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Homosexuality – a false dichotomy?

June 7, 2015

” … I feel I can no longer associate with a religion that does not perceive LGBT rights as a true social value,” Rayshel said, adding, “I, as a gay man, find it offensive that my same-sex attraction is primarily summed up to a sex act or a perceived notion that I over-emphasize my sexuality which is seen as destructive and self-indulgent.”
Sean Rayshel in The Bay Area Reporter, 4 June 2015.

Is the Bahai Faith “a religion that does not perceive LGBT rights as a true social value?” At the practical level, that is true except where a Bahai makes it clear that they do not discriminate and that their communities do not discriminate. For the present at least, the Bahai community has something to prove in this respect.
Because of the dominance of the perception of discrimination within the Bahai community, I have to constantly state first that I am for equality for gays and lesbians and only then state that I am a Bahai. Otherwise the person I am speaking to is put off from the beginning. I have so many stories, so many encounters, in which people do a double-take and tell me, “but Bahais don’t like gays” or “Bahais discriminate.” In the Philippines, in the U.K., in New Zealand, in the U.S., in the Netherlands … people have said things such as: “Oh what is the Bahai Faith about, because when I read that you didn’t accept gays, I stopped reading” or “So tell me more – I thought the Bahai Faith was conservative” and “When I read about homosexuality being forbidden I thought it was a fundamentalist church.”

I explain that I am as much a Bahai as the person who told them that gays cannot join the Bahai Faith. Then they learn that the discrimination is not embedded in our teachings. For me it is not so much whether or not a seeker is put off but two bigger issues: that our gay children are not tormented by impossible demands, and that our community practises the essential Bahai principles of justice and equality.

So I understand why Sean Rayshel withdrew his membership in response to the 2014 letter from the Universal House of Justice. As far as I know, letters from the Universal House of Justice, since 2010 (see 2013 + 2010) on the topic of homosexuality put an emphasis on removing discrimination and on Bahai communities not taking sides on the discussion of same-sex marriage. These letters maintain that marriage is only possible between a man and woman, but there is no negative association with homosexuality made in these letters.

In the 2014 letter the Universal House of Justice calls the discussion on homosexuality a “false dichotomy,” using ambiguous wording — but this letter makes it very easy for Bahais to continue to discriminate against our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. My May 9th, blog is a response to the first part of this letter:
The reference to a false dichotomy is here:

“The contemporary discussion surrounding homosexuality, which began in the West and is increasingly promoted in other parts of the world, generally takes the form of a false dichotomy, which compels one to choose between a position that is either affirming or rejecting. It is understandable that Baha’is would be sensitive to acts of prejudice or oppression in any form and to the needs of those who suffer as a result. But to align with either side in the public debate is to accept the premises on which it is based. Moreover, this debate occurs within the context of a rising tide of materialism and consequent reorientation of society, over more than a century, which has among its outcomes a destructive emphasis on sexuality.” (Department of the Secretariat for the Universal House of Justice, 9 May, 2014. The full letter is here)

Perhaps the discussion about same-sex marriage is a Western invention, but I would not assume that non-Western cultures discriminate against homosexuality. (See this link for a discussion of “two spirit” persons, in the context of Native American culture) Is it relevant to know where the discussion about same-sex marriage arose? The vote for women first appeared in the West: the fact that something is a Western invention does not mean that it is not universally a good thing or that it can’t be implemented in the Bahai community. In the Secret of Divine Civilisation, Abdul-Baha demolishes the argument that advances in civilisation are to be rejected just because they come from the West.

The Western phenomenon that is new is the legalization of same-sex marriage. It is possible this is what the Universal House of Justice means by “contemporary discussion surrounding homosexuality,” however what I respond to most strongly in the sentences above is that this is followed by the words: “generally take the form of a false dichotomy.”

The premise for a Bahai should be justice and equity, and I interpret the false dichotomy as meaning that in the public debate you have people who confuse the rights, responsibilities and legal protections to marry and raise children with a focus on sex. So I ask, if the focus is really on sex why would they wish to marry?

The letter doesn’t state what this false dichotomy is, so another Bahai can easily use this statement of the Universal House of Justice to argue that Bahais must not identify themselves as gay because that “affirming” visibility is part of a false dichotomy.

It is also possible to interpret this to mean that Bahais must stay away from the topic of homosexuality, or that anyone who discusses the rights of gays or lesbians is part of the false dichotomy. I think it is not wise to attempt to squash any discussion on the rights of gays and lesbians, and this is why I felt compelled to write my May 9th, blog and the second one on criticism and now this blog. If as Bahais we cannot think and express ourselves as individuals, then there is no free will and no principle of the independent investigation of truth.

If the 2014 letter had been addressed to a Bahai Institution then I would have understood this to mean that Bahai Institutions are not to get involved in the discussion of gay rights in keeping with the Bahai principle of not getting involved in party politics. I could see the wisdom of that. However the letter is addressed to an individual so the implication is that in general any discussion on this topic is labelled a false dichotomy. This appears to be undermining the discussion – the discourse.

When I first read the first page of this letter it made me feel ill. So for me there is no choice. Either critique this letter or renounce membership in the community.

I am a Bahai because of Baha’u’llah’s teachings, so I remain a Bahai. And I think I can do more good working from the inside. The Universal House of Justice is perfectly free to make any policy it wishes. That is the authority the Universal House of Justice has. It can change its policies too, and it has.

Shoghi Effendi wrote: “He [the Guardian] cannot override the decision of the majority of his fellow-members, but is bound to insist upon a reconsideration by them of any enactment he conscientiously believes to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Bahá’u’lláh’s revealed utterances.” The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh by Shoghi Effendi, p. 151.

If Shoghi Effendi can allow for the possibility that the Universal House of Justice could “depart from the spirit of Bahá’u’lláh’s revealed utterances,” surely this means that policies of the Universal House of Justice can be critiqued and even criticized by anyone, because there is no guarantee that what they say reflects the spirit of the Bahai Teachings. These are Shoghi Effendi’s words.

Can someone show me that the 2014 letter cannot be used by Bahais to promote discrimination against our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters? Even worse, might it not be used as an argument to silence the debate? That would mean denying our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters a voice or visibility by shifting the discussion from justice and equality to a supposed “destructive emphasis on sexuality.”

35 comments

  1. I am an out gay Baha’i. I have been all my life. I’ve served on LSA’s and so far have not experienced any prejudice. However, I have struggled with the Faith’s position on the issue. A position that has slowly evolved. For me, the bottom line is the faith is incredibly new…and started in one of the most repressive areas of the world. Our own teachings tell us unity and love are the foundation for all of our actions. This issue has been kick-started by the gay marriage debate. But while there are denominations of Christianity that accept gay/lesbian/bi/trans members and support gay marriage, they are offshoots of a religion that still condemns gays and lesbians. And these religions have had thousands of years to evolve.

    For me, the bottom line is that I do believe in Baha’u’llah’s teachings and that he was the manifestation for our day. And he only spoke of pederasty, I’ve not found another religion that encapsulates the beliefs that speak to my soul (science and religion in harmony – independent investigation of the truth – oneness of religion and humanity. The faith has some catching up to do – but is the youngest of the world’s religions….and the focus has been on racial equality any gender equality. While things aren’t progressing as quickly as I would like…I can only live my life as an open, gay Bahai. Without excuses or apologies.

    Sometimes the only way to affect change is from within. Sometimes it happens slowly and I don’t blame gay/lesbian Bahai’s who are tired of waiting. But for me, the greater good that the Baha’i Faith serves is bigger than me. And as we work to build God’s Kingdom on Earth I have doubt that it will include a much different view on gays/lesbians.

    Allah’u’abha to my gay/lesbian/bi/trans and straight/ally brethren.

    Jeffrey Reddick


    • Hi, Jeff. Nice to see you here again. It’s been half a year between your two posts on this article.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Status_of_same-sex_marriage#Religious_recognition

      Wikipedia maintains a list of religious groups on their recognition, debate, or non-recognition of same sex marriage. The non-recognition section includes Orthodox Judaism, Hassidic Judaism, Orthodox Christianity, Evangelical Christianity, Mormonism, Pentecostalism, Catholicism, Islam, Baha’i Faith, and Sikhism. The debate section contains Conservative Judaism, Mainline Protestantism, Hinduism, African Diaspora religions, Spiritism, Spiritualism, and Japanese New Religions. The recognition section has various Jewish and Christian groups, so I really should mention the separate pages that deal with that in detail. Japanese (as well as East Asian in general) Buddhism, Neo Paganism, Humanism, Ethical Culture Society, Eckankar, Unitarian Universalism, and Raëlism.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT-affirming_religious_groups
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_on_same-sex_marriage

      Wikipedia has articles on LGBT people and Abrahamic religions, Dharmic religions, Scientology, Unitarian Universalism, Voodoo, Wicca, and Zoroastrianism.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT-affirming_denominations_in_Judaism
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_clergy_in_Judaism
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_and_Judaism
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT-affirming_Christian_denominations
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordination_of_LGBT_Christian_clergy
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blessing_of_same-sex_unions_in_Christian_churches
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominational_positions_on_homosexuality#Summary_of_denominational_positions_in_North_America_and_Europe

      Those are the specific articles on Jewish and Christian denominations. Humanistic Judaism, Jewish Renewal, Recomstructionist Judaism, and Reform Judaism are in the recognizing camp while Conservatism Judaism is in the debate camp. Also, this makes up almost all of Judaism as the non recognizing camp i.e. Orthodox Judaism and Ultra Orthodox Hassidic Judaism are a tiny fraction of Judaism. Anglican Communion, Baptists, Calvinists (Presbyterians/Reformed), Lutherans, Methodists, Quakers, etc are the debate camp of Chrsitianty with Metropolitan Community Church as the recognizing camp, but indivudal churches within the debate camp can be in other camps as well. The Anglican Commuion is made of 38 member churches and 6 extra ones that are under the subsections of another one or ones. It has 15 Global North churches that are LGBT affirming and support women’s ordination as well as 23 Global South churches that oppose both.

      There is no denominational break down for other religions as there isn’t such extremes of recognizing denominations to non-recognizing denominations. Hinduism is dominated by individual interpretation across the board in the debate camp. Buddhism is in the recognizing camp via its East Asian Mahayana schools, but is in the debate camp for the rest of Buddhism. Baha’i Faith, Islam, Scientology, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism are in the non-recognizing camp. Unitarian Universalism, Voodoo, and Wicca are in the recognizing camp. Voodoo is an African Diaspora religion and Wicca is a form of Neo Paganism.

      Judaism and Christianity will keep changing in that the debate camp will eventually all join the recognizing camp according to statistics on Jews and Protestants. Buddhism, Hinduism, Unitarian Universalism, Voodoo, Wicca, etc are either at or very close to being part of the recognizing camp. It’s hard to say with the non-recognizing camp of Baha’i Faith, Islam, Scientology, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism as well as some groups within Judaism and Christianity. The recent Moromon policy change to being even more anti LGBT seems to be indicative of this camp either staying the same or getting worse.


    • The Catholic Church outnumbers all Christian denominations in size and stands firmly pro heterosexual–this will never change. My understanding is that the Baha’i Faith has approved in some cases of sex change operations for believers.


    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestantism_by_country

      There are lots of Protestant majority and plurality countries in the world.

      90s: Tuvalu, Denmark, Norway
      80s: Antigua and Barbuda, Sweden, Finland, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Swaziland
      70s: Iceland, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Marshall Islands, Bahamas, Liberia, Namibia, South Africa, Tonga
      60s: Zambia, Barbados, Zombabwe, Botswana, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Central African Republic, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, United Kingdom
      50s: Malawi, Estonia, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Latvia, Lesotho
      40s: Samoa, Micronesia, New Zealand, United States, Puerto Rico, Uganda, Rwanda, Fiji, Honduras, Kiribati, Vanuatu
      30s: Australia, Guatemala, Guyana, Madagascar, Trinidad and Tobago, Nigeria, Switzerland, El Salvador, Angola, Germany, Belize, Grenada, Haiti
      20s: Canada, Mozambique, Tanzania, Nicaragua, Suriname, Gabon, Hungary, Panama, Benin, Ivory Coast, Brazil, Netherlands, Burundi, Cameroon, Costa Rica
      10s: South Korea, Chad, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile, Dominica, Sierra Leone, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Cuba, Uruguay, Mexico, Phippines, Saint Lucia

      Countries that are former British Empire, Commonwealth of Natione, and/or Commonwealth Realm all have higher percentages of Protestants. 90s-50s show majorities, but pluralities are harder to tell from the list due to how the pie chart breaks down in other countries. South Korea has more Christians than Buddhists, more Protestants than Catholics, more Buddhists than Protestants, more Buddhists than Catholics, and a majority without any religion. Lots of secular people in Australia, Netherlands, and New Zealand obscure the Protestant majority among people who follow a religion. Nordic countries and Baltic ones are also Protestant as well as West Germany and some of Germany’s neighbors.

