Baha'i Faith

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The Baha'i Faith is a religion which grew out of Babism.[1] It was "founded ...in the mid-19th century by Mirza Hoseyn 'Ali Nuri, who is known as Baha` Ullah (Arabic: "Glory of God")."[2]. Baha'is consider their faith to be "the youngest of the world’s independent monotheistic religions." Founded in the 1860s, "it now has more than five million adherents in 236 countries and territories. Baha'is come from nearly every national, ethnic and religious background, making the Baha'i Faith the second-most-widespread religion in the world."[3]

Numerous former members of the faith, most notably those adhering to the Haifan Baha'i authority, have criticized the organization for engaging in various forms of coercion and authoritarian institutional influence upon personal affairs in attempting to curb public criticism and dissent amongst its members.[4][5][6].

In March 2006, philosophy and religious studies Professor Dann May[7] and his wife[8] Phyllis E Bernard, current Robert S. Kerr Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law Director of the Center on Alternative Dispute Resolution, Oklahoma City University[9] received correspondence from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States, questioning the couple's desire to leave the organization, and seeking to arrange for representatives of the National Spiritual Assembly to fly to May and Bernard's residence for further discussions regarding their withdrawal. May and Bernard's reply is cited below:

From: COMMUNITY [3]
Sent: Friday, March 10, 2006 10:01 AM
To: May, Dann
Subject: Request to meet with you
Importance: High
Mr. Dann May
Dear Baha'i Friend,
The National Spiritual Assembly has tried twice to reach you and your wife by phone at the only phone number we have for you, so we hope that this :email address is current. The National Assembly was sorry to learn of your desire to withdraw from membership in the Baha'i Faith and would like to hear in fuller form the thoughts you expressed in your January letter.
To that end it has asked that two representatives fly to Norman, OK on Saturday, March 18 to meet with you and your wife at a time that is convenient for you. We hope that you will be agreeable to sharing your perspectives and concerns with these representatives and ask that you kindly reply at your earliest convenience so that airline tickets may be purchased.
With loving Baha'i greetings,
Marie Scheffer
For the Office of the Secretary[10]


Reply from Professor Dann May and Professor Phyllis E Bernard

To all those concerned:
Perhaps you don’t understand – we already view ourselves as no longer members of the Baha’i community and we regularly attend Unitarian and Buddhist activities.
We do not present ourselves as Baha’is and do everything we can, when people try to introduce us as Baha’is, to politely disabuse them of that perception.
We have not attended feast in over a year, or for that matter, any other official Baha’i activity.
I think that it would be best for all those concerned, that we simply be allowed to withdraw.
We are deeply disillusioned with the unofficial and official Baha’i views on the war in Iraq, with the rise of Baha’i fundamentalism and intolerance and with the growing “ghettoization” of the Baha’i community in general.
We increasingly feel unwelcome at Baha’i events where everything seems to be scrutinized by rather mindless “Ruhi Book” mentalities rather than thoughtful discussions of the Baha’i Sacred Texts.
One-size-fits-all mass theology serves to only alienate anyone and everyone who wishes to pursue spiritually inspired and independent investigations of the truth. There appears to be, these days, little room or toleration for Baha’i scholars, Baha’i scholarship, or thoughtful approaches to the Baha’i sacred texts.
We are outraged over the Kalimat Press decision! We are, therefore, increasingly embarrassed to be associated with the Baha’i community. We often hear from our colleagues in the academic world, that they too perceive the Baha’i community as increasingly becoming more and more fundamentalist, alarmist, and cultish.
We are not interested in talking to anyone from the National Center and we will not meet with them, even if they come to Norman. Please do not send your representatives to Norman.
Use the funds for their plane tickets to do some good at one of the Baha’i schools or to feed the homeless. Please let us get on with our lives. Your response only convinces us more completely that the Baha’i community has become an authoritarian and fundamentalist movement.
Most religious scholars’ perceptions of cults are that they make it difficult for members to resign or leave the community with their reputations intact – please don’t confirm our suspicions! Let us resign and withdraw quietly and without fanfare or with inquisition-like exit interviews. We :are willing to leave the Baha’i community without recriminations, regrets, or active criticisms on our part. Please let us fade from the Baha’i community as gently and as quietly as possible.
Sincerely,
Dann May and Phyllis Bernard[11]

