Community and administration

Entries about Baha'i community life, about Baha'i administration, and about how the two intersect.

Two Baha’i Conferences: Arizona & Haifa

During the short period of time towards the end of December when most are on holiday for Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s the Baha’i community had two significant conferences. Each was separated by half a world in distance and an equal measure of distance in tone. The first was the 26th annual Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference held in Arizona, US between December 23rd and 26th.

This year’s Arizona conference featured the following speakers: David Young, Fariba Aghdasi, Erica Toussaint (US NSA member and previous ABM Propagation), Jena Khadem Khodadad, Kavian Sadeghzadeh Milani, Ghasem Bayat, and Sharon and José Fiero. There were also speakers for junior youth and many performers, including Andy Grammar.

Full story...

NSA of Canada: Two New By-election Members

{josquote}Incremental changes at the periphery, such as one or two new members, provides no real opportunity for change or fresh ideas.{/josquote}

As a result of two appointments by the Baha’i World Center which necessitated a recent by-election, the NSA of Canada has two new members. Borna Noureddin is moving to Haifa to join other Continental Counsellor and Todd Smith will be moving there to serve at the BWC.

Full story...

Under Pressure from FIRE, Northern Illinois U. Finally Recognizes Students for Sensible Drug Policy

...But Double Standards and Other First Amendment Violations Persist

{josquote}This arbitrary standard classifies Christian, Muslim, and Jewish organizations as "religious" and therefore ineligible for funding, while the campus Baha'i Club is funded as a "cultural" group.{/josquote}

DEKALB, Ill., Dec. 10, 2010—Northern Illinois University (NIU) has finally given full recognition to NIU Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) after the Student Association Senate twice denied the group any recognition, which had prevented SSDP from meeting or posting flyers on campus. But Senate policy still denies funding to all "political" and "religious" student organizations. This arbitrary standard classifies Christian, Muslim, and Jewish organizations as "religious" and therefore ineligible for funding, while the campus Baha'i Club is funded as a "cultural" group. Similarly, groups such as Model United Nations are considered "political" while many "social justice" or "advocacy" groups—including student pro-life, pro-choice, antiwar, women's rights, vegetarian, and victims' rights groups—are fully recognized. SSDP came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.

Full story...

NSA applies for a rehearing

{josquote}The Circuit Court is not obliged to grant a re-hearing.{/josquote}

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of the United States has applied for a rehearing, by the full bench of the 7th Circuit Court, of a decision against it in a long-running case in which the NSA seeks the enforcement of a 1966 Federal Court order preventing a Bahai splinter group, the Bahais under the Hereditary Guardianship (BUHG), from using the name and trademark of the Bahais. The present application for a rehearing concerns a group called “The Orthodox Bahai Faith,” in which Franklin Schlatter and Joel Marangella have authority. The two were also main actors in the BUHG. The legal issue is whether the existing injunction applies to the new organisation. The Circuit Court had previously said that it did not, based on doctrinal differences between the old and new organisation.

The injunction arose from a case bought by the Bahais under the Hereditary Guardianship in the 1960′s, claiming ownership of the assets of the mainstream Bahai community, on the basis that the BUHG represented the true Faith. Despite their name, the guardianship in the BUHG is not literally hereditary: the claimant at the time of the original case had no family relationship to Shoghi Effendi, the recently deceased Guardian of the Bahai Faith. The doctrine of the non-literal “hereditary” transmission of the office of Guardian opened the BUHG to numerous claimants to the office, leading to a multiplication of small factions. The NSA’s preceding case, which it lost, covered several of the these groups, while the application for a rehearing concerns only the Orthodox Bahai Faith and its governing body, the Provisional National Baha’i Council (PNBC).

Full story...