Out of Wedlock Children

Jan 2020
2
USA
I am pregnant, and the father (I didn't know at the time!) is married to a baha'i woman.

He never wants to meet the child, and he appears to have the support of his wife on this.

I'm genuinely curious--what does the baha'i faith say on a father abandoning a child in this way? I was surprised that he appears to have the support of his wife, and I wondered if perhaps baha'i teachings on the responsibilities toward children were different than I would have thought?
 
Jan 2020
8
Middle United States
I am sorry to hear that. A person being a Baha'i is not a guarantee that that person will always act consistent with our teachings and ordinances. Unfortunately, values in society today are not very good and that affects us all adversely. It is definitely not a situation consistent with the morals and values of our Faith. Sex outside of marriage is strongly condemned, especially adultery. The father does have certain responsibilities for the education and care of the child and should care about the child. Family Life ; https://bahai-studies.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/5.2-Mahmoudi-DaBell.pdf
 
Jul 2014
840
colorado/summer-Oklahoma/winter
I am very sorry you find yourself in this situation. A Baha'i father is responsible for the well being and care of his children, as is their mother, and is exhorted to ensure they get a good education. Unfortunately, not all people embrace all that is expected from them according to their faith, whether they be Christan, Baha'i, Muslim, etc. He should at the very least, take fiscal responsibility for the dear life he has helped to create, even if he is abdicating his familial responsibilities as a parent. Putting Faith aside for a moment, this is a moral failure; to you, your unborn child and his wife. We are all human, we all make mistakes, so I pray he will review his behavior and do what is right for his child. Children are pure and stainless souls, loved by God. The circumstances of their birth has no affect whatsoever, on their sweet souls. Bless you and your little one.
Loving regards,
Becky
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Trailblazer
Jan 2020
2
USA
Thank you both for your kind words.

The father is not Baha'i, and his behavior (knowing now how little regard he has for others) doesn't surprise me. But the wife's support of his behavior made me wonder if Baha'i teachings condoned leaving a child fatherless if he or she was born out of wedlock.
 
Aug 2014
1,418
Blue Planet
I am pregnant, and the father (I didn't know at the time!) is married to a baha'i woman.

He never wants to meet the child, and he appears to have the support of his wife on this.

I'm genuinely curious--what does the baha'i faith say on a father abandoning a child in this way? I was surprised that he appears to have the support of his wife, and I wondered if perhaps baha'i teachings on the responsibilities toward children were different than I would have thought?

although the mother is the first educator of the child, and the most important formative influence in his development, the father also has the responsibility of educating his children, and this responsibility is so weighty that Bahá’u’lláh has stated that a father who fails to exercise it forfeits his rights of fatherhood…."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of New Zealand, December 28, 1980)

although the mother is the first educator of the child, and the most important formative influence in his development, the father also has the responsibility of educating his children, and this responsibility is so weighty that Bahá’u’lláh has stated that a father who fails to exercise it forfeits his rights of fatherhood…."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of New Zealand, December 28, 1980)

The presence of children, as a factor in divorce, cannot be ignored, for surely it places an even greater weight of moral responsibility on the man and wife in considering such a step. Divorce under such circumstances no longer just concerns them and their desires and feelings but also concerns the children’s entire future and their own attitude towards marriage. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 392)

Hello Anon

The above quotes are a part of what I could find on the subject of marriage/divorce and children and the role of parents.
There are a few points worth mentioning:

1-taking a divorce is strongly condemned in the Baha'i faith. the two parties must try their best to reach agreement on their matters.
2-if taking a divorce is so bad, how worse can be the case of one who betrays her partner?
3-Just like children have responsibilities concerning their parents, parents have responsibilities regarding their children (as is mentioned in the above quotes)


let us not forget that one's religion and belief does not make a good person of him/her. hmmm ... is there the possibility of that woman (your husband's second wife) not being agreeable with your husband's decision to abandon his child and yet not being able to change his mind? I don't know.

But generally, the father has responsibilities for the child, and one of the duties of any Baha'i person is to maintain love and unity in the world. I'm not a perfect case tho; not even nearly there, so I cannot say who is, and who is not.

But, let me say something maybe a bit out of context here.... maybe if you look at your difficult situation, seeing that there is pain and grief, but also seeing that this, too, will pass, mayyyybbbeeee then you can find the lesson in it; I mean, nothing in this life is without a purpose, and the best lessons are in the worst situations.

I do hope your situation get's better. I pray that you'll be protected against difficulties and sadness..
 
  • Like
Reactions: tonyfish58
Jun 2014
1,120
Wisconsin
A Baha'i man has a moral responsibility to care for his child, to ensure they are provided for, educated, and loved.

However Baha'is also have a moral obligation not to push our moral standards on non-Baha'is, which might be something influencing the stance of the Baha'i woman in this case, though I have no knowledge of the specifics of this exact case so I dare not offer any sort of authoritative speculation on her motives. For all I know the Baha'i woman might not even believe her husband is the father. Parental fraud is a thing, and while I am by no means accusing you of such, it is possible the wife in this situation would rather believe that is what is happening than believe her husband, whom she presumably loves, had betrayed her in that way.

In short, there are many possible motivations the woman in your story could have, and there are not nearly enough details to know what her motives in truth are.

But the wife's support of his behavior made me wonder if Baha'i teachings condoned leaving a child fatherless if he or she was born out of wedlock.
There is not really a specific on this that I know of, considering Baha'is are not supposed to have children out of wedlock in the first place (probably due to the importance of both parents in a child's development, in addition to other reasons), but we as Baha'is are told that both parents are integral to the development of the child. Therefore, while there is no Law on the subject, I would hazard to guess the most ideal situation for raising a child with unmarried parents would be for equal-time shared parenting between both parents. I think both would have to additionally avoid inflicting parental alienation abuse upon the child (IE attempting to turn the child against the other parent by backbiting them) and maintain a basic level of decorum between them in order to do what is best for the child. Any abusive parent would be best cut out of the child's life, even if single parenting is not ideal.
 
Jan 2018
13
United States
Hi Anon,

I am truly sorry to hear about your situation. I want to ask if you have heard this support directly from the father's wife, or if you have only heard this through the father. I would think that someone who is willing to shirk his duties as a father might be capable of lying about the support of his wife. Apparently he misled you about being married in the first place. I do not think that his wife supporting him in this case is at all in line with Baha'i teachings; though she too must be in a very difficult position.

I wish the best for you and your child.
 
Mar 2015
249
Bend area, Oregon
AnonymousAnon,

You have received input and sympathy from several individuals on this thread. You are also free to contact the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of your city, town, village, county and ask it to help you with understanding both the practical and spiritual principles involved and guidelines related to your predicament. A Local Spiritual Assembly is the governing institution elected annually by the Baha'i community in each area where enough Baha'is reside and addresses Baha'i community matters. Consultation is a practice implemented by this body and through it collective guidance can be achieved. You might also find the Assembly to have concerns over the behavior of the child's father given he is a Baha'i. Perhaps through the Assembly's intervention, he may have a change of heart. May you have the courage to proceed in this direction should you choose it. Please take the greatest of care of yourself, and of that little human treasure growing within you.
-LR
 
Jul 2017
341
Kettering, Ohio USA
Larry, small correction. The father is not a Baha'i, but the wife is.
 
Mar 2015
249
Bend area, Oregon
Duane. Thank you.

AnonymousAnon. I apologize for the misunderstanding. As an element of the Baha'i community (the wife) is involved, an Assembly still may be willing to meet with you to help you understand the Baha'i position on this matter, the principles involved, and provide some recommended guidance.

-LR