Sects, Divisions and Organizations

In its current state, the Baha’i Faith is divided amongst several sects, the most prominent of which is that based in Haifa Israel, and affiliated with the Universal House of Justice. At least nine sects identify themselves as members of the Baha'i faith.[12]

  • Orthodox Bahá'í Faith (the OBF Respondents, following Joel B. Marangella);[13]
  • Bahá'ís Under Provisions of the Covenant (the other Respondents, following Leland Jensen).[14]
  • The Bahá'í Faith or Bahá'í World Faith;
  • Tarbiyat Bahá'í Community (formerly known as Orthodox Bahá'ís Under the Regency) (Rex King group).[15];
  • Bahá'ís Under the living Guardianship [16] (Donald Harvey as the third Guardian and Jacques Soghomonian as the fourth Guardian), an organization that is the successor to the Remey NSA [17]
  • Reform Baha'is[18];
  • Free Baha'is[19];
  • Unitarian Baha'is[20];
  • John Carre ("followers of Alif a Third Manifestation of God - the third letter of the Greatest Name")

Within the Haifan Baha'i organization, these groups are considered dissidents, and amongst the wider Baha'i community there exists a significant amount of controversy surrounding the various legitimacy and authority claims of these groups.[21]

In 2008, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States (Wilmette NSA), launched unsuccessful legal action on behalf of the Haifan Baha'is against the Orthodox Baha'i group, claiming breach of an injunction preventing rival groups from using the name "Baha'i" and certain related symbology.[22] The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States lost this lawsuit. [23]

On November 23, 2010, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Judge St. Eve's opinion, ruling in favor of the Orthodox Baha'is, and overturning the Wilmette National Spiritual assembly's contempt action. [24]

Following this decision, a Petition for Rehearing filed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States (Wilmette NSA) was subsequently declined on December 29, 2010. [25]

The Haifan Baha'i Organization

Based at the Baha'i World Centre in Haifa, Israel, the Haifan Baha'is operate under the authority of the Universal House of Justice. In defining its greater role, and explaining the nature of the duties undertaken by bodies operating under the control of the Universal House of Justice, Shoghi Effendi claimed that "the Administrative Order, which ever since‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s ascension has evolved and is taking shape under our very eyes in no fewer than forty countries of the world, may be considered as the framework of the Will itself, the inviolable stronghold wherein this new-born child is being nurtured and developed. This Administrative Order, as it expands and consolidates itself, will no doubt manifest the potentialities and reveal the full implications of this momentous Document—this most remarkable expression of the Will of One of the most remarkable Figures of the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh. It will, as its component parts, its organic institutions, begin to function with efficiency and vigor, assert its claim and demonstrate its capacity to be regarded not only as the nucleus but the very pattern of the New World Order destined to embrace in the fullness of time the whole of mankind." [26]

The faith is then administered country to country by National Spiritual Assemblies, and finally by Local Spiritual Assemblies.[27]

The principles and goals to which the Haifan Baha’i Faith claims to adhere include [28]


"* The Oneness of Mankind

  • Universal Peace upheld by a World Government
  • Independent Investigation of Truth
  • The Common Foundation of All Religions
  • The Essential Harmony of Science and Religion
  • The Equality of Women and Men
  • Elimination of Prejudice of All Kinds
  • Universal Compulsory Education
  • A Spiritual Solution to Economic Problems"[29]

As well as advocating the development and implementation of[30]:

  • A World Super-State[31] "The Bahá'í concept of world order is defined in these terms: A world Super-State in whose favor all the nations of the world will have ceded every claim to make war, certain rights to impose taxation and all rights to maintain armaments, except for the purposes of maintaining internal order within their respective dominions. This State will have to include an International Executive adequate to enforce supreme and unchallengeable authority on every recalcitrant member of the Commonwealth; a World Parliament whose members are elected by the peoples in their respective countries and whose election is confirmed by their respective governments; a Supreme Tribunal whose judgment has a binding effect even in cases where the parties concerned have not voluntarily agreed to submit their case to its consideration."[32]
  • A World Legislator (see above) "This State will have to include an International Executive adequate to enforce supreme and unchallengeable authority on every recalcitrant member of the Commonwealth."[33] (see also section below, "A World Police Force".
  • The unity of all the world's religions under the umbrella of the Baha'i Faith[34] - "In reality, there is only one religion, the religion of God. This one religion is continually evolving, and each particular religious system represents a stage in the evolution of the whole. The Bahá'í Faith represents the current stage in the evolution of religion." [35] Regarding this process, the Universal House of Justice claims that, "Baha'u'llah's principal mission in appearing at this time in human history is the realization of the oneness of mankind and the establishment of peace among the nations; therefore, all the forces which are focused on accomplishing these ends are influenced by His Revelation. We know, however, that peace will come in stages. First, there will come the Lesser Peace, when the unity of nations will be achieved, then gradually the Most Great Peace - the spiritual as well as social and political unity of mankind, when the Baha'i World Commonwealth, operating in strict accordance with the laws and ordinances of the Most Holy Book of the Baha'i Revelation, will have been established through the efforts of the Baha'is."[36]

"Surely the world, contracted and transformed into a single highly complex organism by the marvellous progress achieved in the realm of physical science, by the world-wide expansion of commerce and industry, and struggling, under the pressure of world economic forces, amidst the pitfalls of a materialistic civilization, stands in dire need of a restatement of the Truth underlying all the Revelations of the past in a language suited to its essential requirements. And what voice other than that of Bahá’u’lláh—the Mouthpiece of God for this age—is capable of effecting a transformation of society as radical as that which He has already accomplished in the hearts of those men and women, so diversified and seemingly irreconcilable, who constitute the body of His declared followers throughout the world? That such a mighty conception is fast budding out in the minds of men, that voices are being raised in its support, that its salient features must fast crystallize in the consciousness of those who are in authority, few indeed can doubt. That its modest beginnings have already taken shape in the world-wide Administration with which 48 the adherents of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh stand associated only those whose hearts are tainted by prejudice can fail to perceive. Ours, dearly-beloved co-workers, is the paramount duty to continue, with undimmed vision and unabated zeal, to assist in the final erection of that Edifice the foundations of which Bahá’u’lláh has laid in our hearts, to derive added hope and strength from the general trend of recent events, however dark their immediate effects, and to pray with unremitting fervor that He may hasten the approach of the realization of that Wondrous Vision which constitutes the brightest emanation of His Mind and the fairest fruit of the fairest civilization the world has yet seen. Might not the hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh mark the inauguration of so vast an era in human history?[37]

  • A World Parliament "whose members are elected by the peoples in their respective countries and whose election is confirmed by their respective governments"[38]
  • A World Police Force At the 1994 Religion & World Order Symposium, John Huddleston (the then Assistant Director in the Office of Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund) suggested in his paper 'A Baha'i response', that whilst detailing future reforms to the United Nations was "too vast a subject to be answered here", "some fundamental and immediate points from a Baha'i perspective include:

1. Holding a world convocation to discuss needs of the world now that the Cold War is over, as happened at the end of World Wars I and II.

2. Making arbitration of disputes between nations by the World Court compulsory.

3. Creating a standing world police force which is directly recruited and independently financed."[39]

  • A Supreme Tribunal[40] "For example, the question of universal peace, about which Bahá’u’lláh says that the Supreme Tribunal must be established: although the League of Nations has been brought into existence, yet it is incapable of establishing universal peace. But the Supreme Tribunal which Bahá’u’lláh has described will fulfil this sacred task with the utmost might and power. And His plan is this: that the national assemblies of each country and nation—that is to say parliaments—should elect two or three persons who are the choicest of that nation, and are well informed concerning international laws and the relations between governments and aware of the essential needs of the world of humanity in this day. The number of these representatives should be in proportion to the number of inhabitants of that country. The election of these souls who are chosen by the national assembly, that is, the parliament, must be confirmed by the upper house, the congress and the cabinet and also by the president or monarch so these persons may be the elected ones of all the nation and the government. The Supreme Tribunal will be composed of these people, and all mankind will thus have a share therein, for every one of these delegates is fully representative of his nation. When the Supreme Tribunal gives a ruling on any international question, either unanimously or by majority rule, there will no longer be any pretext for the plaintiff or ground of objection for the defendant. In case any of the governments or nations, in the execution of the irrefutable decision of the Supreme Tribunal, be negligent or dilatory, the rest of the nations will rise up against it, because all the governments and nations of the world are the supporters of this Supreme Tribunal.[41]

"To remedy this condition there must be universal peace. To bring this about, a Supreme Tribunal must be established, representative of all governments and peoples; questions both national and international must be referred thereto, and all must carry out the decrees of this Tribunal. Should any government or people disobey, let the whole world arise against that government or people." [42]

  • Election of leaders through merit alone without nominations- "The Bahá'í administrative structure already exists at a local, national and international level and can be taken as a model for future society. People are elected to the Bahá'í bodies solely on merit, without any nominations or canvassing." [43]
  • A single Universal Auxiliary Language [44] "One of the great steps towards universal peace would be the establishment of a universal language. Bahá'u'lláh commands that the servants of humanity should meet together, and either choose a language which now exists, or form a new one. This was revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas forty years ago. It is there pointed out that the question of diversity of tongues is a very difficult one. There are more than eight hundred languages in the world, and no person could acquire them all.The races of mankind are not isolated as in former days. Now, in order to be in close relationship with all countries it is necessary to be able to speak their tongues.A universal language would make intercourse possible with every nation. Thus it would be needful to know two languages only, the mother tongue and the universal speech. The latter would enable a man to communicate with any and every man in the world!A third language would not be needed. To be able to talk with a member of any race and country without requiring an interpreter, how helpful and restful to all! Esperanto has been drawn up with this end in view: it is a fine invention and a splendid piece of work, but it needs perfecting. Esperanto as it stands is very difficult for some people. An international Congress should be formed, consisting of delegates from every nation in the world, Eastern as well as Western. This Congress should form a language that could be acquired by all, and every country would thereby reap great benefit. Until such a language is in use, the world will continue to feel the vast need of this means of intercourse. Difference of speech is one of the most fruitful causes of dislike and distrust that exists between nations, which are kept apart by their inability to understand each other's language more than by any other reason. If everybody could speak one language, how much more easy would it be to serve humanity! Therefore appreciate 'Esperanto', for it is the beginning of the carrying out of one of the most important of the Laws of Bahá'u'lláh, and it must continue to be improved and perfected."[45]
  • A permanent single currency and A world taxation system “As well as calling for disarmament, Bahá'u'lláh, Abdu'l Bahá and Shoghi Effendi laid down guiding principles for a global legislature, international weights and measures, a supreme tribunal, a global peacekeeping force. Shoghi Effendi expands upon the practical necessities of the Lesser Peace. This includes the creation of a global executive, a global legislature, an international armed force in crisis management, a world taxation system, a global currency, global communications networks and a supreme international tribunal." [46]
  • The implementation of Agenda 21 and the Earth Charter According to Peter Adriance, non-governmental organization (NGO) liaison for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the U.S (Baha'i of the United States), "The successful execution of the programmes enunciated in Agenda 21 will greatly depend on the willingness of the peoples and nations of the world to recognise the vital link between global transformation and spiritual principles. Primary among the spiritual principles which must guide the systematic implementation of Agenda 21 is the oneness of humanity. It is this cardinal principle that Bahá'ís believe will provide the spiritual, moral and ethical underpinnings for the successful translation of Agenda 21 into practical action in all parts of the world and at all levels of human society." The Bahá'í view on values and the UNCED process was summed up in the statement of the Bahá'í International Community read to the delegates assembled at the Earth Summit on 4 June 1992: "The profound and far-reaching changes, the unity and unprecedented co-operation, required to reorient the world toward an environmentally sustainable and just future, will only be possible by touching the human spirit, by appealing to those universal values which alone can empower individuals and peoples to act in accordance with long-term interests of the planet and humanity as a whole. Once tapped, this powerful and dynamic source of individual and collective motivation will release such a profound and salutary spirit among the peoples of the earth that no power will be able to resist its unifying force ... Universal acceptance of this principle - with its implications for social and economic justice, universal participation in non-adversarial decision making, peace and collective security, equality of the sexes, and universal education - will make possible the reorganisation and administration of the world as one country, the home of humankind."[47]
  • The establishment of a world free trade area- "A world economic community needs to be created where all economic barriers will be removed, and a world free trade area established."[48]


