Conflating obedience with agreement

Today, Ron House made an excellent point on the H-Baha'i list. He argued that disagreeing with authority was not the same thing as disobeying the law. And he gave an excellent example—that of Baha'u'llah himself. Baha'u'llah openly and publicly disagreed with the Ottoman authorities in his tablets but always saw himself as being obedient to them. I think Ron's point is a knock-down argument.

Ron said:

"But more importantly, no reasonable person in decent civil society confuses obeying the law, or an appointed authority, with being required to never argue that the law or authority is wrong on any issue. The example of Baha'u'llah, who obeyed the Ottoman authorities whilst also criticising the unfairness of their directives, establishes that [the] distinction of the above two things is not only characteristic of decent society, but also of the kind of world Baha'u'llah envisaged. It is no coincidence, given that conflation of agreement and obedience is so characteristic of the modern Baha'i Faith, that the particular content of Baha'u'llah's criticisms (due process, fair laying of charges, rule of law) are also points on which the modern Baha'i Faith fails: each departure from Baha'u'llah's guidance reinforces the other."

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