Disobeying God's Teaching On Gender Equality.

Jul 2011
150
USA
"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.
 
Jun 2014
1,086
Wisconsin
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.
 
May 2017
26
Earth
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.
 
Sep 2010
4,546
Normanton, Far North West Queensland
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
 
Jul 2011
150
USA
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?
 
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Jul 2011
150
USA
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?
 
Jul 2011
150
USA
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.
 
Sep 2010
4,546
Normanton, Far North West Queensland
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
 
Jul 2011
150
USA
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.