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Old 05-04-2017, 01:18 PM   #1
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Persecution of our Jehovah's Witnesses friends

Dear all

Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) are Christians that, like Bahai, have been persecuted since mid XIX centurty and right now, as I write this, are subject to active persecution by the Russian government.

The JW, like the Bahai, stress the oneness of God, the distinction between God and Jesus as Manifestation of God, and the spiritual (not physical) resurrection of Christ. Like the Bahai, they have no clergy, are overtly pacifist and do not actively seek political power. My mother is currently a JW and now I am now sharing with her my interest in the Bahai Faith.

Please read the related article and include them in your prayers.
Preserving liberties of every human being around the world is something that concerns us all.

https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...in-persecution

Last edited by camachoe; 05-04-2017 at 01:21 PM.
 
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Old 05-04-2017, 03:54 PM   #2
Jcc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
Dear all

Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) are Christians that, like Bahai, have been persecuted since mid XIX centurty and right now, as I write this, are subject to active persecution by the Russian government.

The JW, like the Bahai, stress the oneness of God, the distinction between God and Jesus as Manifestation of God, and the spiritual (not physical) resurrection of Christ. Like the Bahai, they have no clergy, are overtly pacifist and do not actively seek political power. My mother is currently a JW and now I am now sharing with her my interest in the Bahai Faith.

Please read the related article and include them in your prayers.
Preserving liberties of every human being around the world is something that concerns us all.

https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...in-persecution
Camacho,

You are right it is sad and tragic that Russia has decided to persecute and ban Jehovah's Witnesses. They have done nothing to deserve it, and are no harm to any government, since they strictly avoid politics.
 
Old 05-04-2017, 11:12 PM   #3
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Greetings Camachoe,

Religious persecution is often founded on fear. If any government has any concerns over the way followers of any religious community practices their faith they can always engage is discussions with them or introduce legislation to curb any activities they find offensive. A complete ban that criminalises a religious practice however, as ruled by the Russian Supreme Court on the 20th of April against Jehovah Witnesses, is a rather extreme solution to a religious community that will obey the government and the law of the land.

Earth
 
Old 05-05-2017, 11:31 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jcc View Post
...sad and tragic that Russia has decided to persecute and ban Jehovah's Witnesses. They have done nothing to deserve it...
Refusing to obey laws necessary for sustaining the State is not "nothing"; from the article:
...important tenet of their faith is their refusal of military service. They refuse conscription and even non-violent “war work”. This stance led them to be persecuted in almost all the countries that fought the second world war. They were imprisoned in Britain and the US...
imho putting the State at risk will always have consequences.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Camachoe View Post
Like the Bahai, they have no clergy, are overtly pacifist...
We need to be clear that Baha'is are not pacifists. We serve when ordered and while we request non-combatant status we bear arms when the request is denied.
 
Old 05-09-2017, 11:40 PM   #5
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Westerns...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete in Panama View Post
Refusing to obey laws necessary for sustaining the State is not "nothing"; from the article:
...important tenet of their faith is their refusal of military service. They refuse conscription and even non-violent “war work”. This stance led them to be persecuted in almost all the countries that fought the second world war. They were imprisoned in Britain and the US...
imho putting the State at risk will always have consequences.
We need to be clear that Baha'is are not pacifists. We serve when ordered and while we request non-combatant status we bear arms when the request is denied.
Well, I'm still a fan of old Western movies. 'Pull your wagons in a circle, pilgrims."
And if the Sheriff of Mecca says he needs a posse and all able bodied men are expected to saddle up, then so be it.
Its a test, for sure, that hits many conscientious objector types, including Baha'is of that nature, but individually so, as the Instututions of the Baha'i Faith do not categorically back up the conscientious objector position (to my understanding, pilgrim)
Rather, if called upon, we are to serve, although we are encouraged to seek non-combatant service where possible.
The government of any country must be able to rely upon its citizenry, and of course the Baha'is are to obey the government.
But when the government, or those it places in authority, cross certain lines of morality, i.e. My Lai massacre of Viet Nam in 1968, or Wounded Knee massacre in 1890 ... etc, every soul must follow his or her conscience.
Even in the case of the Martyrdom of the Bab, He instructed Sam Khan, commander of the Armenian Regiment ordered to execute the Bab:

. "Follow your instructions... and if your intentions be sincere, the Almighty is surely able to relieve you of your perplexity."
 
Old 05-10-2017, 12:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
Dear all

Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) are Christians that, like Bahai, have been persecuted since mid XIX centurty and right now, as I write this, are subject to active persecution by the Russian government.

The JW, like the Bahai, stress the oneness of God, the distinction between God and Jesus as Manifestation of God, and the spiritual (not physical) resurrection of Christ. Like the Bahai, they have no clergy, are overtly pacifist and do not actively seek political power. My mother is currently a JW and now I am now sharing with her my interest in the Bahai Faith.

Please read the related article and include them in your prayers.
Preserving liberties of every human being around the world is something that concerns us all.

https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...in-persecution
Dear camachoe,

I much appreciate this post. I too feel that we should consider the tribulations of others who suffer for important causes. I also agree with the comments, but as a Bahá'í itt happens now and then that I am struck but the amount of truth that can be found in different religious communities. Not so long ago, I run into a smallchurch in Sweden that has had lots of trouble with authorities. When reading their texts, I realized that very much of their analysis of the ills of today's society was right to the point. It had, however, led them to a stance of opposition to authorities.

So, although we cannot support their fights with the authorities, we can show our respect for their principles and maintain good relations with them as individuals.

Best from

gnat
 
Old 08-15-2017, 07:44 AM   #7
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Camachoe,

thank you for posting this.

A friend of mine is a Jehova's Witness, and this new ruling in Russia has caused sadness in his community. Immediately had to think of him when I read about it.

It's so sad when people are persecuted for their faith.
 
Old 08-15-2017, 07:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by dale ramsdell View Post
Well, I'm still a fan of old Western movies. 'Pull your wagons in a circle, pilgrims."
And if the Sheriff of Mecca says he needs a posse and all able bodied men are expected to saddle up, then so be it.
Its a test, for sure, that hits many conscientious objector types, including Baha'is of that nature, but individually so, as the Instututions of the Baha'i Faith do not categorically back up the conscientious objector position (to my understanding, pilgrim)
Rather, if called upon, we are to serve, although we are encouraged to seek non-combatant service where possible.
The government of any country must be able to rely upon its citizenry, and of course the Baha'is are to obey the government.
But when the government, or those it places in authority, cross certain lines of morality, i.e. My Lai massacre of Viet Nam in 1968, or Wounded Knee massacre in 1890 ... etc, every soul must follow his or her conscience.
Even in the case of the Martyrdom of the Bab, He instructed Sam Khan, commander of the Armenian Regiment ordered to execute the Bab:

. "Follow your instructions... and if your intentions be sincere, the Almighty is surely able to relieve you of your perplexity."
I haven't studied the rulings of the UHJ on that topic, but my first thought is that passive resistance is a different thing than active opposition, too.

To my knowledge, Jehova's Witnesses do not actively obstruct the states they are living in either, they just practize passive resistance by not obeying orders they consider immoral.

If I remember correctly, Baha'is do the same, i.e. if a government declares its worship or institutions illegal, or make laws that directly contradict the Faith. We do not take actions, let alone weapons for revenge -- but passively denying obedience is well possible in many cases, or isn't it? For example, I can't imagine if a Baha'i serving in Nazi Germany is asked to deliver Jews to the authorities, he is supposed to obey...

Maybe someone with more knowledge on the matter can elaborate.
 
Old 08-15-2017, 09:17 AM   #9
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There is a wonderful movie about persecution and passive resistance, called "SILENCE". I truly recommend you to watch it and reflect on it.

The movie presents a fictional story based on true events related to the persecution of the first Japanese Christians.

Three situations are presented:
  1. A priest that must choose between renege on his faith or being tortured, and chooses his faith.
  2. A priest that must choose between renege on his faith or having other people tortured, and chooses to renege on his faith.
  3. The most interesting one for me: A Christian that must choose between renege on his faith or being tortured, chooses to renege on his faith, but then re-assumes its faith and helps his tortured fellows, and repeats this as many times as needed to deceive his persecutors and keep assisting the priest in his suffering. By the end of the story, he survives but is haunted by guilt and inextricable internal conflict.

One key issue here, in the movie, is that "reneging on your faith" meant you were forced to make a visible, almost ritual sign of rejection, such as stepping your foot on a cross or spitting on a cross. It did not entail things being forced to kill, steal, rape, etc.

It is a very moving movie that makes you frame difficult questions to yourself: What would I do if....?

Last edited by camachoe; 08-15-2017 at 09:31 AM.
 
Old 08-15-2017, 10:31 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Sebastian View Post
If I remember correctly, Baha'is do the same, i.e. if a government declares its worship or institutions illegal, or make laws that directly contradict the Faith. We do not take actions, let alone weapons for revenge -- but passively denying obedience is well possible in many cases, or isn't it? For example, I can't imagine if a Baha'i serving in Nazi Germany is asked to deliver Jews to the authorities, he is supposed to obey...

Maybe someone with more knowledge on the matter can elaborate.
See a relevant letter from Shoghi Effendi on the subject:

Quote:
The only way that society can function is for the minority to follow the will of the majority.
My understanding of it is, that "the will of the majority" is to be defended against aggression. So, if the war is other than defensive, or if it is not clear whether or not it is a defensive measure, one is justified in denying to take up arms.
 
Old 08-15-2017, 10:54 AM   #11
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Dear Ernobe
"With reference to the absolute pacifists, or conscientious objectors to war... The Bahá’í conception of social life is essentially based on the principle of the subordination of the individual will to that of society. It neither suppresses the individual nor does it exalt him to the point of making him an anti-social creature, a menace to society. As in everything it follows the ‘golden mean’. The only way that society can function is for the minority to follow the will of the majority..."

It may be unncesary to highlight this, but I wanted to underline that, when Shoghi Effendi says that the will of the individual must be subordinated to the will of society, he is talking in relationship to objectors to war, a situation where the lives and properties of your fellowmen (and yourself) are under direct threat and there is no other way to protect them than by waging war. In these extreme situations, your perceived right to not bear arms would affect the rights of your fellow citizens to survive an attack. Therefore, your personal interest in these situations should be subordinated to the interest of society.

We should be careful, nevertheless, not to extend this to time of peace and support the totalitarian notion that a collective's will (incarnated in The Motherland, The Church, The Great Leader, The Proletariat, etc) can decide on your life or your property, violating your individual will. For example, that your workers can decide on seizing your factory because it is in the interest of the many... that your fellow citizens can vote to have your wife's Fallopian tubes cut to reduce overpopulation... that the Ministry of Education can decide whether you should pursue a career as a musician or as an engineer according to "the needs of the Revolution".... or that your house can be expropriated by the Sate to build a public park where dozens of poor kids will play joyfully.

Shoghi Effendi also condemned nationalism and communism where the person is crushed by the so called "will of society".

We abhor war, among other things, because during war everyone's rights and interests clash. In Bah'a'u'lláh's New World Order we want to build, though, rights of individuals and the needs of society will never clash. Individuals will not be forced to cooperate with others (since that would generate dissension and repulsion). They will cooperate in harmony and affinity as the cells of an organism.
The body politic may be likened to the human organism. As long as the various members and parts of that organism are coordinated and cooperating in harmony, we have as a result the expression of life in its fullest degree. When these members lack coordination and harmony, we have the reverse, which in the human organism is disease, dissolution, death. Similarly, in the body politic of humanity dissension, discord and warfare are always destructive and inevitably fatal. All created beings are dependent upon peace and coordination, for every contingent and phenomenal being is a composition of distinct elements. As long as there is affinity and cohesion among these constituent elements, strength and life are manifest; but when dissension and repulsion arise among them, disintegration follows. This is proof that peace and amity, which God has willed for His children, are the saving factors of human society, whereas war and strife, which violate His ordinances, are the cause of death and destruction.Abdul'Bahá
.

Last edited by camachoe; 08-15-2017 at 11:32 AM.
 
Old 08-15-2017, 11:32 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
Shoghi Effendi also condemned nationalism and communism where the person is crushed by the so called "will of society".

We abhor war, among other things, because during war everyone's rights and interests clash. In Bah'a'u'lláh's New World Order we want to build, though, rights of individuals and the needs of society will never clash.
I think the current society is so far removed from the Baha'i conception of social life, that it will take one which it regards as its leader, and in Shoghi Effendis' words "exalt him to the point of making him an anti-social creature, a menace to society".

(from the Tablet of Maqsud):
Quote:
Ours is the duty to remain patient in these circumstances until relief be forthcoming from God, the Forgiving, the Bountiful.

Last edited by ernobe; 08-15-2017 at 11:39 AM.
 
Old 08-15-2017, 11:42 AM   #13
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Ernobe, Me doy cuenta que vives en Costa Rica!

I love Costa Rica so dearly: I have been in San Jose many times and got good friends overthere.

Your country is an example on how living without an army is possible, exercising smart diplomacy and being under the umbrella of international organisms and reasonably free countries, like the US.

I guess all Central American countries, in principle, could live without an army if they decided to do so. In the future, perhaps the Security Council of the UN (which comprises China, Russia, the USA, UK, France and rotatory members) will put their armies to the service of a world government, and all smaller poorer countries like ours will save a lot of money that can be spent in development.
 
Old 08-15-2017, 12:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by camachoe View Post
I guess all Central American countries, in principle, could live without an army if they decided to do so. In the future, perhaps the Security Council of the UN (which comprises China, Russia, the USA, UK, France and rotatory members) will put their armies to the service of a world government, and all smaller poorer countries like ours will save a lot of money that can be spent in development.
It will take someone like Figueres in Costa Rica, who won a war against those who had rigged a presidential election, and afterwards proceeded to abolish the army!

He was a known goof ball and the butt of many jokes. In one, they ask his mother what she had done that he turned out so intelligent, and she said, "I gave him Phillips' milk of magnesia." (a laxative).
(Tenia fama de despistado, y habian muchos chistes al respecto. En uno, le preguntan a su mama que habia hecho para que saliera tan inteligente, y dice, "Pues yo le di leche de magnesia Phillips." (un laxante))

Last edited by ernobe; 08-22-2017 at 05:20 AM.
 
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