      Also, by 2050, Protestants are projected to become the majority part of Christianity rather than Catholics. So much for your claim of Catholics outnumbering non Catholics will never change. Ever since the 16th century (1500s) Catholicism has been shrinking as a percentage of Christians.


  2. Jeffrey, you are right about the UHJ and Baha’i Faith not changing, neither will the Catholic Church (which outnumbers all other Christians combined) nor Islam and most other world faiths, so don’t pick on Baha’i. As for the born gay assumption, its not proven. First of all there is not one study that proves you are born gay. What would account for bisexuals who are equally attracted to both sexes? How do you account for people, some of my patients, who have successfully gone through therapy and are NO LONGER attracted to the same sex? You can’t deny there are those few like that can you?
    [NOTE from justabahai – Dr johnson you have previously claimed to have cured gays and when asked, it transpired that you said you had cured ONE bisexual and that is all. I will not allow any more of your comments on my blog where you claim to be a professional therapist who has cured gays unless you provide evidence this is the case. Here is a link to why I write the above: https://justabahai.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/choosing-to-be-gay/#comment-929 ]

    Even if you are born gay, many people are born with schizophrenia but that doesn’t mean they are “normal.” If you believe in God’s Manifestation for this day and want the rewards that come with it, you need to stop letting the persistent Satanic self run the show and get into recovery or therapy, along with prayers from those that love you. Good luck in taking the brave step forward Baha’u’llah Himself would suggest.


    • You are right about my personal outpatient practice, only one bisexual. What I am referring to here was my inpatient counseling training experience in Minneapolis, where I helped many homosexuals and bisexuals who were going through treatment there. One of the reasons that homosexual activists bludgeon people into accepting biological determinism with regard to homosexuality is that they must have it. If homosexuality is not in fact genetically caused, they have nothing. Their entire argument, their entire movement, is predicated on the utterly false premise that gayness is the genetic equivalent of race. The foundation on which they stand is their claim that just as no one can do a thing about skin color, so no one can do a thing about sexual orientation.

      Without a genetic causation, sexual preference in behavior is clearly a choice, a choice which no one is compelled to make. And that choice can be evaluated in any number of ways, including whether or not it is good for human health and whether or not same-sex households are sub-optimal nurturing environments for vulnerable young children.

      If homosexuality is biologically determined, then the rest of us don’t have much choice but to accept it as a sad and unfortunate reality. But if homosexual conduct is ultimately a matter of choice, then the homosexual lobby has nothing, because homosexual conduct is clearly harmful to human beings in any number of ways, not the least of which is serving as the leading cause of HIV/AIDS, which can leave young men disease-ridden and destined for an early grave.

      We don’t want that future for anyone. We believe that every human being is made in the image of God, is of infinite worth, and is a free moral agent capable of making life-affirming decisions and refusing life-destroying ones. This is true with regard to sexual behavior, drug and alcohol use, and interpersonal relationships.

      Along comes the Guardian with its piece that blows the entire foundation of the gay “rights” movement completely out of the tub.

      Note just the first three paragraphs and the fifth (emphasis mine throughout):

      “A study of gay men in the US has found fresh evidence that male sexual orientation is influenced by genes. Scientists tested the DNA of 400 gay men and found that genes on at least two chromosomes affected whether a man was gay or straight.

      “A region of the X chromosome called Xq28 had some impact on men’s sexual behaviour – though scientists have no idea which of the many genes in the region are involved, nor how many lie elsewhere in the genome.

      “Another stretch of DNA on chromosome 8 also played a role in male sexual orientation – though again the precise mechanism is unclear…

      “Michael Bailey, a psychologist at Northwestern University in Illinois, set out the findings at a discussion event held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago on Thursday. ‘The study shows that there are genes involved in male sexual orientation,’ he said.”

      The Guardian is hoping readers won’t notice how deliberately and intentionally the paper has purposely avoided any word that might even suggest biological causation. “Influenced by, affected, some impact, played a role, involved.” Not exactly a rousing case for the “born that way” crowd.

      It even gets worse from there:

      “The gene or genes in the Xq28 region that influence sexual orientation have a limited and variable impact. Not all of the gay men in Bailey’s study inherited the same Xq28 region. The genes were neither sufficient, nor necessary, to make any of the men gay.”

      I’m not sure it gets any clearer and less ambiguous than that: “The genes were neither sufficient, nor necessary, to make any of the men gay.”

      One problem all along for gay activists is that even a cursory survey of sexual orientation among identical twins makes the “born that way” meme impossible to accept.

      Identical twins have identical DNA, which is why they are called identical twins. If one has blue eyes, so will the other. If one has black hair, so will the other. If one is tall, so is the other.

      If sexual orientation is genetically determined, then the concordance rate among identical twins should be 100%. If one twin is gay, so should be the other. Alas, the concordance rate, according to researchers Peter Bearman from Columbia and Hannah Bruckner from Yale, is somewhere between 5% and 7%. Oops.

      The Guardian swallows hard, but notes this fact:

      “The flawed thinking behind a genetic test for sexual orientation is clear from studies of twins, which show that the identical twin of a gay man, who carries an exact replica of his brother’s DNA, is more likely to be straight than gay. That means even a perfect genetic test that picked up every gene linked to sexual orientation would still be less effective than flipping a coin.”

      In other words, the genetic evidence for biological causation is so poor you’d have better luck predicting orientation by throwing darts blindfolded.

      Bailey adds, “We found evidence for two sets [of genes] that affect whether a man is gay or straight. But it is not completely determinative; there are certainly other environmental factors involved.”

      We have often argued that environment has by far the largest impact on a young child’s sense of sexual identity. The nature of a young boy’s relationship with his father and with this mother can play an outsized role. Same-sex abuse at an early age can leave a lasting imprint on a boy’s sense of his sexual identity.

      One of Bailey’s colleagues, Alan Sanders chimes in this way: “When people say there’s a gay gene, it’s an oversimplification. There’s more than one gene, and genetics is not the whole story.”

      Bearman and Bruckner put it this way: “[O]ur results support the hypothesis that less gendered socialization in early childhood and preadolescence shapes subsequent same-sex romantic preferences.”

      Another way to put it is that Rick Perry was exactly right, when he said this in San Francisco:

      “Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that. I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”

      It looks like Gov. Perry is the progressive one here, articulating a view that is much more in line with the latest biological and scientific thinking than our friends in the gay lobby.

      I am not persuaded that genes are even a contributing factor – but even if they are, the great news is that if individuals are not biologically predetermined to pursue the homosexual lifestyle, then change is possible as a matter of scientific fact. This leads to one simple, salient truth: there is hope for the homosexual.


    • I hope the day is sooner rather than later when Bahais realise that using the phrase “to pursue the homosexual lifestyle” shows prejudiced thinking and is offensive. How would you feel if your feelings and character were labeled the “heterosexual lifestyle”?
      And with the rest of your comment Dr J. you assume there’s something wrong with homosexuality while I don’t. What I think counts are deeds. For me the issue is not whether one is born with a homosexual or heterosexual orientation but what harm does a diversity of orientation do in society? Prejudice is harmful, yes, but a same sex couple paying their taxes, raising children, volunteering for charities, living life as any heterosexual couple?


    • Justabaha’i, For your information, if homosexual behavior didn’t have spiritual harm both for those who choose this lifestyle and social harm for society, Baha’u’llah and the UHJ would most assuredly have allowed it! Homosexuals don’t live in a vacuum, they in fact model their aberrant behavior to the public, to children and in fact socialize others to its “normalcy.” So they are hurting others but modeling an immoral lifestyle, in the same way the porn industry is with their adverstisements etc. But the Administrative Order actually opposes homosexuality and porn instead of promote it. You can pull the prejudice card or the “homophobic” term, which homosexual sociologists invented, to support YOUR lifestyle, but in your heart you know this is the truth and you know its wrong.


    • Your comment Dr J “the Administrative Order actually opposes homosexuality …” supports my fear that Bahais will use the 2014 UHJ letter in support of discrimination against gays and lesbians, You continue by associating homosexuality with porn but that’s your own thinking.
      You continue with: ” You can pull the prejudice card or the “homophobic” term, which homosexual sociologists invented, to support YOUR lifestyle, but in your heart you know this is the truth and you know its wrong.”

      For a long time I didn’t use the term “homophobia” in response to comments such as yours but now I see it is an accurate term for irrational prejudice. See my blog on “Is there homophobia in the Bahai community? In practise these types of comments are in my view hate speech but it is a deep fear of homosexuality than seems to fuel these types of responses. So in that sense I feel sorry for you Dr J, -that you have such a deep fear of the existence of homosexuality that you see it as your duty to try and wipe it out – so no, deep in my heart I know that my lifestyle is part of the wonderful diversity of humanity and my hope is that as a Bahai I can do some good to help alleviate any suffering or injustice.


    • You don’t know me or my heart, so your assessment is unfair as usual. I actually have love and compassion for the Baha’i who struggles with homosexuality and wants to change. However, with you its different because you arrogantly stand up and criticize our institutions and our beliefs wanting to convince others to follow your twisted line of thinking. For you its a matter of justice, standing up to your claims and defending our precious Faith against the your accusations, its very different than a person who comes to me in therapy wanting to change his lifestyle and follow our beliefs.


    • The difference between us Dr J is that you think there is something wrong with being gay and that you think this is a Bahai teaching. I do not think it is a Bahai teaching that there is something wrong with being gay or lesbian in orientation.


    • Come on justabha’i,

      Here we go round the merry go round, you know the Baha’i Faith is opposed to homosexual behavior and homosexual marriages, don’t make us believe something that doesn’t exist.


    • The Bahai Faith not what you think it is Dr J. Read this blog: https://justabahai.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/bahai-scripture-on-homosexuality/


    • ” U.S.A. Dear Bahá’í Friend, Your email letter dated 11 January 2014 has been received by the Universal House of Justice. We have been asked to convey to you the following. You express concern about the challenge Bahá’ís encounter in understanding and upholding the Teachings in the face of powerful social forces influencing public attitudes towards homosexuality. In this connection, you observe that some Bahá’ís are susceptible to the argument that the Faith must change to keep up with what are perceived to be progressive social values, while some others, despite their firm adherence to the Teachings, are unable to resolve the incongruity between the Bahá’í perspective and attitudes prevailing in the wider society. Your thoughtful analysis of the issues you raise is warmly appreciated. The contemporary discussion surrounding homosexuality, which began in the West and is increasingly promoted in other parts of the world, generally takes the form of a false dichotomy, which compels one to choose between a position that is either affirming or rejecting. It is understandable that Bahá’ís would be sensitive to acts of prejudice or oppression in any form and to the needs of those who suffer as a result. But to align with either side in the public debate is to accept the premises on which it is based. Moreover, this debate occurs within the context of a rising tide of materialism and consequent reorientation of society, over more than a century, which has among its outcomes a destructive emphasis on sexuality. Various philosophies and theories have eroded precepts of right and wrong that govern personal behavior. For some, relativism reigns and individuals are to determine their own moral preferences; others dismiss the very conception of personal morality, maintaining that any standard that restrains what is considered a natural impulse is harmful to the individual and ultimately to society ” . Note the use of the word “personal moralityl”, that dreaded word that you are in denial about.


    • Dr J you quoted the same section of the UHJ letter that I critique on my blog here: https://justabahai.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/critiquing-the-uhj/

      You write: Note the use of the word “personal moralityl”, that dreaded word that you are in denial about.” while the letter states “For some, relativism reigns and individuals are to determine their own moral preferences; others dismiss the very conception of personal morality, maintaining that any standard that restrains what is considered a natural impulse is harmful to the individual and ultimately to society.”

      I agree with the UHJ that a dismissal of personal morality is harmful. You seem to think this sentence means something else and that it is about me or what I write on this blog. Please show me how you think this sentence means it applies to anyone who argues for equality and justice for gays and lesbians. Please refer to the letter and please do not post such long texts again. Just cut and paste the relevant sections.


    • I will answer your question with a question. Do disagree with the Baha’i Faith that homosexual relationships, married or otherwise, but sexual nonetheless are morally wrong, yes or no? If you say Yes you have my apologies, if you say No I stand by what I said.


    • I don’t understand your question: “Do disagree with the Baha’i Faith that homosexual relationships, …” Ask it in the positive to make it clearer what you are asking and also “with the Baha’i Faith” ? I don’t understand this. Do you mean what you think the Bahai Teachings are or what I think they mean in practice?


    • Do agree with the UHJ that any sexual relationship in or out of marriage between same persons is morally wrong? If you say you agree with the UHJ then I apologize. If you say to disagree I stand by my statements and yes they apply to you.


    • Marriage should be a social teaching that is applied equally and justly in a society. There is nothing in the Bahai Scripture to state that marriage cannot be between two consenting adults of the same gender. Dr J you focus on sex, I do not. It is about the right to raise a family and be protected by law. I would not call sex outside of marriage by anyone necessarily ‘morally wrong’ because this is being judgmental and Bahais do not seek to impose their teachings on others. Bahai law as Baha’u’llah wrote is to be applied like a choice wine, to be applied to the situation. There might be a situations where to judge a relationship as ‘morally wrong’ is on the side of injustice, inequality or just plain intolerance. The UHJ itself is not as black and white as you state above. For example common law marriage, depending on the situation, is not counted as morally wrong.


    • If you agree with the UHJ that homosexuality in any form is morally wrong, then I apologize. If you disagree with the UHJ that homosexuality in any form of sexual relationship is morally wrong, then I stand by my statements concerning YOUR immorality. Sorry for the typos on the first statement, just answer this question, no more is needed.


    • Dr J it is your idea that “the UHJ that homosexuality in any form is morally wrong” – please supply me with a quotation from the 2014 letter from the UHJ – just the relevant sentence, where they state that homosexuality in any form is morally wrong. Then I can respond. Your comments imply that you think being a homosexual is the same as having a sexual relationship. It is not.


  3. If the world were in step with proper sexual behavior and were free of all other of its many serious illnesses, there would have been no need for Baha’u’llah to have come to change it!!


    • Society conforms to the laws and teachings of the Manifestation not the Manifestation and His followers conform to the wacky social and sexual trends of society.


  4. “If as Bahais we cannot think and express ourselves as individuals, then there is no free will and no principle of the independent investigation of truth…I am a Bahai because of Baha’u’llah’s teachings, so I remain a Bahai. And I think I can do more good working from the inside. The Universal House of Justice is perfectly free to make any policy it wishes. That is the authority the Universal House of Justice has. It can change its policies too, and it has.”

    Yes. Yes. 1000 times yes. Thank you for putting into words what I’m thinking and feeling.


  5. J wrote I’m a Baha’i who is bi in physical orientation, and in my own lived experience, I find the letter of the Universal House of Justice tremendously *liberating*, rather than oppressive. This Guidance affirms that my nature, at is deepest level, is that of a soul, rather than the socially constructed categories of gender, class, etc. To know that gender and sexuality, while beautiful facets of the human experience, are not the totality of my being is emancipatory, in that I am not obligated to self-define according to someone else’s socially contructed categories – that my essence transcendes these shifting definitions. I’ve felt more exclusion in queer communities than I have in spiritual communities, of multiple denominations. There are many ways too many queer communities send subtle messages of non-inclusion: “You’re not muscular or fashionable enough, you’re not welcome in this gay space. You haven’t read enough Foucault, you’re not welcome. You don’t drink alcohol, this space is not for you. You don’t have the right body type, you’re not welcome.” There is a tremendous pressure to conform to right body image, the right politics, the right brands….and this is called liberation. I recall an experience where I was invited as a guest to a Mormon church, and while I did not hide my political views at the time, I received nothing but warmth, hospitality, and welcome. This was a contrast to my University’s GSA, which was cliquish and exclusionary.
    If you would like you are welcome to share these reflections with your readers, though I would prefer if you did so anonymously – more out of concern for how fellow queer people would respond than the insitutions. I’ll share another example – I went to the Transcending Boundaries conference ( a big genderqueer conference) and was frequently sexually propositioned, to the degree that I felt uncomfortable. When I didn’t respond to some activist’s advances, I was told that I needed to “not be so repressed” – using the rhetoric of queer liberation to rationalize sexual harassment. That has never happend to me in Baha’i spaces, where I feel much safer than in queer spaces. Furthermore, as a person in recovery, I cannot frequent many queer spaces because drugs and alcohol are too prevalent.


  6. D wrote: There is a real dichotomy staring every Baha’i in the face – the gulf between the spiritual principles of unity – of the entire human race and of religion and science – and the reality of what is being taught about, and done to, homosexuals. This is about defining gay people as spiritually sick and obsessed with the material world when all the evidence of science and the lives of so many people around us point to the hollowness of that belief. A class of people cannot be excluded from the Faith without striking at the core of the spiritual principles it espouses.


  7. http://www.narth.com/international/international-federation-for-therapeutic-choice/

    “There is a real dichotomy staring every Baha’i in the face – the gulf between the spiritual principles of unity”–here you go again justabaha’i, your finger pointing at the Faith. Read the “therapy saved my life” testimony on NARTH. Thank God for this science put out by NARTH which counters the pro-gay lifestyle agenda, brought about by gays who became Sociologists and Psychologists and then went about jumping on the race bandwagon, trying to make science reinforce their lifestyles. They wanted to couple “gays” with Blacks, Women and Elderly as a suffering “minority group.” That is no longer the case, with some exceptions of course. Some research shows “lesbians” actually get paid more than heterosexual women for doing the same job. There still is prejudice toward gays or others suffering from various mental health challenges but society does alot more to discriminate unfavorably toward Blacks, women and elderly than gays. Our Faith doesn’t support the discrimination nor prejudice toward anyone, whether they have mental illness or not. hristopher H. Rosik, Ph.D.

    Two recent research papers have introduced me to a body of scientific literature that is highly pertinent to questions surrounding the etiology of non-heterosexuality. This research appears to offer confirmation and theoretical justification for what many Alliance therapists see clinically and what many Alliance supporters intuitively suspect, i.e., that childhood sexual abuse may play a formative role in the development of non-heterosexuality for many individuals.

