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Old 01-04-2018, 05:55 AM   #1
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Disobeying God's Teaching On Gender Equality.

"The equality of men and women is a fundamental principle, women are not inferior to men, and should not be subordinate to men in aspects of social life. Women have always been equal to men, and the reason why women have so far not achieved this equality is due to the lack of adequate educational and social opportunities, and because men have used their greater physical strength to prevent women from developing their true potential. Equality of the sexes is a spiritual and moral standard that is essential for the unification of the planet and the unfoldment of peace. God does not differentiate between people based on gender and that all were made in the image of God. He further stated that both women and men have the same potential for intelligence, virtue and prowess. Gender equality is not simply righting historical social injustices against women, but will serve as a key factor in wide-ranging societal changes that would help develop a new civilization in which more 'feminine' qualities such as tender-heartedness and receptivity would balance previously dominant 'masculine' forces. Until women are provided equal status to men, humanity cannot advance or progress. The world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly. Until womankind reaches the same degree as man, until she enjoys the same arena of activity, extraordinary attainment for humanity will not be realized; humanity cannot wing its way to heights of real attainment. When the two wings or parts become equivalent in strength, enjoying the same prerogatives, the flight of man will be exceedingly lofty and extraordinary."

IMHO: When Mr. Effendhi was asked who could be in the UHJ, and he said, well, it says here that Baha'ullah wrote, "the men of the UHJ", then, regardless of all the other Teachings about the equality of women and men, only men can be in the UHJ. IMHO: This was a grave error and IMHO the UHJ must correct that decision so that Women are included in the UHJ.

I also defer to the book, 'God Speaks Again', and it explains even though the term God is referred to as male in Baha'i Teachings, God isn't male nor female. It's just simply a human frailty to see God as Male. That the same ideal should have been used in the explanation of why Baha'ullah wrote, "the men of the UHJ"???

Also: We, humans must bring on the Minor Peace by completing the Teachings, one being the full equality of woman, before God brings about the Major Peace. Yet Mr. Effendhi ripped that away and forces humanity to await the next Manifestation. It is simply too much contradiction. Which is similar to past Teachings getting polluted the further away from the time of the Manifestation. We are now locked out of free will to bring about the Minor Peace by the dictate of Mr. Effendhi. The proof of a great faith is to acknowledge it's errors and to create a just world, and not kicking our toe in the dirt when confronted with apparent error. IMHO, the first modern test of the Baha'i faith is correct this one dictate. At what perceived harm could there ever be to comply with the Teachings that we, not God, must see that gender equality is in every aspect of the Faith. We look extremely foolish to outsiders and to me when we say one thing thing but do not act the same.

~So I ask, is the UHJ able to change Mr. Effendhi's ruling so that women can be in the body of the UHJ? It seems bizarre that a Woman was qualified to head and lead the entirety of the faith until Mr. Effendhi came to his wits and accept the post. So then if a Woman can head the faith, the entire faith, it makes absolutely no sense that women are to be excluded from the UHJ.
 
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Old 01-04-2018, 06:37 AM   #2
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Some things in religion are a test, that's my understanding anyway
 
Old 01-04-2018, 07:14 AM   #3
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Looking into it, the writings are a bit different from what you present above.

Abdu'l-Baha writes the following:

"The House of Justice, however, according to the explicit text of the Law of God, is confined to men; this for a wisdom of the Lord God's which will ere long be made manifest as clearly as the sun at high noon."

and

"According to the ordinances of the Faith of God, women are the equals of men in all rights save only that of membership on the Universal House of Justice, for, as hath been stated in the text of the Book, both the Head and the members of the House of Justice are men. However, in all other bodies, such as the Temple Construction Committee, the Teaching Committee, the Spiritual Assembly, and in charitable and scientific associations, women share equally in all rights with men."

So this is the one inequality that exists, according to Abdu'l-Baha.

But a thought occurs to me. Is this inequality really all that big?? Democratic governance is a strange thing, in a sense. In the country I live in the vast majority of the elected representatives are men... but the majority of the voters are women. So while at first one might assume that the governing body of the country would favor men's interests over women, since the elected leaders are men, in actuality this is not necessarily the case, because those men were selected by a group of people, the electorate, the majority of which are women, so their policies reflect the interests of the women who voted for them.

So if the votes of women and men alike are used to select the leaders of the Faith... does the gender of the specific person selected to represent the interests of the male and female voters matter all that much??

It's an inequality to be sure, but I don't think it is as big of an inequality as it may seem, since in an ideal democracy the individual leaders should not matter as much as the voters who chose them for the position.
 
Old 01-04-2018, 09:29 AM   #4
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As Walrus points out Abdu'l-Baha was the One Who interpreted the Universal House of Justice to be limited to men, not Shoghi Effendi. Also, much of the Baha'i teachings of equality between men and women stem from Abdu'l-Baha. Therefore, Abdu'l-Baha was well aware of the equality of men and women when He interpreted the law. I don't know why you're criticizing Shoghi Effendi for it.

While I can agree with the idea that full equality would mean men and women both being on the House of Justice, another point on changing this Law now is that first off the House of Justice cannot change laws explicitly laid down by Baha'u'llah or the Interpreters, but also it would set a precedent for changing these laws. Once one is changed, then people will advocate for the law on homosexuality for instance being changed. Or who knows what else in the future as society's perceptions and ideas keep evolving.

And why are women not permitted on the Universal House of Justice? I don't know. There are many pet theories on why this is the case, but none are conclusive. Abdu'l-Baha Himself says that the reason will one day become clear "as the noon day sun" but for now there is no explicit reason given. But we are assured in every other respect women are equal to men and to occupy the same status and positions, including other decision making bodies.. just not on the Universal House of Justice.
 
Old 01-04-2018, 10:34 AM   #5
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Personally I think this is as clear as the noonday sun.

It is a bounty to be exempt from serving in this capacity. There is no top Position or Status in the Baha'i Faith as an individual, there can be no longing to serve on the Universal House of Justice.

To me the hint is in where Baha'u'llah says the time will come where no one will want to be a King.

Just more thoughts to consider.

Regards Tony
 
Old 01-04-2018, 12:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
Looking into it, the writings are a bit different from what you present above.

Abdu'l-Baha writes the following:

"The House of Justice, however, according to the explicit text of the Law of God, is confined to men; this for a wisdom of the Lord God's which will ere long be made manifest as clearly as the sun at high noon."

and

"According to the ordinances of the Faith of God, women are the equals of men in all rights save only that of membership on the Universal House of Justice, for, as hath been stated in the text of the Book, both the Head and the members of the House of Justice are men. However, in all other bodies, such as the Temple Construction Committee, the Teaching Committee, the Spiritual Assembly, and in charitable and scientific associations, women share equally in all rights with men."

So this is the one inequality that exists, according to Abdu'l-Baha.

But a thought occurs to me. Is this inequality really all that big?? Democratic governance is a strange thing, in a sense. In the country I live in the vast majority of the elected representatives are men... but the majority of the voters are women. So while at first one might assume that the governing body of the country would favor men's interests over women, since the elected leaders are men, in actuality this is not necessarily the case, because those men were selected by a group of people, the electorate, the majority of which are women, so their policies reflect the interests of the women who voted for them.

So if the votes of women and men alike are used to select the leaders of the Faith... does the gender of the specific person selected to represent the interests of the male and female voters matter all that much??

It's an inequality to be sure, but I don't think it is as big of an inequality as it may seem, since in an ideal democracy the individual leaders should not matter as much as the voters who chose them for the position.
Hi, I'm curious, be patient with me, can you come back with answers that would have come directly from Baha'ullah? I'm hoping my question will be answerable, could the UHJ make a change in policy to include women in the UHJ?

Last edited by MichaelAW; 01-04-2018 at 12:22 PM.
 
Old 01-04-2018, 12:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by divan9 View Post
As Walrus points out Abdu'l-Baha was the One Who interpreted the Universal House of Justice to be limited to men, not Shoghi Effendi. Also, much of the Baha'i teachings of equality between men and women stem from Abdu'l-Baha. Therefore, Abdu'l-Baha was well aware of the equality of men and women when He interpreted the law. I don't know why you're criticizing Shoghi Effendi for it.

While I can agree with the idea that full equality would mean men and women both being on the House of Justice, another point on changing this Law now is that first off the House of Justice cannot change laws explicitly laid down by Baha'u'llah or the Interpreters, but also it would set a precedent for changing these laws. Once one is changed, then people will advocate for the law on homosexuality for instance being changed. Or who knows what else in the future as society's perceptions and ideas keep evolving.

And why are women not permitted on the Universal House of Justice? I don't know. There are many pet theories on why this is the case, but none are conclusive. Abdu'l-Baha Himself says that the reason will one day become clear "as the noon day sun" but for now there is no explicit reason given. But we are assured in every other respect women are equal to men and to occupy the same status and positions, including other decision making bodies.. just not on the Universal House of Justice.
To be a devils advocate: aren't we warned about taking any persons interpretations as 'gospel'? Even AbdulBaha and Shoghi Effendhi? As the other teachings clearly states the further from the Manifestation the more the teaching becomes polluted, even AbdulBaha and Mr. Effendhi?
 
Old 01-04-2018, 12:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
Personally I think this is as clear as the noonday sun.

It is a bounty to be exempt from serving in this capacity. There is no top Position or Status in the Baha'i Faith as an individual, there can be no longing to serve on the Universal House of Justice.

To me the hint is in where Baha'u'llah says the time will come where no one will want to be a King.

Just more thoughts to consider.

Regards Tony
Hi Tony, Simply from the point that any time I tell a seeker that we say women must be equal, then have to say, but they aren't qualified enough to be a part of the UHJ, even though we are told humanity will not fly without equality of gender. It just cannot pass the smell test, it reminds me of the conflicts contained in older teachings, which many point to in the Judaeo-Christian Bible. I know for a fact the many seekers will call out BS and I cannot see that they would be wrong, I fear many in all faiths and blindly following gibberish will not help bring people to God.
 
Old 01-04-2018, 02:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelAW View Post
Hi Tony, Simply from the point that any time I tell a seeker that we say women must be equal, then have to say, but they aren't qualified enough to be a part of the UHJ, even though we are told humanity will not fly without equality of gender. It just cannot pass the smell test, it reminds me of the conflicts contained in older teachings, which many point to in the Judaeo-Christian Bible. I know for a fact the many seekers will call out BS and I cannot see that they would be wrong, I fear many in all faiths and blindly following gibberish will not help bring people to God.

This is not a thing to do with Qualifications or Equality.

It has a lot to do with Submission to Gods Laws. That submission goes all the way to the Universal House of Justice.

To dissagree the Covernant given by Baha'u'llah, by disagreeing with Shoghi Effendi, it to dissagree with God.

Why would it be an issue? We do not have to convince any other soul of this wisdom, they must find all this themselves. We Live the Laws, we share the Laws and those that wish to will find peace in the Laws, even if the wisdom is still not clear.

We can serve as Abdul'baha did.

Regards Tony
 
Old 01-04-2018, 02:20 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
This is not a thing to do with Qualifications or Equality.

It has a lot to do with Submission to Gods Laws. That submission goes all the way to the Universal House of Justice.

To dissagree the Covernant given by Baha'u'llah, by disagreeing with Shoghi Effendi, it to dissagree with God.

Why would it be an issue? We do not have to convince any other soul of this wisdom, they must find all this themselves. We Live the Laws, we share the Laws and those that wish to will find peace in the Laws, even if the wisdom is still not clear.

We can serve as Abdul'baha did.

Regards Tony
Wow, I can, as a good Bahai, disagree with whatever doesn't sound right to me, as anyone can, I'm not a mindless robot. When I see contradiction, it is of great concern to me. If I see too many conflicts and then other members start pounding away on me to not worry about understanding just blindly believe and we are back in cult mode. I would love to see the older Teachings to be left behind and for the population to follow the new Teachings of God. But I do seem to be seeing enough conflicts in teachings that I feel it will hinder new followers who have a diverse education as well as good common sense. According the Bahaullah, I will continue after mortal death, regardless of being a follower or not and I cannot in good consciousness defend what I see as obvious conflict in the Teachings. >>>> and, so far, no one here can show me where to look for documented teachings that say the UHJ is expressly prohibited from allowing women into the UHJ, just a weak attempt to make me fear gay marriage being allowed if we dare open the door to correcting what I see as a conflict.
 
Old 01-04-2018, 02:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelAW View Post
Hi Tony, Simply from the point that any time I tell a seeker that we say women must be equal, then have to say, but they aren't qualified enough to be a part of the UHJ, even though we are told humanity will not fly without equality of gender. It just cannot pass the smell test, it reminds me of the conflicts contained in older teachings, which many point to in the Judaeo-Christian Bible. I know for a fact the many seekers will call out BS and I cannot see that they would be wrong, I fear many in all faiths and blindly following gibberish will not help bring people to God.
Although at this point we do not know the reason that the Universal House of Justice is composed of only men, I think we need to be clear about what it does not signify, because that is what causes confusion.

It does not mean that women are not "qualified" to be members of the highest international council of the Faith, because women were part if the International Baha'i Council when it was established by Shoghi Effendi in the 1950s. And of course women are part of all National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, which in the future will be Houses of Justice. In terms of "rank" within the Faith, the Hands of the Cause are of a higher spiritual rank than members of the House of Justice, and women were Hands of the Cause. Women are also Continental Counsellors, an institution that was created to carry on the functions of the Hands of the Cause. Of course a woman was also a Letter of the Living, a chosen apostle of the Bab. Women have been and still are among the greatest teachers of the Faith. There is absolutely no lack of opportunity for women to serve, and to continue to be vital to the development of the Faith and the transformation of the world as Baha'u'lah foretold.
 
Old 01-04-2018, 02:52 PM   #12
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As a woman, I do not take issue with this prohibition. We are told one day it will be made clear, I believe that. There are many things in faith that are beyond a human's comprehension. That is the essence of faith. God is unknowable, so how could I know His purpose, should he choose to veil it. And, who knows, there might be a more advanced soul than me out there, and I know there is, who has a much higher level of understanding, and to whom this is no mystery. We look at everything through the lens of humanity and this physical plane of existence, yet we know there is so much more. Be still and know that I am resonates with me. I can be patient, serve others, love God and have faith that what I need to know as a Bahai, I will learn through prayer, the Writings and God's grace. Everything moves according to God's plan, who am I to question this? I know that I can be irritatingly simple, but, to me, Faith is simple, if we let it be just that. Sometimes we get in our own way. I know this from experience. And don't conflate simple with easy. Faith is not always easy, it is not meant to be. We must be tested and tried to be true.
Loving regards,
Becky
 
Old 01-04-2018, 02:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelAW View Post
Wow, I can, as a good Bahai, disagree with whatever doesn't sound right to me, as anyone can, I'm not a mindless robot. When I see contradiction, it is of great concern to me. If I see too many conflicts and then other members start pounding away on me to not worry about understanding just blindly believe and we are back in cult mode. I would love to see the older Teachings to be left behind and for the population to follow the new Teachings of God. But I do seem to be seeing enough conflicts in teachings that I feel it will hinder new followers who have a diverse education as well as good common sense. According the Bahaullah, I will continue after mortal death, regardless of being a follower or not and I cannot in good consciousness defend what I see as obvious conflict in the Teachings. >>>> and, so far, no one here can show me where to look for documented teachings that say the UHJ is expressly prohibited from allowing women into the UHJ, just a weak attempt to make me fear gay marriage being allowed if we dare open the door to correcting what I see as a conflict.
You have stated Wow, yes it is wow.

Sorry have not a lot of time, so just go right to the point.

I encourage you to study this and see that the comments I made are not ill intent but good advice as to how we speak of these matters and how we speak about the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi.

We are told that even at Local Spiritual Assembly level of decision, that we abide by and do not complain about those decisions. If any error was made, it is made right by our submision and all will be good.

May all be well and happy for you.

Regards Tony

Last edited by tonyfish58; 01-04-2018 at 03:12 PM.
 
Old 01-06-2018, 12:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
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To be a devils advocate: aren't we warned about taking any persons interpretations as 'gospel'? Even AbdulBaha and Shoghi Effendhi? As the other teachings clearly states the further from the Manifestation the more the teaching becomes polluted, even AbdulBaha and Mr. Effendhi?
Yes, but Baha'u'llah clearly says that Abdu'l-Baha is to be the successor and whatever He interprets is of God. He also directs the Universal House of Justice to legislate on matters not expressly ordained by Himself. A difference in this Dispensation is that the structures of the religion were clearly ordained by Baha'u'llah, including their jurisdiction (ie, Successors interpret, elected House of Justice legislates, and neither can impinge on the jurisdiction of the other).

And I think JCC makes a very good point that apart from the Universal House of Justice, women have been at the highest levels in the Baha'i Faith, including the International Baha'i Council, on equal level as men as Hands of the Cause, and Bahiyyah Khanum serving as the acting Head of the Faith for a period.

I think most Baha'is would agree with you that it does seem contrary to the principle of equality between men and women. But the short answer is Abdu'l-Baha, who Baha'u'llah stated has authority to interpret His Writings, stated that there is a reason which will be clear in the future. Some reasons can be speculated if we inspect elements of the Writings on the relationship between men and women, but nothing conclusive IMO.
 
Old 01-09-2018, 06:20 PM   #15
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Above in this thread, Walrus cited ‘Abdu’l-Baha as stating: "The House of Justice, however, according to the explicit text of the Law of God, is confined to men; this for a wisdom of the Lord God's which will ere long be made manifest as clearly as the sun at high noon."

In ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament, He also stated that the institution of the Guardianship is “the expounder of the words of God”. As I understand it, the Persian/Arabic word used by ‘Abdu’l-Baha and translated as “expounder” or “interpreter” means to “make things clear”. Following this reasoning, it may have been ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s intent that a future Guardian would have been the one who would have helped the Baha’is to understand “as clearly as the sun at high noon” why women were excluded from serving as members of the Universal House of Justice.

Bahá'u'lláh also revealed, “Know assuredly that just as thou firmly believest that the Word of God, exalted be His glory, endureth for ever, thou must, likewise, believe with undoubting faith that its meaning can never be exhausted. They who are its appointed interpreters, they whose hearts are the repositories of its secrets, are, however, the only ones who can comprehend its manifold wisdom. . . . “ (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, LXXXIX)

As we know, the Cause of God was designed to have “permanent” institutions not only to provide for progressive legislation (the House(s) of Justice), but also for the progressive interpretation and understanding of the Word of God (the Guardianship). Shoghi Effendi explained “in clear and unambiguous language” that without the full functioning of both institutions, those twin “pillars that sustain (the Faith’s) authority and buttress its structure”, the Faith and the World Order of Baha’u’llah would be “mutilated”, “deprived”, “imperiled” and “paralyzed”. (The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh)

Without those progressive interpretations over time by a succession of Guardians, it may be that the matter of why women were not to serve as members of the Universal House of Justice will remain unclarified and will not “ere long” become “manifest as clearly as the sun at high noon." We might also consider that 'Abdu'l-Baha stated this about a century ago and that the words "ere long" actually mean "before long" or "soon".

I appreciate the opportunity to comment.

-LR
 
Old 01-09-2018, 08:08 PM   #16
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And who said that being a member of the Universal House of Justice should be something to strive for? Shouldn't women rather feel relieved?

Honestly, I sometimes laugh when I read discussions about leadership issues in the Faith. As though Shoghi Effendi and Abdu'l-Bahá strived for power? Ever read about how shocked Shoghi Effendi was, on hearing that he was to be the Guardian?

Best from

a gnat,

who will never sit on the UHJ, because gnats aren't eligible.
 
Old 01-09-2018, 08:16 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by gnat View Post
And who said that being a member of the Universal House of Justice should be something to strive for? Shouldn't women rather feel relieved?

Honestly, I sometimes laugh when I read discussions about leadership issues in the Faith. As though Shoghi Effendi and Abdu'l-Bahá strived for power? Ever read about how shocked Shoghi Effendi was, on hearing that he was to be the Guardian?

Best from

a gnat,

who will never sit on the UHJ, because gnats aren't eligible.
I bet you men wished they were exempt

It is funny how many people try to hide at assembly election time. He he.

Take that up to the work load on the Universal House of Justice....whew!

Lucky Women.

On the other side of the coin, we can always and I say always make the choice to be very active in this Faith. There is not a thing stopping us, even if we are not elected to the Universal House of Justice.

Regards Tony
 
Old 01-18-2018, 10:02 AM   #18
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Concerning matters of the authority of Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi, and the Universal House of Justice, two very relevant documents to study -- beginning with what was written by Baha'u'llah -- are the Kitab-i-Ahd and the Last Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha.
 
Old 02-11-2018, 02:36 PM   #19
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Perhaps when the social order is fully ratified this matter will become more clear. If for example, when the next age of counsel of nations is more firmly established and it be found through science and historic experience that women make better arbiters of peace, what cause would anyone have to reject a counsel of nine women chosen among the best from all nations having final say in all disputes between those nations should they reach an impasse ... Surely there will need be a final arbitration should any disagreement of nations become intractable without a final arbiter.

Time will tell...
 
Old 02-12-2018, 05:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
...
Abdu'l-Baha writes the following:

"The House of Justice, however, according to the explicit text of the Law of God, is confined to men; this for a wisdom of the Lord God's which will ere long be made manifest as clearly as the sun at high noon."
This letter from Abdu'l-Baha was written in response to a question about the "house of Justice" in Chicago. It had only men on it, and Abdu'l-Baha later authorised a change to this policy, which is still current today. Perhaps in the future women will also be excluded from local Assemblies, or perhaps they will also be included in the Universal House of Justice. The text seems to show that things are very rigid, while the history shows that they are flexible.

There is more on this history and the various texts involved in this paper:

https://www.h-net.org/~bahai/docs/vol3/wmnuhj.htm

There's new research on both sides of this question, but no synthesis of it since this paper was presented.
 
Old 02-13-2018, 03:50 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sen McGlinn View Post
This letter from Abdu'l-Baha was written in response to a question about the "house of Justice" in Chicago. It had only men on it, and Abdu'l-Baha later authorised a change to this policy, which is still current today. Perhaps in the future women will also be excluded from local Assemblies, or perhaps they will also be included in the Universal House of Justice. The text seems to show that things are very rigid, while the history shows that they are flexible.

There is more on this history and the various texts involved in this paper:

https://www.h-net.org/~bahai/docs/vol3/wmnuhj.htm

There's new research on both sides of this question, but no synthesis of it since this paper was presented.
I happen to know that on another occasion Abdu'l-Baha specified that He was talking about the Universal House of Justice. The Guardian said He was talking about the Universal House of Justice. Even if this subject came up as regards the House of Justice in Chicago, the law about the Universal House of Justice cannot be changed, any more than any law specified by Baha'u'llah can be changed.

Last edited by Duane; 02-13-2018 at 04:15 AM.
 
Old 02-13-2018, 05:41 AM   #22
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That is not equality but hypocrisy system (UHJ) made by man not God
 
Old 02-13-2018, 02:16 PM   #23
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I think it's enough to state that I take offense at the heading of this discussion, as it presupposes that there should be disobedience of the law on the part of the highest body of our Faith.

gnat
 
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