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3 years ago  ::  Dec 24, 2014 - 1:07PM #1
Aka_me
Posts: 14,464

how can Baha'is claim to "not be involved in politics" when the Faith urges members to get involved in politics?


how is political involvement for the cause of Iranian Baha'i different than say political involvement to save unborn children?

I dream in my lifetime uhmericans will come to realize hezbollah, hamas, and isis gain followers by helping society AND the only way to defeat them is to perform greater good.

the average person is 8 times more likely to be murdered by a cop than a radical terrorist
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3 years ago  ::  Dec 27, 2014 - 12:14PM #2
Lilwabbit
Posts: 3,409

Dec 24, 2014 -- 1:07PM, Aka_me wrote:


how can Baha'is claim to "not be involved in politics" when the Faith urges members to get involved in politics?


how is political involvement for the cause of Iranian Baha'i different than say political involvement to save unborn children?




The question is very valid since the issue of non-involvement in politics is delicate and not all that obvious. The former cause you mentioned is, under the direction of the Universal House of Justice, not, nor is it easily perceived as, one group of people being pitted against another group of people. Partisan politics (thusly defined, where even the public "perception" of Bahá'ís being involved in inter-group wrangling counts as partisan politics) is clearly forbidden under the sometimes general appellation of "politics". But in reality the very Cause is a political programme of the grandest order as it is entirely geared towards bringing about a new world order. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is largely a political manifest.

"All things have I willed for you, and you too, for your own sake."
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3 years ago  ::  Dec 27, 2014 - 1:30PM #3
Kalzera
Posts: 262

"Abortion merely to prevent the birth of an unwanted child is strictly forbidden in the Cause. There may, however, be instances in which an abortion would be justified by medical reasons, and legislation on this matter has been left to the Universal House of Justice. At the present time, however, the House of Justice does not intend to legislate on this very delicate issue, and therefore it is left to the consciences of those concerned who must carefully weigh the medical advice in the light of the general guidance given in the teachings." 

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Ireland, March 16, 1983; quoted in Lights of Guidance, no. 1154)


Very few people abort a child simply because it is "unwanted." More often then not they realize they cannot financially afford it, and giving it over to adoption services is not always a positive choice.


I comment on your "to save unborn children" comment because Baha'is are politically engaged, as your and my difference on the abortion issue demonstrate. 


We are not politically engaged  when it comes to rallies - unless we are representing ourselves and *not* the Faith - and we do not endorse parties, platforms, or candidates. We make our own decisions, vote independently, and promote our system of ethics without imposing it on people who do not choose to abide by it. 


Our "politics" is one of discussion and indepednent reasoning, realizing that our values impact society. You seem to oppose abortion; I very much do not. We are both Baha'is. What matters is that our "politics" does not become a matter of personal attacks, affiliating with parties, or giving money to people, groups, candidates, etc. that might ultimatley use that to support issues we might otherwise not agree with. 


I believe such reasoning is latent in the UHJ letter of late 2010, when they said we should not "impose" our moral standards on others, while as individuals deciding what political positions to adopt that do not necessarily conflict with the teachings - like civil unions. 

However men try to reach me, I return their love with my love; whatever path they may travel, it leads to me in the end - Bhagavad Gita 4:11

"Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth" - The Four Valleys; Hadith
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3 years ago  ::  Dec 27, 2014 - 5:01PM #4
Aka_me
Posts: 14,464

Dec 27, 2014 -- 1:30PM, Kalzera wrote:

Very few people abort a child simply because it is "unwanted."



Over half of all women who have an abortion used a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant.


The reasons most frequently cited were that having a child would interfere with a woman’s education, work or ability to care for dependents (74%)


unwanted is the overwhelming reason women get abortions, there is no statistical evidence to the contrary.

I dream in my lifetime uhmericans will come to realize hezbollah, hamas, and isis gain followers by helping society AND the only way to defeat them is to perform greater good.

the average person is 8 times more likely to be murdered by a cop than a radical terrorist
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3 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2014 - 3:41AM #5
Lilwabbit
Posts: 3,409

Dec 27, 2014 -- 1:30PM, Kalzera wrote:


I believe such reasoning is latent in the UHJ letter of late 2010, when they said we should not "impose" our moral standards on others, while as individuals deciding what political positions to adopt that do not necessarily conflict with the teachings - like civil unions. 




I believe the House letter you are referring to sought to emphasize that the Bahá'ís do not impose their moral views on non-believers nor regard those that act differently as worse human beings. It didn't state that the Bahá'í Faith has no established view on marriage or the life of an embryo as being sacred which those that have chosen to accept the Faith are somehow encouraged to persistently disagree with in the spirit of pluralism. The basic truth of both matters is somewhat clearly articulated in the Writings (even if their application may in some instances require case-by-case appraisal), but ours is neither the authority nor the ability to judge others that do not share our beliefs.


Some Bahá'í ideas might be difficult for the believers themselves to understand and time should be given as well as loving sympathy and patience shown in processing the most personally challenging ideas. Likewise, disagreement among the believers is definitely not frowned upon but neither is it regarded an end-state to celebrate (even on non-fundamentals), but rather the beginning of consultation and mutual reflection in a constructive spirit. If everyone has a "searching eye" and a truth-seeking spirit (another principle of the Faith), our views on all matters (not only the fundamentals) will gradually converge.


The keynote of our Faith is unity, including unity of thought. But it must be genuine and not forced. It must arise from independent investigation of truth in a consultative spirit. This spirit challenges and questions both the Western notion of pluralism (i.e. "let's just agree to disagree") as well as the Eastern notion of blind traditionalism (i.e. forced agreement). Our main difference to others, whether they be religious or non-religious, liberals or conservatives, is in our adamant refusal to label people or groups into saved or unsaved, pure or impure, progressive or backward, based on their views. Even the most "tolerant" of Western liberals evince a strong tendency of condescension towards those that disagree with them, especially with their "expanded" view of marriage. Those with a more "traditional" view are mocked as medieval, non-progressive or backward, which is of course a historical lashback to having been similarly mocked as impure, freakish or perverse. The Bahá'í way differs starkly from both of these divisive tendencies, which is one of the reasons we do not want to become embroiled in such debates despite having a view.


Neither do we shy away from sharing our view at the opportune moment on which the Bahá'ís are not likely to be incorrectly perceived as opposed to any particular group. Currently just expressing our honest view on marriage in a public debate, no matter how kindly, does just that. The simplistic mindset of such debaters regards any view that even distantly resembles say a Christian view as automatically embodying all the biases, myths and aberrations associated with that view or the bigoted people who most acrimoniously profess it. In such a situation, as far as public statements and debates are concerned, it's wiser for the Bahá'ís to stand back and wait for the fireworks to fizzle out. We trust there will be a better time for a more informed, calm and constructive public dialogue on the self-same topics. At such a future time it is not only our right but our responsibility to share our views for the building of a better society. Currently there are many other, more pressing, social issues on which the Bahá'ís have a lot to offer to the world by means of participation in public discourse. Peace in the political realm, global economic disparity, religious fanaticism and the status of women are obviously amongst the most critical of these themes. Our active and intelligent participation in these discourses is indeed political involvement in the truest and noblest sense of the term, but has nothing to do with partisan politics.

"All things have I willed for you, and you too, for your own sake."
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3 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2015 - 1:29PM #6
in_my_opinion
Posts: 4,107

Partisan politics are the issue here. On challenging concepts, international concerns and historical matters: there is no question of being party to a political party, supporting or opposing candidates  in our own localities, regions and nations, etc.


Specific attacks on, or promotions of individual figures anywhere are of course covered under the law against backbiting as well.


American Baha'is have been specifically urged to speak up against torture in recent times when it had come up in a bill.


So, the question really goes to the details of what non-involvement means, and for that we must go to the Text and Guidance.


Anything not contravening the letter and spirit of the Writings and what the Universal House of Justice expects of the Friends, is fair game.


What is your opinion?

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3 years ago  ::  Jan 06, 2015 - 2:28PM #7
world citizen
Posts: 6,480

My understanding is pretty basic:  no involvement whatsoever in partisan politics and/or playing at politics, and voting with the head and heart for individuals who best represent Baha'i values.  For instance, I would not personally vote for anyone who endorsed abortion, believing that the soul begins at conception in accordance with our Writings.  There is nothing "political" in contacting our elected representatives, of either party, here in the States re something to do with human rights and/or justice (e.g., the Irani Yaran).

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love.  ~Baha'u'llah
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