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Old 03-11-2013, 06:41 PM   #1
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Jim and pm topic 5

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role-play: pmAgnostic
Quote:
Jim, to me it looks like a big mistake to exclude women from the House of Justice. Among other things, I see it seriously undermining our moral leadership. It contradicts what we've said ourselves, in messages of the House of Justice and statements from the BIC. The reasoning I've seen to explain it looks fallacious to me. I won't argue about that, I'll leave it to people to investigate for themselves. I'll just discuss some ideas about how it might change.

With more open, frank and unfettered discussions among Baha'is, more people will see that it's a mistake to exclude women from the House of Justice. Eventually some of those people might be elected to the House of Justice, and the resulting consultation eventually lead to changing the policy.

Another part of it might be people writing to the House of Justice, and to the Counselors, asking about it. Those questions might eventually lead to members of the House of Justice reconsidering their views about it, either directly or as a result of their consultations with Counselors.

So as far as you and I are concerned, all we need to do is promote open discussions, and the rest will follow.

Best wishes,
pm

Last edited by jimhabegger; 03-11-2013 at 09:14 PM. Reason: to add a link
 
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:49 PM   #2
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pm, first I'll say that personally I'm not convinced it's a mistake.

I understand what you're saying about leaving it to people to investigate for themselves, but I thought the idea here was to show an example of what kinds of discussions people might have. Can we do that here, discussing your reasons for saying that it's a mistake to exclude women from the House of Justice? I can clearly see the moral leadership issue, but why do you say that it contradicts what we ourselves have said, and what fallacies do you see in the reasoning to explain it?

Incidentally, I have another idea for you, if you think the exclusion is a mistake: Take the issue to an agency of the UN, if you can find one that helps resolve religious conflicts, or some other organization or agency that helps resolve religious conflicts.

Jim

Last edited by jimhabegger; 03-11-2013 at 07:09 PM.
 
Old 03-11-2013, 07:37 PM   #3
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role-play: pmAgnostic
Quote:
Jim, I hope I can find my notes on that. I'd hate to have to search for those documents all over again. For now I'll just explain what I remember.

As I remember it, the idea for the exclusion came from a misunderstanding of something that Abdu'l-Baha wrote about a local spiritual assembly. Also, in one verse the word that means "men" in the exclusive sense, is applied to "houses of justice" in the plural. If that really meant that women are ineligible, then they would have to be excluded from national and local spiritual assemblies.

I've seen some messages from the House of Justice, and statements from the BIC, that together imply that it's wrong for women to be excluded from any council, and that that applies to all religions. We are claiming to be an exeption to that, base on a claim to exclusive access to God. Claiming exclusive access to God is explicitly condemned in a message from the House of Justice. Do you see what that does to our moral leadership?

I'll try to find the documents.

Best wishes,
pm

Last edited by jimhabegger; 03-11-2013 at 07:39 PM. Reason: to add some more thoughts
 
Old 03-11-2013, 07:49 PM   #4
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pm, if what you say is true, then another possibility I see is that women really *are* ineligible for national and local houses of justice, but the time hasn't come yet to apply that.

I don't see anything in Baha'i scriptures saying that the BIC never makes mistakes, and the House of Justice doesn't systematically correct every mistake of every institution and agency. It does seem to me though that that would need to be cleared up, if we're confusing the public about that. As long as we're excluding women from the House of Justice, and our only explanation is that according to our scriptures God says so, either we shouldn't be saying that it's wrong to claim exclusive access to God, or we shouldn't be saying that it's wrong to exclude women from councils.

I think we would all need to see the documents and judge for ourselves on both of your points.

I'm considering whether there's any more to discuss. The issues I see are:
- What are the spiritual principles, and how do they apply?
- What do our scriptures say about it?
- How do we interpret and apply what our scriptures say?

In my understanding of Baha'u'llah's purposes and prescriptions, to me it looks wrong to exclude women from the House of Justice. The writings of Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi that House of Justice uses to explain it don't look conclusive enough to me, to override the general principle of equality, as I understand it from the writings. For me, in cases of disagreement, the House of Justice is the final arbiter, and currently it's saying no to women on the House of Justice, but I don't see any way to *know*, in advance, that it can never reverse that decision. I don't see enough potential in that possibility to pursue it myself, but if that's what you feel called to do, then I wouldn't want you to abandon it.

Last edited by jimhabegger; 03-11-2013 at 08:37 PM.
 
Old 03-11-2013, 08:15 PM   #5
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Jim i'm sorry this is just too much for me. When you made a new account and welcomed yourself to the forums, I just ignored it. But now you are having in depth conversations with yourself, as if every critic of the Baha'i faith just happens to have simplistic arguments that you have readily anticipated. While fascinating for the onlooking student of psychotherapy I think it would be more beneficial to just address the topic flat out.

For example: Why does the Baha'i religion, which grew up around Shi'a misogyny, restrict females from positions of power? Why do things like polygamy find their way into the holy writings, though these are deeply rooted cultural practices? If I didn't know any better I would say the Baha'i god is a Shi'a cleric.

These are all the same sides of the issue; the god of the Baha'i faith is just so predictable. From arson punishment to dowry systems, various practices find their way from the surrounding culture into the canons and become somehow legit under great amounts of fluff on the part of Baha'u'llah.

-Zhang
 
Old 03-11-2013, 08:38 PM   #6
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"Why does the Baha'i religion, which grew up around Shi'a misogyny, restrict females from positions of power?"

You mean where examples like Tahirih, Bahiyyih Khanum and Ruhiyyih Khanum are unheard of?

"Why do things like polygamy find their way into the holy writings, though these are deeply rooted cultural practices?"

You mean when Abdul-Baha was monogamous Himself and interpreted the writings as stating "the intention of the law was to enforce monogamy"?

 
Old 03-11-2013, 09:05 PM   #7
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Zhang, I'm very happy to someone objecting to the exclusion besides pm!

I'll respond in the role-play thread to what you said about what I'm doing with it. For now I'll just say that I don't see pm's arguments as the only ones, by far.

Apart from the House of Justice, do you see the Baha'i Faith excluding women from positions of power?

Quote:
From arson punishment to dowry systems, various practices find their way from the surrounding culture into the canons and become somehow legit under great amounts of fluff on the part of Baha'u'llah.
It looks that way to me, too. Precisely. I don't mean that I think of it those terms, but if I understand what you're saying, I agree with that statement 100%.

Last edited by jimhabegger; 03-11-2013 at 09:13 PM. Reason: to correct some errors
 
Old 03-11-2013, 09:55 PM   #8
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role-play: pmAgnostic
Quote:
Jim, I agree with you that as long as women are excluded from the House of Justice, we need to change what we're saying to people about the equality of women and men, and/or about people of all religions being equal partners. We either need to match our deeds to our words, or our words to our deeds.

The issues for me:
1. It's wrong.

As you say, I don't see anything to discuss there. What can I say about that, that everybody doesn't already know? Especially Baha'is.

I'm not sure what good it can do to discuss scriptural issues, because, as I said, all that just looks to me like people making the scriptures say what they want them to say, but if there's any possibility those discussions will help, I'm all for it. I do agree with you that there is some real meaning in the scriptures, and those discussions might help some people to see it.

Best wishes,
pm

Last edited by jimhabegger; 03-11-2013 at 10:04 PM. Reason: for clarification
 
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