The Haifan Baha’i organization also explicitly refers to the these principles as elements of an approaching "New World Order", which is understood as a system of beliefs and teachings based upon the life and writings of their prophet founder, Bahá'u'lláh, and comprises a set of political, spiritual and social principles which Baha'is believe define the correct structure for the unification of mankind.[49]

"It is towards this goal -- the goal of a new World Order, Divine in origin, all-embracing in scope, equitable in principle, challenging in its features -- that a harassed humanity must strive." (From the Baha'i Writings).[50]

"In 1955, during the first decade review of the UN charter, the Bahá'í International Community offered a statement to the United Nations, based on ideas articulated nearly a century before by Bahá'u'lláh. "The Bahá'í concept of world order is defined in these terms: A world Super-State in whose favor all the nations of the world will have ceded every claim to make war, certain rights to impose taxation and all rights to maintain armaments, except for the purposes of maintaining internal order within their respective dominions. This State will have to include an International Executive adequate to enforce supreme and unchallengeable authority on every recalcitrant member of the Commonwealth; a World Parliament whose members are elected by the peoples in their respective countries and whose election is confirmed by their respective governments; a Supreme Tribunal whose judgment has a binding effect even in cases where the parties concerned have not voluntarily agreed to submit their case to its consideration."[51]

However, Haifan Baha’is claim that what they refer to as a “World Commonwealth” should not be considered as having any distinct partisan political agenda.

Expansion of the Haifan Baha'i Organization

Central to the stated goals for the expansion of the Haifan Baha'i Faith and its related activities is what the Universal House of Justice refers to as Entry By Troops. In an official letter to the members of the Baha'i faith issued in 2001, the Universal House of Justice stated that "The aim of the Five Year Plan, and indeed of the Plan before it and the ones that lie immediately ahead, is to advance the process of entry by troops. In its message of 26 December 1995 to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors, the House of Justice clearly explained that occasional courses of instruction and the informal activities of community life, though important, had not proven sufficient as a means of human resource development. It indicated further that a systematic process for the development of human resources was essential to the sustained large-scale expansion of the Faith. To conceive and nurture an educational process of the magnitude envisioned by the Universal House of Justice is vastly different than thinking about one's own interests, which is not to say that personal study and spiritual growth are not legitimate and natural concerns of the individual."[52]

Similarly, in an official 1999 letter to the Baha'i community, the Universal House of Justice outlined numerous points relevant to the expansion of the Haifan organization stating that " The two stages in the unfoldment of the Divine Plan lying immediately ahead will last one year and five years respectively. At Ridvan 2000 the Baha'i world will be asked to embark on the first of these two stages, a twelve-month effort aimed at concentrating the forces, the capacities and the insights that have so strongly emerged. The Five Year Plan that follows will initiate a series of worldwide enterprises that will carry the Baha'i community through the final twenty years in the first century of the Faith's Formative Age. These global Plans will continue to focus on advancing the process of entry by troops and on its systematic acceleration. It is essential that, during the one-year effort, national and regional institutes everywhere bring into full operation the programmes and systems that they have now devised. National communities should enter the Five Year Plan confident that the acquisition of knowledge, qualities and skills of service by large contingents of believers, with the aid of a sequence of courses, will proceed unhindered. Ample attention must also be given to further systematization of teaching efforts, whether undertaken by the individual or directed by the institutions. In this respect, the International Teaching Centre has identified certain patterns of systematic expansion and consolidation for relatively small geographical areas consisting of a manageable number of localities. Through the collaboration of Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies, several "Area Growth Programmes" are being established in each continent. They will be carefully monitored during the Twelve Month Plan and their methods will be refined so that this approach can be incorporated into subsequent Plans.

"Strategies to advance the process of entry by troops cannot ignore children and junior youth, if the victories won in one generation are not to be lost with the passage of time. It is imperative, then, that at this point in the process of systematization of the teaching work, definite steps be taken to ensure that the vision of the community fully embraces its younger members. The education of children, an obligation enjoined on both parents and institutions, requires special emphasis so as to become thoroughly integrated into the process of community development. This activity should be taken to new levels of intensity during these twelve months and then be further raised in the years immediately after. That the programmes of most institutes in the world provide for the training of children's class teachers represents an element of strength. Spiritual Assemblies and Auxiliary Board members will need to mobilize these newly trained human resources to meet the spiritual requirements of children and junior youth.

"The period of the Twelve Month Plan will be marked by great activity in society at large as the twentieth century draws to a close. Already keen interest is being shown by leaders of thought in the destiny of the coming generations, and we hope that the fervour of the Baha'i community, both in its internal operation and its interactions with society, will convey a sense of confidence in the future of humanity."[53]

A tabulated summary of the objectives and outcomes of the various Plans, articulated in letters, correspondences and announcements of the Universal House of Justice, and beginning with the "Seven Year Plan" of 1937-1944, can be found (with corresponding references for further study) in the document "The Spiritual Conquest of the Planet SUPPLEMENT. Systematic Unfoldment of the Divine Plan. Unfoldment of the Bahá’í Faith. Our Response to Plans"[54]

Notable Members of the Universal House of Justice

A complete list of current members of the Universal House of Justice is available on their page, however, notable members include Farzam Arbab, and Firaydoun Javaheri. Farzam Arbab acted as the representative for the Rockefeller Foundation in Colombia (1974 to 1983) and the president of the FUNDAEC (Foundation for the Application and Teaching of the Sciences) development foundation based there. He was a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Colombia and a Continental Counsellor before being appointed to the International Teaching Centre.[55] Firaydoun Javaheri has a doctorate in agronomy and "lived for 27 years in Africa -- Gambia then Zambia -- where he was Chief Technical Adviser for the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations".[56]

Despite its claims to equality between the sexes, women are prevented from being elected as members of the Universal House of Justice.[57]

Famous Members

In 1955, Time magazine reported that: "Famed Bahais are said to have included Queen Marie of Rumania, Actress Carole Lombard, Philanthropist Edith Rockefeller McCormick and President Wilson's daughter, Margaret, who, Bahais believe, gave her father twelve of his Fourteen Points straight from the writings of Baha'u'llah." [58]

Involvement in anti-homosexuality campaigns in Uganda and institutional position on homosexuality

Despite the faith's official claim to the "elimination of all kinds of prejudice" (see above section detailing the "principles and goals" of the Haifan Baha'i Organisation), in August 2007, members of Baha'i faith in Uganda participated in a protest event, organized (as Associated Press reporter, Katy Pownall described in the Washington Post), by "a coalition of Christian, Muslim and Bahai groups"[59], accusing 22 year-old Daily Monitor intern, Katherine Roubos, of "advocating for gay rights in the country"[60], and demanding her deportation.[61] As Powell writes, "Hundreds of people held an anti-gay protest in Uganda's capital Tuesday, denouncing what they called an "immoral" lifestyle and demanding the deportation of an American journalist writing about gay rights in the deeply conservative country. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, like in most African states, and carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Tuesday's demonstration was the latest in a series of showdowns between religious conservatives and a small, but growing gay rights movement across the continent."[62] (see also Ugandan Gays Demand Freedom, The Gaurdian)

At the 2010 ABS (Association for Baha'i Studies) annual conference, held in August of that year, Lynne Schreiber delivered a paper entitled "Re-thinking Same-Sex Attraction: And the General Principles of How to Overcome It"[63] and included the following quotes in an accompanying handout:

  • "4-[Homosexuality]… “is regarded by the Faith as a distortion of true human nature, as a problem to be overcome..." (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, 11 September 1995)
  • 5-"Whether deficiencies are inborn or are acquired, our purpose in this life is to overcome them..." (From a letter written on behalf of the *Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, 11 September 1995)
  • 6-“To be afflicted this way is a great burden to a conscientious soul. But through the advice and help of doctors, through strong and determined effort, and through prayer, a soul can overcome this handicap.” (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, 26 March 1950)
  • 7- “[T]he Faith does not recognize homosexuality as a “natural” or permanent phenomenon. Rather, it sees this as an aberration subject to treatment…” (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 22 March 1987)"[64]

The resources section of Schreiber's paper also includes links to several large organisations endorsing "reparative therapies" for homosexuality, including NARTH (National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality) and Exodus International. [65]

In an official letter from the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, released in 1973, the Universal House of Justice stated that:

"A number of sexual problems, such as homosexuality and transsexuality can well have medical aspects, and in such cases recourse should certainly be had to the best medical assistance. But it is clear from the teaching of Bahá’u’lláh that homosexuality is not a condition to which a person should be reconciled, but is a distortion of his or her nature which should be controlled or overcome. This may require a hard struggle, but so also can be the struggle of a heterosexual person to control his or her desires. The exercise of self-control in this, as in so very many other aspects of life, has a beneficial effect on the progress of the soul. It should, moreover, be borne in mind that although to be married is highly desirable, and Bahá'u'lláh has strongly recommended it, it is not the central purpose of life. If a person has to wait a considerable period before finding a spouse, or if ultimately, he or she must remain single, it does not mean that he or she is thereby unable to fulfill his or her life’s purpose. (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 12 January 1973; Lights of Guidance, p. 366, #1222)" [66]

In a 1995 letter to a National Spiritual Assembly, the Universal House of Justice stated that "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 Bahá'í who suffers from such a disability should be treated with understanding, and should be helped to control and overcome it. All of us suffer from imperfections which we must struggle to overcome, and we all need one another’s understanding and patience." [67]

Further information and quotations regarding the Baha'i Faith's stance on homosexuality (as well as birth-control and other issues) can be found here: Baha'i Network on Aids, Sexuality, Addictions and Abuse

Contact

Web: http://www.bahai.org (Haifan organization)

http://www.orthodoxbahai.com (Orthodox Baha'i faith)

http://www.bupc.org (Baha'is Under the Provisions of the Covenant)

http://www.tarbiyatcenter.org (Tarbiyat Bahá'í Community)

http://guardianshipofthebahaifaith.org (Jacques Soghomonian)

http://www.reformbahai.org (Reform Baha'is)

http://freebahais.com/freebahai.htm (Free Baha'is)

http://members.tripod.com/ninetin/abdulbaha/contents.htm (Unitarian Baha'is)

Resources and articles

1991-06, 1987-06-17. Accessed October 14, 2009.


Related Sourcewatch

References

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  2. "Bahaism", accessed March 7, 2009
  3. About Us Baha'i Faith, accessed September 22, 2007.
  4. Juan Cole, "Fundamentalism in the Contemporary U.S. Baha'i Community", Religious Studies Review, Vol. 43, no. 3 (March, 2002):195-217, accessed March 5, 2009.
  5. Frederick Glaysher, The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience, accessed March 5, 2009.
  6. Bahai Brainwashing Corporation: Bahá'í Manipulation of People and Governments [1] accessed August, 5 2012
  7. Wimberly School of Religion, Oklahoma City University, accessed February 9, 2010.
  8. Reposted Article from Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 5, 2005, accessed February 9, 2010.
  9. Phyllis E Bernard, Oklahoma City University Faculty Member Page- Phyllis Bernard, accessed February 9, 2010.
  10. Correspondence from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States to Danny May and Phyllis Bernard, accessed February 10, 2010.
  11. Correspondence from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States to Danny May and Phyllis Bernard, accessed February 10, 2010.
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