is just. They also try to make it less than it is by saying that Bahais don’t pry into private lives of gays or anyone doing something sexually “immoral” unless it becomes scandalous. If all this is true, then why aren’t there gay couples with their children in Bahai classes? Why don’t people freely bring their partners to firesides, serve on LSA’s etc? If they are not having sex in public or doing something to embarras anyone, then they should be 100% accepted in the community and allowed to fully function. Yet that is not the case, why? Because those like me know fully well what conservatives are like. Walk into a Bahai setting with a pride shirt on, and that will probably be enough to get you sent to your local LSA. Bahai communities are not for open, well-adjusted gays like me. They are, like other fundamentalist communities, for those gays who are closeted, self-hating or those inidividuals who have gotten fed up with the worst of the gay community, so they bought into the Bahai conservative view. It just sickens me how on the one-hand they can be so prejudiced against the LGBT community, but on the other try to show this open loving community were all are accepted. If so, then why do people like me shun it?

  • Peyamb

    I’m generations Bahai, gay and inactive. Conservative Bahais always try to portray their stance on homosexuality as being the only way. At the same time, they try to convince the world that their stance is just. They also try to make it less than it is by saying that Bahais don’t pry into private lives of gays or anyone doing something sexually “immoral” unless it becomes scandalous. If all this is true, then why aren’t there gay couples with their children in Bahai classes? Why don’t people freely bring their partners to firesides, serve on LSA’s etc? If they are not having sex in public or doing something to embarras anyone, then they should be 100% accepted in the community and allowed to fully function. Yet that is not the case, why? Because those like me know fully well what conservatives are like. Walk into a Bahai setting with a pride shirt on, and that will probably be enough to get you sent to your local LSA. Bahai communities are not for open, well-adjusted gays like me. They are, like other fundamentalist communities, for those gays who are closeted, self-hating or those inidividuals who have gotten fed up with the worst of the gay community, so they bought into the Bahai conservative view. It just sickens me how on the one-hand they can be so prejudiced against the LGBT community, but on the other try to show this open loving community were all are accepted. If so, then why do people like me shun it?

  • Fritz Gormann

    I agree and what more, being Gay isn’t a choice it’s genetic.
    I believe this; when we are created we are all created female, then if we miss getting the correct combination we become what people call gay.
    It’s part of the life forming process, and if that’s true then God had a hand in it.
    If God had a hand in it then being gay is normal and part of life.

    Then why does the uptight Baha’is, get so uptight, or that’s right they follow the leader and don’t think for themselves anymore.

    People are people and God loves us all, but people have a hard time with that, stupid.

    I heard that the reason Shoghi Effendi did need to leave a will was because his letters and writings where his will.
    That doesn’t work for me.
    If Abdul-Baha didn’t leave a will and his writings were his will, his elder brother would have been the head of the faith.

    Baha’is, of which I’m one, have stopped finding truth and let others do it for thing, how sad.

    So, to my Gay brothers, I salute you.

    Fritz Gormann

  • Fritz Gormann

    I agree and what more, being Gay isn’t a choice it’s genetic.
    I believe this; when we are created we are all created female, then if we miss getting the correct combination we become what people call gay.
    It’s part of the life forming process, and if that’s true then God had a hand in it.
    If God had a hand in it then being gay is normal and part of life.

    Then why does the uptight Baha’is, get so uptight, or that’s right they follow the leader and don’t think for themselves anymore.

    People are people and God loves us all, but people have a hard time with that, stupid.

    I heard that the reason Shoghi Effendi did need to leave a will was because his letters and writings where his will.
    That doesn’t work for me.
    If Abdul-Baha didn’t leave a will and his writings were his will, his elder brother would have been the head of the faith.

    Baha’is, of which I’m one, have stopped finding truth and let others do it for thing, how sad.

    So, to my Gay brothers, I salute you.

    Fritz Gormann

  • Peyamb

    Thank you for those comments. Yeah, I’ve pretty much given up too. I’m looking into the UU’s now as a way to practice my personal belief in Bahaullah. I would like someone though who is active in their Bahai community to propose the following at feast, lsa whatever:
    If two men come and want to joing the faith, and bring their children to class, what would we do? Do we pry into their bedroom to see what if they are breaking any laws? Or do we do what we say we do, and not pry, and allow them to join the Faith and be fully a part of the community?
    Please get back to me with any answers. But this probably isn’t the best site to find Bahais who are active in their communities. :o)

  • Peyamb

    Thank you for those comments. Yeah, I’ve pretty much given up too. I’m looking into the UU’s now as a way to practice my personal belief in Bahaullah. I would like someone though who is active in their Bahai community to propose the following at feast, lsa whatever:
    If two men come and want to joing the faith, and bring their children to class, what would we do? Do we pry into their bedroom to see what if they are breaking any laws? Or do we do what we say we do, and not pry, and allow them to join the Faith and be fully a part of the community?
    Please get back to me with any answers. But this probably isn’t the best site to find Bahais who are active in their communities. :o)

  • Fritz Gormann

    Peyamb, I’m sorry that I can’t be the one who could do that, I wish I could but when they boxed up the truth and took away the right to question that ended it for me, we have stepped back and worship in our own way now.

    Maybe if the UHJ holds a meeting in the stadium at Nurnberg Germany, like the other guys did, then I’ll ask the question.

    Being Gay is being Human, being straight is being Human, Being Human is an Act of Creation is not a Baha’i Limiting practice

    Fritz

  • Fritz Gormann

    Peyamb, I’m sorry that I can’t be the one who could do that, I wish I could but when they boxed up the truth and took away the right to question that ended it for me, we have stepped back and worship in our own way now.

    Maybe if the UHJ holds a meeting in the stadium at Nurnberg Germany, like the other guys did, then I’ll ask the question.

    Being Gay is being Human, being straight is being Human, Being Human is an Act of Creation is not a Baha’i Limiting practice

    Fritz

  • http://www.theyreminisceoveryou.wordpress.com Noah Latif Goodbaum

    [quote comment=""]
    If God had a hand in it then being gay is normal and part of life.[/quote]

    I’m a university student who’s not presently enrolled as a Bah??’?, but I’ve been actively considering joining the Faith. Vexing but perhaps lucky for me that I encountered websites like this, because I’d have known nothing about the relatively skeptical mainstream Bah??’? attitude to critical thinking. It’s vaguely terrifying to think that authorities would block any non-mainstream view. Seems so radically out of step with the founding principles of the Fatih. Alas.

    As for this business about the prohibition of homosexuality– I’m with the gentleman who says it’s utterly out of accord with the ideal of a world free of prejudice. To abolish all bigotries save for this one is not to abolish bigotry at all. And I gather that an unfortunate number of Bah??’?s believe they haven’t got the right to question God’s Law, nevermind the agonies over the translation of the words in the Aqdas that have been rendered as “homosexual relationship”, but which could be read differently. Scary, because I come from a faith environment where the rights of gay folks are fully enshrined and I wouldn’t want to have to fight a losing battle to say That Which Must Not Be Said along with and on behalf of my gay brothers and sisters inside and outside the Faith.

  • http://www.theyreminisceoveryou.wordpress.com Noah Latif Goodbaum

    [quote comment=""]
    If God had a hand in it then being gay is normal and part of life.[/quote]

    I’m a university student who’s not presently enrolled as a Bah??’?, but I’ve been actively considering joining the Faith. Vexing but perhaps lucky for me that I encountered websites like this, because I’d have known nothing about the relatively skeptical mainstream Bah??’? attitude to critical thinking. It’s vaguely terrifying to think that authorities would block any non-mainstream view. Seems so radically out of step with the founding principles of the Fatih. Alas.

    As for this business about the prohibition of homosexuality– I’m with the gentleman who says it’s utterly out of accord with the ideal of a world free of prejudice. To abolish all bigotries save for this one is not to abolish bigotry at all. And I gather that an unfortunate number of Bah??’?s believe they haven’t got the right to question God’s Law, nevermind the agonies over the translation of the words in the Aqdas that have been rendered as “homosexual relationship”, but which could be read differently. Scary, because I come from a faith environment where the rights of gay folks are fully enshrined and I wouldn’t want to have to fight a losing battle to say That Which Must Not Be Said along with and on behalf of my gay brothers and sisters inside and outside the Faith.

  • Andy

    Hi Bird

    [quote comment=""] ?I miss knowing and loving God?.[/quote]

    I went through this myself once but have come out the other side knowing and loving God again.

    I think Baha’is, like Christians and Muslims have been subjected to the false doctrine that ?God’ is an unknowable essence and is extrinsic from people and the only way they can know God is through Bah??’u’ll??h and his good qualities.

    Andrew, in quoting Dorothy Soelle, talks about our being in Her (God’s) image.

    ?For Soelle, God cannot be both loving and almighty in this world. God is like us — we truly are in her image — able to love only through our vulnerability and able thereby to embody a sacred power that is completely countercultural to the dominant social and political forces that rule the world.?

    The power that Soelle is talking about is the Love of Self or Her image working through the little self. How often have you experienced Self viewing and listening to your own personality? It happens to me a lot. How often have you thought of shunning someone and then listened to a voice that shows you compassion towards that person. My experience is that the compassionate voice is the Self in Her image.

    The other day I read a quote which hit home for me (I forget who wrote it). It simply said:

    ?We have to learn to LOVE SELF before we can unconditionally love another.?

    Of course ?Self? in the above quote is God, not the ego self. If God’s Love is pervasive in all things then it follows that we are Love too. It just takes a conscious effort to discern the difference between self and Self.

    The conclusion is that to know your Self is to know and love God.

    During the century of light some have got caught up in self-centeredness, but all on the path and freedom to discover the Self or God within. It sure breaks with the debilitating false doctrine of separation of humanity and God that has been fostered by religion.

    Great topic.

  • Andy

    Hi Bird

    [quote comment=""] ?I miss knowing and loving God?.[/quote]

    I went through this myself once but have come out the other side knowing and loving God again.

    I think Baha’is, like Christians and Muslims have been subjected to the false doctrine that ?God’ is an unknowable essence and is extrinsic from people and the only way they can know God is through Bah??’u’ll??h and his good qualities.

    Andrew, in quoting Dorothy Soelle, talks about our being in Her (God’s) image.

    ?For Soelle, God cannot be both loving and almighty in this world. God is like us — we truly are in her image — able to love only through our vulnerability and able thereby to embody a sacred power that is completely countercultural to the dominant social and political forces that rule the world.?

    The power that Soelle is talking about is the Love of Self or Her image working through the little self. How often have you experienced Self viewing and listening to your own personality? It happens to me a lot. How often have you thought of shunning someone and then listened to a voice that shows you compassion towards that person. My experience is that the compassionate voice is the Self in Her image.

    The other day I read a quote which hit home for me (I forget who wrote it). It simply said:

    ?We have to learn to LOVE SELF before we can unconditionally love another.?

    Of course ?Self? in the above quote is God, not the ego self. If God’s Love is pervasive in all things then it follows that we are Love too. It just takes a conscious effort to discern the difference between self and Self.

    The conclusion is that to know your Self is to know and love God.

    During the century of light some have got caught up in self-centeredness, but all on the path and freedom to discover the Self or God within. It sure breaks with the debilitating false doctrine of separation of humanity and God that has been fostered by religion.

    Great topic.

  • Andrew

    Mavaddat has a succinct post about this subject on his blog:

    http://mavaddat.livejournal.com/

    If you do a YouTube search for MAVADDAT, you’ll get a list of his videos on the Baha’i Faith and homosexuality.

    “Scary, because I come from a faith environment where the rights of gay folks are fully enshrined and I wouldn’t want to have to fight a losing battle to say That Which Must Not Be Said along with and on behalf of my gay brothers and sisters inside and outside the Faith.”

    That’s exactly what you’ll have to fight: a losing battle.

    Unless you’re prepared to accept (publicly if not privately) the official prohibition of the UHJ against same-sex relations, you’ll likely be disenrolled. If you share your divergent opinion on the subject during the application process, it’s unlikely you’ll even receive a membership card. You might prefer to be an “unenrolled” Baha’i.

    However, it’s possible to rationalize anything. There once was an individual active on a Baha’i forum who initially held the same views you have expressed above. Once she became a Baha’i, she realized how wrong she had been, and how right the UHJ is about everything. But it seems she wasn’t able to keep herself permanently convinced, because she eventually resigned from the Faith. Good luck to you!

  • Andrew

    Mavaddat has a succinct post about this subject on his blog:

    http://mavaddat.livejournal.com/

    If you do a YouTube search for MAVADDAT, you’ll get a list of his videos on the Baha’i Faith and homosexuality.

    “Scary, because I come from a faith environment where the rights of gay folks are fully enshrined and I wouldn’t want to have to fight a losing battle to say That Which Must Not Be Said along with and on behalf of my gay brothers and sisters inside and outside the Faith.”

    That’s exactly what you’ll have to fight: a losing battle.

    Unless you’re prepared to accept (publicly if not privately) the official prohibition of the UHJ against same-sex relations, you’ll likely be disenrolled. If you share your divergent opinion on the subject during the application process, it’s unlikely you’ll even receive a membership card. You might prefer to be an “unenrolled” Baha’i.

    However, it’s possible to rationalize anything. There once was an individual active on a Baha’i forum who initially held the same views you have expressed above. Once she became a Baha’i, she realized how wrong she had been, and how right the UHJ is about everything. But it seems she wasn’t able to keep herself permanently convinced, because she eventually resigned from the Faith. Good luck to you!

  • Not Baha’i

    I believe that my brother, a convert, is actively shunning me for daring to raise this issue. I am very hurt that he and his wife are raising their children to think that their aunties are filthy, animalistic sub-humans.

    I also don’t believe that the Baha’i Faith is in favor of true “unity,” which is not won by taking one’s intellectual ball and going home when the game isn’t going one’s way. Until the Baha’i Faith stops promulgating hatred and excusing it with logical fallacies and ideological blinders, it will never achieve its cherished “unity.” The most beautiful chorus requires a multitude of voices, yet this religion wants LGBTQ Baha’is to stand there and move their lips without actually singing.

    I hope that, when my nieces and nephews are grown, they will discover the faculties of reason. I also will stand by them should they turn out to be gay or lesbian themselves–and, in a way, I hope they don’t, because they will suffer intolerable emotional conflict if that is the case. The difference is that I will love them always, no matter what their sexual orientation. I’m not sure that their hyperreligious parents will.

  • Not Baha’i

    I believe that my brother, a convert, is actively shunning me for daring to raise this issue. I am very hurt that he and his wife are raising their children to think that their aunties are filthy, animalistic sub-humans.

    I also don’t believe that the Baha’i Faith is in favor of true “unity,” which is not won by taking one’s intellectual ball and going home when the game isn’t going one’s way. Until the Baha’i Faith stops promulgating hatred and excusing it with logical fallacies and ideological blinders, it will never achieve its cherished “unity.” The most beautiful chorus requires a multitude of voices, yet this religion wants LGBTQ Baha’is to stand there and move their lips without actually singing.

    I hope that, when my nieces and nephews are grown, they will discover the faculties of reason. I also will stand by them should they turn out to be gay or lesbian themselves–and, in a way, I hope they don’t, because they will suffer intolerable emotional conflict if that is the case. The difference is that I will love them always, no matter what their sexual orientation. I’m not sure that their hyperreligious parents will.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Dear Not Baha’i,

    I am so sorry to hear that you are being treated that way for being gay by your Baha’i relatives. It’s disgusting, and it is commonplace for Baha’is to behave this way. Unfortunately, most are not willing to look past the clearly homophobic and hate-filled Baha’i Writings on this subject and engage their own sense of right and wrong. The point you raise about the possibily of your neices and nephews growing up gay but being told they are spiritually handicapped and “problem human beings” by their parents and the Baha’i Writings is a really heartbreaking one. It is abusive for children (or anyone) to be judged that way.

    Your neices and nephews are lucky to have you.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Dear Not Baha’i,

    I am so sorry to hear that you are being treated that way for being gay by your Baha’i relatives. It’s disgusting, and it is commonplace for Baha’is to behave this way. Unfortunately, most are not willing to look past the clearly homophobic and hate-filled Baha’i Writings on this subject and engage their own sense of right and wrong. The point you raise about the possibily of your neices and nephews growing up gay but being told they are spiritually handicapped and “problem human beings” by their parents and the Baha’i Writings is a really heartbreaking one. It is abusive for children (or anyone) to be judged that way.

    Your neices and nephews are lucky to have you.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    My Dear Sister Not Bah?’?

    Here is some love for your calling heart

    I don’t believe that you’re sexuality is a ?matter? to discuss or be raised with your brother or any human being, no more then his is with his partner. Love is not defined by sexual orientation no sense in arguing the point.

    Bah?’?’s enjoin a concept of compassion for those who are afflicted which you currently seem to feel from his disapproval of your life, which, by the way, how you live it is none of his business that is why it is called ?your life? :)! He’ll find these concepts as he deepens. Trust me sister, your brother is in for quite a ride giving him some space as he checks out what he signed up for is not a bad thing.

    The core of your anguish is in the power he holds over the relationship you have with his children and whom I am sure as you love as much as your own.

    I’d say you call for a family meeting or ask him to lunch. Do not discuss your sexual orientation, discuss your love and any willingness he may have for you to continue sharing it. Do your best not to become entangled in the WORDS, but move in the emotion of your love for him, his wife, and their children.

    If he is a zealot and an unmovable heart, take your love to the nearest children’s hospital and pour it out. I’ve taken this action myself and ALWAYS walk out feeling better. Many children call me Auntie.

    Here is a great song to listen to before you see him again. Some of the greatest music I’ve ever heard was written in the glorious anguish called love.

    KD Lang, Crying

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv7S8v3rM-U&feature=related

    And even better ones in the empowerment of women – One of my personal all time favorites for a little more uplift – Helen Reddy -1972 I am woman

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPDcMyPlFvw&feature=related

  • Bird out of the Cage

    My Dear Sister Not Bah?’?

    Here is some love for your calling heart

    I don’t believe that you’re sexuality is a ?matter? to discuss or be raised with your brother or any human being, no more then his is with his partner. Love is not defined by sexual orientation no sense in arguing the point.

    Bah?’?’s enjoin a concept of compassion for those who are afflicted which you currently seem to feel from his disapproval of your life, which, by the way, how you live it is none of his business that is why it is called ?your life? :)! He’ll find these concepts as he deepens. Trust me sister, your brother is in for quite a ride giving him some space as he checks out what he signed up for is not a bad thing.

    The core of your anguish is in the power he holds over the relationship you have with his children and whom I am sure as you love as much as your own.

    I’d say you call for a family meeting or ask him to lunch. Do not discuss your sexual orientation, discuss your love and any willingness he may have for you to continue sharing it. Do your best not to become entangled in the WORDS, but move in the emotion of your love for him, his wife, and their children.

    If he is a zealot and an unmovable heart, take your love to the nearest children’s hospital and pour it out. I’ve taken this action myself and ALWAYS walk out feeling better. Many children call me Auntie.

    Here is a great song to listen to before you see him again. Some of the greatest music I’ve ever heard was written in the glorious anguish called love.

    KD Lang, Crying

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv7S8v3rM-U&feature=related

    And even better ones in the empowerment of women – One of my personal all time favorites for a little more uplift – Helen Reddy -1972 I am woman

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPDcMyPlFvw&feature=related

  • http://www.theyreminisceoveryou.wordpress.com Noah Latif Goodbaum

    [quote comment=""]Dear Not Baha’i,

    I am so sorry to hear that you are being treated that way for being gay by your Baha’i relatives. It’s disgusting, and it is commonplace for Baha’is to behave this way. Unfortunately, most are not willing to look past the clearly homophobic and hate-filled Baha’i Writings on this subject and engage their own sense of right and wrong. The point you raise about the possibily of your neices and nephews growing up gay but being told they are spiritually handicapped and “problem human beings” by their parents and the Baha’i Writings is a really heartbreaking one. It is abusive for children (or anyone) to be judged that way.

    Your neices and nephews are lucky to have you.[/quote]

    Indeed. I couldn’t put it any better myself.

    It faintly astonishes me to find that, if Baha’u’llah is the Messenger for this Day, that He hasn’t called for the abolishment of prejudice against gay folks. It seems to me that there are few human rights crises more urgent, or more uniquely in need of attention in the present time, than this one.

    From what I’ve read, the Universal House of Justice enjoins a sort of soft bigotry, rather than out-and-out cruelty– it’s not gay-friendly, but it doesn’t ask that gay people be treated as ungodly beings apart from all that’s good. So it would seem to me that even though I’m unhappy with the non-acceptance of gays in the Faith, the shunning Not Baha’i has experienced at the hands of her relatives is out of step with what it means to be a Baha’i. And likewise the recent anti-gay demonstration in which the Baha’is of Uganda reportedly participated– that’s just filthy.

    I wish good fortune on you, and on your family, too, that they’ll be able to accept you for the person you are. I know homophobia can’t be eliminated overnight, but I hope they come to cherish you regardless of what they make of your sexual identity– surely, nothing else befits a person with a “pure, kindly and radiant heart”.

    Amanda– well-spoken. I’ve found myself a new blog to read, methinks.

  • http://www.theyreminisceoveryou.wordpress.com Noah Latif Goodbaum

    [quote comment=""]Dear Not Baha’i,

    I am so sorry to hear that you are being treated that way for being gay by your Baha’i relatives. It’s disgusting, and it is commonplace for Baha’is to behave this way. Unfortunately, most are not willing to look past the clearly homophobic and hate-filled Baha’i Writings on this subject and engage their own sense of right and wrong. The point you raise about the possibily of your neices and nephews growing up gay but being told they are spiritually handicapped and “problem human beings” by their parents and the Baha’i Writings is a really heartbreaking one. It is abusive for children (or anyone) to be judged that way.

    Your neices and nephews are lucky to have you.[/quote]

    Indeed. I couldn’t put it any better myself.

    It faintly astonishes me to find that, if Baha’u’llah is the Messenger for this Day, that He hasn’t called for the abolishment of prejudice against gay folks. It seems to me that there are few human rights crises more urgent, or more uniquely in need of attention in the present time, than this one.

    From what I’ve read, the Universal House of Justice enjoins a sort of soft bigotry, rather than out-and-out cruelty– it’s not gay-friendly, but it doesn’t ask that gay people be treated as ungodly beings apart from all that’s good. So it would seem to me that even though I’m unhappy with the non-acceptance of gays in the Faith, the shunning Not Baha’i has experienced at the hands of her relatives is out of step with what it means to be a Baha’i. And likewise the recent anti-gay demonstration in which the Baha’is of Uganda reportedly participated– that’s just filthy.

    I wish good fortune on you, and on your family, too, that they’ll be able to accept you for the person you are. I know homophobia can’t be eliminated overnight, but I hope they come to cherish you regardless of what they make of your sexual identity– surely, nothing else befits a person with a “pure, kindly and radiant heart”.

    Amanda– well-spoken. I’ve found myself a new blog to read, methinks.

  • Andrew

    “So it would seem to me that even though I’m unhappy with the non-acceptance of gays in the Faith, the shunning Not Baha’i has experienced at the hands of her relatives is out of step with what it means to be a Baha’i.”

    Are you serious? I’ve met many gay men and lesbians who have been disenrolled and subsequently shunned from the Baha’i Faith: a male couple, a female couple, a couple of Iranian immigrants, a couple of Western converts, all justified by logical fallacies and ideological blinders. This shunning and silencing is the rule, not the exception. And yes, other religions do likewise, or even worse. But they don’t claim to seek the harmonization of religion with science, nor do they attack the science when it doesn’t support the religion, because they don’t make any pretense of looking to science in the first place.

    “It faintly astonishes me to find that, if Baha’u’llah is the Messenger for this Day, that He hasn’t called for the abolishment of prejudice against gay folks.”

    The Bab wrote the Bayan:

    http://bayanic.com/intro/backg12.html

    “Capital punishment, corporeal punishment and imprisonment have no place in the Bayan.”

    However …

    “The law of Baha’u’llah prescribes the death penalty for murder and arson, with the alternative of life imprisonment.” (Shoghi Effendi)

    The Bab prohibited capital punishment, but Baha’u’llah restored it. The UHJ (14 February 1993) wrote: “Membership by Baha’is in Amnesty International is not permitted … Amnesty International states that it is opposed to the death penalty in all cases and without reservation, while the law of Baha’u’llah expressed in the Kitab-i-Aqdas is that the death penalty is applicable for murder and arson under certain circumstances.”

    So your “Messenger for this Day” restores capital punishment as an “option,” and his current representatives in the “infallible institution” of the UHJ tacitly encourage the shunning and silencing of gay and lesbian Baha’is.

    So tell me: how is any of this appropriate “for this Day”? How is any of this an improvement? There are even Baha’i writers who call for genetic experimentation on gays and lesbians and compare their “condition” to a disease that will one day be eradicated. This isn’t a religion, it’s a madhouse.

  • Andrew

    “So it would seem to me that even though I’m unhappy with the non-acceptance of gays in the Faith, the shunning Not Baha’i has experienced at the hands of her relatives is out of step with what it means to be a Baha’i.”

    Are you serious? I’ve met many gay men and lesbians who have been disenrolled and subsequently shunned from the Baha’i Faith: a male couple, a female couple, a couple of Iranian immigrants, a couple of Western converts, all justified by logical fallacies and ideological blinders. This shunning and silencing is the rule, not the exception. And yes, other religions do likewise, or even worse. But they don’t claim to seek the harmonization of religion with science, nor do they attack the science when it doesn’t support the religion, because they don’t make any pretense of looking to science in the first place.

    “It faintly astonishes me to find that, if Baha’u’llah is the Messenger for this Day, that He hasn’t called for the abolishment of prejudice against gay folks.”

    The Bab wrote the Bayan:

    http://bayanic.com/intro/backg12.html

    “Capital punishment, corporeal punishment and imprisonment have no place in the Bayan.”

    However …

    “The law of Baha’u’llah prescribes the death penalty for murder and arson, with the alternative of life imprisonment.” (Shoghi Effendi)

    The Bab prohibited capital punishment, but Baha’u’llah restored it. The UHJ (14 February 1993) wrote: “Membership by Baha’is in Amnesty International is not permitted … Amnesty International states that it is opposed to the death penalty in all cases and without reservation, while the law of Baha’u’llah expressed in the Kitab-i-Aqdas is that the death penalty is applicable for murder and arson under certain circumstances.”

    So your “Messenger for this Day” restores capital punishment as an “option,” and his current representatives in the “infallible institution” of the UHJ tacitly encourage the shunning and silencing of gay and lesbian Baha’is.

    So tell me: how is any of this appropriate “for this Day”? How is any of this an improvement? There are even Baha’i writers who call for genetic experimentation on gays and lesbians and compare their “condition” to a disease that will one day be eradicated. This isn’t a religion, it’s a madhouse.

  • Andrew

    Not Baha’i and Amanda … you might be interested in this:

    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2008/03/25/1692

    “An Anthropologist Critiques Focus on the Family’s ‘Anthropological’ Report on Marriage”

  • Andrew

    Not Baha’i and Amanda … you might be interested in this:

    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2008/03/25/1692

    “An Anthropologist Critiques Focus on the Family’s ‘Anthropological’ Report on Marriage”

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Not Baha’i,
    I’m sorry to hear that your relationship with your brother isn’t as loving as you’d want it to be. I would also be very hurt if my brother stopped talking to me or visiting with me.

    [quote comment="46391"]I believe that my brother, a convert, is actively shunning me for daring to raise this issue. I am very hurt that he and his wife are raising their children to think that their aunties are filthy, animalistic sub-humans.[/quote]

    While your relationship with your brother is suffering, it is important to remember that if he is acting as you say, it has nothing to do with the Baha’i Faith and is in fact far removed from the standards of conduct that Baha’is are called to uphold.

    [quote comment="46391"]I also don’t believe that the Baha’i Faith is in favor of true “unity,” which is not won by taking one’s intellectual ball and going home when the game isn’t going one’s way. Until the Baha’i Faith stops promulgating hatred and excusing it with logical fallacies and ideological blinders, it will never achieve its cherished “unity.” The most beautiful chorus requires a multitude of voices, yet this religion wants LGBTQ Baha’is to stand there and move their lips without actually singing.[/quote]

    I agree with you that true unity means unity in diversity, not conformity. Although I, personally, believe that we are all equal in the sight of God, whether old, young, pink, black, gay, straight, man, woman, etc… I can’t see how the Baha’i Faith “promulgates hatred” in this or in any other regard. We, as individuals, are all imperfect beings so it is always possible for someone to warp even the loveliest message but one must remember that a person is not the faith they profess.

    [quote comment="46391"]I hope that, when my nieces and nephews are grown, they will discover the faculties of reason. I also will stand by them should they turn out to be gay or lesbian themselves–and, in a way, I hope they don’t, because they will suffer intolerable emotional conflict if that is the case. The difference is that I will love them always, no matter what their sexual orientation. I’m not sure that their hyperreligious parents will.[/quote]

    It is my sincere wish that you and your brother can repair your relationship and bring harmony to your extended family. You are blessed to have them and they to have you.

    Amanda,
    perhaps it has been your experience with Baha’is that has lead you to believe it to be “commonplace” for “most” to behave this way but mine has been very different. Rather than try to pass your personal experience as fact, why not properly label it? Also, the Baha’i writings have zero hate when it comes to homosexuals. In fact, the opposite is true. You may not agree with the current Baha’i stance on this issue but that does not give you carte-blanche to misrepresent them.

    [quote comment="46405"]…and it is commonplace for Baha’is to behave this way. Unfortunately, most are not willing to look past the clearly homophobic and hate-filled Baha’i Writings on this subject and engage their own sense of right and wrong. [/quote]

    Andrew,
    any large enough group will, by the laws of probability, contain batshitinsanecrazy people. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of knowing one or two of them. But thankfully, they are not the Baha’i Faith, nor do they speak for it. Just as no one here is the Faith, nor speaks for it. The best thing for people to do is to go to the source: the Baha’i Writings.

    [quote comment=""]There are even Baha’i writers who call for genetic experimentation on gays and lesbians and compare their “condition” to a disease that will one day be eradicated. This isn’t a religion, it’s a madhouse.[/quote]

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Not Baha’i,
    I’m sorry to hear that your relationship with your brother isn’t as loving as you’d want it to be. I would also be very hurt if my brother stopped talking to me or visiting with me.

    [quote comment="46391"]I believe that my brother, a convert, is actively shunning me for daring to raise this issue. I am very hurt that he and his wife are raising their children to think that their aunties are filthy, animalistic sub-humans.[/quote]

    While your relationship with your brother is suffering, it is important to remember that if he is acting as you say, it has nothing to do with the Baha’i Faith and is in fact far removed from the standards of conduct that Baha’is are called to uphold.

    [quote comment="46391"]I also don’t believe that the Baha’i Faith is in favor of true “unity,” which is not won by taking one’s intellectual ball and going home when the game isn’t going one’s way. Until the Baha’i Faith stops promulgating hatred and excusing it with logical fallacies and ideological blinders, it will never achieve its cherished “unity.” The most beautiful chorus requires a multitude of voices, yet this religion wants LGBTQ Baha’is to stand there and move their lips without actually singing.[/quote]

    I agree with you that true unity means unity in diversity, not conformity. Although I, personally, believe that we are all equal in the sight of God, whether old, young, pink, black, gay, straight, man, woman, etc… I can’t see how the Baha’i Faith “promulgates hatred” in this or in any other regard. We, as individuals, are all imperfect beings so it is always possible for someone to warp even the loveliest message but one must remember that a person is not the faith they profess.

    [quote comment="46391"]I hope that, when my nieces and nephews are grown, they will discover the faculties of reason. I also will stand by them should they turn out to be gay or lesbian themselves–and, in a way, I hope they don’t, because they will suffer intolerable emotional conflict if that is the case. The difference is that I will love them always, no matter what their sexual orientation. I’m not sure that their hyperreligious parents will.[/quote]

    It is my sincere wish that you and your brother can repair your relationship and bring harmony to your extended family. You are blessed to have them and they to have you.

    Amanda,
    perhaps it has been your experience with Baha’is that has lead you to believe it to be “commonplace” for “most” to behave this way but mine has been very different. Rather than try to pass your personal experience as fact, why not properly label it? Also, the Baha’i writings have zero hate when it comes to homosexuals. In fact, the opposite is true. You may not agree with the current Baha’i stance on this issue but that does not give you carte-blanche to misrepresent them.

    [quote comment="46405"]…and it is commonplace for Baha’is to behave this way. Unfortunately, most are not willing to look past the clearly homophobic and hate-filled Baha’i Writings on this subject and engage their own sense of right and wrong. [/quote]

    Andrew,
    any large enough group will, by the laws of probability, contain batshitinsanecrazy people. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of knowing one or two of them. But thankfully, they are not the Baha’i Faith, nor do they speak for it. Just as no one here is the Faith, nor speaks for it. The best thing for people to do is to go to the source: the Baha’i Writings.

    [quote comment=""]There are even Baha’i writers who call for genetic experimentation on gays and lesbians and compare their “condition” to a disease that will one day be eradicated. This isn’t a religion, it’s a madhouse.[/quote]

  • http://www.theyreminisceoveryou.wordpress.com Noah Latif Goodbaum

    Baquia– if you would be so gracious– could I trouble you to share some anecdotes as to what has been your experience of treatment of gays in the Faith? I fear on a personal level that I will be encouraged not to seek the fellowship of gay people, and castigated when I suggest a tolerant stance. As to the actual experiences of gay Baha’is– all I can afford to do is wish them well as they struggle, and hope they find happiness and peace. I’m sorry the Faith hasn’t been a happy home for most of them.

    Amanda– I think it’s inaccurate to call the Scriptures’ attitude to gay folks hateful. The official stance isn’t as welcoming as I’d like, but there’s no vilification of gays in the Baha’i texts. There’s nothing in the Writings that prohibits warm and compassionate treatment of gay people. And there’s a translation issue with regard to the word “sodomy” in the Writings, which some interpret to refer only to anal sex. Something I’d like to see is that the Writings be interpreted to allow for gay relationships by translating the word that way. Would the door be open to such a thing? Or would it fall under the “mutilation” category, as it were, and be prohibited? I don’t know.

  • http://www.theyreminisceoveryou.wordpress.com Noah Latif Goodbaum

    Baquia– if you would be so gracious– could I trouble you to share some anecdotes as to what has been your experience of treatment of gays in the Faith? I fear on a personal level that I will be encouraged not to seek the fellowship of gay people, and castigated when I suggest a tolerant stance. As to the actual experiences of gay Baha’is– all I can afford to do is wish them well as they struggle, and hope they find happiness and peace. I’m sorry the Faith hasn’t been a happy home for most of them.

    Amanda– I think it’s inaccurate to call the Scriptures’ attitude to gay folks hateful. The official stance isn’t as welcoming as I’d like, but there’s no vilification of gays in the Baha’i texts. There’s nothing in the Writings that prohibits warm and compassionate treatment of gay people. And there’s a translation issue with regard to the word “sodomy” in the Writings, which some interpret to refer only to anal sex. Something I’d like to see is that the Writings be interpreted to allow for gay relationships by translating the word that way. Would the door be open to such a thing? Or would it fall under the “mutilation” category, as it were, and be prohibited? I don’t know.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Noah,
    my personal opinion is that a Baha’i (or any other person’s) opinion regarding the treatment of homosexuals will be based on their maturity and spiritual growth. I’ve had the pleasure of knowning many Baha’is who not only do not share the opinion of “Not Baha’i”‘s relative, they have many gay, bi, etc. friends. I would encourage you to not only speak out but to be an example of a true Baha’i. Our gay Baha’i friends need all the support and love they can get. It is our duty, to speak out on their behalf and defend them if anyone should misrepresent the Baha’i Faith’s stance or introduce their own prejudice as a substitute for the Faith’s policy.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Noah,
    my personal opinion is that a Baha’i (or any other person’s) opinion regarding the treatment of homosexuals will be based on their maturity and spiritual growth. I’ve had the pleasure of knowning many Baha’is who not only do not share the opinion of “Not Baha’i”‘s relative, they have many gay, bi, etc. friends. I would encourage you to not only speak out but to be an example of a true Baha’i. Our gay Baha’i friends need all the support and love they can get. It is our duty, to speak out on their behalf and defend them if anyone should misrepresent the Baha’i Faith’s stance or introduce their own prejudice as a substitute for the Faith’s policy.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Baquia,

    Yes, I do speak from the authority of my personal experiences. I’d like to point out that so do you. Why are your personal experiences closer to “fact” than mine? Should I preface each opinion I express with “I don’t know, this may or may not be true, this is really just my perception of something…” No, I shouldn’t. I have never seen you preface any of your opinions with a disclaimer. Why would you expect me to? I expect an answer to this question, Baquia. And then an apology.

    My sister is gay. I have read the Baha’i Writings that call her “a problem human being,” that tell her she has a “spiritual handicap,” that describe her creation as a “shameful sexual aberration,” that labels her feelings of LOVE as “immoral.” When a religion offers to “try and help the soul to overcome” its own nature,
    and calls her love, even if committed and marital “wrong,” and her innate sexual identity “against nature,” and an “affliction,” and a “great burden” I can’t see anything but hate. Replace the word “homosexuality” with any other biological descriptor, like SKIN COLOR and try justifying those Writings as ANYTHING but hateful. What if brown skin was called, an “abnormality,” or “a great problem for the individual so afflicted, and that he or she should strive to overcome it.” What if brown skin was “spiritually condemned” and people of African descent were told that their biological diversity was “a great trial and cause of suffering to a person, as a Bah??’?” and that “Any individual so afflicted must, through prayer, and any other means, seek to overcome this handicap.” What if brown skin was called “an aberration subject to treatment?” And that Bah??’? who “suffer” from “such a disability” should be sanctioned and have their voting rights removed? What if an African American was given the option to stay enfranchised in the community only so long as they were willing to “pass” for white? But that if they were “flagrantly” black they would be “disgracing the Cause?”

    The “future” envisaged in the Baha’i Writings where the “clear principles of prevention and treatment” of homosexuality” will be in effect is one of EUGENICS. Call a spade a spade, brother. It’s EUGENICS.

    Hate is hate, Baquia. Just because you condone it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

    What if YOUR human nature was described as “a distortion of human nature?” What if the Baha’i Writings called YOUR wife “some object” you should not be attracted to?

    I am familiar with the Baha’i Writings, Baquia. Please see my YouTube videos with citations to them at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdG6NaVmyz8 if you have any further questions about them.

    I have NOT misrepresented the Writings. I have quoted them. They, unfortunately speak for themselves.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Baquia,

    Yes, I do speak from the authority of my personal experiences. I’d like to point out that so do you. Why are your personal experiences closer to “fact” than mine? Should I preface each opinion I express with “I don’t know, this may or may not be true, this is really just my perception of something…” No, I shouldn’t. I have never seen you preface any of your opinions with a disclaimer. Why would you expect me to? I expect an answer to this question, Baquia. And then an apology.

    My sister is gay. I have read the Baha’i Writings that call her “a problem human being,” that tell her she has a “spiritual handicap,” that describe her creation as a “shameful sexual aberration,” that labels her feelings of LOVE as “immoral.” When a religion offers to “try and help the soul to overcome” its own nature,
    and calls her love, even if committed and marital “wrong,” and her innate sexual identity “against nature,” and an “affliction,” and a “great burden” I can’t see anything but hate. Replace the word “homosexuality” with any other biological descriptor, like SKIN COLOR and try justifying those Writings as ANYTHING but hateful. What if brown skin was called, an “abnormality,” or “a great problem for the individual so afflicted, and that he or she should strive to overcome it.” What if brown skin was “spiritually condemned” and people of African descent were told that their biological diversity was “a great trial and cause of suffering to a person, as a Bah??’?” and that “Any individual so afflicted must, through prayer, and any other means, seek to overcome this handicap.” What if brown skin was called “an aberration subject to treatment?” And that Bah??’? who “suffer” from “such a disability” should be sanctioned and have their voting rights removed? What if an African American was given the option to stay enfranchised in the community only so long as they were willing to “pass” for white? But that if they were “flagrantly” black they would be “disgracing the Cause?”

    The “future” envisaged in the Baha’i Writings where the “clear principles of prevention and treatment” of homosexuality” will be in effect is one of EUGENICS. Call a spade a spade, brother. It’s EUGENICS.

    Hate is hate, Baquia. Just because you condone it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

    What if YOUR human nature was described as “a distortion of human nature?” What if the Baha’i Writings called YOUR wife “some object” you should not be attracted to?

    I am familiar with the Baha’i Writings, Baquia. Please see my YouTube videos with citations to them at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdG6NaVmyz8 if you have any further questions about them.

    I have NOT misrepresented the Writings. I have quoted them. They, unfortunately speak for themselves.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Andrew,

    Thanks for the link to the BoxTurtle review. I had actually read it, and it’s good work. Any time someone makes an anthropological claim based on agreement with “Classic” anthropology, anyone in the anthropology community is immediately tipped off to likely gendered ethnocentrism in the work.

    Thanks again for posting the critique.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Andrew,

    Thanks for the link to the BoxTurtle review. I had actually read it, and it’s good work. Any time someone makes an anthropological claim based on agreement with “Classic” anthropology, anyone in the anthropology community is immediately tipped off to likely gendered ethnocentrism in the work.

    Thanks again for posting the critique.

  • Anonymous

    Noah Latif Goodbaum wrote,
    [quote post="250"]And there’s a translation issue with regard to the word ?sodomy? in the Writings, which some interpret to refer only to anal sex. Something I’d like to see is that the Writings be interpreted to allow for gay relationships by translating the word that way. Would the door be open to such a thing? Or would it fall under the ?mutilation? category, as it were, and be prohibited? I don’t know.[/quote]
    Noah, are you familiar with the role of “The Guardian” in the Baha’i Faith? He was appointed by ‘Abdu’l-Baha (the son of Baha’u’llah) with absolute authority to interpret the writings of Baha’u’llah. His name was Shoghi Effendi.

    Shoghi Effendi chose to interpret Baha’u’llah’s words about “boys” as condemning homosexuality. Thus, it is utterly irrelevant whether there is a “translation issue” with respect to the meaning of Baha’u’llah. As far as the international Baha’i community is concerned, therefore, the issue is resolved and crystal clear: Baha’u’llah meant to condemn homosexuality by the infallible authority bestowed on the Guardian by the infallible authority bestowed on ‘Abdu’l-Baha by Baha’u’llah. Thus, if you accept the authority of Baha’u’llah, you must (ex hypothesi) accept the authority of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and then the authority of the Guardian. In other words, there is no “translation issue” as far as Baha’is are concerned.

    The Universal House of Justice (which derives their infallible authority directly from Baha’u’llah) has also said that this law of marriage excluding gay people is eternal:

    Regarding the question of whether or not same-sex marriages would ever be permitted by the Universal House of Justice, the enclosed extracts indicate clearly that it would not. In addition, it is interesting to note that ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? says in a Tablet:

    Know thou that the command of marriage is eternal. It will never be changed nor altered. This is divine creation and there is not the slightest possibility that change or alteration affect this divine creation (marriage).

    The Universal House of Justice, 05 Jun 1993
    Therefore, it seems pretty clear to me: If you support gay rights, you absolutely cannot be a Baha’i. From what the infallible authorities of the Baha’i community have written, there simply is no room for any other option. Unfortunately, to face this fact straight on and not mince words takes a degree of bravery, however, that is not often found amongst humanity. The easiest route (and the route that most people prefer) is to stay in a state of perpetual cognitive dissonance and pretend that there is room for gay rights in the Baha’i Faith. There simply is not.

    See my site for more: http://mavaddat.livejournal.com/21160.html

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat Javid

    Noah Latif Goodbaum wrote,
    [quote post="250"]And there’s a translation issue with regard to the word ?sodomy? in the Writings, which some interpret to refer only to anal sex. Something I’d like to see is that the Writings be interpreted to allow for gay relationships by translating the word that way. Would the door be open to such a thing? Or would it fall under the ?mutilation? category, as it were, and be prohibited? I don’t know.[/quote]
    Noah, are you familiar with the role of “The Guardian” in the Baha’i Faith? He was appointed by ‘Abdu’l-Baha (the son of Baha’u’llah) with absolute authority to interpret the writings of Baha’u’llah. His name was Shoghi Effendi.

    Shoghi Effendi chose to interpret Baha’u’llah’s words about “boys” as condemning homosexuality. Thus, it is utterly irrelevant whether there is a “translation issue” with respect to the meaning of Baha’u’llah. As far as the international Baha’i community is concerned, therefore, the issue is resolved and crystal clear: Baha’u’llah meant to condemn homosexuality by the infallible authority bestowed on the Guardian by the infallible authority bestowed on ‘Abdu’l-Baha by Baha’u’llah. Thus, if you accept the authority of Baha’u’llah, you must (ex hypothesi) accept the authority of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and then the authority of the Guardian. In other words, there is no “translation issue” as far as Baha’is are concerned.

    The Universal House of Justice (which derives their infallible authority directly from Baha’u’llah) has also said that this law of marriage excluding gay people is eternal:

    Regarding the question of whether or not same-sex marriages would ever be permitted by the Universal House of Justice, the enclosed extracts indicate clearly that it would not. In addition, it is interesting to note that ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? says in a Tablet:
    Know thou that the command of marriage is eternal. It will never be changed nor altered. This is divine creation and there is not the slightest possibility that change or alteration affect this divine creation (marriage).

    The Universal House of Justice, 05 Jun 1993

    Therefore, it seems pretty clear to me: If you support gay rights, you absolutely cannot be a Baha’i. From what the infallible authorities of the Baha’i community have written, there simply is no room for any other option. Unfortunately, to face this fact straight on and not mince words takes a degree of bravery, however, that is not often found amongst humanity. The easiest route (and the route that most people prefer) is to stay in a state of perpetual cognitive dissonance and pretend that there is room for gay rights in the Baha’i Faith. There simply is not.

    See my site for more: http://mavaddat.livejournal.com/21160.html

  • Beth

    Baquia says…[quote comment=""]I think it’s inaccurate to call the Scriptures’ attitude to gay folks hateful. The official stance isn’t as welcoming as I’d like, but there’s no vilification of gays in the Baha’i texts. There’s nothing in the Writings that prohibits warm and compassionate treatment of gay people.[/quote]
    and…[quote comment=""]my personal opinion is that a Baha’i (or any other person’s) opinion regarding the treatment of homosexuals will be based on their maturity and spiritual growth. I’ve had the pleasure of knowning many Baha’is who not only do not share the opinion of ?Not Baha’i?’s relative, they have many gay, bi, etc. friends.[/quote]

    Hello Baquia, I’m Amanda’s gay sister, Beth. I have also known some baha’is who do not share Notbaha’is relatives opinion, but in may experience, which I think should count for some thing having grown up in the Baha’i community, the tolerant accepting baha’i’s are not in the majority. in my conversations with them, they have shared being confused and frustrated with the official Baha’i stance on homosexuality. the people who feel completely at home with the writings about Homosexuality are decidedly less tolerant, and when it comes down to it, frequently not nice about it all. that says a lot to me.

    as for whether or not the writings themselves are hateful, there are a couple of quotes that make me cringe that i will post a little later b/c i don’t have the actual texts anymore. i used to keep more baha’i books for reference sake, but i get nauseas looking at them now and don’t want them in my house. but i’ll post the quotes when i find them.

    to sum up – i think the tolerant baha’is are so b/c they use their own conscience to guide their attitudes about gays, not the Baha’i writings. or they haven’t read enough.

  • Beth

    Baquia says…[quote comment=""]I think it’s inaccurate to call the Scriptures’ attitude to gay folks hateful. The official stance isn’t as welcoming as I’d like, but there’s no vilification of gays in the Baha’i texts. There’s nothing in the Writings that prohibits warm and compassionate treatment of gay people.[/quote]
    and…[quote comment=""]my personal opinion is that a Baha’i (or any other person’s) opinion regarding the treatment of homosexuals will be based on their maturity and spiritual growth. I’ve had the pleasure of knowning many Baha’is who not only do not share the opinion of ?Not Baha’i?’s relative, they have many gay, bi, etc. friends.[/quote]

    Hello Baquia, I’m Amanda’s gay sister, Beth. I have also known some baha’is who do not share Notbaha’is relatives opinion, but in may experience, which I think should count for some thing having grown up in the Baha’i community, the tolerant accepting baha’i’s are not in the majority. in my conversations with them, they have shared being confused and frustrated with the official Baha’i stance on homosexuality. the people who feel completely at home with the writings about Homosexuality are decidedly less tolerant, and when it comes down to it, frequently not nice about it all. that says a lot to me.

    as for whether or not the writings themselves are hateful, there are a couple of quotes that make me cringe that i will post a little later b/c i don’t have the actual texts anymore. i used to keep more baha’i books for reference sake, but i get nauseas looking at them now and don’t want them in my house. but i’ll post the quotes when i find them.

    to sum up – i think the tolerant baha’is are so b/c they use their own conscience to guide their attitudes about gays, not the Baha’i writings. or they haven’t read enough.

  • Beth

    Baquia -

    Despite disagreeing with you sometimes, I do want to say thank-you for having this forum for people to discuss these and other topics.

    from the bottom of my heart.

  • Beth

    Baquia -

    Despite disagreeing with you sometimes, I do want to say thank-you for having this forum for people to discuss these and other topics.

    from the bottom of my heart.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Amanda, you were stating an opinion, not fact. The Baha’i Writings contain no condemnation of gay people. Had someone unfamiliar with the truth read your words, they would have an incorrect impression. Also you are conflating the person and their actions. A common mistake and no big deal. I make it all the time myself.

    Mavaddat,
    Each subsequent UHJ is free to make/abrogate laws made by previous ones. This freedom (from error) is at the heart of the word: “infallible” or ‘`ismat’ which trips up almost everyone, whether Baha’i or not.

    Beth, you’re very welcome. If you want to know why I have this blog:

    Verily I say, whatsoever leadeth to the decline of ignorance and the increase of knowledge hath been, and will ever remain, approved in the sight of the Lord of creation.
    Baha’u’llah
    Tablet to M??nikch? S??hib

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Amanda, you were stating an opinion, not fact. The Baha’i Writings contain no condemnation of gay people. Had someone unfamiliar with the truth read your words, they would have an incorrect impression. Also you are conflating the person and their actions. A common mistake and no big deal. I make it all the time myself.

    Mavaddat,
    Each subsequent UHJ is free to make/abrogate laws made by previous ones. This freedom (from error) is at the heart of the word: “infallible” or ‘`ismat’ which trips up almost everyone, whether Baha’i or not.

    Beth, you’re very welcome. If you want to know why I have this blog:

    Verily I say, whatsoever leadeth to the decline of ignorance and the increase of knowledge hath been, and will ever remain, approved in the sight of the Lord of creation.
    Baha’u’llah
    Tablet to M??nikch? S??hib

  • Anonymous

    [quote post="250"]Amanda, you were stating an opinion, not fact. The Baha’i Writings contain no condemnation of gay people. Had someone unfamiliar with the truth read your words, they would have an incorrect impression. Also you are conflating the person and their actions. A common mistake and no big deal. I make it all the time myself.[/quote]
    From a pragmatic standpoint, this is a meaningless distinction. Imagine if I said, “Oh, the state doesn’t condemn murderers. No no… it condemns murder.” What practical difference could that make? If the murderers are still pronounced guilty, sentenced to prison or capital punishment, and/or treated as criminals by society, what does it matter to say that the person is not condemned but his actions? Clearly it makes no difference whatsoever. To try to avoid this conflation by specifying that the urge to murder is not condemned but only the action of murdering is also no help, since one only knows of the person’s urge through its manifestation in action (or through its expression in words). If the urge is expressed in action, then it is condemned (ex hypothesi). If it is expressed merely words, then also it is condemned for fear of its manifestation in action! So either way, it is condemned. Thus, the distinction is literally meaningless. That it, it lacks any sense at all. It is obscure enough, however, to provide the illusion of meaning and thereby provides Baha’is (and those who wish to condemn homosexuals while appearing liberal-minded) some feeling of consolation.

    In general, this idea can be summarized by the following maxim: A person is the sum of his actions, plus the animating motive for those actions. Thus, to condemn some of his actions is to condemn some of his person.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat Javid

    [quote post="250"]Amanda, you were stating an opinion, not fact. The Baha’i Writings contain no condemnation of gay people. Had someone unfamiliar with the truth read your words, they would have an incorrect impression. Also you are conflating the person and their actions. A common mistake and no big deal. I make it all the time myself.[/quote]
    From a pragmatic standpoint, this is a meaningless distinction. Imagine if I said, “Oh, the state doesn’t condemn murderers. No no… it condemns murder.” What practical difference could that make? If the murderers are still pronounced guilty, sentenced to prison or capital punishment, and/or treated as criminals by society, what does it matter to say that the person is not condemned but his actions? Clearly it makes no difference whatsoever. To try to avoid this conflation by specifying that the urge to murder is not condemned but only the action of murdering is also no help, since one only knows of the person’s urge through its manifestation in action (or through its expression in words). If the urge is expressed in action, then it is condemned (ex hypothesi). If it is expressed merely words, then also it is condemned for fear of its manifestation in action! So either way, it is condemned. Thus, the distinction is literally meaningless. That it, it lacks any sense at all. It is obscure enough, however, to provide the illusion of meaning and thereby provides Baha’is (and those who wish to condemn homosexuals while appearing liberal-minded) some feeling of consolation.

    In general, this idea can be summarized by the following maxim: A person is the sum of his actions, plus the animating motive for those actions. Thus, to condemn some of his actions is to condemn some of his person.

  • Anonymous

    Baquia wrote:[quote post="250"]Mavaddat,
    Each subsequent UHJ is free to make/abrogate laws made by previous ones.[/quote]
    But what law of the Universal House of Justice would they abrogate, Baquia? The UHJ is not the author of this law. According the Shoghi Effendi, Baha’u’llah himself is its author. The UHJ is merely echoing him. They have no authority to abrogate the interpretations of Shoghi Effendi. They must only submit to his interpretations, mindlessly, or at best, trying to retrospectively justify them as a religious fundamentalist does with any inherited dogma.
    [quote]This freedom (from error) is at the heart of the word: ?infallible? or ?`ismat’ which trips up almost everyone, whether Baha’i or not.[/quote]
    How does this clarification help? I too was understanding “infallibility” as “freedom from error”. Or did you see that I was understanding it differently?

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat Javid

    Baquia wrote:[quote post="250"]Mavaddat,
    Each subsequent UHJ is free to make/abrogate laws made by previous ones.[/quote]
    But what law of the Universal House of Justice would they abrogate, Baquia? The UHJ is not the author of this law. According the Shoghi Effendi, Baha’u’llah himself is its author. The UHJ is merely echoing him. They have no authority to abrogate the interpretations of Shoghi Effendi. They must only submit to his interpretations, mindlessly, or at best, trying to retrospectively justify them as a religious fundamentalist does with any inherited dogma.
    [quote]This freedom (from error) is at the heart of the word: ?infallible? or ?`ismat’ which trips up almost everyone, whether Baha’i or not.[/quote]
    How does this clarification help? I too was understanding “infallibility” as “freedom from error”. Or did you see that I was understanding it differently?

  • Beth

    [quote comment=""]Amanda, you were stating an opinion, not fact. The Baha’i Writings contain no condemnation of gay people. Had someone unfamiliar with the truth read your words, they would have an incorrect impression.[/quote]

    Excuse me, Baquia, but being called a “problem person” is definitely a condemnation. there are other worse ones, but I haven’t found a synopsis and codification yet. still working on that.

    [quote comment=""]Each subsequent UHJ is free to make/abrogate laws made by previous ones.[/quote]

    But the UHJ didn’t translate the section of the Aqdas supposedly dealing with gays, Shoghi Effendi did. The UHJ cannot make/abrogate laws that they did not originate. Get your facts straight.

    From a pragmatic standpoint, this is a meaningless distinction. Imagine if I said, “Oh, the state doesn’t condemn murderers. No no… it condemns murder.” What practical difference could that make? If the murderers are still pronounced guilty, sentenced to prison or capital punishment, and/or treated as criminals by society, what does it matter to say that the person is not condemned but his actions? Clearly it makes no difference whatsoever. To try to avoid this conflation by specifying that the urge to murder is not condemned but only the action of murdering is also no help, since one only knows of the person’s urge through its manifestation in action (or through its expression in words). If the urge is expressed in action, then it is condemned (ex hypothesi). If it is expressed merely words, then also it is condemned for fear of its manifestation in action! So either way, it is condemned. Thus, the distinction is literally meaningless. That it, it lacks any sense at all. It is obscure enough, however, to provide the illusion of meaning and thereby provides Baha’is (and those who wish to condemn homosexuals while appearing liberal-minded) some feeling of consolation.

    In general, this idea can be summarized by the following maxim: A person is the sum of his actions, plus the animating motive for those actions. Thus, to condemn some of his actions is to condemn some of his person.[/quote]

  • Beth

    [quote comment=""]Amanda, you were stating an opinion, not fact. The Baha’i Writings contain no condemnation of gay people. Had someone unfamiliar with the truth read your words, they would have an incorrect impression.[/quote]

    Excuse me, Baquia, but being called a “problem person” is definitely a condemnation. there are other worse ones, but I haven’t found a synopsis and codification yet. still working on that.

    [quote comment=""]Each subsequent UHJ is free to make/abrogate laws made by previous ones.[/quote]

    But the UHJ didn’t translate the section of the Aqdas supposedly dealing with gays, Shoghi Effendi did. The UHJ cannot make/abrogate laws that they did not originate. Get your facts straight.

    From a pragmatic standpoint, this is a meaningless distinction. Imagine if I said, “Oh, the state doesn’t condemn murderers. No no… it condemns murder.” What practical difference could that make? If the murderers are still pronounced guilty, sentenced to prison or capital punishment, and/or treated as criminals by society, what does it matter to say that the person is not condemned but his actions? Clearly it makes no difference whatsoever. To try to avoid this conflation by specifying that the urge to murder is not condemned but only the action of murdering is also no help, since one only knows of the person’s urge through its manifestation in action (or through its expression in words). If the urge is expressed in action, then it is condemned (ex hypothesi). If it is expressed merely words, then also it is condemned for fear of its manifestation in action! So either way, it is condemned. Thus, the distinction is literally meaningless. That it, it lacks any sense at all. It is obscure enough, however, to provide the illusion of meaning and thereby provides Baha’is (and those who wish to condemn homosexuals while appearing liberal-minded) some feeling of consolation.

    In general, this idea can be summarized by the following maxim: A person is the sum of his actions, plus the animating motive for those actions. Thus, to condemn some of his actions is to condemn some of his person.[/quote]

  • Anonymous

    Amanda wrote,
    [quote post="250"]The ?future? envisaged in the Baha’i Writings where the ?clear principles of prevention and treatment? of homosexuality? will be in effect is one of EUGENICS. Call a spade a spade, brother. It’s EUGENICS.[/quote]
    In all sincerity, this is actually a very piercing insight (that the Bah??’? future demands eugenics). I think it takes more than just honesty to recognize it. It takes historical understanding.

    Eugenics was almost universally accepted when the Bah??’? Faith was “growing up”. Eugenics was not a bad word. It was, actually, seen as the compassionate alternative to social Darwinism, which was the idea that the weak of society should be left to their own defences. To the liberal minded, this was rightly viewed as a cruel and pitiless philosophy. By contrast, eugenics advocated the “correct” breeding of the species for the strengthening of future generations. In many circles, it also advocated the sterilization of “feeble minded” individuals, for their own good really, and for the good of future generations. These two strains of the eugenics movement were called “positive” and “negative” eugenics.

    Now, when one with such a knowledge peruses the Bah??’? writings, it is obvious that everything in the Faith regarding marriage and the rearing of children reflects the eugenicist’s mindset. The Bah??’? Faith is not just concerned about humanity’s spiritual future. It is equally emphatic about it’s future physical well-being and purity. This, in a nut shell, is eugenics — like it or not. This kind of thinking (enforcing genetic restrictions on people) is rightly sickening to us now, but it was seen as compassionate not long ago.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Amanda wrote,
    [quote post="250"]The ?future? envisaged in the Baha’i Writings where the ?clear principles of prevention and treatment? of homosexuality? will be in effect is one of EUGENICS. Call a spade a spade, brother. It’s EUGENICS.[/quote]
    In all sincerity, this is actually a very piercing insight (that the Bah??’? future demands eugenics). I think it takes more than just honesty to recognize it. It takes historical understanding.

    Eugenics was almost universally accepted when the Bah??’? Faith was “growing up”. Eugenics was not a bad word. It was, actually, seen as the compassionate alternative to social Darwinism, which was the idea that the weak of society should be left to their own defences. To the liberal minded, this was rightly viewed as a cruel and pitiless philosophy. By contrast, eugenics advocated the “correct” breeding of the species for the strengthening of future generations. In many circles, it also advocated the sterilization of “feeble minded” individuals, for their own good really, and for the good of future generations. These two strains of the eugenics movement were called “positive” and “negative” eugenics.

    Now, when one with such a knowledge peruses the Bah??’? writings, it is obvious that everything in the Faith regarding marriage and the rearing of children reflects the eugenicist’s mindset. The Bah??’? Faith is not just concerned about humanity’s spiritual future. It is equally emphatic about it’s future physical well-being and purity. This, in a nut shell, is eugenics — like it or not. This kind of thinking (enforcing genetic restrictions on people) is rightly sickening to us now, but it was seen as compassionate not long ago.

  • http://ncag.org.nz/blog Steve Marshall

    Hi Amanda,

    Where do the Baha’i writings use the phrase “a problem human being” to refer to a homosexual?

    [quote comment=""]Amanda wrote,
    [quote post="250"]The ?future? envisaged in the Baha’i Writings where the ?clear principles of prevention and treatment? of homosexuality? will be in effect is one of EUGENICS.[/quote]

    Eugenics is the science dealing with factors that influence the hereditary qualities of a race and with ways of improving these qualities, esp. by modifying the fertility of different categories of people. (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary)

    Twin studies indicate that homosexuality may be partly hereditary, so let’s suppose that there are attempts within the Baha’i Faith to influence the hereditary qualities of the Baha’i, uh, human race. The main efforts in this direction seem to be to get homosexuals into heterosexual marriages. The only eugenic effect of which, presumably, is to produce greater numbers of genetically predisposed homosexuals.

    Of course, folks who promote gay marriage and civil unions are, equally, practicing eugenics. It’s just that the net result of their efforts is, arguably, fewer genetically presdiposed homosexuals.

    Call a spade a spade, sister. It’s EUGENICS. :-)

    ka kite
    Steve

  • http://ncag.org.nz/blog Steve Marshall

    Hi Amanda,

    Where do the Baha’i writings use the phrase “a problem human being” to refer to a homosexual?

    [quote comment=""]Amanda wrote,
    [quote post="250"]The ?future? envisaged in the Baha’i Writings where the ?clear principles of prevention and treatment? of homosexuality? will be in effect is one of EUGENICS.[/quote]

    Eugenics is the science dealing with factors that influence the hereditary qualities of a race and with ways of improving these qualities, esp. by modifying the fertility of different categories of people. (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary)

    Twin studies indicate that homosexuality may be partly hereditary, so let’s suppose that there are attempts within the Baha’i Faith to influence the hereditary qualities of the Baha’i, uh, human race. The main efforts in this direction seem to be to get homosexuals into heterosexual marriages. The only eugenic effect of which, presumably, is to produce greater numbers of genetically predisposed homosexuals.

    Of course, folks who promote gay marriage and civil unions are, equally, practicing eugenics. It’s just that the net result of their efforts is, arguably, fewer genetically presdiposed homosexuals.

    Call a spade a spade, sister. It’s EUGENICS. :-)

    ka kite
    Steve

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Great discussion

    All I know is in all the words and labels love gets lost. Baquia, I see you are now moderating my post, I did get pretty moxie under a different topic and I generally have more self constraint, please allow me the opportunity to view the discussion. I’ll mind my P’s and Q’s. btw- my tech guy says you know who I am an can pretty much google earth to my from door w/ my IP address. I hope it will let you view my beautiful rose garden.

    I have some really great friends who are of the same gender very much in love. They are some of the most realist people I know. Frankly they have a great attitude that their love is their business. They don’t see me as hetro and I don’t see them as homo, we each see each other as humans. I loved our last visit where we had the most ironic laugh about America’s step to have the government establish what a marriage is.

    My young son’s have met them and it was a great experience for them to meet mom’s friends, who were very loving and well dressed ;). Privately my middle asked what it meant to be ?gay? and I told him it meant happy and he said, ?You know what I mean mom, those are guys that love each other, is that right? Not sure my 8 year old really understood but I think he is trying when I told him no one may control love, it controls you and they love each other and I love them. There is no right or worng because it is real love.

    I was not being light about my post going to the hospitals to pour our my love that is sometime unwanted or my deep gratitude for the bounties in my life today.

    Love is genderless and so is passion. In the real spirit of the Bah?’? Revelation, and as it reaches more maturity and makes enough mistakes, it might lighten up and catch up with the times.

    Secretly, I have not completely disregarded the actual possibility a message from G-d with a instructions for this day came with the advent of Baha’u’llah. I just think as in any “start -up” it is seeing what works and what does not and what it learns will determine it’s success. It would certainly be a forward measure to define marriage as deep profound committing love between two people. I would vote for such a motion if anyone would calls for it. (I am, I have discovered, considered a ?leave taker? and still on the community listings)

    I do hope you can pick through the mysteries and countless oxymoron’s an see what good there is in the simplest form of the BR and know that there are other hetro G-d loving people teaching our children that any form of discrimination or segregation is just plain wrong.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Great discussion

    All I know is in all the words and labels love gets lost. Baquia, I see you are now moderating my post, I did get pretty moxie under a different topic and I generally have more self constraint, please allow me the opportunity to view the discussion. I’ll mind my P’s and Q’s. btw- my tech guy says you know who I am an can pretty much google earth to my from door w/ my IP address. I hope it will let you view my beautiful rose garden.

    I have some really great friends who are of the same gender very much in love. They are some of the most realist people I know. Frankly they have a great attitude that their love is their business. They don’t see me as hetro and I don’t see them as homo, we each see each other as humans. I loved our last visit where we had the most ironic laugh about America’s step to have the government establish what a marriage is.

    My young son’s have met them and it was a great experience for them to meet mom’s friends, who were very loving and well dressed ;). Privately my middle asked what it meant to be ?gay? and I told him it meant happy and he said, ?You know what I mean mom, those are guys that love each other, is that right? Not sure my 8 year old really understood but I think he is trying when I told him no one may control love, it controls you and they love each other and I love them. There is no right or worng because it is real love.

    I was not being light about my post going to the hospitals to pour our my love that is sometime unwanted or my deep gratitude for the bounties in my life today.

    Love is genderless and so is passion. In the real spirit of the Bah?’? Revelation, and as it reaches more maturity and makes enough mistakes, it might lighten up and catch up with the times.

    Secretly, I have not completely disregarded the actual possibility a message from G-d with a instructions for this day came with the advent of Baha’u’llah. I just think as in any “start -up” it is seeing what works and what does not and what it learns will determine it’s success. It would certainly be a forward measure to define marriage as deep profound committing love between two people. I would vote for such a motion if anyone would calls for it. (I am, I have discovered, considered a ?leave taker? and still on the community listings)

    I do hope you can pick through the mysteries and countless oxymoron’s an see what good there is in the simplest form of the BR and know that there are other hetro G-d loving people teaching our children that any form of discrimination or segregation is just plain wrong.

  • Anonymous

    Steve writes,[quote post="250"]Twin studies indicate that homosexuality may be partly hereditary, so let’s suppose that there are attempts within the Baha’i Faith to influence the hereditary qualities of the Baha’i, uh, human race. The main efforts in this direction seem to be to get homosexuals into heterosexual marriages. The only eugenic effect of which, presumably, is to produce greater numbers of genetically predisposed homosexuals.[/quote]
    This is silly. Your argument is that the Bah??’? Faith can’t be for eugenics while holding that being gay is undesirable, since it is actually holding a position that would propagate (rather than weed out) “gay genes.”

    But the Bah??’? Faith never acknowledges that being gay is genetic. On the contrary, everything in the writings of Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice operates under the assumption that being gay is something you can “remedy”. It is absurd, therefore, to argue that the Bah??’? Faith is not for eugenics simply because it unwittingly contradicts itself.

    Steve writes,[quote post="250"]Of course, folks who promote gay marriage and civil unions are, equally, practicing eugenics. It’s just that the net result of their efforts is, arguably, fewer genetically presdiposed homosexuals.

    Call a spade a spade, sister. It’s EUGENICS. :-)[/quote]
    Steve, the sense in which you are using the word “eugenics” implies that anyone who advocates anything that can affect a genetic consequence is thereby advocating eugenics. This is nonsense.

    Eugenics is the explicit intention to affect a stronger race of humans for the future. Those who support gay rights aren’t interested in whether the future “race” of humans is genetically “stronger” or “weaker”. That is completely irrelevant. The point is that justice be served, irrespective of its genetic consequences. “Good genes” be damned, gay people deserve the same rights that straight people do.

    The Bah??’? Faith is explicitly concerned with the “purpose” of nature and the survival fitness of future humans. The language that it employs to argue against homosexuality (e.g., “against nature,” “the purpose of sex,” etc.) is decidedly eugenicist.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Steve writes,[quote post="250"]Twin studies indicate that homosexuality may be partly hereditary, so let’s suppose that there are attempts within the Baha’i Faith to influence the hereditary qualities of the Baha’i, uh, human race. The main efforts in this direction seem to be to get homosexuals into heterosexual marriages. The only eugenic effect of which, presumably, is to produce greater numbers of genetically predisposed homosexuals.[/quote]
    This is silly. Your argument is that the Bah??’? Faith can’t be for eugenics while holding that being gay is undesirable, since it is actually holding a position that would propagate (rather than weed out) “gay genes.”

    But the Bah??’? Faith never acknowledges that being gay is genetic. On the contrary, everything in the writings of Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice operates under the assumption that being gay is something you can “remedy”. It is absurd, therefore, to argue that the Bah??’? Faith is not for eugenics simply because it unwittingly contradicts itself.

    Steve writes,[quote post="250"]Of course, folks who promote gay marriage and civil unions are, equally, practicing eugenics. It’s just that the net result of their efforts is, arguably, fewer genetically presdiposed homosexuals.

    Call a spade a spade, sister. It’s EUGENICS. :-)[/quote]
    Steve, the sense in which you are using the word “eugenics” implies that anyone who advocates anything that can affect a genetic consequence is thereby advocating eugenics. This is nonsense.

    Eugenics is the explicit intention to affect a stronger race of humans for the future. Those who support gay rights aren’t interested in whether the future “race” of humans is genetically “stronger” or “weaker”. That is completely irrelevant. The point is that justice be served, irrespective of its genetic consequences. “Good genes” be damned, gay people deserve the same rights that straight people do.

    The Bah??’? Faith is explicitly concerned with the “purpose” of nature and the survival fitness of future humans. The language that it employs to argue against homosexuality (e.g., “against nature,” “the purpose of sex,” etc.) is decidedly eugenicist.

  • Anonymous

    Steve writes,[quote post="250"]Hi Amanda,

    Where do the Baha’i writings use the phrase ?a problem human being? to refer to a homosexual?[/quote]
    Here you go, Steve:

    …the Faith does not recognize homosexuality as a ?natural? or permanent phenomenon. Rather, it sees this as an aberration subject to treatment, however intractable exclusive homosexuality may now seem to be. To the question of alteration of homosexual bents, much study must be given, and doubtless in the future clear principles of prevention and treatment will emerge. As for those now afflicted, a homosexual does not decide to be a problem human, but he does, as you rightly state, have decision in choosing his way of life, i.e. abstaining from homosexual acts.The Universal House of Justice, 22 March 1987

    As disgusting as that is, I personally don’t think it even comes close to as abhorrent as the following from the same august institution, in which they claim that being gay is a species of the general mental disorder of being sexually attracted to random “objects”:

    The condition of being sexually attracted to some object other than a mature member of the opposite sex, a condition of which homosexuality is but one manifestation, is regarded by the Faith as a distortion of true human nature, as a problem to be overcome, no matter what specific physical or psychological condition may be the immediate cause. Any Bah??’? who suffers from such a disability [as homosexuality] should be treated with understanding, and should be helped to control and overcome it. (Emphasis mine.)The Universal House of Justice, 11 Sept 1995

    I honestly don’t understand how anyone could call himself or herself a Bah??’? when such an appellation would necessarily mean his respect — much less his adulation — of the institution who uttered those words. Disgusting.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Steve writes,[quote post="250"]Hi Amanda,

    Where do the Baha’i writings use the phrase ?a problem human being? to refer to a homosexual?[/quote]
    Here you go, Steve:

    …the Faith does not recognize homosexuality as a ?natural? or permanent phenomenon. Rather, it sees this as an aberration subject to treatment, however intractable exclusive homosexuality may now seem to be. To the question of alteration of homosexual bents, much study must be given, and doubtless in the future clear principles of prevention and treatment will emerge. As for those now afflicted, a homosexual does not decide to be a problem human, but he does, as you rightly state, have decision in choosing his way of life, i.e. abstaining from homosexual acts.The Universal House of Justice, 22 March 1987

    As disgusting as that is, I personally don’t think it even comes close to as abhorrent as the following from the same august institution, in which they claim that being gay is a species of the general mental disorder of being sexually attracted to random “objects”:

    The condition of being sexually attracted to some object other than a mature member of the opposite sex, a condition of which homosexuality is but one manifestation, is regarded by the Faith as a distortion of true human nature, as a problem to be overcome, no matter what specific physical or psychological condition may be the immediate cause. Any Bah??’? who suffers from such a disability [as homosexuality] should be treated with understanding, and should be helped to control and overcome it. (Emphasis mine.)The Universal House of Justice, 11 Sept 1995

    I honestly don’t understand how anyone could call himself or herself a Bah??’? when such an appellation would necessarily mean his respect — much less his adulation — of the institution who uttered those words. Disgusting.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Correction:

    I do hope you can pick through the mysteries and countless oxymoron’s an see what good there is in the simplest form of the BR and know that there are other (remove lable) G-d loving people teaching our children that any form of discrimination or segregation is just plain wrong.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Correction:

    I do hope you can pick through the mysteries and countless oxymoron’s an see what good there is in the simplest form of the BR and know that there are other (remove lable) G-d loving people teaching our children that any form of discrimination or segregation is just plain wrong.

  • Anonymous

    Baquia,

    Although I’m disagreeing with you right now, I also want to thank you for your very thoughtful (and thought provoking) thread.

    I just noticed your editing on my post and I found it to be of a first-rate intelligence. This may sound silly, since all you did was delete the repeated part of my post, but: It implies that you read through what I wrote and understood what I meant, and erased the superfluous part.

    I’m also grateful for your open-minded approach and critical self-examination of everything you write. Your approach and faith in Bah??’u’ll??h’s principle is inspirational.[quote]Verily I say, whatsoever leadeth to the decline of ignorance and the increase of knowledge hath been, and will ever remain, approved in the sight of the Lord of creation.[/quote]I too adhere strictly to this method (although I derive no additional comfort from God’s sanctioning me to do so). I do find it astonishing how few Bah??’?s really do believe these words.

    BTW, you are something like a hero to me for facing down the moderators of LJBahai and surviving. Few of us are able to achieve such a feat… And I certainly was not one of them.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Baquia,

    Although I’m disagreeing with you right now, I also want to thank you for your very thoughtful (and thought provoking) thread.

    I just noticed your editing on my post and I found it to be of a first-rate intelligence. This may sound silly, since all you did was delete the repeated part of my post, but: It implies that you read through what I wrote and understood what I meant, and erased the superfluous part.

    I’m also grateful for your open-minded approach and critical self-examination of everything you write. Your approach and faith in Bah??’u’ll??h’s principle is inspirational.[quote]Verily I say, whatsoever leadeth to the decline of ignorance and the increase of knowledge hath been, and will ever remain, approved in the sight of the Lord of creation.[/quote]I too adhere strictly to this method (although I derive no additional comfort from God’s sanctioning me to do so). I do find it astonishing how few Bah??’?s really do believe these words.

    BTW, you are something like a hero to me for facing down the moderators of LJBahai and surviving. Few of us are able to achieve such a feat… And I certainly was not one of them.

  • http://ncag.org.nz/blog Steve Marshall

    Hi Mavaddat,

    Thanks for providing a source for the phrase “a problem human being”. What threw me is that I don’t consider anything written by the Universal house of Justice to be “Baha’i writings”. And I certainly don’t consider a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual to have any authority at all.

    Yes, the House and the secretariat do write lots of opinionated drivel. Shoghi Effendi used to say his advice to an individual was just for that individual — and even then, that individual was free to take or leave the advice. I work on the assumption that the same holds true today. I realise that advice from the House is very normative in Baha’i circles, and therefore something of a problem. But let’s not dignify letter like these by calling them “Baha’i writings”, OK?

    You characterise my argument as being that “the Bah??’? Faith can’t be for eugenics while holding that being gay is undesirable, since it is actually holding a position that would propagate (rather than weed out) ‘gay genes’.”

    I certainly didn’t intend to give that impression at all. I was merely following the “Baha’is are into eugenics” argument to one of its many absurd conclusions. I’m glad you found some new absurdities in the argument.

    How do I call myself a Baha’i without being a House-adulator? Do you know, this is the first time I’ve even considered the question. I guess having my wife removed from membership without warning on the orders of the House, then having lies spread about her in NZ by a visiting House member and representative pretty much kicked the arse out of any residual tendencies I had towards adulation. That was eight years ago, so I’d forgotten about the hypocritical servility that normally gets directed at the House. Thanks for the reminder.

    I’m sorry you find me, or my actions (but what’s the difference, right?), disgusting. I would made a comment about people becoming what they rail against, but I note that “disgusting” is not yet a word the House and secretariat have used in relation to homosexuality.

    This is a hot-button issue and I probably shouldn’t have taken the piss out of the eugenics argument. But I truly don’t think the argument, as expressed, stacks up. But let’s see what other people think.

    cheers
    Steve

  • Anonymous

    [quote post="250"]Thanks for providing a source for the phrase ?a problem human being?. What threw me is that I don’t consider anything written by the Universal house of Justice to be ?Baha’i writings?. And I certainly don’t consider a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual to have any authority at all.[/quote]
    Then I think it’s fair to infer that you are not a Bah??’? (or at least, not a member of the Bah??’? community), since Bah??’?s are required to take as authoritative everything the Universal House of Justice expresses. I’m sure you realize that all the members of the House approve the messages that get sent out on their behalf (even as Shoghi Effendi did) to make sure that the message being sent agrees with their infallible insight. So why would you even make that distinction between letters written “on their behalf” and those written by them? It seems to me that this is an intellectually dishonest position take up for no other reason that to justify chipping away at the bits of the religion with which you are personally uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong — you are a better person than most for your being uncomfortable. However, nothing in the actual Bah??’? writings anywhere says that letters written on behalf of the UHJ or Shoghi Effendi carry any less weight, authority, or general applicability.

    I only ask this: If you’re going to pick-and-choose what parts of your religion you follow, don’t pretend that the religion is in any sense infallible. If the truth of your religion is moulded by your mind, then it is really just a recapitulation of your thoughts… not “God’s” thoughts.

    Steve writes,[quote post="250"]Yes, the House and the secretariat do write lots of opinionated drivel. Shoghi Effendi used to say his advice to an individual was just for that individual — and even then, that individual was free to take or leave the advice.[/quote]
    What? “Free” you say? What a strange usage you have adopted, Steve. In what sense is a Bah??’? “free” to abandon the guidance that they are supposed to take as infallible? Surely they are only free in the sense that a person is “free” to shoot himself in the head.

    I really loved the part about “Shoghi Effendi used to say…”, though. How in the world are you going to argue against the authority of letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi (and the UHJ) based on “Shoghi Effendi used to say”?! Are you really saying that we shouldn’t take as authoritative what was written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi because of some hearsay that alleges that “Shoghi Effendi used to say” that he prefer that we not? Is that your argument? Really?

    And again, if you think the opinion expressed by the secretariat is drivel, then you think the UHJ’s opinion is drivel (in which case I say, Good on you!). For the UHJ approves every piece of drivel that leaves their Lair of Perpetual Drivel.

    Steve writes,[quote]I certainly didn’t intend to give that impression at all. I was merely following the ?Baha’is are into eugenics? argument to one of its many absurd conclusions. I’m glad you found some new absurdities in the argument.[/quote]But the problem is that your absurd conclusion doesn’t follow at all from the argument that ?Baha’is are into eugenics?. That’s what I was trying to point out. The Bah??’? writings work under the assumption that homosexuality is something you can “choose” away. Thus, they wouldn’t acknowledge that the children of previously homosexual people and their newly adopted heterosexual partner in anyway “carry on” the potential for homosexuality. As far as the writings are concerned, the potential is squashed with the (ostensibly ex-)gay person’s choice to stop being gay. Your attempted reductio ad absurdum against the accusation of eugenics is, therefore, stopped before it even begins. That accusation loses no piss, as far as I can see. At least, not from that critique…

    Steve writes,[quote]I’m sorry you find me, or my actions (but what’s the difference, right?), disgusting. I would made a comment about people becoming what they rail against, but I note that ?disgusting? is not yet a word the House and secretariat have used in relation to homosexuality.[/quote]Steve I don’t find you or your actions disgusting (and in a word — no, there’s no difference). You clearly have no sense of servility to the UHJ. But I must admit, I’m not sure I really understand your position. I appreciate this, though, because it breaks my preconceived categories and demands my imagination. In what sense are you a Bah??’? if you don’t admit the infallible authority of the UHJ? Do you not acknowledge that they are a legitimate reflection of the UHJ Bah??’u’ll??h had in mind in the Kitty Aqdas*? If not, then do you think the religion has been irreparably crippled? After all, it has neither a Guardian nor a House, if that approach is correct. In other words… What do you really believe, Steve?

    *Kudos to Andrew for unknowingly letting me steal this phrase.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    [quote post="250"]Thanks for providing a source for the phrase ?a problem human being?. What threw me is that I don’t consider anything written by the Universal house of Justice to be ?Baha’i writings?. And I certainly don’t consider a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual to have any authority at all.[/quote]
    Then I think it’s fair to infer that you are not a Bah??’? (or at least, not a member of the Bah??’? community), since Bah??’?s are required to take as authoritative everything the Universal House of Justice expresses. I’m sure you realize that all the members of the House approve the messages that get sent out on their behalf (even as Shoghi Effendi did) to make sure that the message being sent agrees with their infallible insight. So why would you even make that distinction between letters written “on their behalf” and those written by them? It seems to me that this is an intellectually dishonest position take up for no other reason that to justify chipping away at the bits of the religion with which you are personally uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong — you are a better person than most for your being uncomfortable. However, nothing in the actual Bah??’? writings anywhere says that letters written on behalf of the UHJ or Shoghi Effendi carry any less weight, authority, or general applicability.

    I only ask this: If you’re going to pick-and-choose what parts of your religion you follow, don’t pretend that the religion is in any sense infallible. If the truth of your religion is moulded by your mind, then it is really just a recapitulation of your thoughts… not “God’s” thoughts.

    Steve writes,[quote post="250"]Yes, the House and the secretariat do write lots of opinionated drivel. Shoghi Effendi used to say his advice to an individual was just for that individual — and even then, that individual was free to take or leave the advice.[/quote]
    What? “Free” you say? What a strange usage you have adopted, Steve. In what sense is a Bah??’? “free” to abandon the guidance that they are supposed to take as infallible? Surely they are only free in the sense that a person is “free” to shoot himself in the head.

    I really loved the part about “Shoghi Effendi used to say…”, though. How in the world are you going to argue against the authority of letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi (and the UHJ) based on “Shoghi Effendi used to say”?! Are you really saying that we shouldn’t take as authoritative what was written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi because of some hearsay that alleges that “Shoghi Effendi used to say” that he prefer that we not? Is that your argument? Really?

    And again, if you think the opinion expressed by the secretariat is drivel, then you think the UHJ’s opinion is drivel (in which case I say, Good on you!). For the UHJ approves every piece of drivel that leaves their Lair of Perpetual Drivel.

    Steve writes,[quote]I certainly didn’t intend to give that impression at all. I was merely following the ?Baha’is are into eugenics? argument to one of its many absurd conclusions. I’m glad you found some new absurdities in the argument.[/quote]But the problem is that your absurd conclusion doesn’t follow at all from the argument that ?Baha’is are into eugenics?. That’s what I was trying to point out. The Bah??’? writings work under the assumption that homosexuality is something you can “choose” away. Thus, they wouldn’t acknowledge that the children of previously homosexual people and their newly adopted heterosexual partner in anyway “carry on” the potential for homosexuality. As far as the writings are concerned, the potential is squashed with the (ostensibly ex-)gay person’s choice to stop being gay. Your attempted reductio ad absurdum against the accusation of eugenics is, therefore, stopped before it even begins. That accusation loses no piss, as far as I can see. At least, not from that critique…

    Steve writes,[quote]I’m sorry you find me, or my actions (but what’s the difference, right?), disgusting. I would made a comment about people becoming what they rail against, but I note that ?disgusting? is not yet a word the House and secretariat have used in relation to homosexuality.[/quote]Steve I don’t find you or your actions disgusting (and in a word — no, there’s no difference). You clearly have no sense of servility to the UHJ. But I must admit, I’m not sure I really understand your position. I appreciate this, though, because it breaks my preconceived categories and demands my imagination. In what sense are you a Bah??’? if you don’t admit the infallible authority of the UHJ? Do you not acknowledge that they are a legitimate reflection of the UHJ Bah??’u’ll??h had in mind in the Kitty Aqdas*? If not, then do you think the religion has been irreparably crippled? After all, it has neither a Guardian nor a House, if that approach is correct. In other words… What do you really believe, Steve?

    *Kudos to Andrew for unknowingly letting me steal this phrase.

  • Anonymous

    One last thought: Steve, you apparently wanted to say that my calling those “disgusting” who believe that being gay is a kind of “sexual attraction to objects” puts me on par with those whom I criticize, but you were frustrated in your attempt to make this argument because the language of my scorn did not match the language of those I am criticizing.

    So let me help you out.

    I think it is an abomination to think that homosexuality is a kind of sexual attraction to random objects.

    No, wait… Wrong book. Let me try again.

    I think it is a shameful intellectual aberration to think that.

    How’s that?

    You see, I have no problem with the terminology, per se. What I have a problem with is the target of that condemnation. By all means, let us scorn heinous criminals for their heinous crimes. Call them shameful. Condemn them and their actions. By all means!

    What I do disapprove of, however, is the unfair condemnation of a people who do absolutely nothing wrong in their being of (or acting on) the opposite sexual preference. It is indeed perverse and disgusting to condemn what is manifestly beautiful and unifying. The love between consenting adults is the pinnacle of the most beautiful things I can imagine; and to condemn it in any of its manifestations is a violation of my deepest sensibilities and my most fundamentally human aesthetic.

    To condemn what is manifestly beautiful is perverse. To condemn what is perverse is praiseworthy. The fallacy of the Bah??’? Faith is not in its condemnation; but rather, in its misidentification of what is beautiful for what is perverse.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    One last thought: Steve, you apparently wanted to say that my calling those “disgusting” who believe that being gay is a kind of “sexual attraction to objects” puts me on par with those whom I criticize, but you were frustrated in your attempt to make this argument because the language of my scorn did not match the language of those I am criticizing.

    So let me help you out.

    I think it is an abomination to think that homosexuality is a kind of sexual attraction to random objects.

    No, wait… Wrong book. Let me try again.

    I think it is a shameful intellectual aberration to think that.

    How’s that?

    You see, I have no problem with the terminology, per se. What I have a problem with is the target of that condemnation. By all means, let us scorn heinous criminals for their heinous crimes. Call them shameful. Condemn them and their actions. By all means!

    What I do disapprove of, however, is the unfair condemnation of a people who do absolutely nothing wrong in their being of (or acting on) the opposite sexual preference. It is indeed perverse and disgusting to condemn what is manifestly beautiful and unifying. The love between consenting adults is the pinnacle of the most beautiful things I can imagine; and to condemn it in any of its manifestations is a violation of my deepest sensibilities and my most fundamentally human aesthetic.

    To condemn what is manifestly beautiful is perverse. To condemn what is perverse is praiseworthy. The fallacy of the Bah??’? Faith is not in its condemnation; but rather, in its misidentification of what is beautiful for what is perverse.

  • http://ncag.org.nz/blog Steve Marshall

    [quote]…I think it’s fair to infer that you are not a Bah??’? (or at least, not a member of the Bah??’? community), since Bah??’?s are required to take as authoritative everything the Universal House of Justice expresses.[/quote]

    Feel free to believe that, but it puts you in the company of Baha’i zealots and fundamentalists.

    [quote]I’m sure you realize that all the members of the House approve the messages that get sent out on their behalf (even as Shoghi Effendi did) to make sure that the message being sent agrees with their infallible insight.[/quote]

    Feel free to believe that, too, but don’t assume that I do.

    So why would you even make that distinction between letters written “on their behalf” and those written by them? It seems to me that this is an intellectually dishonest position take up for no other reason that to justify chipping away at the bits of the religion with which you are personally uncomfortable.

    As far as I’m concerned, the whole infallibility-means-propositionally-inerrant story-line is a gross misunderstanding perpetuated by the ignorant. You seem you think it’s a mainstram Baha’i belief. I could accuse you of being intellectually dishonest and thinking that, for no other reason than to justify chipping away at the bits of the religion with which you are personally comfortable.

    But speculative ad hominems like that get us nowhere.

    [quote]Don’t get me wrong — you are a better person than most for your being uncomfortable.[/quote]

    Dont get me wrong. I’m not uncomfortable.

    [quote]However, nothing in the actual Bah??’? writings anywhere says that letters written on behalf of the UHJ or Shoghi Effendi carry any less weight, authority, or general applicability.[/quote]

    “The exact status which Shoghi Effendi has intended the friends to give to those communications he sends to individual believers is explained in the following statement written through his secretary to the National Spiritual Assembly on November 16, 1932: “As regards Shoghi Effendi’s letters to the individual Baha’is, he is always very careful not to contradict himself. He has also said that whenever he has something of importance to say, he invariably communicates it to the National Spiritual Assembly or in his general letters. His personal letters to individual friends are only for their personal benefit and even though he does not want to forbid their publication, he does not wish them to be used too much by the Baha’i News. Only letters with special significance should be published there.”
    Baha’i News, February 1933 (No. 71, pp. 1-2)

    [quote]I only ask this: If you’re going to pick-and-choose what parts of your religion you follow, don’t pretend that the religion is in any sense infallible. If the truth of your religion is moulded by your mind, then it is really just a recapitulation of your thoughts… not “God’s” thoughts.[/quote]

    We all pick and choose, and not only because we’re each unique and a sign of God. As to whether any thoughts are mine or Gods – I don’t know and I don’t particularly care.

    But don’t presume to tell me whether I can consider my religion to be in any sense infallible. That’s my business. Frankly, you’re stating to sound very narrow-minded and hypocritical again.

    What? “Free” you say? What a strange usage you have adopted, Steve. In what sense is a Bah??’? “free” to abandon the guidance that they are supposed to take as infallible? Surely they are only free in the sense that a person is “free” to shoot himself in the head.

    Again, feel free to believe this, but watch the company you keep in doing so. :-)

    I really loved the part about “Shoghi Effendi used to say…”, though. How in the world are you going to argue against the authority of letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi (and the UHJ) based on “Shoghi Effendi used to say”?! Are you really saying that we shouldn’t take as authoritative what was written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi because of some hearsay that alleges that “Shoghi Effendi used to say” that he prefer that we not? Is that your argument? Really?

    No, I simply wasn’t able to locate the quote I was thinking of. I’m sorry about that. I’ll post it if it turns up.

    [quote]And again, if you think the opinion expressed by the secretariat is drivel, then you think the UHJ’s opinion is drivel (in which case I say, Good on you!). For the UHJ approves every piece of drivel that leaves their Lair of Perpetual Drivel.[/quote]

    Yes, you’ve already said this.

    [quote]But the problem is that your absurd conclusion doesn’t follow at all from the argument that ?Baha’is are into eugenics?. That’s what I was trying to point out. The Bah??’? writings work under the assumption that homosexuality is something you can “choose” away. Thus, they wouldn’t acknowledge that the children of previously homosexual people and their newly adopted heterosexual partner in anyway “carry on” the potential for homosexuality.[/quote]

    The argument that ?Baha’is are into eugenics? comes from you, not the Baha’i Faith. I applied your argument that this is so, then realised that pro-gay marriage and civil union folks, of which I’m one, are essentially doing the same thing. If the Baha’is are into eugenics, then lots of others meet the same criteria. Simple as that.

    You make the point that the Baha’i administration seems to act as though homosexuality is “curable” and therefore seems to deny a hereditary component. That’s true enough, but the House doesn’t completely reject the possibility of a genetic component:

    “On the question of whether or not there is a biological predisposition to homosexuality, the letter indicates that the question is still open to dispute. In this regard, it may be important to note that while science may find that a predisposition to homosexuality is caused by genetic aberration, and in that sense may be considered “natural”, it does not follow that it is “natural” for some people to be homosexual.”
    The Universal House of Justice, May 3, 1994, Advice on Homosexuality

    But let’s suppose you’re right, and the House doesn’t believe there’s a genetic component to homosexuality. Let’s also suppose that the Bah??’? writings rally do work work under the assumption that homosexuality is something you can “choose” away. Under those assumptions, the possibility that the Baha’is are consciously carrying out any form of eugenics drops to nil. Remember the definition:
    “Eugenics is the science dealing with factors that influence the hereditary qualities of a race and with ways of improving these qualities, esp. by modifying the fertility of different categories of people.” (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary)

    No genetic component = no eugenics.

    [quote]Steve I don’t find you or your actions disgusting (and in a word — no, there’s no difference). You clearly have no sense of servility to the UHJ.[/quote]

    But if I did worship the House, you would find me disgusting, right? Why is it OK to find House worshippers disgusting, but it’s not OK to find homosexuals disgusting?
    I smell a double standard.

    [quote]But I must admit, I’m not sure I really understand your position. I appreciate this, though, because it breaks my preconceived categories and demands my imagination. In what sense are you a Bah??’? if you don’t admit the infallible authority of the UHJ? Do you not acknowledge that they are a legitimate reflection of the UHJ Bah??’u’ll??h had in mind in the Kitty Aqdas*? If not, then do you think the religion has been irreparably crippled? After all, it has neither a Guardian nor a House, if that approach is correct. In other words… What do you really believe, Steve?[/quote]

    There are plenty of people who are very capable of articulating the beliefs of those who have uncoupled their Faith from unquestioning belief in the Baha’i administration. Sen McGlinn, Juan Cole, Terry Culhane, Alison Marshall, John and Linda Walbridge, Karen Bacquet and Priscilla Gilman to name a few.

    I treat the Baha’i administration like I treat my government. I accept its authority but I reserve the right to have opinions about its actions and policies. As for ismat (“infallibility”) I think folks like Sen show more of that than the House at present. All we’re talking about is conferred infallibility. No individual or organisation has a right to that. It’s a quality of God, and it can touch anyone. The idea that “the nine” are guaranteed it every time they consult on something is idolatrous claptrap and has no foundation in the Baha’i writings.

    cheers
    Steve

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Wow. I wasn’t at the computer for awhile and looky-loo.

    Mavaddat-
    Thanks for providing citations and answering a few points that were directed at me before I could get back to the discussion. Some really nice points, sir. :) Looking forward to more.

    Beth-
    Hello!

    Steve-
    Your views about the House lead me to clarify my argument: I am critiquing the Haifan Baha’i Tradition, meaning “Baha’u’llah + ‘Abdu’l-Baha + Shoghi Effendi as Guardian + UHJ.” There are certainly many groups of Baha’is who gather under different auspices, and individuals who have their own take on it. But what I am critiquing is the (Haifan) Baha’i Faith. The religion. Not the countless individuals within it or the other groups. The position you are advocating here that the writings of the UHJ or Shoghi Effendi are somehow not the “Baha’i Writings” is not consistent with the Haifan Baha’i tradition, (and kudos to you for being willing to make your own decisions about such things.) But I am not here to critique Steve Marshalls Baha’i Faith, I am critiquing the teachings, practices, culture, and rules of “The Baha’i Faith ©.” You of all people should know how it feels to be arbitrarily “removed” or sanctioned for no good reason whatsoever, which is exactly what happens to out gay Baha’is as a matter of course. I wonder at your balking at my previous depiction? Please explain. A gay Baha’i being removed or sanctioned JUST FOR BEING WHO THEY ARE is NO different than what happened to your wife.

    And as to the eugenics argument, you didn’t seem to follow it. What I am saying, is that to “prevent” the appearance of a non-pathological expression of human variety, like skin color, sexual orientation, etc, is to act on the principles, motives, and practices of the worst part of the eugenics movement. The part where an empowered group decides that their genetic features are the ideal, and then manipulates “science” to help weed out traits that are not made in their image. The trademarked Baha’i Faith advocates psychological treatments to “cure” homosexuality that have been condemned by the field, criminalizes the expression of sexuality, and looks for ways for science to further prevent it’s appearance. Eugenics, sir.

    Baquia-
    You write, “you were stating an opinion, not fact. The Baha’i Writings contain no condemnation of gay people.”

    Baquia, please read the following:

    “Homosexuality, according to the Writings of Bah??’u’ll??h, is spiritually condemned.”
    (On behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual, 21 May 1954; Lights of Guidance, p. 365, #1221)

    “Homosexuality is highly condemned and often a great trial and cause of suffering to a person, as a Bah??’?. Any individual so afflicted must, through prayer, and any other means, seek to overcome this handicap.”
    (On behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a National Spiritual Assembly, 6 October 1956)

    Highly condemned? Spiritually condemned? YOUR statement is an “opinion,” those writings are “facts.” They exist. Unfortunately. Homosexuality is an innate quality of human existance, just the same as heterosexuality is. It is the homosexuality that is CONDEMNED in these writings, not some choice-mediated moral act. (Although the writings condemn acts too) Do the writings also say be nice to gay people? Yes. How very girl-scoutesque of them. But Baha’is are supposed to be “nice” to everybody, including murderers. Being nice doesn’t erase the condemnation. The condemnation stands. It is disengenuous for Baha’is to argue that it is the act itself that it condemned, and not the homosexuality itself. Read your writings. Homosexuality is condemned. I am not “conflating the person and their actions.” The writings condemn HOMOSEXUALITY, which is a quality of a persons being-ness.

    I appreciate your creating this forum, too, Baquia. It is a real service. And I appreciate your motivations. But my question as to why your opinion is “truth” and mine is just a “personal opinion” someone could confuse with “truth” and that it needs to come with a warning label disclaimer stands. My argument is based on THE WRITINGS which I have cited. Why the distinction?

    Oh, I have made one factual error: the Baha’is are supposed to be nice to everyone but “Covenant Breakers.” My mistake.

    The last thing I want to say is that it is disturbing that the PERSONAL EXPERIENCES of the two gay people who have commented here have been dismissed entirely, and the focus has stayed on the writings. I know people objected to my use of the word “hateful,” but let’s look at what hateful actually means. You don’t have to wear a clansmans hood to hate someone or something. Hate is “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.” To argue that these writings don’t express intense hostility and aversion is nonsense. Homosexuality is seen as so harmful it has to be quarentined and controlled. Hate is also defined as “extreme dislike or antipathy : loathing.” Read the writings. The language they use to discuss homosexuality reeks of this.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Wow. I wasn’t at the computer for awhile and looky-loo.

    Mavaddat-
    Thanks for providing citations and answering a few points that were directed at me before I could get back to the discussion. Some really nice points, sir. :) Looking forward to more.

    Beth-
    Hello!

    Steve-
    Your views about the House lead me to clarify my argument: I am critiquing the Haifan Baha’i Tradition, meaning “Baha’u’llah + ‘Abdu’l-Baha + Shoghi Effendi as Guardian + UHJ.” There are certainly many groups of Baha’is who gather under different auspices, and individuals who have their own take on it. But what I am critiquing is the (Haifan) Baha’i Faith. The religion. Not the countless individuals within it or the other groups. The position you are advocating here that the writings of the UHJ or Shoghi Effendi are somehow not the “Baha’i Writings” is not consistent with the Haifan Baha’i tradition, (and kudos to you for being willing to make your own decisions about such things.) But I am not here to critique Steve Marshalls Baha’i Faith, I am critiquing the teachings, practices, culture, and rules of “The Baha’i Faith ©.” You of all people should know how it feels to be arbitrarily “removed” or sanctioned for no good reason whatsoever, which is exactly what happens to out gay Baha’is as a matter of course. I wonder at your balking at my previous depiction? Please explain. A gay Baha’i being removed or sanctioned JUST FOR BEING WHO THEY ARE is NO different than what happened to your wife.

    And as to the eugenics argument, you didn’t seem to follow it. What I am saying, is that to “prevent” the appearance of a non-pathological expression of human variety, like skin color, sexual orientation, etc, is to act on the principles, motives, and practices of the worst part of the eugenics movement. The part where an empowered group decides that their genetic features are the ideal, and then manipulates “science” to help weed out traits that are not made in their image. The trademarked Baha’i Faith advocates psychological treatments to “cure” homosexuality that have been condemned by the field, criminalizes the expression of sexuality, and looks for ways for science to further prevent it’s appearance. Eugenics, sir.

    Baquia-
    You write, “you were stating an opinion, not fact. The Baha’i Writings contain no condemnation of gay people.”

    Baquia, please read the following:

    “Homosexuality, according to the Writings of Bah??’u’ll??h, is spiritually condemned.”
    (On behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual, 21 May 1954; Lights of Guidance, p. 365, #1221)

    “Homosexuality is highly condemned and often a great trial and cause of suffering to a person, as a Bah??’?. Any individual so afflicted must, through prayer, and any other means, seek to overcome this handicap.”
    (On behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a National Spiritual Assembly, 6 October 1956)

    Highly condemned? Spiritually condemned? YOUR statement is an “opinion,” those writings are “facts.” They exist. Unfortunately. Homosexuality is an innate quality of human existance, just the same as heterosexuality is. It is the homosexuality that is CONDEMNED in these writings, not some choice-mediated moral act. (Although the writings condemn acts too) Do the writings also say be nice to gay people? Yes. How very girl-scoutesque of them. But Baha’is are supposed to be “nice” to everybody, including murderers. Being nice doesn’t erase the condemnation. The condemnation stands. It is disengenuous for Baha’is to argue that it is the act itself that it condemned, and not the homosexuality itself. Read your writings. Homosexuality is condemned. I am not “conflating the person and their actions.” The writings condemn HOMOSEXUALITY, which is a quality of a persons being-ness.

    I appreciate your creating this forum, too, Baquia. It is a real service. And I appreciate your motivations. But my question as to why your opinion is “truth” and mine is just a “personal opinion” someone could confuse with “truth” and that it needs to come with a warning label disclaimer stands. My argument is based on THE WRITINGS which I have cited. Why the distinction?

    Oh, I have made one factual error: the Baha’is are supposed to be nice to everyone but “Covenant Breakers.” My mistake.

    The last thing I want to say is that it is disturbing that the PERSONAL EXPERIENCES of the two gay people who have commented here have been dismissed entirely, and the focus has stayed on the writings. I know people objected to my use of the word “hateful,” but let’s look at what hateful actually means. You don’t have to wear a clansmans hood to hate someone or something. Hate is “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.” To argue that these writings don’t express intense hostility and aversion is nonsense. Homosexuality is seen as so harmful it has to be quarentined and controlled. Hate is also defined as “extreme dislike or antipathy : loathing.” Read the writings. The language they use to discuss homosexuality reeks of this.

  • http://ncag.org.nz/blog Steve Marshall

    [quote]Steve-
    The position you are advocating here that the writings of the UHJ or Shoghi Effendi are somehow not the “Baha’i Writings” is not consistent with the Haifan Baha’i tradition…[/quote]

    I think you’ll find that “Baha’i Writings” is an imprecise term. I did an Internet search and found instances where it referred just to the writings of Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-baha. Sometimes the Bab and Shoghi Effendi got a look in, and on one occasion the House was included (Mark Towfiq’s True Seeker, surprisingly enough).

    [quote]I wonder at your balking at my previous depiction? Please explain. A gay Baha’i being removed or sanctioned JUST FOR BEING WHO THEY ARE is NO different than what happened to your wife.[/quote]

    I agree. I simply don’t agree with your use of the word “eugenics”.

    [quote]…Eugenics, sir.

    No, madam. the phrases and passages you quote show that the Baha’i Faith engages in behaviour that is arguably unscientific, discriminatory and offensive. But I don’t believe you have demonstrated that it engages in eugenics.

    cheers
    Steve

  • http://ncag.org.nz/blog Steve Marshall

    [quote]Steve-
    The position you are advocating here that the writings of the UHJ or Shoghi Effendi are somehow not the “Baha’i Writings” is not consistent with the Haifan Baha’i tradition…[/quote]

    I think you’ll find that “Baha’i Writings” is an imprecise term. I did an Internet search and found instances where it referred just to the writings of Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-baha. Sometimes the Bab and Shoghi Effendi got a look in, and on one occasion the House was included (Mark Towfiq’s True Seeker, surprisingly enough).

    [quote]I wonder at your balking at my previous depiction? Please explain. A gay Baha’i being removed or sanctioned JUST FOR BEING WHO THEY ARE is NO different than what happened to your wife.[/quote]

    I agree. I simply don’t agree with your use of the word “eugenics”.

    [quote]…Eugenics, sir.

    No, madam. the phrases and passages you quote show that the Baha’i Faith engages in behaviour that is arguably unscientific, discriminatory and offensive. But I don’t believe you have demonstrated that it engages in eugenics.

    cheers
    Steve

  • http://ncag.org.nz/blog Steve Marshall

    [quote comment="46521"]One last thought: Steve, you apparently wanted to say that my calling those “disgusting” who believe that being gay is a kind of “sexual attraction to objects” puts me on par with those whom I criticize…[/quote]

    But you weren’t doing that. Here’s what you actually said:

    “I honestly don’t understand how anyone could call himself or herself a Bah??’? when such an appellation would necessarily mean his respect — much less his adulation — of the institution who uttered those words. Disgusting.”

    You are disgusted by people who respect the House.

    [quote]…but you were frustrated in your attempt to make this argument because the language of my scorn did not match the language of those I am criticizing.[/quote]

    You think it’s OK to be disgusted by people who respect the House, but it’s not OK to be disgusted by homosexuality.

    You can handle sexual freedom but you can’t handle religious freedom. I think you’re being “house”ophobic.

  • http://ncag.org.nz/blog Steve Marshall

    [quote comment="46521"]One last thought: Steve, you apparently wanted to say that my calling those “disgusting” who believe that being gay is a kind of “sexual attraction to objects” puts me on par with those whom I criticize…[/quote]

    But you weren’t doing that. Here’s what you actually said:

    “I honestly don’t understand how anyone could call himself or herself a Bah??’? when such an appellation would necessarily mean his respect — much less his adulation — of the institution who uttered those words. Disgusting.”

    You are disgusted by people who respect the House.

    [quote]…but you were frustrated in your attempt to make this argument because the language of my scorn did not match the language of those I am criticizing.[/quote]

    You think it’s OK to be disgusted by people who respect the House, but it’s not OK to be disgusted by homosexuality.

    You can handle sexual freedom but you can’t handle religious freedom. I think you’re being “house”ophobic.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Thanks for your reply, Steve.

    I appreciate your thoughtful response. What I stated in my post that sparked the eugenics talk was this:

    “The ?future? envisaged in the Baha’i Writings where the ?clear principles of prevention and treatment? of homosexuality? will be in effect is one of EUGENICS. Call a spade a spade, brother. It’s EUGENICS.”

    I was referring to this passage from the “Haifan-sanctioned Baha’i writings ©” ;)

    “To the question of alteration of homosexual bents, much study must be given, and doubtless in the future clear principles of prevention and treatment will emerge. As for those now afflicted, a homosexual does not decide to be a problem human, but he does, as you rightly state, have decision in choosing his way of life, i.e. abstaining from homosexual acts.”
    The Universal House of Justice, 22 March 1987

    Eugenics can refer to the general scientific attention to human “breeding” in such a way as to better promote health, etc. Prenatal genetic testing, amniocentesis, and genetic counselling are all aimed at preventing genetic diseases from entering the genetic market, so to speak. This is a huge area of controversy in medical ethics, and I can see instances where ethical decisions can happen both “for” and “against.” Mavaddat has argued the ways the “Baha’i Faith’s ©” marital/physical teachings generally fall in line with a eugenics paradigm, and I agree. What I am arguing is that the specific “Baha’i” approach to encouraging a “scientific” study and development of clinical “prevention and treatment” techniques to remove homosexuality as a human “problem” corresponds to a particular historical eugenics. In the American South and in Nazi Germany, the pseudo-science of eugenics was used to prop up irrational beliefs that particular expressions of human variety were faulty. It is common in public opinion to imagine the Nazi holocaust as simply being about anti-semitism as religious prejudice, but the philosophical underpinnings and medico-legal bent of the holocaust went beyond the extermination of the Jewish people on the basis of belief to the eradication af any human variation that conlicted with the Nazi “ideal.” The disabled, Romani, and homosexuals were also targeted. The obsession was with a very frightening, and a very faulty quest for “racial purity.” We know that there is no such thing as a “race,” scientifically. Human variation is greater “within” any given “race” than between “races.” “Race” is a social construct with no taxonomic meaning. HOWEVER, the quest for an idealized “race” or human gene pool expressed what a certain empowered group defined as “good” and “natural.” In their quest, many quite “natural” human attributes were defined as faulty and pathological. This is the shadow side (and actually from a historical standpoint the dominant side)of eugenics. This philosophy espoused near verbatim rationale for “scientifically” handling the “problem” of homosexuality to the “Baha’i writings.” Do you follow me? The Nazis began a “scientific”/medico-legal assault on homosexuality in July of 1933 with the Law for Prevention of Hereditary Diseases and again with the November 1933 Law Against Dangerous Habitual Criminals and Sexual Offenders. (Check out Giles, G. 1992. ?The Most Unkindest Cut of All: Castration, Homosexuality and Nazi Justice? Journal of Contemporary History. vol. 27 no. 1. pp. 41-56 and Micheler, S. 2002. ?Homophobic Propaganda and the Denunciation of Same-Sex Desiring Men Under National Socialism? Journal of the History of Sexuality. vol. 11 no. 1/2 . pp. 95-130.)

    The problem of labeling the biology, physiology or expression of human variation in a particular group as a pathology when it is not carries over in many other forms of “scientific” and “medical” racism, sexism, and homophobia. Oddly enough, this has been an area where “science” and religion have often held hands. During the Inquisition and witch-hunts, the presence of a clitoris upon a physical examination of a defendant was deemed scientific “proof” of her allegiance with the devil. It was labeled a “devil’s teat” and a pathology. Disturbingly, Francis Bacon was attorney general under King James during a period of obscene persecution/prosecution of “witches” on the basis of their clits. So much for impiricism. But the modern HISTORY of eugenics clearly demonstrates the intersection of human prejudice with the justification of “science” and religion. To seek a “medical” or “scientific” solution to homosexuality casts homosexulaity as a medical or scientific “problem,” which it is not. The Baha’i writings could not be clearer in their advocacy of the adoption of this type of pseudo-science and philosophy that makes up the darkest history of eugenics. Any thoughtful person can identify the goal of iradication of human diversity as clearly prejudiced and sinister, unless that person is a Baha’i defending the Baha’i condemnation of homosexuality. It is especially sad to see Baha’is do this, because the Faith makes some beautiful stands about eliminating prejudice. But it is reminiscent of the hobbled inconsistent morality of the founding fathers of the United States who managed to simultaneously write into the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” and to simultaneously enshrine slavery in the law. It is cognitive dissonance. It is moral inconsistency. It is what Baha’is are doing. It is only possible to hold such disparate views of human equality and rights when you tell yourself that only “these people” count. When you find ways to use apologetics to trick yourself into justifying mistreatment. Every paternalistic argument ever used to justify why women shouldn’t vote or African Americans shouldn’t vote or any group should be denied their basic human rights because it is somehow “better” for them or “immoral” for them to have those rights is cognitive dissonance and nothing more. Institutionalized dissonance is discrimination and it is hateful.

    Thanks.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Thanks for your reply, Steve.

    I appreciate your thoughtful response. What I stated in my post that sparked the eugenics talk was this:

    “The ?future? envisaged in the Baha’i Writings where the ?clear principles of prevention and treatment? of homosexuality? will be in effect is one of EUGENICS. Call a spade a spade, brother. It’s EUGENICS.”

    I was referring to this passage from the “Haifan-sanctioned Baha’i writings ©” ;)

    “To the question of alteration of homosexual bents, much study must be given, and doubtless in the future clear principles of prevention and treatment will emerge. As for those now afflicted, a homosexual does not decide to be a problem human, but he does, as you rightly state, have decision in choosing his way of life, i.e. abstaining from homosexual acts.”
    The Universal House of Justice, 22 March 1987

    Eugenics can refer to the general scientific attention to human “breeding” in such a way as to better promote health, etc. Prenatal genetic testing, amniocentesis, and genetic counselling are all aimed at preventing genetic diseases from entering the genetic market, so to speak. This is a huge area of controversy in medical ethics, and I can see instances where ethical decisions can happen both “for” and “against.” Mavaddat has argued the ways the “Baha’i Faith’s ©” marital/physical teachings generally fall in line with a eugenics paradigm, and I agree. What I am arguing is that the specific “Baha’i” approach to encouraging a “scientific” study and development of clinical “prevention and treatment” techniques to remove homosexuality as a human “problem” corresponds to a particular historical eugenics. In the American South and in Nazi Germany, the pseudo-science of eugenics was used to prop up irrational beliefs that particular expressions of human variety were faulty. It is common in public opinion to imagine the Nazi holocaust as simply being about anti-semitism as religious prejudice, but the philosophical underpinnings and medico-legal bent of the holocaust went beyond the extermination of the Jewish people on the basis of belief to the eradication af any human variation that conlicted with the Nazi “ideal.” The disabled, Romani, and homosexuals were also targeted. The obsession was with a very frightening, and a very faulty quest for “racial purity.” We know that there is no such thing as a “race,” scientifically. Human variation is greater “within” any given “race” than between “races.” “Race” is a social construct with no taxonomic meaning. HOWEVER, the quest for an idealized “race” or human gene pool expressed what a certain empowered group defined as “good” and “natural.” In their quest, many quite “natural” human attributes were defined as faulty and pathological. This is the shadow side (and actually from a historical standpoint the dominant side)of eugenics. This philosophy espoused near verbatim rationale for “scientifically” handling the “problem” of homosexuality to the “Baha’i writings.” Do you follow me? The Nazis began a “scientific”/medico-legal assault on homosexuality in July of 1933 with the Law for Prevention of Hereditary Diseases and again with the November 1933 Law Against Dangerous Habitual Criminals and Sexual Offenders. (Check out Giles, G. 1992. ?The Most Unkindest Cut of All: Castration, Homosexuality and Nazi Justice? Journal of Contemporary History. vol. 27 no. 1. pp. 41-56 and Micheler, S. 2002. ?Homophobic Propaganda and the Denunciation of Same-Sex Desiring Men Under National Socialism? Journal of the History of Sexuality. vol. 11 no. 1/2 . pp. 95-130.)

    The problem of labeling the biology, physiology or expression of human variation in a particular group as a pathology when it is not carries over in many other forms of “scientific” and “medical” racism, sexism, and homophobia. Oddly enough, this has been an area where “science” and religion have often held hands. During the Inquisition and witch-hunts, the presence of a clitoris upon a physical examination of a defendant was deemed scientific “proof” of her allegiance with the devil. It was labeled a “devil’s teat” and a pathology. Disturbingly, Francis Bacon was attorney general under King James during a period of obscene persecution/prosecution of “witches” on the basis of their clits. So much for impiricism. But the modern HISTORY of eugenics clearly demonstrates the intersection of human prejudice with the justification of “science” and religion. To seek a “medical” or “scientific” solution to homosexuality casts homosexulaity as a medical or scientific “problem,” which it is not. The Baha’i writings could not be clearer in their advocacy of the adoption of this type of pseudo-science and philosophy that makes up the darkest history of eugenics. Any thoughtful person can identify the goal of iradication of human diversity as clearly prejudiced and sinister, unless that person is a Baha’i defending the Baha’i condemnation of homosexuality. It is especially sad to see Baha’is do this, because the Faith makes some beautiful stands about eliminating prejudice. But it is reminiscent of the hobbled inconsistent morality of the founding fathers of the United States who managed to simultaneously write into the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” and to simultaneously enshrine slavery in the law. It is cognitive dissonance. It is moral inconsistency. It is what Baha’is are doing. It is only possible to hold such disparate views of human equality and rights when you tell yourself that only “these people” count. When you find ways to use apologetics to trick yourself into justifying mistreatment. Every paternalistic argument ever used to justify why women shouldn’t vote or African Americans shouldn’t vote or any group should be denied their basic human rights because it is somehow “better” for them or “immoral” for them to have those rights is cognitive dissonance and nothing more. Institutionalized dissonance is discrimination and it is hateful.

    Thanks.

  • http://www.theyreminisceoveryou.wordpress.com Noah Latif Goodbaum

    I am going to go run away and hide among the followers of Hazrat Inayat Khan. That is what I am going to do.

  • http://www.theyreminisceoveryou.wordpress.com Noah Latif Goodbaum

    I am going to go run away and hide among the followers of Hazrat Inayat Khan. That is what I am going to do.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Given the current topic, I’d like to invite anyone interested to sign a petition I just created speaking out against discrimination against homosexuals.

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stop-bahai-anti-gay-discrimination

    Anyone id welcome to sign it, Baha’i, not Baha’i, ex-Baha’i, what have you.

    Thanks.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Given the current topic, I’d like to invite anyone interested to sign a petition I just created speaking out against discrimination against homosexuals.

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stop-bahai-anti-gay-discrimination

    Anyone id welcome to sign it, Baha’i, not Baha’i, ex-Baha’i, what have you.

    Thanks.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Steve,

    You asked me for the reference to where the “problem human being” passage came from, and while I was asleep and blissfully unaware of the exciting debate unfolding here Mavaddat answered with the source of that quotaion, and then he wrote,

    “As disgusting as that is, I personally don’t think it even comes close to as abhorrent as the following from the same august institution, in which they claim that being gay is a species of the general mental disorder of being sexually attracted to random ?objects?…”

    So his introduction of the term disgusting seems to have been an evaluation of the disgusting content of those quotations, and then an evaluation of respect and adulation for their author as disgusting.

    You then wrote,
    “You are disgusted by people who respect the House…
    You think it’s OK to be disgusted by people who respect the House, but it’s not OK to be disgusted by homosexuality…You can handle sexual freedom but you can’t handle religious freedom. I think you’re being ?house?ophobic.”

    This is so far-fetched. In addition to his already arguing that his disagreement is not with disgust or condemnation themselves, but with the basis of that disgust and condemnation, your acusation here is groundless. Entirely groundless. He expressed disgust at the content of those passages and at the respect and adultion offered to their author. How in the world does that lead you to an assumption of disagreement with religious freedom? There is no logical connection there. Your “house-phobic” remark, in addition to being completely groundless is hyperbole.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Steve,

    You asked me for the reference to where the “problem human being” passage came from, and while I was asleep and blissfully unaware of the exciting debate unfolding here Mavaddat answered with the source of that quotaion, and then he wrote,

    “As disgusting as that is, I personally don’t think it even comes close to as abhorrent as the following from the same august institution, in which they claim that being gay is a species of the general mental disorder of being sexually attracted to random ?objects?…”

    So his introduction of the term disgusting seems to have been an evaluation of the disgusting content of those quotations, and then an evaluation of respect and adulation for their author as disgusting.

    You then wrote,
    “You are disgusted by people who respect the House…
    You think it’s OK to be disgusted by people who respect the House, but it’s not OK to be disgusted by homosexuality…You can handle sexual freedom but you can’t handle religious freedom. I think you’re being ?house?ophobic.”

    This is so far-fetched. In addition to his already arguing that his disagreement is not with disgust or condemnation themselves, but with the basis of that disgust and condemnation, your acusation here is groundless. Entirely groundless. He expressed disgust at the content of those passages and at the respect and adultion offered to their author. How in the world does that lead you to an assumption of disagreement with religious freedom? There is no logical connection there. Your “house-phobic” remark, in addition to being completely groundless is hyperbole.

  • farhan

    Mavvadat,

    you have made an outstanding study of the Baha’i writings on homosexuality, and I am grateful to you for this work.

    I see some participants here, including Amanda on her petition, accuse the Baha’i writings of refering to homosexuality as a “spiritual disease” or as a “spiritual handicap”; I have never seen such a passage; could you please confirm?

    You also quote the UHJ :
    “The condition of being sexually attracted to some object other than a mature member of the opposite sex, a condition of which homosexuality is but one manifestation, is regarded by the Faith as a distortion of true human nature…”

    This quote refers the object of attraction, the “goal” of a desire; the UHJ obviously does not refer to a homosexual person as being an “object”. The desire to various sexual stimulii includes zoophilia, necrophilia, paedophilia, fetichisme, incest, etc.

    You believe that homosexuality should be dissociated from these other sexual behaviours; this opinion is increasingly shared by many citizens, physicians and psychologists but is far from being universal.

    We should also realise that in many cases scientific knowledge can only confirm social rules adopted by the majority. Science does not always guide society, but can be used as an instrument by society. In teh 1930′s, science had “proved” the inferiority of couloured people. In some cultures zoophilia is acceptable with an animal of the opposite sex, but condemned with a same sex animal. There is no scientific grounds for condemning sad-masochist relations. The law in many societies condemns torturing a person, even with his consent on moral basis.

    We know that Baha’is are expected to obey the civil laws of the state in which they reside. I cannot imagine what would happen if the UHJ legalised same-sex marriages as you suggest.

    In conclusion, I see no scientific grounds for choosing which sexual behaviour is “normal” or “abnormal”. It is a society established on moral laws that decides lawfull sexual acts between ” consenting adults of the opposite sex” should be regarded as acceptable. These moral rules define certain behaviours as beneficial and acceptable, and others as undesireable. The removal of homosexuality from the list of mental disorders has been decided on social grounds. Some societies are claiming scientific proof for not allowing traditionnal incest anymore.

    Also, you often refer to homosexuality as being an inherent or inborn attribute that prevents feeling attraction accomplishing a sexual act with someone of the opposite sex.

    We also know that some homosexual tendencies can be predisposed genetically or induced by hormones, but we also know that some homosexual behaviours are acquired late in life after a fulfilling heterosexual family life. Spartian homosexuality was socially mentored. Bisexuality is an example of a homosexuality which is a choice of life, which could be spiritually overcome.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Mavvadat,

    you have made an outstanding study of the Baha’i writings on homosexuality, and I am grateful to you for this work.

    I see some participants here, including Amanda on her petition, accuse the Baha’i writings of refering to homosexuality as a “spiritual disease” or as a “spiritual handicap”; I have never seen such a passage; could you please confirm?

    You also quote the UHJ :
    “The condition of being sexually attracted to some object other than a mature member of the opposite sex, a condition of which homosexuality is but one manifestation, is regarded by the Faith as a distortion of true human nature…”

    This quote refers the object of attraction, the “goal” of a desire; the UHJ obviously does not refer to a homosexual person as being an “object”. The desire to various sexual stimulii includes zoophilia, necrophilia, paedophilia, fetichisme, incest, etc.

    You believe that homosexuality should be dissociated from these other sexual behaviours; this opinion is increasingly shared by many citizens, physicians and psychologists but is far from being universal.

    We should also realise that in many cases scientific knowledge can only confirm social rules adopted by the majority. Science does not always guide society, but can be used as an instrument by society. In teh 1930′s, science had “proved” the inferiority of couloured people. In some cultures zoophilia is acceptable with an animal of the opposite sex, but condemned with a same sex animal. There is no scientific grounds for condemning sad-masochist relations. The law in many societies condemns torturing a person, even with his consent on moral basis.

    We know that Baha’is are expected to obey the civil laws of the state in which they reside. I cannot imagine what would happen if the UHJ legalised same-sex marriages as you suggest.

    In conclusion, I see no scientific grounds for choosing which sexual behaviour is “normal” or “abnormal”. It is a society established on moral laws that decides lawfull sexual acts between ” consenting adults of the opposite sex” should be regarded as acceptable. These moral rules define certain behaviours as beneficial and acceptable, and others as undesireable. The removal of homosexuality from the list of mental disorders has been decided on social grounds. Some societies are claiming scientific proof for not allowing traditionnal incest anymore.

    Also, you often refer to homosexuality as being an inherent or inborn attribute that prevents feeling attraction accomplishing a sexual act with someone of the opposite sex.

    We also know that some homosexual tendencies can be predisposed genetically or induced by hormones, but we also know that some homosexual behaviours are acquired late in life after a fulfilling heterosexual family life. Spartian homosexuality was socially mentored. Bisexuality is an example of a homosexuality which is a choice of life, which could be spiritually overcome.

  • farhan

    Amanda,

    on your petition you quote the Baha’i writings refering to homosexuality as a “spiritual handicap”

    Could you please provide me with that source?

    Thanks

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Amanda,

    on your petition you quote the Baha’i writings refering to homosexuality as a “spiritual handicap”

    Could you please provide me with that source?

    Thanks

  • farhan

    Baquia,

    To your quote on the quest for knowledge you can add this one:

    “To strive to obtain a more adequate understanding of the significance of Baha’u’llah’s stupendous Revelation must … remain the first obligation and the object of the constant endeavour of each one of its loyal adherents.”
    Shoghi Effendi: World Order of Baha’u’llah, p 100

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Baquia,

    To your quote on the quest for knowledge you can add this one:

    “To strive to obtain a more adequate understanding of the significance of Baha’u’llah’s stupendous Revelation must … remain the first obligation and the object of the constant endeavour of each one of its loyal adherents.”
    Shoghi Effendi: World Order of Baha’u’llah, p 100

  • Anonymous

    Steve, I must admit I’m disappointed in your lack of interest in engaging in a discussion with me. [quote]Feel free to believe that, but it puts you in the company of Baha’i zealots and fundamentalists.[/quote]This kind of response is a classic example of the bandwagon fallacy. My argument was that to reject the authority of the UHJ is to reject the authority of Bah??’u’ll??h (who, by his authority, confers upon them their infallibility). Instead of actually addressing my point, you chose instead to casually dismiss my point. You invoked “we-don’t-think like-that-’round-these-parts” language to stand in place of an actual argument. But by doing this, your response blatantly begs the question of whether the so-called “Bah??’? zealots and fundamentalists” actually have it right. In fact, I think that they do. That’s why I left the religion. I find that they are far more honest to the scripture than those who filter out the bits they don’t like.[quote]As far as I’m concerned, the whole infallibility-means-propositionally-inerrant story-line is a gross misunderstanding perpetuated by the ignorant. You seem you think it’s a mainstram Baha’i belief.[/quote]Steve, can you actually justify your understanding of infallibility as something other than propositional inerrancy? I’ve never actually had anyone who disagrees with this understanding of infallibility actually do that for me. They all merely assert, in so many words, that that isn’t what it means.

    More generously, I think that these people ignore the extent to which the underlying Bah??’? philosophy adopts a eudaimonistic conception of the Good that takes it for granted that knowledge is necessary and sufficient to be good. Being free from sin, under this conception, means being free from factual error (and vice versa). The two are interchangeable for the eadaimonist.[quote]The argument that ?Baha’is are into eugenics? comes from you, not the Baha’i Faith. I applied your argument that this is so, then realised that pro-gay marriage and civil union folks, of which I’m one, are essentially doing the same thing. If the Baha’is are into eugenics, then lots of others meet the same criteria. Simple as that. [/quote]
    Sigh. I give up. Your argument was a complete non-sequitur. I attempted to show this twice. And you skipped over it both times. Instead, you chose to merely assert without the least additional argument that the charge of eugenics leads to absurd other conclusions. It doesn’t. (What is asserted without argument may equally be denied without argument.)
    [quote]But let’s suppose you’re right, and the House doesn’t believe there’s a genetic component to homosexuality. Let’s also suppose that the Bah??’? writings rally do work work under the assumption that homosexuality is something you can ?choose? away. Under those assumptions, the possibility that the Baha’is are consciously carrying out any form of eugenics drops to nil. Remember the definition:[/quote]Good! An actual argument!

    I was anticipating this. I think it’s fair to say (in agreement with you) that the fear of the Bah??’? authorities in their condemnation of homosexuality is not that homosexuality will be passed on to future generations by some genetic component. What I think you are igonring is the fear that homosexuality will get in the way of good breeding habits. This is expressed in passages like the following:[quote]The Bah??’? Faith recognizes the value of the sex impulse, but condemns its illegitimate and improper expressions such as free love, companionate marriage and others, all of which it considers positively harmful to man and to the society in which he lives. The proper use of the sex instinct is the natural right of every individual, and it is precisely for this purpose that the institution of marriage has been established. The Bah??’?s do not believe in the suppression of the sex impulse but in its regulation and control. (Shoghi Effendi)[/quote][quote]“As to the problem of birth control. Neither Bah??’u’ll??h nor ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? has revealed anything direct or explicit regarding this question. But the Bah??’? Teachings, when carefully studied imply that such current conceptions like birth control, if not necessarily wrong and immoral in principle, have nevertheless to be discarded as constituting a real danger to the very foundation of our social life. For Bah??’u’ll??h explicitly reveals in His Book of Laws that the very purpose of marriage is the procreation of children who, when grown up, will be able to know God and to recognize and observe His Commandments and Laws as revealed through His Messengers. Marriage is thus, according to the Bah??’? Teachings, primarily a social and moral act. It has purpose which transcends the immediate personal needs and interests of the parties… (Shoghi Effendi)[/quote][quote]Birth control, however, when exercised in order to deliberately prevent the procreation of any children is against the Spirit of the Law of Bah??’u’ll??h, which defines the primary purpose of marriage to be the rearing of children and their spiritual training in the Cause. The Universal House of Justice will have to consider this issue and give its verdict upon it.(Shoghi Effendi)[/quote]And so on… Combine that with the following kind of language:[quote]It is important to hold regular Bah??’? children’s classes to give the children a thorough grounding in knowledge of the teachings and history of the Faith, to imbue them with its spirit, to establish loving ties between them and to provide them with that firm foundation in the Faith which will enable them to grow up as staunch and enlightened servants of Bah??’u’ll??h. (Universal House of Justice)[/quote][quote]Enter into wedlock,
    O people, that ye may bring forth one who will make
    mention of Me amid My servants. This is My bidding
    unto you; hold fast to it as an assistance to yourselves. (Bah??’u’ll??h)[/quote]And one gets an idea of where this argument is going: The fear isn’t that homosexuality might be passed on genetically; but rather, that it blocks the reproduction of little future Bah??’?s! There is an explicit and curious obsession in the Bah??’? Faith with genetic purity. For example:[quote]…there is nothing in our teachings about this, therefore there is no objection to having a baby by means of artificial insemination as long as your husband is the father of it. (Shoghi Effendi)[/quote]And:[quote]While artificial insemination is a very different process from in-vitro fertilization, the principle enunciated by the Guardian is the same, namely, that to be acceptable to Bah??’?s the egg cell of the wife should be fertilized by the sperm of the husband in the procedure. (The Universal House of Justice)[/quote]Why this restriction on where the sperm can come from? Why demand that the children of Bah??’?s share the genes of their parents? What is so special about the genes of Bah??’?s that they should need to avoid all these alternatives?

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Steve, I must admit I’m disappointed in your lack of interest in engaging in a discussion with me. [quote]Feel free to believe that, but it puts you in the company of Baha’i zealots and fundamentalists.[/quote]This kind of response is a classic example of the bandwagon fallacy. My argument was that to reject the authority of the UHJ is to reject the authority of Bah??’u’ll??h (who, by his authority, confers upon them their infallibility). Instead of actually addressing my point, you chose instead to casually dismiss my point. You invoked “we-don’t-think like-that-’round-these-parts” language to stand in place of an actual argument. But by doing this, your response blatantly begs the question of whether the so-called “Bah??’? zealots and fundamentalists” actually have it right. In fact, I think that they do. That’s why I left the religion. I find that they are far more honest to the scripture than those who filter out the bits they don’t like.[quote]As far as I’m concerned, the whole infallibility-means-propositionally-inerrant story-line is a gross misunderstanding perpetuated by the ignorant. You seem you think it’s a mainstram Baha’i belief.[/quote]Steve, can you actually justify your understanding of infallibility as something other than propositional inerrancy? I’ve never actually had anyone who disagrees with this understanding of infallibility actually do that for me. They all merely assert, in so many words, that that isn’t what it means.

    More generously, I think that these people ignore the extent to which the underlying Bah??’? philosophy adopts a eudaimonistic conception of the Good that takes it for granted that knowledge is necessary and sufficient to be good. Being free from sin, under this conception, means being free from factual error (and vice versa). The two are interchangeable for the eadaimonist.[quote]The argument that ?Baha’is are into eugenics? comes from you, not the Baha’i Faith. I applied your argument that this is so, then realised that pro-gay marriage and civil union folks, of which I’m one, are essentially doing the same thing. If the Baha’is are into eugenics, then lots of others meet the same criteria. Simple as that. [/quote]
    Sigh. I give up. Your argument was a complete non-sequitur. I attempted to show this twice. And you skipped over it both times. Instead, you chose to merely assert without the least additional argument that the charge of eugenics leads to absurd other conclusions. It doesn’t. (What is asserted without argument may equally be denied without argument.)
    [quote]But let’s suppose you’re right, and the House doesn’t believe there’s a genetic component to homosexuality. Let’s also suppose that the Bah??’? writings rally do work work under the assumption that homosexuality is something you can ?choose? away. Under those assumptions, the possibility that the Baha’is are consciously carrying out any form of eugenics drops to nil. Remember the definition:[/quote]Good! An actual argument!

    I was anticipating this. I think it’s fair to say (in agreement with you) that the fear of the Bah??’? authorities in their condemnation of homosexuality is not that homosexuality will be passed on to future generations by some genetic component. What I think you are igonring is the fear that homosexuality will get in the way of good breeding habits. This is expressed in passages like the following:[quote]The Bah??’? Faith recognizes the value of the sex impulse, but condemns its illegitimate and improper expressions such as free love, companionate marriage and others, all of which it considers positively harmful to man and to the society in which he lives. The proper use of the sex instinct is the natural right of every individual, and it is precisely for this purpose that the institution of marriage has been established. The Bah??’?s do not believe in the suppression of the sex impulse but in its regulation and control. (Shoghi Effendi)[/quote][quote]“As to the problem of birth control. Neither Bah??’u’ll??h nor ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? has revealed anything direct or explicit regarding this question. But the Bah??’? Teachings, when carefully studied imply that such current conceptions like birth control, if not necessarily wrong and immoral in principle, have nevertheless to be discarded as constituting a real danger to the very foundation of our social life. For Bah??’u’ll??h explicitly reveals in His Book of Laws that the very purpose of marriage is the procreation of children who, when grown up, will be able to know God and to recognize and observe His Commandments and Laws as revealed through His Messengers. Marriage is thus, according to the Bah??’? Teachings, primarily a social and moral act. It has purpose which transcends the immediate personal needs and interests of the parties… (Shoghi Effendi)[/quote][quote]Birth control, however, when exercised in order to deliberately prevent the procreation of any children is against the Spirit of the Law of Bah??’u’ll??h, which defines the primary purpose of marriage to be the rearing of children and their spiritual training in the Cause. The Universal House of Justice will have to consider this issue and give its verdict upon it.(Shoghi Effendi)[/quote]And so on… Combine that with the following kind of language:[quote]It is important to hold regular Bah??’? children’s classes to give the children a thorough grounding in knowledge of the teachings and history of the Faith, to imbue them with its spirit, to establish loving ties between them and to provide them with that firm foundation in the Faith which will enable them to grow up as staunch and enlightened servants of Bah??’u’ll??h. (Universal House of Justice)[/quote][quote]Enter into wedlock,
    O people, that ye may bring forth one who will make
    mention of Me amid My servants. This is My bidding
    unto you; hold fast to it as an assistance to yourselves. (Bah??’u’ll??h)[/quote]And one gets an idea of where this argument is going: The fear isn’t that homosexuality might be passed on genetically; but rather, that it blocks the reproduction of little future Bah??’?s! There is an explicit and curious obsession in the Bah??’? Faith with genetic purity. For example:[quote]…there is nothing in our teachings about this, therefore there is no objection to having a baby by means of artificial insemination as long as your husband is the father of it. (Shoghi Effendi)[/quote]And:[quote]While artificial insemination is a very different process from in-vitro fertilization, the principle enunciated by the Guardian is the same, namely, that to be acceptable to Bah??’?s the egg cell of the wife should be fertilized by the sperm of the husband in the procedure. (The Universal House of Justice)[/quote]Why this restriction on where the sperm can come from? Why demand that the children of Bah??’?s share the genes of their parents? What is so special about the genes of Bah??’?s that they should need to avoid all these alternatives?

  • farhan

    Amanda, you quote:

    ?Homosexuality, according to the Writings of Bah??’u’ll??h, is spiritually condemned.?

    This means that homosexuality in the same way as extramarital heterosexuality or back-biting and slander, not praying, etc have spiritual implications. Shoghi Effendi informs us that adultry impairs the progress of our souls. Beyond these spiritual implications, these behaviours might also have legal and social implications and be socially and penally condemned.

    You affirm:
    “Homosexuality is an innate quality of human existance, just the same as heterosexuality is.”

    You compare our sexual orientation to skin colour…

    Look up any publication on the origins of homosexuality; no author would advance the idea that _all_ homosexual behaviours are innate. They can be genetical, hormonal, educational, as mentored by the Spartiates, and even arise temporarily in circumstances of isolation.

    As for your “disgust” for people like myself who love and respect the UHJ, an institution that you compare to the Nazis… all I can say is that I am surrounded by people whom I love and who love the pope;

    I would never ever hold feelings of “disgust” for humans who love another person or for an institution on the grounds that the said institution holds an opinion different to mine.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Amanda, you quote:

    ?Homosexuality, according to the Writings of Bah??’u’ll??h, is spiritually condemned.?

    This means that homosexuality in the same way as extramarital heterosexuality or back-biting and slander, not praying, etc have spiritual implications. Shoghi Effendi informs us that adultry impairs the progress of our souls. Beyond these spiritual implications, these behaviours might also have legal and social implications and be socially and penally condemned.

    You affirm:
    “Homosexuality is an innate quality of human existance, just the same as heterosexuality is.”

    You compare our sexual orientation to skin colour…

    Look up any publication on the origins of homosexuality; no author would advance the idea that _all_ homosexual behaviours are innate. They can be genetical, hormonal, educational, as mentored by the Spartiates, and even arise temporarily in circumstances of isolation.

    As for your “disgust” for people like myself who love and respect the UHJ, an institution that you compare to the Nazis… all I can say is that I am surrounded by people whom I love and who love the pope;

    I would never ever hold feelings of “disgust” for humans who love another person or for an institution on the grounds that the said institution holds an opinion different to mine.

  • Anonymous

    Farrhawn,

    You can find many references to homosexuality by the Bah??’? writings here: http://mavaddat.livejournal.com/21160.html

    In summary fashion, they various Bah??’? authorities call homosexuality a “shameful sexual aberration”, “immoral”, “against nature”, an “affliction”, “a great burden”, a “handicap”, a “sexual abnormality”, “spiritually condemned”, “highly condemned”, “a great trial and cause of suffering”, “an aberration subject to treatment”, “a distortion of true human nature”, “a problem to be overcome”, and yes, “a disability”.

    Therefore, to say that the Bah??’? writings call homosexuality a “spiritual disease” or a “spiritual handicap”, although not verbatim, would be more than fair in capturing their meaning and word usage in other places.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Farrhawn,

    You can find many references to homosexuality by the Bah??’? writings here: http://mavaddat.livejournal.com/21160.html

    In summary fashion, they various Bah??’? authorities call homosexuality a “shameful sexual aberration”, “immoral”, “against nature”, an “affliction”, “a great burden”, a “handicap”, a “sexual abnormality”, “spiritually condemned”, “highly condemned”, “a great trial and cause of suffering”, “an aberration subject to treatment”, “a distortion of true human nature”, “a problem to be overcome”, and yes, “a disability”.

    Therefore, to say that the Bah??’? writings call homosexuality a “spiritual disease” or a “spiritual handicap”, although not verbatim, would be more than fair in capturing their meaning and word usage in other places.

  • Anonymous

    Farrhawn,

    In response to the rest of your post, I would ask the following questions:

    What is your point?

    So what?

    And who cares?

    Lastly, you write,[quote]I would never ever hold feelings of ?disgust? for humans who love another person or for an institution on the grounds that the said institution holds an opinion different to mine.[/quote]To which I respond, Do you see me wearing a “What Would Farrhawn Do?” bracelet?

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Farrhawn,

    In response to the rest of your post, I would ask the following questions:

    What is your point?

    So what?

    And who cares?

    Lastly, you write,[quote]I would never ever hold feelings of ?disgust? for humans who love another person or for an institution on the grounds that the said institution holds an opinion different to mine.[/quote]To which I respond, Do you see me wearing a “What Would Farrhawn Do?” bracelet?

  • Andrew

    [quote comment="46540"]I am going to go run away and hide among the followers of Hazrat Inayat Khan. That is what I am going to do.[/quote]

    Excellent choice. They are fine people.

    From their site:

    “The Sufi Order International is not a ‘guru-centered’ school; no one is considered infallible.”

    They have many gay and lesbian members.

    Amanda: thanks for the petition. The phrase “a snowball’s chance in hell” comes to mind, but what do I know?

    Mavaddat: as you know, many people prefer intellectual dissonance when presented with verifiable evidence, evidence that afflicts the comfortable, though they never acknowledge it. Gilding the lily and parsing the imparsible become exercises in cognitive restructuring. Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

    F. Yazdani wrote: “In conclusion, I see no scientific grounds for choosing which sexual behaviour is ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’.”

    That’s because you don’t want to see them, even though I (and others on this and other forums) have repeatedly pointed them out to you. Stable, consensual adult same-sex relationships based on mutuality, reciprocity, and respect are a threat to religious hegemony over patriarchal society because they challenge the social constructions assigned to the definitions “male” and “female.” Homophobia, as a reaction to the violation of gender norms, attempts to ensure that people do not violate the gender roles central to the male power embodied in patriarchal religious institutions. It is an attempt to prevent lesbians and gays from making public what others find so politically and socially subversive. Many religious communities are homophobic, but the Baha’i Faith is especially so because it invokes pseudo-science while maintaining a pretense of tolerance. At least communities like the Southern Baptists are honestly homophobic rather than duplicitously so.

    “The very essence of tolerance rests on the fact that we have to be intolerant of intolerance. Stretching right back to Kant, through the Frankfurt School and up to today, liberalism means that we can do anything we like as long as we don’t hurt others. This means that if we are tolerant of others’ intolerance – especially when that intolerance is a call for genocide – then all we are doing is allowing that intolerance to flourish, and allowing the violence that will spring from that intolerance to continue unabated.” – Bren Carlill

  • Andrew

    [quote comment="46540"]I am going to go run away and hide among the followers of Hazrat Inayat Khan. That is what I am going to do.[/quote]

    Excellent choice. They are fine people.

    From their site:

    “The Sufi Order International is not a ‘guru-centered’ school; no one is considered infallible.”

    They have many gay and lesbian members.

    Amanda: thanks for the petition. The phrase “a snowball’s chance in hell” comes to mind, but what do I know?

    Mavaddat: as you know, many people prefer intellectual dissonance when presented with verifiable evidence, evidence that afflicts the comfortable, though they never acknowledge it. Gilding the lily and parsing the imparsible become exercises in cognitive restructuring. Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

    F. Yazdani wrote: “In conclusion, I see no scientific grounds for choosing which sexual behaviour is ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’.”

    That’s because you don’t want to see them, even though I (and others on this and other forums) have repeatedly pointed them out to you. Stable, consensual adult same-sex relationships based on mutuality, reciprocity, and respect are a threat to religious hegemony over patriarchal society because they challenge the social constructions assigned to the definitions “male” and “female.” Homophobia, as a reaction to the violation of gender norms, attempts to ensure that people do not violate the gender roles central to the male power embodied in patriarchal religious institutions. It is an attempt to prevent lesbians and gays from making public what others find so politically and socially subversive. Many religious communities are homophobic, but the Baha’i Faith is especially so because it invokes pseudo-science while maintaining a pretense of tolerance. At least communities like the Southern Baptists are honestly homophobic rather than duplicitously so.

    “The very essence of tolerance rests on the fact that we have to be intolerant of intolerance. Stretching right back to Kant, through the Frankfurt School and up to today, liberalism means that we can do anything we like as long as we don’t hurt others. This means that if we are tolerant of others’ intolerance – especially when that intolerance is a call for genocide – then all we are doing is allowing that intolerance to flourish, and allowing the violence that will spring from that intolerance to continue unabated.” – Bren Carlill

  • http://www.theyreminisceoveryou.wordpress.com Noah Latif Goodbaum

    [quote comment=""][quote comment="46540"]I am going to go run away and hide among the followers of Hazrat Inayat Khan. That is what I am going to do.[/quote]

    I was partly being facetious. But Inayat Khan’s Universal Sufism is of interest to me because its prophetic-universalism isn’t paired to dogma, although I’m not sure it could be called a replacement-faith because it identifies itself less as a faith-community and more as a philosophical approach. In any case, part of my soul dearly, dearly longs to commit to the Baha’i Faith, damn the consequences. But I have too acute a fear of the cognitive dissonance associated with practicing a religion so firmly out of step with my conviction on this and several other points. Even though the Faith matches my worldview almost exactly, in this and a few small other respects the difference is too great to ignore, and methinks said conflicts would outweigh the nagging feeling of longing (“Damn, I wish I had that declaration card! I wish I were one of these people!”) that will pop up every time I attend a Baha’i function or whenever Naw-Ruz rolls around, to which it appears I am now inevitably consigned.

    As to the roiling debate presently taking place– I find it rather too overwhelming to participate, being uncertain that I’ve anything to add which would make a positive difference to the proceedings. The long and the short of it is that I believe the Baha’i prohibition on homosexuality to be fundamentally in conflict not merely with its stated devotion to recognizing scientific truth, but with its emphasis on universal human dignity; and that I would classify the Baha’i vision for the future condition of gays as having at least some elements of eugenicist thinking. As to the rest– I am far too tired to proffer arguments in favour of some commenters’ stances and against others, nor have I the stamina at present to express them with any more eloquence or insight than has already been displayed.

    Oh, and Steve– I’m a reader of your wife’s site. I found it before this one. I’ve read of her case extensively, and her maltreatment by the Administration was a leading factor in my decision to explore further before committing to the Faith.

  • http://www.theyreminisceoveryou.wordpress.com Noah Latif Goodbaum

    [quote comment=""][quote comment="46540"]I am going to go run away and hide among the followers of Hazrat Inayat Khan. That is what I am going to do.[/quote]

    I was partly being facetious. But Inayat Khan’s Universal Sufism is of interest to me because its prophetic-universalism isn’t paired to dogma, although I’m not sure it could be called a replacement-faith because it identifies itself less as a faith-community and more as a philosophical approach. In any case, part of my soul dearly, dearly longs to commit to the Baha’i Faith, damn the consequences. But I have too acute a fear of the cognitive dissonance associated with practicing a religion so firmly out of step with my conviction on this and several other points. Even though the Faith matches my worldview almost exactly, in this and a few small other respects the difference is too great to ignore, and methinks said conflicts would outweigh the nagging feeling of longing (“Damn, I wish I had that declaration card! I wish I were one of these people!”) that will pop up every time I attend a Baha’i function or whenever Naw-Ruz rolls around, to which it appears I am now inevitably consigned.

    As to the roiling debate presently taking place– I find it rather too overwhelming to participate, being uncertain that I’ve anything to add which would make a positive difference to the proceedings. The long and the short of it is that I believe the Baha’i prohibition on homosexuality to be fundamentally in conflict not merely with its stated devotion to recognizing scientific truth, but with its emphasis on universal human dignity; and that I would classify the Baha’i vision for the future condition of gays as having at least some elements of eugenicist thinking. As to the rest– I am far too tired to proffer arguments in favour of some commenters’ stances and against others, nor have I the stamina at present to express them with any more eloquence or insight than has already been displayed.

    Oh, and Steve– I’m a reader of your wife’s site. I found it before this one. I’ve read of her case extensively, and her maltreatment by the Administration was a leading factor in my decision to explore further before committing to the Faith.

  • farhan

    Mavaddat,

    you write:
    Therefore, to say that the Bah??’? writings call homosexuality a ?spiritual disease? or a ?spiritual handicap?, although not verbatim, would be more than fair in capturing their meaning and word usage in other places.

    There is a difference to me: the Baha’i teachings clearly refer to disease not as an impairment of the soul itself, but as an obstacle hindering these manifestation of the soul. You are obviously deforming Baha’i teachings to suit your theories.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Mavaddat,

    you write:
    Therefore, to say that the Bah??’? writings call homosexuality a ?spiritual disease? or a ?spiritual handicap?, although not verbatim, would be more than fair in capturing their meaning and word usage in other places.

    There is a difference to me: the Baha’i teachings clearly refer to disease not as an impairment of the soul itself, but as an obstacle hindering these manifestation of the soul. You are obviously deforming Baha’i teachings to suit your theories.

  • farhan

    Andrew,

    you write:
    “F. Yazdani wrote: “In conclusion, I see no scientific grounds for choosing which sexual behaviour is ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’.That’s because you don’t want to see them, even though I (and others on this and other forums) have repeatedly pointed them out to you.”

    Andrew, you point out to sociological standards. Science accepts these standards provides statistical data, but cannot decide what is in the interest of that society. If you want to grow mulberries, silk worms are a “disease”. If you want to make silk, the mulberry tree becomes fodder. Science is an instrument that serves a social ideal.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Andrew,

    you write:
    “F. Yazdani wrote: “In conclusion, I see no scientific grounds for choosing which sexual behaviour is ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’.That’s because you don’t want to see them, even though I (and others on this and other forums) have repeatedly pointed them out to you.”

    Andrew, you point out to sociological standards. Science accepts these standards provides statistical data, but cannot decide what is in the interest of that society. If you want to grow mulberries, silk worms are a “disease”. If you want to make silk, the mulberry tree becomes fodder. Science is an instrument that serves a social ideal.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Anewlifestirring, I mean, Farhan,

    Here are a couple of places the authoritative Baha’i writings call homosexuality a “handicap:”

    “To be afflicted this way is a great burden to a conscientious soul. But through the advice and help of doctors, through a strong and determined effort, and through prayer, a soul can overcome this handicap.”
    (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, March 26, 1950)

    “Homosexuality is highly condemned and often a great trial and cause of suffering to a person, as a Bah??’?. Any individual so afflicted must, through prayer, and any other means, seek to overcome this handicap.”
    (On behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a National Spiritual Assembly, 6 October 1956)

    These quotations may look familiar to you as “Anewlifestirring” has asked me for them before repeatedly and I have cited them before (repeatedly) on YouTube for him. You may recall my posting the full quotations (with citations) next to the first of 2 videos I made in response to Anewlifestirring’s questions. But perhaps you are unfamiliar with his work. I hope you find the citations helpful.

    You wrote:
    “As to your ?Homosexuality, according to the Writings of Bah??’u’ll??h, is spiritually condemned.?

    That was me quoting the writings. Word for word. That wasn’t “mine.”

    You go on:
    “This means that homosexuality in the same way as extramarital heterosexuality or back-biting and slander, not praying, etc have spiritual implications.”

    On what grounds do you make this interpretation? The only time in Baha’i history anyone has had the authority to state what a word “means” regarding homosexuality was when the guardian said that “peaderasty” meant “homosexuality.” Do you have a similar privilege? Because without such an authoritative privilege we are left with the simple meaning of the words. The passage does not say “EXTRAMARITAL homosexuality is condemned,” so it is NOT like the condemnation of “extramarital HETEROSEXUALITY.” The condemnation is of homosexuality- hook, line and sinker. Even if it wasn’t, even if it was a condemnation of certain sex acts only, it would still be an unjust and immoral condemnation. It has no basis in justice, you see. It is arbitrary. Andrew’s description of why it is threatening to patriarchy is why it is condemned in the Baha’i writings. Not because it is actually immoral. If it is actually immoral, then, please, Farhan, tell me WHY IT IS IMMORAL? What about it specifically makes it IMMORAL? And what makes heterosexuality MORAL?

    I agree with you that homosexuality has an element of being socially constructed as well as biologically determined. It is BOTH. Just like heterosexuality. The point is, it’s not immoral.

    You also bizarrely write,
    “As for your ?disgust? for people like myself who love and respect the UHJ, an institution that you compare to the Nazis… all I can say is that I am surrounded by people whom I love and who love the pope;”

    Farhan…once again you have failed to understand the meaning of my words in a VERY big way. I haven’t said ANYTHING about having disgust for anyone or anything. You are pulling that out of thin air. I replied to Steve about his mischaracterization of Mavaddat’s disgust. Mavaddat’s disgust seemed to me to be with the content of certain passages and disgust with the practice of blindly respecting and offering adulation to the author of those passages without any regard for the MERIT of those passages. Do you follow? That means 1) I never said I am disgusted by anything, or any people, or by people who adulate the UHJ 2) uh…Mavaddat never said he is disgusted by any people, only at the words of the UHJ in this instance and at the practice he described (although maybe he is disgusted by certain people. He’d have the right. You’d have to ask him.) 3) You are making that up. Maybe you are just confusing me with Mavaddat, which I will take as a compliment. But he didn’t say that either.

    And again, I didn’t compare the UHJ to the Nazis, although on the point of whether or not they advocate an approach to homosexuality similar in philosophy to the Nazis I certainly could. That philosophy being eugenic. I said the Baha’i approach on this issue WAS “eugenic,” just as the Nazis approach was. It’s shocking, isn’t it? Unfortunately it’s true.

    And before you respond, which no doubt you will, please keep in mine my previously stated conversation boundaries with you. I am not going to answer any comments from you that are obviously just pointless repetition or underhanded. If you muster a fresh or sincere reply, I will reply in kind.

    Thank you.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Anewlifestirring, I mean, Farhan,

    Here are a couple of places the authoritative Baha’i writings call homosexuality a “handicap:”

    “To be afflicted this way is a great burden to a conscientious soul. But through the advice and help of doctors, through a strong and determined effort, and through prayer, a soul can overcome this handicap.”
    (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, March 26, 1950)

    “Homosexuality is highly condemned and often a great trial and cause of suffering to a person, as a Bah??’?. Any individual so afflicted must, through prayer, and any other means, seek to overcome this handicap.”
    (On behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a National Spiritual Assembly, 6 October 1956)

    These quotations may look familiar to you as “Anewlifestirring” has asked me for them before repeatedly and I have cited them before (repeatedly) on YouTube for him. You may recall my posting the full quotations (with citations) next to the first of 2 videos I made in response to Anewlifestirring’s questions. But perhaps you are unfamiliar with his work. I hope you find the citations helpful.

    You wrote:
    “As to your ?Homosexuality, according to the Writings of Bah??’u’ll??h, is spiritually condemned.?

    That was me quoting the writings. Word for word. That wasn’t “mine.”

    You go on:
    “This means that homosexuality in the same way as extramarital heterosexuality or back-biting and slander, not praying, etc have spiritual implications.”

    On what grounds do you make this interpretation? The only time in Baha’i history anyone has had the authority to state what a word “means” regarding homosexuality was when the guardian said that “peaderasty” meant “homosexuality.” Do you have a similar privilege? Because without such an authoritative privilege we are left with the simple meaning of the words. The passage does not say “EXTRAMARITAL homosexuality is condemned,” so it is NOT like the condemnation of “extramarital HETEROSEXUALITY.” The condemnation is of homosexuality- hook, line and sinker. Even if it wasn’t, even if it was a condemnation of certain sex acts only, it would still be an unjust and immoral condemnation. It has no basis in justice, you see. It is arbitrary. Andrew’s description of why it is threatening to patriarchy is why it is condemned in the Baha’i writings. Not because it is actually immoral. If it is actually immoral, then, please, Farhan, tell me WHY IT IS IMMORAL? What about it specifically makes it IMMORAL? And what makes heterosexuality MORAL?

    I agree with you that homosexuality has an element of being socially constructed as well as biologically determined. It is BOTH. Just like heterosexuality. The point is, it’s not immoral.

    You also bizarrely write,
    “As for your ?disgust? for people like myself who love and respect the UHJ, an institution that you compare to the Nazis… all I can say is that I am surrounded by people whom I love and who love the pope;”

    Farhan…once again you have failed to understand the meaning of my words in a VERY big way. I haven’t said ANYTHING about having disgust for anyone or anything. You are pulling that out of thin air. I replied to Steve about his mischaracterization of Mavaddat’s disgust. Mavaddat’s disgust seemed to me to be with the content of certain passages and disgust with the practice of blindly respecting and offering adulation to the author of those passages without any regard for the MERIT of those passages. Do you follow? That means 1) I never said I am disgusted by anything, or any people, or by people who adulate the UHJ 2) uh…Mavaddat never said he is disgusted by any people, only at the words of the UHJ in this instance and at the practice he described (although maybe he is disgusted by certain people. He’d have the right. You’d have to ask him.) 3) You are making that up. Maybe you are just confusing me with Mavaddat, which I will take as a compliment. But he didn’t say that either.

    And again, I didn’t compare the UHJ to the Nazis, although on the point of whether or not they advocate an approach to homosexuality similar in philosophy to the Nazis I certainly could. That philosophy being eugenic. I said the Baha’i approach on this issue WAS “eugenic,” just as the Nazis approach was. It’s shocking, isn’t it? Unfortunately it’s true.

    And before you respond, which no doubt you will, please keep in mine my previously stated conversation boundaries with you. I am not going to answer any comments from you that are obviously just pointless repetition or underhanded. If you muster a fresh or sincere reply, I will reply in kind.

    Thank you.

  • farhan

    Mavaddat,

    I visited your blog. You invite Baha’is to discussion;
    apparently when the discussion turns contrary to your opinions you become irrelevant…

    If the moderator feels that my comments here are unwanted, I will stop posting them. Meanwhile the exchanges here are posted for all to see.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Mavaddat,

    I visited your blog. You invite Baha’is to discussion;
    apparently when the discussion turns contrary to your opinions you become irrelevant…

    If the moderator feels that my comments here are unwanted, I will stop posting them. Meanwhile the exchanges here are posted for all to see.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Farhan…

    you wrote
    “Mavaddat,

    you write:
    Therefore, to say that the Bah??’? writings call homosexuality a ?spiritual disease? or a ?spiritual handicap?, although not verbatim, would be more than fair in capturing their meaning and word usage in other places.

    There is a difference to me: the Baha’i teachings clearly refer to disease not as an impairment of the soul itself, but as an obstacle hindering these manifestation of the soul. You are obviously deforming Baha’i teachings to suit your theories.”

    IT IS AN ACTUAL QUOTATION. Please see the citations I have given you repeatedly.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Farhan…

    you wrote
    “Mavaddat,

    you write:
    Therefore, to say that the Bah??’? writings call homosexuality a ?spiritual disease? or a ?spiritual handicap?, although not verbatim, would be more than fair in capturing their meaning and word usage in other places.

    There is a difference to me: the Baha’i teachings clearly refer to disease not as an impairment of the soul itself, but as an obstacle hindering these manifestation of the soul. You are obviously deforming Baha’i teachings to suit your theories.”

    IT IS AN ACTUAL QUOTATION. Please see the citations I have given you repeatedly.

  • farhan

    Amanda,

    You quote writings saying that homosexuality is a handicap, but on your petition you claim that the writings refer to it as a “spiritual handicap”. This is pure invention.

    Contrary to your beliefs, the word “handicap” refers more often to an OUTER obstacle than to an inner disability; according to the M-W:

    1. Sports & Games
    a. A race or contest in which advantages or compensations are given different contestants to equalize the chances of winning.
    ? a circumstance that makes progress or success difficult
    b. Such an advantage or penalty.
    2. A physical or mental disability
    3. A hindrance.
    tr.v. hand·i·capped, hand·i·cap·ping, hand·i·caps
    1. Sports & Games To assign handicaps or a handicap to (a contestant).
    2. To cause to be at a disadvantage; impede.
    act as an impediment to : lack of funding has handicapped the development of research.
    place (someone) at a disadvantage : without a good set of notes you will handicap yourself when it comes to exams.
    ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from the phrase hand in cap; originally a pastime in which one person claimed an article belonging to another and offered something in exchange…

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Amanda,

    You quote writings saying that homosexuality is a handicap, but on your petition you claim that the writings refer to it as a “spiritual handicap”. This is pure invention.

    Contrary to your beliefs, the word “handicap” refers more often to an OUTER obstacle than to an inner disability; according to the M-W:

    1. Sports & Games
    a. A race or contest in which advantages or compensations are given different contestants to equalize the chances of winning.
    ? a circumstance that makes progress or success difficult
    b. Such an advantage or penalty.
    2. A physical or mental disability
    3. A hindrance.
    tr.v. hand·i·capped, hand·i·cap·ping, hand·i·caps
    1. Sports & Games To assign handicaps or a handicap to (a contestant).
    2. To cause to be at a disadvantage; impede.
    act as an impediment to : lack of funding has handicapped the development of research.
    place (someone) at a disadvantage : without a good set of notes you will handicap yourself when it comes to exams.
    ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from the phrase hand in cap; originally a pastime in which one person claimed an article belonging to another and offered something in exchange…

  • Anonymous

    Fearhawn wrote,
    [quote]There is a difference to me: the Baha’i teachings clearly refer to disease not as an impairment of the soul itself, but as an obstacle hindering these manifestation of the soul.[/quote]
    I have no problem with this interpretation of “disease”. It is as reprehensible to me as any other. Homosexuality is not a “disease” in any sense of the word. On the other hand, trying to reason with Fowrhein may induce madness.[quote]You are obviously deforming Baha’i teachings to suit your theories.[/quote]Yes! Obviously.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat Javid

    Fearhawn wrote,
    [quote]There is a difference to me: the Baha’i teachings clearly refer to disease not as an impairment of the soul itself, but as an obstacle hindering these manifestation of the soul.[/quote]
    I have no problem with this interpretation of “disease”. It is as reprehensible to me as any other. Homosexuality is not a “disease” in any sense of the word. On the other hand, trying to reason with Fowrhein may induce madness.[quote]You are obviously deforming Baha’i teachings to suit your theories.[/quote]Yes! Obviously.

  • http://ncag.org.nz/blog Steve Marshall

    Hi Amanda,

    Thanks for explaining why you think the Baha’i marital/physical teachings generally fall in line with a eugenics paradigm. At that level I can certainly accept what you are saying. I think it just required some explanation.

    I stand by what I said about Mavaddat’s use of the word “disgusting”. I merely pointing out to him that he originally used it in a way that told me he is disgusted by people who respect the House. Here it is again:

    ?I honestly don’t understand how anyone could call himself or herself a Bah??’? when such an appellation would necessarily mean his respect — much less his adulation — of the institution who uttered those words. Disgusting.?

    Mavaddat can tell us whether he stands by the original statement or the later one. The two statements appear to me to be saying different things.

    Hi Mavaddat,

    I understand your argument — I’ve heard it from dozens of zealots over many years. You’re correct. I don’t want to engage in a discussion with you over that argument. It’s because I don’t accept the premises of your argument.

    I don’t think that I am begging the question. Perhaps the link will help explain why.

    [quote]Steve, can you actually justify your understanding of infallibility as something other than propositional inerrancy?[/squote]

    Sure. Alison’s infallibility series.

    Why do you call Farhan “Farrhawn”? I don’t get it.

    ka kite
    Steve

  • http://ncag.org.nz/blog Steve Marshall

    Hi Amanda,

    Thanks for explaining why you think the Baha’i marital/physical teachings generally fall in line with a eugenics paradigm. At that level I can certainly accept what you are saying. I think it just required some explanation.

    I stand by what I said about Mavaddat’s use of the word “disgusting”. I merely pointing out to him that he originally used it in a way that told me he is disgusted by people who respect the House. Here it is again:

    ?I honestly don’t understand how anyone could call himself or herself a Bah??’? when such an appellation would necessarily mean his respect — much less his adulation — of the institution who uttered those words. Disgusting.?

    Mavaddat can tell us whether he stands by the original statement or the later one. The two statements appear to me to be saying different things.

    Hi Mavaddat,

    I understand your argument — I’ve heard it from dozens of zealots over many years. You’re correct. I don’t want to engage in a discussion with you over that argument. It’s because I don’t accept the premises of your argument.

    I don’t think that I am begging the question. Perhaps the link will help explain why.

    [quote]Steve, can you actually justify your understanding of infallibility as something other than propositional inerrancy?[/squote]

    Sure. Alison’s infallibility series.

    Why do you call Farhan “Farrhawn”? I don’t get it.

    ka kite
    Steve

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Hello, Andrew.

    You are right, of course, about the “snowballs chance in hell” of the petition actually being effective in “bringing about” the UHJ changing their tune about this.

    BUT, I decided to do it anyway for a few reasons. One, I never have. Two, it seemed neighborly. Three, as I am not a Baha’i, I do not have administrative rights that the UHJ could remove for publicly challenging it on this point. I am in a position to offer this service to Baha’is. It has been my experience that MANY good-hearted Baha’is disagree with the UHJs stance on homosexuality and even Shoghi Efendi’s interpretation of the Aqdas. Very few of these Baha’is have written to the UHJ about it. The majority SAY that “one” should write to the UHJ if “one” has a problem with it. So, I have written on their behalf and created a very easy way for them to communicate their feelings to the UHJ. Baha’is in “good standing” who sign it are in a very strong moral position to take a stand, whether it is successful or not. This position comes from the fact that they can say, “No. Not in my name. This is wrong.” And more so, that they are willing to risk THEIR OWN administrative rights in solidarity with their gay Baha’i brothers and sisters who are deprived of administrative rights. The impact of the civil rights movement in the Southern US was largely because people became willing to challenge unjust laws by peacefully, non-violently violating them- and then PUBLICLY suffering the consequences. If any Baha’is are disenrolled or lose their rights for speaking up, then in the public eye the Baha’i institutional view of homosexuality is exposed or what it is. Unjust.

    The other reason I’m doing it, to be perfectly honest, is in the hope that “non-Baha’is” will read it and become informed. As the rest of the world becomes less homophobic, and adheres to certain standards of human rights, they will view and judge the Baha’i Faith accordingly. The PR for the Faith works hard to hide this issue from the public, and that is disengenuous. These particular discriminatory writings and policies should be public knowledge.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Hello, Andrew.

    You are right, of course, about the “snowballs chance in hell” of the petition actually being effective in “bringing about” the UHJ changing their tune about this.

    BUT, I decided to do it anyway for a few reasons. One, I never have. Two, it seemed neighborly. Three, as I am not a Baha’i, I do not have administrative rights that the UHJ could remove for publicly challenging it on this point. I am in a position to offer this service to Baha’is. It has been my experience that MANY good-hearted Baha’is disagree with the UHJs stance on homosexuality and even Shoghi Efendi’s interpretation of the Aqdas. Very few of these Baha’is have written to the UHJ about it. The majority SAY that “one” should write to the UHJ if “one” has a problem with it. So, I have written on their behalf and created a very easy way for them to communicate their feelings to the UHJ. Baha’is in “good standing” who sign it are in a very strong moral position to take a stand, whether it is successful or not. This position comes from the fact that they can say, “No. Not in my name. This is wrong.” And more so, that they are willing to risk THEIR OWN administrative rights in solidarity with their gay Baha’i brothers and sisters who are deprived of administrative rights. The impact of the civil rights movement in the Southern US was largely because people became willing to challenge unjust laws by peacefully, non-violently violating them- and then PUBLICLY suffering the consequences. If any Baha’is are disenrolled or lose their rights for speaking up, then in the public eye the Baha’i institutional view of homosexuality is exposed or what it is. Unjust.

    The other reason I’m doing it, to be perfectly honest, is in the hope that “non-Baha’is” will read it and become informed. As the rest of the world becomes less homophobic, and adheres to certain standards of human rights, they will view and judge the Baha’i Faith accordingly. The PR for the Faith works hard to hide this issue from the public, and that is disengenuous. These particular discriminatory writings and policies should be public knowledge.

  • Anonymous

    Steve wrote,[quote]Mavaddat can tell us whether he stands by the original statement or the later one. The two statements appear to me to be saying different things.[/quote]I’m not sure what you mean by the “later one”, but I’ll gladly clarify. I find disgusting the suggestion of the UHJ (as I understand it) that homosexuality is a species of sexual attraction to random objects. The UHJ is clearly suggesting that homosexuality is morally equivalent to any other kind of sexual attraction (other than attraction to a member of the opposite sex). They want us to believe that homosexuality is morally on par with incest, necrophilia, zoophilia, and so on. Consider the tight fit of my understanding with Farhan’s own interpretation of the same quotation:[quote]This quote refers the object of attraction, the ?goal? of a desire; the UHJ obviously does not refer to a homosexual person as being an ?object?. The desire to various sexual stimulii includes zoophilia, necrophilia, paedophilia, fetichisme, incest, etc.[/quote]He wrongly thought my objection to the quotation was that the gay person was being referred to as an object, and then proceeded to confirm the very interpretation that I found disgusting in the first place. In other words, he unwittingly supports my interpretation while thinking he is disagreeing with me. This kind of thinking is disgusting to me.

    That is what I meant. I hope I have clarified my position, but I would be happy to provide any further clarification if you so desire it.

    Steve wrote,[quote]I understand your argument — I’ve heard it from dozens of zealots over many years. You’re correct. I don’t want to engage in a discussion with you over that argument. It’s because I don’t accept the premises of your argument.[/quote]I don’t get this, Steve. You don’t accept what premises? That Baha’u’llah conferred infallible authority (to administrate) on the UHJ? That he conferred a different infallible authority (to interpret) on ‘Abdu’l-Baha, who then conferred that authority on Shoghi Effendi? What is disagreeable in these premises? I really don’t get how you can be so easily dismissive. It would really be helpful to me if you could explain this to me. Seriously. I actually do want to understand.

    Steve wrote,[quote post="250"]I don’t think that I am begging the question. Perhaps the link will help explain why.[/quote]
    You were begging the question, and you continue to do so. To provide no reasons for your position but continue to assert its correctness is the essence of begging the question. If you look at “variations” under the link you provided me, you will see what I mean.

    Steve asks,[quote]Why do you call Farhan ?Farrhawn?? I don’t get it.[/quote]Oh, this is a little game we play. He calls me “Mavvadat” I call him ?Farrhawn?.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat Javid

    Steve wrote,[quote]Mavaddat can tell us whether he stands by the original statement or the later one. The two statements appear to me to be saying different things.[/quote]I’m not sure what you mean by the “later one”, but I’ll gladly clarify. I find disgusting the suggestion of the UHJ (as I understand it) that homosexuality is a species of sexual attraction to random objects. The UHJ is clearly suggesting that homosexuality is morally equivalent to any other kind of sexual attraction (other than attraction to a member of the opposite sex). They want us to believe that homosexuality is morally on par with incest, necrophilia, zoophilia, and so on. Consider the tight fit of my understanding with Farhan’s own interpretation of the same quotation:[quote]This quote refers the object of attraction, the ?goal? of a desire; the UHJ obviously does not refer to a homosexual person as being an ?object?. The desire to various sexual stimulii includes zoophilia, necrophilia, paedophilia, fetichisme, incest, etc.[/quote]He wrongly thought my objection to the quotation was that the gay person was being referred to as an object, and then proceeded to confirm the very interpretation that I found disgusting in the first place. In other words, he unwittingly supports my interpretation while thinking he is disagreeing with me. This kind of thinking is disgusting to me.

    That is what I meant. I hope I have clarified my position, but I would be happy to provide any further clarification if you so desire it.

    Steve wrote,[quote]I understand your argument — I’ve heard it from dozens of zealots over many years. You’re correct. I don’t want to engage in a discussion with you over that argument. It’s because I don’t accept the premises of your argument.[/quote]I don’t get this, Steve. You don’t accept what premises? That Baha’u’llah conferred infallible authority (to administrate) on the UHJ? That he conferred a different infallible authority (to interpret) on ‘Abdu’l-Baha, who then conferred that authority on Shoghi Effendi? What is disagreeable in these premises? I really don’t get how you can be so easily dismissive. It would really be helpful to me if you could explain this to me. Seriously. I actually do want to understand.

    Steve wrote,[quote post="250"]I don’t think that I am begging the question. Perhaps the link will help explain why.[/quote]
    You were begging the question, and you continue to do so. To provide no reasons for your position but continue to assert its correctness is the essence of begging the question. If you look at “variations” under the link you provided me, you will see what I mean.

    Steve asks,[quote]Why do you call Farhan ?Farrhawn?? I don’t get it.[/quote]Oh, this is a little game we play. He calls me “Mavvadat” I call him ?Farrhawn?.

  • farhan

    Andrew,

    A small illustration my point: “..I see no scientific grounds for choosing which sexual behaviour is ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’.”

    For the last 25 years I have been opposing ritual circumcisions when they have no medical purpose. Statistics have shown that there is more morbidity than benefits from this operation except in some 5% of medically justified cases.

    We now have some statistical evidence (a Swedish study on clients of prostitutes in Kenya) that suggests that circumsised males are less liable to contract AIDS than uncircumcised males. The media now announce that “it is proven” that cirumcision prevents AIDS this “scientific” evidence make condoms less fashionable, which is obviously untrue. 25 years ago science was quoted saying circumcision was harmful; it is now quoted as saying it is beneficial.

    Hence both science and moral standards evolve in their views.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Andrew,

    A small illustration my point: “..I see no scientific grounds for choosing which sexual behaviour is ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’.”

    For the last 25 years I have been opposing ritual circumcisions when they have no medical purpose. Statistics have shown that there is more morbidity than benefits from this operation except in some 5% of medically justified cases.

    We now have some statistical evidence (a Swedish study on clients of prostitutes in Kenya) that suggests that circumsised males are less liable to contract AIDS than uncircumcised males. The media now announce that “it is proven” that cirumcision prevents AIDS this “scientific” evidence make condoms less fashionable, which is obviously untrue. 25 years ago science was quoted saying circumcision was harmful; it is now quoted as saying it is beneficial.

    Hence both science and moral standards evolve in their views.

  • Anonymous

    [quote][quote]Steve, can you actually justify your understanding of infallibility as something other than propositional inerrancy?[/quote]Sure. Alison’s infallibility series.[/quote]Thank you, Steve.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat Javid

    [quote][quote]Steve, can you actually justify your understanding of infallibility as something other than propositional inerrancy?[/quote]Sure. Alison’s infallibility series.[/quote]Thank you, Steve.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Farhan Yazdani,

    I will re-quote the writings, but this time with capitalization of the word, “soul,” okay? Let’s see if it works…

    ?To be afflicted this way is a great burden to a conscientious SOUL. But through the advice and help of doctors, through a strong and determined effort, and through PRAYER, a SOUL can overcome this handicap.?
    (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, March 26, 1950)

    ?Homosexuality is highly condemned and often a great trial and cause of suffering to a person, as a Bah??’?. Any individual so afflicted must, through PRAYER, and any other means, seek to overcome this handicap.?
    (On behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a National Spiritual Assembly, 6 October 1956)

    In regards to these 2 passages, I ask you this: If a SOUL has a HANDICAP which it can overcome through PRAYER (WOW! Suddenly I feel like a Ruhi tutor!!!!!!!!!!!!) would that not make the HANDICAP one of the SOUL? I’ll re-phrase:
    “A ____ can overcome this ________”
    or even better: “through ______ a _____ can overcome this ________.”

    It is “spiritually condemned” and a “handicap” of the soul. Are we in agreement that that is what the writings say?

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Farhan Yazdani,

    I will re-quote the writings, but this time with capitalization of the word, “soul,” okay? Let’s see if it works…

    ?To be afflicted this way is a great burden to a conscientious SOUL. But through the advice and help of doctors, through a strong and determined effort, and through PRAYER, a SOUL can overcome this handicap.?
    (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, March 26, 1950)

    ?Homosexuality is highly condemned and often a great trial and cause of suffering to a person, as a Bah??’?. Any individual so afflicted must, through PRAYER, and any other means, seek to overcome this handicap.?
    (On behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a National Spiritual Assembly, 6 October 1956)

    In regards to these 2 passages, I ask you this: If a SOUL has a HANDICAP which it can overcome through PRAYER (WOW! Suddenly I feel like a Ruhi tutor!!!!!!!!!!!!) would that not make the HANDICAP one of the SOUL? I’ll re-phrase:
    “A ____ can overcome this ________”
    or even better: “through ______ a _____ can overcome this ________.”

    It is “spiritually condemned” and a “handicap” of the soul. Are we in agreement that that is what the writings say?

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Amanda, thank you for providing an explanation. I can see your logic but I do not share it. First, you are reeeaaaally stretching things. You’re taking what is said in one letter, stitching it to another and then presenting it as if it were originally whole. Second, as others have pointed out, the text you are quoting are not “Baha’i Writings”. Again, I do understand how you can assume that classifying a letter from Shoghi Effendi as such would make sense.

    It is truly tragic that we do not (and can not) have a “Guardian” to turn to for such answers. I can empathize with those who grasp at what we do have of the writings of Shoghi Effendi, who was the first and last in this role. But at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll repeat that it is wise to go to the source: Baha’u’llah. For this and other issues.

    After all, I don’t know anyone who is a Effend’i or a UHJ’i.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Amanda, thank you for providing an explanation. I can see your logic but I do not share it. First, you are reeeaaaally stretching things. You’re taking what is said in one letter, stitching it to another and then presenting it as if it were originally whole. Second, as others have pointed out, the text you are quoting are not “Baha’i Writings”. Again, I do understand how you can assume that classifying a letter from Shoghi Effendi as such would make sense.

    It is truly tragic that we do not (and can not) have a “Guardian” to turn to for such answers. I can empathize with those who grasp at what we do have of the writings of Shoghi Effendi, who was the first and last in this role. But at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll repeat that it is wise to go to the source: Baha’u’llah. For this and other issues.

    After all, I don’t know anyone who is a Effend’i or a UHJ’i.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Baquia,

    Thanks for your reply. I respect your decision to consider only Baha’u’llahs writings (and ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s maybe? Where do you weigh in on that?)as “the Baha’i Writings,” and can see it as being similar to those who are concerned with the difference between the actual words of Jesus and the teachings of Christianity. But my critique is not of Baha’u’llah. It is of the authoritative scripture and administrative policy of the Baha’i Faith (the Haifan trademarked one.) The administrative bodies of that religion DO use the writings of Shoghi Effendi as authoritative, despite the lovely letter stating that things of “importance” are always communicated directly by the Guardian to Assemblies, not on his behalf and not to individuals. (That letter was ironically to an individual believer written on behalf of the guardian. Did anyone else catch that?) Assemblies AND the UHJ routinely use those letters for guidance and procedural direction, and also enforce them on believers. When I worked at National, my Office certainly did.

    I respect your Baha’i beliefs on what is authoritative being different than the average bear. I think that’s wise. But it’s not consistent with the Baha’i Faith that is institutionalized through the administrative order. As a Baha’i, I think it is only logical to go to Baha’u’llah as the “source.” Unfortunately, that is not currently what the administrative order of your religion expects or accepts. If we went to what Baha’u’llah said about sexuality, homosexuality wouldn’t be banned at all. He never prohibited it. He prohibited paederasty.

    I really am not “stretching” what the sanctioned-authoritative-writings say about homosexuality at all. I think Shoghi Effendi and the UHJ paint an extremely consistent picture of homosexuality. Would you mind explaining where you think I’m stretching it?

    Thanks, Baquia.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Baquia,

    Thanks for your reply. I respect your decision to consider only Baha’u’llahs writings (and ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s maybe? Where do you weigh in on that?)as “the Baha’i Writings,” and can see it as being similar to those who are concerned with the difference between the actual words of Jesus and the teachings of Christianity. But my critique is not of Baha’u’llah. It is of the authoritative scripture and administrative policy of the Baha’i Faith (the Haifan trademarked one.) The administrative bodies of that religion DO use the writings of Shoghi Effendi as authoritative, despite the lovely letter stating that things of “importance” are always communicated directly by the Guardian to Assemblies, not on his behalf and not to individuals. (That letter was ironically to an individual believer written on behalf of the guardian. Did anyone else catch that?) Assemblies AND the UHJ routinely use those letters for guidance and procedural direction, and also enforce them on believers. When I worked at National, my Office certainly did.

    I respect your Baha’i beliefs on what is authoritative being different than the average bear. I think that’s wise. But it’s not consistent with the Baha’i Faith that is institutionalized through the administrative order. As a Baha’i, I think it is only logical to go to Baha’u’llah as the “source.” Unfortunately, that is not currently what the administrative order of your religion expects or accepts. If we went to what Baha’u’llah said about sexuality, homosexuality wouldn’t be banned at all. He never prohibited it. He prohibited paederasty.

    I really am not “stretching” what the sanctioned-authoritative-writings say about homosexuality at all. I think Shoghi Effendi and the UHJ paint an extremely consistent picture of homosexuality. Would you mind explaining where you think I’m stretching it?

    Thanks, Baquia.

  • Anonymous

    Baquia wrote,[quote]Amanda, thank you for providing an explanation. I can see your logic but I do not share it. First, you are reeeaaaally stretching things. You’re taking what is said in one letter, stitching it to another and then presenting it as if it were originally whole.[/quote]Why is this called “reeeaaaally stretching things” when someone presents a view that makes you uncomfortable, but you get to call it “taking things in context” when it’s a view that you want to defend? This is blatantly special pleading, Baquia, and it’s unfair. Do you honestly not see what you’re doing? Will you persist in ignoring my demands for resolving this cognitive dissonance?

    Honestly, I feel like there’s always some excuse presented by Baha’is to prevent them from having to face conclusions that they don’t like. It’s so frustrating. You’re obviously a bright, freethinking individual. Why do you find it necessary to do the mental gymnastics and semantic acrobatics required to have the Faith agree with you? The validity of your thoughts stand or fall on their own. Why do you need God to sanction them?

    Consider these words from Noah:[quote]In any case, part of my soul dearly, dearly longs to commit to the Baha’i Faith, damn the consequences. But I have too acute a fear of the cognitive dissonance associated with practicing a religion so firmly out of step with my conviction on this and several other points. Even though the Faith matches my worldview almost exactly, in this and a few small other respects the difference is too great to ignore, and methinks said conflicts would outweigh the nagging feeling of longing…[/quote]Why do you need to find a religion that agrees with you??? This makes no sense at all. Why not just hold your beliefs on their own merit? Is that really so scary? To be held accountable for your beliefs? To not be able to cop the excuse, “Well, I believe that because that’s just what my religion teaches me”? Honestly. What benefits do you derive from seating your own beliefs at the right hand of God? They are, after all, your beliefs. How does it help to find a religion that merely echoes your own beliefs back at you? A dead canyon can provide you the same consolation.

    Back to the matter at hand: If the statements of the authorities of this religion are supposed to express God’s will for humanity, and God’s will is singular, then these writings should form one coherent whole. Therefore, it is not “stretching it” at all to unite various writings of Shoghi Effendi (or those written on his behalf) into one message. No stretching involved. Such an accusation presupposes that Shoghi Effendi didn’t mean what he said (or what was said on his behalf) merely because he didn’t repeat it in every single letter he wrote (or was written on his behalf) on the subject.

    You wrote,[quote]Second, as others have pointed out, the text you are quoting are not ?Baha’i Writings?.[/quote]And why does this matter? What practical difference does it make to exclude these passages from the classification of “Baha’i Writings” if they still carry the same authority?

    Baquia, can you please respond to these questions?

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat Javid

    Baquia wrote,[quote]Amanda, thank you for providing an explanation. I can see your logic but I do not share it. First, you are reeeaaaally stretching things. You’re taking what is said in one letter, stitching it to another and then presenting it as if it were originally whole.[/quote]Why is this called “reeeaaaally stretching things” when someone presents a view that makes you uncomfortable, but you get to call it “taking things in context” when it’s a view that you want to defend? This is blatantly special pleading, Baquia, and it’s unfair. Do you honestly not see what you’re doing? Will you persist in ignoring my demands for resolving this cognitive dissonance?

    Honestly, I feel like there’s always some excuse presented by Baha’is to prevent them from having to face conclusions that they don’t like. It’s so frustrating. You’re obviously a bright, freethinking individual. Why do you find it necessary to do the mental gymnastics and semantic acrobatics required to have the Faith agree with you? The validity of your thoughts stand or fall on their own. Why do you need God to sanction them?

    Consider these words from Noah:[quote]In any case, part of my soul dearly, dearly longs to commit to the Baha’i Faith, damn the consequences. But I have too acute a fear of the cognitive dissonance associated with practicing a religion so firmly out of step with my conviction on this and several other points. Even though the Faith matches my worldview almost exactly, in this and a few small other respects the difference is too great to ignore, and methinks said conflicts would outweigh the nagging feeling of longing…[/quote]Why do you need to find a religion that agrees with you??? This makes no sense at all. Why not just hold your beliefs on their own merit? Is that really so scary? To be held accountable for your beliefs? To not be able to cop the excuse, “Well, I believe that because that’s just what my religion teaches me”? Honestly. What benefits do you derive from seating your own beliefs at the right hand of God? They are, after all, your beliefs. How does it help to find a religion that merely echoes your own beliefs back at you? A dead canyon can provide you the same consolation.

    Back to the matter at hand: If the statements of the authorities of this religion are supposed to express God’s will for humanity, and God’s will is singular, then these writings should form one coherent whole. Therefore, it is not “stretching it” at all to unite various writings of Shoghi Effendi (or those written on his behalf) into one message. No stretching involved. Such an accusation presupposes that Shoghi Effendi didn’t mean what he said (or what was said on his behalf) merely because he didn’t repeat it in every single letter he wrote (or was written on his behalf) on the subject.

    You wrote,[quote]Second, as others have pointed out, the text you are quoting are not ?Baha’i Writings?.[/quote]And why does this matter? What practical difference does it make to exclude these passages from the classification of “Baha’i Writings” if they still carry the same authority?

    Baquia, can you please respond to these questions?

  • http://ncag.org.nz/blog Steve Marshall

    [quote]I don’t get this, Steve. You don’t accept what premises? That Baha’u’llah conferred infallible authority (to administrate) on the UHJ?[/quote]

    Baha’u’llah said very little about the Universal House of Justice. There’s a pretty good summary on Wiki. Here it is:

    “In the Kit??b-i-Aqdas, Bah??’u’ll??h ordains the institution of the House of Justice and defines its functions. Its responsibilities are also referred to in several other Tablets of Bah??’u’ll??h.”

    There’s no point in me asserting that Baha’u’llah never actually conferred infallible authority (to administrate) on the UHJ. I can’t prove the non-existence of such a statement. But I can ask you to show where Baha’u’llah does say that.

    [quote]That he conferred a different infallible authority (to interpret) on ?Abdu’l-Baha…[/quote]

    In the Kitab-i-Ahd, where I’d expect to see the details of the succession, Baha’u’llah simply indicates that ‘Abdu’l-Baha is the new head of the faith.

    “Consider that which We have revealed in Our Most Holy Book: ‘When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root’. The object of this sacred verse is none other except the Most Mighty Branch [`Abdu'l-Bah??].”
    The Book of the Covenant

    About the only place Baha’u’llah gets into the subject of infallibility is in Ishraqat where he talks about the “Most Great Infallibility” being confined to the Manifestation. The notion that anyone other than the Manifestation is “infallibly infallible” is, to put it bluntly, idolatry.

    [quote]…who then conferred that authority on Shoghi Effendi? What is disagreeable in these premises?[/quote]

    If you’ve been following the links, you may already have realised that authority is conferred. However, “conferred infallibility” (I prefer the term “aquired infallibility” to avoid confusion) isn’t actually conferred by anyone. It’s a quality, like honesty or faithfulness. And it doesn’t have much to do with propositional inerrancy, either.

    The thing that is disagreeable about these premises is that they are not backed up by any scripture. Call me picky, but I have a problem with that. :-)

    In the Iqan, Baha’u’llah complains that Muslims follow hadith and ignore the Qur’an. Same thing.

    ka kite
    Steve

  • http://ncag.org.nz/blog Steve Marshall

    [quote]I don’t get this, Steve. You don’t accept what premises? That Baha’u’llah conferred infallible authority (to administrate) on the UHJ?[/quote]

    Baha’u’llah said very little about the Universal House of Justice. There’s a pretty good summary on Wiki. Here it is:

    “In the Kit??b-i-Aqdas, Bah??’u’ll??h ordains the institution of the House of Justice and defines its functions. Its responsibilities are also referred to in several other Tablets of Bah??’u’ll??h.”

    There’s no point in me asserting that Baha’u’llah never actually conferred infallible authority (to administrate) on the UHJ. I can’t prove the non-existence of such a statement. But I can ask you to show where Baha’u’llah does say that.

    [quote]That he conferred a different infallible authority (to interpret) on ?Abdu’l-Baha…[/quote]

    In the Kitab-i-Ahd, where I’d expect to see the details of the succession, Baha’u’llah simply indicates that ‘Abdu’l-Baha is the new head of the faith.

    “Consider that which We have revealed in Our Most Holy Book: ‘When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root’. The object of this sacred verse is none other except the Most Mighty Branch [`Abdu'l-Bah??].”
    The Book of the Covenant

    About the only place Baha’u’llah gets into the subject of infallibility is in Ishraqat where he talks about the “Most Great Infallibility” being confined to the Manifestation. The notion that anyone other than the Manifestation is “infallibly infallible” is, to put it bluntly, idolatry.

    [quote]…who then conferred that authority on Shoghi Effendi? What is disagreeable in these premises?[/quote]

    If you’ve been following the links, you may already have realised that authority is conferred. However, “conferred infallibility” (I prefer the term “aquired infallibility” to avoid confusion) isn’t actually conferred by anyone. It’s a quality, like honesty or faithfulness. And it doesn’t have much to do with propositional inerrancy, either.

    The thing that is disagreeable about these premises is that they are not backed up by any scripture. Call me picky, but I have a problem with that. :-)

    In the Iqan, Baha’u’llah complains that Muslims follow hadith and ignore the Qur’an. Same thing.

    ka kite
    Steve

  • Craig Parke

    Well, it gets more complicated. If this all turns out in July what does the UHJ say to the local LSA when they write for “guidance” if these two people ever declare?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/26/pregnant-man-fin_n_93488.html

    Hummm. As a BIGS could these two in their “hetero” relationship with “full administrative rights” vote for me to be a member of the UHJ? I certainly could use the votes if it comes down to the wire anytime soon!

    This is really getting complicated and my head is starting to hurt.

  • Craig Parke

    Well, it gets more complicated. If this all turns out in July what does the UHJ say to the local LSA when they write for “guidance” if these two people ever declare?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/26/pregnant-man-fin_n_93488.html

    Hummm. As a BIGS could these two in their “hetero” relationship with “full administrative rights” vote for me to be a member of the UHJ? I certainly could use the votes if it comes down to the wire anytime soon!

    This is really getting complicated and my head is starting to hurt.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Just wanted to correct a factual error on my part. The extract from a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi by his secretary that Steve quoted from U.S. Baha’i News Vol 71, Feb 1933 yes, was written by his secretary, as I said, but I actually don’t KNOW if it was to an individual believer or an Assembly. I assumed it was to an individual believer, because the letter quoted a different letter to the NSA of the US, and it seemed to not be speaking again to that body. USBN was kind of a potpourri quotations directed to an American readership, but the original sources were both individual and institutional correspondence. Just want to be accurate.

    What I didn’t notice with my first read, however is that this letter specifies that his “personal” letters are meant for the benefit of the individual. I didn’t catch that before. A “personal” letter would not be about the official business of the Baha’i Faith, now would it? It might read something like this,
    “Dear George,
    I miss you terribly. Ru has gone to the market to buy a new veil. She is still carrying that damned baby ocelot in her purse. I pray for you at the Holy Shrines daily. Please give my regards to Chuck and Larry. Warm Baha’i (But off-the-clock) Greetings, Shoghi”

    Just imagine what we could do with THOSE letters, though. We would stay up nights asking ourselves, “Did the Guardian condemn ALL baby ocelots, or just the one in Amatu’l-Baha’s purse? What about the baby ocelot was damned? Was it it’s action of being hidden in her purse, or was it it’s innate suchness as an ocelot? Was it damned by it’s immaturity as a “baby” ocelot? Was it a statement of damnation of ALL wild cats, or just spotted ones? What about spotted DOMESTICATED cats, did the Guardian ever comment on those? Can I carry my pet cat in my purse, or should I write to the House of Justice? Is it a matter left to the individual believer? What about the ASPCA, since the Baha’i Faith is CLEARLY against containing wildlife in small places, should I volunteer for them, or would that be too partisan? Or, maybe we are against cats entirely and I should avoid ALL animal shelters and disapprove of the people who work there…”

    The possibilities are endless.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Just wanted to correct a factual error on my part. The extract from a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi by his secretary that Steve quoted from U.S. Baha’i News Vol 71, Feb 1933 yes, was written by his secretary, as I said, but I actually don’t KNOW if it was to an individual believer or an Assembly. I assumed it was to an individual believer, because the letter quoted a different letter to the NSA of the US, and it seemed to not be speaking again to that body. USBN was kind of a potpourri quotations directed to an American readership, but the original sources were both individual and institutional correspondence. Just want to be accurate.

    What I didn’t notice with my first read, however is that this letter specifies that his “personal” letters are meant for the benefit of the individual. I didn’t catch that before. A “personal” letter would not be about the official business of the Baha’i Faith, now would it? It might read something like this,
    “Dear George,
    I miss you terribly. Ru has gone to the market to buy a new veil. She is still carrying that damned baby ocelot in her purse. I pray for you at the Holy Shrines daily. Please give my regards to Chuck and Larry. Warm Baha’i (But off-the-clock) Greetings, Shoghi”

    Just imagine what we could do with THOSE letters, though. We would stay up nights asking ourselves, “Did the Guardian condemn ALL baby ocelots, or just the one in Amatu’l-Baha’s purse? What about the baby ocelot was damned? Was it it’s action of being hidden in her purse, or was it it’s innate suchness as an ocelot? Was it damned by it’s immaturity as a “baby” ocelot? Was it a statement of damnation of ALL wild cats, or just spotted ones? What about spotted DOMESTICATED cats, did the Guardian ever comment on those? Can I carry my pet cat in my purse, or should I write to the House of Justice? Is it a matter left to the individual believer? What about the ASPCA, since the Baha’i Faith is CLEARLY against containing wildlife in small places, should I volunteer for them, or would that be too partisan? Or, maybe we are against cats entirely and I should avoid ALL animal shelters and disapprove of the people who work there…”

    The possibilities are endless.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Amanda,

    I loved your made-up ocelot example. your eanalysis of the made up passage is exactly what run-of-the-mill Baha’is do in their shared-ignorance discussions. I was a meeting in Dunedin in 2000 and a letter from the House was being discussed. I knew a lot of background to the House’s letter. For example, I knew the person who had written the enquiry that had prompted that particular letter. The other participants clearly knew nothing about the back-story, but were perfectly willing to read between the lines and make up patently inaccurate stories about what the House really meant.

    you wrote:
    [quote]A ?personal? letter would not be about the official business of the Baha’i Faith, now would it?[/quote]

    I think Shoghi Effendi’s letters were probably on a continuum – with the World Order letters at one end and your ocelot example at the other.

    Bear in mind, also, that in much of the Baha’i writings, the text swiftly goes from abstruse to conversational. Check out Baha’u’llah’s detailed criticism of ???j? M?rz?? Kar?m Kh??n smack in the middle of a deep discussion in the Iqan. It’s so out of place I’m wondering whether it’s a literary device or just one of those wacky I-can-do-anything-I’m-a-Manifestation behaviours we sometimes see from Baha’u’llah. :-)

    Similarly, but not quite as wackily, in a lot of Shoghi Effendi’s correspondence, the strategic and the operational is jumbled up together. I kind of like that. He’s talking to real people with real, multi-faceted lives.

    Short answer. I think it’s hard to draw the line between Shoghi Effendi’s personal letters and his “Guardian” letters. I’d say most of his letters to individuals are personal ones.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Amanda,

    I loved your made-up ocelot example. your eanalysis of the made up passage is exactly what run-of-the-mill Baha’is do in their shared-ignorance discussions. I was a meeting in Dunedin in 2000 and a letter from the House was being discussed. I knew a lot of background to the House’s letter. For example, I knew the person who had written the enquiry that had prompted that particular letter. The other participants clearly knew nothing about the back-story, but were perfectly willing to read between the lines and make up patently inaccurate stories about what the House really meant.

    you wrote:
    [quote]A ?personal? letter would not be about the official business of the Baha’i Faith, now would it?[/quote]

    I think Shoghi Effendi’s letters were probably on a continuum – with the World Order letters at one end and your ocelot example at the other.

    Bear in mind, also, that in much of the Baha’i writings, the text swiftly goes from abstruse to conversational. Check out Baha’u’llah’s detailed criticism of ???j? M?rz?? Kar?m Kh??n smack in the middle of a deep discussion in the Iqan. It’s so out of place I’m wondering whether it’s a literary device or just one of those wacky I-can-do-anything-I’m-a-Manifestation behaviours we sometimes see from Baha’u’llah. :-)

    Similarly, but not quite as wackily, in a lot of Shoghi Effendi’s correspondence, the strategic and the operational is jumbled up together. I kind of like that. He’s talking to real people with real, multi-faceted lives.

    Short answer. I think it’s hard to draw the line between Shoghi Effendi’s personal letters and his “Guardian” letters. I’d say most of his letters to individuals are personal ones.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    The BEST part about my made-up ocelot letter is that it’s true. And the best part of that best part is there is absolutely no way I could prove it, so we have to ask ourselves if it matters based on the criteria we already have inside us.

    It’s true though. Baby ocelot spotted in purse. She carried it on an airplane to Trinidad in the late 60′s/early 70′s. She fed raw meat to it. Can you IMAGINE being at the airport in Trinidad and seeing some white lady in a veil putting raw meat into her purse? Can you IMAGINE being a stewardess on her flight?

    But please don’t believe me about this. It would be far-fetched.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    The BEST part about my made-up ocelot letter is that it’s true. And the best part of that best part is there is absolutely no way I could prove it, so we have to ask ourselves if it matters based on the criteria we already have inside us.

    It’s true though. Baby ocelot spotted in purse. She carried it on an airplane to Trinidad in the late 60′s/early 70′s. She fed raw meat to it. Can you IMAGINE being at the airport in Trinidad and seeing some white lady in a veil putting raw meat into her purse? Can you IMAGINE being a stewardess on her flight?

    But please don’t believe me about this. It would be far-fetched.

  • Anonymous

    Steve, thanks for your response. You very clearly presented your reasons for rejecting the infallibility of the UHJ and Shohgi Effendi (and you even threw in ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? for bonus). It was exactly what I was looking for. The burden now falls on me to show (with textual evidence) why I think that those individuals and institutions really did have conferred infallibility (that really was conferred, not merely incidental). This will come soon…

    Amanda writes,[quote]But please don’t believe me about this. It would be far-fetched.[/quote]And don’t forget patently inaccurate!

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Steve, thanks for your response. You very clearly presented your reasons for rejecting the infallibility of the UHJ and Shohgi Effendi (and you even threw in ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? for bonus). It was exactly what I was looking for. The burden now falls on me to show (with textual evidence) why I think that those individuals and institutions really did have conferred infallibility (that really was conferred, not merely incidental). This will come soon…

    Amanda writes,[quote]But please don’t believe me about this. It would be far-fetched.[/quote]And don’t forget patently inaccurate!

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    [quote comment=""]Amanda writes,[quote]But please don’t believe me about this. It would be far-fetched.[/quote]And don’t forget patently inaccurate![/quote]

    It is a dark day for truthiness when letting the cat out of the bag of knowledge can provoke a maelstrom of wikiality. ;)

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    [quote comment=""]Amanda writes,[quote]But please don’t believe me about this. It would be far-fetched.[/quote]And don’t forget patently inaccurate![/quote]

    It is a dark day for truthiness when letting the cat out of the bag of knowledge can provoke a maelstrom of wikiality. ;)

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Amanda,

    It would only be far-fetched if you claimed that Ruhiyyih Khanum picked up the baby ocelot while travel-teaching in the Amazon!

    ka kite
    Steve

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Amanda,

    It would only be far-fetched if you claimed that Ruhiyyih Khanum picked up the baby ocelot while travel-teaching in the Amazon!

    ka kite
    Steve

  • Beth

    still working on the citation for baha’u’llah’s other mentions of homosexuality – i haven’t forgotten…

    until then a couple of questions… steve – you mentioned that the idea of acquired infallibility is frequently believed by haifan baha’is. since i was raised as one (and resigned years ago) i never thought much about the other options. for myself, i decided that although most of the time Baha’u’llah seemed to be a righteous guy, he sure didn’t seem infallible to me. after lots of thought, i decided that didn’t bother me – there are lots of people i respect and study (MLK jr, bell hooks, Thich Nhat Hanh) who aren’t infallible since they are just folks.i DID know this made me not a haifan baha’i. so,steve,do you think baha’u’llah was a cool guy to study but not infallible, or do you think he was himself infallible as a manifestion of god, but the acquired infallibility is bogus? just curious. also are there any stats on numbers of people who follow Baha’u’llah outside of the haifan tradition?

  • Beth

    still working on the citation for baha’u’llah’s other mentions of homosexuality – i haven’t forgotten…

    until then a couple of questions… steve – you mentioned that the idea of acquired infallibility is frequently believed by haifan baha’is. since i was raised as one (and resigned years ago) i never thought much about the other options. for myself, i decided that although most of the time Baha’u’llah seemed to be a righteous guy, he sure didn’t seem infallible to me. after lots of thought, i decided that didn’t bother me – there are lots of people i respect and study (MLK jr, bell hooks, Thich Nhat Hanh) who aren’t infallible since they are just folks.i DID know this made me not a haifan baha’i. so,steve,do you think baha’u’llah was a cool guy to study but not infallible, or do you think he was himself infallible as a manifestion of god, but the acquired infallibility is bogus? just curious. also are there any stats on numbers of people who follow Baha’u’llah outside of the haifan tradition?

  • farhan

    Amanda,

    you quote:

    ?To be afflicted this way is a great burden to a conscientious SOUL. But through the advice and help of doctors, through a strong and determined effort, and through PRAYER, a SOUL can overcome this handicap.?
    (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, March 26, 1950)

    Amanda,
    Saying that a soul can overcome a physical, mental or social handicap or saying that a soul is itself handicapped might mean the same to you, but I assure you that a close study of the writings show that the soul is above the impairments of the body and the mind. Hence a soul hindered in its expressions by physical or mental impairment can overcome these obstacles and manifest itself in other ways.

    I do agree with all the quotes Mavaddat has provided, but to me saying someone “is afflicted by a spiritual disease” or is “spiritually handicapped” is not a correct interpretation of the witings I have seen up to now.

    By interpreting the writings in this way you are adding distress to homosexuals.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Amanda,

    you quote:

    ?To be afflicted this way is a great burden to a conscientious SOUL. But through the advice and help of doctors, through a strong and determined effort, and through PRAYER, a SOUL can overcome this handicap.?
    (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, March 26, 1950)

    Amanda,
    Saying that a soul can overcome a physical, mental or social handicap or saying that a soul is itself handicapped might mean the same to you, but I assure you that a close study of the writings show that the soul is above the impairments of the body and the mind. Hence a soul hindered in its expressions by physical or mental impairment can overcome these obstacles and manifest itself in other ways.

    I do agree with all the quotes Mavaddat has provided, but to me saying someone “is afflicted by a spiritual disease” or is “spiritually handicapped” is not a correct interpretation of the witings I have seen up to now.

    By interpreting the writings in this way you are adding distress to homosexuals.

  • Beth

    [quote comment=""]By interpreting the writings in this way you are adding distress to homosexuals.[/quote]

    Farhan – Did you really just tell Amanda that her opinion is not the correct interpretation? I’m sorry but I was not aware that you had been conferred the power of interpretation. does the UHJ know that? I’m sure it would be very helpful in their work…

    As far as who is adding distress to whom – as a gay person, I can promise you that Amanda’s understanding of the Baha’i writings on homosexuality does not distress me in the least. Yours, however, has made me cry on several occasions. how about lets ask other gay people how they feel instead of putting words in their mouths, shall we?.

  • Beth

    [quote comment=""]By interpreting the writings in this way you are adding distress to homosexuals.[/quote]

    Farhan – Did you really just tell Amanda that her opinion is not the correct interpretation? I’m sorry but I was not aware that you had been conferred the power of interpretation. does the UHJ know that? I’m sure it would be very helpful in their work…

    As far as who is adding distress to whom – as a gay person, I can promise you that Amanda’s understanding of the Baha’i writings on homosexuality does not distress me in the least. Yours, however, has made me cry on several occasions. how about lets ask other gay people how they feel instead of putting words in their mouths, shall we?.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Steve,

    As promised, here is the textual evidence I was duty-bound to provide. First you will find the claim to be proved and then the textual evidence for that claim. I’ve separated my presentation of this evidence into several posts for the sake of readability.

    First claim: Bah??’u’ll??h conferred on ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? the authority to infallibly interpret his (Bah??’u’ll??h’s) words.

    Evidence: In the Suriy-i-Ghusn (Tablet of the Branch), Bah??’u’ll??h refers to the station of ?Abdu’l-Bah?? as such:[quote]There hath branched from the Sadratu’l-Muntaha* this sacred and glorious Being, this Branch of Holiness; well is it with him that hath sought His shelter and abideth beneath His shadow. Verily the Limb of the Law of God hath sprung forth from this Root which God had firmly implanted in the Ground of His Will, and Whose Branch hath been so uplifted so as to encompass the whole of creation. Magnified be He, therefore, for this sublime, this blessed, this mighty, this exalted Handiwork!…Render thanks unto God, O people, for His appearance; for verily He is the most great Favour unto you, the most perfect bounty upon you; and through Him every mouldering bone is quickened. Whoso turneth towards Him hath turned towards God, and whoso turneth away from Him hath turned away from My Beauty, hath repudiated My Proof, and trangressed against Me. He is the Trust of God amongst you, His charge within you, His manifestation unto you and His appearance among His favoured servants…We have sent Him down in the form of a human temple. Blest and sanctified by God who created whatsoever He willeth through His inviolable, His infallible degree. They who deprive themselves of the shadow of the Branch, are lost in the wilderness of error, are consumed by the heat of world desires, and are of those who will assuredly perish.

    (Baha’u’llah, cited in ?World Order of Baha’u’llah?, p.135)

    * “‘The Lote-Tree beyond which there is no passing.’ It is the symbol of the Manifestation of God, to which no one has access.” (Adib Taherzadeh, ?The Revelation of Bah??’u’ll??h?, vol.4, p.436)
    [/quote]
    Bah??’u’ll??h refers to ?Abdu’l-Bah?? as His Successor in the Kitab-i-Aqdas:[quote]When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces towards Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root…When the Mystic Dove will have winged its flight from its Sanctuary of Praise and sought its far-off goal, its hidden habitation, refer ye whatsoever ye understand not in the Book to Him Who hath branched from this mighty Stock.

    (Bah??’u’ll??h, cited in ?World Order of Bah??’u’ll??h?, p.134)
    [/quote]
    In the Kitab-i-’Ahd, Bah??’u’ll??h reaffirms the station of ?Abdu’l-Bah?? (this is the single quotation you provided):[quote]It is incumbent upon the Aghsan, the Afnan, and My kindred to turn, one and all, their faces towards the Most Mighty Branch. Consider that which We have revealed in Our Most Holy Book: ‘When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root.’ The object of this sacred verse is none other except the Most Mighty Branch (?Abdu’l-Bah??). Thus have we graciously revealed unto you our potent Will, and I am verily the Gracious, the All-Powerful.

    (Bah??’u’ll??h, cited in ?World Order of Bah??’u’ll??h?, p.134)
    [/quote]
    ?Abdu’l-Bah?? reaffirms his authority as the Centre of the Covenant in various Tablets and exhorts the believers to be obedient to the Covenant of Bah??’u’ll??h:[quote]Verily, I have appointed One Who is the Centre of My Covenant. All must obey Him; all must turn to Him; He is the Expounder of My Book, and He is informed of My purpose. All must turn to Him. Whatsoever He says is correct, for, verily, He knoweth the texts of My Book. Other than He, no one doth know My Book.’ The purpose of this statement is that there should never be discord and divergence among the Baha’is but they should always be unified and agreed… Therefore, whosoever obeys the Centre of the Covenant appointed by Bah??’u’ll??h has obeyed Bah??’u’ll??h, and whosoever disobeys Him has disobeyed Bah??’u’ll??h.

    (?Abdu’l-Bah??, ?Promulgation of Universal Peace?, p.323)
    [/quote]
    Again ?Abdu’l-Bah?? confirms his role and authority:[quote]…In accordance with the explicit text of the Kitab-i-Aqdas Bah??’u’ll??h hath made the Centre of the Covenant the Interpreter of his Word – a Covenant so firm and mighty that from the beginning of time until the present day no religious Dispensation hath produced its like.

    (?Abdu’l-Bah??, cited in ?World Order of Bah??’u’ll??h?, p.136)
    [/quote]
    ?Abdu’l-Bah?? demands that no one offer interpretations besides his:[quote]Beware! Beware! lest anyone should speak from the authority of his own thoughts or create a new thing out of himself. Beware! Beware! According to the explicit Covenant of Bah??’u’ll??h you should care nothing at all for such a person. Bah??’u’ll??h shuns such souls. I have expounded these things for you, for the conservation and protection of the teachings of Bah??’u’ll??h, in order that you may be informed, lest any souls deceive you and lest any souls shall cause suspicion among you. You must love all people, and yet if any souls put you in doubt, you must know Bah??’u’ll??h is severed from them.

    (?Abdu’l-Bah??, ?Promulgation of Universal Peace?, pp.323-24)
    [/quote]
    And he also demands that no one challenge his authority (but he is not bound by any human oversight):[quote]O Thou who posed a test for ?Abdu’l-Bah??! Is it seemly for a man like thee to test a servant submissive and lowly before God? Nay by God, it is given to the Centre of the Covenant to test the peoples of the world.

    (‘Abdu’l Baha, cited in ?’Abdu’l Baha?, p.51)
    [/quote]
    Parse all the above with your response to my original claim:[quote]

    That he conferred a different infallible authority (to interpret) on ?Abdu’l-Baha…

    In the Kitab-i-Ahd, where I’d expect to see the details of the succession, Baha’u’llah simply indicates that ?Abdu’l-Baha is the new head of the faith.[/quote]I think it’s pretty clear from this presentation that you were unaware of the evidence I have provided above. There is no crime in this, of course, but the duty now falls on you to reconsider your position in light of this new evidence. After all, except for the one quotations, this should all be genuinely new evidence to you, considering your original post did not anticipate the various other texts that lend support to my claim (that Bah??’u’ll??h conferred on ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? the authority to infallibly interpret his words). So I look forward to hearing how you might change your position (if at all).

    I will provide the other claims and evidences tomorrow.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Noah,

    Thanks for the note about Alison being an influence on your decision about taking up membership in the Baha’i community.

    Hi Beth,

    [quote]so,steve,do you think baha’u’llah was a cool guy to study but not infallible, or do you think he was himself infallible as a manifestion of god, but the acquired infallibility is bogus?[/quote]

    I really should have put at least a bit of effort into explaining the difference between essential infallibility and acquired infallibility. I don’t think you could do better than to check out what Alison has to say about that, in the section called The attribute of infallibility, in her Commentary on the divine unity.

    The short answer to your question is that I do think Baha’u’llah had the quality of being “guarded against sin, transgression, rebellion, impiety, disbelief and the like”, (the quality known, in translation, as “infallibility) and he had it in full measure. In other words, essential infallibility.

    Everyone else can potentially reflect that quality – in other words, they can demonstrate some level of acquired infallibility.

    So, no, I don’t think the acquired infallibility is bogus, but nor do I think that the House is absolutely guaranteed to be propositionally inerrant, or even absolutely guarded against sin, transgression, rebellion, impiety, disbelief and the like. The House hasn’t had infallibility conferred on it by anyone, although there have been some assurances, or perhaps expressed hopes, that it won’t go bad.

    [quote]…are there any stats on numbers of people who follow Baha’u’llah outside of the haifan tradition?

    It depends what you mean by “outside the Haifan tradition”. If you count unenrolled and unaffiliated Baha’is — people who consider themselves to be Baha’is but are not affiliated with any Baha’i organisation, Haifan or otherwise, then there may be thousands. But because they’re unaffiliated there probably won’t be any stats. If you count only the members of non-Haifan Baha’i organisations, then you’re probably looking at a few hundred. Again, stats are going to be hard to find for groups this small. Even mainstream Baha’is disappear up their margin of error in most surveys of religious affiliataion. You could try adherents.com.

    The oft-quoted “6 million Bahais globally” is bogus, by the way. Again, it depends what you count, but I’d put the numbers globally around a million.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Hi Steve,

    As promised, here is the textual evidence I was duty-bound to provide. First you will find the claim to be proved and then the textual evidence for that claim. I’ve separated my presentation of this evidence into several posts for the sake of readability.

    First claim: Bah??’u’ll??h conferred on ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? the authority to infallibly interpret his (Bah??’u’ll??h’s) words.

    Evidence: In the Suriy-i-Ghusn (Tablet of the Branch), Bah??’u’ll??h refers to the station of ?Abdu’l-Bah?? as such:[quote]There hath branched from the Sadratu’l-Muntaha* this sacred and glorious Being, this Branch of Holiness; well is it with him that hath sought His shelter and abideth beneath His shadow. Verily the Limb of the Law of God hath sprung forth from this Root which God had firmly implanted in the Ground of His Will, and Whose Branch hath been so uplifted so as to encompass the whole of creation. Magnified be He, therefore, for this sublime, this blessed, this mighty, this exalted Handiwork!…Render thanks unto God, O people, for His appearance; for verily He is the most great Favour unto you, the most perfect bounty upon you; and through Him every mouldering bone is quickened. Whoso turneth towards Him hath turned towards God, and whoso turneth away from Him hath turned away from My Beauty, hath repudiated My Proof, and trangressed against Me. He is the Trust of God amongst you, His charge within you, His manifestation unto you and His appearance among His favoured servants…We have sent Him down in the form of a human temple. Blest and sanctified by God who created whatsoever He willeth through His inviolable, His infallible degree. They who deprive themselves of the shadow of the Branch, are lost in the wilderness of error, are consumed by the heat of world desires, and are of those who will assuredly perish.

    (Baha’u’llah, cited in ?World Order of Baha’u’llah?, p.135)

    * “‘The Lote-Tree beyond which there is no passing.’ It is the symbol of the Manifestation of God, to which no one has access.” (Adib Taherzadeh, ?The Revelation of Bah??’u’ll??h?, vol.4, p.436)
    [/quote]
    Bah??’u’ll??h refers to ?Abdu’l-Bah?? as His Successor in the Kitab-i-Aqdas:[quote]When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces towards Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root…When the Mystic Dove will have winged its flight from its Sanctuary of Praise and sought its far-off goal, its hidden habitation, refer ye whatsoever ye understand not in the Book to Him Who hath branched from this mighty Stock.

    (Bah??’u’ll??h, cited in ?World Order of Bah??’u’ll??h?, p.134)
    [/quote]
    In the Kitab-i-’Ahd, Bah??’u’ll??h reaffirms the station of ?Abdu’l-Bah?? (this is the single quotation you provided):[quote]It is incumbent upon the Aghsan, the Afnan, and My kindred to turn, one and all, their faces towards the Most Mighty Branch. Consider that which We have revealed in Our Most Holy Book: ‘When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root.’ The object of this sacred verse is none other except the Most Mighty Branch (?Abdu’l-Bah??). Thus have we graciously revealed unto you our potent Will, and I am verily the Gracious, the All-Powerful.

    (Bah??’u’ll??h, cited in ?World Order of Bah??’u’ll??h?, p.134)
    [/quote]
    ?Abdu’l-Bah?? reaffirms his authority as the Centre of the Covenant in various Tablets and exhorts the believers to be obedient to the Covenant of Bah??’u’ll??h:[quote]Verily, I have appointed One Who is the Centre of My Covenant. All must obey Him; all must turn to Him; He is the Expounder of My Book, and He is informed of My purpose. All must turn to Him. Whatsoever He says is correct, for, verily, He knoweth the texts of My Book. Other than He, no one doth know My Book.’ The purpose of this statement is that there should never be discord and divergence among the Baha’is but they should always be unified and agreed… Therefore, whosoever obeys the Centre of the Covenant appointed by Bah??’u’ll??h has obeyed Bah??’u’ll??h, and whosoever disobeys Him has disobeyed Bah??’u’ll??h.

    (?Abdu’l-Bah??, ?Promulgation of Universal Peace?, p.323)
    [/quote]
    Again ?Abdu’l-Bah?? confirms his role and authority:[quote]…In accordance with the explicit text of the Kitab-i-Aqdas Bah??’u’ll??h hath made the Centre of the Covenant the Interpreter of his Word – a Covenant so firm and mighty that from the beginning of time until the present day no religious Dispensation hath produced its like.

    (?Abdu’l-Bah??, cited in ?World Order of Bah??’u’ll??h?, p.136)
    [/quote]
    ?Abdu’l-Bah?? demands that no one offer interpretations besides his:[quote]Beware! Beware! lest anyone should speak from the authority of his own thoughts or create a new thing out of himself. Beware! Beware! According to the explicit Covenant of Bah??’u’ll??h you should care nothing at all for such a person. Bah??’u’ll??h shuns such souls. I have expounded these things for you, for the conservation and protection of the teachings of Bah??’u’ll??h, in order that you may be informed, lest any souls deceive you and lest any souls shall cause suspicion among you. You must love all people, and yet if any souls put you in doubt, you must know Bah??’u’ll??h is severed from them.

    (?Abdu’l-Bah??, ?Promulgation of Universal Peace?, pp.323-24)
    [/quote]
    And he also demands that no one challenge his authority (but he is not bound by any human oversight):[quote]O Thou who posed a test for ?Abdu’l-Bah??! Is it seemly for a man like thee to test a servant submissive and lowly before God? Nay by God, it is given to the Centre of the Covenant to test the peoples of the world.

    (‘Abdu’l Baha, cited in ?’Abdu’l Baha?, p.51)
    [/quote]
    Parse all the above with your response to my original claim:[quote]

    That he conferred a different infallible authority (to interpret) on ?Abdu’l-Baha…

    In the Kitab-i-Ahd, where I’d expect to see the details of the succession, Baha’u’llah simply indicates that ?Abdu’l-Baha is the new head of the faith.[/quote]I think it’s pretty clear from this presentation that you were unaware of the evidence I have provided above. There is no crime in this, of course, but the duty now falls on you to reconsider your position in light of this new evidence. After all, except for the one quotations, this should all be genuinely new evidence to you, considering your original post did not anticipate the various other texts that lend support to my claim (that Bah??’u’ll??h conferred on ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? the authority to infallibly interpret his words). So I look forward to hearing how you might change your position (if at all).

    I will provide the other claims and evidences tomorrow.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Noah,

    Thanks for the note about Alison being an influence on your decision about taking up membership in the Baha’i community.

    Hi Beth,

    [quote]so,steve,do you think baha’u’llah was a cool guy to study but not infallible, or do you think he was himself infallible as a manifestion of god, but the acquired infallibility is bogus?[/quote]

    I really should have put at least a bit of effort into explaining the difference between essential infallibility and acquired infallibility. I don’t think you could do better than to check out what Alison has to say about that, in the section called The attribute of infallibility, in her Commentary on the divine unity.

    The short answer to your question is that I do think Baha’u’llah had the quality of being “guarded against sin, transgression, rebellion, impiety, disbelief and the like”, (the quality known, in translation, as “infallibility) and he had it in full measure. In other words, essential infallibility.

    Everyone else can potentially reflect that quality – in other words, they can demonstrate some level of acquired infallibility.

    So, no, I don’t think the acquired infallibility is bogus, but nor do I think that the House is absolutely guaranteed to be propositionally inerrant, or even absolutely guarded against sin, transgression, rebellion, impiety, disbelief and the like. The House hasn’t had infallibility conferred on it by anyone, although there have been some assurances, or perhaps expressed hopes, that it won’t go bad.

    [quote]…are there any stats on numbers of people who follow Baha’u’llah outside of the haifan tradition?

    It depends what you mean by “outside the Haifan tradition”. If you count unenrolled and unaffiliated Baha’is — people who consider themselves to be Baha’is but are not affiliated with any Baha’i organisation, Haifan or otherwise, then there may be thousands. But because they’re unaffiliated there probably won’t be any stats. If you count only the members of non-Haifan Baha’i organisations, then you’re probably looking at a few hundred. Again, stats are going to be hard to find for groups this small. Even mainstream Baha’is disappear up their margin of error in most surveys of religious affiliataion. You could try adherents.com.

    The oft-quoted “6 million Bahais globally” is bogus, by the way. Again, it depends what you count, but I’d put the numbers globally around a million.

  • Anonymous

    Steve writes,[quote post="250"]The short answer to your question is that I do think Baha’u’llah had the quality of being ?guarded against sin, transgression, rebellion, impiety, disbelief and the like?, … and he had it in full measure.[/quote]
    “Guarded” by whom, Steve? God? If so, then do you believe that God is infallible in the same sense that Bah??’u’ll??h was infallible? If so, then would you kindly explain for us who guards God from sin, transgression, etc.? This would be very helpful for our understanding of what you mean by “infallible”.

    Also, does this mean that you don’t think Bah??’u’ll??h was all-knowing? Or that he didn’t have access to all knowledge? If not, then do you reject the notion that Bah??’u’ll??h always knew what he was talking about? How do you reconcile such a position with Bah??’u’ll??h’s repeated claim to be all-knowing? Or to have accesses to all knowledge?

    This is a very important question, as I’m sure you realize, Steve. If Bah??’u’ll??h was all-knowing (or at least he knew with certainty the truth of what he spoke) and yet he still spoke an untruth, this would mean that Bah??’u’ll??h was deceitful and a liar (insofar as he said anything wrong). This is because he would have been knowingly telling an untruth. Do you side with Farhan in his description of lies and deceit (in a word, duplicity) as a necessary medicine for humanity? If so, then the question arises, is a sin for a person to lie? If so, then in what sense was Bah??’u’ll??h sinless, and thus, infallible if he ever said anything wrong?

    Do you see where I am going with this?

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Steve writes,[quote post="250"]The short answer to your question is that I do think Baha’u’llah had the quality of being ?guarded against sin, transgression, rebellion, impiety, disbelief and the like?, … and he had it in full measure.[/quote]
    “Guarded” by whom, Steve? God? If so, then do you believe that God is infallible in the same sense that Bah??’u’ll??h was infallible? If so, then would you kindly explain for us who guards God from sin, transgression, etc.? This would be very helpful for our understanding of what you mean by “infallible”.

