Thursday, November 15, 2007

On the Baha' Faith: No political clout?

Presbyterian Church bell tower in Arkansas, uploaded on June 30, 2007 by mikmartin on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic

Baha'is are to avoid partisan politics like the plague. This stance honors the importance of unity in the world and is a protection. Some find this position odd, as this pastor does in his final installment of a series of posts on interfaith relations. -gw

There are many who claim to be “Christians” but their world view has seriously departed from the Christian world view. Many pastors and seminary professors fall into this group of people. [Among] the options that such people face:

Become a part of the Baha’i faith. This would probably fit well with their world view. The problem with such a move involves the loss of political clout! The Baha’i church is viewed as a politically irrelevant group and has no political influence.

Pastor Lance, "Inter-faith Relations, One of Many Ways to God or an Abomination to God? (conclusion)," Full Court Presby:Critical look at the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)


Anonymous said...

This view that Baha'is do not get involved in partisan politics is often times taken to mean that Baha'is are not involved in politics at all (thus the irrelevance label). Nothing could be further from the truth.

The world is inherently political. That is to say, anytime you get a group of people together, politics will inevitably be jockeying for a seat at the table.

Baha'is understand this as well as anyone.

The difference for them is that politics which devolves into a partisan shouting match is not only counter-productive but destructive to furthering the realization of their core belief: the unity of human kind.

George Wesley said...

Anon, you make an important clarification. Thank you.

dan said...

thank goodness for "politically irrelevant" groups

Anonymous said...

As Anon observed, the question of Baha'i involvement in public affairs is a bit more nuanced. The Baha'i International Community and National Assemblies frequently speak on issues of principle that in the words of the Universal House of Justice are "aimed at influencing the processes towards world peace, particularly through the community's involvement in the promotion of human rights, the status of women, global prosperity, and moral development." See for a wide ranging number of Baha'i perspectives and **policy** recommendations on different questions.

In another communication, the House of Justice explains that the "aim of Baha'is is to reconcile viewpoints, to heal divisions, and to bring about tolerance and mutual respect among men, and this aim is undermined if we allow ourselves [Baha'is] to swept along by the ephemeral passions of others. This does not mean that Baha'is cannot collaborate with any non-Baha'i movement; it does mean that good judgement is required to distinguish those activities and associations which are beneficial and constructive from those which are divisive."

Anon 2