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Abdu’l-Baha on religious law and the House of Justice PDF Print E-mail
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The Subject of Boys
Written by Sen McGlinn's blog   
Thursday, 31 July 2014

This tablet by Abdu’l-Baha, dated around 1899, responds to detailed questions, “concerning the wisdom of referring some important laws to the House of Justice.” Abdu’l-Baha replies that, in principle, the Baha’i Faith is similar to Christianity, whose scriptures also specify only a few laws.

The Bahai Faith, he says, has little connection to worldly concerns. Religion’s primary function is to refine characters and bring light in darkness. However the Bahai scriptures do specify some foundations of our religious law, leaving subsidiary matters to the divinely-inspired House of Justice, which can make ‘cultural laws,’ (ahkaam madaniyyih) in accordance with time and circumstance. In Islam, this power was in the hands of diverse divines, resulting in conflicting rules. In the Bahai Faith, only the rulings of the Houses of Justice are binding, and the Houses of Justice change their rulings from time to time. This principle applies to a local, national or international House of Justice.

As for the matter of marriage, this falls entirely within the ‘cultural laws.’

Abdu’l-Baha gives two examples of the advantage of flexibility in religious law: the forbidden degrees of marriage and the punishments for breaches of the religious law. The first should be decided by the House of Justice according to social customs and medical requirements, wisdom, and suitability for human nature (the first three of which are specific to a time and place). Punishments likewise cannot remain the same forever, as can be seen in Judaism and Islam, where the punishments specified in scripture are no longer socially acceptable.

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The Faith is my life PDF Print E-mail
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The Subject of Boys
Written by DV, Gay/Lesbian Baha'i Story Project   
Wednesday, 30 July 2014

I was born and raised in a Baha’i family in Malaysia. I am a 3rd generation Baha’i. I realized that I was different when I was about 13 years old. When I found out that I was attracted to someone of the same sex, my whole world came crashing down. I was devastated and heartbroken because I couldn’t accept the fact. I was scared. I grew up believing that homosexuality was a disease and can be cured.

I prayed to God to send me someone to talk to and He did.

Every day I prayed and asked God to make me normal. He seemed to answer all my other prayers except this one. I became confused. I cried a lot, sometimes crying myself to sleep. I asked God “why me?” but He never told me the reason. I had nowhere to turn or talk to.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 July 2014 )
Marriage law biased, say Baha’i PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Daily Nation, Kenya   
Friday, 25 July 2014
Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi.

A lawyer for the Baha’i has gone to court demanding that the new marriage law should provide for the faith’s followers.

Ms Mary Wanjuhi Muigai on Wednesday argued that the new Marriage Act signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta in April did not cater for Baha’i marriages, separation, divorce, custody and maintenance of children.

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What Do Baha’is Believe? Sexual Orientation PDF Print E-mail
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The Subject of Boys
Written by Maya Bohnhoff, Baha'i Teachings   
Friday, 25 July 2014
Couple holding hands

Question: The Baha’i religion believes that everyone is equal, no matter what ethnicity or gender, but what about sexual orientation?

According to the teachings of Baha’u’llah, we have one duty toward each other — that is to love. This love, the Baha’i scriptures repeatedly remind us, must be universal because God’s love is universal:

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Belonging Before Believing PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Caleb Gilleland, Nine Branches   
Saturday, 19 July 2014

Think big and be inclusive. Remove any cultural barriers between seekers and Baha’u’llah’s message. If always reading prayers out of a book makes seekers in an evangelical Christian area uncomfortable, offer to sometimes say spontaneous prayers they way that they’re accustomed to. If playing John Lennon’s “Imagine” during devotions (this has really happened) makes outsiders shift in their seat, choose music that speaks more to their experience.

In addition, let seekers contribute to the life of the Baha’i community as much as they are comfortable. Short of encouraging them to crash Feast or an LSA meeting, let them know that they’re welcome at every event going on in the Baha’i community. Invite them to serve.

But mostly, just invite people in your community, both Baha’is and seekers, to live life with you. Make friends with them. Invite them out for dinner. Drop by to watch the big game.

No, seriously.

“They that are endued with sincerity and faithfulness should associate with all the peoples and kindreds of the earth with joy and radiance, inasmuch as consorting with people hath promoted and will continue to promote unity and concord, which in turn are conducive to the maintenance of order in the world and to the regeneration of nations.” // Baha’u’llah

We can talk about principles all day, but if we don’t make a real effort to include others in our lives we will never be able to change society. Our local Baha’i communities will lose their effectiveness and stagnate. We can’t afford to let that happen.