    Also, does this mean that you don’t think Bah??’u’ll??h was all-knowing? Or that he didn’t have access to all knowledge? If not, then do you reject the notion that Bah??’u’ll??h always knew what he was talking about? How do you reconcile such a position with Bah??’u’ll??h’s repeated claim to be all-knowing? Or to have accesses to all knowledge?

    This is a very important question, as I’m sure you realize, Steve. If Bah??’u’ll??h was all-knowing (or at least he knew with certainty the truth of what he spoke) and yet he still spoke an untruth, this would mean that Bah??’u’ll??h was deceitful and a liar (insofar as he said anything wrong). This is because he would have been knowingly telling an untruth. Do you side with Farhan in his description of lies and deceit (in a word, duplicity) as a necessary medicine for humanity? If so, then the question arises, is a sin for a person to lie? If so, then in what sense was Bah??’u’ll??h sinless, and thus, infallible if he ever said anything wrong?

    Do you see where I am going with this?

  • Anonymous

    [quote post="250"]I do agree with all the quotes Mavaddat has provided, but to me saying someone ?is afflicted by a spiritual disease? or is ?spiritually handicapped? is not a correct interpretation of the witings I have seen up to now.

    By interpreting the writings in this way you are adding distress to homosexuals.[/quote]
    This reminds me of a story related by Wafa Sultan in which she was debating the Pakistani minister of France. In response to the charge that Muhammad married his third wife (Aisha) when she was only six years old, the Pakistani minister apparently responded incredulously, “It’s a big lie! She was nine, not six.”

    Farhan, your reinterpretation is as reprehensible and revolting, nauseating and repulsive as the one you are “correcting” in Amanda. I don’t expect you to see this, of course, because your responses are automatic as if by rote without the least empathy for those you are ostensibly discussing. You add nothing to this conversation, but only drag it down with your triune dubious methods of obfuscation, obstination, and obviation. Please. Just stop.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    [quote post="250"]I do agree with all the quotes Mavaddat has provided, but to me saying someone ?is afflicted by a spiritual disease? or is ?spiritually handicapped? is not a correct interpretation of the witings I have seen up to now.

    By interpreting the writings in this way you are adding distress to homosexuals.[/quote]
    This reminds me of a story related by Wafa Sultan in which she was debating the Pakistani minister of France. In response to the charge that Muhammad married his third wife (Aisha) when she was only six years old, the Pakistani minister apparently responded incredulously, “It’s a big lie! She was nine, not six.”

    Farhan, your reinterpretation is as reprehensible and revolting, nauseating and repulsive as the one you are “correcting” in Amanda. I don’t expect you to see this, of course, because your responses are automatic as if by rote without the least empathy for those you are ostensibly discussing. You add nothing to this conversation, but only drag it down with your triune dubious methods of obfuscation, obstination, and obviation. Please. Just stop.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Mavaddat,

    No, I’m not picking up any explicit conferring of authority to infallibly interpret from the passages you quote. And, no, they’re not all that new to me. These passages say to me that ‘Abdu’l-Baha is head of the faith and pretty darn special. They don’t seem to say that the ability to infallibly interpret has been conferred on him.

    I think what’s happened is that someone, somewhere, has seen the phrase “conferred infallibility” and has assumed that it’s something that’s conferred down the line. It isn’t. But no-one has bothered to check.

    [quote]?Guarded? by whom, Steve? God? If so, then do you believe that God is infallible in the same sense that Bah??’u’ll??h was infallible? If so, then would you kindly explain for us who guards God from sin, transgression, etc.? This would be very helpful for our understanding of what you mean by ?infallible?.[/quote]

    Baha’u’llah is the manifestation. He’s the measure. He’s how I know God. In all other respects, God is unknowable. Is God infallible in the same sense that Bah??’u’ll??h was infallible? I have no idea. He’s unknowable.

    As for your other questions about all-knowingness, I have no idea where you’re going with it. But here are a couple of concepts I don’t fully understand — so please bear in mind that I’m being a bit speculative.

    Baha’u’llah is the measure. He defines qualities like being all-knowing. That makes it kind of difficult for him to be wrong, whatever he does. Now that’s a cool super-power to have, isn’t it?

    Also, in the kingdom of names (the material world) weird shit happens. There are contradictions, inconsistencies, and stuff doesn’t make sense unless you manage to transcend the material world.

    So I’m curious about where you’re going with this. But when you start asking whether I side with Farhan and his pro-duplicity argument, then I just get the feeling you’re caught up in the kingdom of names – argument, logic, being right and winning. And at that point I feel like siding with Farhan because he seem a nicer guy, even if his arguments aren’t as razor-sharp.

    You seem a bit angry is what I’m saying. It’s no biggie, I’ve spent a good amount of time being angry, but I probably wan’t nice to hang out with, I was a bit blinkered, and I probably wasn’t a good advertisment for what I believed in.

    cheers
    Steve

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Mavaddat,

    No, I’m not picking up any explicit conferring of authority to infallibly interpret from the passages you quote. And, no, they’re not all that new to me. These passages say to me that ‘Abdu’l-Baha is head of the faith and pretty darn special. They don’t seem to say that the ability to infallibly interpret has been conferred on him.

    I think what’s happened is that someone, somewhere, has seen the phrase “conferred infallibility” and has assumed that it’s something that’s conferred down the line. It isn’t. But no-one has bothered to check.

    [quote]?Guarded? by whom, Steve? God? If so, then do you believe that God is infallible in the same sense that Bah??’u’ll??h was infallible? If so, then would you kindly explain for us who guards God from sin, transgression, etc.? This would be very helpful for our understanding of what you mean by ?infallible?.[/quote]

    Baha’u’llah is the manifestation. He’s the measure. He’s how I know God. In all other respects, God is unknowable. Is God infallible in the same sense that Bah??’u’ll??h was infallible? I have no idea. He’s unknowable.

    As for your other questions about all-knowingness, I have no idea where you’re going with it. But here are a couple of concepts I don’t fully understand — so please bear in mind that I’m being a bit speculative.

    Baha’u’llah is the measure. He defines qualities like being all-knowing. That makes it kind of difficult for him to be wrong, whatever he does. Now that’s a cool super-power to have, isn’t it?

    Also, in the kingdom of names (the material world) weird shit happens. There are contradictions, inconsistencies, and stuff doesn’t make sense unless you manage to transcend the material world.

    So I’m curious about where you’re going with this. But when you start asking whether I side with Farhan and his pro-duplicity argument, then I just get the feeling you’re caught up in the kingdom of names – argument, logic, being right and winning. And at that point I feel like siding with Farhan because he seem a nicer guy, even if his arguments aren’t as razor-sharp.

    You seem a bit angry is what I’m saying. It’s no biggie, I’ve spent a good amount of time being angry, but I probably wan’t nice to hang out with, I was a bit blinkered, and I probably wasn’t a good advertisment for what I believed in.

    cheers
    Steve

  • Anonymous

    Hi Steve, thanks for your reply. I’d like to address what you wrote in reverse, if I could.

    Two points of irony appear to me in your conclusion.

    You wrote:[quote]You seem a bit angry is what I’m saying. It’s no biggie, I’ve spent a good amount of time being angry, but I probably wan’t nice to hang out with, I was a bit blinkered, and I probably wasn’t a good advertisment for what I believed in.[/quote]Despite appearances, I’m actually not trying to advertise my beliefs (what beliefs would those be?). Anyway, my beliefs don’t depend on advertising: they demand criticism and good reason. Currently I’m just trying to critically examine and understand your beliefs (with the secret intention of potentially adopting them as my own!). So I cannot imagine why you would make this rather condescending accusation.

    I must admit though, the accusation itself is ironic. To me, you seem to be the one irritated (“angry” doesn’t quite fit). This is because your responses to me have been curt, assertive, and less than generous. You also seem to take some satisfaction in reversing my accusations (see “tu quoque”) against me rather than actually grappling with my ideas.

    This is normally a clever way of deconstructing arguments (to show that the author of an argument is guilty of the same problem against which he is arguing); however, when you make these accusations with no actual reasoning, but just assert them superficially, they come across as something like a debater’s trick… Which brings us to the next point of irony.

    You wrote:[quote]I just get the feeling you’re caught up in the kingdom of names – argument, logic, being right and winning. And at that point I feel like siding with Farhan because he seem a nicer guy, even if his arguments aren’t as razor-sharp.[/quote]That’s unfair, Steve. Why not just assume that we are both here to learn from one another? After all, we have something to learn from each other, even if we don’t agree. (For example, I’m learning from you about alternative ways of looking at “infallibility”.) Why all these condescending accusations? Does it console you in an important way to look down on me as someone so consumed by his ego that he just has to win the argument? Why do you feel the need to judge my motives and dismiss me? Why can’t we just converse?

    And since when did “who is nicer” have any bearing on “who is telling the truth”? Would you really choose what you believe to be true based on who is the “nicer guy”? If so, do you not find this rather telling?

    I sincerely hope you will leave this bickering and join me in the topic at hand, as I will now do too.

    You wrote:[quote]Also, in the kingdom of names (the material world) weird shit happens. There are contradictions, inconsistencies, and stuff doesn’t make sense unless you manage to transcend the material world.[/quote]I’m not sure I understand this. Can you help me out? What does it mean to say that there are contradictions and inconsistencies in the material world? I mean, in what sense can contradiction actually exist independent of human thought? It seems that what you want to say is that human thinking, in going about reasoning in a sloppy manner, arrives at contradictions and inconsistencies. After all, aren’t the inconsistencies merely in our heads and not actually “in nature”, so to speak? But this would seem to suggest that the contradictions aren’t in the material world at all; but rather, that they arrive in our transcending the material world — the exact opposite of the conclusion you were driving for! What has happened here, Steve? Could you please clarify what you meant?

    Alright, this is where things get really interesting:

    Steve wrote,[quote]Baha’u’llah is the measure. He defines qualities like being all-knowing. That makes it kind of difficult for him to be wrong, whatever he does. Now that’s a cool super-power to have, isn’t it? [/quote]Well, he doesn’t really “have” that power in any meaningful sense, does he? You are more giving it to him than him having it. After all, you are the one who is choosing to define qualities like “all-knowing” in terms of what the self-proclaimed Manifestation of God does, right? Surely you don’t think that Bah??’u’ll??h defines all-knowing in any objectively true sense, do you Steve?

    For if you believed that, then that would require you to provide us with some independent standard against which we might test Bah??’u’ll??h’s claim to being all-knowing in order to determine whether he warrants the appellation (or predication, if you like). But if then persist in claiming that Bah??’u’ll??h is himself that objective standard of “all-knowing” (or whatever other attribute), then you will have really gotten yourself in a bind, won’t you? Because in that case, you would be judging Bah??’u’ll??h by himself as the standard of “all-knowing”! And that would be the very epitome of begging the question (our good friend). It would also be circular reasoning. Sure signs of muddled thinking.

    Consider this: Imagine if I said that Martin Luther King Jr. was the objective standard of justice (or whatever). This would be fine… until we asked the question of whether MLK himself was just. For how are we supposed to determine whether he is just when we have chosen him as our standard of justice? Any attempt to argue that MLK was unjust in his (alleged) extramarital affairs would be summarily dismissed, since we would have to take it that cheating on one’s spouse was part of the definition of justice (assuming it is true that MLK had extramarital affairs) since we earlier defined MLK as the embodiment of justice.

    Sound far-fetched?

    Here’s another example that perhaps strikes closer to home: Imagine that in some future time it was discovered that in his an as-of-yet untranslated epistle, Bah??’u’ll??h declared that Africans are not fully human, but something between human and ape. (Don’t let the unlikelihood of this scenario trip you up: I’m specifically trying to make the scenario something other than reality to examine what follows if the scenario were true; not whether the scenario would ever be true.) Now I will take it for granted that this is an assertion that would have immediately put his credibility into doubt had you learned about it before declaring your faith; but since you have defined Bah??’u’ll??h as all-knowing, you will instead have faith that there is some greater wisdom here and that God knows best. So as a Bah??’?, you are supposed to assume that God knows best even when your internal sense of right or wrong would have repelled you from such an assertion if you had discovered it prior to committing yourself to Bah??’u’ll??h’s will.

    Remember that this whole method is in close keeping with ‘Abdu’l-Bah??’s prescription:[quote]If some people do not understand the hidden secret of one of His commands and actions, they ought not to oppose it, for the supreme Manifestation does what He wishes. How often it has occurred, when an act has been performed by a wise, perfect, intelligent man, that others incapable of comprehending its wisdom have objected to it and been amazed that this wise man could say or do such a thing. This opposition comes from their ignorance, and the wisdom of the sage is pure and exempt from error. In the same way, the skilled doctor in treating the patient does what he wishes, and the patient has no right to object; whatever the doctor says and does is right; all ought to consider him the manifestation of these words, “He doeth whatsoever He willeth, and commandeth whatever He desireth.” It is certain that the doctor will use some medicine contrary to the ideas of other people; now opposition is not permitted to those who have not the advantage of science and the medical art. No, in the name of God! on the contrary, all ought to be submissive and to perform whatever the skilled doctor says. Therefore, the skilled doctor does what he wishes, and the patients have no share in this right. The skill of the doctor must be first ascertained; but when the skill of the doctor is once established, he does what he wishes. (Some Answered Questions, p. 173)[/quote]I think, however, that these two hypothetical examples clearly demonstrate that the act of seminal importance lies in this: Specifically, the moment where you take Bah??’u’ll??h as the definition (or standard) of “all-knowing” (or whatever else). The question we must all ask is this: What justifies this first step?

    As soon as you try to answer that question, you step out of the vicious circle you have gotten yourself caught in and you have to start using the secular language to provide some objective justification. It is by only losing sight of this first step (for which you are responsible) that one can justify his faith in Bah??’u’ll??h’s wisdom and knowledge in spite of all signs to the contrary.

    So when you write:[quote]Baha’u’llah is the manifestation. He’s the measure. He’s how I know God. In all other respects, God is unknowable. Is God infallible in the same sense that Bah??’u’ll??h was infallible? I have no idea. He’s unknowable.[/quote]It is clear that you are begging the question. Why did you choose that Bah??’u’ll??h to represent “God”? Why not Elvis or Ghandi? Why not anyone else?

    Again, as soon as you try to answer this question, you have to step outside the vicious circle in which you are currently trapped and give some objective justification. Otherwise, your faith in Bah??’u’ll??h’s representation of God is completely arbitrary. It could have just as easily been in the crazy guy on the back of the bus, if only you had been faced with his claim to be representing God first!

    (I hope you see that the absurdity of these examples is meant to demonstrate the absurdity of the premises which lead to them. Many people get tripped up at absurd examples and quit the conversation early simply because they find it incredible to imagine that their espoused beliefs could equally lead to faith in the crazy guy on the back of the bus, for example, as they lead to faith in Bah??’u’ll??h. If you will examine the reasoning I use to draw this conclusion from its premises, as opposed to getting turned off by the absurdity of the conclusion I am drawing, I think you will find my point more palatable.)

    Lastly, you wrote:[quote]No, I’m not picking up any explicit conferring of authority to infallibly interpret from the passages you quote. And, no, they’re not all that new to me. These passages say to me that ?Abdu’l-Baha is head of the faith and pretty darn special. They don’t seem to say that the ability to infallibly interpret has been conferred on him.[/quote]How could they not be new to you, Steve? You wrote in your previous post that:[quote post="250"]In the Kitab-i-Ahd, where I’d expect to see the details of the succession, Baha’u’llah simply indicates that ?Abdu’l-Baha is the new head of the faith.[/quote]If you were familiar with these quotations, then why didn’t you expect to see details of Bah??’u’ll??h’s succession in his “Tablet of the Branch”?

    Well, never mind. Let’s deal with your assertion that the quotations don’t lend support to the conclusion that ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? should be taken as an infallible interpreter of Bah??’u’ll??h. If you are right, then how are we to understand these quotations (taken from above)?[quote]Render thanks unto God, O people, for [the Branch of Holiness]; for verily He is the most great Favour unto you, the most perfect bounty upon you; and through Him every mouldering bone is quickened. Whoso turneth towards Him hath turned towards God, and whoso turneth away from Him hath turned away from My Beauty, hath repudiated My Proof, and trangressed against Me. He is the Trust of God amongst you, His charge within you, His manifestation unto you and His appearance among His favoured servants…We have sent Him down in the form of a human temple. Blest and sanctified by God who created whatsoever He willeth through His inviolable, His infallible degree. They who deprive themselves of the shadow of the Branch, are lost in the wilderness of error, are consumed by the heat of world desires, and are of those who will assuredly perish.[/quote]How are we to understand Bah??’u’ll??h’s predication of infallibility to ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? here? Do you not agree that he is talking about ‘Abdu’l-Bah??? If not, who do you think he means to refer to by the phrase “the Branch of Holiness” that “hath branched from the Sadratu’l-Muntaha”? Could you please explain this to us, Steve?

    And also, how are we to understand ‘Abdu’l-Bah??’s own description of his station? He writes,[quote]…whosoever obeys the Centre of the Covenant appointed by Bah??’u’ll??h has obeyed Bah??’u’ll??h, and whosoever disobeys Him has disobeyed Bah??’u’ll??h.[/quote]Do you think ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? was just wrong here? Was he confused? Is there a translation problem? How are we to understand this? Do you not agree that it seems, prima facie, that ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? means that disregarding his interpretation of Bah??’u’ll??h is equivalent to disregarding Bah??’u’ll??h? Is that a completely unreasonable way to understand this text? Please help us out, Steve.

    I truly hope you leave behind all nasty accusations of insincerity and judgements of my motives and really engage in this discussion with me. Let’s leave those tactics to the Haifan Bah??’?s and their ilk. The fact is that I want to understand where you’re coming from, and I want to put my own understanding to the test. I do sincerly hope you will help me do that.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Hi Steve, thanks for your reply. I’d like to address what you wrote in reverse, if I could.

    Two points of irony appear to me in your conclusion.

    You wrote:[quote]You seem a bit angry is what I’m saying. It’s no biggie, I’ve spent a good amount of time being angry, but I probably wan’t nice to hang out with, I was a bit blinkered, and I probably wasn’t a good advertisment for what I believed in.[/quote]Despite appearances, I’m actually not trying to advertise my beliefs (what beliefs would those be?). Anyway, my beliefs don’t depend on advertising: they demand criticism and good reason. Currently I’m just trying to critically examine and understand your beliefs (with the secret intention of potentially adopting them as my own!). So I cannot imagine why you would make this rather condescending accusation.

    I must admit though, the accusation itself is ironic. To me, you seem to be the one irritated (“angry” doesn’t quite fit). This is because your responses to me have been curt, assertive, and less than generous. You also seem to take some satisfaction in reversing my accusations (see “tu quoque”) against me rather than actually grappling with my ideas.

    This is normally a clever way of deconstructing arguments (to show that the author of an argument is guilty of the same problem against which he is arguing); however, when you make these accusations with no actual reasoning, but just assert them superficially, they come across as something like a debater’s trick… Which brings us to the next point of irony.

    You wrote:[quote]I just get the feeling you’re caught up in the kingdom of names – argument, logic, being right and winning. And at that point I feel like siding with Farhan because he seem a nicer guy, even if his arguments aren’t as razor-sharp.[/quote]That’s unfair, Steve. Why not just assume that we are both here to learn from one another? After all, we have something to learn from each other, even if we don’t agree. (For example, I’m learning from you about alternative ways of looking at “infallibility”.) Why all these condescending accusations? Does it console you in an important way to look down on me as someone so consumed by his ego that he just has to win the argument? Why do you feel the need to judge my motives and dismiss me? Why can’t we just converse?

    And since when did “who is nicer” have any bearing on “who is telling the truth”? Would you really choose what you believe to be true based on who is the “nicer guy”? If so, do you not find this rather telling?

    I sincerely hope you will leave this bickering and join me in the topic at hand, as I will now do too.

    You wrote:[quote]Also, in the kingdom of names (the material world) weird shit happens. There are contradictions, inconsistencies, and stuff doesn’t make sense unless you manage to transcend the material world.[/quote]I’m not sure I understand this. Can you help me out? What does it mean to say that there are contradictions and inconsistencies in the material world? I mean, in what sense can contradiction actually exist independent of human thought? It seems that what you want to say is that human thinking, in going about reasoning in a sloppy manner, arrives at contradictions and inconsistencies. After all, aren’t the inconsistencies merely in our heads and not actually “in nature”, so to speak? But this would seem to suggest that the contradictions aren’t in the material world at all; but rather, that they arrive in our transcending the material world — the exact opposite of the conclusion you were driving for! What has happened here, Steve? Could you please clarify what you meant?

    Alright, this is where things get really interesting:

    Steve wrote,[quote]Baha’u’llah is the measure. He defines qualities like being all-knowing. That makes it kind of difficult for him to be wrong, whatever he does. Now that’s a cool super-power to have, isn’t it? [/quote]Well, he doesn’t really “have” that power in any meaningful sense, does he? You are more giving it to him than him having it. After all, you are the one who is choosing to define qualities like “all-knowing” in terms of what the self-proclaimed Manifestation of God does, right? Surely you don’t think that Bah??’u’ll??h defines all-knowing in any objectively true sense, do you Steve?

    For if you believed that, then that would require you to provide us with some independent standard against which we might test Bah??’u’ll??h’s claim to being all-knowing in order to determine whether he warrants the appellation (or predication, if you like). But if then persist in claiming that Bah??’u’ll??h is himself that objective standard of “all-knowing” (or whatever other attribute), then you will have really gotten yourself in a bind, won’t you? Because in that case, you would be judging Bah??’u’ll??h by himself as the standard of “all-knowing”! And that would be the very epitome of begging the question (our good friend). It would also be circular reasoning. Sure signs of muddled thinking.

    Consider this: Imagine if I said that Martin Luther King Jr. was the objective standard of justice (or whatever). This would be fine… until we asked the question of whether MLK himself was just. For how are we supposed to determine whether he is just when we have chosen him as our standard of justice? Any attempt to argue that MLK was unjust in his (alleged) extramarital affairs would be summarily dismissed, since we would have to take it that cheating on one’s spouse was part of the definition of justice (assuming it is true that MLK had extramarital affairs) since we earlier defined MLK as the embodiment of justice.

    Sound far-fetched?

    Here’s another example that perhaps strikes closer to home: Imagine that in some future time it was discovered that in his an as-of-yet untranslated epistle, Bah??’u’ll??h declared that Africans are not fully human, but something between human and ape. (Don’t let the unlikelihood of this scenario trip you up: I’m specifically trying to make the scenario something other than reality to examine what follows if the scenario were true; not whether the scenario would ever be true.) Now I will take it for granted that this is an assertion that would have immediately put his credibility into doubt had you learned about it before declaring your faith; but since you have defined Bah??’u’ll??h as all-knowing, you will instead have faith that there is some greater wisdom here and that God knows best. So as a Bah??’?, you are supposed to assume that God knows best even when your internal sense of right or wrong would have repelled you from such an assertion if you had discovered it prior to committing yourself to Bah??’u’ll??h’s will.

    Remember that this whole method is in close keeping with ‘Abdu’l-Bah??’s prescription:[quote]If some people do not understand the hidden secret of one of His commands and actions, they ought not to oppose it, for the supreme Manifestation does what He wishes. How often it has occurred, when an act has been performed by a wise, perfect, intelligent man, that others incapable of comprehending its wisdom have objected to it and been amazed that this wise man could say or do such a thing. This opposition comes from their ignorance, and the wisdom of the sage is pure and exempt from error. In the same way, the skilled doctor in treating the patient does what he wishes, and the patient has no right to object; whatever the doctor says and does is right; all ought to consider him the manifestation of these words, “He doeth whatsoever He willeth, and commandeth whatever He desireth.” It is certain that the doctor will use some medicine contrary to the ideas of other people; now opposition is not permitted to those who have not the advantage of science and the medical art. No, in the name of God! on the contrary, all ought to be submissive and to perform whatever the skilled doctor says. Therefore, the skilled doctor does what he wishes, and the patients have no share in this right. The skill of the doctor must be first ascertained; but when the skill of the doctor is once established, he does what he wishes. (Some Answered Questions, p. 173)[/quote]I think, however, that these two hypothetical examples clearly demonstrate that the act of seminal importance lies in this: Specifically, the moment where you take Bah??’u’ll??h as the definition (or standard) of “all-knowing” (or whatever else). The question we must all ask is this: What justifies this first step?

    As soon as you try to answer that question, you step out of the vicious circle you have gotten yourself caught in and you have to start using the secular language to provide some objective justification. It is by only losing sight of this first step (for which you are responsible) that one can justify his faith in Bah??’u’ll??h’s wisdom and knowledge in spite of all signs to the contrary.

    So when you write:[quote]Baha’u’llah is the manifestation. He’s the measure. He’s how I know God. In all other respects, God is unknowable. Is God infallible in the same sense that Bah??’u’ll??h was infallible? I have no idea. He’s unknowable.[/quote]It is clear that you are begging the question. Why did you choose that Bah??’u’ll??h to represent “God”? Why not Elvis or Ghandi? Why not anyone else?

    Again, as soon as you try to answer this question, you have to step outside the vicious circle in which you are currently trapped and give some objective justification. Otherwise, your faith in Bah??’u’ll??h’s representation of God is completely arbitrary. It could have just as easily been in the crazy guy on the back of the bus, if only you had been faced with his claim to be representing God first!

    (I hope you see that the absurdity of these examples is meant to demonstrate the absurdity of the premises which lead to them. Many people get tripped up at absurd examples and quit the conversation early simply because they find it incredible to imagine that their espoused beliefs could equally lead to faith in the crazy guy on the back of the bus, for example, as they lead to faith in Bah??’u’ll??h. If you will examine the reasoning I use to draw this conclusion from its premises, as opposed to getting turned off by the absurdity of the conclusion I am drawing, I think you will find my point more palatable.)

    Lastly, you wrote:[quote]No, I’m not picking up any explicit conferring of authority to infallibly interpret from the passages you quote. And, no, they’re not all that new to me. These passages say to me that ?Abdu’l-Baha is head of the faith and pretty darn special. They don’t seem to say that the ability to infallibly interpret has been conferred on him.[/quote]How could they not be new to you, Steve? You wrote in your previous post that:[quote post="250"]In the Kitab-i-Ahd, where I’d expect to see the details of the succession, Baha’u’llah simply indicates that ?Abdu’l-Baha is the new head of the faith.[/quote]If you were familiar with these quotations, then why didn’t you expect to see details of Bah??’u’ll??h’s succession in his “Tablet of the Branch”?

    Well, never mind. Let’s deal with your assertion that the quotations don’t lend support to the conclusion that ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? should be taken as an infallible interpreter of Bah??’u’ll??h. If you are right, then how are we to understand these quotations (taken from above)?[quote]Render thanks unto God, O people, for [the Branch of Holiness]; for verily He is the most great Favour unto you, the most perfect bounty upon you; and through Him every mouldering bone is quickened. Whoso turneth towards Him hath turned towards God, and whoso turneth away from Him hath turned away from My Beauty, hath repudiated My Proof, and trangressed against Me. He is the Trust of God amongst you, His charge within you, His manifestation unto you and His appearance among His favoured servants…We have sent Him down in the form of a human temple. Blest and sanctified by God who created whatsoever He willeth through His inviolable, His infallible degree. They who deprive themselves of the shadow of the Branch, are lost in the wilderness of error, are consumed by the heat of world desires, and are of those who will assuredly perish.[/quote]How are we to understand Bah??’u’ll??h’s predication of infallibility to ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? here? Do you not agree that he is talking about ‘Abdu’l-Bah??? If not, who do you think he means to refer to by the phrase “the Branch of Holiness” that “hath branched from the Sadratu’l-Muntaha”? Could you please explain this to us, Steve?

    And also, how are we to understand ‘Abdu’l-Bah??’s own description of his station? He writes,[quote]…whosoever obeys the Centre of the Covenant appointed by Bah??’u’ll??h has obeyed Bah??’u’ll??h, and whosoever disobeys Him has disobeyed Bah??’u’ll??h.[/quote]Do you think ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? was just wrong here? Was he confused? Is there a translation problem? How are we to understand this? Do you not agree that it seems, prima facie, that ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? means that disregarding his interpretation of Bah??’u’ll??h is equivalent to disregarding Bah??’u’ll??h? Is that a completely unreasonable way to understand this text? Please help us out, Steve.

    I truly hope you leave behind all nasty accusations of insincerity and judgements of my motives and really engage in this discussion with me. Let’s leave those tactics to the Haifan Bah??’?s and their ilk. The fact is that I want to understand where you’re coming from, and I want to put my own understanding to the test. I do sincerly hope you will help me do that.

  • farhan

    Steve,

    My point is that spiritual matters have an immediate practical incidence in our material lives. We are not to use spiritual subjects ?to dispute idly? or to seek to ?advance ourselves over our brothers?. This is a natural tendency that has to be contained. Without entering theological considerations, the practical outcome of whatever we might interpret as ?infaillibility? is that in order to _saveguard unity_, we need a referee, an arbitration body. This body has to be obeyed unquestionnably, just like a referee in a football game has to be instantly obeyed.

    The referee might not be a perfect person, but in his function he has the last word. These three quotes on Abdu’l-Baha help my understanding:

    ? Many a time He would say, “I don’t claim sinlessness. I am the first of sinners (God forbid!) but the Ancient Beauty has bestowed upon me a station, and therefore whatever I say is what will be.” (Afroukhteh, memoires of 9 years, p 394)

    ?For instance, the Universal House of justice, if it be established under the necessary conditions-with members elected from all the people -that House of justice will be under the protection and the unerring guidance of God. If that House of justice shall decide unanimously, or by a majority, upon any question not mentioned in the Book, that decision and command will be guarded from mistake. Now the members of the House of justice have not, individually, essential infallibility; but the body of the House of justice is under the protection and unerring guidance of God: this is called conferred infallibility.” (‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Some Answered Questions, ch. 45)

    The night of Monday, the 16th day of Jamadi’u’llah, A. H. 1319 [31 August 1903] we were in the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Baha He made certain remarks regarding the Universal House of justice, which in accordance with His instructions are recorded as follows: He stated: “Nothing causes me more unhappiness than disunity, and this can only be remedied by obedience to the command of the Universal House of justice. Even before the establishment of the House of Justice, the friends must be obedient to the existing Spiritual Assemblies even if they know of a certainty that their judgement is flawed. If this were not complied with, the mighty citadel of the Faith of God would not be safeguarded. All must obey the Universal House of justice. Obedience to it is obedience to the Cause. Opposition to it is opposition to the Blessed Beauty. Denial of it is denial of God, the True One. Renouncing any word of the House of Justice is like unto the renunciation of a word from the Kitab-i-Aqdas. Observe, how important this matter is! The Blessed Beauty has ordained the House of justice as the law-maker. If the votes of the members are not unanimous and there are differences of views, then the vote of the majority is the vote of the Blessed Beauty.”

    He then added: “Take this very moment. Should the Universal House of justice be operating, by the one True God, beside Whom there is no God, I would have been the first to obey its decree, even if it should be against me. It is true that that Body does not possess inherent infallibility, but it is under the shadow of the protection and shelter of the Blessed Beauty. Its command is the Blessed Command. Discuss this matter amongst yourselves, so that it may not be forgotten. Speak of it to one another; even, make a written note of it.”

    (…)
    It was clear from the words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha that hidden in Mirza Badi’u’llah’s testimonial were many devilish designs. All the friends understood the situation, but yet in accordance with the verse of the Kitab-i-’Ahd which states: “It is incumbent upon everyone to show courtesy to, and have regard for the Aghsan, that thereby the Cause of God may be glorified, they adopted a respectful attitude towards Mirza Badi’u’llah, who had now returned to the fold.

    But he was not content with mere respect; he expected to receive reverence and prostration. He even entertained the thought that the friends should kiss his hands and even his feet, and this expectation disgusted the friends. In those days, the Master used to emphasize, “The friends who come to me should not bow before me; the use of the greeting ‘Allah’u’Abha’ will suffice. This will bring me happiness.”

    ‘Abdu’l-Baha used to talk mostly (in those days) about the importance of the House of justice. One night, when He spoke on this subject again He said, “If the House of justice had been operating in this day and pronounced my death sentence, all would have to obey.” (Afroukhteh, memoires of 9 years, p 171-2)

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Steve,

    My point is that spiritual matters have an immediate practical incidence in our material lives. We are not to use spiritual subjects ?to dispute idly? or to seek to ?advance ourselves over our brothers?. This is a natural tendency that has to be contained. Without entering theological considerations, the practical outcome of whatever we might interpret as ?infaillibility? is that in order to _saveguard unity_, we need a referee, an arbitration body. This body has to be obeyed unquestionnably, just like a referee in a football game has to be instantly obeyed.

    The referee might not be a perfect person, but in his function he has the last word. These three quotes on Abdu’l-Baha help my understanding:

    ? Many a time He would say, “I don’t claim sinlessness. I am the first of sinners (God forbid!) but the Ancient Beauty has bestowed upon me a station, and therefore whatever I say is what will be.” (Afroukhteh, memoires of 9 years, p 394)

    ?For instance, the Universal House of justice, if it be established under the necessary conditions-with members elected from all the people -that House of justice will be under the protection and the unerring guidance of God. If that House of justice shall decide unanimously, or by a majority, upon any question not mentioned in the Book, that decision and command will be guarded from mistake. Now the members of the House of justice have not, individually, essential infallibility; but the body of the House of justice is under the protection and unerring guidance of God: this is called conferred infallibility.” (‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Some Answered Questions, ch. 45)

    The night of Monday, the 16th day of Jamadi’u’llah, A. H. 1319 [31 August 1903] we were in the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Baha He made certain remarks regarding the Universal House of justice, which in accordance with His instructions are recorded as follows: He stated: “Nothing causes me more unhappiness than disunity, and this can only be remedied by obedience to the command of the Universal House of justice. Even before the establishment of the House of Justice, the friends must be obedient to the existing Spiritual Assemblies even if they know of a certainty that their judgement is flawed. If this were not complied with, the mighty citadel of the Faith of God would not be safeguarded. All must obey the Universal House of justice. Obedience to it is obedience to the Cause. Opposition to it is opposition to the Blessed Beauty. Denial of it is denial of God, the True One. Renouncing any word of the House of Justice is like unto the renunciation of a word from the Kitab-i-Aqdas. Observe, how important this matter is! The Blessed Beauty has ordained the House of justice as the law-maker. If the votes of the members are not unanimous and there are differences of views, then the vote of the majority is the vote of the Blessed Beauty.”

    He then added: “Take this very moment. Should the Universal House of justice be operating, by the one True God, beside Whom there is no God, I would have been the first to obey its decree, even if it should be against me. It is true that that Body does not possess inherent infallibility, but it is under the shadow of the protection and shelter of the Blessed Beauty. Its command is the Blessed Command. Discuss this matter amongst yourselves, so that it may not be forgotten. Speak of it to one another; even, make a written note of it.”

    (…)
    It was clear from the words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha that hidden in Mirza Badi’u’llah’s testimonial were many devilish designs. All the friends understood the situation, but yet in accordance with the verse of the Kitab-i-’Ahd which states: “It is incumbent upon everyone to show courtesy to, and have regard for the Aghsan, that thereby the Cause of God may be glorified, they adopted a respectful attitude towards Mirza Badi’u’llah, who had now returned to the fold.

    But he was not content with mere respect; he expected to receive reverence and prostration. He even entertained the thought that the friends should kiss his hands and even his feet, and this expectation disgusted the friends. In those days, the Master used to emphasize, “The friends who come to me should not bow before me; the use of the greeting ‘Allah’u’Abha’ will suffice. This will bring me happiness.”

    ‘Abdu’l-Baha used to talk mostly (in those days) about the importance of the House of justice. One night, when He spoke on this subject again He said, “If the House of justice had been operating in this day and pronounced my death sentence, all would have to obey.” (Afroukhteh, memoires of 9 years, p 171-2)

  • Andrew

    Amanda wrote:

    “As the rest of the world becomes less homophobic, and adheres to certain standards of human rights, they will view and judge the Baha’i Faith accordingly. The PR for the Faith works hard to hide this issue from the public, and that is disingenuous. These particular discriminatory writings and policies should be public knowledge.”

    I fully concur with these sentiments — particularly your observation on the disingenuous attempt to conceal (and to cleverly spin) the manifest discrimination embodied in the Baha’i writings and policies.

    F. Yazdani wrote:

    “Hence both science and moral standards evolve in their views.”

    You are truly the author of inappropriate analogy in the service of spin. You cite “some statistical evidence” related to circumcision, you universalize a so-called announcement from “the media,” and use these as an excuse to assert that “both science and moral standards evolve in their views,” when [1] this hardly constitutes evidence of an evolving view of anything and [2] this bears absolutely no comparison whatsoever to the results of over forty years of social science research, let alone the consensus view of medical and behavioral scientists as well as the organizations that represent them (the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American College of Pediatricians, the National Association of Social Workers, and many other professional bodies too numerous to mention). You state the same thing over and over again, as if writing such words often enough will make them more believable. However, anyone who is truly interested in this topic is probably much more well-informed on it than you are liable to give them credit for, and can see your attempt to divert attention away from the legitimate contentions of others for exactly what it is: an exercise in obfuscation, a word game dishonestly employed in the service of religious dogma.

    “By interpreting the writings in this way you are adding distress to homosexuals.”

    Mr. Yazdani, how would you know whether or not Amanda is “adding distress to homosexuals”? You wouldn’t. That is your interpretation of Amanda’s words. Speak for yourself: you have no right to speak on behalf of homosexuals, whom you (typically, patronizingly) presume to be “distressed.” You repeatedly issue these pronouncements as if you have a right to tell others what they are thinking. You clearly have an acquired inclination toward authoritarian thought. Might this have a religious basis?

    Mavaddat wrote:

    “Honestly, I feel like there’s always some excuse presented by Baha’is to prevent them from having to face conclusions that they don’t like.”

    You think? ;-)

    “So I cannot imagine why you would make this rather condescending accusation.”

    This reminds me of the tussle I had in another forum with a woman who objected to my statement (quoting Pema Chodron) that “there’s nothing wrong with negativity.” She was very angry about this. She went on to cite several examples from the writings of Baha’u’llah on how harmful anger is, how it prevents the soul from reaching the full blah-blah of its blah-blah soul nature, and how, since becoming a Baha’i, she was no longer angry (even though she clearly was), and has since felt the need to single me out for a few more choice comments. Are such Baha’is (some of them self-described “mystics”) really so lacking in self-reflection that they cannot contemplate the implications of their own reflexive attitudes?

    It rather reminds me of the Baha’i preoccupation with “the World Order of Baha’u’llah,” a concept I find absolutely chilling. If I’m buying a homeless person a meal, I’m not furthering the World Order of Baha’u’llah, I’m feeding someone who is hungry and affirming the humanity of the other. No need to idealize it, which itself is the problem. I think the world needs fewer fairy tales and more rational solutions. We don’t need models of divine Manifestations that are theological constructs of God in human flesh. As Bishop Spong has stated: “There’s something powerful about the life of this Jesus, but his power is not in being a divine figure masquerading as a human being and walking on this earth. His power is that his humanity is so full and complete that God can live in him and through him.” However we define “God,” Spong is pointing toward individuals who are fully human, fully engaged with their own humanity.

    “For if every man were to regard the persons of others as his own person, who would inflict pain and injury on others? If they regarded the homes of others as their own homes, would would rob the homes of others? Thus in that case there would be no brigands and robbers. If the princes regarded other countries as their own, who would wage war on other countries? This in that case there would be no more war.”

    – Hillel, first century A.D. rabbi

  • Andrew

    Amanda wrote:

    “As the rest of the world becomes less homophobic, and adheres to certain standards of human rights, they will view and judge the Baha’i Faith accordingly. The PR for the Faith works hard to hide this issue from the public, and that is disingenuous. These particular discriminatory writings and policies should be public knowledge.”

    I fully concur with these sentiments — particularly your observation on the disingenuous attempt to conceal (and to cleverly spin) the manifest discrimination embodied in the Baha’i writings and policies.

    F. Yazdani wrote:

    “Hence both science and moral standards evolve in their views.”

    You are truly the author of inappropriate analogy in the service of spin. You cite “some statistical evidence” related to circumcision, you universalize a so-called announcement from “the media,” and use these as an excuse to assert that “both science and moral standards evolve in their views,” when [1] this hardly constitutes evidence of an evolving view of anything and [2] this bears absolutely no comparison whatsoever to the results of over forty years of social science research, let alone the consensus view of medical and behavioral scientists as well as the organizations that represent them (the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American College of Pediatricians, the National Association of Social Workers, and many other professional bodies too numerous to mention). You state the same thing over and over again, as if writing such words often enough will make them more believable. However, anyone who is truly interested in this topic is probably much more well-informed on it than you are liable to give them credit for, and can see your attempt to divert attention away from the legitimate contentions of others for exactly what it is: an exercise in obfuscation, a word game dishonestly employed in the service of religious dogma.

    “By interpreting the writings in this way you are adding distress to homosexuals.”

    Mr. Yazdani, how would you know whether or not Amanda is “adding distress to homosexuals”? You wouldn’t. That is your interpretation of Amanda’s words. Speak for yourself: you have no right to speak on behalf of homosexuals, whom you (typically, patronizingly) presume to be “distressed.” You repeatedly issue these pronouncements as if you have a right to tell others what they are thinking. You clearly have an acquired inclination toward authoritarian thought. Might this have a religious basis?

    Mavaddat wrote:

    “Honestly, I feel like there’s always some excuse presented by Baha’is to prevent them from having to face conclusions that they don’t like.”

    You think? ;-)

    “So I cannot imagine why you would make this rather condescending accusation.”

    This reminds me of the tussle I had in another forum with a woman who objected to my statement (quoting Pema Chodron) that “there’s nothing wrong with negativity.” She was very angry about this. She went on to cite several examples from the writings of Baha’u’llah on how harmful anger is, how it prevents the soul from reaching the full blah-blah of its blah-blah soul nature, and how, since becoming a Baha’i, she was no longer angry (even though she clearly was), and has since felt the need to single me out for a few more choice comments. Are such Baha’is (some of them self-described “mystics”) really so lacking in self-reflection that they cannot contemplate the implications of their own reflexive attitudes?

    It rather reminds me of the Baha’i preoccupation with “the World Order of Baha’u’llah,” a concept I find absolutely chilling. If I’m buying a homeless person a meal, I’m not furthering the World Order of Baha’u’llah, I’m feeding someone who is hungry and affirming the humanity of the other. No need to idealize it, which itself is the problem. I think the world needs fewer fairy tales and more rational solutions. We don’t need models of divine Manifestations that are theological constructs of God in human flesh. As Bishop Spong has stated: “There’s something powerful about the life of this Jesus, but his power is not in being a divine figure masquerading as a human being and walking on this earth. His power is that his humanity is so full and complete that God can live in him and through him.” However we define “God,” Spong is pointing toward individuals who are fully human, fully engaged with their own humanity.

    “For if every man were to regard the persons of others as his own person, who would inflict pain and injury on others? If they regarded the homes of others as their own homes, would would rob the homes of others? Thus in that case there would be no brigands and robbers. If the princes regarded other countries as their own, who would wage war on other countries? This in that case there would be no more war.”

    – Hillel, first century A.D. rabbi

  • farhan

    Beth writes :
    « lets ask other gay people how they feel instead of putting words in their mouths, shall we? ».

    Beth,

    Yes, by all means Beth, do share your views on this. I apologize if my interpretations hurt your feelings ; it certainly was not my purpose. All Baha’is are entitled to personnal interpretations of the writings as long as they share them without insisting that their understanding is the only correct one. The UHJ is the only arbitrating body and they dont need my help.

    Since by trying to put myself in your place, I was unsuccessful and hurt your feelings, perhaps you might wish to help me by pointing out which interpretations on my part were offensive to you. I would be grateful if you expressed your feelings.

    As far as I am concerned (or my homosexual friends are concerned), being told that I have a « spiritual disease », or that my soul is « handicapped » or that I am spiritually « condemned » would be more much more offensive to me than being told that my soul is a noble creation that is obstructed in its expression in my mind and body, or that my behaviour impairs my spiritual growth.

    But again, unless you express your feelings as you generously suggest, I would not know how you feel about this.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Beth writes :
    « lets ask other gay people how they feel instead of putting words in their mouths, shall we? ».

    Beth,

    Yes, by all means Beth, do share your views on this. I apologize if my interpretations hurt your feelings ; it certainly was not my purpose. All Baha’is are entitled to personnal interpretations of the writings as long as they share them without insisting that their understanding is the only correct one. The UHJ is the only arbitrating body and they dont need my help.

    Since by trying to put myself in your place, I was unsuccessful and hurt your feelings, perhaps you might wish to help me by pointing out which interpretations on my part were offensive to you. I would be grateful if you expressed your feelings.

    As far as I am concerned (or my homosexual friends are concerned), being told that I have a « spiritual disease », or that my soul is « handicapped » or that I am spiritually « condemned » would be more much more offensive to me than being told that my soul is a noble creation that is obstructed in its expression in my mind and body, or that my behaviour impairs my spiritual growth.

    But again, unless you express your feelings as you generously suggest, I would not know how you feel about this.

  • Anonymous

    I just want to remind us all (including myself) what is at stake here.

    That is, I’d like to review why this seemingly unrelated tangent (about the infallibility of the Bah??’? institutions) really does belong here (in a thread about gay Bah??’?s).

    I think we all share a degree of discomfort with the Bah??’? writings on homosexuality. Even Farhan the Faithful, I think, belies his comfort with the straightforward interpretation of the scripture by his repeatedly asking Amanda for references to scripture that he has been provided dozens of times (I am also referring now to conversations we’ve had with him on YouTube).

    So the question we are all asking, in our own ways, is about what room there is for change.

    I think that people like Beth, Andrew, Amanda, and I share a common perspective that what Shoghi Effendi and the UHJ say about homosexuality really do reflect the teachings of the Bah??’? Faith itself and are not a one-off aberration that can be ignored. More importantly, we see that these writings are taken (or are supposed to be taken) as authoritative by Bah??’?s. Recognizing our innate sense of good and realizing that we don’t need religion to distinguish right from wrong, we have thrown off the shackles of dogmatism and rejected the authority of the Bah??’? Faith entirely.

    If I understand them, Steve and Baquia agree that Bah??’?s don’t really need to take those passages too seriously, since the UHJ and the Guardian aren’t infallible in the sense that everything they say has to be obeyed. Baquia seems to believe that the passages have some relevance and importance but that one of a future Universal House of Justice will be able to overturn this law of the Bah??’? Faith and they will overturn this ugly chapter in the history of the religion. However, it seems that Steve thinks that it is irrelevant what the House and the Guardian say about homosexuality. We can choose to ignore those parts as mistaken (perhaps, as faulty statements of a biological nature, which they aren’t supposed to be infallible about anyway). In my mind, Steve’s approach is active, whereas Baquia’s is passive (or patient, if you like).

    I am skeptical of both the approaches, because I don’t see this as a law enacted by the UHJ (and thus, it is not subject to revision by a later UHJ) and I think that simply ignoring the passages is not being honest with what is demanded of Bah??’?s in the scripture of the religion. In this sense, I actually agree with Farhan the Faithful that the scriptures demand unquestioning obedience.

    Moreover, the way of thinking proposed by Baquia (and Farhan in other places) distresses me, because it demands that we wait for justice. It presupposes that God will work things out on his own terms, and that humanity must be “patient”. However, to this way of thinking, someone else has prepared a response more eloquent than I could muster. He urges against patience and argues that the patience of good people is more readily capitalized by evil people than by the resolving power of waiting:

    Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers [...], and without this ‘hard work’, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation.

    So again, I think that what is at stake here is how change is going to happen. We all have our different opinions and the most honest and consistent way, in essence, is what I think we are trying to work out in this discussion.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    I just want to remind us all (including myself) what is at stake here.

    That is, I’d like to review why this seemingly unrelated tangent (about the infallibility of the Bah??’? institutions) really does belong here (in a thread about gay Bah??’?s).

    I think we all share a degree of discomfort with the Bah??’? writings on homosexuality. Even Farhan the Faithful, I think, belies his comfort with the straightforward interpretation of the scripture by his repeatedly asking Amanda for references to scripture that he has been provided dozens of times (I am also referring now to conversations we’ve had with him on YouTube).

    So the question we are all asking, in our own ways, is about what room there is for change.

    I think that people like Beth, Andrew, Amanda, and I share a common perspective that what Shoghi Effendi and the UHJ say about homosexuality really do reflect the teachings of the Bah??’? Faith itself and are not a one-off aberration that can be ignored. More importantly, we see that these writings are taken (or are supposed to be taken) as authoritative by Bah??’?s. Recognizing our innate sense of good and realizing that we don’t need religion to distinguish right from wrong, we have thrown off the shackles of dogmatism and rejected the authority of the Bah??’? Faith entirely.

    If I understand them, Steve and Baquia agree that Bah??’?s don’t really need to take those passages too seriously, since the UHJ and the Guardian aren’t infallible in the sense that everything they say has to be obeyed. Baquia seems to believe that the passages have some relevance and importance but that one of a future Universal House of Justice will be able to overturn this law of the Bah??’? Faith and they will overturn this ugly chapter in the history of the religion. However, it seems that Steve thinks that it is irrelevant what the House and the Guardian say about homosexuality. We can choose to ignore those parts as mistaken (perhaps, as faulty statements of a biological nature, which they aren’t supposed to be infallible about anyway). In my mind, Steve’s approach is active, whereas Baquia’s is passive (or patient, if you like).

    I am skeptical of both the approaches, because I don’t see this as a law enacted by the UHJ (and thus, it is not subject to revision by a later UHJ) and I think that simply ignoring the passages is not being honest with what is demanded of Bah??’?s in the scripture of the religion. In this sense, I actually agree with Farhan the Faithful that the scriptures demand unquestioning obedience.

    Moreover, the way of thinking proposed by Baquia (and Farhan in other places) distresses me, because it demands that we wait for justice. It presupposes that God will work things out on his own terms, and that humanity must be “patient”. However, to this way of thinking, someone else has prepared a response more eloquent than I could muster. He urges against patience and argues that the patience of good people is more readily capitalized by evil people than by the resolving power of waiting:

    Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers [...], and without this ‘hard work’, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation.

    So again, I think that what is at stake here is how change is going to happen. We all have our different opinions and the most honest and consistent way, in essence, is what I think we are trying to work out in this discussion.

  • farhan

    Andrew wrote:
    “Mr. Yazdani, how would you know whether or not Amanda is ?adding distress to homosexuals?? You wouldn’t. That is your interpretation of Amanda’s words. Speak for yourself: you have no right to speak on behalf of homosexuals, whom you (typically, patronizingly) presume to be ?distressed.?”

    Thank you for pointing this out, Andrew; “do to others as you would have them do to you” means listening to the complaints of others and trying to “put yourself in their place”.

    Since none of my homosexual friends consider Baha’i views as discriminating against them but rather more tolerant than rules in other religious communities, and since many posts here are by non homosexuals contesting Baha’i laws on behalf of homosexuals, I would be grateful to have first-hand views.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Andrew wrote:
    “Mr. Yazdani, how would you know whether or not Amanda is ?adding distress to homosexuals?? You wouldn’t. That is your interpretation of Amanda’s words. Speak for yourself: you have no right to speak on behalf of homosexuals, whom you (typically, patronizingly) presume to be ?distressed.?”

    Thank you for pointing this out, Andrew; “do to others as you would have them do to you” means listening to the complaints of others and trying to “put yourself in their place”.

    Since none of my homosexual friends consider Baha’i views as discriminating against them but rather more tolerant than rules in other religious communities, and since many posts here are by non homosexuals contesting Baha’i laws on behalf of homosexuals, I would be grateful to have first-hand views.

  • farhan

    Andrew wrote:
    “If I’m buying a homeless person a meal, I’m not furthering the World Order of Baha’u’llah, I’m feeding someone who is hungry and affirming the humanity of the other.”

    Andrew,
    in the time of Jesus or of Abdu’l-Baha, only personnal means of charity were available. Today humanity is very rich, more than it has ever been. All this wealth is used up in conflict. If we could solve the problem of conflicts, the poor would not need our patronising charity. They would have full right to wealth.

    We need a charitable global governance based on unity. Individual charity is still valued, but will not solve the global problem facing humanity.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Andrew wrote:
    “If I’m buying a homeless person a meal, I’m not furthering the World Order of Baha’u’llah, I’m feeding someone who is hungry and affirming the humanity of the other.”

    Andrew,
    in the time of Jesus or of Abdu’l-Baha, only personnal means of charity were available. Today humanity is very rich, more than it has ever been. All this wealth is used up in conflict. If we could solve the problem of conflicts, the poor would not need our patronising charity. They would have full right to wealth.

    We need a charitable global governance based on unity. Individual charity is still valued, but will not solve the global problem facing humanity.

  • Andrew

    F. Yazdani wrote:

    “Since none of my homosexual friends consider Baha’i views as discriminating against them but rather more tolerant than rules in other religious communities, and since many posts here are by non homosexuals contesting Baha’i laws on behalf of homosexuals, I would be grateful to have first-hand views.”

    You’ve had numerous “first-hand views” both here and on YouTube, as well as on Mavaddat’s blog. None of your “homosexual friends” might consider Baha’i views as discriminating against them, and many Black slaves in the American South as well as women prior to the feminist movement never considered racist or sexist views as discriminating against them either. When one’s consciousness is raised around the issues of heterosexism and homophobia, one’s awareness grows as does one’s commitment to take action against all forms of discrimination.

    “In the time of Jesus or of Abdu’l-Baha, only personal means of charity were available.”

    This is simply not true. It is ahistorical in the extreme. Study the historical antecedents of state sponsorship in Byzantine (Imperial) Christianity or the role of public services under the various Islamic Caliphates. There is simply no historical warrant for your assertion that “only personal means of charity were available” in the time of Jesus or Abdu’l-Baha.

  • Andrew

    F. Yazdani wrote:

    “Since none of my homosexual friends consider Baha’i views as discriminating against them but rather more tolerant than rules in other religious communities, and since many posts here are by non homosexuals contesting Baha’i laws on behalf of homosexuals, I would be grateful to have first-hand views.”

    You’ve had numerous “first-hand views” both here and on YouTube, as well as on Mavaddat’s blog. None of your “homosexual friends” might consider Baha’i views as discriminating against them, and many Black slaves in the American South as well as women prior to the feminist movement never considered racist or sexist views as discriminating against them either. When one’s consciousness is raised around the issues of heterosexism and homophobia, one’s awareness grows as does one’s commitment to take action against all forms of discrimination.

    “In the time of Jesus or of Abdu’l-Baha, only personal means of charity were available.”

    This is simply not true. It is ahistorical in the extreme. Study the historical antecedents of state sponsorship in Byzantine (Imperial) Christianity or the role of public services under the various Islamic Caliphates. There is simply no historical warrant for your assertion that “only personal means of charity were available” in the time of Jesus or Abdu’l-Baha.

  • farhan

    Mavaddat writes:
    “So again, I think that what is at stake here is how change is going to happen. We all have our different opinions and the most honest and consistent way, in essence, is what I think we are trying to work out in this discussion.

    Mavaddat, thanks for this comprehensive post and for considering me as “faithful”

    To be perfectly honest, if the UHJ decided to legalise same-sex marriages and open its membership to women, on the basis of quotes I provided from Abdu’l-Baha claiming that He would be the first to abide by the ruling of that institution, I would be more comfortable in this and other discussions. My purpose is not to make myself comfortable, but to better understand the teachings.

    I firmly believe, that Divine Revelation _precedes_ social science. As an example, when the Quran spoke of the movements of the planets, the astronomers of that time made fun and these passages of the Quran were dissimulated until modern astronomy was discovered. The early Baha’is accepted ideas such as equality of genders, world economy and world unity at a time when these ideas were contrary to science and reason.

    What I would now like to ask you is if the UHJ accepted to introduce same-sex marriages, how would you apply this principle to the world when various civil laws have different opinions on this?

    You might be shocked by the comparison with incest, and so am I; but when I see a whole family come into court to defend an incestuous father (who was the bread winner!), asking for his release, on the grounds that it is culturally acceptable to them, condoned by the mother, accepted by the children, then you wonder on what grounds you are introducing values into a society that has other values and sending the bread winner to jail.

    I most certainly would not compare homosexuality between consenting adults to incest, any more than you would, because we belong to similar cultures. But if incest takes place between adults that truly love each other? What would civil laws do?

    Do you realise what would take place in Iran, in a country that persecutes Baha’is as “impure” beacause men and women meet and pray together, if it were announced that Baha’is were now condoning same-sex marriages?

    So considering these points, if you were elected to the UHJ, if you were responsible for the moral standards of the world on which societies are established, which reforms would you suggest? For which part of the world ? What kind of a world society would you seek to advance (if at all) ?

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Mavaddat writes:
    “So again, I think that what is at stake here is how change is going to happen. We all have our different opinions and the most honest and consistent way, in essence, is what I think we are trying to work out in this discussion.

    Mavaddat, thanks for this comprehensive post and for considering me as “faithful”

    To be perfectly honest, if the UHJ decided to legalise same-sex marriages and open its membership to women, on the basis of quotes I provided from Abdu’l-Baha claiming that He would be the first to abide by the ruling of that institution, I would be more comfortable in this and other discussions. My purpose is not to make myself comfortable, but to better understand the teachings.

    I firmly believe, that Divine Revelation _precedes_ social science. As an example, when the Quran spoke of the movements of the planets, the astronomers of that time made fun and these passages of the Quran were dissimulated until modern astronomy was discovered. The early Baha’is accepted ideas such as equality of genders, world economy and world unity at a time when these ideas were contrary to science and reason.

    What I would now like to ask you is if the UHJ accepted to introduce same-sex marriages, how would you apply this principle to the world when various civil laws have different opinions on this?

    You might be shocked by the comparison with incest, and so am I; but when I see a whole family come into court to defend an incestuous father (who was the bread winner!), asking for his release, on the grounds that it is culturally acceptable to them, condoned by the mother, accepted by the children, then you wonder on what grounds you are introducing values into a society that has other values and sending the bread winner to jail.

    I most certainly would not compare homosexuality between consenting adults to incest, any more than you would, because we belong to similar cultures. But if incest takes place between adults that truly love each other? What would civil laws do?

    Do you realise what would take place in Iran, in a country that persecutes Baha’is as “impure” beacause men and women meet and pray together, if it were announced that Baha’is were now condoning same-sex marriages?

    So considering these points, if you were elected to the UHJ, if you were responsible for the moral standards of the world on which societies are established, which reforms would you suggest? For which part of the world ? What kind of a world society would you seek to advance (if at all) ?

  • farhan

    Andrew wrote:
    “There is simply no historical warrant for your assertion that ?only personal means of charity were available? in the time of Jesus or Abdu’l-Baha.”

    Yes Andrew, I agree; i was just considering as “personnal” the volontary contributions and comparing them to NGO’s, UNESCO, WHO, etc etc who promote more just societies where personnal charity will no longer be necessary to provide the essentials of life: 5% of the armement budget could do this.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Andrew wrote:
    “There is simply no historical warrant for your assertion that ?only personal means of charity were available? in the time of Jesus or Abdu’l-Baha.”

    Yes Andrew, I agree; i was just considering as “personnal” the volontary contributions and comparing them to NGO’s, UNESCO, WHO, etc etc who promote more just societies where personnal charity will no longer be necessary to provide the essentials of life: 5% of the armement budget could do this.

  • Andrew

    F. Yazdani wrote:

    “5% of the armament budget could do this.”

    We agree! Farhan and I actually agree on something!

    “As an example, when the Quran spoke of the movements of the planets, the astronomers of that time made fun and these passages of the Quran were dissimulated until modern astronomy was discovered.”

    Huh? Which astronomers of that time? Ptolemaeus and Hipparchus were writing about “the movements of the planets” hundreds of years before the Quran was written.

    “The early Baha’is accepted ideas such as equality of genders, world economy and world unity at a time when these ideas were contrary to science and reason.”

    Again, not true. Feminism, abolitionism, the suffragist movement and many other social movements that pre-date the Baha’i faith are all indebted to the Enlightenment period in the West, which was a major societal shift toward science and reason. One might also look to the rationalism of the Mutazilite movement in Islam. World economy and world unity ideas pre-dated Baha’u’llah as well; I have referred to the neo-Sufi concepts of Shah Wali-Ullah elsewhere on this forum. There is nothing new in Baha’u’llah, with the notable exception of his ability to synthesize various ideas current in his time, such as linking the equality of the sexes with the ideal of world unity. He was a synthesizer rather than an originator, even though he made rather a hash of it all. His current representatives are (in my opinion) just completely unhinged.

    “To be perfectly honest, if the UHJ decided to legalise same-sex marriages and open its membership to women, on the basis of quotes I provided from Abdu’l-Baha claiming that He would be the first to abide by the ruling of that institution, I would be more comfortable in this and other discussions.”

    To me, this is highly problematic, because it denotes religious totalitarianism, which is my chief objection against the Baha’i faith. If the UHJ decided to legalize the murder of gay men and lesbians and open its membership to psychotic killers, then you (presumably?) would be comfortable with that, because one must not question the decisions of the UHJ.

    On the upside, the UHJ could legalise same-sex marriage. Yes, it is possible. No, it is not probable. Yes, the UHJ is free to do as it will with regard to legislation. But no, it won’t, because it is unlikely in the extreme ever to do so. There has been so much anti-gay rhetoric and behavior in the Baha’i faith over the years that I believe the UHJ is “conceptually and paradigmatically invested” in maintaining its current position, just as is the Roman Catholic Church, for example. They could change, but they won’t, and the more they consider the possibility, the less likely they are to do so. It would take a sea-change of enormous proportions for the UHJ or the Catholic Church to alter their current positions; I don’t think they have the capacity to do so. They’re stuck, like flies trapped in a spider’s web of their own choosing, regurgitating the same meal over and over again.

  • Andrew

    F. Yazdani wrote:

    “5% of the armament budget could do this.”

    We agree! Farhan and I actually agree on something!

    “As an example, when the Quran spoke of the movements of the planets, the astronomers of that time made fun and these passages of the Quran were dissimulated until modern astronomy was discovered.”

    Huh? Which astronomers of that time? Ptolemaeus and Hipparchus were writing about “the movements of the planets” hundreds of years before the Quran was written.

    “The early Baha’is accepted ideas such as equality of genders, world economy and world unity at a time when these ideas were contrary to science and reason.”

    Again, not true. Feminism, abolitionism, the suffragist movement and many other social movements that pre-date the Baha’i faith are all indebted to the Enlightenment period in the West, which was a major societal shift toward science and reason. One might also look to the rationalism of the Mutazilite movement in Islam. World economy and world unity ideas pre-dated Baha’u’llah as well; I have referred to the neo-Sufi concepts of Shah Wali-Ullah elsewhere on this forum. There is nothing new in Baha’u’llah, with the notable exception of his ability to synthesize various ideas current in his time, such as linking the equality of the sexes with the ideal of world unity. He was a synthesizer rather than an originator, even though he made rather a hash of it all. His current representatives are (in my opinion) just completely unhinged.

    “To be perfectly honest, if the UHJ decided to legalise same-sex marriages and open its membership to women, on the basis of quotes I provided from Abdu’l-Baha claiming that He would be the first to abide by the ruling of that institution, I would be more comfortable in this and other discussions.”

    To me, this is highly problematic, because it denotes religious totalitarianism, which is my chief objection against the Baha’i faith. If the UHJ decided to legalize the murder of gay men and lesbians and open its membership to psychotic killers, then you (presumably?) would be comfortable with that, because one must not question the decisions of the UHJ.

    On the upside, the UHJ could legalise same-sex marriage. Yes, it is possible. No, it is not probable. Yes, the UHJ is free to do as it will with regard to legislation. But no, it won’t, because it is unlikely in the extreme ever to do so. There has been so much anti-gay rhetoric and behavior in the Baha’i faith over the years that I believe the UHJ is “conceptually and paradigmatically invested” in maintaining its current position, just as is the Roman Catholic Church, for example. They could change, but they won’t, and the more they consider the possibility, the less likely they are to do so. It would take a sea-change of enormous proportions for the UHJ or the Catholic Church to alter their current positions; I don’t think they have the capacity to do so. They’re stuck, like flies trapped in a spider’s web of their own choosing, regurgitating the same meal over and over again.

  • farhan

    Andrew wrote :
    « Huh? Which astronomers of that time? Ptolemaeus and Hipparchus were writing about “the movements of the planets” hundreds of years before the Quran was written. »

    The geocentric theory of Potolemaeus was universally accepted and the heliocentric theory defended Aristarcus and the Quran was rejected up to the 16th century when Copernicus presented the heliocentric system, later elaborated by Kepler and defended by Galileo against a major religious opposition.

    Andrew writes:
    ?Again, not true. Feminism, abolitionism, the suffragist movement and many other social movements that pre-date the Baha’i faith are all indebted to the Enlightenment period in the West?

    This exactly why these ideas were rejected in Iran as ?impure? and the early Babis and Baha’is accepted them and bore persecution for them because of their religious beliefs.

    Andrew writes:
    ?If the UHJ decided to legalize the murder of gay men and lesbians and open its membership to psychotic killers, then you (presumably?) would be comfortable with that,

    No, I would retract from the Faith and abide by the civil laws of wherever I lived.

    Andrew writes:
    They’re stuck, like flies trapped in a spider’s web of their own choosing, regurgitating the same meal over and over again.

    I believe that have the capacity to adapt :
    “Such is the immutability of His revealed Word. Such is the elasticity which characterizes the functions of His appointed ministers. The first preserves the identity of His Faith, and guards the integrity of His law. The second enables it, even as a living organism, to expand and adapt itself to the needs and requirements of an ever-changing society. (Shoghi Effendi, WOB)

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Andrew wrote :
    « Huh? Which astronomers of that time? Ptolemaeus and Hipparchus were writing about “the movements of the planets” hundreds of years before the Quran was written. »

    The geocentric theory of Potolemaeus was universally accepted and the heliocentric theory defended Aristarcus and the Quran was rejected up to the 16th century when Copernicus presented the heliocentric system, later elaborated by Kepler and defended by Galileo against a major religious opposition.

    Andrew writes:
    ?Again, not true. Feminism, abolitionism, the suffragist movement and many other social movements that pre-date the Baha’i faith are all indebted to the Enlightenment period in the West?

    This exactly why these ideas were rejected in Iran as ?impure? and the early Babis and Baha’is accepted them and bore persecution for them because of their religious beliefs.

    Andrew writes:
    ?If the UHJ decided to legalize the murder of gay men and lesbians and open its membership to psychotic killers, then you (presumably?) would be comfortable with that,

    No, I would retract from the Faith and abide by the civil laws of wherever I lived.

    Andrew writes:
    They’re stuck, like flies trapped in a spider’s web of their own choosing, regurgitating the same meal over and over again.

    I believe that have the capacity to adapt :
    “Such is the immutability of His revealed Word. Such is the elasticity which characterizes the functions of His appointed ministers. The first preserves the identity of His Faith, and guards the integrity of His law. The second enables it, even as a living organism, to expand and adapt itself to the needs and requirements of an ever-changing society. (Shoghi Effendi, WOB)

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Farhan,
    You wrote:
    “Do you realise what would take place in Iran, in a country that persecutes Baha’is as ?impure? beacause men and women meet and pray together, if it were announced that Baha’is were now condoning same-sex marriages?”

    Do YOU realize what IS TAKING PLACE in Iran and all over the world where LGBTQI individuals are killed and tortured for their sexuality on a daily basis? Is a Persian Baha’is life more valuable somehow than a homosexuals? Than an Iranian homosexuals? Are you aware that there are gay Persian Baha’is who are in double-jeapordy, at risk for governmental persecution on 2 counts: for being gay AND Baha’i, who then risk persecution WITHIN the Baha’i community?

    HOW IN THE WORLD can you justify even ASKING this question, Farhan? Is the physical welfare of the Persian Baha’i community of a higher value than the PHYSICAL WELFARE of of Iranian gays who are currently tortured and killed by Iranian law? HOW can you morally let yourself even ask this question? Aren’t Baha’is supposed to be “anxiously concerned” with the needs of the age in which they live? Wouldn’t ANY moral human being intervene directly in such injustices? Wouldn’t they?

    Shouldn’t the Baha’i community- ESPECIALLY the PERSIAN community, have grown MORE wise and MORE courageous in defending the rights of those who are arbitrarily persecuted based on prejudice? Haven’t Baha’is UTTERLY FAILED THE SPIRITUAL LESSON of their own persecution as Baha’is if they then “pay it forward” and discriminate in turn? It is VERY shaky moral ground to demand justice for yourself and advocate denying it to others. It is cowardly and PATHETIC. Absolutely, unequivocally PATHETIC. It renders the entire moral integrity of the Baha’i community IMPOTENT. It vitiates every high ideal in the Writings. It should be a cause of great shame to Baha’is. This inconsistency HAPPENS to be why the current use of “apostasy” lingo WITHIN the Baha’i community is SO abhorrent. How can Baha’is complain to the international community of being called apostates in Iran and then turn around and call half the people on this blog apostates?

    Grow up, Baha’i community.

    I will reply to your latest “spirital handicap” comment separately.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Farhan,
    You wrote:
    “Do you realise what would take place in Iran, in a country that persecutes Baha’is as ?impure? beacause men and women meet and pray together, if it were announced that Baha’is were now condoning same-sex marriages?”

    Do YOU realize what IS TAKING PLACE in Iran and all over the world where LGBTQI individuals are killed and tortured for their sexuality on a daily basis? Is a Persian Baha’is life more valuable somehow than a homosexuals? Than an Iranian homosexuals? Are you aware that there are gay Persian Baha’is who are in double-jeapordy, at risk for governmental persecution on 2 counts: for being gay AND Baha’i, who then risk persecution WITHIN the Baha’i community?

    HOW IN THE WORLD can you justify even ASKING this question, Farhan? Is the physical welfare of the Persian Baha’i community of a higher value than the PHYSICAL WELFARE of of Iranian gays who are currently tortured and killed by Iranian law? HOW can you morally let yourself even ask this question? Aren’t Baha’is supposed to be “anxiously concerned” with the needs of the age in which they live? Wouldn’t ANY moral human being intervene directly in such injustices? Wouldn’t they?

    Shouldn’t the Baha’i community- ESPECIALLY the PERSIAN community, have grown MORE wise and MORE courageous in defending the rights of those who are arbitrarily persecuted based on prejudice? Haven’t Baha’is UTTERLY FAILED THE SPIRITUAL LESSON of their own persecution as Baha’is if they then “pay it forward” and discriminate in turn? It is VERY shaky moral ground to demand justice for yourself and advocate denying it to others. It is cowardly and PATHETIC. Absolutely, unequivocally PATHETIC. It renders the entire moral integrity of the Baha’i community IMPOTENT. It vitiates every high ideal in the Writings. It should be a cause of great shame to Baha’is. This inconsistency HAPPENS to be why the current use of “apostasy” lingo WITHIN the Baha’i community is SO abhorrent. How can Baha’is complain to the international community of being called apostates in Iran and then turn around and call half the people on this blog apostates?

    Grow up, Baha’i community.

    I will reply to your latest “spirital handicap” comment separately.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Farhan,

    You wrote:
    “saying that a soul can overcome a physical, mental or social handicap or saying that a soul is itself handicapped might mean the same to you, but I assure you that a close study of the writings show that the soul is above the impairments of the body and the mind. Hence a soul hindered in its expressions by physical or mental impairment can overcome these obstacles and manifest itself in other ways.

    I do agree with all the quotes Mavaddat has provided, but to me saying someone ?is afflicted by a spiritual disease? or is ?spiritually handicapped? is not a correct interpretation of the witings I have seen up to now.

    By interpreting the writings in this way you are adding distress to homosexuals.”

    You also wrote to Beth:

    ?As far as I am concerned (or my homosexual friends are concerned), being told that I have a « spiritual disease », or that my soul is « handicapped » or that I am spiritually « condemned » would be more much more offensive to me than being told that my soul is a noble creation that is obstructed in its expression in my mind and body, or that my behaviour impairs my spiritual growth.?

    This is a very interesting response. Your first point, that the Baha’i writings specifically talk about disease as NOT effecting the soul is quite true:

    “Know thou that the soul of man is exalted above, and is independent of all infirmities of body or mind. That a sick person showeth signs of weakness is due to the hindrances that interpose themselves between his soul and his body, for the soul itself remaineth unaffected by any bodily ailments. Consider the light of the lamp. Though an external object may interfere with its radiance, the light itself continueth to shine with undiminished power. In like manner, every malady afflicting the body of man is an impediment that preventeth the soul from manifesting its inherent might and power. When it leaveth the body, however, it will evince such ascendancy, and reveal such influence as no force on earth can equal. Every pure, every refined and sanctified soul will be endowed with tremendous power, and shall rejoice with exceeding gladness.
    (“Gleanings from the Writings of Bah??’u’ll??h”, rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bah??’? Publishing Trust, 1983), sec. 80, pp. 153-54)”

    I am grateful to you for pointing this out. Especially this part, “for the soul itself remaineth unaffected by any bodily ailments.” This is a clear statement by Baha’u’llah that ailments residing in the PHYSICAL plane do not effect the soul.

    But what is the Baha’i topography of a person, exactly? What and where is the body located? What and where is the soul? How are they connected? Disconnected? What does that imply for the goals of a Baha’i who is interested in furthering her health physically or spiritually? (This question is one I am generally obsessed with cross-culturally. This is my particular niche in the fabulous geeked out world of medical anthropology.)

    I am so glad you pointed this very important Baha’i teaching out, Farhan. Not only because it speaks to a Baha’i “mapping” of the body spatially in relationship to the soul, but because it points to a very clear tension within the Baha’i writings regarding illness. That tension is this: Baha’u’llah said physical ailments do NOT impact the soul at all, and then the later Haifan Baha’i authoritative texts specifically label homosexuality as a “handicap,” “affliction,” and “disability.” They instruct homosexuals to follow the Baha’i medical model and seek medical and psychological treatment for their homosexuality (in addition to using prayer.) So where does that “locate” the “handicap?” Body, or spirit? Now, if the texts stopped there, you would be 100% right. That would make the Baha’i position clearly one of “homosexuality is an ailment of the body, it does not effect the soul, and can be thoroughly treated by doctors.” BUT…that’s not where the texts stop, is it? NO. That’s not even where the texts BEGAN. The 2 references that Baha’u’llah made that have been used as the justification for the official Haifan Bah??’? stance on homosexuality are paragraph 107 in the Kitab-I-Aqdas, where Baha’u’llah shrinks from shame at the mention of paederasty, and then a banning of ?sodomy? quoted by the UHJ in the letter written on their behalf to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, Sept. 11, 1995; published in “The American Baha’i”, Qawl 152 BE/Nov. 23, 1995, p 11. Here is the text of that paragraph:

    ?Ye are forbidden to commit adultery, sodomy and lechery. Avoid them, O concourse of the faithful. By the righteousness of God! Ye have been called into being to purge the world from the defilement of evil passions. This is what the Lord of all mankind hath enjoined upon you, could ye but perceive it. He who relateth himself to the All-Merciful and committeth satanic deeds, verily he is not of Me. Unto this beareth witness every atom, pebble, tree and fruit, and beyond them this ever-proclaiming, truthful and trustworthy Tongue. (From a previously untranslated Tablet)?

