A young black man, Nicholas Thomas was gunned down on March 24, 2015. Iraj offers a few Baha'i prayers on healing and justice ... and ultimate forgiveness of those who repent in this gathering of family and friends of Nicholas in Smyrna, Georgia on March 31, 2015.
I came out of the closet November 4, 2010, at age 24.
I’ve been gay, however, since as far back as I can remember.
I first learned about the Baha’i Faith from a Persian classmate at my high school in Auburn, Maine. We’re best of friends 15 years later, still.
What concerns me are the contradictions within the guidance of the Baha’i Faith and how that affects what is, in all other respects, the most accepting, loving and global community I’ve ever known.
She invited me over to her family home for a devotional. There, I met friends from around the world from various faiths, races and backgrounds. This diversity was intoxicating in my humble, if not sheltered, hometown of 30,000 people. I was awe-struck by the oneness that I felt at the devotional. There were songs, prayers, food and fellowship. I went back every Thursday after and became a Baha’i seven years later. It has informed, guided and enriched my life in every way imaginable.
Written by Heidi A. Campbell and Drake Fulton, Social Media and Religious Change / Bahai Library Online
Thursday, 19 March 2015
Bahá'í Negotiation with the Internet
If the blogger who makes negative claims happens to be a practising Bahá’í, he/she can be labelled as a covenant-breaker and shunned by the community.
The negotiation of new forms of media by religious groups is a dynamic and complex process that involves decision-making engaging the history, tradition and beliefs of the community. This negotiation process is especially complex for bounded religious communities, which establish rigid social and value-laden boundaries allowing them to create and maintain a unique and separate cultural system. Observing how members of bounded religious communities interact with the Internet enables us to consider how some groups resist the fluidity of networked relations and instead use technology to maintain closed social structures and solidify their unique identities. This is clearly seen in the case of the Bahá’í faith, especially in the patterns of use and limits American Bahá’ís have developed to engage with the Internet. By using the Religious Social Shaping of Technology approach, developed by Campbell (2010), as a lens to explore the challenges and choices made by the Bahá’ís, this process of technological negotiation is unpacked.
Albert Einstein endures as “the quintessential modern genius” for his seminal contributions to science, but he was also a great champion of human rights. In fact, despite having taken a backseat to his scientific legacy, Einstein’s strong humanistic and political convictions are no less notable and revolutionary amid the assumptions of his era. Nowhere do they shine more brilliantly than in his lesser-known exchanges with people of radically different backgrounds and beliefs, always deeply thoughtful, irrepressibly respectful, and driven by an earnest desire for mutual understanding and encouragement — including his conversation with the Indian philosopher Tagore about science and spirituality, his correspondence with Freud about violence, peace, and human nature, and his letter to a little girl in South Africa on why her gender shouldn’t hold her back from pursuing science.
Some might assume that Einstein’s compassionate outlook and unflinching commitment to equality were shaped by his own experience of being on the receiving end of history’s deadliest anti-Semitism. When Hitler took over Germany on January 30, 1933 — twelve years after Einstein earned the Nobel Prize, which had already exposed him to anti-Semitism — he had just left Berlin with his wife Elsa to spend their third winter at CalTech, where Einstein had been invited as visiting faculty. The trip may well have saved his life — mere months later, the situation in Germany became inhumane, then gruesomely lethal, for Jews.
[Source: ‘A difficult case: Beyer’s categories and the Bahá’í Faith’ in Social Compass 50(2),2003, 247-255]
Margit Warburg has presented data showing that the Bahá’í community of Denmark represents an excellent case of Beyer’s 'liberal option' in its response to globalisation" She also claims, incorrectly, that the Bahá’í Faith has the "ultimate aim of merging political and religious institutions." The Baha’i Faith represents a paradoxical example in terms of Beyer’s categories. Its values include relativism, pluralism, globalisation, a cosmopolitan ethic and democratic government. But it also seeks to give political and legal effect to these religious values, for instance by supporting the United Nations and advocating a world court. Beyer considers that a religious movement which seeks to have religious norms enshrined in legislation has adopted the 'conservative option' in response to globalisation. Is this a useful categorisation, when the religious norms are liberal and the stage on which they are to be implemented is global?
The jury chosen to decide the death penalty case against accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev includes 18 people from across the socioeconomic spectrum, but the group is almost exclusively white.
...[one juror] said his mother was born in Iran and converted from Islam to the Baha'i faith.
Race has been an issue raised by Tsarnaev's defense during four unsuccessful attempts to move the death penalty trial from Boston. His attorneys argued that the way the court issues jury summons led to picking a panel that's older and whiter than the community at large. But prosecutors argued that the jury had been picked properly. And now, the trial is set to begin Wednesday.
THE National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is in Swaziland has come to clearly articulate its stand with regards to contraceptives and condoms for children.
In a statement sent to the Swazi Observer yesterday, the Baha’i Faith stated that it was far from encouraging or even condoning sexual intimacy among children and even adults, saying the Baha’i faith urged chastity and abstinence.
This follows an article carried by the Swazi Observer recently where representatives from the Baha’i Faith stated during the Global Day of Prayer and Action for Children that it would protect the rights of the child by ensuring that children had access to contraceptives and condoms so that they could choose to have children or avoid unwanted pregnancies.
Condoms for children have no place in this endeavour
However, the Baha’i have come to disassociate itself with such a statement.
"Just over a year after arriving in Baghdad, Bahá’u’lláh withdrew to the mountainous wilderness of Kurdistan, where He lived alone for two years. He spent His time reflecting on the implications of the divine purpose to which He had been called."
- Solitude in the mountains of Kurdistan
Possible sources of images of the cave, and the area Baha'u'llah withdrew to: