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The Baha’i Faith Compared to Race in American Counties PDF Print E-mail
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Baha'i studies
Written by Alexander Kolodner   
Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Baha'i Faith is a relatively new world religion. Born on the streets of Persia in the mid 19th century, the religion quickly spread throughout the world as a result of organized teaching campaigns in the 20th century. In the United States, the Baha'i Faith is estimated to have about 175,000 adherents.

Yet, analysis of the spread of the Baha'i Faith in America has been tightly controlled by the national offices. In my project, I sought to perform my own analysis of key community areas in order to both demonstrate to the National Spiritual Assembly – the ranking Baha'i leadership in America – the usefulness of open data as well as allow for average Baha'is to compare accessible maps of their community to put their efforts in the scope of the larger Baha'i activities. The maps on this poster are a few of those I created for Baha'i communities across America. For my project, I specifically focused on race within each community as the global Baha’i Community prides itself on being very racially diverse.

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Discussion on Reddit Bahai (Killer Robot Calamity) PDF Print E-mail
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Opinion
Written by TheLurkerSpeaks, Reddit   
Tuesday, 28 July 2015
reddit

I think you're right, but missing a key element. The Ruhi Institute is also integral to the Administrative Order. I've given a few talks to youth about this, which I refer to as my "Killer Robots from Outer Space" talk.

Moving the friends through the sequence of courses prepares them for an event of catastrophic nature (such as killer robots from outer space). When the killer robots come and decimate humanity, we will need to do several things. One is to arrange devotional gatherings, so that we can pray to God together, our only refuge in difficult times. Two is to do home visits. We will need to go to our neighbors to make sure they're okay. Three will be to be able to teach children's classes because the killer robots have burned down the schools. Four is to be able to animate the junior youth, because they're surrounded by all this death and they have a choice - to be a part of the problem (become overseers within the Robotic Army and Binary Cult), or a part of the solution (Baha'i World Commonwealth.)

I, for one, welcome our killer robot overlords.

The themes of the books include having a good understanding of life after death, because there will be LOTS of death (killer being the operative term in killer robots.) It is essential to know about Twin Manifestations, the Writings of the Bab and Baha'u'llah being the source of this Revelation that allows us to rebuild society. Memorization of the included verses is also important, because of course the killer robots have destroyed our libraries along with the schools. Teaching the Cause is essential to bringing people to commit themselves to Baha'u'llah. Walking together on a path of service allows the cycle to continue, training these people to now become a Mobile Ruhi Command Unit and traverse the wasteland to serve the few survivors you find along the way. You yourself need to understand the Covenant (lest you think you're the Messiah with the way people come to you for help) and a Historical Perspective, to know where mankind is going you need to know where its been, and all the mistakes that were made along the way.

Everyone needs to get on board with the Ruhi Institute. Pronto. Before the Killer Robots come.

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https://www.reddit.com/r/bahai/comments/3eoz4s/question_about_a_particular_quote/cth3tkz
 
"… a body of learned Bahais" PDF Print E-mail
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Baha'i studies
Written by Sen McGlinn's Blog   
Saturday, 18 July 2015
Ivan Sakhnenko, The Anatomy Lesson

On a facebook group [The Baha'i Questions Forum], Don Calkins wrote:

Obviously the House of Justice needs someone w/ an appropriate background to explain the Writings to them.” This was in the context of letters that showed the Universal House of Justice’s understanding of Bahai teachings evolving over time. I will give more details below.

I am sure the suggestion was well meant, but I think it is heading in the wrong direction entirely. It is clear that the Universal House of Justice does not always understand the Bahai writings correctly. If there was a guarantee that it would always be correct, the Guardianship would have been unnecessary. The Bahais could simply have elected a house of justice. The understanding of the Universal House of Justice evolves through interaction with the community, and it may at a particular point be not only incomplete but even incorrect. For example, one message written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice on 29 July 1974 says:

It is true that ‘Abdu’l-Baha made statements linking the establishment of the unity of nations to the twentieth century. For example [in the “7 candles”]: “The fifth candle is the unity of nations — a unity which, in this century, will be securely established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens of one common fatherland.

This assumes that “this century” is equivalent to “20th century,” without any basis. It is incorrect, for reasons I have explained elsewhere.

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 July 2015 )
 
Baha'i group buys house near temple PDF Print E-mail
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Buildings
Written by Bob Goldsborough, Chicago Tribune   
Sunday, 05 July 2015
Built in 1921, the brick house had not officially been listed. The sellers were a couple who bought it in 2013 for $895,000, netting them a $305,000 profit in less than two years.

The national organization for the Baha'i faith paid $1.2 million in May for a 2,863-square-foot vintage American Foursquare-style house on Sheridan Road in Wilmette, almost directly across the street from the landmark Baha'i House of Worship.

Built in 1921, the brick house had not officially been listed. The sellers were a couple who bought it in 2013 for $895,000, netting them a $305,000 profit in less than two years.

The house is at the northwest corner of Sheridan Road and Linden Avenue. To the north of the home is a vacant lot that the Baha'is own, and then across the street to the north is the temple.

...the Baha'is bought the home to diversify their investment portfolio.

Glen Fullmer, director of communications for the Baha'is of the United States, said the Baha'is bought the home to diversify their investment portfolio.

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Last Updated ( Friday, 24 July 2015 )
 
The Confederate Flag and the Oneness of Humanity PDF Print E-mail
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Social Action
Written by Homa Sabet Tavangar, Bahai Teachings   
Thursday, 02 July 2015

Just like ... the just-reached seminal decision by the U.S. Supreme Court granting marriage equality in all fifty states, realization of the Oneness of Mankind "implies an organic change"...

As the Confederate flag of South Carolina goes down – literally and figuratively – and others, like Mississippi’s and Alabama’s, and even previously revered collectibles like the famed Dukes of Hazzard General Lee Confederate Matchbox Car, fall with it in rapid succession, many of us stand in awe that such a change is actually happening.

Confederate flag flying over State House in Columbia, SC

While these moves were unimaginable just two weeks earlier, my thoughts inevitably turn to the nine slain worshippers in the Emanuel AME church of Charleston, who deserve the honor bestowed upon martyrs for racial equality and justice. The fact that President Obama broke out in song during his moving eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney attests to how profoundly he, along with a quiet majority of humanity, have been moved not just by the tragedy of the loss of those innocent worshipers, but also by the faith, fortitude, and forgiveness shown by the victims’ families, and by the wider community of Charleston coming together for a greater good that must–absolutely must–be realized.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 02 July 2015 )
 
Closure of the BCCA PDF Print E-mail
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Community and administration
Written by BCCA-CC   
Monday, 08 June 2015

BCCA logo

This is an extremely difficult letter for us to write. We are saddened to announce that, after nearly a quarter century of services provided to the Baha'i community world-wide, the BCCA is closing down all services as of 31 July 2015.

This shutdown includes all email lists and websites that are currently managed by the BCCA. After that date, however, lists for Assemblies, clusters, teaching institutes and groups will be created and maintained under the newly-formed 'bahai.email' domain. Topical lists, such as Baha'i Writers and Baha'i Women will be discontinued. The Daily Readings and Baha'i Announce lists will also continue. Websites for National Spiritual Assemblies will be maintained by a different service provider.

It bears repeating to say that e-mail services to Assemblies, councils, clusters, teaching institutes and specific Baha'i-oriented services will be continued under the bahai.email domain. Additional information as to this transition will be announced as the 31 July date approaches.

Founded in 1992, the BCCA has offered a variety of list services as well as web services to the Baha'i community around the world. These services have been offered free of charge to individuals and the Institutions of the Faith. The BCCA was, and still is being, operated by volunteers. For many years financial support was obtained solely from individuals, whereas for the last few years it was obtained from its sponsor.

Initially, the BCCA responded to a number of the communications possibilities offered by the then rapidly developing Internet and World Wide Web services as well as to the new and increasingly inexpensive personal computer technologies. Since 1992, Internet and personal computer usage have deeply penetrated almost all levels of society world-wide. Over the last ten years or so, wireless and mobile telephone technologies have increased even further this penetration and we all live in an increasingly connected world. New tools and services, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, to name but a few, together with a very ubiquitous use of mobile devices, are creating new and challenging changes in the very structure of society, breaking down communication barriers and creating unprecedented and as yet poorly understood patterns of human behaviour and communications modalities.

As a consequence of all this, the Internet world has become so complex that the demand today on our human resources is simply too great for us to keep operating in an effective way. As you may appreciate, our own volunteers, all of them accomplished professionals, have been devoting their free time and energies to keeping the BCCA services running, some for more than 2 decades.

We wish to thank all of you who have been loyal supporters over the years and who have been patient when we have encountered difficulties. We wish to also thank our formal sponsor and all those who have contributed their own personal resources, financial and material, over the years to the BCCA.

Finally, to all BCCA list subscribers and website clients, we send our sincerest thanks for having used our services over the years. We sincerely hope that they have been of some use to you in all your efforts to serve the Cause of the Blessed Beauty as well as in your own personal spiritual development.

As always, please direct all questions and/or comments to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

With most affectionate greetings to you all,

Co-ordinating Committee

Baha'i Computer and Communications Association

 
"Bahais marry their sisters" - the prohibited degrees of affinity for marriage PDF Print E-mail
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Baha'i studies
Written by Sen McGlinn's Blog   
Sunday, 07 June 2015

This posting will explore the principles and procedures that determine the ‘prohibited degrees of marriage’ in Bahai law. How closely does someone have to be related to you, to be too close for you to marry? The term “affinity” is used to include blood relationships and marriage relationships.

Bahai readers will no doubt ask, why do we need a systematic explanation of this now? It is not as if there is a problem: we do not have a prevalence of first cousin marriages in Bahai communities, our assemblies are not overburdened by requests from fathers wanting to marry their daughters. Our lack of interest in the issue is indicated by the fact that the Bahaikipedia section on marriage laws does not mention the prohibited degrees of marriage. Apparently, we are quite satisfied to obey the civil laws and use our common sense.

However the lack of a systematic presentation in terms that are understandable for people from an Islamic background has given room for numerous Islamic scholars and anti-Bahai web sites to tell the people they can influence that Bahais “marry their sisters.”

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Gay Baha'i man withdraws from faith over its anti-LGBT stance PDF Print E-mail
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The Subject of Boys
Written by Seth Hemmelgarn, Bay Area Reporter   
Sunday, 07 June 2015
Rich Tarpening, left, and his husband, Sean Rayshel Photo: Courtesy Sean Rayshel

A gay California man who's advocated for LGBTs in the Baha'i faith recently withdrew from the religion over its anti-gay stance.

Sean Rayshel, 36, is a third-generation American Baha'i who founded the LGBT Baha'i Twitter account Gay Baha'is United, is co-administrator of the Facebook group "LGBTQ Baha'is and Allies," and heads LGBT Baha'i online site Gay/Lesbian Baha'i Story Project.

A May 2014 letter that Rayshel believes was circulated by Baha'i leadership says, "To regard a person who has a homosexual orientation with prejudice or disdain is entirely against the spirit of the faith."

However, the letter from the faith's Universal House of Justice's Department of the Secretariat also says, "Marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and sexual relations are only permissible between husband and wife."

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Great Lakes naval center dismisses religious volunteers for minority faiths PDF Print E-mail
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Social Action
Written by Manya Brachear Pashman, Chicago Tribune   
Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Great Lakes Naval Training Center has dismissed a number of civilian volunteers who offered services for a handful of minority religious traditions, including Unitarian Universalism, the Baha'i faith, Buddhism, Christian Science, Church of Christ and Earth-centered traditions, also called nature worship.

The ouster, conveyed to volunteers last month, echoed a similar expulsion last May in which Muslim leaders were dismissed. That decision was rescinded a month later, with a caveat that if uniformed personnel were available to lead, volunteers would be asked to step aside.

Critics of the latest decision, including leaders of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit that in the past has sued the Pentagon for ignoring policies that ban mandatory religious practices, said Tuesday the dismissal trounces the recruits' constitutional rights.

"They're basically deciding who are the religious winners and who are the religious losers and desecrating religious protection," said Mikey Weinstein, head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. "This is absolutely establishing religion in direct denial of the First Amendment."

...

But not every religious volunteer affected by the policy change plans to fight the decision. Doug Marshall, 62, of Highland Park, said he enjoyed sharing Baha'i teachings with curious recruits, especially during such an intense time in their lives. He doesn't understand the Navy's motivation, but Baha'i teachings include respect for the government, so seeking court action is not likely, he said.

It was great while it lasted.

"We were their guest," he said. "We're always told to be obedient to our government, and the Navy is part of our government. It's their choice. It's the Navy's game. They invited us up there 12 or 15 years ago, whenever they started having it. It was great while it lasted."

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Selective Truths Revealed: The Case of Iranian Search Engines PDF Print E-mail
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Bahais in Iran
Written by Kyle Bowen, Global voices   
Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Over the past few years, Iranian officials have championed ‘national’ tech development projects (such as the National Information Network (SHOMA) and Iranian versions of Western services), while eschewing foreign platforms like Viber and WhatsApp.

One of the most recent examples of this dynamic can be found in the February 2015 launch of three Iranian search engines: Parsijoo, Gorgor and Yooz. While this was announced in February, it should be noted that Parsijoo was in fact launched a few years ago, and Yooz was launched in early 2010. It’s unclear why the authorities are presenting them as “new”.

Government officials insist that Iranians can use domestic search engines without any disruption from the filtering system, regardless of what terms they search for. The authorities also maintain that these search engines can compete with Google and other Western alternatives.

The results on all of the Iranian search engines were overwhelmingly hostile to Baha’is, with many referring to them as “the misguided Baha’i sect.”

Small Media’s latest report put these claims to the test. We picked six potentially keywords: ‘sex,’ Baha’i,’ ‘Mir Hossein Mousavi,’ ‘BBC Persian,’ ‘Facebook,’ and ‘VPN,’ and searched for them on the search engines mentioned above plus google. Here’s what we found:

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