    ?Satanic deeds.? Baha’u’llah referred to sodomy as a ?satanic deed.?

    The Haifan succession of the Guardianship and then the AO has taken this statement about sodomy to mean a banning of all homosexual activity. Please read the text of their letter to the NSA of my country for more information. Baha’u’llah didn’t call it an ?unhealthy? deed or a ?symptom? of a physical disease. He called it ?satanic.? I, personally, view that as the first step in characterizing homosexuality as a ?spiritual? problem, regardless of whether or not the ?problem? is seen as a disease/handicap/disability/ailment or not. Whatever kind of problem it is, it is ?satanic.?

    The second step in characterizing it as a ?spiritual? problem, happens here:
    ?Homosexuality, according to the Writings of Bah??’u’ll??h, is spiritually condemned.”
    (On behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual, 21 May 1954; Lights of Guidance, p. 365, #1221)

    Spiritually condemned. Farhan, for the last time, please notice that those words are NOT mine, they are written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi. So, in your future responses to me, I would appreciate you not attributing such homophobic rhetoric to me as it’s author. I am merely QUOTING authoritative Haifan Bah??’? texts, do you understand the difference? Again, you wrote to Beth, ?As far as I am concerned (or my homosexual friends are concerned), being told that I have a « spiritual disease », or that my soul is « handicapped » or that I am spiritually « condemned » would be more much more offensive to me than being told that my soul is a noble creation that is obstructed in its expression in my mind and body, or that my behaviour impairs my spiritual growth.?

    It is really offensive, isn’t it? I am glad that your confusion as to the author of the ?spiritually condemned? passage has allowed you to evaluate the content, or merit of the passage itself, the WORTHINESS of the passage itself, rather than accepting it blindly because of your perception of it’s author.

    Mavaddat and I have provided you with many citations where the authoritative Haifan Bah??’? texts call homosexuality a ?handicap? or ?disability.? So you should not balk at my using that terminology to describe Haifan Bah??’? belief. You are correct that when I say spiritual handicap that I am not quoting anything verbatim. I am using the word ?spiritual? as an adjective to describe the type of problem the writings characterize homosexuality to be. Based on Baha’u’llah’s characterizing it as ?satanic,? and Shoghi Effendi’s ?spiritually condemning? it, I can see no reason why a reasonable and honest person would balk at that. You are right that it is offensive. But it is an accurate depiction of the Haifan Bah??’? scriptural and textual position. You are going to have to focus your eyes and look past me as the messenger and see the message- this is what your religious texts say. No matter how vehemently I disagree with your religious texts, I do not misrepresent them. I ask you to do the same.

    If all of this is not enough for you to acknowledge that your religious texts characterize homosexuality as a spiritual problem, (as well as a physical problem) I will proceed.

    You previously presented the Bah??’? teaching that physical ailments do not effect the soul. You are right, the Bah??’? writings clearly state that. So HOW IS IT that homosexuality can simultaneously be viewed as a handicap requiring medical treatment AND something ?satanic? that effects the soul? Doesn’t that conflict with what Baha’u’llah said about illness? The UHJ addresses this conflict:

    ?The House of Justice was sorry to learn from your letter that your son has recently informed you that he is a homosexual. It commends your attitude of compassion and your efforts to both maintain harmony in your marriage and to keep open the lines of communication to your son. In answer to your specific question, there is little in the Baha’i writings that specifically points to the causes of homosexuality itself, but as the House of Justice has emphasized in past letters to individuals who sought its advice on this question, there is much that concerns the nature of man, his inner life and growth, and the way to a true Baha’i life.? (From a letter on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, July 16, 1980; cited in LG, #1228, p. 367)

    In a Bah??’? cartography of the body and spirit, it wouldn’t matter if homosexuality is determined to be ENTIRELY ?physical? in etiology:

    ?In man there are two natures; his spiritual or higher nature and his material or lower nature. In one he approaches God, in the other he lives for the world alone. Signs of both of these natures are to be found in men…. Every good habit, every noble quality belongs to man’s spiritual nature, whereas all his imperfections and sinful actions are born of his material nature…. But if on the contrary he rejects the things of God and allows his evil passions to conquer him, then he is no better than a mere animal. (`Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 60)

    Then we must labor to destroy the animal condition, till the meaning of humanity shall come to light.(Baha’u’llah, Seven Valleys, p. 34)

    Nature is the material world. When we look upon it, we see that it is dark and imperfect. For instance, if we allow a piece of land to remain in its natural condition, we will find it covered with thorns and thistles; useless weeds and wild vegetation will flourish upon it, and it will become like a jungle….

    If man himself is left in his natural state, he will become lower than the animal and continue to grow more ignorant and imperfect…. If we wish to illumine this dark plane of human existence, we must bring man forth from the hopeless captivity of nature…. But left in his natural condition without education and training, it is certain that he will become more depraved and vicious than the animal….

    God has sent forth the Prophets for the purpose of quickening the soul of man into higher and divine recognitions. He has revealed the heavenly Books for this great purpose…. This divine and ideal power has been bestowed upon man in order that he may purify himself from the imperfections of nature and uplift his soul to the realm of might and power…. The mission of the Prophets of God has been to train the souls of humanity and free them from the thralldom of natural instincts and physical tendencies….

    The conclusion is irresistible that the splendors of the Sun of Truth, the Word of God, have been the source and cause of human upbuilding and civilization. The world of nature is the kingdom of the animal…. It lives under the bondage of nature and nature’s laws….

    This is not the glory of man. The glory of man is in the knowledge of God, spiritual susceptibilities, attainment to transcendent powers and the bounties of the Holy Spirit. The glory of man is in being informed of the teachings of God. This is the glory of humanity…. (`Abdu’l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 308-312)

    Know ye that the embodiment of liberty and its symbol is the animal. That which beseemeth man is submission unto such restraints as will protect him from his own ignorance, and guard him against the harm of the mischief-maker. Liberty causeth man to overstep the bounds of propriety, and to infringe on the dignity of his station. It debaseth him to the level of extreme depravity and wickedness. (Baha’u’llah, Kitab-i-Aqdas, paragraph 123)

    As we have before indicated, this human reality stands between the higher and the lower in man, between the world of the animal and the world of Divinity. When the animal proclivity in man becomes predominant, he sinks even lower than the brute. When the heavenly powers are triumphant in his nature, he becomes the noblest and most superior being in the world of creation. All the imperfections found in the animal are found in man…. So to speak, the reality of man is clad in the outer garment of the animal, the habiliments of the world of nature, the world of darkness, imperfections and unlimited baseness.

    On the other hand, we find in him justice, sincerity, faithfulness, knowledge, wisdom, illumination, mercy and pity, coupled with intellect, comprehension, the power to grasp the realities of things and the ability to penetrate the truths of existence. All these great perfections are to be found in man. Therefore, we say that man is a reality which stands between light and darkness. From this standpoint his nature is threefold: animal, human and divine. The animal nature is darkness; the heavenly is light in light.

    The holy Manifestations of God come into the world to dispel the darkness of the animal, or physical, nature of man, to purify him from his imperfections in order that his heavenly and spiritual nature may become quickened, his divine qualities awakened, his perfections visible, his potential powers revealed and all the virtues of the world of humanity latent within him may come to life….. They liberate man from the darkness of the world of nature, deliver him from despair, error, ignorance, imperfections and all evil qualities….

    These holy Manifestations liberate the world of humanity from the imperfections which beset it and cause men to appear in the beauty of heavenly perfections. Were it not for the coming of these holy Manifestations of God, all mankind would be found on the plane of the animal. They would remain darkened and ignorant like those who have been denied schooling and who never had a teacher or trainer. Undoubtedly, such unfortunates will continue in their condition of need and deprivation. (Promulgation, pp. 465-466)

    Etcetera. So, part of the problem is that SIMPLY HAVING OR BEING a body is spiritually problematic for a Baha’i. Do you see that? The physical realm is seen as having a distinctly IMMORAL element, which must be overcome. How this differs from the doctrine of Original Sin in effect and practice I couldn’t tell you. The point is that in this context, there is something “satanic” about the desires of the body, straight or gay. ?Overcoming? the ?affliction? of even an ENTIRELY genetic or biological homosexuality would be a ?spiritual? pursuit to a Bah??’?. God versus satan. A Century of Light versus a Century of Self.

    So my terminology stands. Spiritual disease.

    What makes this DISCRIMINATORY is that the condemnation of HOMOsexuality versus HETEROsexuality is arbitrary. Straight people only have to fight their sinful animal natures until they marry (unless, of course they want to have anal sex.) Gay people are excluded from the outlet of marriage and maligned for their desires throughout the life cycle.

    Don’t get me wrong, now. I think the very idea of separating the physical from the spiritual is specious. I think dualism has done more harm than good. I’ve blogged about this at length (www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com) I think the Bah??’? teachings about HETEROsexuality are completely screwed up as well. But, I do not think it is RIGHT to call homosexuality a SPIRITUAL disease, or a disease at all. I object to BOTH appellations. It is ridiculous to pit the spirit against the body in any context. Ridiculous and the source of GREAT historical harm. This is a very problematic aspect of Baha’i theology. I, personally, see meaning and matter as entwined. I don’t understand how it works, exactly, but I know it doesn’t work like this. I happen to be an atheist, and I happen to believe that I would be forfeiting my SPIRITUAL obligations, my conscience, my sense of integrity and meaning if I let someone else make my moral decisions for me. I’m a big girl. I have to do that myself. Whether you call yourself a Bah??’? or not, when you look at the content of these texts it is clear that they are immoral and discriminatory.

    So what is the moral thing to do?

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Farhan,

    You wrote:
    “saying that a soul can overcome a physical, mental or social handicap or saying that a soul is itself handicapped might mean the same to you, but I assure you that a close study of the writings show that the soul is above the impairments of the body and the mind. Hence a soul hindered in its expressions by physical or mental impairment can overcome these obstacles and manifest itself in other ways.

    I do agree with all the quotes Mavaddat has provided, but to me saying someone ?is afflicted by a spiritual disease? or is ?spiritually handicapped? is not a correct interpretation of the witings I have seen up to now.

    By interpreting the writings in this way you are adding distress to homosexuals.”

    You also wrote to Beth:

    ?As far as I am concerned (or my homosexual friends are concerned), being told that I have a « spiritual disease », or that my soul is « handicapped » or that I am spiritually « condemned » would be more much more offensive to me than being told that my soul is a noble creation that is obstructed in its expression in my mind and body, or that my behaviour impairs my spiritual growth.?

    This is a very interesting response. Your first point, that the Baha’i writings specifically talk about disease as NOT effecting the soul is quite true:

    “Know thou that the soul of man is exalted above, and is independent of all infirmities of body or mind. That a sick person showeth signs of weakness is due to the hindrances that interpose themselves between his soul and his body, for the soul itself remaineth unaffected by any bodily ailments. Consider the light of the lamp. Though an external object may interfere with its radiance, the light itself continueth to shine with undiminished power. In like manner, every malady afflicting the body of man is an impediment that preventeth the soul from manifesting its inherent might and power. When it leaveth the body, however, it will evince such ascendancy, and reveal such influence as no force on earth can equal. Every pure, every refined and sanctified soul will be endowed with tremendous power, and shall rejoice with exceeding gladness.
    (“Gleanings from the Writings of Bah??’u’ll??h”, rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bah??’? Publishing Trust, 1983), sec. 80, pp. 153-54)”

    I am grateful to you for pointing this out. Especially this part, “for the soul itself remaineth unaffected by any bodily ailments.” This is a clear statement by Baha’u’llah that ailments residing in the PHYSICAL plane do not effect the soul.

    But what is the Baha’i topography of a person, exactly? What and where is the body located? What and where is the soul? How are they connected? Disconnected? What does that imply for the goals of a Baha’i who is interested in furthering her health physically or spiritually? (This question is one I am generally obsessed with cross-culturally. This is my particular niche in the fabulous geeked out world of medical anthropology.)

    I am so glad you pointed this very important Baha’i teaching out, Farhan. Not only because it speaks to a Baha’i “mapping” of the body spatially in relationship to the soul, but because it points to a very clear tension within the Baha’i writings regarding illness. That tension is this: Baha’u’llah said physical ailments do NOT impact the soul at all, and then the later Haifan Baha’i authoritative texts specifically label homosexuality as a “handicap,” “affliction,” and “disability.” They instruct homosexuals to follow the Baha’i medical model and seek medical and psychological treatment for their homosexuality (in addition to using prayer.) So where does that “locate” the “handicap?” Body, or spirit? Now, if the texts stopped there, you would be 100% right. That would make the Baha’i position clearly one of “homosexuality is an ailment of the body, it does not effect the soul, and can be thoroughly treated by doctors.” BUT…that’s not where the texts stop, is it? NO. That’s not even where the texts BEGAN. The 2 references that Baha’u’llah made that have been used as the justification for the official Haifan Bah??’? stance on homosexuality are paragraph 107 in the Kitab-I-Aqdas, where Baha’u’llah shrinks from shame at the mention of paederasty, and then a banning of ?sodomy? quoted by the UHJ in the letter written on their behalf to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, Sept. 11, 1995; published in “The American Baha’i”, Qawl 152 BE/Nov. 23, 1995, p 11. Here is the text of that paragraph:

    ?Ye are forbidden to commit adultery, sodomy and lechery. Avoid them, O concourse of the faithful. By the righteousness of God! Ye have been called into being to purge the world from the defilement of evil passions. This is what the Lord of all mankind hath enjoined upon you, could ye but perceive it. He who relateth himself to the All-Merciful and committeth satanic deeds, verily he is not of Me. Unto this beareth witness every atom, pebble, tree and fruit, and beyond them this ever-proclaiming, truthful and trustworthy Tongue. (From a previously untranslated Tablet)?

    ?Satanic deeds.? Baha’u’llah referred to sodomy as a ?satanic deed.?

    The Haifan succession of the Guardianship and then the AO has taken this statement about sodomy to mean a banning of all homosexual activity. Please read the text of their letter to the NSA of my country for more information. Baha’u’llah didn’t call it an ?unhealthy? deed or a ?symptom? of a physical disease. He called it ?satanic.? I, personally, view that as the first step in characterizing homosexuality as a ?spiritual? problem, regardless of whether or not the ?problem? is seen as a disease/handicap/disability/ailment or not. Whatever kind of problem it is, it is ?satanic.?

    The second step in characterizing it as a ?spiritual? problem, happens here:
    ?Homosexuality, according to the Writings of Bah??’u’ll??h, is spiritually condemned.”
    (On behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual, 21 May 1954; Lights of Guidance, p. 365, #1221)

    Spiritually condemned. Farhan, for the last time, please notice that those words are NOT mine, they are written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi. So, in your future responses to me, I would appreciate you not attributing such homophobic rhetoric to me as it’s author. I am merely QUOTING authoritative Haifan Bah??’? texts, do you understand the difference? Again, you wrote to Beth, ?As far as I am concerned (or my homosexual friends are concerned), being told that I have a « spiritual disease », or that my soul is « handicapped » or that I am spiritually « condemned » would be more much more offensive to me than being told that my soul is a noble creation that is obstructed in its expression in my mind and body, or that my behaviour impairs my spiritual growth.?

    It is really offensive, isn’t it? I am glad that your confusion as to the author of the ?spiritually condemned? passage has allowed you to evaluate the content, or merit of the passage itself, the WORTHINESS of the passage itself, rather than accepting it blindly because of your perception of it’s author.

    Mavaddat and I have provided you with many citations where the authoritative Haifan Bah??’? texts call homosexuality a ?handicap? or ?disability.? So you should not balk at my using that terminology to describe Haifan Bah??’? belief. You are correct that when I say spiritual handicap that I am not quoting anything verbatim. I am using the word ?spiritual? as an adjective to describe the type of problem the writings characterize homosexuality to be. Based on Baha’u’llah’s characterizing it as ?satanic,? and Shoghi Effendi’s ?spiritually condemning? it, I can see no reason why a reasonable and honest person would balk at that. You are right that it is offensive. But it is an accurate depiction of the Haifan Bah??’? scriptural and textual position. You are going to have to focus your eyes and look past me as the messenger and see the message- this is what your religious texts say. No matter how vehemently I disagree with your religious texts, I do not misrepresent them. I ask you to do the same.

    If all of this is not enough for you to acknowledge that your religious texts characterize homosexuality as a spiritual problem, (as well as a physical problem) I will proceed.

    You previously presented the Bah??’? teaching that physical ailments do not effect the soul. You are right, the Bah??’? writings clearly state that. So HOW IS IT that homosexuality can simultaneously be viewed as a handicap requiring medical treatment AND something ?satanic? that effects the soul? Doesn’t that conflict with what Baha’u’llah said about illness? The UHJ addresses this conflict:

    ?The House of Justice was sorry to learn from your letter that your son has recently informed you that he is a homosexual. It commends your attitude of compassion and your efforts to both maintain harmony in your marriage and to keep open the lines of communication to your son. In answer to your specific question, there is little in the Baha’i writings that specifically points to the causes of homosexuality itself, but as the House of Justice has emphasized in past letters to individuals who sought its advice on this question, there is much that concerns the nature of man, his inner life and growth, and the way to a true Baha’i life.? (From a letter on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, July 16, 1980; cited in LG, #1228, p. 367)

    In a Bah??’? cartography of the body and spirit, it wouldn’t matter if homosexuality is determined to be ENTIRELY ?physical? in etiology:

    ?In man there are two natures; his spiritual or higher nature and his material or lower nature. In one he approaches God, in the other he lives for the world alone. Signs of both of these natures are to be found in men…. Every good habit, every noble quality belongs to man’s spiritual nature, whereas all his imperfections and sinful actions are born of his material nature…. But if on the contrary he rejects the things of God and allows his evil passions to conquer him, then he is no better than a mere animal. (`Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 60)

    Then we must labor to destroy the animal condition, till the meaning of humanity shall come to light.(Baha’u’llah, Seven Valleys, p. 34)

    Nature is the material world. When we look upon it, we see that it is dark and imperfect. For instance, if we allow a piece of land to remain in its natural condition, we will find it covered with thorns and thistles; useless weeds and wild vegetation will flourish upon it, and it will become like a jungle….

    If man himself is left in his natural state, he will become lower than the animal and continue to grow more ignorant and imperfect…. If we wish to illumine this dark plane of human existence, we must bring man forth from the hopeless captivity of nature…. But left in his natural condition without education and training, it is certain that he will become more depraved and vicious than the animal….

    God has sent forth the Prophets for the purpose of quickening the soul of man into higher and divine recognitions. He has revealed the heavenly Books for this great purpose…. This divine and ideal power has been bestowed upon man in order that he may purify himself from the imperfections of nature and uplift his soul to the realm of might and power…. The mission of the Prophets of God has been to train the souls of humanity and free them from the thralldom of natural instincts and physical tendencies….

    The conclusion is irresistible that the splendors of the Sun of Truth, the Word of God, have been the source and cause of human upbuilding and civilization. The world of nature is the kingdom of the animal…. It lives under the bondage of nature and nature’s laws….

    This is not the glory of man. The glory of man is in the knowledge of God, spiritual susceptibilities, attainment to transcendent powers and the bounties of the Holy Spirit. The glory of man is in being informed of the teachings of God. This is the glory of humanity…. (`Abdu’l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 308-312)

    Know ye that the embodiment of liberty and its symbol is the animal. That which beseemeth man is submission unto such restraints as will protect him from his own ignorance, and guard him against the harm of the mischief-maker. Liberty causeth man to overstep the bounds of propriety, and to infringe on the dignity of his station. It debaseth him to the level of extreme depravity and wickedness. (Baha’u’llah, Kitab-i-Aqdas, paragraph 123)

    As we have before indicated, this human reality stands between the higher and the lower in man, between the world of the animal and the world of Divinity. When the animal proclivity in man becomes predominant, he sinks even lower than the brute. When the heavenly powers are triumphant in his nature, he becomes the noblest and most superior being in the world of creation. All the imperfections found in the animal are found in man…. So to speak, the reality of man is clad in the outer garment of the animal, the habiliments of the world of nature, the world of darkness, imperfections and unlimited baseness.

    On the other hand, we find in him justice, sincerity, faithfulness, knowledge, wisdom, illumination, mercy and pity, coupled with intellect, comprehension, the power to grasp the realities of things and the ability to penetrate the truths of existence. All these great perfections are to be found in man. Therefore, we say that man is a reality which stands between light and darkness. From this standpoint his nature is threefold: animal, human and divine. The animal nature is darkness; the heavenly is light in light.

    The holy Manifestations of God come into the world to dispel the darkness of the animal, or physical, nature of man, to purify him from his imperfections in order that his heavenly and spiritual nature may become quickened, his divine qualities awakened, his perfections visible, his potential powers revealed and all the virtues of the world of humanity latent within him may come to life….. They liberate man from the darkness of the world of nature, deliver him from despair, error, ignorance, imperfections and all evil qualities….

    These holy Manifestations liberate the world of humanity from the imperfections which beset it and cause men to appear in the beauty of heavenly perfections. Were it not for the coming of these holy Manifestations of God, all mankind would be found on the plane of the animal. They would remain darkened and ignorant like those who have been denied schooling and who never had a teacher or trainer. Undoubtedly, such unfortunates will continue in their condition of need and deprivation. (Promulgation, pp. 465-466)

    Etcetera. So, part of the problem is that SIMPLY HAVING OR BEING a body is spiritually problematic for a Baha’i. Do you see that? The physical realm is seen as having a distinctly IMMORAL element, which must be overcome. How this differs from the doctrine of Original Sin in effect and practice I couldn’t tell you. The point is that in this context, there is something “satanic” about the desires of the body, straight or gay. ?Overcoming? the ?affliction? of even an ENTIRELY genetic or biological homosexuality would be a ?spiritual? pursuit to a Bah??’?. God versus satan. A Century of Light versus a Century of Self.

    So my terminology stands. Spiritual disease.

    What makes this DISCRIMINATORY is that the condemnation of HOMOsexuality versus HETEROsexuality is arbitrary. Straight people only have to fight their sinful animal natures until they marry (unless, of course they want to have anal sex.) Gay people are excluded from the outlet of marriage and maligned for their desires throughout the life cycle.

    Don’t get me wrong, now. I think the very idea of separating the physical from the spiritual is specious. I think dualism has done more harm than good. I’ve blogged about this at length (www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com) I think the Bah??’? teachings about HETEROsexuality are completely screwed up as well. But, I do not think it is RIGHT to call homosexuality a SPIRITUAL disease, or a disease at all. I object to BOTH appellations. It is ridiculous to pit the spirit against the body in any context. Ridiculous and the source of GREAT historical harm. This is a very problematic aspect of Baha’i theology. I, personally, see meaning and matter as entwined. I don’t understand how it works, exactly, but I know it doesn’t work like this. I happen to be an atheist, and I happen to believe that I would be forfeiting my SPIRITUAL obligations, my conscience, my sense of integrity and meaning if I let someone else make my moral decisions for me. I’m a big girl. I have to do that myself. Whether you call yourself a Bah??’? or not, when you look at the content of these texts it is clear that they are immoral and discriminatory.

    So what is the moral thing to do?

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Madasarat (this is fun!),

    [quote]Despite appearances, I’m actually not trying to advertise my beliefs (what beliefs would those be?).[/quote]

    I said that I probably wasn’t a good advertisment for what I believed in.

    [quote]…however, when you make these accusations with no actual reasoning, but just assert them superficially, they come across as something like a debater’s trick…[/quote]

    It’s just an impression I got. As I said, it’s no biggie. And I agree that it likely says more about me than about you.

    [quote]Would you really choose what you believe to be true based on who is the ?nicer guy??[/quote]

    No. Feeling like siding with someone is not the same as choosing to believe what they say to be true. Besides, I’m an introvert. Friendship is not a big influence on my beliefs and I soon get bored with people who agree with my views.

    [quote]I sincerely hope you will leave this bickering and join me in the topic at hand, as I will now do too.[/quote]

    What, and waste all my responses so far? I’ll start tomorrow, OK? :-)

    [quote]What does it mean to say that there are contradictions and inconsistencies in the material world? I mean, in what sense can contradiction actually exist independent of human thought? It seems that what you want to say is that human thinking, in going about reasoning in a sloppy manner, arrives at contradictions and inconsistencies. After all, aren’t the inconsistencies merely in our heads and not actually ?in nature?, so to speak? But this would seem to suggest that the contradictions aren’t in the material world at all; but rather, that they arrive in our transcending the material world — the exact opposite of the conclusion you were driving for![/quote]

    I think you’ve provided an excellent example of the kingdom of names. (Remember, this is speculative stuff – not a lot hangs on it) Here we are, in the kingdom of names, coming up against the limits of language. Do we dig into semiotics to unravel that, or do we try to transcend the limitations of sign-systems in some other way? Tomorrow, I’ll start. I promise.

    [quote]Surely you don’t think that Bah??’u’ll??h defines all-knowing in any objectively true sense, do you Steve?[/quote]

    As I said, I’m getting into some speculative stuff with these concepts. Perhaps it will help you to imagine that I’m playing with these ideas, but haven’t necessarily adopted them. Short answer: No.

    [quote]It is clear that you are begging the question. Why did you choose that Bah??’u’ll??h to represent ?God?? Why not Elvis or Ghandi? Why not anyone else?[/quote]

    First, very few people get to the point of seriously considering anyone else to be the measure. I probably wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near, but my wife does seriously consider Baha’u’llah to be the measure …and I’ve been influenced by that. OK, maybe I am influenced by nice people!

    So the question probably is, why do a few people get to the point of choosing someone to be the measure, and what determines that choice. I’d love to see Barry Smith’s Jesus in Montana because that may help me get a new perspective on the process. My guess is that such people eventually get to the point where they feel the person answers all their questions. If Elvis does the business for someone, then why not Elvis? Baha’u’llah can’t sing that good, anyway.

    [quote]It could have just as easily been in the crazy guy on the back of the bus, if only you had been faced with his claim to be representing God first![/quote]

    Except that, if my past behaviour is anything to go by, I would have had to go through a decades-long process of getting to know said crazy guy and his claims in order to internalise them. The more challenging claims, like “I’m the measure” would only have started sinking in after a few decades of other work. By which time, I’ve probably would have reached my stop, got off the bus and never seen the crazy guy again. My loss.

    [quote]If you were familiar with these quotations, then why didn’t you expect to see details of Bah??’u’ll??h’s succession in his ?Tablet of the Branch??[/quote]

    I said the quotes weren’t new to me, not that I was familiar with them. I guess I also expect to see succession stuff in a will and testament.

    [quote]How are we to understand Bah??’u’ll??h’s predication of infallibility to ?Abdu’l-Bah?? here? Do you not agree that he is talking about ?Abdu’l-Bah??? If not, who do you think he means to refer to by the phrase ?the Branch of Holiness? that ?hath branched from the Sadratu’l-Muntaha?? Could you please explain this to us, Steve?[/quote]

    Beyond “head of the faith and pretty darn special”? No, that’s about as far as I can go in explaining what that quote means to me.

    [quote]And also, how are we to understand ?Abdu’l-Bah??’s own description of his station?[/quote]

    What we’re examining is the authority to infallibly interpret that Baha’u’llah conferred on ‘Abdu’l-Baha, so that’s another story for another day.

    cheers
    Steve

    p.s. Thank you, Baquia, for tidying up my broken mark-up in earlier posts. Any chance of a preview facility?

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Madasarat (this is fun!),

    [quote]Despite appearances, I’m actually not trying to advertise my beliefs (what beliefs would those be?).[/quote]

    I said that I probably wasn’t a good advertisment for what I believed in.

    [quote]…however, when you make these accusations with no actual reasoning, but just assert them superficially, they come across as something like a debater’s trick…[/quote]

    It’s just an impression I got. As I said, it’s no biggie. And I agree that it likely says more about me than about you.

    [quote]Would you really choose what you believe to be true based on who is the ?nicer guy??[/quote]

    No. Feeling like siding with someone is not the same as choosing to believe what they say to be true. Besides, I’m an introvert. Friendship is not a big influence on my beliefs and I soon get bored with people who agree with my views.

    [quote]I sincerely hope you will leave this bickering and join me in the topic at hand, as I will now do too.[/quote]

    What, and waste all my responses so far? I’ll start tomorrow, OK? :-)

    [quote]What does it mean to say that there are contradictions and inconsistencies in the material world? I mean, in what sense can contradiction actually exist independent of human thought? It seems that what you want to say is that human thinking, in going about reasoning in a sloppy manner, arrives at contradictions and inconsistencies. After all, aren’t the inconsistencies merely in our heads and not actually ?in nature?, so to speak? But this would seem to suggest that the contradictions aren’t in the material world at all; but rather, that they arrive in our transcending the material world — the exact opposite of the conclusion you were driving for![/quote]

    I think you’ve provided an excellent example of the kingdom of names. (Remember, this is speculative stuff – not a lot hangs on it) Here we are, in the kingdom of names, coming up against the limits of language. Do we dig into semiotics to unravel that, or do we try to transcend the limitations of sign-systems in some other way? Tomorrow, I’ll start. I promise.

    [quote]Surely you don’t think that Bah??’u’ll??h defines all-knowing in any objectively true sense, do you Steve?[/quote]

    As I said, I’m getting into some speculative stuff with these concepts. Perhaps it will help you to imagine that I’m playing with these ideas, but haven’t necessarily adopted them. Short answer: No.

    [quote]It is clear that you are begging the question. Why did you choose that Bah??’u’ll??h to represent ?God?? Why not Elvis or Ghandi? Why not anyone else?[/quote]

    First, very few people get to the point of seriously considering anyone else to be the measure. I probably wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near, but my wife does seriously consider Baha’u’llah to be the measure …and I’ve been influenced by that. OK, maybe I am influenced by nice people!

    So the question probably is, why do a few people get to the point of choosing someone to be the measure, and what determines that choice. I’d love to see Barry Smith’s Jesus in Montana because that may help me get a new perspective on the process. My guess is that such people eventually get to the point where they feel the person answers all their questions. If Elvis does the business for someone, then why not Elvis? Baha’u’llah can’t sing that good, anyway.

    [quote]It could have just as easily been in the crazy guy on the back of the bus, if only you had been faced with his claim to be representing God first![/quote]

    Except that, if my past behaviour is anything to go by, I would have had to go through a decades-long process of getting to know said crazy guy and his claims in order to internalise them. The more challenging claims, like “I’m the measure” would only have started sinking in after a few decades of other work. By which time, I’ve probably would have reached my stop, got off the bus and never seen the crazy guy again. My loss.

    [quote]If you were familiar with these quotations, then why didn’t you expect to see details of Bah??’u’ll??h’s succession in his ?Tablet of the Branch??[/quote]

    I said the quotes weren’t new to me, not that I was familiar with them. I guess I also expect to see succession stuff in a will and testament.

    [quote]How are we to understand Bah??’u’ll??h’s predication of infallibility to ?Abdu’l-Bah?? here? Do you not agree that he is talking about ?Abdu’l-Bah??? If not, who do you think he means to refer to by the phrase ?the Branch of Holiness? that ?hath branched from the Sadratu’l-Muntaha?? Could you please explain this to us, Steve?[/quote]

    Beyond “head of the faith and pretty darn special”? No, that’s about as far as I can go in explaining what that quote means to me.

    [quote]And also, how are we to understand ?Abdu’l-Bah??’s own description of his station?[/quote]

    What we’re examining is the authority to infallibly interpret that Baha’u’llah conferred on ‘Abdu’l-Baha, so that’s another story for another day.

    cheers
    Steve

    p.s. Thank you, Baquia, for tidying up my broken mark-up in earlier posts. Any chance of a preview facility?

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Farhan,

    [quote]Without entering theological considerations, the practical outcome of whatever we might interpret as ?infaillibility? is that in order to _saveguard unity_, we need a referee, an arbitration body. This body has to be obeyed unquestionnably, just like a referee in a football game has to be instantly obeyed.[/quote]

    As you may know, I prefer the “loyal opposition within a system of government” analogy. We safeguard unity by voicing our opposition in a loyal way. If I disagree with what the government is doing, or I agree with something the government is not doing, I try to stop/start it by transparent and legal means, within the system.

    I’m comfortable with the referee analogy to a point. In the real world, corrupt or incompetent referees quickly get sidelined. The referee analogy breaks down when applied to the House because it, in many important areas, fails to maintain a set of clear rules. Moreover, it often cracks down on “players” by fiat — that is, without reference to the rule-book. For example, my wife had no warning at all of the House’s decision to remove her from membership.

    This is not a good recipe for unity. If it happened in a big game, both sets of players would be vying with the spectators to do violence to the referee.

    …I take that back, it would do wonders for unity, but only in the sense that everyone would have a common target for their scorn.

    A great set of quotes, by the way. Good coverage of the infallibility issue.

    ka kite
    Steve

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Farhan,

    [quote]Without entering theological considerations, the practical outcome of whatever we might interpret as ?infaillibility? is that in order to _saveguard unity_, we need a referee, an arbitration body. This body has to be obeyed unquestionnably, just like a referee in a football game has to be instantly obeyed.[/quote]

    As you may know, I prefer the “loyal opposition within a system of government” analogy. We safeguard unity by voicing our opposition in a loyal way. If I disagree with what the government is doing, or I agree with something the government is not doing, I try to stop/start it by transparent and legal means, within the system.

    I’m comfortable with the referee analogy to a point. In the real world, corrupt or incompetent referees quickly get sidelined. The referee analogy breaks down when applied to the House because it, in many important areas, fails to maintain a set of clear rules. Moreover, it often cracks down on “players” by fiat — that is, without reference to the rule-book. For example, my wife had no warning at all of the House’s decision to remove her from membership.

    This is not a good recipe for unity. If it happened in a big game, both sets of players would be vying with the spectators to do violence to the referee.

    …I take that back, it would do wonders for unity, but only in the sense that everyone would have a common target for their scorn.

    A great set of quotes, by the way. Good coverage of the infallibility issue.

    ka kite
    Steve

  • Beth

    [quote comment=""]Yes, by all means Beth, do share your views on this. I apologize if my interpretations hurt your feelings ; it certainly was not my purpose. All Baha’is are entitled to personnal interpretations of the writings as long as they share them without insisting that their understanding is the only correct one. The UHJ is the only arbitrating body and they dont need my help.

    Since by trying to put myself in your place, I was unsuccessful and hurt your feelings, perhaps you might wish to help me by pointing out which interpretations on my part were offensive to you. I would be grateful if you expressed your feelings…

    As far as I am concerned (or my homosexual friends are concerned), being told that I have a « spiritual disease », or that my soul is « handicapped » or that I am spiritually « condemned » would be more much more offensive to me than being told that my soul is a noble creation that is obstructed in its expression in my mind and body, or that my behaviour impairs my spiritual growth.

    But again, unless you express your feelings as you generously suggest, I would not know how you feel about this.[/quote]

    Thank you Farhan for addressing my comments. i will respond to what you said, but I need to give a little bit of context first. In addition to this all being a very difficult personal topic to discuss, I also have severe health problems that limit my ability to spend large amounts of time and energy responding to everyones posts. usually, its hard enough just to read all of the conversations. so there will be times no matter how interested i am in the conversation that i have to back off b/c the amount of energy it takes to deal with such understandably upsetting issues is more than i can sometimes handle. getting upset about these debates has a negative effect on my health, and I will make choices accordingly. having said that, i am not asking to be treated with kid gloves, just being open about my personal context.

    it’s a funny context actually – i have a feeling that most of the people in this discussion (not all) are neither gay nor suffering from any other “disability”. I happen to be both, and so these discussions are anything but theoretical to me.

    Now, to your questions about where i am coming from. You apologize for hurting my feelings with your interpretations of the writings. I thank you for that. I am, however, very hesitant to get into this with you because we already got into this on YouTube under different names, me as Dejahmi and you as Anewlifestirring. i tried to communicate with you before about these issues and your responses only got more and more insulting as we went on. I DREAD the idea of going through it again. I will start with these specific issues, and we’ll see what happens.

    [quote comment=""]All Baha’is are entitled to personnal interpretations of the writings as long as they share them without insisting that their understanding is the only correct one. The UHJ is the only arbitrating body and they dont need my help.[/quote]

    I am actually well aware of this, and was being sarcastic. It is nice to hear you confirm that people are entitled to personal interpretations, since you told Amanda that she was not using the correct interpretation. I believe that you both have the right to your own interpretataion. However, as has been pointed out to you many times on this list and elsewhere, the actual writings do not seem to back up your interpretation. Shoghi Effendi’s sentence “Homosexuality is spiritually condemned” is very direct. I do believe that you want to see this differently b/c you personally don’t believe that, and are trying to make sense of a teaching that on the surface does not make sense. but when you discount other peoples experiences with the baha’i community and the writing themselves, that is hurtful. i don’t know who your gay frinds are, but i have never met a gay baha’i that didn’t feel judged by the baha’i teachings. some of us bought into it and believed the problem was ours. some of us decided that the Faith was wrong and cut our losses. Some of us are still on the fence. no matter what our decision, though, we have to either hide or face constant condemnation by those we love and respect within the baha’i faith – a place most of us want to be around exactly b/c it is open-minded and inclusive in so many ways. but not of us. it feel like a bait-and-switch. we are not accepted for who we are. it would be like meeting Martin Luther King Jr and having him not want to sit next to you at the lunch counter. imagine that, Farhan. imagine him saying “you and your problems don’t count here” and then imagine all of his followers looking down on your life when all of your life you’ve wanted to be one of them.

    you say you don’t look down on gay people, and that they are welcome as long as they follow your rules. or your understanding of gods rules. but i don’t believe those rules. you talk about how hard it is to imagine what laws to apply in lives other than your own culture, but you are more than ready to tell gay people that they are making choices that push them away from god. how is that not imposing your will on others? b/c it’s god’s will, and not yours? then you should no have problem with the idea of women on the UHJ, b/c if god says so, it doesn’t matter what the people want.

    it’s all a bundle of contradictions. and i’ve been watching you jump from one point to another, changing your story over and over to suit whichever argument you happen to be in at the time. i get it. you believe the baha’i teachings. fine. but don’t tell me or anyone else that our EXPERIENCES with their contradictory nature is something that doesn’t exist, or that we should accept it on Faith. Ye shall know them by their fruits. and the fruits i’ve tasted are rotten.

  • Beth

    [quote comment=""]Yes, by all means Beth, do share your views on this. I apologize if my interpretations hurt your feelings ; it certainly was not my purpose. All Baha’is are entitled to personnal interpretations of the writings as long as they share them without insisting that their understanding is the only correct one. The UHJ is the only arbitrating body and they dont need my help.

    Since by trying to put myself in your place, I was unsuccessful and hurt your feelings, perhaps you might wish to help me by pointing out which interpretations on my part were offensive to you. I would be grateful if you expressed your feelings…

    As far as I am concerned (or my homosexual friends are concerned), being told that I have a « spiritual disease », or that my soul is « handicapped » or that I am spiritually « condemned » would be more much more offensive to me than being told that my soul is a noble creation that is obstructed in its expression in my mind and body, or that my behaviour impairs my spiritual growth.

    But again, unless you express your feelings as you generously suggest, I would not know how you feel about this.[/quote]

    Thank you Farhan for addressing my comments. i will respond to what you said, but I need to give a little bit of context first. In addition to this all being a very difficult personal topic to discuss, I also have severe health problems that limit my ability to spend large amounts of time and energy responding to everyones posts. usually, its hard enough just to read all of the conversations. so there will be times no matter how interested i am in the conversation that i have to back off b/c the amount of energy it takes to deal with such understandably upsetting issues is more than i can sometimes handle. getting upset about these debates has a negative effect on my health, and I will make choices accordingly. having said that, i am not asking to be treated with kid gloves, just being open about my personal context.

    it’s a funny context actually – i have a feeling that most of the people in this discussion (not all) are neither gay nor suffering from any other “disability”. I happen to be both, and so these discussions are anything but theoretical to me.

    Now, to your questions about where i am coming from. You apologize for hurting my feelings with your interpretations of the writings. I thank you for that. I am, however, very hesitant to get into this with you because we already got into this on YouTube under different names, me as Dejahmi and you as Anewlifestirring. i tried to communicate with you before about these issues and your responses only got more and more insulting as we went on. I DREAD the idea of going through it again. I will start with these specific issues, and we’ll see what happens.

    [quote comment=""]All Baha’is are entitled to personnal interpretations of the writings as long as they share them without insisting that their understanding is the only correct one. The UHJ is the only arbitrating body and they dont need my help.[/quote]

    I am actually well aware of this, and was being sarcastic. It is nice to hear you confirm that people are entitled to personal interpretations, since you told Amanda that she was not using the correct interpretation. I believe that you both have the right to your own interpretataion. However, as has been pointed out to you many times on this list and elsewhere, the actual writings do not seem to back up your interpretation. Shoghi Effendi’s sentence “Homosexuality is spiritually condemned” is very direct. I do believe that you want to see this differently b/c you personally don’t believe that, and are trying to make sense of a teaching that on the surface does not make sense. but when you discount other peoples experiences with the baha’i community and the writing themselves, that is hurtful. i don’t know who your gay frinds are, but i have never met a gay baha’i that didn’t feel judged by the baha’i teachings. some of us bought into it and believed the problem was ours. some of us decided that the Faith was wrong and cut our losses. Some of us are still on the fence. no matter what our decision, though, we have to either hide or face constant condemnation by those we love and respect within the baha’i faith – a place most of us want to be around exactly b/c it is open-minded and inclusive in so many ways. but not of us. it feel like a bait-and-switch. we are not accepted for who we are. it would be like meeting Martin Luther King Jr and having him not want to sit next to you at the lunch counter. imagine that, Farhan. imagine him saying “you and your problems don’t count here” and then imagine all of his followers looking down on your life when all of your life you’ve wanted to be one of them.

    you say you don’t look down on gay people, and that they are welcome as long as they follow your rules. or your understanding of gods rules. but i don’t believe those rules. you talk about how hard it is to imagine what laws to apply in lives other than your own culture, but you are more than ready to tell gay people that they are making choices that push them away from god. how is that not imposing your will on others? b/c it’s god’s will, and not yours? then you should no have problem with the idea of women on the UHJ, b/c if god says so, it doesn’t matter what the people want.

    it’s all a bundle of contradictions. and i’ve been watching you jump from one point to another, changing your story over and over to suit whichever argument you happen to be in at the time. i get it. you believe the baha’i teachings. fine. but don’t tell me or anyone else that our EXPERIENCES with their contradictory nature is something that doesn’t exist, or that we should accept it on Faith. Ye shall know them by their fruits. and the fruits i’ve tasted are rotten.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Steve,

    Although I cannot do justice to your response tonight, I wanted to thank you for your post and assure you I will respond later in full.

    These kinds of posts are hard for me, because my head is swimming with so many thoughts and I feel inspired to write… but at the same time I realize I need to reflect on what you wrote before I can write back. I wouldn’t be able to do your thoughts justice without struggling with what you’ve written.

    I especially liked the point you made about “kingdom of names” and the way you carefully explained your understanding of Bah??’u’ll??h’s usage of the word “infallible” as referring to ‘Abdu’l-Bah??… All thought-provoking stuff!

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for engaging my ideas and making your beliefs so easy to relate to. The care you’ve given your responses force me challenge my own ideas, while demonstrating all the signs of maturity and self-criticism that I have come to expect from true Bah??’? thinkers.

    The thing I appreciate about your posts is that you not only take your own ideas seriously, but you also treat other people’s ideas with the respect you would have them treat yours. Very cool stuff. This is the kind of discussion I think we all enjoy having.

    Oh yeah, and this was pretty good too, haha:
    [quote]Hi Madasarat (this is fun!)[/quote]
    Wise and witty, Steve! ;-) I look forward to your thinking in the future.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Hi Steve,

    Although I cannot do justice to your response tonight, I wanted to thank you for your post and assure you I will respond later in full.

    These kinds of posts are hard for me, because my head is swimming with so many thoughts and I feel inspired to write… but at the same time I realize I need to reflect on what you wrote before I can write back. I wouldn’t be able to do your thoughts justice without struggling with what you’ve written.

    I especially liked the point you made about “kingdom of names” and the way you carefully explained your understanding of Bah??’u’ll??h’s usage of the word “infallible” as referring to ‘Abdu’l-Bah??… All thought-provoking stuff!

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for engaging my ideas and making your beliefs so easy to relate to. The care you’ve given your responses force me challenge my own ideas, while demonstrating all the signs of maturity and self-criticism that I have come to expect from true Bah??’? thinkers.

    The thing I appreciate about your posts is that you not only take your own ideas seriously, but you also treat other people’s ideas with the respect you would have them treat yours. Very cool stuff. This is the kind of discussion I think we all enjoy having.

    Oh yeah, and this was pretty good too, haha:
    [quote]Hi Madasarat (this is fun!)[/quote]
    Wise and witty, Steve! ;-) I look forward to your thinking in the future.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Mavaddat,

    This shows that I can never predict your responses. I may not have much time to respond for the next few days, but I’ll check in and read the comments here. Very provocative stuff.

    kia kaha,
    Steve

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Hi Mavaddat,

    This shows that I can never predict your responses. I may not have much time to respond for the next few days, but I’ll check in and read the comments here. Very provocative stuff.

    kia kaha,
    Steve

  • farhan

    Amanda, you write:

    “How can Baha’is complain to the international community of being called apostates in Iran and then turn around and call half the people on this blog apostates?”

    I agree, Amanda, the word is also unpleasant to me, and you may have noticed, I careflly avoid calling people names. If you look at the word “apostate” in it’s sociological definition of leave-takers who feel attached to their previous religion to the point of using their time and energy in criticizing their former belief insteda of getting into a more fulfilling religious relationship. Like a couple that divorces and instead of getting into a new relationships continues with conflicting relations with the previous partner, sometimes for years. Most Baha’is I know tell me how they love and understand their former religion better since they have become Baha’is.

    I have never seen a Baha’i discrediting his former religion, although he might criticize those who practice his former religion.

    In Iran, the word “apostate” is applied to anyone leaving Islam. In addition, Baha’is are considered as “heretics” for changing Islamic laws and traditions.

    As to your judgmental comments, I continue to think that they do not provide good basis for an enriching exchange on internet.

    Those kind of comments and analysis and moral lessons on people we don’t see are more often mere projections of our own presumptions, and can hence be classified as “prejudice”. Internet is excellent for sharing information and data, but not for judging and presuming emotions. I feel that emoticons help only a little.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Amanda, you write:

    “How can Baha’is complain to the international community of being called apostates in Iran and then turn around and call half the people on this blog apostates?”

    I agree, Amanda, the word is also unpleasant to me, and you may have noticed, I careflly avoid calling people names. If you look at the word “apostate” in it’s sociological definition of leave-takers who feel attached to their previous religion to the point of using their time and energy in criticizing their former belief insteda of getting into a more fulfilling religious relationship. Like a couple that divorces and instead of getting into a new relationships continues with conflicting relations with the previous partner, sometimes for years. Most Baha’is I know tell me how they love and understand their former religion better since they have become Baha’is.

    I have never seen a Baha’i discrediting his former religion, although he might criticize those who practice his former religion.

    In Iran, the word “apostate” is applied to anyone leaving Islam. In addition, Baha’is are considered as “heretics” for changing Islamic laws and traditions.

    As to your judgmental comments, I continue to think that they do not provide good basis for an enriching exchange on internet.

    Those kind of comments and analysis and moral lessons on people we don’t see are more often mere projections of our own presumptions, and can hence be classified as “prejudice”. Internet is excellent for sharing information and data, but not for judging and presuming emotions. I feel that emoticons help only a little.

  • Andrew

    F. Yazdani wrote:

    “The geocentric theory of Ptolemaeus was universally accepted and the heliocentric theory defended Aristarchus and the Quran was rejected up to the 16th century when Copernicus presented the heliocentric system.”

    But the concept of a Sun-centered solar system was known to the ancient Greeks. It predates Copernicus by nearly two millennia and might not have been entirely unheard of by the prophet Muhammed.

    “No, I would retract from the Faith and abide by the civil laws of wherever I lived.”

    I commend you!

    Amanda wrote:

    “Is the physical welfare of the Persian Baha’i community of a higher value than the PHYSICAL WELFARE of Iranian gays who are currently tortured and killed by Iranian law?”

    Is the physical welfare of the Persian Baha’i community of a higher value than the physical welfare of gay Baha’is in Iran or anywhere else (like, oh, Uganda)? What a silly question! Of course it is! God hath thuth decreedeth it!

  • Andrew

    F. Yazdani wrote:

    “The geocentric theory of Ptolemaeus was universally accepted and the heliocentric theory defended Aristarchus and the Quran was rejected up to the 16th century when Copernicus presented the heliocentric system.”

    But the concept of a Sun-centered solar system was known to the ancient Greeks. It predates Copernicus by nearly two millennia and might not have been entirely unheard of by the prophet Muhammed.

    “No, I would retract from the Faith and abide by the civil laws of wherever I lived.”

    I commend you!

    Amanda wrote:

    “Is the physical welfare of the Persian Baha’i community of a higher value than the PHYSICAL WELFARE of Iranian gays who are currently tortured and killed by Iranian law?”

    Is the physical welfare of the Persian Baha’i community of a higher value than the physical welfare of gay Baha’is in Iran or anywhere else (like, oh, Uganda)? What a silly question! Of course it is! God hath thuth decreedeth it!

  • farhan

    Amanda,

    you ask:
    “Is the physical welfare of the Persian Baha’i community of a higher value than the PHYSICAL WELFARE of of Iranian gays who are currently tortured and killed by Iranian law?”

    Amanda,
    I am not comparing the plight of Baha’is to the plight of gay Iranians who are undergoing inhumaine treatment I am well aware of. I am comparing the plight of both gays and Baha’is if the UHJ announced that gay marriages were allowed; Baha’is would be accused of promoting “corruption” and gays would be accused of being Baha’is.

    You are looking at the planet through your cultural binoculars; the UHj has to look at the world through a fish-eye lens. If you travel a little, live with the Europeans, Marquesans and the Africans as I have done, you will see that people on this planet also have other aspirations and urgent, vital issues to deal with.

    Not that the plight of gays is unimportant, but some of us have other issues to deal with on our plates and not becoming an activist in the specific feild you have chosen, does not mean that others ar cynical and egotistic immoral individuals; many of them have other urgent issues to deal with.

    We obviously have to act locally with whatever issues we are confronted with, but we should also see globally and integrate our actions with other issues and other people.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Amanda,

    you ask:
    “Is the physical welfare of the Persian Baha’i community of a higher value than the PHYSICAL WELFARE of of Iranian gays who are currently tortured and killed by Iranian law?”

    Amanda,
    I am not comparing the plight of Baha’is to the plight of gay Iranians who are undergoing inhumaine treatment I am well aware of. I am comparing the plight of both gays and Baha’is if the UHJ announced that gay marriages were allowed; Baha’is would be accused of promoting “corruption” and gays would be accused of being Baha’is.

    You are looking at the planet through your cultural binoculars; the UHj has to look at the world through a fish-eye lens. If you travel a little, live with the Europeans, Marquesans and the Africans as I have done, you will see that people on this planet also have other aspirations and urgent, vital issues to deal with.

    Not that the plight of gays is unimportant, but some of us have other issues to deal with on our plates and not becoming an activist in the specific feild you have chosen, does not mean that others ar cynical and egotistic immoral individuals; many of them have other urgent issues to deal with.

    We obviously have to act locally with whatever issues we are confronted with, but we should also see globally and integrate our actions with other issues and other people.

  • Beth

    [quote comment=""]Not that the plight of gays is unimportant, but some of us have other issues to deal with on our plates and not becoming an activist in the specific feild you have chosen, does not mean that others are cynical and egotistic immoral individuals; many of them have other urgent issues to deal with.[/quote]

    “In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

    And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

    And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

    And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”
    -Pastor Martin Niem?ller

  • Beth

    [quote comment=""]Not that the plight of gays is unimportant, but some of us have other issues to deal with on our plates and not becoming an activist in the specific feild you have chosen, does not mean that others are cynical and egotistic immoral individuals; many of them have other urgent issues to deal with.[/quote]

    “In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

    And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

    And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

    And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”
    -Pastor Martin Niem?ller

  • Andrew

    F. Yazdani wrote:

    “Baha’is would be accused of promoting ‘corruption.”

    Doesn’t the Iranian government already accuse them of that?

    “We obviously have to act locally with whatever issues we are confronted with, but we should also see globally and integrate our actions with other issues and other people.”

    Indeed. This is why Archbishop Tutu has criticized the Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops of the Anglican communion for their blatant homophobia. He sees globally, and is a true prophet for our times. Unlike, for example, the Pope. Or the UHJ.

  • Andrew

    F. Yazdani wrote:

    “Baha’is would be accused of promoting ‘corruption.”

    Doesn’t the Iranian government already accuse them of that?

    “We obviously have to act locally with whatever issues we are confronted with, but we should also see globally and integrate our actions with other issues and other people.”

    Indeed. This is why Archbishop Tutu has criticized the Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops of the Anglican communion for their blatant homophobia. He sees globally, and is a true prophet for our times. Unlike, for example, the Pope. Or the UHJ.

  • Beth

    [quote comment=""]F. Yazdani wrote:
    Not that the plight of gays is unimportant, but some of us have other issues to deal with on our plates and not becoming an activist in the specific feild you have chosen, does not mean that others ar cynical and egotistic immoral individuals; many of them have other urgent issues to deal with.[/quote]

    and another thing – you speak of dealing with different human rights abuses as if people can only think about them one at a time, but the baha’i faith actually addresses many of them simultaneously. most people are capable of thinking of both sexism and racism at the time as both being harmful. why is is so hard to add another one to the list? the fact is, it ISN’T hard. the baha’i community does not fight for gay rights b/c they do not believe in them – not because they don’t have time to add them to the list.

  • Beth

    [quote comment=""]F. Yazdani wrote:
    Not that the plight of gays is unimportant, but some of us have other issues to deal with on our plates and not becoming an activist in the specific feild you have chosen, does not mean that others ar cynical and egotistic immoral individuals; many of them have other urgent issues to deal with.[/quote]

    and another thing – you speak of dealing with different human rights abuses as if people can only think about them one at a time, but the baha’i faith actually addresses many of them simultaneously. most people are capable of thinking of both sexism and racism at the time as both being harmful. why is is so hard to add another one to the list? the fact is, it ISN’T hard. the baha’i community does not fight for gay rights b/c they do not believe in them – not because they don’t have time to add them to the list.

  • Beth

    Farhan – you asked specifically what you had said that was hurtful or offensive to me, to which I replied I was very hesitant to go back and dig it up. I decided however, that I wanted to give an honest reply since you have offered to try address it.

    In a previous conversation on YouTube, many of us went back and forth discussing Mavaddat’s wonderfully thought-provoking video, Re:Bahai Faith Discriminates on Homosexuals which can be found here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGspAaQYgas

    In this conversation, I was posting as Dejahmi, and you were posting as Anewlifestirring. During a part of the discussion about whether or not anyone within the Baha’i community had petitioned the UHJ about it’s unfair policies in regards to Homosexuality, your response was…

    [quote comment=""]Dejahml, If the UHJ has been petitionned, their verdict is prescription for humanity. Those who have love and ambition to grow spiritually are welcome to apply them. Those who dont want to do as they wish.
    [/quote]

    This statement was so judgmental and insensitive, and caught me completely off guard. You were implying that people who don’t submit to the UHJ’s “prescription for humanity” do not have “have love and ambition to grow spiritually”. I was extremely bothered by this at the time, and responded by asking you to please use compassion in having the conversation b/c you were being hurtful and insulting.

    Your response was this…
    [quote comment=""]those who accept their faillings as being “normal” do not suffer, and do not grow. Compassion is helping others to grow and not reinstating them an a comfortable situation of stagnation and self-satisfaction.[/quote]

    By deciding that I no longer believed in the Baha’i Faith’s infallibility, I made a choice to live MORE closely to my own spiritual beliefs, not further away from them. The life I have chosen has not been the easy way out, as has been the accusation over and over by many Baha’is. I made this choice (to leave the Baha’i Faith) because I believed that the constant intellectual and emotional dishonesty that was required from me in order to remain a Baha’i was hypocritical and a detriment to my soul. I still believe that the Baha’i writings and the Baha’i community have so much to offer the world, and I am glad that they continue to do so. But I do not believe in the ultimate infallibility of Baha’u’llah, and I refuse to present him as an example of such. You judged my choice, which was actually based on years of difficult research and prayer, “a comfortable situation of stagnation and self-satisfaction.” Please tell me what part of this has been comfortable? What part of my life do you deem “stagnation and self-satisfaction”? And how could you possibly miss that this would be hurtful or offensive?

  • Beth

    Farhan – you asked specifically what you had said that was hurtful or offensive to me, to which I replied I was very hesitant to go back and dig it up. I decided however, that I wanted to give an honest reply since you have offered to try address it.

    In a previous conversation on YouTube, many of us went back and forth discussing Mavaddat’s wonderfully thought-provoking video, Re:Bahai Faith Discriminates on Homosexuals which can be found here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGspAaQYgas

    In this conversation, I was posting as Dejahmi, and you were posting as Anewlifestirring. During a part of the discussion about whether or not anyone within the Baha’i community had petitioned the UHJ about it’s unfair policies in regards to Homosexuality, your response was…

    [quote comment=""]Dejahml, If the UHJ has been petitionned, their verdict is prescription for humanity. Those who have love and ambition to grow spiritually are welcome to apply them. Those who dont want to do as they wish.
    [/quote]

    This statement was so judgmental and insensitive, and caught me completely off guard. You were implying that people who don’t submit to the UHJ’s “prescription for humanity” do not have “have love and ambition to grow spiritually”. I was extremely bothered by this at the time, and responded by asking you to please use compassion in having the conversation b/c you were being hurtful and insulting.

    Your response was this…
    [quote comment=""]those who accept their faillings as being “normal” do not suffer, and do not grow. Compassion is helping others to grow and not reinstating them an a comfortable situation of stagnation and self-satisfaction.[/quote]

    By deciding that I no longer believed in the Baha’i Faith’s infallibility, I made a choice to live MORE closely to my own spiritual beliefs, not further away from them. The life I have chosen has not been the easy way out, as has been the accusation over and over by many Baha’is. I made this choice (to leave the Baha’i Faith) because I believed that the constant intellectual and emotional dishonesty that was required from me in order to remain a Baha’i was hypocritical and a detriment to my soul. I still believe that the Baha’i writings and the Baha’i community have so much to offer the world, and I am glad that they continue to do so. But I do not believe in the ultimate infallibility of Baha’u’llah, and I refuse to present him as an example of such. You judged my choice, which was actually based on years of difficult research and prayer, “a comfortable situation of stagnation and self-satisfaction.” Please tell me what part of this has been comfortable? What part of my life do you deem “stagnation and self-satisfaction”? And how could you possibly miss that this would be hurtful or offensive?

  • farhan

    Beth , thank you for making an effort to explain ; I will attempt to reply, although I know that my response might be inacceptable to you.
    You write :
    ?Homosexuality is spiritually condemned? is very direct. I do believe that you want to see this differently b/c you personally don’t believe that,
    The Baha’i writings insist on the fact that God’s message has no other purpose than educating us, making us grow spiritually, become more human, above and beyond our natural animal condition. God can do whatever He wants, but as a teacher He is putting the problem on the black-board and letting us do it because He wants us to learn to do things by our own selves. He gives the advise, and stands back to see what we can do.
    I hence see a great difference between saying that a _liar_ is spiritually and irremediably condemned, and saying that we should not lie because such an action impairs our spiritual growth and is hence condemned spiritualwise. In one case we are saying that the soul is damned for eternity, as my Catholic friends would put it, and as some Baha’is I know of would interpret it. In the other case we would be saying that it is an action that is to be avoided on spiritual basis, for our own benefit, if not on legal, medical and sociological basis.
    Telling to Romeo that his love affair with Juliette would end up in a disaster for himself and for her, advising him to drop it, would be very unkind and few would do that. Discussing the problems arising in intercultural marriages seems neutral to a sociologist but a terrible blow to someone in an intercultural love affair. Saying that a homosexual is liable to have social and spiritual obstacles in his life can be intended as a loving attention, but felt as a blow if it is interpreted as meaning that he is impaired and spiritually condemned.

    You write:
    « when you discount other peoples experiences with the baha’i community and the writing themselves, that is hurtful. »

    I understand this, Bert. This is why I believe that internet exchanges are perfect of documents and data, but not for sharing emotions with people we dont know. It happens that we exchange on a particular disease, when we suddenly realise that the person we have never seen is acutally suffering from that disease. Your example of racial discrimination is meaningful to me. When I arrived in France, just after the Algerian war, I had to face discrimination as a foreign student. I have many ugly stories to recount.

    You write:
    « … i have never met a gay baha’i that didn’t feel judged by the baha’i teachings. » « face constant condemnation by those we love and respect within the baha’i faith – a place most of us want to be around exactly »

    Thanks for sharing with me this terrible reality which I can well believe and of which I am not fully aware. Perhaps French society is more tolerant. No Baha’i has the right to judge or to condemn ; my interpretations of the writings might be different from theirs, but I remember you saying that you were at ease with the writings and not with my interpretations.

    As a doctor involved in ethics I have learnt, the example of Hippocrate, Malmonaide and Abdu’l-Baha before me, that we have no right to judge, but to help. I sometimes shrink at the words and acts of some fellow Baha’is who consider fasting or praying as more important than compassion for others, but again, if I have unwontingly revealed aspects of my personality that are contrary to those principles, I would be grateful to improve.

    You write:

    « you say you don’t look down on gay people, and that they are welcome as long as they follow your rules. »

    I have no authority to invite anyone to abide by any rules. If I were a member of an institution, I would feel responsible for peace keeping within the community and would seek enlightenment from the writings and in consultation ; I have been trying to see why some consider the writings as discriminatory, I have not felt involved with persons expressing their suffering .

    you write:
    « ..but you are more than ready to tell gay people that they are making choices that push them away from god. »
    No, Beth, I am saying that they are making choices that according to the writings that I am trying to better understand, might deprive them from some benefits, but I know that our true value is unknown to none other than God, and even hidden from our own selves.

    You write:
    « how is that not imposing your will on others? b/c it’s god’s will, and not yours? »

    I have no mandate to enforce anything on anyone ; what I am trying to understand is the true meaning of scriptures, and how they can be interpreted, misinterpreted and applied for the good of humanity.

    You write:
    « … then you should no have problem with the idea of women on the UHJ, b/c if god says so, it doesn’t matter what the people want ».

    People in a society dont always want the same thing ; I most certainly have no ambition or fancy to sit in an office 18 hours a day 7 days a week for 25 years… Appying the Golden Rule, I would wish that to no one; I have most certainly fancied the field of teaching more than the administrative field with all the hassles, papers and worries.

    Someone has to arbitrate ; God’s arbitration for the moment only appies to those who want to seek his spiritual teachings ; my prescriptions only concern those who consult and trust me. In time, Baha’i teachings « might » (or « will » for those who believe) inspire civil laws.

    We are far from that that point as yet and no Baha’i has a right to interfere with the _spiritual_ lives of others, say they are to be condemned or praised. Believe it or not, I have outgrown the need for praise or the fear of blame. Our spiritual lives are clearly in our own hands ; Institutions can and will only for intervene for social, medical or legal implications.

    You say:
    « it’s all a bundle of contradictions. and i’ve been watching you jump from one point to another, changing your story over and over to suit whichever argument you happen to be in at the time. »

    There are some concepts I am so accustomed to and that I fail to explain step by step; I also use analogies to explain my ideas, and that might be confusing to you; I sometimes misuse words that are similar but have different meanings in French and English; I dont control well my new lap-top with it’s tiny screen, but please do point out to whatever seems contradictory, I promise to explain or to withdraw my words.
    Warmest greetings
    Farhan

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Beth , thank you for making an effort to explain ; I will attempt to reply, although I know that my response might be inacceptable to you.
    You write :
    ?Homosexuality is spiritually condemned? is very direct. I do believe that you want to see this differently b/c you personally don’t believe that,
    The Baha’i writings insist on the fact that God’s message has no other purpose than educating us, making us grow spiritually, become more human, above and beyond our natural animal condition. God can do whatever He wants, but as a teacher He is putting the problem on the black-board and letting us do it because He wants us to learn to do things by our own selves. He gives the advise, and stands back to see what we can do.
    I hence see a great difference between saying that a _liar_ is spiritually and irremediably condemned, and saying that we should not lie because such an action impairs our spiritual growth and is hence condemned spiritualwise. In one case we are saying that the soul is damned for eternity, as my Catholic friends would put it, and as some Baha’is I know of would interpret it. In the other case we would be saying that it is an action that is to be avoided on spiritual basis, for our own benefit, if not on legal, medical and sociological basis.
    Telling to Romeo that his love affair with Juliette would end up in a disaster for himself and for her, advising him to drop it, would be very unkind and few would do that. Discussing the problems arising in intercultural marriages seems neutral to a sociologist but a terrible blow to someone in an intercultural love affair. Saying that a homosexual is liable to have social and spiritual obstacles in his life can be intended as a loving attention, but felt as a blow if it is interpreted as meaning that he is impaired and spiritually condemned.

    You write:
    « when you discount other peoples experiences with the baha’i community and the writing themselves, that is hurtful. »

    I understand this, Bert. This is why I believe that internet exchanges are perfect of documents and data, but not for sharing emotions with people we dont know. It happens that we exchange on a particular disease, when we suddenly realise that the person we have never seen is acutally suffering from that disease. Your example of racial discrimination is meaningful to me. When I arrived in France, just after the Algerian war, I had to face discrimination as a foreign student. I have many ugly stories to recount.

    You write:
    « … i have never met a gay baha’i that didn’t feel judged by the baha’i teachings. » « face constant condemnation by those we love and respect within the baha’i faith – a place most of us want to be around exactly »

    Thanks for sharing with me this terrible reality which I can well believe and of which I am not fully aware. Perhaps French society is more tolerant. No Baha’i has the right to judge or to condemn ; my interpretations of the writings might be different from theirs, but I remember you saying that you were at ease with the writings and not with my interpretations.

    As a doctor involved in ethics I have learnt, the example of Hippocrate, Malmonaide and Abdu’l-Baha before me, that we have no right to judge, but to help. I sometimes shrink at the words and acts of some fellow Baha’is who consider fasting or praying as more important than compassion for others, but again, if I have unwontingly revealed aspects of my personality that are contrary to those principles, I would be grateful to improve.

    You write:

    « you say you don’t look down on gay people, and that they are welcome as long as they follow your rules. »

    I have no authority to invite anyone to abide by any rules. If I were a member of an institution, I would feel responsible for peace keeping within the community and would seek enlightenment from the writings and in consultation ; I have been trying to see why some consider the writings as discriminatory, I have not felt involved with persons expressing their suffering .

    you write:
    « ..but you are more than ready to tell gay people that they are making choices that push them away from god. »
    No, Beth, I am saying that they are making choices that according to the writings that I am trying to better understand, might deprive them from some benefits, but I know that our true value is unknown to none other than God, and even hidden from our own selves.

    You write:
    « how is that not imposing your will on others? b/c it’s god’s will, and not yours? »

    I have no mandate to enforce anything on anyone ; what I am trying to understand is the true meaning of scriptures, and how they can be interpreted, misinterpreted and applied for the good of humanity.

    You write:
    « … then you should no have problem with the idea of women on the UHJ, b/c if god says so, it doesn’t matter what the people want ».

    People in a society dont always want the same thing ; I most certainly have no ambition or fancy to sit in an office 18 hours a day 7 days a week for 25 years… Appying the Golden Rule, I would wish that to no one; I have most certainly fancied the field of teaching more than the administrative field with all the hassles, papers and worries.

    Someone has to arbitrate ; God’s arbitration for the moment only appies to those who want to seek his spiritual teachings ; my prescriptions only concern those who consult and trust me. In time, Baha’i teachings « might » (or « will » for those who believe) inspire civil laws.

    We are far from that that point as yet and no Baha’i has a right to interfere with the _spiritual_ lives of others, say they are to be condemned or praised. Believe it or not, I have outgrown the need for praise or the fear of blame. Our spiritual lives are clearly in our own hands ; Institutions can and will only for intervene for social, medical or legal implications.

    You say:
    « it’s all a bundle of contradictions. and i’ve been watching you jump from one point to another, changing your story over and over to suit whichever argument you happen to be in at the time. »

    There are some concepts I am so accustomed to and that I fail to explain step by step; I also use analogies to explain my ideas, and that might be confusing to you; I sometimes misuse words that are similar but have different meanings in French and English; I dont control well my new lap-top with it’s tiny screen, but please do point out to whatever seems contradictory, I promise to explain or to withdraw my words.
    Warmest greetings
    Farhan

  • farhan

    Amanda, thanks for this long post ;

    you wrote:

    « But what is the Baha’i topography of a person, exactly? What and where is the body located? What and where is the soul? How are they connected? »

    This question has been a major study subject for me in view of the Baha’i concept of the embryo ; I have prepared compilations in French. In very short, the Bab who called His disciples « mirrors » and later Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-baha use the mirror analogy to explain the soul. When you treat sand in a certain way, you create glass, when you bring a metal coating, you create a mirror. This mirror has a potentiality, a capacity to reflect whatever you turn it towards. If the mirror (soul) is covered with dross (attachments to the material world), it will reflect imperfectly. If the mirror is turned to garbage, that is what will be reflected. If it is turned to the sun, the sun will be in it. In short, if we turn the mirror of our soul to God, that is what we will have in our souls (the spirit of God, Holy Spirit…) , and which can be reflected to others, into our minds and will in turn inspire our actions ; others can in turn can reflect that light elsewhere. Whatever light we reflect is only a consequence of what we recieve, and not of our own merit. Our volition concerns how we clean the mirror and where we turn it to.

    You ask :
    « So where does that ?locate? the ?handicap?? Body, or spirit? »

    I see an interaction between these levels : the soul illumined by the Spirit, coordinating mind and body. An action at any level would alter or improve the whole chain of events. Health is a bio-psycho-social reality. As Baha’is we add the spirit in that global interacting reality. Prayers, medication social support, conselling all can contribute to our health balance.

    You quote :
    « …paragraph 107 in the Kitab-I-Aqdas, where Baha’u’llah shrinks from shame at the mention of paederasty »
    I dont think that anyone here would argue that. My personnal understanding is that Baha’u’llah is calling us up to excellence ; the business of « do » and « dont do », « sin » and « redemption », « guilt » and « forgiveness » are outdated kindergarten stuff. We have huge potentialities available in this day for making our short lives a source of welbeing for mankind. We have to move from the « merit » and competition system to that of love ; when a kid learns his musical notes you force him ; later on he is encouraged by applauses and good marks. When he loves his music and becomes a maestro like Mozart, no ammount of blame or praise can deflect his way. Thsi reminds me of Khomeiny’s green book translated into French where he argues how far intercourse can go before fasting is invalidated. This is far removed from teh purpose of fasting. Discussing details is obviously for Baha’u’llah far rempoved for the high purpose of our short lives in this world.

    you quote:
    « Ye are forbidden to commit adultery, sodomy and lechery »
    The word « sodomy » and « buggary » in English are often used as synonyms of male homosexuality. In French sodomy is anal intercourse, whether between homo or hetero sexuals.
    The word « lechery » is defined as inordinate indulgence in sexual activity. I would believe that all three words refer to inordinate sexual activity. Sorry to sound as a wet blanket, but whatever part of our transitory live is invested in our spiritual lives, thais is an investment for the next world. Whatever part of a grain goes to the plant, the stronger will become that future plant. At your age I could not understand this, at my age this reality is clearer to me. Whatever I invested in my spiritual life is an asset to me now and will be an later on. Whatever time I spent in inordinate passions is lost.

    you quote:
    « Ye have been called into being to purge the world from the defilement of evil passions. This is what the Lord of all mankind hath enjoined upon you, could ye but perceive it. »

    We have a mission to help the world develop spiritually ;

    You quote:
    « He who relateth himself to the All-Merciful and committeth satanic deeds, verily he is not of Me. »

    We know clearly that « satan » does not exist but symbolises our constant natural inclination to regress to our animal condition, wheras Baha’u’llah is calling us to attain the heights of human accomplishments.

    you write:
    « ?Satanic deeds.? Baha’u’llah referred to sodomy as a ?satanic deed.? »

    No, I would understand all inordinate sexual activities as a spiritual regression, including homosexuality.

    you quote:
    « ?Homosexuality, according to the Writings of Bah??’u’ll??h, is spiritually condemned.? »

    My understanding is that it is condemned on spiritual grounds, even if it is not condemned on legal or medical grounds. Shoghi Effendi writes that adultry impairs the progress of our soul. This is « satanic » in as much as satan is the animal instinct that returns us to the animal condition and prevents our rising to human spiritual values. God is an educator, and nont an inquisitor ; some people take pleasure in trying to control others. God offers us the opportunity to rise.

    you write:
    « Spiritually condemned. Farhan, for the last time, please notice that those words are NOT mine »

    Amanda, I have no doubt whatsoever in this quote. I dont read it as you do; To me something that is « condemned spiritually » does not mean that that soul is condemned or damned. It is an act that is condemned on spiritual grounds. The M-W defines « condemn » as :
    1: to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence and without reservation
    2 a: to pronounce guilty :
    3: to adjudge unfit for use or consumption
    4: to declare convertible to public use under the right of eminent domain
    I would, in the light of the entire spirit of Baha’i litterature, use the 1st and the 3rd definitions : “to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil” , “adjudge unfit for use or consumption” ; to me it does not differ from lechery and adultry, nor does it mean a “spiritual disease” or that my soul is “handicapped” or that I am “spiritually condemned”

    you write:
    “But it is an accurate depiction of the Haifan Bah??’? scriptural and textual position”

    No, Amanda, we obviously read the same texts but you understanding seems more offensive to m than mine.

