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Old 11-15-2016, 06:17 PM   #1
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A plea to my fellow Baha'is regarding political posts

I sent this to my cluster email list, but think the message is also important for Baha'is here.


Dear fellow Baha'is,


I've noticed a lot of Baha'is in the last week posting about the election and about the president-elect on social media such as Facebook and blogs. Most of it extremely critical of him and of the people who voted for him. Please remember that when you post things to social media which are read by people who know that you are a Baha'i, you are in a very real sense representing the Faith and its teachings. I believe that it is an big mistake for Baha'is to wade in making political statements about the parties and candidates no matter how much we might dislike them or feel that they are un-Baha'i.


A few quotations:


"Speak thou no word of politics; thy task concerneth the life of the soul, for this verily leadeth to man's joy in the world of God. Except to speak well of them, make thou no mention of the earth's kings, and the worldly governments thereof."

- Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha


"We see therefore that we must do two things—Shun politics like the plague, and be obedient to the Government in power in the place where we reside."

- From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a individual believer, December 21, 1948


"The Guardian wishes me to draw the attention of the Friends through you that they should be very careful in their public addresses not to mention any political figures - either side with them or denounce them. This is the first thing to bear in mind. Otherwise they will involve the friends in political matters, which is infinitely dangerous to the Cause."

- From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, January 12, 1933


“We should not only take side with no political party, group or system actually in use, but we should also refuse to commit ourselves to any statement which may be interpreted as being sympathetic or antagonistic to any existing political organization or philosophy.”

- From a letter dated 2 March 1934 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer


"Remember that your personal views on a publicly available blog or podcast may be taken by the public to reflect the official view of the Faith."

- Baha'i Internet Agency
 
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Old 11-16-2016, 06:49 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Light View Post
"Speak thou no word of politics; thy task concerneth the life of the soul, for this verily leadeth to man's joy in the world of God. Except to speak well of them, make thou no mention of the earth's kings, and the worldly governments thereof."
Yep!! It was that exact verse that inspired me, seeing nothing but people speaking negatively of election candidates around me, to "speak well" (as 'Abdu'l-Baha says) of all the candidates instead!!

And specifically all, because of the other verses you quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Light View Post
"The Guardian wishes me to draw the attention of the Friends through you that they should be very careful in their public addresses not to mention any political figures - either side with them or denounce them. This is the first thing to bear in mind. Otherwise they will involve the friends in political matters, which is infinitely dangerous to the Cause."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Light View Post
“We should not only take side with no political party, group or system actually in use, but we should also refuse to commit ourselves to any statement which may be interpreted as being sympathetic or antagonistic to any existing political organization or philosophy.”
Speaking well of absolutely all candidates is the one thing that can be done in the Faith, because speaking well of them is the only thing permitted, and if you speak well of each possible one then one is not endorsing or siding with any one group over the others.
 
Old 11-16-2016, 11:14 AM   #3
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Nope, nothing on my Facebook page about fellow voters or opinions of anything political....mine or anybody else's!
 
Old 11-18-2016, 06:58 PM   #4
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I really wonder if politics really is political. Aren't we rather seeing the WTF Generation on both sides?

Best

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gnat
 
Old 11-18-2016, 09:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by becky View Post
Nope, nothing on my Facebook page about fellow voters or opinions of anything political....mine or anybody else's!
I've shared two or three posts on Facebook about political matters. My intention was simply to make voters aware there were more than two choices, because everybody was saying there were only two choices!! Hmm . . . is this action frowned upon in the Faith? I can see the wisdom in not promoting a particular political party.
 
Old 11-21-2016, 06:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahanu View Post
I've shared two or three posts on Facebook about political matters. My intention was simply to make voters aware there were more than two choices, because everybody was saying there were only two choices!! Hmm . . . is this action frowned upon in the Faith? I can see the wisdom in not promoting a particular political party.
Did you promote any one candidate in pointing out the other options, or did you just point out all the options. If the former, probably frowned upon, if the latter, I wouldn't think that would be discouraged.
 
Old 11-21-2016, 09:19 AM   #7
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I don't think the matter is what is frowned upon. It rather has to do with not getting involved in the conflicts of the political world, both for reasons concerned with one's own spititual development and for the safety of our Faith, which shouldn't be seen as taking sides in political conflicts.

But then there is another sad aspect. In today's world, what goes on at the highest political levels has a tendency to trickle down to the grassroots level - and that happens amazingly fast. Our language and our dinner conversations are permeated with politics. Even though it's not party politics, the effects of political decisions and struggles are felt in our daily lives. That's why it is almost impossible to be apolitical. Today, your sex, your complexion, the way you dress, your profession, your choice of car, your choice of neighbourhood, are seen as political statements. At the workplace, I've noticed that it can be regarded as unacceptable if you choose to look for such things as the "truth", instead of siding with this or that faction.

It is thus amazingly difficult to try to be a Bahá'í, without somehow being seen as a supporter of a particular political side.

gnat
 
Old 11-21-2016, 10:23 AM   #8
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The remaining part of the quote Matthew posted is food for thought;

"O handmaid of the Lord! Speak thou no word of politics; thy task concerneth the life of the soul, for this verily leadeth to man’s joy in the world of God. Except to speak well of them, make thou no mention of the earth’s kings, and the worldly governments thereof. Rather, confine thine utterance to spreading the blissful tidings of the Kingdom of God, and demonstrating the influence of the Word of God, and the holiness of the Cause of God. Tell thou of abiding joy and spiritual delights, and godlike qualities, and of how the Sun of Truth hath risen above the earth’s horizons: tell of the blowing of the spirit of life into the body of the world".
 
Old 11-22-2016, 01:17 PM   #9
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We are not to speak of any party, in case it is assumed we favour one party over another a well timed warning dear Mathew
 
Old 11-23-2016, 05:40 AM   #10
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Always great to hear from you Bill!

 
Old 11-23-2016, 05:14 PM   #11
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Party politics aside, Jesus, Mohammed and Bahaullah were extremely socially political, indeed revolutionaries in the cause of God
 
Old 11-28-2016, 05:22 PM   #12
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After some thinking, I have arrived at a well-considered standpoint:

Given recent development, I think we have arrived at a stage when the best attitude is to adopt a standard phrase: "Our wise leaders toil day and night for our well-being. Our share in their work must be to do our utmost to obey them."

In difficult times, hard-suffering peoples have used this as a survival strategy. It is our turn now.

Time to learn flag-waving and big smiles.

Best

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gnat

Last edited by gnat; 11-28-2016 at 05:27 PM.
 
Old 11-28-2016, 06:21 PM   #13
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Waving the Banner of Baha'u'llah in Service to Humanity and be happy doing it sounds great.

Being firm in the Covernant and loyal to the Universal House of Justice is the way to go.

Regards Tony
 
Old 12-14-2016, 10:23 AM   #14
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I'm not a Baha'i but as many of you guys know, I share a considerable number of values with you as well as some commonalities as to the ideal (or should I say requisite) pathway going forward for humanity.

As such, I will not lie. The transformative events of the past year have been profoundly discouraging to my sensibilities and sense of identity.

While Baha'is are laudably advised to refrain from partisanship in politics, the same guidance does not extend to a Roman Catholic like me. I will always strive to see beyond the narrow parameters of my own convictions and adopt an inclusive approach that recognises the complexity of the issues facing humanity.

Reality is perceived differently from diverse points of view, and no single point of view is the complete truth, yet taken together they comprise the complete truth. This belief, which I try to abide by, reminds me to be wary of reifying or absolutizing my own beliefs and ideals at the expense of others.

However, this does not mean that I will not advocate for the causes I hold dear. I am even more emboldened now. Every day, I am praying for Europe and invoke especially the intercession of Saint Hedwig, the patron saint of queens and of European unification.

I hold to the vision outlined below by Robert Schuman, the Catholic Founding Father of the EU:


Quote:
"...We are carrying out a great experiment, the fulfillment of the same recurrent dream that for ten centuries has revisited the peoples of Europe: creating between them an organization putting an end to war and guaranteeing an eternal peace. The Roman church of the Middle Ages failed finally in its attempts that were inspired by humane and human preoccupations. Another idea, that of a world empire constituted under the auspices of German emperors was less disinterested; it already relied on the unacceptable pretensions of a ‘Führertum’ (domination by dictatorship) whose 'charms' we have all experienced.

Audacious minds, such as Dante, Erasmus, Abbé de St-Pierre, Rousseau, Kant and Proudhon, had created in the abstract the framework for systems that were both ingenious and generous. The title of one of these systems became the synonym of all that is impractical: Utopia, itself a work of genius, written by Thomas More, the Chancellor of Henry VIII, King of England.

...

The European spirit signifies being conscious of belonging to a cultural family and to have a willingness to serve that community in the spirit of total mutuality, without any hidden motives of hegemony or the selfish exploitation of others. The 19th century saw feudal ideas being opposed and, with the rise of a national spirit, nationalities asserting themselves. Our century, that has witnessed the catastrophes resulting in the unending clash of nationalities and nationalisms, must attempt and succeed in reconciling nations in a supranational association. This would safeguard the diversities and aspirations of each nation while coordinating them in the same manner as the regions are coordinated within the unity of the nation..."

— Servant of God Robert Schuman, speaking in Strasbourg, 16 May 1949

See:

Quote:
Robert Schuman, a European politician that could soon be declared a saint

Even though nowadays, it seems like religion and politics don't mix, late Robert Schuman was able to successfully balance these two out. It will soon be 50 years since the Luxembourg politician, known as one of the "European founding fathers” passed away. He pushed for reconciliation and solidarity after World War II, bringinning that message to life.

LUCA VOLONTÈ

PPE Honorary President, Council of Europe

"His figure gives support to everyone who politically speaking supports Christian values, and also European values in this challenging time. But above all, to all those that want to show that Christianity can have a presence in public life.”

Schumann directly suffered the consequences of both World Wars. This experience taught him that avoiding similar conflicts in the future, was essential. He joined three other politicians, Frenchman Jean Monnet, German Konrad Adenauer and Italian Alcide De Gasperi. Together they founded the European Coal and Steel Community, which would later become the European Union.

Schumann wanted former enemies in Europe to develop stronger ties and common interests, so that the possibility of war could disappear for good.

Even as he promoted peace in a continent ravaged by war, he remained a deeply devout Christian. In 2006, he was declared a "Servant of God,” and his beatification process is still ongoing.

Quote:
Robert Schuman (June 29, 1886 - September 4, 1963) was a noted French Statesman. Schuman was a Christian Democrat (M.R.P.) and an independent political thinker and activist. After qualifying as a lawyer in 1912, he began his own legal practice. First elected to parliament in 1919 after serving on the city council of Metz, he was arrested in 1940 by the occupying Nazi administration but escaped to join the Resistance. After World War II he was Finance Minister (June 24, 1946 to November 24, 1947), then Prime Minister from November 1947 to July 1948. He served a second, brief term in September 1948. He was Justice Minister 1955–1956. It was, however, as Foreign Minister (July 26, 1948 to January 8, 1953) that he began to translate his vision of ending war and of forging a new relationship between Germany and France. With Alcide De Gasperi, Konrad Adenauer, and Jean Monnet he was instrumental in building what became the European Union and other institutions including the Council of Europe and NATO.

Schumans's concept of supra-national democracy and his vision of making war "unthinkable and materially impossible" have taken the people of Europe a long way towards establishing a secure and stable society across state borders. Cooperating interests would remove "war" from human language. Schuman's contribution also helped to place human rights and promoting the common good at the center of the new European Community. This has become a model of how humanity might develop global institutions of cooperation to ensure peace and prosperity across the globe. Schuman's deep Christian faith compelled him to selfless service; remaining celibate, he saw his career as a lay-vocation. A leader of his own nation, Schuman saw the welfare of all people as properly his concern.


Religious faith

Celibate, modest and un-ostentatious, Schuman was an intensely religious man and Bible scholar. He was strongly influenced by the writings of Pope Pius XII on social responsibility, St. Thomas Aquinas and Jacques Maritain. He attended mass daily. Zin writes that his "faith determined all his commitment and illuminated his political action."[2] Schuman wrote:
Democracy owes its existence to Christianity. It was born the day man was called to realize in his daily commitment the dignity of the human person in his individual freedom, in the respect of the rights of everyone, and in the practice of brotherly love towards all. Never, before Christ, had similar concepts been formulated."[3]

In the same book, he spoke of how Europe was finally throwing off the "bonds of hate and fear" and realizing what "Christian brotherhood means."[4]

He was also a knight of the Order of Pope Pius IX.

Concept of supranational democracy

The Schuman Declaration anticipated the development of a European Federation. However, this was to be based on the principle of supranational democracy. Schuman saw this as a new development for humanity. Nations would choose to share power with others within democratic institutions...There is little doubt, though, that Schuman thought the nation-state model had a limited future. He wanted to see old-style patriotism that too often fueled hostility towards other peoples replaced by a new style. This would value all that enriches humanity. It would open people up to the wealth and richness of human achievements; pride in cultural products would replace pride of race.

Last edited by Yeshua; 12-14-2016 at 10:37 AM.
 
Old 12-14-2016, 10:56 AM   #15
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Greetings Yeshua. Good to see you.

I see all that Baha'u'llah warned us about, and what Abdul'baha in America urgently talked about, all unfolding in the choices people are making.

I pray we all make the right choices, to become a mirror of positivity of the Unconstrained and not mirrors of Materialisim.

Regards Tony
 
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