    The research: O’Keefe, Beard and colleagues (O’Keefe et al., 2014; Beard et al., 2013) procured retrospective data from 1,178 anonymous adult men who were students, faculty, and staff at two West Virginia universities as well as other men from the same area who had completed their educations. The sample was young (mean age of 21) and generally well-educated. Participants in the study anonymously responded via computer measures of depression, intimacy, sexual satisfaction, conflict between sexual partners, hypersexuality and risky sexual behavior, and same-sex and opposite-sex orientation. I will focus on the findings relevant to the origins of same-sex attractions and behaviors, but readers interested in the other findings are encouraged to consult the sources directly.

    Results and Interpretation: These researchers focused on brother-brother incest (BBI) and sister-brother incest (SBI), but also assessed participants’ experiences of child sexual abuse from an adult male (CSA-AM) and child sexual abuse from an adult female (CSA-AF). O’Keefe et al. (2014) provide a clear and helpful summary of the findings and their significance. I will quote the authors at length below to establish that I am not taking the researchers out of context and because I believe they state their case very well. However, I will omit the multitude of scholarly journal citations they provide to buttress their viewpoint.

    The powerful effect of same-sex sibling incest as a predictor of adult same-sex orientation and of course same-sex CSA by adult males in our participants reported by Beard et al. (2013) and same-sex orientations in victims of sister-sister incest provide critical period learning, sexual imprinting, and conditioning explanations for three phenomena used in the past to support claims that there is a genetic basis or other biological basis for same-sex orientations: concordance of sexual orientations between twins, an increase in same-sex orientations among men with older brothers, and earlier puberty in gay men than in heterosexual men. Concordance of sexual orientations among identical twins is easily explained by the high likelihood of incest between the twins and the effect of same-sex incest on adult orientation. The higher incidence of same-sex orientations in men with older brothers is also easily explained by incest between the two brothers having a more profound effect on the younger brother because of critical period learning. As shown by results from the present study, the earlier onset of puberty in gay men is easily explained by a stronger early sex drive (driven by rising levels of testosterone) and by their sexual behaviors with the only sexual partners that young males have easy access to, other males.

    Furthermore, the participants in our study who were victims of SBI and who also had early sexual experiences with males had a high interest in sex with both males and females as adults, a finding consistent with the idea that their early experiences produced coexisting same-sex and heterosexual preferences in women. Our findings definitely did not provide any evidence that could be interpreted as supporting a genetic basis for sexual orientation, because many victims of SBI subsequently engaged in early sexual experiences with male partners, and others became victims of SBI subsequent to or in the same year as early sexual experiences with male partners. Additionally, the adult sexual orientations of those participants who were victims of SBI and who also had early experiences with male partners reflected conditioning of both male-male and heterosexual orientations, a finding consistent with the idea that both co-existing orientations arose from conditioning occurring in the critical period and the idea that male-male and male-female sexual orientations are orthogonal. (pp. 28-29).

    The researchers summarize their conclusions by stating:

    “…to our knowledge, ours is the first study to provide evidence of counter-conditioning that occurred during the critical period for learning sexual preferences and more-or-less contemporaneously with same-sex conditioning trials. Based on data from the present stud[ies]…same-sex and heterosexual conditioning experiences during the critical period for learning sexual preferences appear to explain a major portion of the development of adult sexual orientations and also the immutability of those sexual preferences once adulthood has been reached. (p. 29)

    Observations. As alluded to in the final sentence above, O’Keefe et al. (2014) downplay the potential implications of their findings and the conditioning paradigm for the potential of sexual orientation change in adolescents and adults. It would be of interest to know if this is what they genuinely believed or if they knew that making such statements would be the only way their research could survive the review process and be published. They appear to view such change as limited by the same developmental factors that can give rise to sexual orientation, concluding that, “…sexual imprinting working in concert with Pavlovian conditioning and operant conditioning is the mechanism that explains the powerful tendency of same-sex sibling incest or non-incestuous early experiences with same-sex partners to produce permanent adult same-sex or bisexual orientations in the victims” (p. 3).

    Yet while this theory may help explain the relative endurance of sexual orientation across time for some individuals, the authors rely heavily on animal studies of sexual imprinting for their theoretical rationale. There is considerable debate about the limitations and validity of basing models of human sexuality on animal research (Barron & Brown, 2012). The role of human agency in sexual orientation change is likely undervalued in this theoretical approach, as is certainly suggested by the reports of both spontaneous and therapeutically assisted change that have been documented. The role of later conditioning experiences is also minimized, such as the pairing of gay pornography with masturbation in adolescence and early adulthood that some men report have altered their sexual arousal patterns. Thus, I believe that caution rather than pessimism about change in sexual attractions would have been a more reasonable conclusion for these researchers to have made.

    Another feature of this research that I take some issue with is the authors’ tendency to subsume all developmental pathways to sexual orientation into the conditioning model. Clearly they have made a strong scholarly case for the role of conditioning at key developmental stages in the development of sexual orientation (see also for example Bickham et al., 2007; Hoffmann, 2012; and Pfaus et al., 2012). However, this falls short of an all-encompassing explanation and the authors seem unaware of other potential developmental influences. Moreover, they appear to assume that same-sex and opposite-sex orientations are equally malleable and subject to conditioning and imprinting. They are silent on what they might view as a normative developmental pathway for the non-traumatized individual. However, both sexual complementarity and human experience suggests that, absent developmental obstacles, biological priming and gender identity developmental processes (e.g., identification with the same-sex parent) should favor the development of an opposite-sex orientation.

    Given that this was a convenience sample (albeit a fairly large one) and analyzed through correlation, definitive causal statements or prevalence rates in the general population cannot be offered. Further research is clearly in order before the plausible theoretical pathway from childhood abuse to sexual orientation can be more firmly established. In spite of these limitations, O’Keefe et al (2014) and Beard et al. (2013) have made an important contribution to the literature in questioning the presumed dominant role of biological and genetic factors in the development of non-heterosexuality. The fact that this research goes unmentioned in public discussions on sexual orientation suggests that it supports an unwelcome narrative on the potential formative role of childhood sexual victimization in the development of non-heterosexuality. This is reason enough to believe these findings have important validating implications for clinicians who assist clients pursuing change in their unwanted same-sex attractions and behaviors.

    References

    Barron, A. B., & Brown, M. J. F. (2012, August 9). Let’s talk about sex. Nature, 488, 151-152.
    Beard, K. W., O’Keefe, S. L., Swindell, S., Stroebel, S. S., Griffee, K., Young, D. H., & Linz, T. D. (2013). Brother-brother incest: Data from an anonymous computerized survey. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 20, 217-253. doi: 10.1080/10720162.2013.807483.
    Bickham, P. J., O’Keefe, S. L., Baker, E., Berhie, G., Kommor, M. J., & Harper-Dorton, K. V. (2007). Correlates of early overt and covert sexual behaviors in heterosexual women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36, 724-740. doi: 10.1007/s10508-007-9220-1
    Hoffmann, H. (2012). Considering the role of conditioning in sexual orientation. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41, 63-71. doi: 10.1007/s10508.012.9915-9
    Pfaus, J. G., Kippin, T. E., Coria-Avilla, G. A., Gelez, Helene, Afonso, V. M., Ismail, N., & Parada, M. (2012). Who, what, where, when (and maybe even why)? How the experience of sexual reward connects sexual desire, preference, and performance. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41, 31-62. doi: 10.1007/s10508-912-9935-5
    O’Keefe, S. L., Beard, K. W., Swindell, S., Stroebel, S. S., Griffee, K., & Young, D. H. (2014). Sister-brother incest: Data from anonymous computer assisted self interviews. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 21, 1-38. doi: 10.1080/10720162.2013.877410


  8. B wrote:
    I read the reference to false dichotomy quite differently. My reading is that the House is saying that society forces a person to choose between one of two alternatives – as if only those two options exist (hence the false dichotomy) = “either affirming or rejecting.”
    My personal understanding and my personal experience is that if a person does not 100% accept all things same-sex, there is but one alternative – one is forced into the corner of hate, homophobia, and all the rest. If you don’t accept it all, you are all those other things at the other extreme. And that’s my understanding of the false dichotomy.


    • No Baha’i should have prejudice or “hate” toward anyone (mental health patients, homosexuals, bisexuals, transexuals or ex-prisoners etc.). Nor should we have any phobia towards any person. I am certainly am not suggesting this but you know that. In a nutshell, its important for us to separate the behavior (e.g. homosexual) which we disagree with from the person who is performing this behavior.


  9. In light of the SCOTUS decision, I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic in relation to my own Faith. Marriage is a religious institution, and from my understanding, one of the purposes is for the sake of procreation in order that children may be raised in the Faith to promulgate the teachings of Baha’u’llah. Thus, I can understand the continued position of the UHJ that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. As sexual relations should only occur within marriage, it would also stand that any sexual contact outside of a marriage between a man and a woman would also not be permitted. It is also true, that marriages did not always come with government benefits or health insurance or tax breaks. To me, that is the corruption of marriage and the elimination of separation of church and state. Thus, it is not the government’s job to say whether marriage could occur between couples of the same sex or couples of the opposite sex.

    Having gay friends, the decision and choice to declare these very personal passions is not one that comes lightly due to fear of judgement, scorn and derision. It is in the tenets of the Faith that everyone should be met with love. This does not mean blind acceptance or lack of questioning. As a seeker, it seems you have done everything correctly in questioning those beliefs and seeking guidance from the highest place in the Faith on Earth. You have sought an answer to a complex question and it is true that as humans we are imperfect and have only a glimmer of the knowledge of all creation.

    We are all tested in this life. We are called to overcome these tests. This is not easy. Success is not guaranteed. I’m sure we have all gone against the teachings. We are fallible and human and imperfect. This is between ourselves and our creator and our constant seeking for knowledge and answers to prepare our spirits for the next life. Whatever your journey, please know that as a fellow Baha’i, I will not judge. I will continue to think and seek on this for you and the others who are in the same position.


  10. thanks for your comments Lindsay, You wrote that one of purposes of marriage was ” is for the sake of procreation in order that children may be raised in the Faith to promulgate the teachings of Baha’u’llah.”

    The actual text is addressed to monks stating that the days of abstinance from a married life and raising a children are over. I interpret the “mention of Me” as referring to God not specifically to Bahaú’llah.

    “Say: O concourse of monks! Seclude not yourselves in your churches and cloisters. Come ye out of them by My leave, and busy, then, yourselves with what will profit you and others. Thus commandeth you He Who is the Lord of the Day of Reckoning. Seclude yourselves in the stronghold of My love. This, truly, is the seclusion that befitteth you, could ye but know it. He that secludeth himself in his house is indeed as one dead. It behooveth man to show forth that which will benefit mankind. He that bringeth forth no fruit is fit for the fire. Thus admonisheth you your Lord; He, verily, is the Mighty, the Bountiful. Enter ye into wedlock, that after you another may arise in your stead.

    (Baha’u’llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 49)

    and another text from Baha’u’llah makes the context that this is addressed to monks and intended as encouragement not a rule or command that everyone must marry.

    “The eighth Glad-Tidings The pious deeds of the monks and priests among the followers of the Spirit… In this Day, however, let them give up the life of seclusion and direct their steps towards the open world and busy themselves with that which will profit themselves and others. We have granted them leave to enter into wedlock that they may bring forth one who will make mention of God, the Lord of the seen and the unseen, the Lord of the Exalted Throne.”

    (Baha’u’llah, BISHARAT(Glad-Tidings),Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 24)

    Lindsay you continue:
    Thus, I can understand the continued position of the UHJ that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

    I do not see the reasoning here because as I read Baha’u’llah, monks (and by implication all of humanity) have been given leave or the option to marry so they may have children. It is not a rule. If it was a rule then the elderly or the infertile would not be allowed to marry. Obviously gays and lesbian can and do have children, so I do not see the argument if this is one against same-sex marriage.

    You wrote: It is also true, that marriages did not always come with government benefits or health insurance or tax breaks. To me, that is the corruption of marriage and the elimination of separation of church and state. Thus, it is not the government’s job to say whether marriage could occur between couples of the same sex or couples of the opposite sex.

    Yes marriage used to be decided by the parents and then the man virtually owned the wife. So I agree marriage has changed.
    I see your point on the separation of church and state but then the only option here would be to have civil union for everyone to continue the role government has in protecting its citizens and future citizens. If there was no government institution such as marriage or civil union then the government couldn’t hold partners responsible for each other. In my view this is the cruelest aspect in denying marriage or the equivalent. It means that if a partner is ill or dies then their partner is responsible. See if you can keep a dry eye watching the 2009 film, A Single Man (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Single_Man)

    So if government is not allowed to determine who is legally married or not, how else can spouses or children be protected and cared for? It seems that you see this as a tax break while I view this as being both about responsibility and rights and the government gets a good bargain out of this because partners are cheaper than hiring caregivers or giving social welfare.
    You end with:
    It is in the tenets of the Faith that everyone should be met with love. This does not mean blind acceptance or lack of questioning. As a seeker, it seems you have done everything correctly in questioning those beliefs and seeking guidance from the highest place in the Faith on Earth. You have sought an answer to a complex question…

    I think that you may have misread my blog. The 2014 letter from the UHJ was not addressed to me and for me, my guidance is my conscience and my attempts to understand Baha’u’llah, Abdul-Baha and Shoghi Effendi better. The UHJ has authority to rule and make policy but they may not interpret and so they cannot tell me how to think or what to believe. This is why I am critiquing this letter because to me it does not fit with what I know of the teachings of Baha’u’llah. The UHJ has also not told anyone they must not think for themselves or express their own views, and the UHJ encourages Bahais to study the Bahai writings for themselves. I suggest you look at this blog on Bahai Scripture.
    https://justabahai.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/bahai-scripture-on-homosexuality/


    • One thing JustaBahai doesn’t understand fully is that the UHJ statements carry the same weight as Baha’u’llah’s, you can’t separate the two! When they speak its Him speaking!


  11. Perhaps what Adbul-Baha wrote might help here Dr J.
    “Whatsoever they decide has the same effect as the Text itself. Inasmuch as the House of Justice hath power to enact laws that are not expressly recorded in the Book and bear upon daily transactions, so also it hath power to repeal the same.
    Thus for example, the House of Justice enacteth today a certain law and enforceth it, and a hundred years hence, circumstances having profoundly changed and the conditions having altered, 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)

    For me it is clear that not being part of the “Text” means that the policies of the UHJ are not the same as Bahai Scripture. Shoghi Effendi makes it even clearer that UHJ policies are intended to change: …the machinery of the Cause has been so fashioned, that whatever is deemed necessary to incorporate into it in order to keep it in the forefront of all progressive movements, can, according to the provisions made by Bahá’u’lláh, be safely embodied therein.”
    (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 22)


  12. Doctor. First of all Baha’i’s don’t believe in a “Satanic self,” so please do try and keep your old world views from hindering you seeing the wonderful words of our faith, which is dedicated to unifying all of mankind.

    Two points that always seem to be thrown up:

    1) You’re gay because you were molested. (We’ll discuss that in minute.)
    2) Hate the sin, but love the sinner. (That is a Christian teaching…not a Bahai teaching. More on that too.)

    Now the new idea that a cabal of homosexuals are becoming psychologists to try and get society to normalize homosexuality is a conspiracy theory that actually made me smile. If anything, I’ve seen more proof that the hard-core people who are the most ardently anti-gay are the ones who get caught doing gay things.

    In truth, you can find enough scientists in a world filled with 7.3 billion people to back up any theory. Many religious scientists don’t believe in evolution, or climate change….even though it’s a proven fact. Most of these scientists are driven by religious convictions over scientific proof. Some will argue they have scientific proof that dinosaurs and humans roamed the earth together. These same scientists killed astronomers for not believing the earth was flat and the center of the universe. And while there hasn’t been a smoking pink gene that proves that people are born 100% gay, the majority of scientists agree that there is a strong genetic component to sexual orientation. And there is a Kinsey scale, where some people are 100% gay, 100% straight and some people fall in the middle.

    Of course one can try to argue that the majority of scientists are trying to be PC….or are secretly gay. But true science doesn’t bend to the whims of being PC or religion.
    And among the brilliant teaching of our faith is that God gave us science to bolster faith. Not faith to disregard science.

    The idea that most gay and lesbians were molested is an outdated and erroneous claim. I find it fascinating that most of these studies always focus on men and homosexuality. It’s because this theory doesn’t work when applied to women. So, most gay men were molested by men, but most lesbians weren’t molested by women. The reason it’s taken a “special” group of “brave” scientists to make this connection is because the majority of the scientific world doesn’t back this theory.

    I’ve known people who have conducted, and been through, reparative therapy. Some have been going to doctors and groups since college. The doctors and patients all say the same things….they’ll admit they’ve represses their feelings…but they haven’t gone away. In layman’s turns, they’re still gay, they just fight it.

    Of course, anyone who is taught since birth that if they’re gay, they’re a deviant, perverted, hellbound and an abomination in the eyes of God – they’re going to want to change. Who wouldn’t have issues being raised in that kind of society?

    But the ideas that people, especially in places like Iran, where gay men are thrown off building, tortured and hung, would chose to be gay, just cuz…is ludicrous. If it were a choice, they’d chose to be straight and be alive…instead of being gay and dead. And if you’re Christian, you’d chose to be straight and not burn in hell for eternity instead of being gay.

    My heart goes out to the people who struggle with this issue. Even the ones who make erroneous claims. And much love to those, like me, who don’t struggle at all. I know to the core my being that I am good with God. I have lived a blessed and loved life… and Baha’u’llah’s love shines down on me…and my gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight brothers and sisters. The Faith has evolved in its stance that this is something that can be changed for everyone through prayer and therapy.
    Now, I do realize we are asked to abstain from sex. That is the only hard core fact we are left with today.

    We are also told that any prejudice against gay people is wrong. People like to bring the prejudices from their old religions to ours in certain areas. And the “love the sinner and not the sin” is a Christian teaching, not a Baha’i one. The Baha’i Faith is clear….love all of humanity. And as long as a gay person isn’t actively doing something to undermine the faith publicly….then make sure your house is in order and don’t worry about them. And no…me saying I’m gay isn’t undermining the faith.

    I am life-long out gay Bahia, who’s taught youth classes, Ruhi courses and been on numerous NSA’s. It’s never been a problem. It never will be. And I only speak to let people know that they’re not alone. They can love themselves, be themselves and proudly call themselves a Baha’i.

    Much love and respect to all.
    Jeffrey Reddick



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