    Amanda : « You previously presented the Bah??’? teaching that physical ailments do not effect the soul. You are right, the Bah??’? writings clearly state that. So HOW IS IT that homosexuality can simultaneously be viewed as a handicap requiring medical treatment AND something ?satanic? that effects the soul? Doesn’t that conflict with what Baha’u’llah said about illness? »

    Our whole life is as explained above a bio-psycho-social interaction. A prayer can change our mind-set, and in turn reduce stress, reduce acid secretion and heal our gastric ulcer, modify our behaviour. It can also work upwards : an action can change our mind-set, and make us loose our attraction to spiritual realities.

    Amanda : « …there is much that concerns the nature of man, his inner life and growth, and the way to a true Baha’i life »

    Undoubted to me.

    Amanda : « In a Bah??’? cartography of the body and spirit, it wouldn’t matter if homosexuality is determined to be ENTIRELY ?physical? in etiology »

    There is a document by the UHJ on the origin of homosexuality you have no doubt studied.

    Amanda : « So, part of the problem is that SIMPLY HAVING OR BEING a body is spiritually problematic for a Baha’i. Do you see that? »

    No, I see that lacking education, we remain close to the animal state, controlled only by our animal heritage. It is like a perfect mirror not exposed to a source of light. Or a powerful computer without soft-ware. This education is absorbed unconsiously from our social surrounding, or adopted consciously following our own search for truth. Baha’is believe that revelation is the source of education.

    Amanda : « The physical realm is seen as having a distinctly IMMORAL element, which must be overcome. How this differs from the doctrine of Original Sin in effect and practice I couldn’t tell you. «

    I agree, the original sin can be compared to our inborn animal (satanic, evil, immaoral… ) nature that stands in need of education. Lacking this education, humans can behave worse than animals.

    Amanda : « The point is that in this context, there is something ?satanic? about the desires of the body, straight or gay. ?Overcoming? the ?affliction? «

    The desires can become « satanic » if they are not canalised into a social context. They become laudable if they are applied within the social context defined by each religion, giving rise to a specific civilisation.
    Amanda : « So my terminology stands. Spiritual disease »

    So we agree to disagree.

    Amanda : « What makes this DISCRIMINATORY is that the condemnation of HOMOsexuality versus HETEROsexuality is arbitrary »

    Well to you, it might be arbitary, to those who believe in a revealed message these rules are in harmony with a social structure and a purpose of human life in this world. Science shows us how to do things, religion explains why and towards what goal.

    Amanda : « But, I do not think it is RIGHT to call homosexuality a SPIRITUAL disease, or a disease at all. »

    I agree, with one reserve : When we say somene is sick, it implies that it is not his fault, he is not wicked, he needs help, he should not be treated as a criminal, he is not responsible. Up to the 18th-19th century mental patients were considered as criminals having a spiritual disease. In France Esquirol and Pinel introduced more humaine attitudes. In the Baha’i outlook, actions, body, mind, soul and the Holy Spirit all interact.

    Amanda : « I object to BOTH appellations. It is ridiculous to pit the spirit against the body in any context. »

    Agreed ; I gave a link on the left brain-right brain ; look it up ; you will enjoy it.

    Amanda:
    « I’m a big girl. I have to do that myself. »
    Yes, you have to choose the source of your own inspiration or else it arrives against your choice through your environment.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Amanda, thanks for this long post ;

    you wrote:

    « But what is the Baha’i topography of a person, exactly? What and where is the body located? What and where is the soul? How are they connected? »

    This question has been a major study subject for me in view of the Baha’i concept of the embryo ; I have prepared compilations in French. In very short, the Bab who called His disciples « mirrors » and later Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-baha use the mirror analogy to explain the soul. When you treat sand in a certain way, you create glass, when you bring a metal coating, you create a mirror. This mirror has a potentiality, a capacity to reflect whatever you turn it towards. If the mirror (soul) is covered with dross (attachments to the material world), it will reflect imperfectly. If the mirror is turned to garbage, that is what will be reflected. If it is turned to the sun, the sun will be in it. In short, if we turn the mirror of our soul to God, that is what we will have in our souls (the spirit of God, Holy Spirit…) , and which can be reflected to others, into our minds and will in turn inspire our actions ; others can in turn can reflect that light elsewhere. Whatever light we reflect is only a consequence of what we recieve, and not of our own merit. Our volition concerns how we clean the mirror and where we turn it to.

    You ask :
    « So where does that ?locate? the ?handicap?? Body, or spirit? »

    I see an interaction between these levels : the soul illumined by the Spirit, coordinating mind and body. An action at any level would alter or improve the whole chain of events. Health is a bio-psycho-social reality. As Baha’is we add the spirit in that global interacting reality. Prayers, medication social support, conselling all can contribute to our health balance.

    You quote :
    « …paragraph 107 in the Kitab-I-Aqdas, where Baha’u’llah shrinks from shame at the mention of paederasty »
    I dont think that anyone here would argue that. My personnal understanding is that Baha’u’llah is calling us up to excellence ; the business of « do » and « dont do », « sin » and « redemption », « guilt » and « forgiveness » are outdated kindergarten stuff. We have huge potentialities available in this day for making our short lives a source of welbeing for mankind. We have to move from the « merit » and competition system to that of love ; when a kid learns his musical notes you force him ; later on he is encouraged by applauses and good marks. When he loves his music and becomes a maestro like Mozart, no ammount of blame or praise can deflect his way. Thsi reminds me of Khomeiny’s green book translated into French where he argues how far intercourse can go before fasting is invalidated. This is far removed from teh purpose of fasting. Discussing details is obviously for Baha’u’llah far rempoved for the high purpose of our short lives in this world.

    you quote:
    « Ye are forbidden to commit adultery, sodomy and lechery »
    The word « sodomy » and « buggary » in English are often used as synonyms of male homosexuality. In French sodomy is anal intercourse, whether between homo or hetero sexuals.
    The word « lechery » is defined as inordinate indulgence in sexual activity. I would believe that all three words refer to inordinate sexual activity. Sorry to sound as a wet blanket, but whatever part of our transitory live is invested in our spiritual lives, thais is an investment for the next world. Whatever part of a grain goes to the plant, the stronger will become that future plant. At your age I could not understand this, at my age this reality is clearer to me. Whatever I invested in my spiritual life is an asset to me now and will be an later on. Whatever time I spent in inordinate passions is lost.

    you quote:
    « Ye have been called into being to purge the world from the defilement of evil passions. This is what the Lord of all mankind hath enjoined upon you, could ye but perceive it. »

    We have a mission to help the world develop spiritually ;

    You quote:
    « He who relateth himself to the All-Merciful and committeth satanic deeds, verily he is not of Me. »

    We know clearly that « satan » does not exist but symbolises our constant natural inclination to regress to our animal condition, wheras Baha’u’llah is calling us to attain the heights of human accomplishments.

    you write:
    « ?Satanic deeds.? Baha’u’llah referred to sodomy as a ?satanic deed.? »

    No, I would understand all inordinate sexual activities as a spiritual regression, including homosexuality.

    you quote:
    « ?Homosexuality, according to the Writings of Bah??’u’ll??h, is spiritually condemned.? »

    My understanding is that it is condemned on spiritual grounds, even if it is not condemned on legal or medical grounds. Shoghi Effendi writes that adultry impairs the progress of our soul. This is « satanic » in as much as satan is the animal instinct that returns us to the animal condition and prevents our rising to human spiritual values. God is an educator, and nont an inquisitor ; some people take pleasure in trying to control others. God offers us the opportunity to rise.

    you write:
    « Spiritually condemned. Farhan, for the last time, please notice that those words are NOT mine »

    Amanda, I have no doubt whatsoever in this quote. I dont read it as you do; To me something that is « condemned spiritually » does not mean that that soul is condemned or damned. It is an act that is condemned on spiritual grounds. The M-W defines « condemn » as :
    1: to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence and without reservation
    2 a: to pronounce guilty :
    3: to adjudge unfit for use or consumption
    4: to declare convertible to public use under the right of eminent domain
    I would, in the light of the entire spirit of Baha’i litterature, use the 1st and the 3rd definitions : “to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil” , “adjudge unfit for use or consumption” ; to me it does not differ from lechery and adultry, nor does it mean a “spiritual disease” or that my soul is “handicapped” or that I am “spiritually condemned”

    you write:
    “But it is an accurate depiction of the Haifan Bah??’? scriptural and textual position”

    No, Amanda, we obviously read the same texts but you understanding seems more offensive to m than mine.

    Amanda : « You previously presented the Bah??’? teaching that physical ailments do not effect the soul. You are right, the Bah??’? writings clearly state that. So HOW IS IT that homosexuality can simultaneously be viewed as a handicap requiring medical treatment AND something ?satanic? that effects the soul? Doesn’t that conflict with what Baha’u’llah said about illness? »

    Our whole life is as explained above a bio-psycho-social interaction. A prayer can change our mind-set, and in turn reduce stress, reduce acid secretion and heal our gastric ulcer, modify our behaviour. It can also work upwards : an action can change our mind-set, and make us loose our attraction to spiritual realities.

    Amanda : « …there is much that concerns the nature of man, his inner life and growth, and the way to a true Baha’i life »

    Undoubted to me.

    Amanda : « In a Bah??’? cartography of the body and spirit, it wouldn’t matter if homosexuality is determined to be ENTIRELY ?physical? in etiology »

    There is a document by the UHJ on the origin of homosexuality you have no doubt studied.

    Amanda : « So, part of the problem is that SIMPLY HAVING OR BEING a body is spiritually problematic for a Baha’i. Do you see that? »

    No, I see that lacking education, we remain close to the animal state, controlled only by our animal heritage. It is like a perfect mirror not exposed to a source of light. Or a powerful computer without soft-ware. This education is absorbed unconsiously from our social surrounding, or adopted consciously following our own search for truth. Baha’is believe that revelation is the source of education.

    Amanda : « The physical realm is seen as having a distinctly IMMORAL element, which must be overcome. How this differs from the doctrine of Original Sin in effect and practice I couldn’t tell you. «

    I agree, the original sin can be compared to our inborn animal (satanic, evil, immaoral… ) nature that stands in need of education. Lacking this education, humans can behave worse than animals.

    Amanda : « The point is that in this context, there is something ?satanic? about the desires of the body, straight or gay. ?Overcoming? the ?affliction? «

    The desires can become « satanic » if they are not canalised into a social context. They become laudable if they are applied within the social context defined by each religion, giving rise to a specific civilisation.
    Amanda : « So my terminology stands. Spiritual disease »

    So we agree to disagree.

    Amanda : « What makes this DISCRIMINATORY is that the condemnation of HOMOsexuality versus HETEROsexuality is arbitrary »

    Well to you, it might be arbitary, to those who believe in a revealed message these rules are in harmony with a social structure and a purpose of human life in this world. Science shows us how to do things, religion explains why and towards what goal.

    Amanda : « But, I do not think it is RIGHT to call homosexuality a SPIRITUAL disease, or a disease at all. »

    I agree, with one reserve : When we say somene is sick, it implies that it is not his fault, he is not wicked, he needs help, he should not be treated as a criminal, he is not responsible. Up to the 18th-19th century mental patients were considered as criminals having a spiritual disease. In France Esquirol and Pinel introduced more humaine attitudes. In the Baha’i outlook, actions, body, mind, soul and the Holy Spirit all interact.

    Amanda : « I object to BOTH appellations. It is ridiculous to pit the spirit against the body in any context. »

    Agreed ; I gave a link on the left brain-right brain ; look it up ; you will enjoy it.

    Amanda:
    « I’m a big girl. I have to do that myself. »
    Yes, you have to choose the source of your own inspiration or else it arrives against your choice through your environment.

  • farhan

    Beth, you write:

    “why is is so hard to add another one to the list? the fact is, it ISN’T hard. the baha’i community does not fight for gay rights b/c they do not believe in them – not because they don’t have time to add them to the list.”

    No doubt because many Baha’is are uneasy about how to understand homosexuality and homophobia, because they are still in a sin/guilt/retribution/redemtion view of morality.

    BTW I love the quote from Pastor Martin Niem?ller; I had it, I translated it, used it and lost it, now I have it again and I will remember you when using it.

    warmest

    Farhan

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Beth, you write:

    “why is is so hard to add another one to the list? the fact is, it ISN’T hard. the baha’i community does not fight for gay rights b/c they do not believe in them – not because they don’t have time to add them to the list.”

    No doubt because many Baha’is are uneasy about how to understand homosexuality and homophobia, because they are still in a sin/guilt/retribution/redemtion view of morality.

    BTW I love the quote from Pastor Martin Niem?ller; I had it, I translated it, used it and lost it, now I have it again and I will remember you when using it.

    warmest

    Farhan

  • farhan

    Beth writes:
    “This statement was so judgmental and insensitive, and caught me completely off guard. You were implying that people who don’t submit to the UHJ’s ?prescription for humanity? do not have ?have love and ambition to grow spiritually?.”

    Yes, Beth, read this way, I understand that you were offended and I apologise for my clumsy use of language on Youtube with limited telegraphic space.

    My idea was that the UHJ provides a guidance available to all and that those who want to grow spiritually on those lines, can make efforts; this does not mean that this is the only line of spiritual growth and that there is no other path leading to growth.

    If we offer a great meal, those who are hungry, who finf the meal palatable can eat, and those who are not hungry can refrain from eating; this does not mean that is nothing else to eat elsewhere.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Beth writes:
    “This statement was so judgmental and insensitive, and caught me completely off guard. You were implying that people who don’t submit to the UHJ’s ?prescription for humanity? do not have ?have love and ambition to grow spiritually?.”

    Yes, Beth, read this way, I understand that you were offended and I apologise for my clumsy use of language on Youtube with limited telegraphic space.

    My idea was that the UHJ provides a guidance available to all and that those who want to grow spiritually on those lines, can make efforts; this does not mean that this is the only line of spiritual growth and that there is no other path leading to growth.

    If we offer a great meal, those who are hungry, who finf the meal palatable can eat, and those who are not hungry can refrain from eating; this does not mean that is nothing else to eat elsewhere.

  • farhan

    Andrew,

    you wrote:

    “Baha’is would be accused of promoting ‘corruption.”
    Doesn’t the Iranian government already accuse them of that?

    Yes, but the frying pan might be cooler than the fire… any way, as far as I can see from outside…

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Andrew,

    you wrote:

    “Baha’is would be accused of promoting ‘corruption.”
    Doesn’t the Iranian government already accuse them of that?

    Yes, but the frying pan might be cooler than the fire… any way, as far as I can see from outside…

  • Anonymous

    Steve,

    I’m sorry if I confused you: Any actual praise in my response was meant for the reply you could have made, but didn’t actually make.

    The rest of it was meant to be ironic.

    Again, I’m sorry I wasn’t clearer.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat at School

    Steve,

    I’m sorry if I confused you: Any actual praise in my response was meant for the reply you could have made, but didn’t actually make.

    The rest of it was meant to be ironic.

    Again, I’m sorry I wasn’t clearer.

  • farhan

    Beth,writes:
    “Please tell me what part of this has been comfortable? What part of my life do you deem ?stagnation and self-satisfaction?? And how could you possibly miss that this would be hurtful or offensive?”

    Beth,
    these words are refering to theory, two theoretical extremes of those who strive and those who are satisfied with their material lives. The words do not refer to a person, except perhaps to my own personnal life with periods of stagnation and regression, and periods of advancement. Telling people they are good is comfortable to them but does not help them evolve. Showing people their failings is offensive but if done with tact and love can help them adbvance. Under no account do these words refer to a person I know nothing about.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Beth,writes:
    “Please tell me what part of this has been comfortable? What part of my life do you deem ?stagnation and self-satisfaction?? And how could you possibly miss that this would be hurtful or offensive?”

    Beth,
    these words are refering to theory, two theoretical extremes of those who strive and those who are satisfied with their material lives. The words do not refer to a person, except perhaps to my own personnal life with periods of stagnation and regression, and periods of advancement. Telling people they are good is comfortable to them but does not help them evolve. Showing people their failings is offensive but if done with tact and love can help them adbvance. Under no account do these words refer to a person I know nothing about.

  • farhan

    Andrew wrote:
    “But the concept of a Sun-centered solar system was known to the ancient Greeks. It predates Copernicus by nearly two millennia and might not have been entirely unheard of by the prophet Muhammed.

    True, Andrew, but Giordano Bruno, a monk was burnt at the stake in 1600 and the others had a vry hard time… And yes, Mohammad, although illiterate might have well heard this elsewhere than from the angel Gabriel; however, like th Bab and Baha’u’llah and the early Christians and Babis, they did uphold concepts politically very incorrect for their time.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Andrew wrote:
    “But the concept of a Sun-centered solar system was known to the ancient Greeks. It predates Copernicus by nearly two millennia and might not have been entirely unheard of by the prophet Muhammed.

    True, Andrew, but Giordano Bruno, a monk was burnt at the stake in 1600 and the others had a vry hard time… And yes, Mohammad, although illiterate might have well heard this elsewhere than from the angel Gabriel; however, like th Bab and Baha’u’llah and the early Christians and Babis, they did uphold concepts politically very incorrect for their time.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Dear Beth,

    I just wanted to write to thank you for your personal contribution to this thread. You speak from a first-hand perspective that is SO important for all of us to hear. I appreciate the points you have made, but I also appreciate your willingness to tolerate reading very sickening debate and quotations about your person and your sexuality in the hope of sharing your experiences with us and opening our views. Since you already “outed” yourself as my gay sister, I also wanted to thank you for being the reason I ever came to see the reality of the situation in the Writings and community towards gay people. As a straight girl, I had had the sickening priviledge, the obscene luxury, of never having had to think about the fairness or acuracy of the Baha’i position on homosexuality until you came out. I will never forget your bravery and love, in being willing to honestly state who you are and stay engaged with our family and other Baha’i friends in strength and compassion as we figured it out. You didn’t have to do that. You would have been WELL within your rights to walk away from every Baha’i you had ever met and start fresh with people who did not have such hateful and backwards beliefs. But you DIDN’T do that. You were willing to put yourself out there in honesty and love and respect, because no matter what crazy or negative things anyone said about you, you manage to maintain your belief in PEOPLE. You trusted that if you gave us the chance, eventually we would wake up and get it right. Your willingness to do that helped open my heart and my eyes, and I am a better person for it. I see you exhibiting the same bravery, courage, and love here, and I know that it is equally rooted in your love for and belief in people. Even people who fear and loathe who you are. Thank you.

    Two things you said here really got to me. Here’s the first:

    “no matter what our decision, though, we have to either hide or face constant condemnation by those we love and respect within the baha’i faith – a place most of us want to be around exactly b/c it is open-minded and inclusive in so many ways. but not of us. it feel like a bait-and-switch. we are not accepted for who we are. it would be like meeting Martin Luther King Jr and having him not want to sit next to you at the lunch counter. imagine that, Farhan. imagine him saying ?you and your problems don’t count here? and then imagine all of his followers looking down on your life when all of your life you’ve wanted to be one of them.”

    This is such a powerful and clear description of the sense of spiritual and moral betrayal gay Baha’is experience. The MLK analogy drives it home for me. Especially just the insane hypocrital nature of it all.

    Also, you shared this quotation which bears repeating:

    ?In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
    And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
    And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
    And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.?
    -Pastor Martin Niem?ller

    Thanks for hanging in there with us.

    Love,
    Amanda

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Dear Beth,

    I just wanted to write to thank you for your personal contribution to this thread. You speak from a first-hand perspective that is SO important for all of us to hear. I appreciate the points you have made, but I also appreciate your willingness to tolerate reading very sickening debate and quotations about your person and your sexuality in the hope of sharing your experiences with us and opening our views. Since you already “outed” yourself as my gay sister, I also wanted to thank you for being the reason I ever came to see the reality of the situation in the Writings and community towards gay people. As a straight girl, I had had the sickening priviledge, the obscene luxury, of never having had to think about the fairness or acuracy of the Baha’i position on homosexuality until you came out. I will never forget your bravery and love, in being willing to honestly state who you are and stay engaged with our family and other Baha’i friends in strength and compassion as we figured it out. You didn’t have to do that. You would have been WELL within your rights to walk away from every Baha’i you had ever met and start fresh with people who did not have such hateful and backwards beliefs. But you DIDN’T do that. You were willing to put yourself out there in honesty and love and respect, because no matter what crazy or negative things anyone said about you, you manage to maintain your belief in PEOPLE. You trusted that if you gave us the chance, eventually we would wake up and get it right. Your willingness to do that helped open my heart and my eyes, and I am a better person for it. I see you exhibiting the same bravery, courage, and love here, and I know that it is equally rooted in your love for and belief in people. Even people who fear and loathe who you are. Thank you.

    Two things you said here really got to me. Here’s the first:

    “no matter what our decision, though, we have to either hide or face constant condemnation by those we love and respect within the baha’i faith – a place most of us want to be around exactly b/c it is open-minded and inclusive in so many ways. but not of us. it feel like a bait-and-switch. we are not accepted for who we are. it would be like meeting Martin Luther King Jr and having him not want to sit next to you at the lunch counter. imagine that, Farhan. imagine him saying ?you and your problems don’t count here? and then imagine all of his followers looking down on your life when all of your life you’ve wanted to be one of them.”

    This is such a powerful and clear description of the sense of spiritual and moral betrayal gay Baha’is experience. The MLK analogy drives it home for me. Especially just the insane hypocrital nature of it all.

    Also, you shared this quotation which bears repeating:

    ?In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
    And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
    And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
    And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.?
    -Pastor Martin Niem?ller

    Thanks for hanging in there with us.

    Love,
    Amanda

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Farhan,

    I am heavily involved in a wedding this weekend (a gay wedding or a straight wedding…….?) and will not be able to respond to your comments as soon as I’d like. I’ll be on it first thing, as soon as I’m able.

    Thanks,
    Amanda

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Farhan,

    I am heavily involved in a wedding this weekend (a gay wedding or a straight wedding…….?) and will not be able to respond to your comments as soon as I’d like. I’ll be on it first thing, as soon as I’m able.

    Thanks,
    Amanda

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Amanda & Beth
    [quote comment=""] As a straight girl, I had had the sickening priviledge, the obscene luxury, of never having had to think about the fairness or acuracy of the Baha’i position on homosexuality until you came out. I will never forget your bravery and love, in being willing to honestly state who you are and stay engaged with our family and other Baha’i friends in strength and compassion as we figured it out.

    (How thought provoking- what an important observation)

    You didn’t have to do that. You would have been WELL within your rights to walk away from every Baha’i you had ever met and start fresh with people who did not have such hateful and backwards beliefs. But you DIDN’T do that. You were willing to put yourself out there in honesty and love and respect, because no matter what crazy or negative things anyone said about you, you manage to maintain your belief in PEOPLE. You trusted that if you gave us the chance, eventually we would wake up and get it right.

    (I certainly know people are awaking and many ardent Bahai’s hanging in through the storm the BF faces without keeping up with the times)

    Your willingness to do that helped open my heart and my eyes, and I am a better person for it. I see you exhibiting the same bravery, courage, and love here, and I know that it is equally rooted in your love for and belief in people. Even people who fear and loathe who you are. Thank you.

    (Thank you for the joy of this love between sisters and I too am a better person from reading the exchange)

    Also, you shared this quotation which bears repeating:

    ?In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
    And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
    And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
    And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.?
    -Pastor Martin Niem?ller

    Thanks for hanging in there with us.

    Love,
    Amanda[/quote]

    -and thank you both, Beth, for sharing your passion for life and love and how easy it can be if people can see past all the “label” that create division and hurt the beloved children of G-d in the first place.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Amanda & Beth
    [quote comment=""] As a straight girl, I had had the sickening priviledge, the obscene luxury, of never having had to think about the fairness or acuracy of the Baha’i position on homosexuality until you came out. I will never forget your bravery and love, in being willing to honestly state who you are and stay engaged with our family and other Baha’i friends in strength and compassion as we figured it out.

    (How thought provoking- what an important observation)

    You didn’t have to do that. You would have been WELL within your rights to walk away from every Baha’i you had ever met and start fresh with people who did not have such hateful and backwards beliefs. But you DIDN’T do that. You were willing to put yourself out there in honesty and love and respect, because no matter what crazy or negative things anyone said about you, you manage to maintain your belief in PEOPLE. You trusted that if you gave us the chance, eventually we would wake up and get it right.

    (I certainly know people are awaking and many ardent Bahai’s hanging in through the storm the BF faces without keeping up with the times)

    Your willingness to do that helped open my heart and my eyes, and I am a better person for it. I see you exhibiting the same bravery, courage, and love here, and I know that it is equally rooted in your love for and belief in people. Even people who fear and loathe who you are. Thank you.

    (Thank you for the joy of this love between sisters and I too am a better person from reading the exchange)

    Also, you shared this quotation which bears repeating:

    ?In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
    And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
    And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
    And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.?
    -Pastor Martin Niem?ller

    Thanks for hanging in there with us.

    Love,
    Amanda[/quote]

    -and thank you both, Beth, for sharing your passion for life and love and how easy it can be if people can see past all the “label” that create division and hurt the beloved children of G-d in the first place.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Thanks, Bird. :)

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Thanks, Bird. :)

  • farhan

    Beth,
    you write:
    “it would be like meeting Martin Luther King Jr and having him not want to sit next to you at the lunch counter. imagine that, Farhan. imagine him saying ?you and your problems don’t count here? and then imagine all of his followers looking down on your life when all of your life you’ve wanted to be one of them.”

    A question please, Beth: are you using this example to compare discrimination against GLTBI with racisme?

    If so, I was totally unaware that most of my gay friends were gay until they revealed it to me; I must be colour blind to GLTBI unless they carry the “national flag” or dress or behave differently.

    In addition, by lumping together GLTBI, you are lumping together totally different conditions in a common cause. There is a difference I feel between G and L; there is a huge difference between B and G-L, and still further difference with T and obviously I.

    By lumping together these behaviours, I feel that we are in fact promoting sexual liberty. I have no discrimination against my many friends who practice and defend sexual liberty, although I do believe that such a behaviour is not in tune with the behavious of someone who wants to follow the path offered by Baha’i teachings.

    Yes, I would readily oppose discrimination against them, and I already have done so, but I would not compare a chosen behaviour to a non chosen skin colour or gender.

    Thanks for your views

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Beth,
    you write:
    “it would be like meeting Martin Luther King Jr and having him not want to sit next to you at the lunch counter. imagine that, Farhan. imagine him saying ?you and your problems don’t count here? and then imagine all of his followers looking down on your life when all of your life you’ve wanted to be one of them.”

    A question please, Beth: are you using this example to compare discrimination against GLTBI with racisme?

    If so, I was totally unaware that most of my gay friends were gay until they revealed it to me; I must be colour blind to GLTBI unless they carry the “national flag” or dress or behave differently.

    In addition, by lumping together GLTBI, you are lumping together totally different conditions in a common cause. There is a difference I feel between G and L; there is a huge difference between B and G-L, and still further difference with T and obviously I.

    By lumping together these behaviours, I feel that we are in fact promoting sexual liberty. I have no discrimination against my many friends who practice and defend sexual liberty, although I do believe that such a behaviour is not in tune with the behavious of someone who wants to follow the path offered by Baha’i teachings.

    Yes, I would readily oppose discrimination against them, and I already have done so, but I would not compare a chosen behaviour to a non chosen skin colour or gender.

    Thanks for your views

  • Abdrew

    F. Yazdani wrote:

    “If so, I was totally unaware that most of my gay friends were gay until they revealed it to me; I must be colour blind to GLTBI unless they carry the ‘national flag’ or dress or behave differently.”

    As I’m sure you must be aware, some closets have glass doors. And it is not just homosexuals who are the targets of homophobia, but men and women who are perceived to be homosexuals, whether or not they are.

    “In addition, by lumping together GLTBI, you are lumping together totally different conditions in a common cause.”

    Coretta Scott King, speaking four days before the 30th anniversary of her husband’s assassination, said the civil rights leader’s memory demanded a strong stand for gay and lesbian rights:

    “I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice, but I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people,” she said.

    “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group. We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny … I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be,” she said, quoting her husband.

    “I’ve always felt that homophobic attitudes and policies were unjust and unworthy of a free society and must be opposed by all Americans who believe in democracy.” She said the civil rights movement “thrives on unity and inclusion, not division and exclusion.” Her husband’s struggle parallels that of the gay rights movement, she said: “Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Ga. and St. Augustine, Fla., and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions … We have a lot more work to do in our common struggle against bigotry and discrimination. I say ‘common struggle’ because I believe very strongly that all forms of bigotry and discrimination are equally wrong and should be opposed by right-thinking Americans everywhere. Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination … My husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘I have worked too long and hard against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concern. Justice is indivisible.’ Like Martin, I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.”

    Of course, the Baha’i faith teaches otherwise, and Farhan, as an obedient Baha’i, wouldn’t agree with Mrs. King.

    “By lumping together these behaviours, I feel that we are in fact promoting sexual liberty.”

    Ah, liberty. The enemy of patriarchal religionists everywhere.

    “I would not compare a chosen behaviour to a non-chosen skin colour or gender.”

    Of course you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t concede anything unless it were sanctioned by your religion. Sieg heil!

    The distinction between non-coercive sexual orientation and behavior is, of course, a fundamentally false one. As many psychologists have noted (mainstream psychologists, not marginal wingnuts), such a distinction is, at best, subjective, and at worst, a rhetorical obfuscation. Something that obedient Baha’is excel in.

    “I must be colour blind to GLTBI.”

    No, Farhan, not colour blind. Just ethically blind, humanly insensitive, and a defender of the indefensible.

    Baha’i teachings on any number of topics will change once the money stops rolling in. As with all patriarchal faiths, money is the root of religion.

  • Abdrew

    F. Yazdani wrote:

    “If so, I was totally unaware that most of my gay friends were gay until they revealed it to me; I must be colour blind to GLTBI unless they carry the ‘national flag’ or dress or behave differently.”

    As I’m sure you must be aware, some closets have glass doors. And it is not just homosexuals who are the targets of homophobia, but men and women who are perceived to be homosexuals, whether or not they are.

    “In addition, by lumping together GLTBI, you are lumping together totally different conditions in a common cause.”

    Coretta Scott King, speaking four days before the 30th anniversary of her husband’s assassination, said the civil rights leader’s memory demanded a strong stand for gay and lesbian rights:

    “I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice, but I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people,” she said.

    “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group. We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny … I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be,” she said, quoting her husband.

    “I’ve always felt that homophobic attitudes and policies were unjust and unworthy of a free society and must be opposed by all Americans who believe in democracy.” She said the civil rights movement “thrives on unity and inclusion, not division and exclusion.” Her husband’s struggle parallels that of the gay rights movement, she said: “Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Ga. and St. Augustine, Fla., and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions … We have a lot more work to do in our common struggle against bigotry and discrimination. I say ‘common struggle’ because I believe very strongly that all forms of bigotry and discrimination are equally wrong and should be opposed by right-thinking Americans everywhere. Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination … My husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘I have worked too long and hard against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concern. Justice is indivisible.’ Like Martin, I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.”

    Of course, the Baha’i faith teaches otherwise, and Farhan, as an obedient Baha’i, wouldn’t agree with Mrs. King.

    “By lumping together these behaviours, I feel that we are in fact promoting sexual liberty.”

    Ah, liberty. The enemy of patriarchal religionists everywhere.

    “I would not compare a chosen behaviour to a non-chosen skin colour or gender.”

    Of course you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t concede anything unless it were sanctioned by your religion. Sieg heil!

    The distinction between non-coercive sexual orientation and behavior is, of course, a fundamentally false one. As many psychologists have noted (mainstream psychologists, not marginal wingnuts), such a distinction is, at best, subjective, and at worst, a rhetorical obfuscation. Something that obedient Baha’is excel in.

    “I must be colour blind to GLTBI.”

    No, Farhan, not colour blind. Just ethically blind, humanly insensitive, and a defender of the indefensible.

    Baha’i teachings on any number of topics will change once the money stops rolling in. As with all patriarchal faiths, money is the root of religion.

  • Andrew

    This is for any non-Baha’is who might read this blog and are sensitized toward this issue (no, I don’t expect any Baha’is to respond to this):

    Please see the Save Mahdi Kazemi website to help save the life of this young gay Iranian:

    http://www.madhikazemi.com/

    Thirty men (accused of consensual homosexual conduct) have just been arrested in a so-called morals raid on a private home in the Iranian city of Esfahan. Human Rights Watch (the world’s leading organization dedicated to protecting the human rights and dignity of people around the world) has urged Iranian authorities to release the men. This has yet to happen. This is what Mahdi Kazemi has to look forward to if he is sent back to Iran.

  • Andrew

    This is for any non-Baha’is who might read this blog and are sensitized toward this issue (no, I don’t expect any Baha’is to respond to this):

    Please see the Save Mahdi Kazemi website to help save the life of this young gay Iranian:

    http://www.madhikazemi.com/

    Thirty men (accused of consensual homosexual conduct) have just been arrested in a so-called morals raid on a private home in the Iranian city of Esfahan. Human Rights Watch (the world’s leading organization dedicated to protecting the human rights and dignity of people around the world) has urged Iranian authorities to release the men. This has yet to happen. This is what Mahdi Kazemi has to look forward to if he is sent back to Iran.

  • Anonymous

    In response to Beth:[quote]Please tell me what part of this has been comfortable? What part of my life do you deem ?stagnation and self-satisfaction?? And how could you possibly miss that this would be hurtful or offensive?[/quote]Farhan writes,[quote]these words are refering to theory, two theoretical extremes of those who strive and those who are satisfied with their material lives. The words do not refer to a person, except perhaps to my own personnal life with periods of stagnation and regression, and periods of advancement. Telling people they are good is comfortable to them but does not help them evolve. Showing people their failings is offensive but if done with tact and love can help them adbvance. Under no account do these words refer to a person I know nothing about.[/quote]So Farhan, are you telling us that the “theory” you subscribe to doesn’t apply to people or that it is wrong? Because evidently, it has been falsified here (and in many other cases of actual active gay people who are far from spiritually stagnated).

    So when does your “theory” go from being “truth” or “an utter falsehood”, Farhan? What would be sufficient to falsify it?

    I think that since you are still spiritually young, Farhan, you will come to see in time that your faith has compelled you to uncritically accept believed a lie as you grow older. It would be a beautiful thing to see you mature from spiritual infancy to a state of adulthood. Unfortunately, your inner infant is delaying the growth of your inner adult. Let your childish beliefs die, Farhan! Come and join the rest of us in the year 2008.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    In response to Beth:[quote]Please tell me what part of this has been comfortable? What part of my life do you deem ?stagnation and self-satisfaction?? And how could you possibly miss that this would be hurtful or offensive?[/quote]Farhan writes,[quote]these words are refering to theory, two theoretical extremes of those who strive and those who are satisfied with their material lives. The words do not refer to a person, except perhaps to my own personnal life with periods of stagnation and regression, and periods of advancement. Telling people they are good is comfortable to them but does not help them evolve. Showing people their failings is offensive but if done with tact and love can help them adbvance. Under no account do these words refer to a person I know nothing about.[/quote]So Farhan, are you telling us that the “theory” you subscribe to doesn’t apply to people or that it is wrong? Because evidently, it has been falsified here (and in many other cases of actual active gay people who are far from spiritually stagnated).

    So when does your “theory” go from being “truth” or “an utter falsehood”, Farhan? What would be sufficient to falsify it?

    I think that since you are still spiritually young, Farhan, you will come to see in time that your faith has compelled you to uncritically accept believed a lie as you grow older. It would be a beautiful thing to see you mature from spiritual infancy to a state of adulthood. Unfortunately, your inner infant is delaying the growth of your inner adult. Let your childish beliefs die, Farhan! Come and join the rest of us in the year 2008.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Andrew-
    “Bah?’? teachings on any number of topics will change once the money stops rolling in. As with all patriarchal faiths, money is the root of religion.”

    The BF is reporting rapidly they are at a shortfall, NSA wrote something to the effect of 10.4M needed in a few weeks. Calculates to $161,000.00 per known address in the US. I openly shared one of the main reasons I held on to the “label” Bah?’? was for the one privilege I found which is to give to the funds, the writings are free for everyone. Being that I am not wearing the label and am no longer ?qualified? to give since my un enrollment, I have spoken with my wealth manager, lawyer & CPA to assist me in setting up a non-profit foundation which will be published this year with my seed money of $$$K. The foundation is being set up for any human or group with needs. There is still much to learn and put together, especially the whole new structure of the foundation to be named: Beloved Care Society, BCS. I would be thrilled with any suggestions or quick set up assist on letter examples to feed it besides mine. I will need to put together a board, mission statement, qualifications for grants… but it is really quite exciting because I really feel the money I give will go to those I want it to get to, people WHO really need it.

    I did find out shortly before I quit, that even though I may have specifically ?earmarked? $$K in funds to be sent last November to Mali, Tanzania and a few other of the poorest Bah?’? communities in the world, it is possible the LSA & NSA can veto the earmark if there is a greater need locally. I now plan to write and learn what became of the generous portion of a sizable gift intended to be 100’x greater in value to these poor areas specifically asked to be used for women and children, sent and earned in loving memory of Martha Root.

    Where the money comes from and where it goes would be an excellent topic of discussion.

    I feel certain if Martha was alive today she would have plenty to say on equality and she would have been heard. You know she never married but did she have any secret or forbidden loves? Guess that answer is also for a later date…

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Andrew-
    “Bah?’? teachings on any number of topics will change once the money stops rolling in. As with all patriarchal faiths, money is the root of religion.”

    The BF is reporting rapidly they are at a shortfall, NSA wrote something to the effect of 10.4M needed in a few weeks. Calculates to $161,000.00 per known address in the US. I openly shared one of the main reasons I held on to the “label” Bah?’? was for the one privilege I found which is to give to the funds, the writings are free for everyone. Being that I am not wearing the label and am no longer ?qualified? to give since my un enrollment, I have spoken with my wealth manager, lawyer & CPA to assist me in setting up a non-profit foundation which will be published this year with my seed money of $$$K. The foundation is being set up for any human or group with needs. There is still much to learn and put together, especially the whole new structure of the foundation to be named: Beloved Care Society, BCS. I would be thrilled with any suggestions or quick set up assist on letter examples to feed it besides mine. I will need to put together a board, mission statement, qualifications for grants… but it is really quite exciting because I really feel the money I give will go to those I want it to get to, people WHO really need it.

    I did find out shortly before I quit, that even though I may have specifically ?earmarked? $$K in funds to be sent last November to Mali, Tanzania and a few other of the poorest Bah?’? communities in the world, it is possible the LSA & NSA can veto the earmark if there is a greater need locally. I now plan to write and learn what became of the generous portion of a sizable gift intended to be 100’x greater in value to these poor areas specifically asked to be used for women and children, sent and earned in loving memory of Martha Root.

    Where the money comes from and where it goes would be an excellent topic of discussion.

    I feel certain if Martha was alive today she would have plenty to say on equality and she would have been heard. You know she never married but did she have any secret or forbidden loves? Guess that answer is also for a later date…

  • http://www.theyreminisceoveryou.wordpress.com Noah Latif Goodbaum

    Beth, I want to join Amanda in thanking you for adding a vital perspective to this debate and weathering such presumably painful demonization of your identity to make a meaningful contribution. I figured I hadn’t the right to say this earlier, given I’ve never met you and quite likely never will. But I’d wanted to. I hope it’s not too problematic to tell you that your insight is appreciated.

    In brief, I really do feel like there is no justification on humane grounds for the ostracism of gay folks in the Baha’i Writings, and no way to retroactively try to pretend it’s in accord with full recognition of human dignity; that’s trying to put a square peg into a round hole.

    But the Writings’ position on homoexuality does seem theologically licit, and intractable. And because the maintenance of orthodoxy is so important to the Administration, there can be no open and lively debate on the matter, as there has been in, say, Protestant churches or Jewish denominations. If there was a meaningful semi-public debate taking place, and I could at least consistently voice this opinion in public to fellow Baha’is at Feast and such, I would feel a lot less reserve about joining the Community, as I still long to. But there isn’t. I can’t.

    The lesson this has taught me is somewhat damaging to my personal faith in God as a real Being Who sends revealed wisdom down to us in His Books. The Higher Criticism taught us that the Christian and Jewish holy books were a product of their time, with human authors, possibly divinely inspired but certainly not God’s literal Word, not applicable to the letter at the present time. But then come Islam and then the Baha’i Faith, claiming that THEIR texts ARE applicable, and don’t HAVE to be subjected to such criticism because they ARE God’s work and they ARE in full accord with the needs of the time. And, in 90% of the particulars, I think the Baha’i Writings ARE. But not in the this one. In this one, they bear the stamp of their time– and if the normative Baha’i position on gay folks is substantially less inhumane and barbaric than the normative Muslim one, that’s because the time in this case is the nineteenth century, rather than the seventh.

  • http://www.theyreminisceoveryou.wordpress.com Noah Latif Goodbaum

    Beth, I want to join Amanda in thanking you for adding a vital perspective to this debate and weathering such presumably painful demonization of your identity to make a meaningful contribution. I figured I hadn’t the right to say this earlier, given I’ve never met you and quite likely never will. But I’d wanted to. I hope it’s not too problematic to tell you that your insight is appreciated.

    In brief, I really do feel like there is no justification on humane grounds for the ostracism of gay folks in the Baha’i Writings, and no way to retroactively try to pretend it’s in accord with full recognition of human dignity; that’s trying to put a square peg into a round hole.

    But the Writings’ position on homoexuality does seem theologically licit, and intractable. And because the maintenance of orthodoxy is so important to the Administration, there can be no open and lively debate on the matter, as there has been in, say, Protestant churches or Jewish denominations. If there was a meaningful semi-public debate taking place, and I could at least consistently voice this opinion in public to fellow Baha’is at Feast and such, I would feel a lot less reserve about joining the Community, as I still long to. But there isn’t. I can’t.

    The lesson this has taught me is somewhat damaging to my personal faith in God as a real Being Who sends revealed wisdom down to us in His Books. The Higher Criticism taught us that the Christian and Jewish holy books were a product of their time, with human authors, possibly divinely inspired but certainly not God’s literal Word, not applicable to the letter at the present time. But then come Islam and then the Baha’i Faith, claiming that THEIR texts ARE applicable, and don’t HAVE to be subjected to such criticism because they ARE God’s work and they ARE in full accord with the needs of the time. And, in 90% of the particulars, I think the Baha’i Writings ARE. But not in the this one. In this one, they bear the stamp of their time– and if the normative Baha’i position on gay folks is substantially less inhumane and barbaric than the normative Muslim one, that’s because the time in this case is the nineteenth century, rather than the seventh.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Noah -[quote comment="46846"]In brief, I really do feel like there is no justification on humane grounds for the ostracism of gay folks in the Baha’i Writings, and no way to retroactively try to pretend it’s in accord with full recognition of human dignity; that’s trying to put a square peg into a round hole.

    But the Writings’ position on homoexuality does seem theologically licit, and intractable. And because the maintenance of orthodoxy is so important to the Administration, there can be no open and lively debate on the matter, as there has been in, say, Protestant churches or Jewish denominations. If there was a meaningful semi-public debate taking place, and I could at least consistently voice this opinion in public to fellow Baha’is at Feast and such, I would feel a lot less reserve about joining the Community, as I still long to. But there isn’t. I can’t.[/quote]

    - Hit the nail on that one for sure Noah and if you did you would be sent a letter, I got one myself my second month after signing the card about “questioning” and must “OBEY”, and as a humble servant I kept my mouth shut, or at least selected to what would not get me another letter for 14 years… I am a little pent up.

    Noah this one hit home plate:

    “I would feel a lot less reserve about joining the Community, as I still long to. But there isn’t. I can’t. -

    Waiting to sign the card to be fully informed is very important, however I read somewhere the UHJ now says people may be automatically declared by showing signs of being a Bahai. Be on the look out for anyone who tells you that “you are a Bahai” The other side, not being one any more, if they think you are and change your mind, (defection vs. leavetaker) is spiritual death to those you thought were your friends. The arrival to this type of destination is not pretty so plan your trip with all the facts.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Noah -[quote comment="46846"]In brief, I really do feel like there is no justification on humane grounds for the ostracism of gay folks in the Baha’i Writings, and no way to retroactively try to pretend it’s in accord with full recognition of human dignity; that’s trying to put a square peg into a round hole.

    But the Writings’ position on homoexuality does seem theologically licit, and intractable. And because the maintenance of orthodoxy is so important to the Administration, there can be no open and lively debate on the matter, as there has been in, say, Protestant churches or Jewish denominations. If there was a meaningful semi-public debate taking place, and I could at least consistently voice this opinion in public to fellow Baha’is at Feast and such, I would feel a lot less reserve about joining the Community, as I still long to. But there isn’t. I can’t.[/quote]

    - Hit the nail on that one for sure Noah and if you did you would be sent a letter, I got one myself my second month after signing the card about “questioning” and must “OBEY”, and as a humble servant I kept my mouth shut, or at least selected to what would not get me another letter for 14 years… I am a little pent up.

    Noah this one hit home plate:

    “I would feel a lot less reserve about joining the Community, as I still long to. But there isn’t. I can’t. -

    Waiting to sign the card to be fully informed is very important, however I read somewhere the UHJ now says people may be automatically declared by showing signs of being a Bahai. Be on the look out for anyone who tells you that “you are a Bahai” The other side, not being one any more, if they think you are and change your mind, (defection vs. leavetaker) is spiritual death to those you thought were your friends. The arrival to this type of destination is not pretty so plan your trip with all the facts.

  • Andrew

    Noah Latif Goodbaum wrote:

    “But the Writings’ position on homosexuality does seem theologically licit, and intractable.”

    Theological arguments can be made to make licit whatever one wishes to make licit.

    From a letter from the Southern Baptists of South Carolina to the Governor of that state, 24th December 1822:

    “…The result of this inquiry and reasoning, on the subject of slavery, brings us, sir, if I mistake not, very regularly to the following conclusions:—That the holding of slaves is justifiable by the doctrine and example contained in Holy writ; and is, therefore consistent with Christian uprightness, both in sentiment and conduct. That, all things considered, the Citizens of America have in general obtained the African slaves, which they possess, on principles, which can be justified…”

    The complete text of this saying can be found in “Ayatollah Khomeini in Tahrirolvasyleh, Fourth Edition, Darol Elm, Qom”:

    “A man can have sexual pleasure from a child as young as a baby. However, he should not penetrate. If he penetrates and the child is harmed then he should be responsible for her subsistence all her life. This girl, however, would not count as one of his four permanent wives. The man will not be eligible to marry the girl’s sister.”

    Theological licitness is no guarantee of anything.

  • Andrew

    Noah Latif Goodbaum wrote:

    “But the Writings’ position on homosexuality does seem theologically licit, and intractable.”

    Theological arguments can be made to make licit whatever one wishes to make licit.

    From a letter from the Southern Baptists of South Carolina to the Governor of that state, 24th December 1822:

    “…The result of this inquiry and reasoning, on the subject of slavery, brings us, sir, if I mistake not, very regularly to the following conclusions:—That the holding of slaves is justifiable by the doctrine and example contained in Holy writ; and is, therefore consistent with Christian uprightness, both in sentiment and conduct. That, all things considered, the Citizens of America have in general obtained the African slaves, which they possess, on principles, which can be justified…”

    The complete text of this saying can be found in “Ayatollah Khomeini in Tahrirolvasyleh, Fourth Edition, Darol Elm, Qom”:

    “A man can have sexual pleasure from a child as young as a baby. However, he should not penetrate. If he penetrates and the child is harmed then he should be responsible for her subsistence all her life. This girl, however, would not count as one of his four permanent wives. The man will not be eligible to marry the girl’s sister.”

    Theological licitness is no guarantee of anything.

  • Andrew

    Noah, maybe you should consider Sunni Islam, as it seems to be more
    progressive than Baha’ism on the issue of homosexuality:

    Muslim scholars at a meeting in Jakarta announced on Mar. 27 that homosexuality is natural and part of God’s creation.

    The Jakarta Post published an account on March 28 of the pronouncement made by moderate Muslims after examining the issue at a meeting put together by Arus Pelani, an NGO.

    Within the full context of Islamic teaching, the scholars said, the faith does not reject homosexuality. The scholars said that anti-gay teachings spring not from Islam, but from limited understanding of the teachings of Islam.

    Though anti-gay clerics frequently cite the Qu’ran in their condemnation of homosexuality, the Jakarta Post article quoted Siti Musdah Mulia as referencing a different passage from the Islamic holy text, al-Hujurat (49:3), which teaches that all people are equal without regard to gender, social status, wealth–or, says Mulia, sexuality.

    Said Mulica, a female scholar with the Indonesia Conference of Religions and People, “There is no difference between lesbians and nonlesbians.”

    She continued, “In the eyes of God, people are valued based on their piety.”

    Added Mulica, “And talking about piety is God’s prerogative to judge.”

    Mulica said that, “The essence of the Islamic faith is to humanize humans, respect and dignify them.”

    The Jakarta Post article said that Musdah claimed that homosexuality was not simply a matter of lust, and that it was part of God’s creation.

    Soffa Ihsan, managing editor of Mata Air magazine, argued that the concept of “heterogeneity” must also include gays and lesbians, the article reported, and said that matters of law needed to be decided by looking at scriptural sources with an open mind.

    Nurofiah of the Nahdlatul Ulama also spoke of heterogeneity, saying that it had resulted in a sort of tyranny-of-the-majority approach to homosexuality.

    She explained, “Like gender bias or patriarchy, heterogeneity bias is socially constructed.”

    She added, “It would be totally different if the ruling group was homosexuals.”

    Rido Triawan, head of Arus Pelangi, put forth the notion that cultural acceptance of gays did not clash with Islamic religious tradition, saying, “In fact, Indonesia’s culture has accepted homosexuality.”

    Said Triawan, “The homosexual group in Bugis-Makassar tradition called Bissu is respected and given a high position in the kingdom.”

    Triawan went on, “Also, we know that in [East Java] there has been acknowledgment of homosexuality.”

    Conservative voices of Islam disagreed.

    Indonesian Ulema Council deputy chairman Amir Syarifuddin said, “It’s a sin.”

    Added Syarifuddin, “We will not consider homosexuals an enemy, but we will make them aware that what they are doing is wrong.”

  • Andrew

    Noah, maybe you should consider Sunni Islam, as it seems to be more
    progressive than Baha’ism on the issue of homosexuality:

    Muslim scholars at a meeting in Jakarta announced on Mar. 27 that homosexuality is natural and part of God’s creation.

    The Jakarta Post published an account on March 28 of the pronouncement made by moderate Muslims after examining the issue at a meeting put together by Arus Pelani, an NGO.

    Within the full context of Islamic teaching, the scholars said, the faith does not reject homosexuality. The scholars said that anti-gay teachings spring not from Islam, but from limited understanding of the teachings of Islam.

    Though anti-gay clerics frequently cite the Qu’ran in their condemnation of homosexuality, the Jakarta Post article quoted Siti Musdah Mulia as referencing a different passage from the Islamic holy text, al-Hujurat (49:3), which teaches that all people are equal without regard to gender, social status, wealth–or, says Mulia, sexuality.

    Said Mulica, a female scholar with the Indonesia Conference of Religions and People, “There is no difference between lesbians and nonlesbians.”

    She continued, “In the eyes of God, people are valued based on their piety.”

    Added Mulica, “And talking about piety is God’s prerogative to judge.”

    Mulica said that, “The essence of the Islamic faith is to humanize humans, respect and dignify them.”

    The Jakarta Post article said that Musdah claimed that homosexuality was not simply a matter of lust, and that it was part of God’s creation.

    Soffa Ihsan, managing editor of Mata Air magazine, argued that the concept of “heterogeneity” must also include gays and lesbians, the article reported, and said that matters of law needed to be decided by looking at scriptural sources with an open mind.

    Nurofiah of the Nahdlatul Ulama also spoke of heterogeneity, saying that it had resulted in a sort of tyranny-of-the-majority approach to homosexuality.

    She explained, “Like gender bias or patriarchy, heterogeneity bias is socially constructed.”

    She added, “It would be totally different if the ruling group was homosexuals.”

    Rido Triawan, head of Arus Pelangi, put forth the notion that cultural acceptance of gays did not clash with Islamic religious tradition, saying, “In fact, Indonesia’s culture has accepted homosexuality.”

    Said Triawan, “The homosexual group in Bugis-Makassar tradition called Bissu is respected and given a high position in the kingdom.”

    Triawan went on, “Also, we know that in [East Java] there has been acknowledgment of homosexuality.”

    Conservative voices of Islam disagreed.

    Indonesian Ulema Council deputy chairman Amir Syarifuddin said, “It’s a sin.”

    Added Syarifuddin, “We will not consider homosexuals an enemy, but we will make them aware that what they are doing is wrong.”

  • Noah Latif Goodbaum

    Andrew– I thank you kindly for your suggestion, but I dare not, I would not, and frankly, I’m a little surprised that you’d suggest it, given that, with all due respect to Islam, the attitudes of quite a number of its devotees in the present day, as prompted by the texts and the perspectives taken on their Prophet’s life and events in their history, is wildly illiberal, opposed to equality for non-Muslims, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and thought, and constitutional liberalism, all in ways I think even more onerous than even the most obscurantist visions in the Baha’i Faith. That there may be a number of comparatively liberal Muslim societies and cultures– Indonesia, with the Javanese cultural influence, being one of them– is immaterial in the face of a seemingly implacable majority attitude that’s generally opposed, at least to some extent, to a lot of what I hold dear. A key reason to be cautious about joining the Baha’i Faith is that tight controls are kept on the views one is allowed to express publicly, and although there is no censorship as such in Islam, there certainly have been threats of violence to those daring to write things a mass of angered Muslims aren’t happy about. So that issue doesn’t vanish in
    a Muslim environment.

    Besides which, I can’t accept the very most basic premise of Islam, because I don’t accept that Muhammad (salallahu alaihi wasalaam) was the last Prophet sent by God. I think The Bab and Baha’u’llah came after him, as well as the ten Gurus of Sikhism and a few others, under secular and religious auspices. One of the things that drew me to the Faith in the first place was that this universalism, as it were, was a basic tenet and held to be obvious. I started getting cold feet when I realized it was more complicated than that. Turns out the Baha’i view isn’t so different from the normative Muslim one. After all, the Baha’i understanding that sees other world faiths as erroneous and polluted by human-made falsities, waiting for purification upon a person’s becoming Baha’i, is derived from the Islamic understanding that sees previous faiths as distortions and falsifications of Islam.

    I do accept that Muhammad (saw) in some of what he did and said must have been one of God’s messengers, as would be necessary for Baha’i belief. But there’s a lot more that gives me pause in Islamic history and theology than in the Baha’i Administration. A lot more. More than I can get into here. I’d never be able to sincerely commit to Islam. I do feel a great deal of warmth toward the Nizari Ismaili Muslims, though, the followers of the Aga Khan. Their Islam is an entirely benevolent and beneficient world force. If only their understanding were normalized. And the Ahmadiyya Muslim movement, as well, is wonderful.

    It’s not the matter of homosexuality alone that makes me question whether I ought to sign a Baha’i declaration card. There’s a small cluster of other issues as well. Besides– quite frankly, if the Baha’i Faith wishes to maintain its gains in membership in the non-West, I imagine that declaring a more tolerant attitude toward homosexuality would be suicidal. It isn’t about to change for us. That’s not to condone pervasive bigotries or imply that non-Westerners are primitives or only they hold them, only to recognize that only among a certain privileged class in the West (and lands influenced by its norms) does an acceptant attitude to homosexuality have any widespread support. That Indonesia’s relatively relaxed and liberal Muslim culture seems to be increasingly ready to embrace homosexuality is fantastic, but I expect it to be an aberration, especially in Muslim circles.

    Could I become a Sunni Muslim? Heavens no. More power, though, to these Indonesian Muslims! Wonderful development.

  • Noah Latif Goodbaum

    Andrew– I thank you kindly for your suggestion, but I dare not, I would not, and frankly, I’m a little surprised that you’d suggest it, given that, with all due respect to Islam, the attitudes of quite a number of its devotees in the present day, as prompted by the texts and the perspectives taken on their Prophet’s life and events in their history, is wildly illiberal, opposed to equality for non-Muslims, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and thought, and constitutional liberalism, all in ways I think even more onerous than even the most obscurantist visions in the Baha’i Faith. That there may be a number of comparatively liberal Muslim societies and cultures– Indonesia, with the Javanese cultural influence, being one of them– is immaterial in the face of a seemingly implacable majority attitude that’s generally opposed, at least to some extent, to a lot of what I hold dear. A key reason to be cautious about joining the Baha’i Faith is that tight controls are kept on the views one is allowed to express publicly, and although there is no censorship as such in Islam, there certainly have been threats of violence to those daring to write things a mass of angered Muslims aren’t happy about. So that issue doesn’t vanish in
    a Muslim environment.

    Besides which, I can’t accept the very most basic premise of Islam, because I don’t accept that Muhammad (salallahu alaihi wasalaam) was the last Prophet sent by God. I think The Bab and Baha’u’llah came after him, as well as the ten Gurus of Sikhism and a few others, under secular and religious auspices. One of the things that drew me to the Faith in the first place was that this universalism, as it were, was a basic tenet and held to be obvious. I started getting cold feet when I realized it was more complicated than that. Turns out the Baha’i view isn’t so different from the normative Muslim one. After all, the Baha’i understanding that sees other world faiths as erroneous and polluted by human-made falsities, waiting for purification upon a person’s becoming Baha’i, is derived from the Islamic understanding that sees previous faiths as distortions and falsifications of Islam.

    I do accept that Muhammad (saw) in some of what he did and said must have been one of God’s messengers, as would be necessary for Baha’i belief. But there’s a lot more that gives me pause in Islamic history and theology than in the Baha’i Administration. A lot more. More than I can get into here. I’d never be able to sincerely commit to Islam. I do feel a great deal of warmth toward the Nizari Ismaili Muslims, though, the followers of the Aga Khan. Their Islam is an entirely benevolent and beneficient world force. If only their understanding were normalized. And the Ahmadiyya Muslim movement, as well, is wonderful.

    It’s not the matter of homosexuality alone that makes me question whether I ought to sign a Baha’i declaration card. There’s a small cluster of other issues as well. Besides– quite frankly, if the Baha’i Faith wishes to maintain its gains in membership in the non-West, I imagine that declaring a more tolerant attitude toward homosexuality would be suicidal. It isn’t about to change for us. That’s not to condone pervasive bigotries or imply that non-Westerners are primitives or only they hold them, only to recognize that only among a certain privileged class in the West (and lands influenced by its norms) does an acceptant attitude to homosexuality have any widespread support. That Indonesia’s relatively relaxed and liberal Muslim culture seems to be increasingly ready to embrace homosexuality is fantastic, but I expect it to be an aberration, especially in Muslim circles.

    Could I become a Sunni Muslim? Heavens no. More power, though, to these Indonesian Muslims! Wonderful development.

  • farhan

    Amanda,
    I wanted to come back to this passage you appropriately introduced:
    ?Ye are forbidden to commit adultery, sodomy and lechery. Avoid them, O concourse of the faithful. By the righteousness of God! Ye have been called into being to purge the world from the defilement of evil passions. This is what the Lord of all mankind hath enjoined exemplar lives except when it comes to child abuse. European tourists in developing countries will say ?these kids are being abused by uncles, fathers and grand fathers; why arrest me? I have been generous to them?. These offenders believe that by doing a great amount of good deeds they can counterbalance their misdeeds. My reply to them is that the most well equipped boat is condemned if there is a hole in the hull.
    In the light of Baha’I writings which explain that God’s creation is exclusively good and that ?Satan? symbolises the ?insistent self? our ego, the natural tendency to regress from civilised attributes to our inborn animal nature, a tendency we have to constantly counterbalance by spiritual food.
    Carnot’s second law of thermodynamics states that order is improbable and disorder is probable. This natural tendency towards disorder is called ?entropy?. A pile of bricks will not spontaneously become a house, but a house unless constantly repaired, will naturally evolve towards degradation. We need energy and information to build a house; a grain has information, which together with the energy of the sun can transform manure into a flower. This is called ?negative entropy?; the phenomenon of life, be it mineral, plant, animal, social or spiritual is contrary to the natural tendency towards disruption, degradation, disintegration and decomposition.
    In the passage you quote, Baha’u’llah reminds us that we have been called into being to purify humanity from basic instincts. We cannot call ourselves true believers if we engage in activities that promote ?satanic? disruption when we claim to be associated with Divine that promotes unity.
    The word ?Satan? in Hebrew means the ?adversary?. Life is brought about by the creator who provides love (energy) and knowledge (information) necessary for composition. The adversary of God (Satan) is whatever produces disruption, disorder.
    In Aqdas K 19 Baha’u’llah condemns whatever brings about disruption physically and socially: ?Ye have been forbidden to commit murder or adultery, or to engage in backbiting or calumny; shun ye, then, what hath been prohibited in the holy Books and Tablets.? And in K 64: ?Take heed not to stir up mischief in the land after it hath been set in order. Whoso acteth in this way is not of Us, and We are quit of him.?
    Hence I gather from these quotes that Baha’u’llah condemns as not being of him persons engaged in adultery, sodomy and lechery on equal levels with mischief, backbiting and calumny as disruptive ?Satanic? activities, of which most of us are more or less guilty at times. He does not say homosexuals are ?satanic? any more than slanderers, backbiters, adulterers and lechers. Hence I see no specific discrimination against homosexuals.
    What I do agree to a doctor, is the fact that marriage is offered to heterosexuals as a legal outlet for sexuality, medicine and surgery is available to intersexuals and transsexuals, and nothing is available to homosexuals.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Amanda,
    I wanted to come back to this passage you appropriately introduced:
    ?Ye are forbidden to commit adultery, sodomy and lechery. Avoid them, O concourse of the faithful. By the righteousness of God! Ye have been called into being to purge the world from the defilement of evil passions. This is what the Lord of all mankind hath enjoined exemplar lives except when it comes to child abuse. European tourists in developing countries will say ?these kids are being abused by uncles, fathers and grand fathers; why arrest me? I have been generous to them?. These offenders believe that by doing a great amount of good deeds they can counterbalance their misdeeds. My reply to them is that the most well equipped boat is condemned if there is a hole in the hull.
    In the light of Baha’I writings which explain that God’s creation is exclusively good and that ?Satan? symbolises the ?insistent self? our ego, the natural tendency to regress from civilised attributes to our inborn animal nature, a tendency we have to constantly counterbalance by spiritual food.
    Carnot’s second law of thermodynamics states that order is improbable and disorder is probable. This natural tendency towards disorder is called ?entropy?. A pile of bricks will not spontaneously become a house, but a house unless constantly repaired, will naturally evolve towards degradation. We need energy and information to build a house; a grain has information, which together with the energy of the sun can transform manure into a flower. This is called ?negative entropy?; the phenomenon of life, be it mineral, plant, animal, social or spiritual is contrary to the natural tendency towards disruption, degradation, disintegration and decomposition.
    In the passage you quote, Baha’u’llah reminds us that we have been called into being to purify humanity from basic instincts. We cannot call ourselves true believers if we engage in activities that promote ?satanic? disruption when we claim to be associated with Divine that promotes unity.
    The word ?Satan? in Hebrew means the ?adversary?. Life is brought about by the creator who provides love (energy) and knowledge (information) necessary for composition. The adversary of God (Satan) is whatever produces disruption, disorder.
    In Aqdas K 19 Baha’u’llah condemns whatever brings about disruption physically and socially: ?Ye have been forbidden to commit murder or adultery, or to engage in backbiting or calumny; shun ye, then, what hath been prohibited in the holy Books and Tablets.? And in K 64: ?Take heed not to stir up mischief in the land after it hath been set in order. Whoso acteth in this way is not of Us, and We are quit of him.?
    Hence I gather from these quotes that Baha’u’llah condemns as not being of him persons engaged in adultery, sodomy and lechery on equal levels with mischief, backbiting and calumny as disruptive ?Satanic? activities, of which most of us are more or less guilty at times. He does not say homosexuals are ?satanic? any more than slanderers, backbiters, adulterers and lechers. Hence I see no specific discrimination against homosexuals.
    What I do agree to a doctor, is the fact that marriage is offered to heterosexuals as a legal outlet for sexuality, medicine and surgery is available to intersexuals and transsexuals, and nothing is available to homosexuals.

  • Noah Latif Goodbaum

    Among the most daunting and perplexing elements of the religious prohibition on “sodomy” is that I always imagined that the texts were very purposefully implying a particular attitude in the performers of sodomy, that is, deliberately seeking to behave primally and brutally, in the manner of a dirty beast, and to defy God– which, in modern gay people, is manifestly not what is commonly sought. Maybe I’m being unconsciously condescending by implying there’s a difference between “dirty sex” and “clean sex”, but I remain perplexed by the insistence by religious authorities that gay sex is ipso facto ‘dirty’, when so many gay people are desirous of the kind of relationship that’s the very epitome of ‘clean’, in the sense of which society approves, with monogamy, fidelity, and good, honest clean living. Maybe that’s me superimposing my understanding onto texts that are clearer than I’d like them to be on the subject, but I always thought it was noteworthy.

  • Noah Latif Goodbaum

    Among the most daunting and perplexing elements of the religious prohibition on “sodomy” is that I always imagined that the texts were very purposefully implying a particular attitude in the performers of sodomy, that is, deliberately seeking to behave primally and brutally, in the manner of a dirty beast, and to defy God– which, in modern gay people, is manifestly not what is commonly sought. Maybe I’m being unconsciously condescending by implying there’s a difference between “dirty sex” and “clean sex”, but I remain perplexed by the insistence by religious authorities that gay sex is ipso facto ‘dirty’, when so many gay people are desirous of the kind of relationship that’s the very epitome of ‘clean’, in the sense of which society approves, with monogamy, fidelity, and good, honest clean living. Maybe that’s me superimposing my understanding onto texts that are clearer than I’d like them to be on the subject, but I always thought it was noteworthy.

  • Andrew

    Noah Latif Goodbaum wrote:

    “I thank you kindly for your suggestion, but I dare not, I would not, and frankly, I’m a little surprised that you’d suggest it … That there may be a number of comparatively liberal Muslim societies and cultures – Indonesia, with the Javanese cultural influence, being one of them – is immaterial in the face of a seemingly implacable majority attitude that’s generally opposed, at least to some extent, to a lot of what I hold dear.”

    I can sympathize. But most of the Muslims I know are from Indonesia or Malaysia and they are generally quite open and accepting. Some of them have even tried to convert me! Bear in mind that Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims in the world … so there is hope!

    “I do feel a great deal of warmth toward the Nizari Ismaili Muslims, though, the followers of the Aga Khan. Their Islam is an entirely benevolent and beneficient world force.”

    True. But their tariqa is closed to outsiders (not just non-Muslims but all non-Ismaili Muslims). Conversion is through marriage only.

    “And the Ahmadiyya Muslim movement, as well, is wonderful.”

    Unfortunately they are extremely homophobic.

    “I imagine that declaring a more tolerant attitude toward homosexuality would be suicidal.”

    I disagree. I think this is used as an excuse to remain intolerant. But I understand your point.

  • Andrew

    Noah Latif Goodbaum wrote:

    “I thank you kindly for your suggestion, but I dare not, I would not, and frankly, I’m a little surprised that you’d suggest it … That there may be a number of comparatively liberal Muslim societies and cultures – Indonesia, with the Javanese cultural influence, being one of them – is immaterial in the face of a seemingly implacable majority attitude that’s generally opposed, at least to some extent, to a lot of what I hold dear.”

    I can sympathize. But most of the Muslims I know are from Indonesia or Malaysia and they are generally quite open and accepting. Some of them have even tried to convert me! Bear in mind that Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims in the world … so there is hope!

    “I do feel a great deal of warmth toward the Nizari Ismaili Muslims, though, the followers of the Aga Khan. Their Islam is an entirely benevolent and beneficient world force.”

    True. But their tariqa is closed to outsiders (not just non-Muslims but all non-Ismaili Muslims). Conversion is through marriage only.

    “And the Ahmadiyya Muslim movement, as well, is wonderful.”

    Unfortunately they are extremely homophobic.

    “I imagine that declaring a more tolerant attitude toward homosexuality would be suicidal.”

    I disagree. I think this is used as an excuse to remain intolerant. But I understand your point.

  • Noah Latif Goodbaum

    [quote comment=""]I disagree. I think this is used as an excuse to remain intolerant. But I understand your point.[/quote]

    I don’t intend to use it as such. I’m just reporting on the general trend toward conservative interpretation of Islam and Christianity that I see in most places outside the privileged states of North America and (most of) Europe, for example, the markedly conservative approach to Christianity on the part of many Catholic prelates and Protestant preachers in Africa, viz. Peter Akinola and the recent ‘Anglican realignment’ as it were. I would imagine that quite a number of Baha’is share the social mores of their countrymen in these respects, and so it’d become an issue. Though, as I’ve previously expressed ad nausaeum, such a change would delight me to no end.

    “Unfortunately the Ahmadiyya are extremely homophobic.”

    Or, at least, somewhat so– as are a majority of Muslims, excluding the Nizari Ismailis and certain heterodox Sufis, and a majority of religious folk more generally, I’d imagine, even in traditions with histories of tolerance in other respects, the like of Hinduism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, et al. Even the Dalai Lama disapproves of homosexuality, although he defends the civil rights of gay folks staunchly, in a manner I’d very much like to see the Universal House of Justice echo.

    “Most of the Muslims I know are from Indonesia or Malaysia and they are generally quite open and accepting.”

    Enter differences of culture, as shaped by historical circumstances according to how Islam was brought to the country and which influences it interacted with. Most of the Muslims I know are Pakistani, Arab, or Somali, and quite conservative in their Islam, although some others are comfortable with, and receptive to, notions of sexual diversity that aren’t usually entertained outside the West.

  • Noah Latif Goodbaum

    [quote comment=""]I disagree. I think this is used as an excuse to remain intolerant. But I understand your point.[/quote]

    I don’t intend to use it as such. I’m just reporting on the general trend toward conservative interpretation of Islam and Christianity that I see in most places outside the privileged states of North America and (most of) Europe, for example, the markedly conservative approach to Christianity on the part of many Catholic prelates and Protestant preachers in Africa, viz. Peter Akinola and the recent ‘Anglican realignment’ as it were. I would imagine that quite a number of Baha’is share the social mores of their countrymen in these respects, and so it’d become an issue. Though, as I’ve previously expressed ad nausaeum, such a change would delight me to no end.

    “Unfortunately the Ahmadiyya are extremely homophobic.”

    Or, at least, somewhat so– as are a majority of Muslims, excluding the Nizari Ismailis and certain heterodox Sufis, and a majority of religious folk more generally, I’d imagine, even in traditions with histories of tolerance in other respects, the like of Hinduism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, et al. Even the Dalai Lama disapproves of homosexuality, although he defends the civil rights of gay folks staunchly, in a manner I’d very much like to see the Universal House of Justice echo.

    “Most of the Muslims I know are from Indonesia or Malaysia and they are generally quite open and accepting.”

    Enter differences of culture, as shaped by historical circumstances according to how Islam was brought to the country and which influences it interacted with. Most of the Muslims I know are Pakistani, Arab, or Somali, and quite conservative in their Islam, although some others are comfortable with, and receptive to, notions of sexual diversity that aren’t usually entertained outside the West.

  • Noah Latif Goodbaum

    The World Order of Baha’u’llah” [is] a concept I find absolutely chilling. If I’m buying a homeless person a meal, I’m not furthering the World Order of Baha’u’llah, I’m feeding someone who is hungry and affirming the humanity of the other. No need to idealize it, which itself is the problem. I think the world needs fewer fairy tales and more rational solutions.”

    Very much agreed. I find it chilling in its implications, but I don’t necessarily assume that (my fellow?) Baha’is mean it in a respect that implies willing efforts to establish hegemony and wipe out other ways of doing things. It’s seen as a boon to humanity, not as something that’ll harm lives.

    For my part, I think the Baha’i vision of a unified global society is tenable more or less exclusively in the sense of aiming to normalize the three onenesses– to help the world’s people understand that all paths to God are equal in His eyes, whatever their seeming disparities, and to standardize the Golden Rule. I very much support the universalization of these principles to whatever extent they can be (although I doubt they ultimately can.) The conception that world enlightenment can come, and is ordained by God to come, only through mass adoption of the religion itself seems to me anachronistic and faintly Orwellian. Whatever the Baha’i Faith’s many glories, I can’t tolerate aspirations towards hegemony on its part. Religious supremacism is revolting, even Baha’i supremacism, and must needs be opposed.

  • Noah Latif Goodbaum

    The World Order of Baha’u’llah” [is] a concept I find absolutely chilling. If I’m buying a homeless person a meal, I’m not furthering the World Order of Baha’u’llah, I’m feeding someone who is hungry and affirming the humanity of the other. No need to idealize it, which itself is the problem. I think the world needs fewer fairy tales and more rational solutions.”

    Very much agreed. I find it chilling in its implications, but I don’t necessarily assume that (my fellow?) Baha’is mean it in a respect that implies willing efforts to establish hegemony and wipe out other ways of doing things. It’s seen as a boon to humanity, not as something that’ll harm lives.

    For my part, I think the Baha’i vision of a unified global society is tenable more or less exclusively in the sense of aiming to normalize the three onenesses– to help the world’s people understand that all paths to God are equal in His eyes, whatever their seeming disparities, and to standardize the Golden Rule. I very much support the universalization of these principles to whatever extent they can be (although I doubt they ultimately can.) The conception that world enlightenment can come, and is ordained by God to come, only through mass adoption of the religion itself seems to me anachronistic and faintly Orwellian. Whatever the Baha’i Faith’s many glories, I can’t tolerate aspirations towards hegemony on its part. Religious supremacism is revolting, even Baha’i supremacism, and must needs be opposed.

  • Peter S.

    Noah wrote: “I don’t intend to use it as such. I’m just reporting on the general trend toward conservative interpretation of Islam and Christianity that I see in most places outside the privileged states of North America…”

    But why the focus only on outside North America? There are very strong conservative religious movements in North America.

    Peter

  • Peter S.

    Noah wrote: “I don’t intend to use it as such. I’m just reporting on the general trend toward conservative interpretation of Islam and Christianity that I see in most places outside the privileged states of North America…”

    But why the focus only on outside North America? There are very strong conservative religious movements in North America.

    Peter

  • farhan

    Noah writes:
    “Even the Dalai Lama disapproves of homosexuality, although he defends the civil rights of gay folks staunchly, in a manner I’d very much like to see the Universal House of Justice echo.”

