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Lady Gaga and “Born This Way”

May 5, 2011

Still of Lady Gaga for her hit, Born This WayClick to listen or watch “Born this way” by Lady Gaga

Today someone told me that a psychologist was recently warned against trying to “treat” homosexuality because it wasn’t supposed to be considered as a subject for “treatment”, in other words, “leave us alone, we like it this way”, it’s our “right”.
In response I used the phrase, “what’s wrong with being born this way?” and I remembered all the fuss back in March over Lady Gaga’s hit song “Born This Way”. Her title hit me with a new of sense of profundity. She uses ‘this’ for us, the human race, not ‘that’ – the other, the aberrant, but rather she includes and broadens what being human could mean and now I read her ‘alien’ look as being more than artistic expression. The ‘alienation’ sets us on edge and reminds us to be accepting of what we might find strange. That humanity is bigger than we think.


To recap: on March 25th, 2011, the Daily Express an independent national newspaper of East Malaysia ran the headline: “Lady Gaga deemed to have gone overboard” followed by a number of statements by religious organizations urging censorship of Lady Gaga’s song “Born This Way.” The statement from the Malay Baha’i Office for the Advancement of Women is what made me take notice:
“Malaysia does not promote gays and lesbians, and has rightly banned the offensive content in Lady Gaga’s song, said Yong Su Sien, a member of the Baha’i Office for the Advancement of Women.

“We do not condone abnormal sexual relationships, so we don’t want her song to influence the minds of youngsters,” she said.”

This is counter to the October 28th 2010 letter from the Universal House of Justice sent to an American Bahai and made public for the first time on January 3rd 2011 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States. So most likely the Baha’is of Malaysia were not aware of this.

It states: “…With respect to your question concerning the position Baha’is are to take regarding homosexuality and civil rights, … ”
“Baha’is are enjoined to eliminate from their lives all forms of prejudice and to manifest respect towards all. Therefore, to regard those with a homosexual orientation with prejudice or disdain would be against the spirit of the Faith. Furthermore, a Baha’i is exhorted to be “an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression”, and it would be entirely appropriate for a believer to come to the defense of those whose fundamental rights are being denied or violated.”

The full letter is here: http://senmcglinn.wordpress.com

The rest of the letter is mainly directed at civil unions and appears to be a response to the current situation in the U.S. where same sex marriage has been associated with politics. Here in Europe it is associated with human rights.
In my view, there is a dire need for Bahais to state publically that they do not support any form of discrimination towards any gay and lesbians and that begins with not using the word abnormal.

It is not just embarrassing but it shames me that a Bahai representative would refer to “abnormal sexual relationships” as meaning gay or lesbian. As if any gay or lesbian person was ‘abnormal’. This is going much further than the current Bahai policy which does not allow gays or lesbians a Bahai marriage ceremony (as far as I know).

What message is this telling Bahai youth? That it is OK to discriminate and call other youth abnormal?
What message is this telling the world. That Bahais discriminate against gays and lesbians? Is this such an accepted matter of fact that a representative for the Advancement of Women does not see that this is an expression of prejudice?

Bahais have a policy of obeying the laws of their own country and if the representative had referred to this as the reason for support for the censorship of this song, it would be another matter. It would have been even better to have made no comment.
It would be nice to think that this was an isolated incident and that other Bahai representatives were making statements that peoples of all orientation were welcome and treated equally. But if that was the case, the world would know. OK some Bahai communities express prejudice and others don’t.
However so far there have only been public statements showing that Bahais damn homosexuality such as the U.K. Bahai statement, and the association of the Ugandan Bahais with the “Interfaith Rainbow Coalition Against Homosexuality“, the slamming of a film festival Guyana, and the Bahai support of the the anti-gay US organization NARTH.

Bahais have to do something to change the impression that the Bahai community discriminates against gays and lesbians. I realise too, of course, some Bahais might think that this letter would only apply to Bahais in the U.S.A. since it was addressed to a Bahai there and then was allowed to be distributed publically.
My position is if a policy is not clear then look at the principles of the Bahai Faith and what is in Bahai Scripture. Perhaps this letter is not clear because one Bahai has already informed me that in their view Bahais would still be free to discriminate because of the later part of the letter:

“In working for social justice, Baha’is must inevitably distinguish between those dimensions of public issues that are in keeping with the Baha’i Teachings, which they can actively support, and those that are not, which they would neither promote nor necessarily oppose. In connection with issues of concern to homosexuals, the former would be freedom from discrimination and the latter the opportunity for civil marriage. “

Here the argument is that the words “nor necessarily oppose,” could mean it is optional for a Bahai to oppose same-sex marriage. Since the rest of the letter makes a comparision with the Bahai principle of non-involvement in party politics and given that in the U.S. the issue of same-sex marriage is often mixed up with this, I think it means, individuals can do as they wish as individuals, but as Bahai representatives or as a community, the Bahais must remain neutral.

Here is the end of the letter: “Such distinctions are unavoidable when addressing any social issue. For example, Baha’is actively work for the establishment of world peace but, in the process, do not engage in partisan political activities directed against particular governments.”

Note that the U.H.J. refer to marriage as a social issue, just as Abdu’l-Baha listed this in the Will and Testament. Being a social issue this is an area for the U.H.J. to rule on.

And so to Lady Gaga’s song itself. Since there was a such a protest about it, I thought I’d better go and see what was so awful about the song that some Bahais would show support of it being censored.

This is a country version – click play to listen while you scroll down to read.

The lyrics come from here

It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M
Just put your paws up
‘Cause you were born this way, baby

My mama told me when I was young
We’re all born superstars
She rolled my hair, put my lipstick on
In the glass of her boudoir

“There’s nothin’ wrong with lovin’ who you are”
She said, “‘Cause He made you perfect, babe”
“So hold your head up, girl and you’ll go far,
Listen to me when I say”

I’m beautiful in my way,
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Don’t hide yourself in regret,
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way
(Born this way)

Ooo, there ain’t no other way
Baby, I was born this way
Baby, I was born this way
(Born this way)
Ooo, there ain’t other way
Baby, I was born this way
Right track, baby
I was born this way

Don’t be a drag, just be a queen
Don’t be a drag, just be a queen
Don’t be a drag, just be a queen
Don’t be!

Give yourself prudence and love your friends
Subway kid, rejoice the truth
In the religion of the insecure
I must be myself, respect my youth

A different lover is not a sin
Believe capital H-I-M (hey, hey, hey)
I love my life, I love this record and
Mi amore vole fe yah

I’m beautiful in my way,
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Don’t hide yourself in regret,
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Ooo, there ain’t no other way

Baby, I was born this way
Baby, I was born this way
(Born this way )
Ooo, there ain’t other way
Baby, I was born way
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way

( Queen ,
Don’t be , Queen )

Don’t be a drag, just be a queen
Whether you’re broke or evergreen
You’re black, white, beige, chola descent
You’re lebanese, you’re orient
Whether life’s disabilities
Left you outcast, bullied or teased
Rejoice and love yourself today
‘Cause baby, you were born this way

No matter gay, straight or bi
lesbian, transgendered life
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born to survive
No matter black, white or beige
chola or orient made
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born to be brave

I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Don’t hide yourself in regret,
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way, yeah!

Ooo, there ain’t no other way
Baby, I was born this way
Baby, I was born this way
(Born this way )
Ooo, there ain’t other way
Baby, I was born this way
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way

I was born this way, hey!
I was born this way, hey!
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way, hey!

I was born this way, hey!
I was born this way, hey!
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way, hey!

   The song begins with a reference to God as H-I-M. As a feminist, this is not how I’d refer to God, but Bahais don’t have rules about how one should refer to the divine.

Baha’u’llah wrote:
“O CHILDREN OF MEN!
Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. …”

The Hidden Words (The Hidden Words (Arabic Hidden Word,
Number 68) From info.bahai.org


In case anyone might think the references to oneness mean acting the same, Abdu’l-Baha stresses the importance of diversity:

How unpleasing to the eye if all the flowers and plants, the leaves and blossoms, the fruit, the branches, and the trees of the garden were all of the same shape and color!
Diversity of color, form and shape enricheth and adorneth the garden, and heighteneth the effect thereof. In like manner, when divers shades of thought, temperament and character, are brought together under the power and influence of one central agency, the beauty and glory of human perfection will be revealed and made manifest.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of The Divine Plan, p. 102

“And if this prejudice be the prejudice of nationality consider that all mankind are of one nation; all have sprung from the tree of Adam, and Adam is the root of the tree. That tree is one and all these nations are like branches, while the individuals of humanity are like leaves, blossoms and fruits thereof.”
Selections of Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá
p. 299


Surely phrases such as “Man is the supreme Talisman.” (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, CXXII, pp. 259-260) and “I loved thy creation, hence I created thee.” (Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic Hidden Word, nr 4) are like the words:

“I’m beautiful in my way,
‘Cause God makes no mistakes”

In fact I’m surprised at the spiritual values in the song. She even sings that we should believe in God! Believe that God is there. And other lines echo Baha’u’llah’s words,

My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting. (Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic Hidden Word,
nr 1)

The song is about loving who you are and how you are born.

With the hands of power I made thee and with the fingers of strength I created thee; and within thee have I placed the essence of My light. Be thou content with it and seek naught else, for My work is perfect and My command is binding. Question it not, nor have a doubt thereof. … (Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic Hidden Word,
nr 12)

So I guess what upsets people are the lines:

Don’t be a drag, just be a queen

The lines mean don’t hate yourself, love yourself. Don’t be unhappy, be proud.

I created thee rich, why dost thou bring thyself down to poverty? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of knowledge I gave thee being, (Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic Hidden Word, nr 13)

O SON OF SPIRIT!
My claim on thee is great, it cannot be forgotten. My grace to thee is plenteous, it cannot be veiled. My love has made in thee its home, it cannot be concealed. My light is manifest to thee, it cannot be obscured.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic Hidden Word,
nr 20)

Or is the protest because she mentions gays and straights and bisexuals and transexuals – all of humanity?

No matter gay, straight or bi
lesbian, transgendered life
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born to survive
No matter black, white or beige
chola or orient made
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born to be brave

Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee: therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic Hidden Word, nr 3)

There’s nothing in Bahá’u’lláh’s writings to suggest that some types of people were not made in His image. So thank you Lady Gaga, I’m one Bahai who is inspired by your lyrics celebrating diversity.


Bahá’u’lláh wrote that the

“Arts, crafts and sciences uplift the world of being, and are conducive to its exaltation.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf (Wilmette, Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979), p. 26.


And while some might find the idea of pop music the antithesis of what they would call inspiration, that’s a question of taste. In my view Lady Gaga’s lyrics exalt people to “(a)bide then in thy love for Me, that thou mayest find Me in the realm of glory.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic Hidden Word, nr 14)

And art, such as this song, means you need to listen, need to make the effort to find out what ‘the story’ is for yourself. Is it about making the strange or estranged human? familiar? Is it about celebration? What is the role of the divine in the song? What are the birthing scenes about in the video? New ideas? Questions about what is cultured (man-made) and what is nature? What is human nature then?

as one soul..., limited edition lithograph by Sonja van Kerkhoff, 1991

"as one soul," limited edition lithograph by Sonja van Kerkhoff, 1991


On show in Leiderdorp until June 26th, 2011.

24 comments

  1. What a great version of “Born this Way”….and your own words are equally inspiring. Thank you


  2. Absolutely want to add our resonance to the corelation between her lyrics and the Writings of the Baha’i Faith.

    The Message of Baha’u’llah is planted within all creation, and the world of humanity is receiving it & implementing it in their lives. Will the Baha’is, as a whole, pick up the entirety of the Message or will we lag behind?


  3. I have no problems with civil rights unions and as a Baha’i its seems axiomatic to me that we should defend the civil, political and human rights of others. My understanding of the Faiths teachings is that we must look beyond physical attributes and material representations and engage with the spiritual reality which defines us as human beings. While not agreeing with the statement of the Malaysian spokesperson, having just returned from a visit there I can understand it. Living in Asia my instinct is that many societies with stronger family ties and traditional religious beliefs find much of the libertine philosophies of the West morally repugnant and fear their children will be corrupted by the culture of excess, hedonism and gratuitous violence exhibited by much popular media. Large numbers of people are outraged by what they see as an attack on their community. Promiscuity generally is frowned upon, most pornography is banned and the reaction to Lady Gaga is part of that I think. Lots of other hetero-sexual performers and movies are also banned in Malaysia and Indonesia. The fundamentalist mentality which infects these largely Islamic societies is paradoxically balanced by a general spirit of tolerance towards sexual minorities in SE Asia. The biggest discrimination here still tends to be against women however who are still non-persons in some places, the abuse and exploitation of migrant workers,refugees and children with all the related issues of slavery and human trafficking. I thank you for raising this interesting debate and like your blog. I agree we need more Baha’is need to stand up and defend the rights of those who suffer unfair discrimination but I simply do not agree with one New York politician who recently announced that Gay Rights are the single most important issue facing mankind today.

    I wonder how Abdu’l-Baha might react to Lady Gaga if she was around.


    • thanks for your comments. However the comment made by the Bahai representative was in reference to ‘abnormal sexuality’ and I assume in response to a question from the press along these lines. I think it would have been wiser to have made no comment.

      So I wouldn’t agree with your argument, that because the image of pop artist is one of promiscuity that then it was justification or explanation for an expression of prejudice by a Bahai representative. In fact, I’d say it would be a Bahai priniciple to oppose any slurs on artists. Art being a form of worship.

      The issue of gay rights, seems to be a non-issue in most European countries. It is seen as a human rights issue and as anyone can see in the ten years gay couples have had full equality in the Netherlands, there’s been absolutely no damage done because gays have the support of society for marriage and raising families.


  4. “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.”

    (22 March 1987, The Universal House of Justice, quoted in Homosexuality, p. 7, 5 Jun 1993)

    “Bahais have to do something to change the impression that the Bahai community discriminates against gays and lesbians.”

    They cannot and will not. The 28 October 2010 letter was the best they can do. The best you can do is to warn people away.


    • You quote a letter penned in 1993 and I was referring to a letter penned in 2010.

      And Abdu’l-Baha wrote “…another House of Justice will then have power, according to the exigencies of the time, to alter that law…”

      More is here >> https://justabahai.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/flexibility/#change

      I don’t know if what the House of Justice writes is to be considered that this is them making law or not. All I’m pointing out here is that the Universal House of Justice has the power to change its own policy – to be flexible, and if you go to the link above, Abdu’l-Baha also wrote a tablet about the wisdom of assigning such matters to the Universal House of Justice, rather than having them laid down in scripture.

      Thanks for your comments.


    • David you wrote:
      “They cannot and will not.
      The 28 October 2010 letter was the best they can do. The best you can do is to warn people away.”

      I interprete this differently.

      The October 2010 letter from the Universal House of Justice shows a change in policy. Bahais are asked not to discriminate and not to take sides on the issue of same-sex marriage. The letter also asserts that marriage is only between a woman and a man and so it seems that the letter has contradictions in it. The way I read this is that they have made a huge step in stating that Bahais are not to take sides on same-sex marriage and it will take longer before they might be open changing other previous policies concerning homosexuality. It might be a handful of years or it might be thousands of years. It might be never, as some Bahais think. The possibility for change is there.
      However the latest letter states that Bahais are not to discriminate and so Bahai communities should treate gay Bahais as they would treat any member of their community and that is to welcome them and treat all Bahais according to the principles of equality. You refer to a 1993 letter where homosexuality is seen as something aberrant and as needing treatment. I’d would argue that a letter from 2010 supersedes a letter from 1993 because Abdul-Baha wrote in the Will and Testament,
      “…another House of Justice will then have power, according to the exigencies of the time, to alter that law.
      This it can do because these laws form no part of the divine explicit Text. The House of Justice is both the initiator and the abrogator of its own laws.”

      (Abdu’l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 20)

      So we have had a change in policy from 1993 to 2010 and because I imagine that the Universal House of Justice would be cautious with any new policy it makes, I also read this as advice or instruction which might be difficult for the most conservative elements of the Bahai community.
      As a Bahai myself who believes that not only is there nothing wrong with being homosexual and who is convinced that gay voices add to the diversity of humanity, there is nothing to stop me welcoming and giving support to my gay brothers and sisters and one way to do this is to try and show that Baha’u’llah’s Teachings are not homophobic.
      So David, the Universal House of Justice can change its own policies. Of course if Bahais continue to remove voting rights from gay Bahais and not other Bahais in the same situation, or if Bahais say that gays should seek treatment or if they consider homosexuality an aberation (You might be interested in the discussion here where a Bahai is promoting the idea that gays can be cured on the gaybahai.net forum), I understand your comment about warning people. And in fact I would say, that in general many Bahais believe it is a Bahai policy to see homosexuality as a bad thing and that often this is the impression people have of the Bahai Faith, which means Bahais such as myself must speak up to change this impression.
      However this attitude is not based on anything in Bahai Scripture, Scripture that cannot be changed, so the Universal House of Justice has the freedom to make policies and to change these. And there are Bahais such as myself who do not want the Bahai Faith to be a religion that brings pain or suffering to anyone because of their orientation.


  5. Sonja,

    Your article is wonderful, I hope it gets exposure to this overall topic. I think LGBT groups can offer the Baha’i Faith help with this issue, that is if the Baha’i Administration is open to such an idea. Keep up the good work!


  6. Although there may be a NY politician who believes that Gay Rights is the single most important issue facing mankind today, I find it hard to believe that LGBT Baha’is would share that sentiment. I think we are probably all well aware that this is only one of many important issues facing humankind, and because it effects those of us who do identify as being gay in a very personal and intimate way, yes, it IS important to us as individuals. It is an issue that shouldn’t even be an issue. I wouldn’t venture to guess what Abdul Baha would think of Lady Gaga and her mysterious attention catching ways. What I do know is that there is a whole generation of youth who are feeling a whole lot better about themselves and each other.


  7. I think it is important to recognise a distinction between a person and their behaviour. Baha’i’s are encouraged to treat all peoples with love, dignity and respect, regardless of their ‘leanings’. The Baha’i view does not condone homosexuality as a behaviour, but as we are not our behaviours, we seek to treat all peoples with love and respect. It is not for us to judge people by their behaviour. I see no problem with the song – even if it did contain some dubious content, we live in a world of differing views and we should not discourage people from having those views or discriminate based on those views. We all have a choice on what we we believe.


    • You are right John. If a person rapes a young of the same sex or someone of a different sex, then their beahaviour is shameful and condemned. But as far as behaviour, are you referring to the love that two adults of the same-sex in a relationship are doing behind closed doors? If so, then YOU should be ashamed of yourself for contnuing to hurt gay Bahai youth in your community who are afraid to come out because they will be told that their “leanings” are against God. If that is what you are saying, then how exactly are you any different from this Bahai woman in Malaysia that protested Lady Gaga?


  8. Every society on earth has evolved rules and codes of behaviour for sexual activity. Most would be regarded as repressive by today’s standards but they were often seen a trade off between individual freedoms and community survival. Most successful communities evolved gentler forms of control by encouraging ideals of virtuous behaviour or managing the separation of sexes in different ways but reserved the right to sanction behaviour they felt threatened the stability of institutions they had created to maintain order and harmony. Sexual politics varies widely around the world and rural societies in particular remain deeply conservative but in urban societies those rules have largely broken down and promiscuity has become the norm. One consequence of this so that the only reference point for dialogue on sex often becomes the needs and preferences of the individual. Sexual freedom is an important liberating force in society, some would say the greatest form of liberation, but in its extreme form can become a form of atavistic hedonism. There can be no doubt that for many people the expression of their individual sexual impulses and preferences has become the most important aspect of their life, and for many young people in particular it may even define their identity.

    Sexual identity is a relatively modern concept and I find it hard as a Baha’i to separate out the dialogue on this from the larger and to me more important need to build a spiritual identity which can embrace the modern world. We are all searching for love and acceptance in different ways and sex has always and always will continue to play its part, but to me love, compassion and self sacrifice are equally if not more important in nurturing healthy individuals, strong relationships and building sustainable communities based on trust and equity. As someone raised in Europe but who lives abroad I do increasingly see the West’s obsession with sex as an aberration and part of a materialistic culture of excess with which I no longer feel comfortable with.

    One of my favourite passages from the Baha’i writings is “the gift of God to this enlightened age is the knowledge of the Oneness of mankind.”
    One understanding I have of this is that is simply to recognize that this oneness is the starting place for our own individual identity. Once we embrace this truth then how can we ever feel morally, racially or materially superior to anyone. The differences that make us human are to be embraced as part of a process of discovery that can bind all the hearts together.


    • thanks for your comments Gordon,
      I’m working on a blog which I hope to have online by July on this topic of “rules and codes of behaviour” but am framing it in the context of morality and nature.

      You wrote: “One consequence of this so that the only reference point for dialogue on sex often becomes the needs and preferences of the individual.” I with yes, extremes of indivdualism are unhealthy but so are extremes of sameness, as in communisim. So I don’t think your argument of atavistic hedomism holds in the discussion of sexual orientation. Orientation is concerned primarily with identity and attraction and not with sex nor sexual impluses.
      It isn’t about not behaving morally but about being accepted as someone who is not a heterosexual. In fact, I’d say it is about accepting another as being a human being first, and then second whatever orientation / cultural values one identifies with and then how one behaves is when a discussion of morality comes into play.

      Admittedly in a discussion on homosexuality, sex often is brought up, but more often it is the heterosexuals who bring this up.
      And to make an analogy, in discussions of feminism often the female body is an aspect of the dialogue but that doesn’t mean that feminists are obsessed by the physical.

      Thanks for the quotaton and I read it as meaning, yes God makes no mistakes and however we are born, whether lefthanded or gay, this is part of the oneness of humanity. I’m reposting aspects of a blog related to some of your other points here.


  9. There is a letter from the UHJ, which I read, that writers on several blogs are ignoring, or are not aware of, that should end serious debate on the Baha’i positon on gay marriage and membership of gay families in the Baha’i religion. It may also help understand my feeling that gay, lesbian or bisexual Baha’is who feel their true orientations are just another part of the human family with no need to change, because they are who God intended them to be, should also withdraw from the religion as they may at some future date fall in love and feel the need to become part of a same sex family .
    I deliberately omit transgender people from this issue because the UHJ has already accepted that their’s is not a sexual issue, but a medical one, and there is no reason to include them in the Baha’i laws on homosexuality, which in the end are chastity laws, although transgender people do face issues of acceptance among Baha’is, as with the general population, if they are open about their humanity.
    Shoghi Effendi made 2 statements in 1 when he wrote about homosexuality in the Kitab-i-Aqdas. The first statement suggesting that he understood that love between 2 people of the same sex could be a fine love when he said…no matter how fine the love between 2 people of the same sex… The 2nd part of his statement was that it should not be physically sexual, which is totally a comment on chastity. The exact quote you can read for yourselves but I believe I am quite close in words. I have understood it the same way since reading it as a kid trying to understand just who I was but not understanding at that time I was gay.
    He stated in letters to believers many comments on the subject afterwards. A very important one was that a homosexual Baha’i would have to remain single and celibate.
    I think this is directly related to the current ruling from the UHJ and I can’t imagine a time when it would change. The UHJ apparently cannot change a ruling of Shoghi Effendi, such as his statement in the Aqdas. They can direct Baha’i behavior towards gay and lesbian people, to maintain the integrity of the teachings, without allowing for acceptance of behavior seen as unchaste. This lack of acceptance would be the same for unmarried heterosexual couples. Marriage has been placed as between a man and a woman in the Baha’i writings, so gay marriage would not be as acceptable as unmarried heterosexual couples being accepted into the religion because unmarried straight couples would be able to adjust their circumstances by getting married to gain admittance.
    This is according to the letter from the House…Baha’is should not try to cause the end of gay families in those places where gay marriage is legal because it would be a conflict with civil laws that Baha’is agree to follow according to Baha’i law. It is not permissable, however, to invite gay families to become Baha’is. Baha’is should instruct gay families about the writings and allow them to decide for themselves…if becoming a Baha’i is worth ending their family relationship. Athough the letter does not specifically make the statement about choosing between the religion or their family, the last part of the previous sentence is heavily implied. I don’t think it can be made any clearer than this. Although this is an easier decision for gay couples without children, it becomes more difficult when there are children in the family. The UHJ has yet to make a statement that includes the children of gay families. A whole ‘nother kettle of fish getting riper by the moment.
    Pardon my warped attempt at humor in a very serious discussion, but it helps me keep my frustration at bay. I can become quite sarcstic and angry when approached by hypocrisy. I had a bumper sticker on my old truck that read…If going to church makes you a Christian, does going to the garage make you a car? Interchange feast and Baha’i where approriate and my sentiment is understood, I hope.
    Baha’s who are gay will need to conform to Shoghi Effendi’s ruling if they wish to maintain their good standing in the Baha’i community. Making oneself invisible as a Baha’i to be able to live another life, or marrying a gay/lesbian Baha’i of the opposite sex (and agree to be able to see people of the same sex) to maintain a facade of heterosexuality, thus leading a double life, as was suggested to me by other gay and lesbian Baha’is when I began my coming out process after college, are not healthy choices as far as I am concerned. Before I understood anything about my being gay I was taught by the Baha’i teachings to be myself. I feel sympathy for those who never learned that their true self was God given. Most of the men I have tried to be in relationships with were like this, never fully liking who they were intended to be by God-unless a controlled substance was invloved. I never believed God had intended for anyone to need that much help being themselves.
    The eventual dilemma is for Baha’is who cannot understand the oneness of mankind so that can they instinctively eliminate prejudice from their hearts and minds, lives and behavior, according to Baha’i law. Without being able to follow the first laws, they will not, like Abdu’l-Baha, be able to treat every human being with utmost loving kindness. Thus prejudice will continue to rear it’s ugly head among Baha’is. Religious contradiction has always baffled people, leaving them to discard the God’s most basic laws about doing unto others until the contradiction could be eliminated. Baha’is are falling into this historic pit. One that is difficult to remove oneself from once we decide that it is justified by God. I believe that this is why Baha’u’llah said that when religion becomes the source of disunity, it is better abandoned. I reached the decision to withdraw with this statement in mind.
    I refer to Baha’i religion without a capital “R”, instead of the “Faith”, or omit either word from my references to Baha’i. This is important. After being a Baha’i since my teens, 35+ years, I can no longer refer to the religion as the “Faith”. Coming to the realization that, due to the actions of the Baha’is and most especially it’s administrators, the Faith of God has failed and become just another religion of man, I officially/administratively withdrew from membership. Both the NSA representive and the Secertariat for the UHJ, in letters that were short and sweet, accepted my withdrawal and wished me well with prayers offered. I will now be able to maintain my relationship with God and my spirituality in a healthier way.
    The Auxiliary Board Member for Protection in the cluster where I live told me, during a meeting the administration requested I participate in as a Baha’i who is gay so that the administration could be better informed about homosexuality and it’s relationship to Baha’is and the religon, that the religion would grow best in those places where gay people were hated and not grow so well in those communities where gay people were supported and loved; implying to those in communities of hate that their hate was in agreement with the Baha’i position about homosexuality, in spite of the religion’s teachings on oneness, eliminating prejudice and threatment of people with utmost loving kindness. This was the straw that broke this camel’s back. I just could not conceive of hate and God being together in any Baha’is speech.
    Perhaps power does corrupt everyone. I had seen administrative corruption being ignored by other administrators when I was a young Baha’i. I have decided that the corruption must be pervasive and declined the invitation from an ABM I met at a BNASAA conference to help her report the matter to the Continental Counselor for our area. I have recently declined another invitation to come to the BNASAA conference at Bosch in September, to speak to the Counselor directly. He is supposed to be present at this conference because he supposedly has serious interest in gay issues as they relate to the religion.
    I hope against hope that God can help the next Manifestation of God to be able to clean up our mess or, in the mean time, assist a person to discover the writings/teachings and begin to implement them the way God had intended, wondering why nobody had ever tried to implement them before.
    Remembering the passage in the writings that says that if the Baha’is don’t arise to spread the teachings of the Faith, God will raise a race of men from the stones in the sea to take our place, helps me to keep peace with my decision to withdraw and have some hope for the future of this planet. I believe that, without Baha’u’llah’s teachings, there is no hope. I have certainly lost hope of a positive outcome with the Baha’is of the present time. Their passing could be a blessing for our planet…
    I hope knowledge of the UHJ’s letter about gay families ability to join the religion helps to direct further debate on the topic in a more useful way.


    • Dan H, thanks for your comments. You wrote:
      “a letter from the UHJ, which I read, that writers on several blogs are ignoring”
      but then you don’t source this or at least I have no idea which of the many hundreds of letters the Universal House of Justice has written you could be referring to, so please quote this.
      If that letter was penned before October 2010 and the letter you refer to does in fact support your argument that “that should end serious debate on the Baha’i positon on gay marriage and membership of gay families in the Baha’i religion.”
      And I guess by “the Bahai position” you mean that in your opinion that there is no discussion because there shouldn’t be gay marriages, and I assume this because you state that gays “should also withdraw from the religion”

      So correct me if I have misinterpreted your words here.

      Later in your comment you write: “Shoghi Effendi made 2 statements in 1 when he wrote about homosexuality in the Kitab-i-Aqdas.” Please quote Shoghi Effendi’s own writing to me so I can see what he wrote.
      Elsewhere on my blog I’ve pointed out the difference in status between a Letter Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi and what Shoghi Effendi penned himself. (https://justabahai.wordpress.com/find/#letters)

      Would Shoghi Effendi who was so meticulous, leave it up to secretaries to pen what Shoghi Effendi would consider as having the same status as Scripture, let alone Shoghi Effendi’s own officical interpretations?
      We don’t have to apply logic or a principle here, Letters Written behalf of Shoghi Effendi indicate clearly that these letters were 1) of a different status to Shoghi Effendi’s own writing, 2) were intended as advice which leaves it up to adresse to determine its importance 3) some of these letters clearly show the limited knowledge of the letter writer and contradict what is in Bahai Scripture. Some examples are here (https://justabahai.wordpress.com/find/#inaccuracies).
      Now this is not an issue if the status of these letters are treated as is asked in the following:

      “As regards Shoghi Effendi’s letters to the individual Bahá’ís, 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 Bahá’í News. Only letters with special significance should be published there.”

      (Letter on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, 1932)

      You wrote: “…homosexual Baha’i would have to remain single and celibate.
      I think this is directly related to the current ruling from the UHJ and I can’t imagine a time when it would change. The UHJ apparently cannot change a ruling of Shoghi Effendi, such as his statement in the Aqdas. They can direct Baha’i behavior towards gay and lesbian people, to maintain the integrity of the teachings, without allowing for acceptance of behavior seen as unchaste.”

      The Oct 2010 letter from the Universal House of Justice states: ““…With respect to your question concerning the position Baha’is are to take regarding homosexuality and civil rights….

      In working for social justice, Baha’is must inevitably distinguish between those dimensions of public issues that are in keeping with the Baha’i Teachings, which they can actively support, and those that are not, which they would neither promotenor necessarily oppose. In connection with issues of concern to homosexuals, the former would be freedom from discrimination and the latter the opportunity for civil marriage.”
      [The whole letter is here: http://senmcglinn.wordpress.com/email-archive/same-sex-marriages-6/ ]

      This could be read to mean either Bahais must not publically be for or against same-sex marriage and hence not discriminate against any Bahai who is legally married, or you can read this to mean that Bahais cannot actively support same sex marriage legislation as is happening currently in the U.S., or that they cannot support same sex marriage in their own communities, but that they should not discriminate either. This third way of reading their letter presents a contradication and I think the sentence that follows this makes the intent clearer.

      “For example, Baha’is actively work for the establishment of world peace but, in the process, do not engage in partisan political activities directed against particular governments.”

      So I read this to mean that publically Bahai communities are not to be seen as taking a side for or against same sex marriage, and this would mean accepting those who are already married on equal terms so as not to discriminate. And I intreprete this to mean that individuals are free to express their own opinions as individuals but not as representatives of the Bahai community on this issue. And finally, if same sex marriage is legal in a state or country, then Bahai communities are not treat their legally married gays differently.

      So I would disagree with your comment that the Universal House of Justice cannot change on the issue of celibacy and homosexuality. The letter above indicates to me that they have and of course they have the power to do this because the whole issue is “addressing any social issue” (ibid)

      You wrote: “Making oneself invisible as a Baha’i to be able to live another life, or marrying a gay/lesbian Baha’i of the opposite sex (and agree to be able to see people of the same sex) to maintain a facade of heterosexuality, thus leading a double life, as was suggested to me by other gay and lesbian Baha’is when I began my coming out process after college, are not healthy choices as far as I am concerned.”

      I do not think these are healthy choices for the Bahai community let alone for the suffering such a lifestyle would be for any individual. We need our gays and we need them to be accepted as they are: equality can’t work in any other way. Baha’u’llah refers to all the flowers of the garden of humanity not just some. As a Bahai I wouldn’t want any of my gay Bahai brothers and sisters to hide who they are. I don’t want my religion to oppress any one’s sense of who they are. I want to welcome them and I note the general absence of their voices and perspectives because of the current discrimination practised by Bahais. I think the Oct 2010 letter by the Universal House of Justice was addressed towards reducing this discrimination.

      I realise many of the views you express are ones many Bahais share but one of the goals of this blog is to be a myth blaster. If no one can show me any Bahai Scripture to support discrimination against homosexuality, then it is a myth.

      So why are those Letters Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi treated as if they are Bahai Scripture when they are expressions of the social norms of 1930s to 1950s? And while other letters are treated as if they were advice in an age where most Bahais do in fact practice some form of birth control.
      And when the main point of having a Universal House of Justice that can make and change laws is that it is a way for the Bahai community to be “anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in”

      “Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements. “

      Gleanings, Baha’u’llah, p. 213, http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/GWB/gwb-106.html

      You wrote:
      “The Auxiliary Board Member for Protection in the cluster where I live told me, during a meeting the administration requested I participate in as a Baha’i who is gay so that the administration could be better informed about homosexuality and it’s relationship to Baha’is and the religon, that the religion would grow best in those places where gay people were hated and not grow so well in those communities where gay people were supported and loved; implying to those in communities of hate that their hate was in agreement with the Baha’i position about homosexuality, in spite of the religion’s teachings on oneness, eliminating prejudice and threatment of people with utmost loving kindness. This was the straw that broke this camel’s back. I just could not conceive of hate and God being together in any Baha’is speech.”

      I am very sorry that a Bahai said such a stupid and clearly prejudical thing to you and I do not blame you for leaving. Who wants to be part of religion if the idea is that there is something wrong with you. I for one would not want the standards of the Bahai Faith to be determined by conservative American politics, which is what is implied above. I’ve also heard this same type of argumentation presented to me by Bahais, when I’ve been accused of being too liberal. It is a silly party-politics argument where the attempt is at conformity with that person’s views, but I know it is very painful and hurtful when Bahais say this. They are saying “gays are not welcome.”
      I am a Bahai and I welcome gays! I am just one voice but it is better than being silent and if whatever I write can help one of my gay brothers and sisters feel less alone, I know Baha’u’llah would approve. You might be interested in participating in the discussion on http://www.gaybahai.net. The worst aspect of discrimination, in my view, is silence.


  10. I’m not on a computer often but am glad I checked this for a response to my letter. I’m usually good about remembering what I’ve read or heard, usually good about remembeing who said what(not quite a tape recorder) but am not always good about the dates of letters or the particular texts the things I remeber came from. The friend I learned about Baha’u’llah was particularly good at remembering all of those things-he was scary sometimes. I don’t usually enter debates about the info I have read and I try to make sure I don’t make things up that I haven’t actually read or heard.
    The sentence from Shoghi Effendi which says no matter how fine the love between two people of the same sex…is in the Kitab-i-Aqdas as a note from the Guardian linked to Baha’u’llah’s statement about sex with boys. Easy one ot check. Page # may be different depending on the edition. If it is in the Aqdas, does that make it scripture?
    I will check on the letter about not inviting gay families to join the religion to give you a date for that letter. That letter answers many questions in these debates, I think.
    It may be awhile since I don’t know when I will be on this again. Don’t want to leave you hanging though, so will try to get back to you soon with the info. Maybe through Sean?


  11. Dan thanks for your comments, you wrote:

    The sentence from Shoghi Effendi which says no matter how fine the love between two people of the same sex…is in the Kitab-i-Aqdas as a note from the Guardian linked to Baha’u’llah’s statement about sex with boys…

    I quote this on my blog here https://justabahai.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/mainly-about-homosexuality/#k-i-apreface and discuss this as well. I asked you for a source because you stated in your first comment that there were letters that were being ignored and I wanted to know which ones, incase there was something I hadn’t seen.

    Dan: I will check on the letter about not inviting gay families to join the religion to give you a date for that letter. That letter answers many questions in these debates, I think.

    Do not worry if it takes you a while. I’m busy myself. But I am unaware of any letter about not inviting gay families, so please type the relevant section along with the date and whether it is addressed to an individual or an NSA please.


  12. All of this is irrelevant seeing that more people leave the Bahai Faith these days than enter it. Maybe in places like Malaysia–hardly a centre of human rights enlightenment–fundamentalist Muslims will become fundamentalist Bahais. But even that is unlikely. The Bahai Faith was a great idea. A pity it has not been able to keep up with the ever advancing civilisation it thought it was creating.


    • Thanks for your comment “artboy” and clearly I disagree or else I wouldn’t spend time on this blog. If you have a specific comment or question to make, please feel welcome to ask.


  13. When a young person is growing and their sexual and emotional programming is taking place ( say from the age of 5 to 18 years of age) there are complex explosions of hormones and conditioning patterns that form in the framwork of ever human. It is not until later that these frameworks start to settle and anchor into form the final program of ones self. During this vulnerable time it is important that healthy images, experiences, and influences are kept to a minimum to ensure the natural correct formation of sexuality develops in a young person. Should the young person be exposed to excessive amounts of same sex interaction, and or perverted images or experiences, the more likelihood the youngster will be programmed to feel that as normal and therefor find that what should be normal… feels wrong for them.

    The reason for that random explanation is that I do think it’s important to know how and when sexual preference starts to form in us humans. The dots are easier to connect with Baha’i teachings when you apply some science…..sometimes!

    So, not promote to young people…..as the song says … ” if your a lesbian your on the right track baby you were born this way”

    the fact is…. you were not born that way! ….But you were conditioned so early that you feel you were born that way.
    Speak to 1000 gay people and you will find the pattern if early childhood memeries staggeringly similar.

    I have many gay friends that I love and that I know ar happy. But I also know that some have suffered extreme pain and they pray for their own kids to be strait. As a Baha’i my goal is not to be prejudice or try and change what has already been done, but simply reduce the ” promotion” of it.


    •  
      Thanks for your comments Matt shelton

      You wrote: “The reason for that random explanation is that I do think it’s important to know how and when sexual preference starts to form in us humans. The dots are easier to connect with Baha’i teachings when you apply some science…..sometimes!”

      But your argument above is against science. Perhaps you are thinking of the scientific thinking of earlier when it was also thought that women were too feeble minded to be able to vote?

      See the following:

      1975:
      “Since 1975, the American Psychological Association has called on psychologists to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientations. The discipline of psychology is concerned with the well-being of people and groups and therefore with threats to that well-being. The prejudice and discrimination that people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual regularly experience have been shown to have negative psychological effects”.
      “Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in the United States encounter extensive prejudice, discrimination, and violence because of their sexual orientation. Intense prejudice against lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people was widespread throughout much of the 20th century. Public opinion studies over the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s routinely showed that, among large segments of the public, lesbian, gay, and bisexual people were the target of strongly held negative attitudes. More recently, public opinion has increasingly opposed sexual orientation discrimination, but expressions of hostility toward lesbians and gay men remain common in contemporary American society.”

      “Prejudice and discrimination have social and personal impact. On the social level, prejudice and discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are reflected in the everyday stereotypes of members of these groups. These stereotypes persist even though they are not supported by evidence, and they are often used to excuse unequal treatment of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. For example, limitations on job opportunities, parenting, and relationship recognition are often justified by stereotypic assumptions about lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.
      On an individual level, such prejudice and discrimination may also have negative consequences, especially if lesbian, gay, and bisexual people attempt to conceal or deny their sexual orientation. Although many lesbians and gay men learn to cope with the social stigma against homosexuality, this pattern of prejudice can have serious negative effects on health and well-being.”

      American Psychological Association website,
      Accessed 19 April 2012.

      And for taste of some hard science:
      1991:
      A difference in hypothalamic structure between heterosexual and homosexual men. Accessed 19 April 2012,

      Underneath the link to this abstract are links to over 20 related articles ranging from 1991 to 2012. Here is reference to just one recent development.

      2008:
      Scientists Link Brain Symmetry, Sexual Orientation

      An easier to read explanation of this in a Bahai context is here:
      The Challenge of Homosexuality, 2 July 2008.

      In summary: “A recent research report out of Stockholm shows that the structure and function of homosexual brains is similar to that of the opposite sex. That is, a homosexual man’s brain is similar to that of a heterosexual woman’s brain.”

      “Previous research had shown that men and women’s brains were “wired” differently. This research showed that there was a similar difference between sexual orientation.”

      “The authors of the study conclude: “The results cannot be primarily ascribed to learned effects, and they suggest a linkage to neurobiological entities”.

      “The next step is to find what exactly accounts for the difference and by what mechanism it is activated. ” The Challenge of Homosexuality, 2 July 2008. Accessed 19 April, 2012.

      I will stop. There are hundreds of references that show that since the 1970s the scientific and medical worlds no longer view homosexuality as an illness
      (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality#References) and I have more links to scientific and medical views of homosexuality here: https://justabahai.wordpress.com/find/#sources

      The following is a good summary of events:
      “Back before the 1950, there was a near consensus about homosexual behavior: it was evil, degenerate, sinful, immoral activity by mentally ill sexual perverts. Then in the 1950s, Evelyn Hooker actually studied homosexuals in their natural habitat for the first time and found them to exhibit average mental health. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. Since then, human sexuality researchers have concluded that homosexuality and bisexuality is unchosen, fixed in adulthood, and both normal and natural for a minority of adults. There are very strong indications that sexual orientation is biologically caused.”
      http://senmcglinn.wordpress.com/email-archive/same-sex-marriages-2/#comment-696

      Yes science does change – it progresses as we discover more things and discover from this what was once considered ‘natural’ (such as it being thought that African Americans naturally ended up with lower wages) was based on a system based on prejudice.

      If as a Bahai you think, well, we can ignore what science is showing us then I would say that ‘Abdu’l-Baha would disagree:

      The fourth teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the agreement of religion and science. God has endowed man with intelligence and reason whereby he is required to determine the verity of questions and propositions. If religious beliefs and opinions are found contrary to the standards of science they are mere superstitions and imaginations; for the antithesis of knowledge is ignorance, and the child of ignorance is superstition. Unquestionably there must be agreement between true religion and science. If a question be found contrary to reason, faith and belief in it are impossible and there is no outcome but wavering and vacillation.
      While the religion of God is the promoter of truth, the founder of science and knowledge, it is full of goodwill for learned men; it is the civilizer of mankind, the discoverer of the secrets of nature, and the enlightener of the horizons of the world. Consequently, how can it be said to oppose knowledge? God forbid! Nay, for God, knowledge is the most glorious gift of man and the most noble of human perfections. To oppose knowledge is ignorant, and he who detests knowledge and science is not a man, but rather an animal without intelligence.

      Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 137

      So stating as you did: “the fact is…. you were not born that way! ….But you were conditioned so early that you feel you were born that way.” is not a fact just because someone states this as a fact. You need to back up your statements. So show me some scientific proof that shows that our sexuality is not linked to precondition. For your argument to have any basis you need to show that there is no link.

      If you grow up in a society where the characteristics you are born with are accepted as natural then you might never question what it would be like if you had been born as a minority. You might even think that you were not born that way at all, but that everything about your characteristics came from conditioning. (Of course this argument holds little water when discussing sexuality because of the prejudice against homosexuality in most societies – for example a Dutch survey in 2011 conducted with 10,000 secondary students showed that half of them saw homosexuality as a bad thing (summary in English, in Dutch, in Dutch))
      In the society I grew up as a child, being left-handed was considered wrong and so I was physically punished for using my left-hand to write until three years later another teacher ignored the wishes of my parents.

      I would not wish for my children to be born left-handed not because it is bad, but because I know life is easier if you are right-hand and life is easier because the world is oriented towards those who are right-handed, not because it is innately better to be right-handed. Now before you might think this is irrelevant to this discussion or that it is not a big deal. Five months ago a scientist broke down in tears in front of one of my videos. This art work of mine (a video installation) had childhood trauma as one of its themes. I was surprised to discover that the reason he was so upset was because he had been left-handed until he went to school. He is successful in his field as well as being articulate and a very good communicator. So I saw his response as a healthy sign of sensitivity. He still remembered the pain, the humiliation of being born ‘incorrectly’ according to his parents and the society around him, and although he operates as a right-handed person just as I am ambidextrous for some things, this doesn’t mean that the suppression and self-hate we both experienced as children was a good thing – and I might have ended up with a serious writing handicap if it were not for that teacher.
      No one would choose to be gay, not because it is wrong, but because of the stigma society attaches to anyone who is not straight. So of course no gay person would wish their child to be gay, to suffer, to be humiliated -to use your own words- for not having a “natural correct formation of sexuality.” In fact it shudders me to think that any Bahai would ever think such a thing about a child or a teenager. Imagine the damage to a young person’s psyche if in a Bahai community they heard this? Such thinking is much more damaging that saying gays must be celibate. It is prejudice from a time when segregation was the norm in the United States.

      I didn’t choose to be left-handed and I wouldn’t choose for my children to be left-handed but I know that there is nothing wrong with being left-handed – my differences contribute to a world of diversity. Perhaps without this personal experience of prejudice I wouldn’t be as driven as I am to respond, when I hear Baha’is inflicting pain and suffering on my gay and lesbian Baha’i brothers and sisters?
      Baha’u’llah urges each of us to be “an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression” (Baha’u’llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 93). And in fact it seems to me that one of the main purposes of the Baha’i Teachings is to reduce suffering.
       
      “Our purpose is that thou mayest lift up thy head from the couch of heedlessness, shake off the slumber of negligence, and cease to oppose unjustly the servants of God. So long as thy power and ascendancy endure, strive to alleviate the suffering of the oppressed.”
      Baha’u’llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 168

      So Matt, what I am promoting is the idea that gays have equal rights and responsibilities in the Bahai community and in turn I hope there will be less suffering created by prejudice and a fear of change.


  14. Dear Mat you stated: “During this vulnerable time it is important that healthy images, experiences, and influences are kept to a minimum to ensure the natural correct formation of sexuality develops in a young person. Should the young person be exposed to excessive amounts of same sex interaction, and or perverted images or experiences, the more likelihood the youngster will be programmed to feel that as normal and therefor find that what should be normal… feels wrong for them.”
    I am generations Bahai. When born at a Bahai hospital in Iran the first words whispered in my ear were a Bahai prayer by a Bahai doctor. I grew up with both loving parents in a good Bahai home. The only ‘sexual’ things I saw in my developmental years were heterosexual kissing and g-rated heterosexual sex in movies and tv. And I got TONS of lectures about chastity from Bahai teachers and Bahai books.
    The first time I ever saw two men kiss was when walking in the streets of NYC maybe at the age of 10, and I saw my father look in disgust and spit. So Mat, that’s ALL I ever experienced when it came to homosexuality until way, way later in my teens. I actually didn’t have any full out homosexual sex until my late 20’s.
    So what I am saying is that everything in my formative age was gearing me towards a heterosexual lifestyle: religion, society, movies, straight friends (who shared with me playboys in my teens but no gay porn!) . But guess what Mat? I am gay. And yes, I was born this way.
    So please open your mind. You seem like a nice person, but you really don’t love your dear gay friends if you keep on promoting this type of nonsense inside the Bahai community. I know it’s hard because you want to believe that everything the UHJ says and everything the secretaries of Shoghi Effendi said on the subject must be straight from God, but hey… maybe sometimes we have to listen to our heart and hold up the principles of the Bahai Faith first; not dogma. Cheers!


  15. Good blog post. I certainly love this site. Continue the good work!


  16. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit
    my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted
    to say fantastic blog!



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