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Baha'i Calendar Redux PDF Print E-mail
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Holy days
Written by Idol Chatter, Dan Jensen   
Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Bahá’í Calendar, arguably the least lunar calendar there is, has recently been given a lunar calculation of its own. Because the founders of the Bábí and Bahá’í religions were reported to have been born a day apart on the Islamic calendar (though two years apart), the Bahá’í leaders in Israel figured it would be nice to make this happen on their calendar. To do this, they marked the 8th new moon after No-Rúz in Tehran as the one most likely to be close to the time of year when the two prophets were born, and then had one prophet’s birth commemorated on the first day after that new moon and the other prophet’s birth commemorated on the day after that.

The commemorations will no longer occur on the actual dates of birth on the solar cycle (October 20 and November 12) or even the Islamic calendar, but rather, they will take place on different dates from year to year, as is done with Easter and Good Friday.

Calendars are an important tool for scheduling our activities. A farmer might use a solar calendar to plan a harvest. A Bedouin might use a lunar calendar to plan a journey across the desert. Many calendars are a hybrid between solar and lunar so that they can be used in accord with seasonal and lunar cycles. The Gregorian calendar, for instance, is precisely calculated to remain synchronized with the seasons. It is not so precise with respect to lunar cycles, each of its months being about a day too long to keep pace with the phases of the moon. Still, a Gregorian month can be used to loosely approximate a lunar month.

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World Urges Israelis, Palestinians To Focus Mutual Hatred On Region’s Baha'i Peoples PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Onion   
Saturday, 19 July 2014

"Hoping to quell reignited tensions in Gaza this week, world leaders reportedly urged Israelis and Palestinians to join forces and focus their mutual hatred on the region's Baha'i peoples. International authorities expressed genuine hope that by unleashing their combined stores of armaments and decades-long hostilities upon members of the small and persecuted Baha'i Faith, Israelis and Palestinians could achieve lasting peace in the typically war-torn region."

World Urges Israelis, Palestinians To Focus Mutual Hatred On Region’s Bahá'í Peoples
Last Updated ( Saturday, 19 July 2014 )
Why I Can’t Say Love the Sinner / Hate the Sin Any More PDF Print E-mail
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The Subject of Boys
Written by Micah J. Murray, Redemption Pictures   
Wednesday, 16 July 2014

It’s a special sort of condescending love we’ve reserved for the gay community.

I thought we just needed to try harder. Maybe we needed to focus more on loving the sinner, and less on protesting his sin.

But I’m done. I can’t look my gay brother in the eye any more and say “I love the sinner but hate the sin.”

I can’t keep drawing circles in the sand.

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The End of the 'Mormon Moment" PDF Print E-mail
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Community and administration
Written by Cadence Woodland, The New York Times   
Wednesday, 16 July 2014

You are entitled to your views, but you are not entitled to promote them.

LAST month, Kate Kelly, a feminist Mormon lawyer who had called on the Mormon Church to open the priesthood to women, was excommunicated on the charge of apostasy. John P. Dehlin, who runs a popular podcast on hot-button church issues and has loudly advocated for the church to welcome gay men and lesbians, also was threatened with expulsion. Other Mormons have faced sanctions for participating in online forums questioning the church’s positions on these and other matters.

This crackdown marks the end of the “Mormon Moment” — not just the frenzy of interest that rose (and largely faded) with Mitt Romney’s campaigns for the presidency, but a distinct period of dialogue around and within the Mormon community.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 July 2014 )
Decisions affecting the implementation of the Badi` calendar as of Ridvan 2015 PDF Print E-mail
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Baha'i studies
Written by Sen McGlinn, Sen's Daily   
Friday, 11 July 2014

Editorial, July 10

The Universal House of Justice, the international governing body of the Bahai community, has released a letter detailing three decisions that will allow for the uniform implementation of the Bahai calendar (known as the badi` calendar) in countries that have solar and lunar calendars, with effect from March 21, 2015.

The first decision is that Tehran “will be the spot on the earth that will serve as the standard for determining, … the moment of the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere and thereby the day of Naw-Ruz for the Baha’i world.” The equinox occurs when the planet, in its orbit around the sun, reaches the point at which its poles incline neither towards nor away from the sun, with the result that the northern and southern hemispheres are equally illuminated. At that precise moment, the time of day or night differs around the globe (as at any astronomical moment). It may be noon in one country, and past nightfall in another country. In the Kitab-e Aqdas, Baha’u’llah states that “The Festival of Naw-Ruz falleth on the day that the sun entereth the sign of Aries [that is, at the moment of the equinox], even should this occur no more than one minute before sunset.” The ruling of the House of Justice means that if the astronomical moment of equinox occurs before sunset in Tehran, on March 20, Bahais around the world will celebrate Naw Ruz on March 20. If the equinox occurs when the sun has already set in Tehran, they will celebrate Naw Ruz on March 21, and so on.

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