    Noah,
    I expect you have read the document at : http://bahai-library.com/index.php5?file=uhj_homosexuality_biology

    What kind of a declaration would you expect from the UHJ? What would be your suggestions to the UHJ for a better defence of the civil rights of GLBTI?

    Would you wish that GLBTI should be considered as a specific “people”, a new emerging race, or would you prefer them being considered as ordinary individuals just having a different private life which is nobody else’s business?

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Noah writes:
    “Even the Dalai Lama disapproves of homosexuality, although he defends the civil rights of gay folks staunchly, in a manner I’d very much like to see the Universal House of Justice echo.”

    Noah,
    I expect you have read the document at : http://bahai-library.com/index.php5?file=uhj_homosexuality_biology

    What kind of a declaration would you expect from the UHJ? What would be your suggestions to the UHJ for a better defence of the civil rights of GLBTI?

    Would you wish that GLBTI should be considered as a specific “people”, a new emerging race, or would you prefer them being considered as ordinary individuals just having a different private life which is nobody else’s business?

  • farhan

    Noah wrote:
    “After all, the Baha’i understanding that sees other world faiths as erroneous and polluted by human-made falsities,”

    Noah, I would like to add here that if the Baha’is do belive that over the years other Faiths have accumulated a lot of human-made interpretations, the other world Faiths are unreservedly accepted as authentic, although the social laws were adapted to a different epoque. Here is how Abdu’l-Baha presents it:

    “Each divine revelation is divided into two parts.

    The first part is essential… It is the exposition of significances and realities. It is the expression of the love of God, the knowledge of God. This is one in all the religions, unchangeable and immutable……

    The second part is inessential. It belongs to practical life, to transactions and business, and changes according to the requirements… These moral laws are the reflections on this plane of the divine laws, and they become the medium for transmuting the thought of man into his reality. The moral laws change as the horizon of man extends. (Abdu’l-Baha on Christ and Christianity : An interview with Pasteur Monnier , Paris 17 February 1917)

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Noah wrote:
    “After all, the Baha’i understanding that sees other world faiths as erroneous and polluted by human-made falsities,”

    Noah, I would like to add here that if the Baha’is do belive that over the years other Faiths have accumulated a lot of human-made interpretations, the other world Faiths are unreservedly accepted as authentic, although the social laws were adapted to a different epoque. Here is how Abdu’l-Baha presents it:

    “Each divine revelation is divided into two parts.

    The first part is essential… It is the exposition of significances and realities. It is the expression of the love of God, the knowledge of God. This is one in all the religions, unchangeable and immutable……

    The second part is inessential. It belongs to practical life, to transactions and business, and changes according to the requirements… These moral laws are the reflections on this plane of the divine laws, and they become the medium for transmuting the thought of man into his reality. The moral laws change as the horizon of man extends. (Abdu’l-Baha on Christ and Christianity : An interview with Pasteur Monnier , Paris 17 February 1917)

  • Noah Latif Goodbaum

    “But why the focus only on outside North America? There are very strong conservative religious movements in North America.”

    Quite so. But the United States is effectively alone in this, where Canada, Australia, New Zealand and much of Europe (excluding the troubled Balkan regions) have generally now become post-Christian in terms of not being at all interested in seeing conservative religious mores influence public life. The conservatism (and bigotry) of the American Christian right is an express reaction against the Higher Criticism and the wider consequences of the Enlightenment. It’s highly likely that if the UHJ adapted its principles in this and other matters to reflect a more socially liberal understanding, the first to depart from membership would be Americans who take an evangelical, sometimes millenarian approach to their Baha’i faith. Obscurantism is hardly a non-Western phenomenon alone.

  • Noah Latif Goodbaum

    “But why the focus only on outside North America? There are very strong conservative religious movements in North America.”

    Quite so. But the United States is effectively alone in this, where Canada, Australia, New Zealand and much of Europe (excluding the troubled Balkan regions) have generally now become post-Christian in terms of not being at all interested in seeing conservative religious mores influence public life. The conservatism (and bigotry) of the American Christian right is an express reaction against the Higher Criticism and the wider consequences of the Enlightenment. It’s highly likely that if the UHJ adapted its principles in this and other matters to reflect a more socially liberal understanding, the first to depart from membership would be Americans who take an evangelical, sometimes millenarian approach to their Baha’i faith. Obscurantism is hardly a non-Western phenomenon alone.

  • Beth

    [quote comment=""]Farhan wrote:?Ye are forbidden to commit adultery, sodomy and lechery. Avoid them, O concourse of the faithful. By the righteousness of God! Ye have been called into being to purge the world from the defilement of evil passions. This is what the Lord of all mankind hath enjoined…” exemplar lives except when it comes to child abuse. European tourists in developing countries will say ?these kids are being abused by uncles, fathers and grand fathers; why arrest me? I have been generous to them?.[/quote]

    There you go again, equating pedophilia with homosexuality. I hope this is the last time I have to point this out, but somehow, I doubt it.

    I appreciate your attempts at trying to understand why your attitudes and communications hurt and offend me. This is another one of those times, Farhan. HOMOSEXUALITY AND PEDOPHILIA ARE NOT THE SAME THING. And yes, I know that using all caps means i was just yelling. This particular aspect of the debate makes me want to scream every time it comes up. I believe that Shoghi Effendi’s translation encourages this disgusting comparison. Any clear thinking adult should be able to see the difference.

    I may talk about this more later, but for now i’m just too pissed off. Anyone else want to jump in here?

  • Beth

    [quote comment=""]Farhan wrote:?Ye are forbidden to commit adultery, sodomy and lechery. Avoid them, O concourse of the faithful. By the righteousness of God! Ye have been called into being to purge the world from the defilement of evil passions. This is what the Lord of all mankind hath enjoined…” exemplar lives except when it comes to child abuse. European tourists in developing countries will say ?these kids are being abused by uncles, fathers and grand fathers; why arrest me? I have been generous to them?.[/quote]

    There you go again, equating pedophilia with homosexuality. I hope this is the last time I have to point this out, but somehow, I doubt it.

    I appreciate your attempts at trying to understand why your attitudes and communications hurt and offend me. This is another one of those times, Farhan. HOMOSEXUALITY AND PEDOPHILIA ARE NOT THE SAME THING. And yes, I know that using all caps means i was just yelling. This particular aspect of the debate makes me want to scream every time it comes up. I believe that Shoghi Effendi’s translation encourages this disgusting comparison. Any clear thinking adult should be able to see the difference.

    I may talk about this more later, but for now i’m just too pissed off. Anyone else want to jump in here?

  • Andrew

    Noah Latif Goodbaum wrote:

    “Or, at least, somewhat so– as are a majority of Muslims, excluding the Nizari Ismailis and certain heterodox Sufis, and a majority of religious folk more generally, I’d imagine, even in traditions with histories of tolerance in other respects, the like of Hinduism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, et al. Even the Dalai Lama disapproves of homosexuality, although he defends the civil rights of gay folks staunchly.”

    Bear in mind that the Dalai Lama is not like a Buddhist Pope. There are many Buddhist sanghas that are very welcoming of lesbians and gays. There are Japanese and Chinese and Taiwanese Buddhist schools that have also taken a more positive approach. I’ve heard some Sikh and Hindu temple leaders speak out in favor of same-sex marriage. Zoroastrianism is another matter entirely: the majority tradition is still very homophobic but there are some smaller movements that are more open. Even among African Christians there are some exceptions: Archbishop Tutu is only the most prominent among them. There is also the African Muslim theologian Farid Esack who has spoken out very much in favor of LGBT rights. So it’s a real mixed bag. It’s true that there is more opposition to homosexuality among Africans and Middle Easterners but ever this is (slowly) changing. It may take several generations but I think it will change in a more positive direction. People will continue to rock the boat and consciousness will continue to change. And atheism is on the rise. It’s all good.

  • Andrew

    Noah Latif Goodbaum wrote:

    “Or, at least, somewhat so– as are a majority of Muslims, excluding the Nizari Ismailis and certain heterodox Sufis, and a majority of religious folk more generally, I’d imagine, even in traditions with histories of tolerance in other respects, the like of Hinduism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, et al. Even the Dalai Lama disapproves of homosexuality, although he defends the civil rights of gay folks staunchly.”

    Bear in mind that the Dalai Lama is not like a Buddhist Pope. There are many Buddhist sanghas that are very welcoming of lesbians and gays. There are Japanese and Chinese and Taiwanese Buddhist schools that have also taken a more positive approach. I’ve heard some Sikh and Hindu temple leaders speak out in favor of same-sex marriage. Zoroastrianism is another matter entirely: the majority tradition is still very homophobic but there are some smaller movements that are more open. Even among African Christians there are some exceptions: Archbishop Tutu is only the most prominent among them. There is also the African Muslim theologian Farid Esack who has spoken out very much in favor of LGBT rights. So it’s a real mixed bag. It’s true that there is more opposition to homosexuality among Africans and Middle Easterners but ever this is (slowly) changing. It may take several generations but I think it will change in a more positive direction. People will continue to rock the boat and consciousness will continue to change. And atheism is on the rise. It’s all good.

  • Anonymous

    Beth opines:[quote]I believe that Shoghi Effendi’s translation encourages this disgusting comparison.[/quote]I think you’re absolutely right. It’s not so much a matter of translation as much as interpretation though, really. Bah??’u’ll??h’s words are decidedly ambiguous (apparently, clarity is not one of the virtues of God). It seems to me that Shoghi Effendi was deeply homophobic (as would have been the other people with whom he associated) and his thinking was a product of his time.

    In the quotation I cite above from the UHJ, we can also see that they clearly regard homosexuality as being in the same moral category as bestiality, and having sex with other random objects. Farhan the Faithful echoes all these doctrines with the same mindless adherence that is prescribed by Bah??’u’ll??h in his words[quote]Were He [the Manifestation] to decree as lawful the thing which from time immemorial had been forbidden, and forbid that which had, at all times, been regarded as lawful, to none is given the right to question His authority. Whoso will hesitate, though it be for less than a moment, should be regarded as a transgressor.[/quote]To me, Farhan’s zombie-like reiteration of the scriptures is far more honest to the expectations of Bah??’u’ll??h than the pick-and-choose variety of Bah??’?s that make up the majority of young Bah??’?s today. They absolve the Faith of all criticism by not taking it seriously. People like Farhan at least accurately represent the atrocious ideas of their religion.

    Beth writes,[quote]Any clear thinking adult should be able to see the difference.[/quote]Ah, therein lies the rub!

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Beth opines:[quote]I believe that Shoghi Effendi’s translation encourages this disgusting comparison.[/quote]I think you’re absolutely right. It’s not so much a matter of translation as much as interpretation though, really. Bah??’u’ll??h’s words are decidedly ambiguous (apparently, clarity is not one of the virtues of God). It seems to me that Shoghi Effendi was deeply homophobic (as would have been the other people with whom he associated) and his thinking was a product of his time.

    In the quotation I cite above from the UHJ, we can also see that they clearly regard homosexuality as being in the same moral category as bestiality, and having sex with other random objects. Farhan the Faithful echoes all these doctrines with the same mindless adherence that is prescribed by Bah??’u’ll??h in his words[quote]Were He [the Manifestation] to decree as lawful the thing which from time immemorial had been forbidden, and forbid that which had, at all times, been regarded as lawful, to none is given the right to question His authority. Whoso will hesitate, though it be for less than a moment, should be regarded as a transgressor.[/quote]To me, Farhan’s zombie-like reiteration of the scriptures is far more honest to the expectations of Bah??’u’ll??h than the pick-and-choose variety of Bah??’?s that make up the majority of young Bah??’?s today. They absolve the Faith of all criticism by not taking it seriously. People like Farhan at least accurately represent the atrocious ideas of their religion.

    Beth writes,[quote]Any clear thinking adult should be able to see the difference.[/quote]Ah, therein lies the rub!

  • Anonymous

    Beth writes,[quote]Any clear thinking adult should be able to see the difference (between homosexuality and paedophilia).[/quote]Let’s consider what exactly the difference is, shall we?

    In the case of homosexuality, two consenting adults wish to express their mutual attraction to one another by means of a physical union. This attraction could be expressed in an infinite number of ways, such as in the form of paintings, poetry, or spinning pottery. All are equally beautiful insofar as they capture the feelings of two people in love. However, the physical expression is the most natural form of expressing this attraction. Physical expression of mutual attraction is natural in the sense that it is a part of being human, as opposed to art, poetry or pottery, which require an acquired appreciation. As such, it is the moment of maximum empathy. It is the pivot where the two lovers will most often share the most feelings. Now, what happens in this physical union is not known… It is for the creativity of lovers to decide; and very often, one rides the wave of passion as much as one directs it. As Rumi says,[quote]Earth-love, spirit-love, any love
    looks into that yonder, and whatever I try to say
    explaining love is embarrassing!

    Some commentary
    clarifies, but with love silence is clearer.
    A pen went scribbling along, but when it tried
    to write love, it broke.

    If you want to expound on love,
    take your intellect out and let it lie down
    in the mud. It’s no help.
    [/quote]And so it is for gay lovers as much as it is for any.

    In the case of paedophilia, the parties are an adult and a child whose attraction is usually not mutual. Even when there is a mutual attraction, the child is rarely mature enough to understand what he is doing or choose freely the urging of his adult provoker. So in either case, what we have is an violation the of autonomy of the child by the adult. The deepest kind of violation. Such a violation is opposed to the foundation of morality, which is the ability to freely choose what you do. To be stripped of that freedom is to have one’s humanity made into the object of another person’s pleasure, which contradicts the imperative to always treat others as an end in themselves (otherwise known as the Golden Rule).

    Thus, we can see that homosexuality has nothing whatever to do with paedophilia. In fact, paedophilia does not even presuppose that the adult and the child share the same gender! The two have absolutely nothing to do with one another, except in the distorted minds of people deranged by religion. Religion has always been the perpetrator of this arbitrary equivocation, and without religion, it is hard to see how it would have any foothold whatsoever. For it is entirely irrational, and as we all know, religion has an unmatched ability to propagate the most irrational beliefs through out space and time.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Beth writes,[quote]Any clear thinking adult should be able to see the difference (between homosexuality and paedophilia).[/quote]Let’s consider what exactly the difference is, shall we?

    In the case of homosexuality, two consenting adults wish to express their mutual attraction to one another by means of a physical union. This attraction could be expressed in an infinite number of ways, such as in the form of paintings, poetry, or spinning pottery. All are equally beautiful insofar as they capture the feelings of two people in love. However, the physical expression is the most natural form of expressing this attraction. Physical expression of mutual attraction is natural in the sense that it is a part of being human, as opposed to art, poetry or pottery, which require an acquired appreciation. As such, it is the moment of maximum empathy. It is the pivot where the two lovers will most often share the most feelings. Now, what happens in this physical union is not known… It is for the creativity of lovers to decide; and very often, one rides the wave of passion as much as one directs it. As Rumi says,[quote]Earth-love, spirit-love, any love
    looks into that yonder, and whatever I try to say
    explaining love is embarrassing!

    Some commentary
    clarifies, but with love silence is clearer.
    A pen went scribbling along, but when it tried
    to write love, it broke.

    If you want to expound on love,
    take your intellect out and let it lie down
    in the mud. It’s no help.
    [/quote]And so it is for gay lovers as much as it is for any.

    In the case of paedophilia, the parties are an adult and a child whose attraction is usually not mutual. Even when there is a mutual attraction, the child is rarely mature enough to understand what he is doing or choose freely the urging of his adult provoker. So in either case, what we have is an violation the of autonomy of the child by the adult. The deepest kind of violation. Such a violation is opposed to the foundation of morality, which is the ability to freely choose what you do. To be stripped of that freedom is to have one’s humanity made into the object of another person’s pleasure, which contradicts the imperative to always treat others as an end in themselves (otherwise known as the Golden Rule).

    Thus, we can see that homosexuality has nothing whatever to do with paedophilia. In fact, paedophilia does not even presuppose that the adult and the child share the same gender! The two have absolutely nothing to do with one another, except in the distorted minds of people deranged by religion. Religion has always been the perpetrator of this arbitrary equivocation, and without religion, it is hard to see how it would have any foothold whatsoever. For it is entirely irrational, and as we all know, religion has an unmatched ability to propagate the most irrational beliefs through out space and time.

  • Beth

    Thanks for making me cry in a good way, Mavaddat. :)

    First for such a beautiful poem, which i was not familiar with yet. and who doesn’t love spinning pottery?

    Also for being able to contrast the spirit behind adult consensual gay love and pedophilia (any form) so clearly. i’m gonna have to quote you on that sometime – it will come in handy. i promise i’ll give you credit.

    it’s hard on these lists sometimes b/c, rightly so, there is much debate on theoretical levels. but sometimes it is so personally upsetting that I have a hard “keeping my head in the game” to be able to debate solely on that same level. I really appreciate all of you who are able to continue the discussion when I have to temporarily bow out.

    and mavaddat, i like that you stuck back with poetry… it does a girl’s heart good.

  • Beth

    Thanks for making me cry in a good way, Mavaddat. :)

    First for such a beautiful poem, which i was not familiar with yet. and who doesn’t love spinning pottery?

    Also for being able to contrast the spirit behind adult consensual gay love and pedophilia (any form) so clearly. i’m gonna have to quote you on that sometime – it will come in handy. i promise i’ll give you credit.

    it’s hard on these lists sometimes b/c, rightly so, there is much debate on theoretical levels. but sometimes it is so personally upsetting that I have a hard “keeping my head in the game” to be able to debate solely on that same level. I really appreciate all of you who are able to continue the discussion when I have to temporarily bow out.

    and mavaddat, i like that you stuck back with poetry… it does a girl’s heart good.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Beth, [quote comment="46999"] There you go again, equating pedophilia with homosexuality. I hope this is the last time I have to point this out, but somehow, I doubt it.

    …. Any clear thinking adult should be able to see the difference.

    I may talk about this more later, but for now i’m just too pissed off. Anyone else want to jump in here?[/quote]

    My sister and my friend. There is nothing you can teach someone who does not want to learn, it is a fruitless effort, in fact it is straining and non productive. Seek the empty cups not the full ones… it’s a Zen thing…

    I want to share with you the positives that came out of this discussion, your point of view and others. I was at a preacher friend of mine’s home for a BBQ this Sat. and I ?threw? out the conversation, while our kids played in the distance, that I no longer believe that ?homosexuality? is ?unnatural? but in fact it is as natural as any true love (I’ve been coming out a lot lately myself). This was an intense meeting with several males of the congregation, the preacher being the staunchest one when it comes to the words of G-d and what the bible says and even what they know was the position of the BF in agreement with the bible. G-d and he know I love him deeply as my true brother for many years, the preacher, and I told him I meant no disrespect in his home. Immediately the hostility in the room began; energy intense, that statement not only startled then but scared them. Some said it was completely wrong, some said it is ok for women only, some said it’s a sickness. I asked them what they would tell their children or my own if they asked if ?homosexuality? is right or wrong. (Years ago they agreed not to teach my children there is a devil or a satan)

    We each have many small children coming into teens. Off the record, I pitched, let’s walk it out, look at all the angles with it exposed on the table… The answers flew but my love and my heart was stronger then their ?fixed? thinking until my friend the alpha male preacher softly spoke and EVERY man listened to him. ?You might have a point Bird and I will respect your request if the subject comes up with your sons and mine, and you are certainly right about one point in that no one has any right to judge someone’s true love or how it is expressed?

    I read body language better than any language and I can look deep into eyes and see what most people aren’t looking for and my new friends, that day, that man, a leader, opened his heart and his thinking to something that is in fact now very ?possibly? natural, and NOT an AFFICTION… (he conceded to “possible” which is leaps for this guy). People get stuck in the difference between lust and love. We all felt that G-d was in the room and very much apart of the discussion. It was quite lovely, no one drew blood, lol, in fact, the preacher complimented me and said I am a good ?orator? and he can see that I am closer to G-d then I have every been and he is right.

    Who you are makes a difference in the lives of those who value to the opportunity to know you. I read an incredible people behind your pens in this room. I have become a better person as a result of this discussion.

    There are some good writings of the BR that I like to pick and choose in what or how they may apply to a ?pitch? I am making – (I am a consummate salesperson with a one word epitaph : ?Next? (lol) : )

    I like the ?each one teach one? concept mixed with the ?pass it forward? twist, I call it the Peace Cocktail, suitable for all ages. If in your life time you can change one heart then you have met your quota and if your quota passes it forward to 3 people, the world will see a change. So far I passed mine to 3 who I am certain will pass it to 3 each… the awareness is out…

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Beth, [quote comment="46999"] There you go again, equating pedophilia with homosexuality. I hope this is the last time I have to point this out, but somehow, I doubt it.

    …. Any clear thinking adult should be able to see the difference.

    I may talk about this more later, but for now i’m just too pissed off. Anyone else want to jump in here?[/quote]

    My sister and my friend. There is nothing you can teach someone who does not want to learn, it is a fruitless effort, in fact it is straining and non productive. Seek the empty cups not the full ones… it’s a Zen thing…

    I want to share with you the positives that came out of this discussion, your point of view and others. I was at a preacher friend of mine’s home for a BBQ this Sat. and I ?threw? out the conversation, while our kids played in the distance, that I no longer believe that ?homosexuality? is ?unnatural? but in fact it is as natural as any true love (I’ve been coming out a lot lately myself). This was an intense meeting with several males of the congregation, the preacher being the staunchest one when it comes to the words of G-d and what the bible says and even what they know was the position of the BF in agreement with the bible. G-d and he know I love him deeply as my true brother for many years, the preacher, and I told him I meant no disrespect in his home. Immediately the hostility in the room began; energy intense, that statement not only startled then but scared them. Some said it was completely wrong, some said it is ok for women only, some said it’s a sickness. I asked them what they would tell their children or my own if they asked if ?homosexuality? is right or wrong. (Years ago they agreed not to teach my children there is a devil or a satan)

    We each have many small children coming into teens. Off the record, I pitched, let’s walk it out, look at all the angles with it exposed on the table… The answers flew but my love and my heart was stronger then their ?fixed? thinking until my friend the alpha male preacher softly spoke and EVERY man listened to him. ?You might have a point Bird and I will respect your request if the subject comes up with your sons and mine, and you are certainly right about one point in that no one has any right to judge someone’s true love or how it is expressed?

    I read body language better than any language and I can look deep into eyes and see what most people aren’t looking for and my new friends, that day, that man, a leader, opened his heart and his thinking to something that is in fact now very ?possibly? natural, and NOT an AFFICTION… (he conceded to “possible” which is leaps for this guy). People get stuck in the difference between lust and love. We all felt that G-d was in the room and very much apart of the discussion. It was quite lovely, no one drew blood, lol, in fact, the preacher complimented me and said I am a good ?orator? and he can see that I am closer to G-d then I have every been and he is right.

    Who you are makes a difference in the lives of those who value to the opportunity to know you. I read an incredible people behind your pens in this room. I have become a better person as a result of this discussion.

    There are some good writings of the BR that I like to pick and choose in what or how they may apply to a ?pitch? I am making – (I am a consummate salesperson with a one word epitaph : ?Next? (lol) : )

    I like the ?each one teach one? concept mixed with the ?pass it forward? twist, I call it the Peace Cocktail, suitable for all ages. If in your life time you can change one heart then you have met your quota and if your quota passes it forward to 3 people, the world will see a change. So far I passed mine to 3 who I am certain will pass it to 3 each… the awareness is out…

  • Beth

    [quote comment=""]Bird says-
    My sister and my friend. There is nothing you can teach someone who does not want to learn, it is a fruitless effort, in fact it is straining and non productive. Seek the empty cups not the full ones… it’s a Zen thing…[/quote]

    Thanks, Bird. what a great story about your preacher friend. i do know that i will most likely not ever change Farhan’s mind, and that isn’t actually my goal.. my actual goal is to be true to myself, and hopefully in sharing my feelings, let other people who are out there reading these discussions know that they are not alone. because this never gets talked about at feast, most kids growing up in a baha’i community don’t realize at first that there is a whole world out there doesn’t always agree with their community. it’s one thing for adults to choose it, but kids of baha’is don’t get the same choice. when i first was struggling with this stuff, i literally googled “gay bahai” to try to find people i could talk to. since leaving the community, i actually found out that there were several closeted gay baha’is in my own town, but of course i never knew b/c we never talked about that.

    i know from letters that i and my friends have received that there are many people quietly reading these pages without ever posting who appreciate seeing that they are not alone, and that there are others inside and outside the BF that understand what they are going through. gay teens are twice as likely to commit suicide – and if one of those kids who is feeling on the edge reaches out, even through google, i want them to find someone they can talk to. i’ve been one of those kids, and conversations like these saved my life.

    i do have to take breaks sometimes, though. like now – i’m off to make my favorite pasta (whole wheat fettuccine with lemon butter sauce) and watch a silly movie (eight crazy nights).

    i do appreciate meeting you here bird – my email is beth@dejahmi.com if you ever want to just keep in touch!

  • Beth

    [quote comment=""]Bird says-
    My sister and my friend. There is nothing you can teach someone who does not want to learn, it is a fruitless effort, in fact it is straining and non productive. Seek the empty cups not the full ones… it’s a Zen thing…[/quote]

    Thanks, Bird. what a great story about your preacher friend. i do know that i will most likely not ever change Farhan’s mind, and that isn’t actually my goal.. my actual goal is to be true to myself, and hopefully in sharing my feelings, let other people who are out there reading these discussions know that they are not alone. because this never gets talked about at feast, most kids growing up in a baha’i community don’t realize at first that there is a whole world out there doesn’t always agree with their community. it’s one thing for adults to choose it, but kids of baha’is don’t get the same choice. when i first was struggling with this stuff, i literally googled “gay bahai” to try to find people i could talk to. since leaving the community, i actually found out that there were several closeted gay baha’is in my own town, but of course i never knew b/c we never talked about that.

    i know from letters that i and my friends have received that there are many people quietly reading these pages without ever posting who appreciate seeing that they are not alone, and that there are others inside and outside the BF that understand what they are going through. gay teens are twice as likely to commit suicide – and if one of those kids who is feeling on the edge reaches out, even through google, i want them to find someone they can talk to. i’ve been one of those kids, and conversations like these saved my life.

    i do have to take breaks sometimes, though. like now – i’m off to make my favorite pasta (whole wheat fettuccine with lemon butter sauce) and watch a silly movie (eight crazy nights).

    i do appreciate meeting you here bird – my email is beth@dejahmi.com if you ever want to just keep in touch!

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Beth

    Conversations like these save my life too. I love all G-d’s children and because I sense pain I really feel the bona fide hurt out there, especially in teens, who are in the mission statement of the BCS foundation I am creating. I am an ESFP (Myers Briggs), at least when I took the 200+ questions about 10 years ago about my personality. Out of the room of 80 others taking it, I was the only one with this combo of letters. I thought it was a complete confirmation that I am a freak of nature until the facilitator came with this incredible joy and told me it had been along time since he met someone like me, turned out it’s not such a bad thing to be out of the “ordinary”.

    I took my children out of Bah?’? classes 3 years ago. I even went to my LSA and told them there is no way I would leave my kids alone with certain people for sure, the zealots, I called them. The oxy moron’s are so endless in the BR. Maybe that is what keeps it interesting as a study for me still but I am not a Bah?’?, – for sure. I am proud to have finally found a label I am comfortable with. ?NON?

    Ty for your personal email… I will write to you.

    Bird

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Beth

    Conversations like these save my life too. I love all G-d’s children and because I sense pain I really feel the bona fide hurt out there, especially in teens, who are in the mission statement of the BCS foundation I am creating. I am an ESFP (Myers Briggs), at least when I took the 200+ questions about 10 years ago about my personality. Out of the room of 80 others taking it, I was the only one with this combo of letters. I thought it was a complete confirmation that I am a freak of nature until the facilitator came with this incredible joy and told me it had been along time since he met someone like me, turned out it’s not such a bad thing to be out of the “ordinary”.

    I took my children out of Bah?’? classes 3 years ago. I even went to my LSA and told them there is no way I would leave my kids alone with certain people for sure, the zealots, I called them. The oxy moron’s are so endless in the BR. Maybe that is what keeps it interesting as a study for me still but I am not a Bah?’?, – for sure. I am proud to have finally found a label I am comfortable with. ?NON?

    Ty for your personal email… I will write to you.

    Bird

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    To be precise, Farhan, Baha’u’llah does not say anything about homosexuals or homosexuality.

    [quote comment="46927"]He does not say homosexuals are ?satanic? any more than slanderers, backbiters, adulterers and lechers.[/quote]

    As it exists and as we see it today. That is, a mutually loving and consenting relationship between two adults.

    If I’m permitted the digression, “satanic”, within a Baha’i context, relates to that which is born out of and promotes the lower or animal nature in us. And does not have anything to do with a horned guy running around with a pitch fork. Back to the discussion at hand…

    As a doctor, I’m sure you know that homosexuality can not be equated to the act of sodomy (anal or oral sex). There are heterosexual couples that engage in sodomy and there are homosexual couples that do not.

    As mentioned in the post above (does anyone read them? lol) I challenged anyone to show me one sentence written by Baha’u’llah about homosexuality.

    Just one sentence. Out of all that He wrote, find me one sentence about homosexuality.

    I’ll say it again: homosexuality.

    Not lechery.

    Not sodomy.

    Not bestiality.

    Not adultery.

    Not pederasty.

    Not rape.

    But homosexuality.

    The challenge stands.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    To be precise, Farhan, Baha’u’llah does not say anything about homosexuals or homosexuality.

    [quote comment="46927"]He does not say homosexuals are ?satanic? any more than slanderers, backbiters, adulterers and lechers.[/quote]

    As it exists and as we see it today. That is, a mutually loving and consenting relationship between two adults.

    If I’m permitted the digression, “satanic”, within a Baha’i context, relates to that which is born out of and promotes the lower or animal nature in us. And does not have anything to do with a horned guy running around with a pitch fork. Back to the discussion at hand…

    As a doctor, I’m sure you know that homosexuality can not be equated to the act of sodomy (anal or oral sex). There are heterosexual couples that engage in sodomy and there are homosexual couples that do not.

    As mentioned in the post above (does anyone read them? lol) I challenged anyone to show me one sentence written by Baha’u’llah about homosexuality.

    Just one sentence. Out of all that He wrote, find me one sentence about homosexuality.

    I’ll say it again: homosexuality.

    Not lechery.

    Not sodomy.

    Not bestiality.

    Not adultery.

    Not pederasty.

    Not rape.

    But homosexuality.

    The challenge stands.

  • Andrew

    Did Baha’u’llah ever write so much as a sentence about homosexuality?

    “It is forbidden you to wed your fathers’ wives. We shrink, for very shame, from treating of the subject of boys. Fear ye the Merciful, O peoples of the world! Commit not that which is forbidden you in Our Holy Tablet, and be not of those who rove distractedly in the wilderness of their desires.” (Aqdas, paragraph 107)

    The word translated here as “boys” has, in this context, in the Arabic original, the implication of paederasty. Shoghi Effendi has interpreted this reference as a prohibition on all homosexual relations.

    The Baha’i teachings on sexual morality centre on marriage and the family as the bedrock of the whole structure of human society and are designed to protect and strengthen that divine institution. Baha’i law thus restricts permissible sexual intercourse to that between a man and the woman to whom he is married. (Aqdas, Annotation to paragraph 107, p. 223)

    The Universal House of Justice is authorized to change or repeal its own legislation as conditions change…but it cannot abrogate or change any of the laws which are explicitly laid down in the sacred Texts. It follows, then, that the House of Justice has no authority to change this clear teaching on homosexual practice. (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, Sept. 11, 1995; published in “The American Baha’i”, Qawl 152 BE/Nov. 23, 1995, p 11.)

    So it seems that the individual believer may believe whatever he or she wishes to believe, but this does not reflect the teaching of the Baha’i Faith, as represented by its House of Justice. It is as if one might say, “My personal belief is that Baha’u’llah did not write so much as a sentence on homosexuality, but this is not what the Baha’i Faith teaches. The Baha’i Faith teaches that homosexuality is in fact spiritually condemned and homosexual relations are prohibited.”

    It occurs to me that there might one day come to light a text written by Baha’u’llah (hitherto untranslated) which very clearly and quite unequivocally condemns homosexuality and homosexual relations. I do not think that such a text would be at all out of character (so to speak) for Baha’u’llah to have written, at which point there will be no further wiggle room (no pun intended). What then would Baha’is who support LBGT rights actually do? Say that they disagree with the revealed teachings of Baha’u’llah? Say that he meant something other than what he did? Would they, in other words, DISSENT, not just from the pronouncements of the UHJ, but from the teachings of Baha’u’llah as well? Liberal Protestants lose no sleep over disagreeing with the explicit teachings of Jesus; would dissenting Baha’is sleep as soundly? See, for example:

    http://www.beliefnet.com/story/140/story_14050_1.html

    Just a few thoughts.

    Peace out.

  • Andrew

    Did Baha’u’llah ever write so much as a sentence about homosexuality?

    “It is forbidden you to wed your fathers’ wives. We shrink, for very shame, from treating of the subject of boys. Fear ye the Merciful, O peoples of the world! Commit not that which is forbidden you in Our Holy Tablet, and be not of those who rove distractedly in the wilderness of their desires.” (Aqdas, paragraph 107)

    The word translated here as “boys” has, in this context, in the Arabic original, the implication of paederasty. Shoghi Effendi has interpreted this reference as a prohibition on all homosexual relations.

    The Baha’i teachings on sexual morality centre on marriage and the family as the bedrock of the whole structure of human society and are designed to protect and strengthen that divine institution. Baha’i law thus restricts permissible sexual intercourse to that between a man and the woman to whom he is married. (Aqdas, Annotation to paragraph 107, p. 223)

    The Universal House of Justice is authorized to change or repeal its own legislation as conditions change…but it cannot abrogate or change any of the laws which are explicitly laid down in the sacred Texts. It follows, then, that the House of Justice has no authority to change this clear teaching on homosexual practice. (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, Sept. 11, 1995; published in “The American Baha’i”, Qawl 152 BE/Nov. 23, 1995, p 11.)

    So it seems that the individual believer may believe whatever he or she wishes to believe, but this does not reflect the teaching of the Baha’i Faith, as represented by its House of Justice. It is as if one might say, “My personal belief is that Baha’u’llah did not write so much as a sentence on homosexuality, but this is not what the Baha’i Faith teaches. The Baha’i Faith teaches that homosexuality is in fact spiritually condemned and homosexual relations are prohibited.”

    It occurs to me that there might one day come to light a text written by Baha’u’llah (hitherto untranslated) which very clearly and quite unequivocally condemns homosexuality and homosexual relations. I do not think that such a text would be at all out of character (so to speak) for Baha’u’llah to have written, at which point there will be no further wiggle room (no pun intended). What then would Baha’is who support LBGT rights actually do? Say that they disagree with the revealed teachings of Baha’u’llah? Say that he meant something other than what he did? Would they, in other words, DISSENT, not just from the pronouncements of the UHJ, but from the teachings of Baha’u’llah as well? Liberal Protestants lose no sleep over disagreeing with the explicit teachings of Jesus; would dissenting Baha’is sleep as soundly? See, for example:

    http://www.beliefnet.com/story/140/story_14050_1.html

    Just a few thoughts.

    Peace out.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Andrew, as I’ve pointed out, there are no “clear” or “explicit” teachings or laws regarding homosexuality. Shoghi Effendi was the Guardian and as such had no authority to make laws.

    Therefore we have writings or laws regarding pederasty, rape, etc. But nothing on homosexuality. Unless I’m wrong. In which case, I’d appreciate it if someone would produce but one sentence from Baha’u’llah regarding homosexuality.

    [quote comment="47029"]The Universal House of Justice is authorized to change or repeal its own legislation as conditions change…but it cannot abrogate or change any of the laws which are explicitly laid down in the sacred Texts. It follows, then, that the House of Justice has no authority to change this clear teaching on homosexual practice. (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, Sept. 11, 1995; published in “The American Baha’i”, Qawl 152 BE/Nov. 23, 1995, p 11.)[/quote]

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Andrew, as I’ve pointed out, there are no “clear” or “explicit” teachings or laws regarding homosexuality. Shoghi Effendi was the Guardian and as such had no authority to make laws.

    Therefore we have writings or laws regarding pederasty, rape, etc. But nothing on homosexuality. Unless I’m wrong. In which case, I’d appreciate it if someone would produce but one sentence from Baha’u’llah regarding homosexuality.

    [quote comment="47029"]The Universal House of Justice is authorized to change or repeal its own legislation as conditions change…but it cannot abrogate or change any of the laws which are explicitly laid down in the sacred Texts. It follows, then, that the House of Justice has no authority to change this clear teaching on homosexual practice. (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, Sept. 11, 1995; published in “The American Baha’i”, Qawl 152 BE/Nov. 23, 1995, p 11.)[/quote]

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Baquia-

    And the point of this challenge to find something obviously that does not exist is? SE put forth a judgment call on something that can now only be over turned by the UHJ to those who desire to be BIGS. The UHJ has all the data. Maybe SE based this interpretation / judgment call off of some of Baha’u’llah tablets, some of the 80%+ still not translated into English,

    Mavvatt made some good points and honestly before the advent of the internet I was told that homosexuality was an ?affliction? , a ?birth defect? and I should find compassion for those according to Baha’u’llah are suffering, when I said it didn’t sound progressive I was advised of what ?flagrant? behavior is and only if a gay couple was ?flagrant? by showing affection in public, same as gambling, drinking to Baha’u’llah in public and telling people you are a Bahai…would one loose their voting rights, but it was not allowed and alas, no such original text are available to examine from SE interpretation.

    These however are available for interpretation:

    ?In the estimation of God there is no distinction of sex?
    AbdulBaha

    And another too that I bought as a means to unity among men.

    It is incumbent upon every man, in this Day, to hold fast unto whatsoever will promote the interests, and exalt the station, of all nations and just governments. Through each and every one of the verses which the Pen of the Most High hath revealed, the doors of love and unity have been unlocked and flung open to the face of men. We have erewhile declared—and Our Word is the truth—: ?Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.? Whatsoever hath led the children of men to shun one another, and hath caused dissensions and divisions amongst them, hath, through the revelation of these words, been nullified and abolished. Baha’u’llah

    … hmmm is it just me but has that quote been reinterpreted too?

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Baquia-

    And the point of this challenge to find something obviously that does not exist is? SE put forth a judgment call on something that can now only be over turned by the UHJ to those who desire to be BIGS. The UHJ has all the data. Maybe SE based this interpretation / judgment call off of some of Baha’u’llah tablets, some of the 80%+ still not translated into English,

    Mavvatt made some good points and honestly before the advent of the internet I was told that homosexuality was an ?affliction? , a ?birth defect? and I should find compassion for those according to Baha’u’llah are suffering, when I said it didn’t sound progressive I was advised of what ?flagrant? behavior is and only if a gay couple was ?flagrant? by showing affection in public, same as gambling, drinking to Baha’u’llah in public and telling people you are a Bahai…would one loose their voting rights, but it was not allowed and alas, no such original text are available to examine from SE interpretation.

    These however are available for interpretation:

    ?In the estimation of God there is no distinction of sex?
    AbdulBaha

    And another too that I bought as a means to unity among men.

    It is incumbent upon every man, in this Day, to hold fast unto whatsoever will promote the interests, and exalt the station, of all nations and just governments. Through each and every one of the verses which the Pen of the Most High hath revealed, the doors of love and unity have been unlocked and flung open to the face of men. We have erewhile declared—and Our Word is the truth—: ?Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.? Whatsoever hath led the children of men to shun one another, and hath caused dissensions and divisions amongst them, hath, through the revelation of these words, been nullified and abolished. Baha’u’llah

    … hmmm is it just me but has that quote been reinterpreted too?

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    BooC,
    I should think that it would be obvious. The Baha’i Faith was founded by Baha’u’llah. He is the source of Revelation for Baha’is. Therefore, it is common sense to turn to the source, rather than engage in trivial argumentation back and forth.

    Isn’t it important that the Prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith has not condemned homosexuality? I would say that is darned important.

    Especially when you have people, Baha’i or otherwise, running around and putting all sorts of words in Bahau’llah’s mouth!

    So what I’m saying is simple: step back, take a deep breath, then go to the source.

    Baha’u’llah’s message for humanity was an extremely powerful and overarching one. Rather than getting lost in the minutia sometimes it helps to get a broad perspective.

    Who knows, perhaps such a perspective (about love, unity, harmony, unity, brotherhood, did I mention unity?) would be helpful in our attempt to understand specific portions of Baha’i social teachings.

    And it may also be that the Baha’i Faith, in its current state, hasn’t yet formulated anything remotely relevant to this discussion.

    Has the UHJ for example legislated on this? Not that I know. Perhaps they will.

    In the meantime, what we can do as Baha’is is first, and foremost, keep Baha’u’llah firmly prominent in our minds and hearts. Second, attempt to implement, however imperfectly, the standards of conduct, speech and life of a Baha’i.

    It is of no consequence to me what Shoghi Effendi said regarding homosexuality because one, he was the Guardian and had no legislative authority. Which means, we do not have any laws on this topic.

    Second, it is of less consequene what a committee or NSA wrote about homosexuality, even if they condemned it. This is because they do not speak for the Baha’i Faith nor myself. Their opinions are simply that, opinions.

    They are not binding, nor are to be mistaken for laws.

    There are all sorts of Baha’is. Those that are racist, misers, bigots, etc… Just as there are all sorts of people in general. We have simply embarked on a journey; an attempt, if you will, to transform ourselves to be more than we are.

    If we fail or succeed as individuals is no reflection on others nor on the Faith itself.
    :-)

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    BooC,
    I should think that it would be obvious. The Baha’i Faith was founded by Baha’u’llah. He is the source of Revelation for Baha’is. Therefore, it is common sense to turn to the source, rather than engage in trivial argumentation back and forth.

    Isn’t it important that the Prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith has not condemned homosexuality? I would say that is darned important.

    Especially when you have people, Baha’i or otherwise, running around and putting all sorts of words in Bahau’llah’s mouth!

    So what I’m saying is simple: step back, take a deep breath, then go to the source.

    Baha’u’llah’s message for humanity was an extremely powerful and overarching one. Rather than getting lost in the minutia sometimes it helps to get a broad perspective.

    Who knows, perhaps such a perspective (about love, unity, harmony, unity, brotherhood, did I mention unity?) would be helpful in our attempt to understand specific portions of Baha’i social teachings.

    And it may also be that the Baha’i Faith, in its current state, hasn’t yet formulated anything remotely relevant to this discussion.

    Has the UHJ for example legislated on this? Not that I know. Perhaps they will.

    In the meantime, what we can do as Baha’is is first, and foremost, keep Baha’u’llah firmly prominent in our minds and hearts. Second, attempt to implement, however imperfectly, the standards of conduct, speech and life of a Baha’i.

    It is of no consequence to me what Shoghi Effendi said regarding homosexuality because one, he was the Guardian and had no legislative authority. Which means, we do not have any laws on this topic.

    Second, it is of less consequene what a committee or NSA wrote about homosexuality, even if they condemned it. This is because they do not speak for the Baha’i Faith nor myself. Their opinions are simply that, opinions.

    They are not binding, nor are to be mistaken for laws.

    There are all sorts of Baha’is. Those that are racist, misers, bigots, etc… Just as there are all sorts of people in general. We have simply embarked on a journey; an attempt, if you will, to transform ourselves to be more than we are.

    If we fail or succeed as individuals is no reflection on others nor on the Faith itself.
    :-)

  • Bird out of the Cage

    BooC,
    I should think that it would be obvious.

    (I wish it were)

    The Baha’i Faith was founded by Baha’u’llah.

    (I thought it was Co-Founded – “Twin Herald” The Bab – thus the Covenant began?)

    He is the source of Revelation for Baha’is.

    (Speaking of challenges can you locate where this sources designed people calling themselves, “Call yourself a people of Baha” or “Be known as Bahai” “tell people you are a Bahai” – in fact creating a new division between people of all religions with more labels?)

    Especially when you have people, Baha’i or otherwise, running around and putting all sorts of words in Bahau’llah’s mouth!

    (It is simply deplorable sometimes- I agree)

    So what I’m saying is simple: step back, take a deep breath, then go to the source. (Heading to Las Vegas next week for some R&R – will do)

    Baha’u’llah’s message for humanity was an extremely powerful and overarching one. Rather than getting lost in the minutia sometimes it helps to get a broad perspective.

    (I’m working on it)

    And it may also be that the Baha’i Faith, in its current state, hasn’t yet formulated anything remotely relevant to this discussion.

    (Nothing “may” about it, it is what it is)

    Has the UHJ for example legislated on this? Not that I know. Perhaps they will.

    (Wouldn’t that be great if it happens in my lifetime, I am 40, still some good times left)

    In the meantime, what we can do as Baha’is is first, and foremost, keep Baha’u’llah firmly prominent in our minds and hearts. Second, attempt to implement, however imperfectly, the standards of conduct, speech and life of a Baha’i.

    (Even sheding the label, your site has accomplished the word still in my heart- thank you)

    It is of no consequence to me what Shoghi Effendi said regarding homosexuality because one, he was the Guardian and had no legislative authority. Which means, we do not have any laws on this topic.

    (I bet you would be a great orator on the topic ;)

    Second, it is of less consequene what a committee or NSA wrote about homosexuality, even if they condemned it. This is because they do not speak for the Baha’i Faith nor myself. Their opinions are simply that, opinions.

    (Too bad the most of the world community doesn’t see it that way)

    They are not binding, nor are to be mistaken for laws.

    There are all sorts of Baha’is. Those that are racist, misers, bigots, etc… Just as there are all sorts of people in general. We have simply embarked on a journey; an attempt, if you will, to transform ourselves to be more than we are.

    If we fail or succeed as individuals is no reflection on others nor on the Faith itself.

    ( You view it as a “Faith” I view it as a possible “Revelation” are we both on the same page?)

    Here a song for you from my buddy Joe

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=5OUYptpCQJ8&feature=related

    :-)

  • Bird out of the Cage

    BooC,
    I should think that it would be obvious.

    (I wish it were)

    The Baha’i Faith was founded by Baha’u’llah.

    (I thought it was Co-Founded – “Twin Herald” The Bab – thus the Covenant began?)

    He is the source of Revelation for Baha’is.

    (Speaking of challenges can you locate where this sources designed people calling themselves, “Call yourself a people of Baha” or “Be known as Bahai” “tell people you are a Bahai” – in fact creating a new division between people of all religions with more labels?)

    Especially when you have people, Baha’i or otherwise, running around and putting all sorts of words in Bahau’llah’s mouth!

    (It is simply deplorable sometimes- I agree)

    So what I’m saying is simple: step back, take a deep breath, then go to the source. (Heading to Las Vegas next week for some R&R – will do)

    Baha’u’llah’s message for humanity was an extremely powerful and overarching one. Rather than getting lost in the minutia sometimes it helps to get a broad perspective.

    (I’m working on it)

    And it may also be that the Baha’i Faith, in its current state, hasn’t yet formulated anything remotely relevant to this discussion.

    (Nothing “may” about it, it is what it is)

    Has the UHJ for example legislated on this? Not that I know. Perhaps they will.

    (Wouldn’t that be great if it happens in my lifetime, I am 40, still some good times left)

    In the meantime, what we can do as Baha’is is first, and foremost, keep Baha’u’llah firmly prominent in our minds and hearts. Second, attempt to implement, however imperfectly, the standards of conduct, speech and life of a Baha’i.

    (Even sheding the label, your site has accomplished the word still in my heart- thank you)

    It is of no consequence to me what Shoghi Effendi said regarding homosexuality because one, he was the Guardian and had no legislative authority. Which means, we do not have any laws on this topic.

    (I bet you would be a great orator on the topic ;)

    Second, it is of less consequene what a committee or NSA wrote about homosexuality, even if they condemned it. This is because they do not speak for the Baha’i Faith nor myself. Their opinions are simply that, opinions.

    (Too bad the most of the world community doesn’t see it that way)

    They are not binding, nor are to be mistaken for laws.

    There are all sorts of Baha’is. Those that are racist, misers, bigots, etc… Just as there are all sorts of people in general. We have simply embarked on a journey; an attempt, if you will, to transform ourselves to be more than we are.

    If we fail or succeed as individuals is no reflection on others nor on the Faith itself.

    ( You view it as a “Faith” I view it as a possible “Revelation” are we both on the same page?)

    Here a song for you from my buddy Joe

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=5OUYptpCQJ8&feature=related

    :-)

  • farhan

    Mavaddat wrote:
    “Thus, we can see that homosexuality has nothing whatever to do with paedophilia. In fact, paedophilia does not even presuppose that the adult and the child share the same gender! ”

    Exactly Mavaddat, I agree at 120%;

    In fact the vast majority of what I have seen is abuse and violence by males on women and girls.

    There is a Polynesian saying that if you plant a banana tree, you have the right to eat of it’s bananas. This is a disruptive attitude that reduces the victims to the state of an object, instead of educating a child to humanhood as a subject.

    IOW, a “satanic” behaviour that is contrary to a creative and constructive behaviour. Baha’u’llah has never said that homosexuals are “satanic” as Amanda suggested.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Mavaddat wrote:
    “Thus, we can see that homosexuality has nothing whatever to do with paedophilia. In fact, paedophilia does not even presuppose that the adult and the child share the same gender! ”

    Exactly Mavaddat, I agree at 120%;

    In fact the vast majority of what I have seen is abuse and violence by males on women and girls.

    There is a Polynesian saying that if you plant a banana tree, you have the right to eat of it’s bananas. This is a disruptive attitude that reduces the victims to the state of an object, instead of educating a child to humanhood as a subject.

    IOW, a “satanic” behaviour that is contrary to a creative and constructive behaviour. Baha’u’llah has never said that homosexuals are “satanic” as Amanda suggested.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Farhan,

    I know how much you LOVE to misquote me and misrepresent anything and everything I say about the Baha’i writings (especially direct quotations!!!! What fun there is to be had there!!) but kindly STOP IT. It is annoying.

    I know I’ve been quiet for the last few days (busy with all kinds of “satanic” wedding events…lol) and that may have given you the false impression I just don’t care anymore or that my head’s not in the game, but please be assured that I WILL get back to you. There’s no need to worry or provoke me. And when I do get back to your many messages here, I would RATHER use my time to respond to the content of your IDEAS versus all of the fun inaccurate, salacious, and BLATANT twisting of my words in relationship to the Baha’i writings you so enjoy stringing together. It must be better than sudoku for you.

    Sorry to take away your hobby, but STOP TWISTING WHAT I SAY HERE, sir.

    As you know, I never said homosexuals are “satanic,” Farhan. I quoted a passage where Baha’u’llah lists “satanic” acts, and HE (YOUR PROPHET, not ME) lists sodomy. Then YOUR UHJ quotes him and uses THAT PASSAGE to justify a ban on ALL OF HOMOSEXUALITY.

    Come to think of it, maybe you get your inspiration for twisting what people say about homosexuality from SE himself, who twisted Baha’u’llah’s words FIRST about paederasty. Or maybe from the UHJ, who define SODOMY as HOMOSEXUALITY. Another tricky word game.

    If you can’t say anything TRUE, don’t say anything at all.

    Please find a crossword puzzle to do, or any other way to play with words, and cease and desist twisting mine.

    I will be back soon with more to say.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Farhan,

    I know how much you LOVE to misquote me and misrepresent anything and everything I say about the Baha’i writings (especially direct quotations!!!! What fun there is to be had there!!) but kindly STOP IT. It is annoying.

    I know I’ve been quiet for the last few days (busy with all kinds of “satanic” wedding events…lol) and that may have given you the false impression I just don’t care anymore or that my head’s not in the game, but please be assured that I WILL get back to you. There’s no need to worry or provoke me. And when I do get back to your many messages here, I would RATHER use my time to respond to the content of your IDEAS versus all of the fun inaccurate, salacious, and BLATANT twisting of my words in relationship to the Baha’i writings you so enjoy stringing together. It must be better than sudoku for you.

    Sorry to take away your hobby, but STOP TWISTING WHAT I SAY HERE, sir.

    As you know, I never said homosexuals are “satanic,” Farhan. I quoted a passage where Baha’u’llah lists “satanic” acts, and HE (YOUR PROPHET, not ME) lists sodomy. Then YOUR UHJ quotes him and uses THAT PASSAGE to justify a ban on ALL OF HOMOSEXUALITY.

    Come to think of it, maybe you get your inspiration for twisting what people say about homosexuality from SE himself, who twisted Baha’u’llah’s words FIRST about paederasty. Or maybe from the UHJ, who define SODOMY as HOMOSEXUALITY. Another tricky word game.

    If you can’t say anything TRUE, don’t say anything at all.

    Please find a crossword puzzle to do, or any other way to play with words, and cease and desist twisting mine.

    I will be back soon with more to say.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Bird,
    the Bab was the Prophet founder of the Babi Faith. Baha’u’llah the Baha’i Faith. I have never heard of the expression “twin herald” and apparently neither has Google within a Baha’i context.

    Forgive me for repeating myself but here is my friendly challenge:

    Find me one sentence written by Baha’u’llah about homosexuality.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Bird,
    the Bab was the Prophet founder of the Babi Faith. Baha’u’llah the Baha’i Faith. I have never heard of the expression “twin herald” and apparently neither has Google within a Baha’i context.

    Forgive me for repeating myself but here is my friendly challenge:

    Find me one sentence written by Baha’u’llah about homosexuality.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Baquia

    ooops… I meant ?Twin Manifestations? and I do think your challenge is a “mute” point because it has not been translated and each and every one of us participating in the discussion knows it not locatable from the outside of the vault where the ?back-up? to the interpretation is located. Nor do I think there is a translated passage that says anything about labeling oneself a ?Bah?’?? or signing a card, becoming a number and ?known?, declaring allegiance to the ?Covenant? but then I’ve really only just begun the ?real independent? investigations.

    What a dividing ?catch all? phrase – Bah?’?.

    Now if you can get me an appointment to bring a crew of the worlds leading renown and trusted hand writing experts, forensic paper & ink experts and a CSI team past the gates of UHJ, (none of them that call themselves- Bah?’? of course nor pronounce themselves as) through the various levels of state-of –the art high tech security, all the vaulted doors and into the presence of the real documents of the source you are referring to, the ones left intact for this very type of request, provide 4 to 6 weeks of unsupervised (video camera’s ok) and uncensored time to inspect, independently investigate, authenticate and all un bias translate, I’ll let you know if it is locatable. Right now just about everything you or I have read has been translated by either SF or the UHJ.

    In the mean time, my position has concluded that without this type of authenticating due diligence performed, the BR is all very eloquent stories translated into English of a very tormented family and their friends.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Baquia

    ooops… I meant ?Twin Manifestations? and I do think your challenge is a “mute” point because it has not been translated and each and every one of us participating in the discussion knows it not locatable from the outside of the vault where the ?back-up? to the interpretation is located. Nor do I think there is a translated passage that says anything about labeling oneself a ?Bah?’?? or signing a card, becoming a number and ?known?, declaring allegiance to the ?Covenant? but then I’ve really only just begun the ?real independent? investigations.

    What a dividing ?catch all? phrase – Bah?’?.

    Now if you can get me an appointment to bring a crew of the worlds leading renown and trusted hand writing experts, forensic paper & ink experts and a CSI team past the gates of UHJ, (none of them that call themselves- Bah?’? of course nor pronounce themselves as) through the various levels of state-of –the art high tech security, all the vaulted doors and into the presence of the real documents of the source you are referring to, the ones left intact for this very type of request, provide 4 to 6 weeks of unsupervised (video camera’s ok) and uncensored time to inspect, independently investigate, authenticate and all un bias translate, I’ll let you know if it is locatable. Right now just about everything you or I have read has been translated by either SF or the UHJ.

    In the mean time, my position has concluded that without this type of authenticating due diligence performed, the BR is all very eloquent stories translated into English of a very tormented family and their friends.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    [quote comment=""]Baquia

    (none of them that call themselves- Bah?’? of course nor pronounce themselves as).[/quote]

    I’m sorry I didn’t finish this sentence:

    … nor pronounce or be known themselves as an “enemy” of the BR)

  • Bird out of the Cage

    [quote comment=""]Baquia

    (none of them that call themselves- Bah?’? of course nor pronounce themselves as).[/quote]

    I’m sorry I didn’t finish this sentence:

    … nor pronounce or be known themselves as an “enemy” of the BR)

  • farhan

    Amanda,
    Sorry you feel that I am playing around with your ideas. I most certianly am not engaged in any kind of a game with anyone.
    You write:
    “As you know, I never said homosexuals are “satanic,” Farhan. I quoted a passage where Baha’u’llah lists “satanic” acts, and HE (YOUR PROPHET, not ME) lists sodomy. Then YOUR UHJ quotes him and uses THAT PASSAGE to justify a ban on ALL OF HOMOSEXUALITY.”

    Yes, amanda, I definitely understood from your long post that in your view, Baha’u’llah considered homosexuals as “satanic”. I replied to this by explaining that the word “satanic” in Baha’i litterature refers to a disruptive behaviour, contrary to “divine” that applies to creative and unifying behaviour, and that in my understanding, Baha’u’llah was not applying the word to homosexuality, but to lechery and inordinate behaviour in general.

    From what I read in the posts here, I am most concerned about the situation of gays in the US; outside and within the Baha’i community. I repeatedly see the words racisme, slavery, nazisme, homophobia, etc.

    This is not the case in France where individual rights are often valued above social rights. People just couldn’t care less about the private lives of politicians, or at most would make jokes, wheras in the US they would be impeached.

    This is reflected within the Baha’i community, which is normal, as Baha’is abide by the civil laws of the country where they live. This is why, for example Abdu’l-baha would advise pilgrim ladies to cover their heads in order to comply with the traditions current in Palestine at that time.

    I have never heard of voting rights withdrawn for homosexuality, but I have seen this sanction several times for marriage without the consent of parents. One active Baha’i from France travelled overbroad and had his voting rights withdrawn in another country. I clearly feel that the Baha’i community in France is more exacting towards heterosexual immorality than towards homosexuality.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Amanda,
    Sorry you feel that I am playing around with your ideas. I most certianly am not engaged in any kind of a game with anyone.
    You write:
    “As you know, I never said homosexuals are “satanic,” Farhan. I quoted a passage where Baha’u’llah lists “satanic” acts, and HE (YOUR PROPHET, not ME) lists sodomy. Then YOUR UHJ quotes him and uses THAT PASSAGE to justify a ban on ALL OF HOMOSEXUALITY.”

    Yes, amanda, I definitely understood from your long post that in your view, Baha’u’llah considered homosexuals as “satanic”. I replied to this by explaining that the word “satanic” in Baha’i litterature refers to a disruptive behaviour, contrary to “divine” that applies to creative and unifying behaviour, and that in my understanding, Baha’u’llah was not applying the word to homosexuality, but to lechery and inordinate behaviour in general.

    From what I read in the posts here, I am most concerned about the situation of gays in the US; outside and within the Baha’i community. I repeatedly see the words racisme, slavery, nazisme, homophobia, etc.

    This is not the case in France where individual rights are often valued above social rights. People just couldn’t care less about the private lives of politicians, or at most would make jokes, wheras in the US they would be impeached.

    This is reflected within the Baha’i community, which is normal, as Baha’is abide by the civil laws of the country where they live. This is why, for example Abdu’l-baha would advise pilgrim ladies to cover their heads in order to comply with the traditions current in Palestine at that time.

    I have never heard of voting rights withdrawn for homosexuality, but I have seen this sanction several times for marriage without the consent of parents. One active Baha’i from France travelled overbroad and had his voting rights withdrawn in another country. I clearly feel that the Baha’i community in France is more exacting towards heterosexual immorality than towards homosexuality.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote:
    “Find me one sentence written by Baha’u’llah about homosexuality.”

    Baquia, I doubt if anyone will ever find that.

    The whole Baha’i revelation aims at unity; a harmonious family life is promoted for that very purpose; The powerful sexual drive is to be canalised within the family; whatever saps the unity of the family is to be avoided. Homosexuality is considered as one form of sexual activity not directed towards family making, and I see no reason for considering it a greater threat for family life than marrying without the consent of parents.

    In fact in Europe you will automatically loose your voting rights for marriage without the consent of parents or for blatent adultry, wheras I have never heared of a person losing voting rights in France for homosexuality.

    I am not sure what is going on in the US, if homosexuals are being used as slaves as Andrew seems to feel, but I think that the whole issue of the pretended homophobia of the Baha’i Faith here is only a pretext for discrediting the Baha’i teachings in the eyes of homosexuals;

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Baquia wrote:
    “Find me one sentence written by Baha’u’llah about homosexuality.”

    Baquia, I doubt if anyone will ever find that.

    The whole Baha’i revelation aims at unity; a harmonious family life is promoted for that very purpose; The powerful sexual drive is to be canalised within the family; whatever saps the unity of the family is to be avoided. Homosexuality is considered as one form of sexual activity not directed towards family making, and I see no reason for considering it a greater threat for family life than marrying without the consent of parents.

    In fact in Europe you will automatically loose your voting rights for marriage without the consent of parents or for blatent adultry, wheras I have never heared of a person losing voting rights in France for homosexuality.

    I am not sure what is going on in the US, if homosexuals are being used as slaves as Andrew seems to feel, but I think that the whole issue of the pretended homophobia of the Baha’i Faith here is only a pretext for discrediting the Baha’i teachings in the eyes of homosexuals;

  • farhan

    Andrew, you write:

    “The word translated here as ?boys? has, in this context, in the Arabic original, the implication of paederasty. Shoghi Effendi has interpreted this reference as a prohibition on all homosexual relations.”

    Yes, Andrew, I agree that this interpretation is the key to our discussion. At the same time it would need establishing an age at which “boys” become adults fit for homosexual relations. Again, neither “boys” nor “sodomy” apply to female homosexuality which is IMO much better accepted.

    At the same time, I would like to differenciate between a spiritual law, a social law enforced by a community and a criminal law enforced by a state.

    There is a condemnation on homosexuality on spiritual basis, on the basis of our spiritual lives, just like the condemnation on backbiting. Baha’u’llah spiritually enjoins upon Baha’is to adopt a way of life that will bring about unity.

    There can be social implications if we blatently challenge the laws of a community, and a criminal offence if we transgress laws of a state.

    For the time being, Baha’is are only concerned with the spiritual growth of humanity and the elaboration of a community. From what I have seen in communities where I have lived, heterosexual immorality is sanctionned more frequently than homosexuality. If and when a state adopts Baha’i laws, we will see practical applications of these spiritual laws.

    A question for you, Andrew, what legislation would you suggest from the UHJ in order to improve the situation of gays that you compare to “slavery” ?

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Andrew, you write:

    “The word translated here as ?boys? has, in this context, in the Arabic original, the implication of paederasty. Shoghi Effendi has interpreted this reference as a prohibition on all homosexual relations.”

    Yes, Andrew, I agree that this interpretation is the key to our discussion. At the same time it would need establishing an age at which “boys” become adults fit for homosexual relations. Again, neither “boys” nor “sodomy” apply to female homosexuality which is IMO much better accepted.

    At the same time, I would like to differenciate between a spiritual law, a social law enforced by a community and a criminal law enforced by a state.

    There is a condemnation on homosexuality on spiritual basis, on the basis of our spiritual lives, just like the condemnation on backbiting. Baha’u’llah spiritually enjoins upon Baha’is to adopt a way of life that will bring about unity.

    There can be social implications if we blatently challenge the laws of a community, and a criminal offence if we transgress laws of a state.

    For the time being, Baha’is are only concerned with the spiritual growth of humanity and the elaboration of a community. From what I have seen in communities where I have lived, heterosexual immorality is sanctionned more frequently than homosexuality. If and when a state adopts Baha’i laws, we will see practical applications of these spiritual laws.

    A question for you, Andrew, what legislation would you suggest from the UHJ in order to improve the situation of gays that you compare to “slavery” ?

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Hi, Baquia.

    Just wanted to respond to your recent comments about the fact that Baha’u’llah didn’t write about homosexuality.

    I think I agree with you. My Arabic is still VERY BAD, so I don’t yet have the background to understand the implications of his word choices, but I think you have a case. The two passages that get used to justify the ban by the UHJ and SE are certainly not specific. Kitab-i-Aqdas paragraph 107 CERTAINLY seems totally unrelated to homosexuality, but I don’t know what Arabic word has been translated as “sodomy” in the other passage. The English word “sodomy” itself is very tricky. Sometimes it just means anal sex betwen men, sometimes it means anal sex OR oral sex between ANY persons, sometimes it means ANY non-”reproductive” heterosexual-genitals to heterosexual-genitals sex, etc. It’s certainly not clear. From the strictist definition it would ban oral and anal sex even between married women and men.

    So, again, I think your argument that we can’t be sure of Baha’u’llah’s intentions is true. That being said, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see more “untranslated” writings coming down the pike that are more explicit.

    BUT, from the standpoint of the outside world and human rights issues it kind of doesn’t matter. “The Baha’i Faith©” (Haifan tradition) is, among other things, an organization. An organized religion. It is not the ONLY “Baha’i Faith.” It is “A” Baha’i Faith. My understanding is that The Reform Baha’i Faith does NOT discriminate against homosexuality. But the Haifan one certainly does from an organizational standpoint. So, whether or not Baha’u’llah banned homosexuality, Shoghi Effendi and the UHJ certainly did and do. Whether they are right or wrong in their interpretation of Baha’u’llah, they have made and enforce the rules in the Haifan context. Being a “Baha’i In Good Standing” in the Haifan tradition, voting, marrying, etc requires obedience not just to Baha’u’llah, but to SE and the UHJ. That puts homosexuals outside the bounds of administrative enfranchisement. Sad.

    Now, I am NOT saying your point is unimportant. But, it is an INTERNAL THEOLOGICAL conflict, not an EXTERNAL administrative/legal conflict. I think more Baha’is SHOULD challenge the legitimacy of SE’s translation/interpretation, as it is clearly wrong at least in 1 instance. But, for those from an “outsiders” insider perspective, it doesn’t matter how the Haifan tradition became anti-gay, it matters THAT it is anti-gay. It’s kind of like dealing with anti-gay Christian traditions. There’s no biblical evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was anti-gay, but if a Christian organization is anti-gay in it’s policies and practices, that has to be dealt with from an administrative and legal level.

    I think this represents great room for growth and creative activism. I think Baha’is have a great opportunity to see to it that Baha’u’llahs teachings not be hijacked, at least in the sense of not being misrepresented by the Baha’i administration.

    But those of us who do not believe in the “revelation” of Baha’u’llah are still right in saying that the current Haifan organization clearly discriminates against homosexuals.

    Would you agree?

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Hi, Baquia.

    Just wanted to respond to your recent comments about the fact that Baha’u’llah didn’t write about homosexuality.

    I think I agree with you. My Arabic is still VERY BAD, so I don’t yet have the background to understand the implications of his word choices, but I think you have a case. The two passages that get used to justify the ban by the UHJ and SE are certainly not specific. Kitab-i-Aqdas paragraph 107 CERTAINLY seems totally unrelated to homosexuality, but I don’t know what Arabic word has been translated as “sodomy” in the other passage. The English word “sodomy” itself is very tricky. Sometimes it just means anal sex betwen men, sometimes it means anal sex OR oral sex between ANY persons, sometimes it means ANY non-”reproductive” heterosexual-genitals to heterosexual-genitals sex, etc. It’s certainly not clear. From the strictist definition it would ban oral and anal sex even between married women and men.

    So, again, I think your argument that we can’t be sure of Baha’u’llah’s intentions is true. That being said, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see more “untranslated” writings coming down the pike that are more explicit.

    BUT, from the standpoint of the outside world and human rights issues it kind of doesn’t matter. “The Baha’i Faith©” (Haifan tradition) is, among other things, an organization. An organized religion. It is not the ONLY “Baha’i Faith.” It is “A” Baha’i Faith. My understanding is that The Reform Baha’i Faith does NOT discriminate against homosexuality. But the Haifan one certainly does from an organizational standpoint. So, whether or not Baha’u’llah banned homosexuality, Shoghi Effendi and the UHJ certainly did and do. Whether they are right or wrong in their interpretation of Baha’u’llah, they have made and enforce the rules in the Haifan context. Being a “Baha’i In Good Standing” in the Haifan tradition, voting, marrying, etc requires obedience not just to Baha’u’llah, but to SE and the UHJ. That puts homosexuals outside the bounds of administrative enfranchisement. Sad.

    Now, I am NOT saying your point is unimportant. But, it is an INTERNAL THEOLOGICAL conflict, not an EXTERNAL administrative/legal conflict. I think more Baha’is SHOULD challenge the legitimacy of SE’s translation/interpretation, as it is clearly wrong at least in 1 instance. But, for those from an “outsiders” insider perspective, it doesn’t matter how the Haifan tradition became anti-gay, it matters THAT it is anti-gay. It’s kind of like dealing with anti-gay Christian traditions. There’s no biblical evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was anti-gay, but if a Christian organization is anti-gay in it’s policies and practices, that has to be dealt with from an administrative and legal level.

    I think this represents great room for growth and creative activism. I think Baha’is have a great opportunity to see to it that Baha’u’llahs teachings not be hijacked, at least in the sense of not being misrepresented by the Baha’i administration.

    But those of us who do not believe in the “revelation” of Baha’u’llah are still right in saying that the current Haifan organization clearly discriminates against homosexuals.

    Would you agree?

  • farhan

    Baquai wrote:

    “As a doctor, I’m sure you know that homosexuality can not be equated to the act of sodomy (anal or oral sex). There are heterosexual couples that engage in sodomy and there are homosexual couples that do not.”

    I totally agree, Baquia. In addition this definition does not cover female homosexuality, any more then the word “boys”.

    As a doctor I could not care less about what goes on in people’s private lives, except when I am called in to help. Last week I had to remove a 7 cm apple from a rectum; with the patient’s consent, I did not send a medical report to his GP. French law places individual liberty above social laws; medical confidentiality is a dogma; my American friends consider French politics as a “moderate anarchia”.

    Some years ago I did a paper (available in English) on how inebriated patients who wish to drive are to be managed. In the US the doctors would unhesitatingly call in the cops; in France this would be a breach against medical confidentiality.

    A a doctor I also admit that any society needs laws to function, and I respect the civil laws of the state I live in. As a doctor I also admit that any society needs spiritual laws to create unity. I feel the Baha’i laws on sexuality are more tolerant than those in some other religions. I also admit that any community needs to define boundaries for accepted and inaccepted behaviours and that the spiritual laws provide us with guide lines for our private lives.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Baquai wrote:

    “As a doctor, I’m sure you know that homosexuality can not be equated to the act of sodomy (anal or oral sex). There are heterosexual couples that engage in sodomy and there are homosexual couples that do not.”

    I totally agree, Baquia. In addition this definition does not cover female homosexuality, any more then the word “boys”.

    As a doctor I could not care less about what goes on in people’s private lives, except when I am called in to help. Last week I had to remove a 7 cm apple from a rectum; with the patient’s consent, I did not send a medical report to his GP. French law places individual liberty above social laws; medical confidentiality is a dogma; my American friends consider French politics as a “moderate anarchia”.

    Some years ago I did a paper (available in English) on how inebriated patients who wish to drive are to be managed. In the US the doctors would unhesitatingly call in the cops; in France this would be a breach against medical confidentiality.

    A a doctor I also admit that any society needs laws to function, and I respect the civil laws of the state I live in. As a doctor I also admit that any society needs spiritual laws to create unity. I feel the Baha’i laws on sexuality are more tolerant than those in some other religions. I also admit that any community needs to define boundaries for accepted and inaccepted behaviours and that the spiritual laws provide us with guide lines for our private lives.

  • farhan

    Mavaddat wrote:

    “Let your childish beliefs die, Farhan! Come and join the rest of us in the year 2008.”

    Thanks for being inclusive, Mavaddat.

    Before I can consider an invitation, I would need to know how you define “the rest of us”

    What do you consider as childish? What is maturity to you? What exactly are your goals? What is your purpose? Do you have a programme published some where? What are your means? Who else is invited?

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Mavaddat wrote:

    “Let your childish beliefs die, Farhan! Come and join the rest of us in the year 2008.”

    Thanks for being inclusive, Mavaddat.

    Before I can consider an invitation, I would need to know how you define “the rest of us”

    What do you consider as childish? What is maturity to you? What exactly are your goals? What is your purpose? Do you have a programme published some where? What are your means? Who else is invited?

  • farhan

    Amanda,

    you write:

    “Being a “Baha’i In Good Standing” in the Haifan tradition, voting, marrying, etc requires obedience not just to Baha’u’llah, but to SE and the UHJ. That puts homosexuals outside the bounds of administrative enfranchisement. Sad.”

    Amanda, from my experience, this does not put homosexuals outside the bounds, but those who blatently challenge the rules outside the bounds. The private life of a homosexual is his own spiritual life and no body else’s business; a heterosexual who marries without the consent of parents is openly defying Baha’i laws and becomes established outside the bounds of administrative enfranchisement. Did someone say that Baha’i laws discriminate against heterosexuals?

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Amanda,

    you write:

    “Being a “Baha’i In Good Standing” in the Haifan tradition, voting, marrying, etc requires obedience not just to Baha’u’llah, but to SE and the UHJ. That puts homosexuals outside the bounds of administrative enfranchisement. Sad.”

    Amanda, from my experience, this does not put homosexuals outside the bounds, but those who blatently challenge the rules outside the bounds. The private life of a homosexual is his own spiritual life and no body else’s business; a heterosexual who marries without the consent of parents is openly defying Baha’i laws and becomes established outside the bounds of administrative enfranchisement. Did someone say that Baha’i laws discriminate against heterosexuals?

  • farhan

    Andrew, to my remark:
    “If so, I was totally unaware that most of my gay friends were gay until they revealed it to me; I must be colour blind to GLTBI unless they carry the ‘national flag’ or dress or behave differently.”

    You replied:
    As I’m sure you must be aware, some closets have glass doors. And it is not just homosexuals who are the targets of homophobia, but men and women who are perceived to be homosexuals, whether or not they are.

    I am starting to understand that France has obviously more liberal attitudes than the US. After all, every one here joked about the president’s love affair whereas in the US outcomes. We have several gay ministers. In my new hospital with some 600 employees, there must be at least some 30 to 60 gays, but I have not noticed one yet, not have I ever tried to find out I am just not interested in what goes on in people’s private lives. People are most certainly not categorised by their sexual preferences here unless they choose to be activists and make open claims.

    I am aware of the dramatic crimes that led to the gay-pride. I fully understand activism and union of forces to win rights against discrimination, whether for gays or women. However, I feel that activism is a reaction and in time when discrimination has been levelled out, there will be less need to categorise people in categories: women vs men, gays vs straights.

    As far as the Baha’i laws on chastity are concerned, we certainly do have bigoted puritans amongst Baha’is; they are obviously violating Baha’I laws. I see no discrimination in Baha’i laws regarding Transexuals and Intersexuals who can choose their therapy as they wish. Bisexuals are bound by the same laws of chastity as heterosexuals, but I agree that it is unfair that true gays and lesbians, those unable to have sexual relations with the opposite sex are “In addition, by deprived of a religious marriage.

    In France, in any case, no religious marriage is possible without a prior civil ceremony, so even if Baha’is admitted same-sex marriages, a religious ceremony would not be possible.

    You write:
    ?Of course, the Baha’i faith teaches otherwise, and Farhan, as an obedient Baha’i, wouldn’t agree with Mrs. King.?

    The Baha’i faith condemns discrimination and teaches chastity outside marriage, on equal terms between all citizens. However, you are right in saying that there are no provisions for same sex marriages, because the Baha’i Faith makes no distinction on the grounds of orientation.

    You write:
    ?Ah, liberty. The enemy of patriarchal religionists everywhere.?

    Andrew, only those who voluntarily submit to the laws of the Baha’i Faith are bound by those laws. The others are free as the wind and only bound by the civil laws. If you enrol at a university you are bound by regulations including homework; if you do not wish to have homework, you are not obliged to enrol at that university; you can enrol for some other course: Sunni Islam, for example.

    Andrew:
    ?You wouldn’t concede anything unless it were sanctioned by your religion. Sieg heil!?

    You are wrong, Andrew; I did not choose my sexual orientation by obedience, nor have I ever jeered at someone not having the same orientation as mine and having painful choices to make. As a doctor I respect all my patient’s choices; however, if they want to become monks, nuns, rabbis, or marines, I might warn them that they have to abide by the rules of that specific group. If they refuse to be circumcised, no use wanting to become a rabbi. To me this is not discrimination; this is just free choice. Those who are discrete with their homosexuality are accepted in all walks of the Baha’i community. Those who openly challenge the Baha’i laws can participate in many activities, but not in those reserved for enrolled Baha’is.

    Andrew:
    ?The distinction between non-coercive sexual orientation and behaviour is, of course, a fundamentally false one.?

    Andrew, do you believe that a father with teenage children who decides at 45 that he wants to be gay should be free to choose to leave his family and have a same sex marriage? I believe that if under the civil laws of his country he is allowed to do so, he is free. I also believe that if his spiritual community disapproves of his move, they are free to express themselves by restricting his membership. I do also believe that it is immoral and against Baha’i principles that he should be rejected or shunned.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Andrew, to my remark:
    “If so, I was totally unaware that most of my gay friends were gay until they revealed it to me; I must be colour blind to GLTBI unless they carry the ‘national flag’ or dress or behave differently.”

    You replied:
    As I’m sure you must be aware, some closets have glass doors. And it is not just homosexuals who are the targets of homophobia, but men and women who are perceived to be homosexuals, whether or not they are.

    I am starting to understand that France has obviously more liberal attitudes than the US. After all, every one here joked about the president’s love affair whereas in the US outcomes. We have several gay ministers. In my new hospital with some 600 employees, there must be at least some 30 to 60 gays, but I have not noticed one yet, not have I ever tried to find out I am just not interested in what goes on in people’s private lives. People are most certainly not categorised by their sexual preferences here unless they choose to be activists and make open claims.

    I am aware of the dramatic crimes that led to the gay-pride. I fully understand activism and union of forces to win rights against discrimination, whether for gays or women. However, I feel that activism is a reaction and in time when discrimination has been levelled out, there will be less need to categorise people in categories: women vs men, gays vs straights.

    As far as the Baha’i laws on chastity are concerned, we certainly do have bigoted puritans amongst Baha’is; they are obviously violating Baha’I laws. I see no discrimination in Baha’i laws regarding Transexuals and Intersexuals who can choose their therapy as they wish. Bisexuals are bound by the same laws of chastity as heterosexuals, but I agree that it is unfair that true gays and lesbians, those unable to have sexual relations with the opposite sex are “In addition, by deprived of a religious marriage.

    In France, in any case, no religious marriage is possible without a prior civil ceremony, so even if Baha’is admitted same-sex marriages, a religious ceremony would not be possible.

    You write:
    ?Of course, the Baha’i faith teaches otherwise, and Farhan, as an obedient Baha’i, wouldn’t agree with Mrs. King.?

    The Baha’i faith condemns discrimination and teaches chastity outside marriage, on equal terms between all citizens. However, you are right in saying that there are no provisions for same sex marriages, because the Baha’i Faith makes no distinction on the grounds of orientation.

    You write:
    ?Ah, liberty. The enemy of patriarchal religionists everywhere.?

    Andrew, only those who voluntarily submit to the laws of the Baha’i Faith are bound by those laws. The others are free as the wind and only bound by the civil laws. If you enrol at a university you are bound by regulations including homework; if you do not wish to have homework, you are not obliged to enrol at that university; you can enrol for some other course: Sunni Islam, for example.

    Andrew:
    ?You wouldn’t concede anything unless it were sanctioned by your religion. Sieg heil!?

    You are wrong, Andrew; I did not choose my sexual orientation by obedience, nor have I ever jeered at someone not having the same orientation as mine and having painful choices to make. As a doctor I respect all my patient’s choices; however, if they want to become monks, nuns, rabbis, or marines, I might warn them that they have to abide by the rules of that specific group. If they refuse to be circumcised, no use wanting to become a rabbi. To me this is not discrimination; this is just free choice. Those who are discrete with their homosexuality are accepted in all walks of the Baha’i community. Those who openly challenge the Baha’i laws can participate in many activities, but not in those reserved for enrolled Baha’is.

    Andrew:
    ?The distinction between non-coercive sexual orientation and behaviour is, of course, a fundamentally false one.?

    Andrew, do you believe that a father with teenage children who decides at 45 that he wants to be gay should be free to choose to leave his family and have a same sex marriage? I believe that if under the civil laws of his country he is allowed to do so, he is free. I also believe that if his spiritual community disapproves of his move, they are free to express themselves by restricting his membership. I do also believe that it is immoral and against Baha’i principles that he should be rejected or shunned.

  • farhan

    Bird, you write:

    « think I feel an added burden of leaving a small community but the truth is they NEVER had me past the first time I asked a question and was told in the interest of UNITY I must not question, but OBEY, so I did not. »

    Bird, I know such attitudes do exist; I have also often suffered from this kind of individuals. The idea of blind obedience is often a stratagem used by those who feel unable to respond to questions they have not understood themselves.

    As you know there is a month in our calendar called ?questions?; you might enjoy a book by Bahiyyih Nakhjavani called ?Asking questions, a threat to fundamentalism? published by George Ronald. Perhaps Baquia would consider a book review?

    A you know, only elected institutions have a right to demande obedience. Anyone can offer advise and suggestions, but no individual, ABM or even Counsellor has a right to demand obedience from a believer.

    I would be interested to know by whom and on which point you were asked to obey without having an answer to your questiosns.

    Even Baha’u’llah suffered greatly from immature souls He had come to educate:

    ?I sorrow not for the burden of My imprisonment. Neither do I grieve over My abasement, or the tribulation I suffer at the hands of Mine enemies. By My life! They are My glory, a glory wherewith God hath adorned His own Self. Would that ye know it!
    The shame I was made to bear hath uncovered the glory with which the whole of creation had been invested, and through the cruelties I have endured, the Day Star of Justice hath manifested itself, and shed its splendor upon men.
    My sorrows are for those who have involved themselves in their corrupt passions, and claim to be associated with the Faith of God, the Gracious, the All-Praised. (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, XLVI).
    Warmest
    Farhan

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Bird, you write:

    « think I feel an added burden of leaving a small community but the truth is they NEVER had me past the first time I asked a question and was told in the interest of UNITY I must not question, but OBEY, so I did not. »

    Bird, I know such attitudes do exist; I have also often suffered from this kind of individuals. The idea of blind obedience is often a stratagem used by those who feel unable to respond to questions they have not understood themselves.

    As you know there is a month in our calendar called ?questions?; you might enjoy a book by Bahiyyih Nakhjavani called ?Asking questions, a threat to fundamentalism? published by George Ronald. Perhaps Baquia would consider a book review?

    A you know, only elected institutions have a right to demande obedience. Anyone can offer advise and suggestions, but no individual, ABM or even Counsellor has a right to demand obedience from a believer.

    I would be interested to know by whom and on which point you were asked to obey without having an answer to your questiosns.

    Even Baha’u’llah suffered greatly from immature souls He had come to educate:

    ?I sorrow not for the burden of My imprisonment. Neither do I grieve over My abasement, or the tribulation I suffer at the hands of Mine enemies. By My life! They are My glory, a glory wherewith God hath adorned His own Self. Would that ye know it!
    The shame I was made to bear hath uncovered the glory with which the whole of creation had been invested, and through the cruelties I have endured, the Day Star of Justice hath manifested itself, and shed its splendor upon men.
    My sorrows are for those who have involved themselves in their corrupt passions, and claim to be associated with the Faith of God, the Gracious, the All-Praised. (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, XLVI).
    Warmest
    Farhan

  • http://www.sonjavank.com sonja

    My position is that there’s nothing in the Bahai Writings to support an anti-gay or a gay having less rights and privileges than a straight lifestyle, but… of course, I realise there are a lot of homophobic attitudes amongst Bahais and these Bahais use letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi (not Bahai Scripture) to support their prejudices.

    Noah Latif Goodbaum wrote: “And there’s a translation issue with regard to the word ?sodomy? in the Writings, which some interpret to refer only to anal sex. Something I’d like to see is that the Writings be interpreted to allow for gay relationships by translating the word that way. Would the door be open to such a thing? Or would it fall under the ?mutilation? category, as it were, and be prohibited? I don’t know.”
    which word are you referring to, there are various. Are you referring to the one used in the Aqdas? Liwat?

    For me it is not so much a matter of translation but of context because or both context and translation, because that helps to see what Baha’u”llah would have been thinking or what he was responding to. For example it seems unbelievable (to me) that he could be prohibiting a lifestyle (consented adult with adult relationships) that did not exist at the time. What existed in his day was the custom of older married men having sex with younger (non-equal) males.
    I realise my comments above might have opened a can of worms for some. Sorry, I’m too busy to write with more nuance. I’ll try and come back in a few days.

  • http://www.sonjavank.com sonja

    My position is that there’s nothing in the Bahai Writings to support an anti-gay or a gay having less rights and privileges than a straight lifestyle, but… of course, I realise there are a lot of homophobic attitudes amongst Bahais and these Bahais use letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi (not Bahai Scripture) to support their prejudices.

    Noah Latif Goodbaum wrote: “And there’s a translation issue with regard to the word ?sodomy? in the Writings, which some interpret to refer only to anal sex. Something I’d like to see is that the Writings be interpreted to allow for gay relationships by translating the word that way. Would the door be open to such a thing? Or would it fall under the ?mutilation? category, as it were, and be prohibited? I don’t know.”
    which word are you referring to, there are various. Are you referring to the one used in the Aqdas? Liwat?

    For me it is not so much a matter of translation but of context because or both context and translation, because that helps to see what Baha’u”llah would have been thinking or what he was responding to. For example it seems unbelievable (to me) that he could be prohibiting a lifestyle (consented adult with adult relationships) that did not exist at the time. What existed in his day was the custom of older married men having sex with younger (non-equal) males.
    I realise my comments above might have opened a can of worms for some. Sorry, I’m too busy to write with more nuance. I’ll try and come back in a few days.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Hi, Sonja!

    When you say, “I realise there are a lot of homophobic attitudes amongst Bahais and these Bahais use letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi (not Bahai Scripture) to support their prejudices,” do you include the Universal House of Justice in the list of Baha’is with homophobic attitudes?

    You also wroye: “it seems unbelievable (to me) that he could be prohibiting a lifestyle (consented adult with adult relationships) that did not exist at the time.”

    That is just false, false, false. Consenting adult homosexual relationships DID exist, they have existed throughout cultures and across time. That doesn’t mean they were sanctioned or institutionalized, but they did exist. Where are you getting the idea they didn’t exist? President Ahmadinejad said the same thing (or a similar thing, only about PRESENT DAY Iran) when he visited New York recently: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_3RUwAJ_MI It’s just not true.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Hi, Sonja!

    When you say, “I realise there are a lot of homophobic attitudes amongst Bahais and these Bahais use letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi (not Bahai Scripture) to support their prejudices,” do you include the Universal House of Justice in the list of Baha’is with homophobic attitudes?

    You also wroye: “it seems unbelievable (to me) that he could be prohibiting a lifestyle (consented adult with adult relationships) that did not exist at the time.”

    That is just false, false, false. Consenting adult homosexual relationships DID exist, they have existed throughout cultures and across time. That doesn’t mean they were sanctioned or institutionalized, but they did exist. Where are you getting the idea they didn’t exist? President Ahmadinejad said the same thing (or a similar thing, only about PRESENT DAY Iran) when he visited New York recently: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_3RUwAJ_MI It’s just not true.

  • Anonymous

    Farhan writes,[quote post="250"]What do you consider as childish? What is maturity to you? What exactly are your goals? What is your purpose? Do you have a programme published some where? What are your means? Who else is invited?[/quote]
    Farhan, I’ve answered these questions many times before… You don’t pay attention.

    What is maturity to me? Mr. Kant, could you help us?[quote]Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. Sapere Aude! “Have courage to use your own understanding!” — that is the motto of enlightenment.[/quote]Regarding Bah??’u’ll??h’s vice-like grip on your brain and your subsequent submission to him, Kant writes[quote]The guardians who have so benevolently taken over the supervision of humankind have carefully seen to it that the far greatest part of them regard taking the step to maturity as very dangerous, not to mention difficult. Having first made their domestic livestock dumb, and making sure that these placid creatures will not dare take a single step without the harness of the cart to which they are tethered, the guardians then show them the danger which threatens if they try to go alone. Now this danger is not actually so great, for after falling a few times they would in the end certainly learn to walk; but an example of this kind makes men timid and usually frightens them out of all further attempts.[/quote]You and your relationship to Bah??’u’ll??h are the physical embodiment of these words, Farhan. In the bed you have laid for yourself, your spiritual child delays the onset of your maturity by imagining demons in the darkness that is your ignorance and pulling up the sheets to cure yourself of those demons. Bah??’u’ll??h is your blanket. He provides you no real enlightenment, but merely the feeling of enlightenment. A cheap trick known to rhetoricians since the days of sophistry.

    You will not understand any of this, of course, since the Divine Lote Tree you planted in your brain has blocked the way to all insight. I merely make mention of these things for the benefit of others.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Farhan writes,[quote post="250"]What do you consider as childish? What is maturity to you? What exactly are your goals? What is your purpose? Do you have a programme published some where? What are your means? Who else is invited?[/quote]
    Farhan, I’ve answered these questions many times before… You don’t pay attention.

    What is maturity to me? Mr. Kant, could you help us?[quote]Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. Sapere Aude! “Have courage to use your own understanding!” — that is the motto of enlightenment.[/quote]Regarding Bah??’u’ll??h’s vice-like grip on your brain and your subsequent submission to him, Kant writes[quote]The guardians who have so benevolently taken over the supervision of humankind have carefully seen to it that the far greatest part of them regard taking the step to maturity as very dangerous, not to mention difficult. Having first made their domestic livestock dumb, and making sure that these placid creatures will not dare take a single step without the harness of the cart to which they are tethered, the guardians then show them the danger which threatens if they try to go alone. Now this danger is not actually so great, for after falling a few times they would in the end certainly learn to walk; but an example of this kind makes men timid and usually frightens them out of all further attempts.[/quote]You and your relationship to Bah??’u’ll??h are the physical embodiment of these words, Farhan. In the bed you have laid for yourself, your spiritual child delays the onset of your maturity by imagining demons in the darkness that is your ignorance and pulling up the sheets to cure yourself of those demons. Bah??’u’ll??h is your blanket. He provides you no real enlightenment, but merely the feeling of enlightenment. A cheap trick known to rhetoricians since the days of sophistry.

    You will not understand any of this, of course, since the Divine Lote Tree you planted in your brain has blocked the way to all insight. I merely make mention of these things for the benefit of others.

  • farhan

    Mavaddat,

    Thanks for sharing your definition of maturity.

    Could you now please reply to the other questions:

    What exactly are your goals?
    What is your purpose?
    Do you have a programme published some where?
    What are your means?
    Who else is invited?

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Mavaddat,

    Thanks for sharing your definition of maturity.

    Could you now please reply to the other questions:

    What exactly are your goals?
    What is your purpose?
    Do you have a programme published some where?
    What are your means?
    Who else is invited?

  • farhan

    Noah wrote:
    “Something I’d like to see is that the Writings be interpreted to allow for gay relationships by translating the word that way. Would the door be open to such a thing?”

    Noah,
    speaking as a neutral doctor, I am not sure that this is important other than on the spiritual level where you are responsible before God of your inner private life and no one has a right to interfere or to judge. How a couple interprets “livat” is its own business;

    Where the community comes in, is in our life style; the golden standard set by the Baha’i writings and by all religions is the family structure which is the foundation of our societies and societies lay moral laws to prevent disruption.

    All societies define a certain family structure which is specific to them and any deveiation can be more or less frowned upon; not because of what might go on in the private lives of people, but because human behaviour and ideas can be acquired by mimetisme.

    Liberalising gay marriages is considerd by many sociologists as promoting them, and promoting sexuality outside marriage is considered as weakening the institution of marriage.

    Hence the isssue to me is not whether a specific activity is “dirty” but whether _a way of life_ promotes or not the family structure of that society.

    As I said before, some island societies have integrated what we consider as incest and child abuse (essentially from men on girls) in such a way that the archbishop Coppenrath of French Polynesia has declared that opposing it is a menace to the survival of that society.

    Of course again, child abuse has nothing to do with homosexuality, other than as an example of a social pattern of sexual life as opposed to what goes on in private lives;

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Noah wrote:
    “Something I’d like to see is that the Writings be interpreted to allow for gay relationships by translating the word that way. Would the door be open to such a thing?”

    Noah,
    speaking as a neutral doctor, I am not sure that this is important other than on the spiritual level where you are responsible before God of your inner private life and no one has a right to interfere or to judge. How a couple interprets “livat” is its own business;

    Where the community comes in, is in our life style; the golden standard set by the Baha’i writings and by all religions is the family structure which is the foundation of our societies and societies lay moral laws to prevent disruption.

    All societies define a certain family structure which is specific to them and any deveiation can be more or less frowned upon; not because of what might go on in the private lives of people, but because human behaviour and ideas can be acquired by mimetisme.

    Liberalising gay marriages is considerd by many sociologists as promoting them, and promoting sexuality outside marriage is considered as weakening the institution of marriage.

    Hence the isssue to me is not whether a specific activity is “dirty” but whether _a way of life_ promotes or not the family structure of that society.

    As I said before, some island societies have integrated what we consider as incest and child abuse (essentially from men on girls) in such a way that the archbishop Coppenrath of French Polynesia has declared that opposing it is a menace to the survival of that society.

    Of course again, child abuse has nothing to do with homosexuality, other than as an example of a social pattern of sexual life as opposed to what goes on in private lives;

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Farhan,
    what if we suppose, for one instant, that we have in front of us, a couple made up of two women. They are dedicated to each other, they are in a loving, mutually consensual relationship and they wish to adopt an orphan to raise as their own child. Would such a family structure be good for society? would it uplift the couple? the child? enrich society? would it promote the family structure of society?

    Of course!

    The important thing is not heterosexuality or homosexuality, it is how one lives their lives. There are many, many heterosexual couples who bring shame to the very notion of the institution of marriage. As there are many homosexual couples that demonstrate its nobility.

    Society is progressing to the point where such superficial differences are drifting away just like racial prejudices. That is the nature of an ever advancing civilization. Nothing can stop it because it has been set on its course by God and catalyzed by His Manifestations.

    [quote comment="47166"]Hence the isssue to me is not whether a specific activity is “dirty” but whether _a way of life_ promotes or not the family structure of that society.[/quote]

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Farhan,
    what if we suppose, for one instant, that we have in front of us, a couple made up of two women. They are dedicated to each other, they are in a loving, mutually consensual relationship and they wish to adopt an orphan to raise as their own child. Would such a family structure be good for society? would it uplift the couple? the child? enrich society? would it promote the family structure of society?

    Of course!

    The important thing is not heterosexuality or homosexuality, it is how one lives their lives. There are many, many heterosexual couples who bring shame to the very notion of the institution of marriage. As there are many homosexual couples that demonstrate its nobility.

    Society is progressing to the point where such superficial differences are drifting away just like racial prejudices. That is the nature of an ever advancing civilization. Nothing can stop it because it has been set on its course by God and catalyzed by His Manifestations.

    [quote comment="47166"]Hence the isssue to me is not whether a specific activity is “dirty” but whether _a way of life_ promotes or not the family structure of that society.[/quote]

  • Anonymous

    Farhan writes,[quote]Could you now please reply to the other questions?[/quote]No. I have answered these questions in our conversations on YouTube. Please refer to my answers there. If you want to have meaningful conversations, you really must learn how to pay attention, Farhan.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat Javid

    Farhan writes,[quote]Could you now please reply to the other questions?[/quote]No. I have answered these questions in our conversations on YouTube. Please refer to my answers there. If you want to have meaningful conversations, you really must learn how to pay attention, Farhan.

  • farhan

    Baquia, you write:
    “what if we suppose, for one instant, that we have in front of us, a couple made up of two women (…) would it promote the family structure of society?”

    Baquia, this is the sort of ethical decision making I have been involved in for some 20 years now. You will find more recent references to this work on the BMAC site.

    Again speaking _as a doctor_, I see things as you describe them. When I see with the eyes of the legislator, I am obliged to take into account views of a wide variety of human beings in a given society at a given time. Things might be different in the Middle East, in San Fransisco and in French Polynesia. The UHJ is obliged to faithfully construct it’s present legislation on the basis of what Baha’is consider as Divine Revelation, with implications for the future of humanity, and at the same time to the present needs of society.

    Making provisions for gay marriages, (since the only _spiritual_ objection I see in the writings against homosexuality is the fact that gay couples not being married, are practicing sexuality outside marriage) concerns perhaps some 2 to 5% of society. To my understanding, the compomise by Baha’i institutions has been to say thet gays are entitled to love and respect, that none is to pry into their private lives, but that no provisions are to be expected in regards to gay marriages, since we believe that if socially no interference is expected in private lives, for the sake of their own spiritual growth, they are encouraged to avoid homosexual relations. Those who wish to actively reject and oppose this compromise are free to do so, but they cannot participate as enrolled Baha’is.

    As a doctor I feel that this is a comprehensive attitude and an acceptable compromise, one of the best in the religious declarations I have yet read. As a Baha’i I believe that future will show this attitude to have been divinely inspired, but I have no right whatsoever to impose this belief to anyone.

    Here is my present understanding that I will change if necessary. I sincerely hope I have hurt no one, insulted no one and played with and twisted the words of no one.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Baquia, you write:
    “what if we suppose, for one instant, that we have in front of us, a couple made up of two women (…) would it promote the family structure of society?”

    Baquia, this is the sort of ethical decision making I have been involved in for some 20 years now. You will find more recent references to this work on the BMAC site.

    Again speaking _as a doctor_, I see things as you describe them. When I see with the eyes of the legislator, I am obliged to take into account views of a wide variety of human beings in a given society at a given time. Things might be different in the Middle East, in San Fransisco and in French Polynesia. The UHJ is obliged to faithfully construct it’s present legislation on the basis of what Baha’is consider as Divine Revelation, with implications for the future of humanity, and at the same time to the present needs of society.

    Making provisions for gay marriages, (since the only _spiritual_ objection I see in the writings against homosexuality is the fact that gay couples not being married, are practicing sexuality outside marriage) concerns perhaps some 2 to 5% of society. To my understanding, the compomise by Baha’i institutions has been to say thet gays are entitled to love and respect, that none is to pry into their private lives, but that no provisions are to be expected in regards to gay marriages, since we believe that if socially no interference is expected in private lives, for the sake of their own spiritual growth, they are encouraged to avoid homosexual relations. Those who wish to actively reject and oppose this compromise are free to do so, but they cannot participate as enrolled Baha’is.

    As a doctor I feel that this is a comprehensive attitude and an acceptable compromise, one of the best in the religious declarations I have yet read. As a Baha’i I believe that future will show this attitude to have been divinely inspired, but I have no right whatsoever to impose this belief to anyone.

    Here is my present understanding that I will change if necessary. I sincerely hope I have hurt no one, insulted no one and played with and twisted the words of no one.

  • farhan

    Mavaddat,

    You claim to have replied on You tube to my questions on :

    What exactly are your goals?
    What is your purpose?
    Do you have a programme published some where?
    What are your means?
    Who else is invited?

    So sad I missed them! Quite a feat it must have been to fit them into 500 caracters… So I will stick to your reply on maturity to which I fully subscribe, and in which you very appropriately quote Kant who desribes the human condition prior to the valley of search in the seven valleys, a condition of which Baha’u’llah says :

    « It is incumbent on these servants that they cleanse the heart—which is the wellspring of divine treasures—from every marking, and that they turn away from imitation, which is following the traces of their forefathers and sires, and shut the door of friendliness and enmity upon all the people of the earth. »

    and again in the Kitab-i-Iqan :

    « O My brother! When a true seeker determineth to take the step of search in the path leading unto the knowledge of the Ancient of Days, he must, before all else, cleanse his heart, which is the seat of the revelation of the inner mysteries of God, from the obscuring dust of all acquired knowledge, and the allusions of the embodiments of satanic fancy. He must purge his breast, which is the sanctuary of the abiding love of the Beloved, of every defilement, and sanctify his soul from all that pertaineth to water and clay, from all shadowy and ephemeral attachments. He must so cleanse his heart that no remnant of either love or hate may linger therein, lest that love blindly incline him to error, or that hate repel him away from the truth. Even as thou dost witness in this Day how most of the people, because of such love and hate, are bereft of the immortal Face, have strayed far from the Embodiments of the Divine mysteries, and, shepherdless, are roaming through the wilderness of oblivion and error. »

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Mavaddat,

    You claim to have replied on You tube to my questions on :

    What exactly are your goals?
    What is your purpose?
    Do you have a programme published some where?
    What are your means?
    Who else is invited?

    So sad I missed them! Quite a feat it must have been to fit them into 500 caracters… So I will stick to your reply on maturity to which I fully subscribe, and in which you very appropriately quote Kant who desribes the human condition prior to the valley of search in the seven valleys, a condition of which Baha’u’llah says :

    « It is incumbent on these servants that they cleanse the heart—which is the wellspring of divine treasures—from every marking, and that they turn away from imitation, which is following the traces of their forefathers and sires, and shut the door of friendliness and enmity upon all the people of the earth. »

    and again in the Kitab-i-Iqan :

    « O My brother! When a true seeker determineth to take the step of search in the path leading unto the knowledge of the Ancient of Days, he must, before all else, cleanse his heart, which is the seat of the revelation of the inner mysteries of God, from the obscuring dust of all acquired knowledge, and the allusions of the embodiments of satanic fancy. He must purge his breast, which is the sanctuary of the abiding love of the Beloved, of every defilement, and sanctify his soul from all that pertaineth to water and clay, from all shadowy and ephemeral attachments. He must so cleanse his heart that no remnant of either love or hate may linger therein, lest that love blindly incline him to error, or that hate repel him away from the truth. Even as thou dost witness in this Day how most of the people, because of such love and hate, are bereft of the immortal Face, have strayed far from the Embodiments of the Divine mysteries, and, shepherdless, are roaming through the wilderness of oblivion and error. »

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Farhan,

    You wrote (about not getting your “questions answered” on YouTube): “So sad I missed them! Quite a feat it must have been to fit them into 500 caracters… ”

    It is sad you missed them. Just to double-check, I went over to some of Mavaddat’s videos on YouTube and counted the number of times you DID post comments that were all responded to.

    I stopped counting at 155. Yes, one-hundred and fifty-five. And that was just his first video.

    Good luck,
    Amanda

    155 to http://www.youtube.com/comment_servlet?all_comments&v=nGspAaQYgas&fromurl=/watch%3Fv%3DnGspAaQYgas

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Farhan,

    You wrote (about not getting your “questions answered” on YouTube): “So sad I missed them! Quite a feat it must have been to fit them into 500 caracters… ”

    It is sad you missed them. Just to double-check, I went over to some of Mavaddat’s videos on YouTube and counted the number of times you DID post comments that were all responded to.

    I stopped counting at 155. Yes, one-hundred and fifty-five. And that was just his first video.

    Good luck,
    Amanda

    155 to http://www.youtube.com/comment_servlet?all_comments&v=nGspAaQYgas&fromurl=/watch%3Fv%3DnGspAaQYgas

  • farhan

    Amanda,

    I wrote a long reply to your queries on the soul, satan etc and all I got was a post complaining about how I twist your ideas…

    Now you feel that Mavaddat who invites me to “join us in 2008″ replied on You tube to my questions which are :

    Who exactly is “us”?
    What exactly are your goals?
    What is your purpose?
    Do you have a programme published some where?
    What are your means?
    Who else is invited?

    I am starting to understand how inadequate I must be in your view; you have surpassed me in experience and wisdom by decades.

    Not surprising when I realise that some two decades ago you were already the smartest of some 100 million spermatozoa that swam for their lives, and you won the race!

    Sorry to speak up, I am sure that you will attempt to prove again that you have been brutally agressed by my words…

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Amanda,

    I wrote a long reply to your queries on the soul, satan etc and all I got was a post complaining about how I twist your ideas…

    Now you feel that Mavaddat who invites me to “join us in 2008″ replied on You tube to my questions which are :

    Who exactly is “us”?
    What exactly are your goals?
    What is your purpose?
    Do you have a programme published some where?
    What are your means?
    Who else is invited?

    I am starting to understand how inadequate I must be in your view; you have surpassed me in experience and wisdom by decades.

    Not surprising when I realise that some two decades ago you were already the smartest of some 100 million spermatozoa that swam for their lives, and you won the race!

    Sorry to speak up, I am sure that you will attempt to prove again that you have been brutally agressed by my words…

  • Anonymous

    Farhan, my goal is the elimination of dogmatism and the opening of minds to evidence, revision of their ideas in the face of new evidence, and friendliness to criticism. A purpose is just another word for goal. I do not have a programme. No one is invited. People just show up. It’s like a block party.

    There. How many words was that, Farhan? Were you counting? Quite a feat, no?

    All kidding aside though, you really should pay more attention, Farhan. I’ve posted all these points in our conversations on YouTube. There’s nothing amazing about it.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat Javid

    Farhan, my goal is the elimination of dogmatism and the opening of minds to evidence, revision of their ideas in the face of new evidence, and friendliness to criticism. A purpose is just another word for goal. I do not have a programme. No one is invited. People just show up. It’s like a block party.

    There. How many words was that, Farhan? Were you counting? Quite a feat, no?

    All kidding aside though, you really should pay more attention, Farhan. I’ve posted all these points in our conversations on YouTube. There’s nothing amazing about it.

  • farhan

    Baquia,

    in addition to my comments, here is the link to the slide show illustrating ethical decision making.

    You will note that a physician has to detach himself from his personnal opinions.

    http://www.bahaimedicalassociation.ca/Downloads/YAZDANI2007.pdf

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Baquia,

    in addition to my comments, here is the link to the slide show illustrating ethical decision making.

    You will note that a physician has to detach himself from his personnal opinions.

    http://www.bahaimedicalassociation.ca/Downloads/YAZDANI2007.pdf

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Farhan,
    What? Frankly I don’t even understand most of your comment, but I’ll see if I can muster a response.

    You wrote:
    “Amanda,

    I wrote a long reply to your queries on the soul, satan etc and all I got was a post complaining about how I twist your ideas…”

    Farhan, for the THIRD time, I was out of town and then preoccupied with other matters for several days and I took the time to respond and tell you that so that you would understand my lack of response. I was actually sitting here working on my response to you when this last message came through. What can I say, I’m a busy woman. I’m sorry that for the last week we haven’t had the kind of “quality time” we have recently enjoyed here on Baha’i Rants and YouTube, but there have been chicken dances that needed dancing that I simply had to attend to. Barring getting hit by a bus, I ASSURE you I will respond. Just give me a minute.

    I took the time to correct your misquote of me because I 1) had the time, it wasn’t a complicated issue and 2) REALLY DON’T LIKE IT WHEN YOU DO THAT. It completely muddies the rest of the dialogue until it’s corrected because you then base your arguments on FALSE premises. Do you understand that? It isn’t NEIGHBORLY, either.

    You wrote:
    “Now you feel that Mavaddat who invites me to ?join us in 2008? replied on You tube to my questions which are :

    Who exactly is ?us??
    What exactly are your goals?
    What is your purpose?
    Do you have a programme published some where?
    What are your means?
    Who else is invited?”

    Yes. That’s right. Bingo. You’re onto something.

    Then you write:
    “I am starting to understand how inadequate I must be in your view; you have surpassed me in experience and wisdom by decades.”

    What?

    I say again, “what?!”

    Why do you need to personalize something that is issues and behavior based? Where are you going with this?

    And here’s the Big Finish:
    “Not surprising when I realise that some two decades ago you were already the smartest of some 100 million spermatozoa that swam for their lives, and you won the race!”

    What? LOL… Did you just call me a young whippersnapper? Is that what that meant? For the record it was over THREE decades ago, not two (although making me a decade younger is funny on ALOT of levels…haha) AND, for the record, I prefer to identify myself during that time as a glowing, sultry, and pearlescent ovum, wrapped in a zona pellicida, laying back and just reeling ‘em in. Please respect my microgamete gender identity. (Just kidding. I’m only messing with you now. I’m quite comfortable with the bisexual nature of my pre-zygote days, when my genetic potential was contained in both a sperm and an egg.)

  • farhan

    Mavaddat,

    you write:
    “my goal is the elimination of dogmatism and the opening of minds to evidence, revision of their ideas in the face of new evidence, and friendliness to criticism.”

    If this is your goal, you can count me whole heartedly as “one of yours” in my efforts to that goal. Whatever I have said, written or done in the last 30 years attest my adhesion to that goal;

    As to the means you might be using to get to that goal, I see that your words and acts are not always consistent with that goal. You are often promoting division and clashes rather than conciliation and unity.

    You invite people to the discussion table to bash them for their ideas, and not to share lovingly your jewels:

    “Consort with all men, O people of Bah??, in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. If ye be aware of a certain truth, if ye possess a jewel, of which others are deprived, share it with them in a language of utmost kindliness and good-will. If it be accepted, if it fulfil its purpose, your object is attained. If any one should refuse it, leave him unto himself, and beseech God to guide him. Beware lest ye deal unkindly with him. A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding…. (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, CXXXII)

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Farhan,
    What? Frankly I don’t even understand most of your comment, but I’ll see if I can muster a response.

    You wrote:
    “Amanda,

    I wrote a long reply to your queries on the soul, satan etc and all I got was a post complaining about how I twist your ideas…”

    Farhan, for the THIRD time, I was out of town and then preoccupied with other matters for several days and I took the time to respond and tell you that so that you would understand my lack of response. I was actually sitting here working on my response to you when this last message came through. What can I say, I’m a busy woman. I’m sorry that for the last week we haven’t had the kind of “quality time” we have recently enjoyed here on Baha’i Rants and YouTube, but there have been chicken dances that needed dancing that I simply had to attend to. Barring getting hit by a bus, I ASSURE you I will respond. Just give me a minute.

    I took the time to correct your misquote of me because I 1) had the time, it wasn’t a complicated issue and 2) REALLY DON’T LIKE IT WHEN YOU DO THAT. It completely muddies the rest of the dialogue until it’s corrected because you then base your arguments on FALSE premises. Do you understand that? It isn’t NEIGHBORLY, either.

    You wrote:
    “Now you feel that Mavaddat who invites me to ?join us in 2008? replied on You tube to my questions which are :

    Who exactly is ?us??
    What exactly are your goals?
    What is your purpose?
    Do you have a programme published some where?
    What are your means?
    Who else is invited?”

    Yes. That’s right. Bingo. You’re onto something.

    Then you write:
    “I am starting to understand how inadequate I must be in your view; you have surpassed me in experience and wisdom by decades.”

    What?

    I say again, “what?!”

    Why do you need to personalize something that is issues and behavior based? Where are you going with this?

    And here’s the Big Finish:
    “Not surprising when I realise that some two decades ago you were already the smartest of some 100 million spermatozoa that swam for their lives, and you won the race!”

    What? LOL… Did you just call me a young whippersnapper? Is that what that meant? For the record it was over THREE decades ago, not two (although making me a decade younger is funny on ALOT of levels…haha) AND, for the record, I prefer to identify myself during that time as a glowing, sultry, and pearlescent ovum, wrapped in a zona pellicida, laying back and just reeling ‘em in. Please respect my microgamete gender identity. (Just kidding. I’m only messing with you now. I’m quite comfortable with the bisexual nature of my pre-zygote days, when my genetic potential was contained in both a sperm and an egg.)

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Mavaddat,

    you write:
    “my goal is the elimination of dogmatism and the opening of minds to evidence, revision of their ideas in the face of new evidence, and friendliness to criticism.”

    If this is your goal, you can count me whole heartedly as “one of yours” in my efforts to that goal. Whatever I have said, written or done in the last 30 years attest my adhesion to that goal;

    As to the means you might be using to get to that goal, I see that your words and acts are not always consistent with that goal. You are often promoting division and clashes rather than conciliation and unity.

    You invite people to the discussion table to bash them for their ideas, and not to share lovingly your jewels:

    “Consort with all men, O people of Bah??, in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. If ye be aware of a certain truth, if ye possess a jewel, of which others are deprived, share it with them in a language of utmost kindliness and good-will. If it be accepted, if it fulfil its purpose, your object is attained. If any one should refuse it, leave him unto himself, and beseech God to guide him. Beware lest ye deal unkindly with him. A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding…. (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, CXXXII)

  • Anonymous

    Farhan, you still aren’t paying attention. I never said my goal was unity.

    Anyway, when you write,[quote]You invite people to the discussion table to bash them for their ideas, and not to share lovingly your jewels…[/quote]Do you not see that you are promoting disunity and contention? Why must you create divisions between “us” and “them”? Your quotation is addressed to the people of Baha, of which I am not accounted. Why did you introduce that quotation if not to create division between the people of Baha and those who are not of Baha? Do you not see how divisive you are being?

    Honestly, Farhan. Your words are so opposed to your goals.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat Javid

    Farhan, you still aren’t paying attention. I never said my goal was unity.

    Anyway, when you write,[quote]You invite people to the discussion table to bash them for their ideas, and not to share lovingly your jewels…[/quote]Do you not see that you are promoting disunity and contention? Why must you create divisions between “us” and “them”? Your quotation is addressed to the people of Baha, of which I am not accounted. Why did you introduce that quotation if not to create division between the people of Baha and those who are not of Baha? Do you not see how divisive you are being?

    Honestly, Farhan. Your words are so opposed to your goals.

  • farhan

    Mavaddat,

    you write:
    “Why must you create divisions between “us” and “them”? ”

    Mavaddat,

    Did you or did you not write “in 2008 come and join us”?

    Does this not mean a leap from “them” to “us”

    So while thanking you for your kind invitation to join your group, I asked you who “us” represents, what are the goals of your group “us”, what are the means you suggest, who else is invited…

    None of these points could have been discussed BEFORE your kind and inclusive invitation, could they?

    Obvious, is it not, my Dear Watson??

    I know, you will again say that I am misinterpreting your words, pulling faces at innocent little girls, twisting their arms and pulling their hair… what a bully I am…

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Mavaddat,

    you write:
    “Why must you create divisions between “us” and “them”? ”

    Mavaddat,

    Did you or did you not write “in 2008 come and join us”?

    Does this not mean a leap from “them” to “us”

    So while thanking you for your kind invitation to join your group, I asked you who “us” represents, what are the goals of your group “us”, what are the means you suggest, who else is invited…

    None of these points could have been discussed BEFORE your kind and inclusive invitation, could they?

    Obvious, is it not, my Dear Watson??

    I know, you will again say that I am misinterpreting your words, pulling faces at innocent little girls, twisting their arms and pulling their hair… what a bully I am…

  • Anonymous

    Farhan, you are not a bully. You are ever the victim. I imagine you would look good in an American-style muslin dress circa antebellum South.

    The “us” I was inviting you to join was humanity in 2008. I was not advocating unity as a goal. I was encouraging you to discipline the spiritual infant who has apparently tyrannized your mind and invite in his stead a more mature figure who might think for himself.

    No, I don’t think you are a bully. It is more fair to say that you’re an a tool of God, but I summarize this simply by the predicate “faithful.”

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Farhan, you are not a bully. You are ever the victim. I imagine you would look good in an American-style muslin dress circa antebellum South.

    The “us” I was inviting you to join was humanity in 2008. I was not advocating unity as a goal. I was encouraging you to discipline the spiritual infant who has apparently tyrannized your mind and invite in his stead a more mature figure who might think for himself.

    No, I don’t think you are a bully. It is more fair to say that you’re an a tool of God, but I summarize this simply by the predicate “faithful.”

  • Anonymous

    Farhan writes,[quote]Mavaddat,

    you write:
    ?my goal is the elimination of dogmatism and the opening of minds to evidence, revision of their ideas in the face of new evidence, and friendliness to criticism.?

    If this is your goal, you can count me whole heartedly as ?one of yours? in my efforts to that goal. Whatever I have said, written or done in the last 30 years attest my adhesion to that goal; [/quote]Farhan, you are opposed to dogma in the same way that Bah??’u’ll??h was opposed to dogma: i.e., only to the extent that other people’s dogmas prevent them from adopting your dogmas. In reality, you are a dogmatist through and through. Everything you’ve said, written and done in any of your conversations that I have followed on the Internet attest to this fact.

    Your method of thinking (I use the word loosely) is a testimony to these words, which is the creed of dogmatists everywhere:[quote]In short, the meaning of “He doeth whatsoever He willeth” is that if the Manifestation says something, or gives a command, or performs an action, and believers do not understand its wisdom, they still ought not to oppose it by a single thought, seeking to know why He spoke so, or why He did such a thing. The other souls who are under the shadow of the supreme Manifestations are submissive to the commandments of the Law of God, and are not to deviate as much as a hairsbreadth from it; they must conform their acts and words to the Law of God. If they do deviate from it, they will be held responsible and reproved in the presence of God. It is certain that they have no share in the permission “He doeth whatsoever He willeth,” for this condition is peculiar to the supreme Manifestations.

    (Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 173)[/quote]Your virtue is undying faith, Farhan. The faith I speak of is captured by Shoghi Effendi when he says:[quote]
    Is not faith but another word for implicit obedience, whole-hearted allegiance, uncompromising adherence to that which we believe is the revealed and express will of God, however perplexing it might first appear, however at variance with the shadowy views, the impotent doctrines, the crude theories, the idle imaginings, the fashionable conceptions of a transient and troublous age?

    (Shoghi Effendi, Bah??’? Administration, p. 62)[/quote]These words shall be your epitaph — that all thinking shall be eschewed except insofar as it agrees with the faith to which you have committed yourself apriori.

    In all these ways, you are the epitome of dogmatism.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Farhan writes,[quote]Mavaddat,

    you write:
    ?my goal is the elimination of dogmatism and the opening of minds to evidence, revision of their ideas in the face of new evidence, and friendliness to criticism.?

    If this is your goal, you can count me whole heartedly as ?one of yours? in my efforts to that goal. Whatever I have said, written or done in the last 30 years attest my adhesion to that goal; [/quote]Farhan, you are opposed to dogma in the same way that Bah??’u’ll??h was opposed to dogma: i.e., only to the extent that other people’s dogmas prevent them from adopting your dogmas. In reality, you are a dogmatist through and through. Everything you’ve said, written and done in any of your conversations that I have followed on the Internet attest to this fact.

    Your method of thinking (I use the word loosely) is a testimony to these words, which is the creed of dogmatists everywhere:[quote]In short, the meaning of “He doeth whatsoever He willeth” is that if the Manifestation says something, or gives a command, or performs an action, and believers do not understand its wisdom, they still ought not to oppose it by a single thought, seeking to know why He spoke so, or why He did such a thing. The other souls who are under the shadow of the supreme Manifestations are submissive to the commandments of the Law of God, and are not to deviate as much as a hairsbreadth from it; they must conform their acts and words to the Law of God. If they do deviate from it, they will be held responsible and reproved in the presence of God. It is certain that they have no share in the permission “He doeth whatsoever He willeth,” for this condition is peculiar to the supreme Manifestations.

    (Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 173)[/quote]Your virtue is undying faith, Farhan. The faith I speak of is captured by Shoghi Effendi when he says:[quote]
    Is not faith but another word for implicit obedience, whole-hearted allegiance, uncompromising adherence to that which we believe is the revealed and express will of God, however perplexing it might first appear, however at variance with the shadowy views, the impotent doctrines, the crude theories, the idle imaginings, the fashionable conceptions of a transient and troublous age?

    (Shoghi Effendi, Bah??’? Administration, p. 62)[/quote]These words shall be your epitaph — that all thinking shall be eschewed except insofar as it agrees with the faith to which you have committed yourself apriori.

    In all these ways, you are the epitome of dogmatism.

  • farhan

    Friends,

    Here is an excellent article by Joan Chittister “I found the answer in India” on the role of women in religion:

    http://ncrcafe.org/node/1705

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Friends,

    Here is an excellent article by Joan Chittister “I found the answer in India” on the role of women in religion:

    http://ncrcafe.org/node/1705

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="47295"]Farhan, you are not a bully. You are ever the victim. I imagine you would look good in an American-style muslin dress circa antebellum South.

    The “us” I was inviting you to join was humanity in 2008.
    [/quote]

    KARMA IS A BITCH

    This is the true unifying spiritual teaching of ALL enlightened religions and spiritual teachings at the riotous start of the 21st Century.

    In this World Age it IS THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS to a man and to a woman.

    The Cosmic Biblical Sign of Circumcision in the World Ages is upon us! Ten fingers, ten toes, and one other – really, really important – digit.)

    COSMIC PAYBACK is the NEW ORDER of the day – BIG TIME!

    Don’t become a U.S. NeoCon anytime soon as there is a really big anvil now falling from above on Wylie E. Coyote. And it is going to smart.

    And it is also falling on the lifetime incumbent hacks who have led the Baha’i Faith completely into the ground.

    No thinking person would ever join or stay in a religion run like a top down amateur Orwellian state.

    Since 2001 A.D. over 2,400 people as mentioned in the US NSA Convention reports have formally left the Baha’i Faith in the U.S. alone by sending in their formal resignation letters. these are not people with one or two years in the Faith and out. I personally know three people totaling over 70 years of steadfast, dedicated service who sent their letters in in total disgust. Gone. And for every letter sent there are probably three to five more people who just walk out of the Faith.

    But on the Stairway to Heaven…tomorrow IS another day…for those who will keep searching for truth in this world.

    The camera MOVES IN and HOLDS. SMASH CUT TO the FOG ENSHROUDED HILL.

    FADE TO BLACK

    ROLL CREDITS

    CUT.

    PRINT.

    Look for my “KARMA IS A BITCH” premium cable TV channel coming soon to a state of consciousness near you if I can get a good pitch session out in Hollywood!

    Even in this rapidly deteriorating U.S. economy which ITSELF could be an episode on…KARMA IS A BITCH!

  • Craig Parke

    [quote comment="47295"]Farhan, you are not a bully. You are ever the victim. I imagine you would look good in an American-style muslin dress circa antebellum South.

    The “us” I was inviting you to join was humanity in 2008.
    [/quote]

    KARMA IS A BITCH

    This is the true unifying spiritual teaching of ALL enlightened religions and spiritual teachings at the riotous start of the 21st Century.

    In this World Age it IS THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS to a man and to a woman.

    The Cosmic Biblical Sign of Circumcision in the World Ages is upon us! Ten fingers, ten toes, and one other – really, really important – digit.)

    COSMIC PAYBACK is the NEW ORDER of the day – BIG TIME!

    Don’t become a U.S. NeoCon anytime soon as there is a really big anvil now falling from above on Wylie E. Coyote. And it is going to smart.

    And it is also falling on the lifetime incumbent hacks who have led the Baha’i Faith completely into the ground.

    No thinking person would ever join or stay in a religion run like a top down amateur Orwellian state.

    Since 2001 A.D. over 2,400 people as mentioned in the US NSA Convention reports have formally left the Baha’i Faith in the U.S. alone by sending in their formal resignation letters. these are not people with one or two years in the Faith and out. I personally know three people totaling over 70 years of steadfast, dedicated service who sent their letters in in total disgust. Gone. And for every letter sent there are probably three to five more people who just walk out of the Faith.

    But on the Stairway to Heaven…tomorrow IS another day…for those who will keep searching for truth in this world.

    The camera MOVES IN and HOLDS. SMASH CUT TO the FOG ENSHROUDED HILL.

    FADE TO BLACK

    ROLL CREDITS

    CUT.

    PRINT.

    Look for my “KARMA IS A BITCH” premium cable TV channel coming soon to a state of consciousness near you if I can get a good pitch session out in Hollywood!

    Even in this rapidly deteriorating U.S. economy which ITSELF could be an episode on…KARMA IS A BITCH!

  • Anonymous

    Craig, it’s kind of scary how easily you got that Scarlett O’Hara reference… I’m not even going to ask how…

    But I’m not too keen on karma, to be honest with you. Natural justice, it seems to me, exists only in our imagination. It is a manifestation of our hope, but is little to be found in reality. A film like “No Country for Old Men” reminds me of this.

    This is important, because it emphasizes the human imperative of bringing about justice. The time for relying on God or nature to enforce our notions of right and wrong have passed (this is the point Steve Marshall was emphasizing before he passed from our midsts). Nature and God have both shown us their apathy. Without the coordinated action of human beings, there is no assurance of justice.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Craig, it’s kind of scary how easily you got that Scarlett O’Hara reference… I’m not even going to ask how…

    But I’m not too keen on karma, to be honest with you. Natural justice, it seems to me, exists only in our imagination. It is a manifestation of our hope, but is little to be found in reality. A film like “No Country for Old Men” reminds me of this.

    This is important, because it emphasizes the human imperative of bringing about justice. The time for relying on God or nature to enforce our notions of right and wrong have passed (this is the point Steve Marshall was emphasizing before he passed from our midsts). Nature and God have both shown us their apathy. Without the coordinated action of human beings, there is no assurance of justice.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Craig,

    The first novel I ever read GTW, and what a paramount part, the end, at least until someone continued the story and wrote Scarlett, and in the end it is happy for the one who realized she had loved Rhett all along. And a rather good thing at that, I for one personally wanted to see a better closure to the ending. If it were a Bahai saga, and being contiuned, the problem is they took a happy ending and turned into something else.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Craig,

    The first novel I ever read GTW, and what a paramount part, the end, at least until someone continued the story and wrote Scarlett, and in the end it is happy for the one who realized she had loved Rhett all along. And a rather good thing at that, I for one personally wanted to see a better closure to the ending. If it were a Bahai saga, and being contiuned, the problem is they took a happy ending and turned into something else.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    “Without the coordinated action of human beings, there is no assurance of justice.”

    Good true, Mavaddat.

    I think this ties in with the idea of spiritual adulthood you previously mentioned, as well. There is a lingering sense of passivity both emotionally and spiritually (and intellectually!) that maybe we all struggle to overcome in different ways. Like, a real wish that someone else (including god) will do our thinking FOR us, or determine the course of our lives for us. Or assure justice for us. It’s a pretty grave responsibility when you realize you are the ONLY one holding the steering wheel of your life. There is a lot of unrequited LIFE out there, getting wasted while people atrophy, waiting for someone else to save them or intervene. We do this with god for sure. We definately are more likely to do it with any issue that makes us uncomfortable, like civil rights issues and justice generally. Any area that has historically been under the “God” division of labor- power, decision, choice, truth, creation, sexuality, etc. We wait for a parental figure to step in and tell us what to do before we jump on the bandwagon. It’s like high school when kids won’t wear some specific fad until the “cool” kids do it first. It’s extremely disempowered. Maybe it’s just primate behavior, I don’t know. Like, we are still looking for assent or permission from the alpha animal before we take any step, even cognitively.

    But, the results long-term are disastrous. We have social justice eroding more and more because people don’t take responsibility, we have increasing corruption because people don’t take responsibility. We have MASSIVE dumbing down of educational and health standards, all as we wait to be herded into the next corall. And at the individual level, we have depression and unsatisfying relationships because people give their power away and don’t act on their own behalf or speak up for what they want and need. It makes me think about a few of the older women interviewed in the Vagina Monologues. Women who were in their 70s before ever having a single orgasm. This is a COMMON occurance- even MARRIED women who are having sex all the time, not taking responsibility for their own experience. Thinking they are just supposed to lay back and let someone else do it for them. That is EXACTLY what we do with religion. Or any authority, quite often. We don’t get that it is our PARTICIPATION that brings about justice. That engenders meaning. That creates community. That evokes the sacred.

    I’ve had the chance to meet Eve Ensler (the playwright of the Vagina Monologues) a few times, and she tells a very interesting story about finally assuming personal responsibility for justice. She was abused by a family member as a child, (this is public knowledge and something she writes about, I’m not “outing” her) and during those years she invented an imaginary friend named “Mr. Alligator.” She would tell herself, and her abuser, that if he didn’t stop, “Mr. Alligator” would come and get him. As an adult, she wrote this play and literally shook on stage before performing it the first time, thinking “What am I doing, this is crazy, I cannot openly speak my truth like this,” but she did it anyway. She got her words out and then THE word out, and has built one of the most successful consciousness raising and fund raising anti-violence organizations in the world. After she opened the first shelter in Africa for girls and women fleeing Female Genital Mutilation, she took stock of herself and realized SHE WAS Mr. Alligator. She had become her own savior. It’s only in so doing that we can hope to provide any kind of shelter or help to those in need who are younger or more vulnerable than us. I think this is one area where the Baha’i community (among others) CLEARLY suffers. It doesn’t matter how noble the ideals are you try to gather under for shelter, the only REAL, sustainable shelter is what you have managed to build within your own self by enacting those ideals. If we put half the energy into building solid, emotionally mature human beings that we do into building BUILDINGS, we would have a safer community.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    “Without the coordinated action of human beings, there is no assurance of justice.”

    Good true, Mavaddat.

    I think this ties in with the idea of spiritual adulthood you previously mentioned, as well. There is a lingering sense of passivity both emotionally and spiritually (and intellectually!) that maybe we all struggle to overcome in different ways. Like, a real wish that someone else (including god) will do our thinking FOR us, or determine the course of our lives for us. Or assure justice for us. It’s a pretty grave responsibility when you realize you are the ONLY one holding the steering wheel of your life. There is a lot of unrequited LIFE out there, getting wasted while people atrophy, waiting for someone else to save them or intervene. We do this with god for sure. We definately are more likely to do it with any issue that makes us uncomfortable, like civil rights issues and justice generally. Any area that has historically been under the “God” division of labor- power, decision, choice, truth, creation, sexuality, etc. We wait for a parental figure to step in and tell us what to do before we jump on the bandwagon. It’s like high school when kids won’t wear some specific fad until the “cool” kids do it first. It’s extremely disempowered. Maybe it’s just primate behavior, I don’t know. Like, we are still looking for assent or permission from the alpha animal before we take any step, even cognitively.

    But, the results long-term are disastrous. We have social justice eroding more and more because people don’t take responsibility, we have increasing corruption because people don’t take responsibility. We have MASSIVE dumbing down of educational and health standards, all as we wait to be herded into the next corall. And at the individual level, we have depression and unsatisfying relationships because people give their power away and don’t act on their own behalf or speak up for what they want and need. It makes me think about a few of the older women interviewed in the Vagina Monologues. Women who were in their 70s before ever having a single orgasm. This is a COMMON occurance- even MARRIED women who are having sex all the time, not taking responsibility for their own experience. Thinking they are just supposed to lay back and let someone else do it for them. That is EXACTLY what we do with religion. Or any authority, quite often. We don’t get that it is our PARTICIPATION that brings about justice. That engenders meaning. That creates community. That evokes the sacred.

    I’ve had the chance to meet Eve Ensler (the playwright of the Vagina Monologues) a few times, and she tells a very interesting story about finally assuming personal responsibility for justice. She was abused by a family member as a child, (this is public knowledge and something she writes about, I’m not “outing” her) and during those years she invented an imaginary friend named “Mr. Alligator.” She would tell herself, and her abuser, that if he didn’t stop, “Mr. Alligator” would come and get him. As an adult, she wrote this play and literally shook on stage before performing it the first time, thinking “What am I doing, this is crazy, I cannot openly speak my truth like this,” but she did it anyway. She got her words out and then THE word out, and has built one of the most successful consciousness raising and fund raising anti-violence organizations in the world. After she opened the first shelter in Africa for girls and women fleeing Female Genital Mutilation, she took stock of herself and realized SHE WAS Mr. Alligator. She had become her own savior. It’s only in so doing that we can hope to provide any kind of shelter or help to those in need who are younger or more vulnerable than us. I think this is one area where the Baha’i community (among others) CLEARLY suffers. It doesn’t matter how noble the ideals are you try to gather under for shelter, the only REAL, sustainable shelter is what you have managed to build within your own self by enacting those ideals. If we put half the energy into building solid, emotionally mature human beings that we do into building BUILDINGS, we would have a safer community.

  • farhan

    Craig wrote:

    “No thinking person would ever join or stay in a religion run like a top down amateur Orwellian state. ”

    I agree, Craig, and nor would I accept such a religious structure if studying carefully the writings I had not noticed that the “top down” behaviours you describe, and from which I have also suffered, come from immature individuals acting in immature institutions which tend to reproducing the governing systems that were prevalent around us.

    The Baha’i institutions, however imperfect at this time do aim at an entirely new paradigm in human society, the like of which we have never seen in the history of humanity, let alone in religious history. It is understandable that people appointed or elected, without having felt any attraction to administrative functions should take time to learn.

    I clearly understand that the future governance of the faith, eventually adopted by states, will be at grass-root level, between individuals, with administrative structures as a means to canalise, arbitrate and harmonise those efforts.

    The UHJ is the ultimate and unquestionnable arbitrating body for whatever subjects that have not been cleared up at local and secondary (for the moment National) levels. .

    The quotes I sent on the Institute process and “unlocking the power of action” are part of the writings I have discovered. Paul Lample’s book “Creating a New Mind” is an excellent introduction to this subject.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Craig wrote:

    “No thinking person would ever join or stay in a religion run like a top down amateur Orwellian state. ”

    I agree, Craig, and nor would I accept such a religious structure if studying carefully the writings I had not noticed that the “top down” behaviours you describe, and from which I have also suffered, come from immature individuals acting in immature institutions which tend to reproducing the governing systems that were prevalent around us.

    The Baha’i institutions, however imperfect at this time do aim at an entirely new paradigm in human society, the like of which we have never seen in the history of humanity, let alone in religious history. It is understandable that people appointed or elected, without having felt any attraction to administrative functions should take time to learn.

    I clearly understand that the future governance of the faith, eventually adopted by states, will be at grass-root level, between individuals, with administrative structures as a means to canalise, arbitrate and harmonise those efforts.

    The UHJ is the ultimate and unquestionnable arbitrating body for whatever subjects that have not been cleared up at local and secondary (for the moment National) levels. .

    The quotes I sent on the Institute process and “unlocking the power of action” are part of the writings I have discovered. Paul Lample’s book “Creating a New Mind” is an excellent introduction to this subject.

  • farhan

    Amanda wrote:
    “That is EXACTLY what we do with religion. Or any authority, quite often. We don’t get that it is our PARTICIPATION that brings about justice. That engenders meaning. That creates community. That evokes the sacred.”

    I entirely agree, Amanda; it has been this way in all religious and secular history and as Peter Khan explained in his talks I posted, it will take some genarations to change.

    This is the promis made by all religions on the “great reversal” where the humble will be exalted and the haughty abased. At the age of maturity, Baha’u’llah states, the crown of a country will be placed in the public place and none would want to put it on his head.

    Leadership will become entirely devoted service, responsibility and hard work with no privileges attached to it.

    Yes, “Administrate” comes from Latin “administrare”, ad- + ministrare to serve, from “minister” servant.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Amanda wrote:
    “That is EXACTLY what we do with religion. Or any authority, quite often. We don’t get that it is our PARTICIPATION that brings about justice. That engenders meaning. That creates community. That evokes the sacred.”

    I entirely agree, Amanda; it has been this way in all religious and secular history and as Peter Khan explained in his talks I posted, it will take some genarations to change.

    This is the promis made by all religions on the “great reversal” where the humble will be exalted and the haughty abased. At the age of maturity, Baha’u’llah states, the crown of a country will be placed in the public place and none would want to put it on his head.

    Leadership will become entirely devoted service, responsibility and hard work with no privileges attached to it.

    Yes, “Administrate” comes from Latin “administrare”, ad- + ministrare to serve, from “minister” servant.

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Mavaddat writes:

    “Farhan, you are opposed to dogma in the same way that Bah??’u’ll??h was opposed to dogma: i.e., only to the extent that other people’s dogmas prevent them from adopting your dogmas. In reality, you are a dogmatist through and through. Everything you’ve said, written and done in any of your conversations that I have followed on the Internet attest to this fact. ”

    Well Mavaddat, I must thank you for this direct, fair and constructive exchange;

    I believe it will require some thoughts and meditation before I can give you a fair reply; Your point seems valid to me.

    Just off the top of my head, I would say that when you have upthrown blind imitations and traditions, as I remember how I once did, and gone through research and opposition, found a line of answers, and carefully contructed an understanding on those, you are no longer in the field of dogmatic and blind imitations, the kingdom of names, steroetypical thoughts, but in the field of certitude, _a posteriori_, and ready to question it all again if necessary; this is the difference between the one who tries to jump directly to the valley of true poverty and absolute nothingness, without research, and the one who has moved from one valley to another and can look back on that experience.

    But who knows if certitude does not unconsciously harbour prejudices and dogmatisme…

    Well, the few months I have spent with you will be a benefit if I can work out that one for myself (and share the results with you, if you wish)

    Thanks

    warmest

    Farhan

  • farhan

    Mavaddat writes:

    “Farhan, you are opposed to dogma in the same way that Bah??’u’ll??h was opposed to dogma: i.e., only to the extent that other people’s dogmas prevent them from adopting your dogmas. In reality, you are a dogmatist through and through. Everything you’ve said, written and done in any of your conversations that I have followed on the Internet attest to this fact. ”

    Well Mavaddat, I must thank you for this direct, fair and constructive exchange;

    I believe it will require some thoughts and meditation before I can give you a fair reply; Your point seems valid to me.

    Just off the top of my head, I would say that when you have upthrown blind imitations and traditions, as I remember how I once did, and gone through research and opposition, found a line of answers, and carefully contructed an understanding on those, you are no longer in the field of dogmatic and blind imitations, the kingdom of names, steroetypical thoughts, but in the field of certitude, _a posteriori_, and ready to question it all again if necessary; this is the difference between the one who tries to jump directly to the valley of true poverty and absolute nothingness, without research, and the one who has moved from one valley to another and can look back on that experience.

    But who knows if certitude does not unconsciously harbour prejudices and dogmatisme…

    Well, the few months I have spent with you will be a benefit if I can work out that one for myself (and share the results with you, if you wish)

    Thanks

    warmest

    Farhan

  • Anonymous

    [quote]Well Mavaddat, I must thank you for this direct, fair and constructive exchange;

    I believe it will require some thoughts and meditation before I can give you a fair reply; Your point seems valid to me.[/quote]Farhan,

    What has been “constructive” in this exchange? In fact, when was there even an “exchange”? What do you take to be my “point” which to you seems “valid”? Up to now your responses have been entirely automatic and lacking any apparent understanding of the arguments to which they are supposedly addressed, so I’m extremely skeptical you’ve understood me.

    Certitude, whether it be attained a posteriori or a priori, is the whole problem. Certitude is the state of being so self-assured that one exceeds the need for critical examination of one’s ideas. Baha’u’llah not only captures, but positively encourages this attitude of close-mindedness:[quote] O FLEETING SHADOW!

    Pass beyond the baser stages of doubt and rise to the exalted heights of certainty. Open the eye of truth, that thou mayest behold the veilless Beauty and exclaim: Hallowed be the Lord, the most excellent of all creators![/quote] One simply cannot be a Baha’i and not be a dogmatist. At least, not one who is anything close to honest with himself. Anyone who has attempted (no doubt, in vain) to reason with a man of certitude — a man such as yourself, Farhan — knows that certitude is the basis of all dogmatism. To say, therefore, that you have attempted to throw off dogmatism and have acquired certitude through certainty is like claiming that you have attempted to avoid getting wet by jumping into the sea.

    The goal of an open-minded person cannot be certitude. And a person of certitude cannot be open-minded. The two are mutually exclusive.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat Javid

    [quote]Well Mavaddat, I must thank you for this direct, fair and constructive exchange;

    I believe it will require some thoughts and meditation before I can give you a fair reply; Your point seems valid to me.[/quote]Farhan,

    What has been “constructive” in this exchange? In fact, when was there even an “exchange”? What do you take to be my “point” which to you seems “valid”? Up to now your responses have been entirely automatic and lacking any apparent understanding of the arguments to which they are supposedly addressed, so I’m extremely skeptical you’ve understood me.

    Certitude, whether it be attained a posteriori or a priori, is the whole problem. Certitude is the state of being so self-assured that one exceeds the need for critical examination of one’s ideas. Baha’u’llah not only captures, but positively encourages this attitude of close-mindedness:[quote] O FLEETING SHADOW!

    Pass beyond the baser stages of doubt and rise to the exalted heights of certainty. Open the eye of truth, that thou mayest behold the veilless Beauty and exclaim: Hallowed be the Lord, the most excellent of all creators![/quote] One simply cannot be a Baha’i and not be a dogmatist. At least, not one who is anything close to honest with himself. Anyone who has attempted (no doubt, in vain) to reason with a man of certitude — a man such as yourself, Farhan — knows that certitude is the basis of all dogmatism. To say, therefore, that you have attempted to throw off dogmatism and have acquired certitude through certainty is like claiming that you have attempted to avoid getting wet by jumping into the sea.

    The goal of an open-minded person cannot be certitude. And a person of certitude cannot be open-minded. The two are mutually exclusive.

  • Andrew

    Mavaddat wrote:

    “Up to now your responses have been entirely automatic and lacking any apparent understanding of the arguments to which they are supposedly addressed.”

    Precisely. I have come to the conclusion that farhanyazdani is merely the latest model of Bahaibot (Bahai combat robot): an automaton with linguistic understanding that generates automatic answers by running pre-programmed responses which deliberately change the subject of the conversation, tries to overwhelm the opposition through multiple posts and esoteric language, attempts to confuse its opponents through obfuscation, uses words with nonexistent meanings in ways that are grammatically obscure and logically deficient, asserts its absolute truth while repeating the same phrases over and over again, and declares victory when it is met with silence, which it calls constructive exchange. There are also Mormon, Moonie, and Joho models of the closed-system sectarian combat robot available: the Morbot, the Moonbot, and the Jobot, respectively. Good luck, Mavaddat, with your battle against the combat drones of the Bahai hive!

  • Andrew

    Mavaddat wrote:

    “Up to now your responses have been entirely automatic and lacking any apparent understanding of the arguments to which they are supposedly addressed.”

    Precisely. I have come to the conclusion that farhanyazdani is merely the latest model of Bahaibot (Bahai combat robot): an automaton with linguistic understanding that generates automatic answers by running pre-programmed responses which deliberately change the subject of the conversation, tries to overwhelm the opposition through multiple posts and esoteric language, attempts to confuse its opponents through obfuscation, uses words with nonexistent meanings in ways that are grammatically obscure and logically deficient, asserts its absolute truth while repeating the same phrases over and over again, and declares victory when it is met with silence, which it calls constructive exchange. There are also Mormon, Moonie, and Joho models of the closed-system sectarian combat robot available: the Morbot, the Moonbot, and the Jobot, respectively. Good luck, Mavaddat, with your battle against the combat drones of the Bahai hive!

  • Andrew

    “I am a democrat because I believe that no man or group of men is good enough to be trusted with uncontrolled power over others. And the higher the pretensions of such power, the more dangerous I think it both to rulers and to the subjects. Hence Theocracy is the worst of all governments. If we must have a tyrant a robber baron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point may be sated; and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely more because he torments us with the approval of his own conscience and his better impulses appear to him as temptations. And since Theocracy is the worst, the nearer any government approaches to Theocracy the worse it will be. A metaphysic held by the rulers with the force of a religion, is a bad sign. It forbids them, like the inquisitor, to admit any grain of truth or good in their opponents, it abrogates the ordinary rules of morality, and it gives a seemingly high, super-personal sanction to all the very ordinary human passions by which, like other men, the rulers will frequently be actuated.” — C.S. Lewis, A Reply to Professor Haldane

  • Andrew

    “I am a democrat because I believe that no man or group of men is good enough to be trusted with uncontrolled power over others. And the higher the pretensions of such power, the more dangerous I think it both to rulers and to the subjects. Hence Theocracy is the worst of all governments. If we must have a tyrant a robber baron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point may be sated; and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely more because he torments us with the approval of his own conscience and his better impulses appear to him as temptations. And since Theocracy is the worst, the nearer any government approaches to Theocracy the worse it will be. A metaphysic held by the rulers with the force of a religion, is a bad sign. It forbids them, like the inquisitor, to admit any grain of truth or good in their opponents, it abrogates the ordinary rules of morality, and it gives a seemingly high, super-personal sanction to all the very ordinary human passions by which, like other men, the rulers will frequently be actuated.” — C.S. Lewis, A Reply to Professor Haldane

  • farhan

    Mavaddat wrote:

    “One simply cannot be a Baha’i and not be a dogmatist. At least, not one who is anything close to honest with himself.”

    Mavaddat, have you ever been in love?
    If so, is not love a “dogmatic certitude” by your standards?

    You write:
    “The goal of an open-minded person cannot be certitude. And a person of certitude cannot be open-minded. The two are mutually exclusive.”

    Can you love someone in an open minded way? Or have you decided that you will remain undecided and uncertain all your life?

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Mavaddat wrote:

    “One simply cannot be a Baha’i and not be a dogmatist. At least, not one who is anything close to honest with himself.”

    Mavaddat, have you ever been in love?
    If so, is not love a “dogmatic certitude” by your standards?

    You write:
    “The goal of an open-minded person cannot be certitude. And a person of certitude cannot be open-minded. The two are mutually exclusive.”

    Can you love someone in an open minded way? Or have you decided that you will remain undecided and uncertain all your life?

  • farhan

    Andrew, you write:

    “I have come to the conclusion that farhanyazdani is merely the latest model of Bahaibot (Bahai combat robot): an automaton with linguistic understanding that generates automatic answers (snip…) esoteric language, (…) uses words with nonexistent meanings in ways that are grammatically obscure and logically deficient, (….) Good luck, Mavaddat, with your battle against the combat drones of the Bahai hive!

    Wow, Andrew, you must be feeling very much attacked by a drone robot sent to destabilize you!

    Believe it or not, although you might doubt of my sincerity, I am here trying to understand;

    I have been promoting the Baha’i Faith as medicine for the world’s afflictions and here I meet people expressing adverse reactions to this medicine: “iatrogenic” reactions in medical jargon.

    I feel it my duty to find out why they express suffering and what might have gone wrong.

    No, I have not been missioned by anyone to trouble your retreat, and yes, Andrew, if I find out that the medicine I am promoting is bad for health, I promise to try and find out why and stop promoting it “dogmatically”.

    If the blog master invites me to leave his blog, I will humbly do so.

    BTW, I don’t feel myself a victim, and after all, I would not be offended if I were considered as one. We know that the victim crucified between two robbers turned out to be the winner on the long run, didn’t he?

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Andrew, you write:

    “I have come to the conclusion that farhanyazdani is merely the latest model of Bahaibot (Bahai combat robot): an automaton with linguistic understanding that generates automatic answers (snip…) esoteric language, (…) uses words with nonexistent meanings in ways that are grammatically obscure and logically deficient, (….) Good luck, Mavaddat, with your battle against the combat drones of the Bahai hive!

    Wow, Andrew, you must be feeling very much attacked by a drone robot sent to destabilize you!

    Believe it or not, although you might doubt of my sincerity, I am here trying to understand;

    I have been promoting the Baha’i Faith as medicine for the world’s afflictions and here I meet people expressing adverse reactions to this medicine: “iatrogenic” reactions in medical jargon.

    I feel it my duty to find out why they express suffering and what might have gone wrong.

    No, I have not been missioned by anyone to trouble your retreat, and yes, Andrew, if I find out that the medicine I am promoting is bad for health, I promise to try and find out why and stop promoting it “dogmatically”.

    If the blog master invites me to leave his blog, I will humbly do so.

    BTW, I don’t feel myself a victim, and after all, I would not be offended if I were considered as one. We know that the victim crucified between two robbers turned out to be the winner on the long run, didn’t he?

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Faran

    Oh my GAWD, are you now equating your life and suffering to Jesus?

    “BTW, I don’t feel myself a victim, after all, I would not be offended if I were considered as on. We all know that the victim crucified between two robbers turned out to be the winner in the long run, didn’t he?” Shouldn’t that be… didn’t He? Emphasis on the “He” as in manafestation of G-d?

    Maybe you might study St. Franscis:

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
    where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    when there is injury, pardon;
    where there is doubt, faith;
    where there is despair, hope;
    where there is darkness, light;
    and where there is sadness, joy.
    Grant that I may not so much seek
    to be consoled as to console;
    to be understood, as to understand,
    to be loved as to love;
    for it is in giving that we receive,
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    and it is in dying [to ourselves] that we are born to eternal life.

    You might consider taking a page from this important prayer that most Bahai’s do not study since it is not in your bibles…or “unified study materials” (Ruhi)for that matter. It is a real prayer by a real person with a important message.

    If it is that you seek to understand, why not go lay with a same sex male couple, in the middle, between them, snuggled in the sheets and feel thier love for one another.

    Why not go to a same sex hang out bar and sit with people who are in same sex relationships and buy someone a drink, ask them how thier day was…

    But is so much easier to try to understand in here for you, hidden behind your keyboard…

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Faran

    Oh my GAWD, are you now equating your life and suffering to Jesus?

    “BTW, I don’t feel myself a victim, after all, I would not be offended if I were considered as on. We all know that the victim crucified between two robbers turned out to b