h1

Bahais are not united in being against same sex marriage!

November 26, 2014
Lord, why do you pile all these troubles upon us? It is because of the gays, isn't it?

Lord, why do you pile all these troubles upon us? It is because of the gays, isn’t it?
Cartoon by Crowden Satz | Larger view

A friend wrote:
“Yesterday during the celebration of the Day of the Covenant, the issue of homosexuality popped up during a talk citing how America is legalizing marriage for gays, state by state. The person giving the talk said this is wrong and that what keeps the Baha’is united from these negative forces is the power of the Covenant.

It was so hurtful to actually be there and hear someone saying that your very existence is not natural and wrong.

No one knows that I am gay. It wouldn’t be easy to come out to the community. I have seen homophobia in many instances. While he was talking, I just sat there holding up my tears…

So dear reader, if you are a Baha’i and hear any Baha’i speak of homosexuality in any negative manner whatsoever, please heed the words of Baha’u’llah below and speak up, not just for the silent gays in your own community but for the health of your Bahai community because any form of discrimination is just as bad for those engaged in promoting it.

The Universal House of Justice in their 27 Oct 2010 letter (link to this) urges the Bahai community not to take sides on the topic of same sex marriage although individuals are free to express their views as the speaker above did. However, when a Baha’i expresses such views in an authoritative manner, as if they are part of Bahai teachings, then it is a problem when no one speaks up in defense of equality or justice, or even the possibility for a Bahai to have a differing point of view on the topic of marriage. I am speaking up here and hope that Bahais, whether they think homosexuality is good or bad, start to stand up for the rights of others because it is essential that we all work toward eliminating discrimination from the Bahai community.

Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression. Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts. Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility.
Bahaú’llah, Gleanings From the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 346

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. “
Desmond Tutu, clergyman (b. 1931)
 

Note on the Bahai Holy Day, 26 November
Bahai Holy days commemorate events centred on the lives of The Bab, Baha’u’llah (both are considered messangers or prophets by Bahais) and Abdul-Baha. Baha’is wanted to add Abdul-Baha’s birthday as well, and instead Abdul-Baha announced that The Day of the Covenant to commemorate Baha’u’llah’s appointment of His eldest son, Abdu’l-Baha, as the protector of the Covenant of Baha’u’llah. The holiday was originally known as the Jashn-i-A’zam in Persian (The Greatest Festival), because ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was known as the Greatest Branch; in the West, the holy day became known as the Day of the Covenant.

13 comments

  1. The Tutu quote had to do with race relations not homosexual marriages, that I assure you.


    • Very true


    • In the debate about Anglican views of homosexuality, Tutu has opposed traditional Christian disapproval of homosexuality. Commenting days after the election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, to be a bishop in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America on 5 August 2003, Tutu said, “In our Church here in South Africa, that doesn’t make a difference. We just say that at the moment, we believe that they should remain celibate and we don’t see what the fuss is about.” Tutu has remarked that it is sad the church is spending time disagreeing on sexual orientation “when we face so many devastating problems – poverty, HIV/AIDS, war and conflict”.

      Tutu has increased his criticism of conservative attitudes to homosexuality within his own church, equating homophobia with racism, saying at a conference in Nairobi that he is “deeply disturbed that in the face of some of the most horrendous problems facing Africa, we concentrate on ‘what do I do in bed with whom'”. In an interview with BBC Radio 4 on 18 November 2007, Tutu accused the church of being obsessed with homosexuality and declared: “If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn’t worship that God.” Tutu has said that in future anti-gay laws would be regarded as just as wrong as apartheid laws.

      Tutu has lent his name to the fight against homophobia in Africa and around the world. He stated at the launching of the book Sex, Love and Homophobia that homophobia is a “crime against humanity” and “every bit as unjust” as apartheid. He added that “we struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about; our very skins… It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given.”

      Tutu has been more supportive on recent years of non-celibate gay Christian clergy, praising Gene Robinson and even writing the foreword for his autobiography, In the Eye of the Storm (2008).He said of Robinson: “For someone in the eye of the storm buffeting our beloved Anglican Communion, Gene Robinson is so serene; he is not a wild-eyed belligerent campaigner. I was so surprised at his generosity toward those who have denigrated him and worse. Gene Robinson is a wonderful human being, and I am proud to belong to the same church as he.” He also wrote to the Revd Grayde Parsons praising the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s decision to allow non-celibate male and female clergy.

      Tutu supported the creation of the Harvey Milk Foundation after being a co-recipient of 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom with Milk and meeting his nephew, Stuart Milk, who accepted the medal on behalf of his uncle. Tutu remains involved as a founding member of the foundation’s advisory board.

      In July 2013, Tutu said that he would rather go to hell than a homophobic heaven:

      “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place. I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this. I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level.”

      The previous Archbishop, Desmond Tutu, stated: “The Jesus I worship is not likely to collaborate with those who vilify and persecute an already oppressed minority […]. I could not myself keep quiet whilst people were being penalised for something about which they could do nothing, their sexuality. For it is so improbable that any sane, normal person would deliberately choose a lifestyle exposing him or her to so much vilification, opprobrium and physical abuse, even death. To discriminate against our sisters and brothers who are lesbian or gay on grounds of their sexual orientation for me is as totally unacceptable and unjust as Apartheid ever was.”

      Former Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane has criticised other African Churches against homosexuality and said that the church’s attention should be focussed on other concerns such as AIDS and poverty. Nevertheless, Ndungane expressed publicly his disapproval of same-sex marriage, when it was legalised in South Africa: “As far as we are concerned as a church, our understanding of marriage is between a man and a woman. And as a church, and the Anglican Church in particular, we have said no to same-sex unions.”

      I’ll have to do more reasearrh on the Anglican Communion in general with specific info on the Angilic Church of Southern Africa in specific since that is the regional church involved in specific.


  2. Homosexuality is a form of sex addiction. The fact that bisexuals are purely and totally attracted to both sexes gives you a hint of its sociological origins. There is not one shred of evidence its biological and even it were, so some psychotic conditions.


  3. If America were on the right course in terms of sexual behaviors there would be no need for the Baha’i Revelation. Baha’u’llah sets the revolutionary standard, no sex before marriage, sex only in a hetereosexual marriage and within the presence of each other. No masturbation outside the presence of your spouse, so no selfish autoeroticism.


    • Glad you noticed the connection with racism in relation the Desmond Tutu quotation Dr J. I think racism is a useful analogy to make concerning prejudice against homosexuals. I doubt the mouse would care if the elephant was racist or homophobic. The issue is that the elephant is standing on the mouse’s tail.


    • That’s not revolutionary. It’s a Xerox of Shia Islam. Shia Islam says Muhammad set the same “revolutionary” standard. I put “revolutionary” in quotes, because reactionary would be a better qualifier. Orthodox Judaism can be added too, because they will tell you that Muhammad Xeroxed Orthodox Judaism just like Bahallah Xeroxed Shia Islam.


  4. I see same sex marriages as a civil rights issue rather than a moral one. My personal morality or beliefs may incline me to choose a certain lifestyle or try to follow a certain code of behaviours but it is role of the State to create civic laws which prevent unjust discrimination. We should beware of moralising on behalf of others.


  5. It can be too easy to come off as moralizing and judgemental when talking about homosexuality as a Bahai, but in the end i dont think its something Bahais should be judgemental againts. Yes, it is forbidden but equally so sex before marriage and maybe even more so contention and backbiting. The laws can feel harsh sometimes on our individual choices but as a Bahai i believe it is decisively important not judge other people as it is their personal struggle and joy to try to follow the laws of God, be it not backbiting, not having sex before marriage or homosexual relations. As for homosexuality itself, one of my favourite persian uncles i think said it most beautifully: just because you are unable to marry and physically fulfill that desire to be close to someone does not mean your love is forbidden. Sometimes loving someone can be much deeper and more intimate through a pure spiritual connection that physical contact. Truly loving someone is never wrong.

    i think the way that the Bahai writings challenge us to be a new humanity of compassion and with less focus on sexual desire shows us the need to think about homosexuality in a new light, it is in its purest form (like any heterosexual couple) a physical expression of love and desire. And God has asked us all as individuals to curb and control thst desire – and we all miserably fail yet continue to try because of love for God. As a community we need to be understanding of that and never discriminate against those who do fail. If we do we create a disunity that could, if not for the power of God, tear us apart.


  6. Homosexual attraction is likely a congenital disorder that influences behavior. Despite its “naturalness”, its expression represents an over-exaggeration of the importance of the sex drive. Behavior can be controlled, and it is not impossible for such a person to have a heterosexual marriage. Every socially-conscious and responsible person should strive to have a successful marriage and produce children, if possible. Outside of marriage the sex drive should be restrained and controlled, and anyone who never marries should remain celibate. Such a level of self-control is quite difficult, but so is restraining the natural desire for food, alcohol, gambling, and other behaviors that have addictive qualities, which if taken to extremes have a destructive effect on the individual afflicted, who must strive to overcome them. The social implications of such an attitude are very important.

    “You write that you cannot explain to a friend why her way of love, homosexual love, is wrong and that your lack of understanding on this point also hampers your teaching efforts. Until there is wide recognition of Bahá’u’lláh as the Revealer of the Divine Will, there is no answer that will satisfy all questioners, particularly one who has a vested interest in maintaining that his behavior is innocuous. Homosexuality has been forbidden by Bahá’u’lláh in His Book of Laws, just as it was forbidden by other Prophets of God.”

    (The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Jun 05, Homosexuality, p. 10)


    • Dear Mehdi, I don’t quite understand your definition of homosexual attraction as an “expression represents an over-exaggeration of the importance of the sex drive”. Do you imply that homosexuals exist because of the lack of self-control? Or the orientation is from nothing but sex drive?

      How about in the case that two gays are involved with love and not having any sex at all? How about in the case that two gays can perform sex only if they get married legally?


  7. In contrasts to the temperance movement style black and white fallcy conservatism of the previous comments, I will just quote The Religious Institute of Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing’s The Religious Declaration:

    Sexuality is God’s life-giving and life-fulfilling gift. We come from diverse religious communities to recognize sexuality as central to our humanity and as integral to our spirituality. We are speaking out against the pain, brokenness, oppression, and loss of meaning that many experience about their sexuality.

    Our faith traditions celebrate the goodness of creation, including our bodies and our sexuality. We sin when this sacred gift is abused or exploited. However, the great promise of our traditions is love, healing, and restored relationships.

    Our culture needs a sexual ethic focused on personal relationships and social justice rather than particular sexual acts. All persons have the right and responsibility to lead sexual lives that express love, justice, mutuality, commitment, consent, and pleasure. Grounded in respect for the body and for the vulnerability that intimacy brings, this ethic fosters physical, emotional, and spiritual health. It accepts no double standards and applies to all persons, without regard to sex, gender, color, age, bodily condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.

    God hears the cries of those who suffer from the failure of religious communities to address sexuality. We are called today to see, hear, and respond to the suffering caused by violence against women and sexual minorities, the HIV pandemic, unsustainable population growth and over-consumption, and the commercial exploitation of sexuality.

    Faith communities must therefore be truth seeking, courageous, and just. We call for:

    Full inclusion of women and sexual minorities in congregational life, including their ordination and the blessing of same sex unions.
    Sexuality counseling and education throughout the lifespan from trained religious leaders.
    Support for those who challenge sexual oppression and who work for justice within their congregations and denomination.
    Theological reflection that integrates the wisdom of excluded, often silenced peoples, and insights about sexuality from medicine, social science, the arts and humanities.
    Faith communities must also advocate for sexual and spiritual wholeness in society. We call for:

    Lifelong, age appropriate sexuality education in schools, seminaries, and community settings.
    A faith-based commitment to sexual and reproductive rights, including access to voluntary contraception, abortion, and HIV/STD prevention and treatment.
    Religious leadership in movements to end sexual and social injustice.
    God rejoices when we celebrate our sexuality with holiness and integrity. We, the undersigned, invite our colleagues and faith communities to join us in promoting sexual morality, justice, and healing.


  8. As a Baha’i who struggled with issues of sexual orientation over the past 10 years, I do have sympathy for gays. Sexual desire is a powerful urge that is determined to a significant extent by genetic, uterine, and social conditions. That is a scientific fact. It is not just a simple choice that people make, like the color of a new car.

    That being said, western society has elevated the sexual experience to ridiculously high expectations, a be all and end all of human existence whether it be gay or straight. The inevitable result is a letdown. People get divorced, relationships dissolve because the ultimate ideal was not what it was set up to be.

    I believe we, in the west, have lost a sense of perspective. Finding the ideal soulmate or the ultimate sexual experience is not the final quest. That goal is encapsulated in the following prayer: “I bear witness Oh My God that that has created me to know thee and to worship thee” That is our destination.

    And as we progress on our way, all of us have obstacles to overcome and if we are looking at other people’s issues we are forgetting our own. People have to find their own way.

    Its not only religious people that try to force us into a certain mold, the secularlists also have their mold. If you chose not to live out your sexual orientation, then you are not being true to yourself, but I disagree, there is a drive that takes precedence over all others.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: