The position of homosexuality in today's world - Baha'i thoughts

Status
Not open for further replies.
Jul 2013
26
USA
#1
Hi everyone,

I don't generally like bringing up this topic because it is so touchy, but I feel like it should be addressed (it has been discussed on this forum before, of course, but you can never have too much!).

In today's society, homosexual practise is becoming accepted more and more across the globe. People on social media are constantly posting articles and videos about its acceptance, telling people to "be who they are" and be in the relationships that make them happy, etc. Art is incorporating these same ideas in the media in music and pop culture, saying that it's okay to be in a relationship with the person you love. Gay marriage is gradually becoming accepted around the world, and people are cheering about it. Ultimately, the prohibition of homosexual activity is becoming like the next fight against racism, and the world is generally seeing this fight as a positive, beneficial thing.

Now, I don't know what my stance is on this topic. We know that the Baha'i writings state against it (I know Baha'is are told that we must accept homosexual people with love, but that homosexual acts are prohibited, gay marriage is not allowed, etc.).

Now here comes my question: In a world where homosexuality, gay marriage, and homosexual relationships are becoming accepted and anything against them is being deemed as discrimination, what are our thoughts on the topic? The world is fighting for justice and freedom for these people to "express themselves", how will the Baha'is appear to the world in from this viewpoint? What can we say? How can we, forgive me for lack of better words, "win them over" into the Baha'i writings when the world is going in the opposite direction?

I don't ask this with the intention of questioning the Baha'i faith. I'm simply asking because I don't know, and if a seeker/person I'm teaching the faith to asks me, I would not know what to say.
 
Last edited:
Nov 2013
27
Toronto
#2
Great question.

In my view the humanity is struggling to grow from childhood to adulthood. As a child, one see the world in black and white and lack the maturity to master moderation and abstract concepts.

In terms of the attitude toward homosexuality, a group of disadvantaged people, the mainstream's attitude went from hate, against, discriminate to promote, encourage and protect. Both ways are based on hate and fear toward a perceived threat.

However, as a Baha'i I feel love and understanding toward this group of people, respect them, being aware that each one of us is on our own learning journey at our own pace. This attitude is neither to attack, nor to promote.

Oneness is the healing balm for all false dichotomies.

Here are some writings:
Lights of Guidance

You can see from the writings that homo is considered a kind of handicap.
 
Jul 2011
1,747
n ireland
#3
I fully endorse the concept of loving the sinner but hating the sin. Perhaps what I say next be unfashionable in a PC age. Homosexual activity is undeniably wrong. It flies in the face of love of one man for one woman within the concept of holy marriage as defined by each manifestation of God. This however does not give anyone the right to hurt or malign homosexuals in any way
 
Mar 2013
522
_
#4
Is there a list of which sins are worse then other sins? Maybe there is a hierarchy of sins. I would imagine murder and arson are pretty high up there, if there is such a thing. Otherwise, in a world of six to seven billion mistake-making people, I do not know why I would fixate on one thing, especially if it is something possibly hard-coded into another person's very state of being.

Abd'ul Baha states in Some Answered Questions "These Natural impurities are evil qualities: anger, lust, worldliness, pride, lying, hyprocrisy, fraud, self-love, etc."

I'd say I'm guilty of every one of those multiple times without going into specifics. But God has been merciful to let me find the teachings. I don't know what I would do, if I had been in a situation where I wanted know the Baha'i faith but felt like the door was shut. That would be terrible.

I'll be honest. I don't know why the Guardian stated what he did about homosexuality. I am new to all this, and anyway I must defer to the divine plan. With a little empathy, I think if I were gay or lesbian, it would seem momumentally unfair.

I'm left handed. If I was told not to write with my left hand I would be in a real pickle. I guess I'd try not to, but I think it would be difficult. What I read about homosexuality in the faith was not much because frankly there is not much written about it, whereas there is quite a bit written about the oneness of humanity.
 
Oct 2011
4,213
Quilimari,Chile
#5
There are many things that God does that are a puzzle to mankind, why at different times certain foods were forbidden, as I see it is a test of man's obedience.

And as far as the world considers right or wrong, what of it, much is written in the Holy books about this subject as well, again the world may think one way and God another, I know which I prefer to choose.

Now as for people who wish to love their own sex, labels are given, I feel labeling is wrong we are all God's Children. Now in this time once again God has given laws as to when we should have sex and with whom.
One either accepts or rejects, has been happening since the days of Adam, either obeying or rejecting, again I know which I wish to choose.
I have had during my life many so called gay friends, I love them and turn a sin covering eye to their actions, it is not for me to judge. Judging is an action for the institutions to where necessary enforce the laws of God among Baha'is, we do not concern ourselves with the rest of the world. And again that enforcement is blended with compassion each situation dealt with separately no blanket judgement.

These are my understandings of the Baha'i faith.
 
May 2013
1,786
forest falls california
#6
The first duty...

In today's society, homosexual practise is becoming accepted more and more...

. With tact and wisdom, we can only guide people to the recognition of Baha'u'llah. Then it is up to them. It is a disservice to sugar coat, compromise, or otherwise dumb down what comes directly from God. For me, the entire answer lies in the first few paragraphs of the Kitab-i-Aqdas:

. "The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Day Spring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation. Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof, hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed. It behoveth every one who reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Source of Divine inspiration.

. They whom God hath endued with insight will readily recognize that the precepts laid down by God constitute the highest means for the maintenance of order in the world and the security of its peoples. He that turneth away from them, is accounted among the abject and foolish. We, verily, have commanded you to refuse the dictates of your evil passions and corrupt desires, and not to transgress the bounds which the Pen of the Most High hath fixed, for these are the breath of life unto all created things. The seas of Divine wisdom and divine utterance have risen under the breath of the breeze of the All-Merciful. Hasten to drink your fill, O men of understanding! They that have violated the Covenant of God by breaking His commandments, and have turned back on their heels, these have erred grievously in the sight of God, the All-Possessing, the Most High.

. O ye peoples of the world! Know assuredly that My commandments are the lamps of My loving providence among My servants, and the keys of My mercy for My creatures. Thus hath it been sent down from the heaven of the Will of your Lord, the Lord of Revelation. Were any man to taste the sweetness of the words which the lips of the All-Merciful have willed to utter, he would, though the treasures of the earth be in his possession, renounce them one and all, that he might vindicate the truth of even one of His commandments, shining above the day spring of His bountiful care and loving-kindness.

. Say: From My laws the sweet smelling savor of My garment can be smelled, and by their aid the standards of victory will be planted upon the highest peaks. The Tongue of My power hath, from the heaven of My omnipotent glory, addressed to My creation these words: “Observe My commandments, for the love of My beauty.” Happy is the lover that hath inhaled the divine fragrance of his Best-Beloved from these words, laden with the perfume of a grace which no tongue can describe. By My life! He who hath drunk the choice wine of fairness from the hands of My bountiful favor, will circle around My commandments that shine above the Day Spring of My creation.

. Think not that We have revealed unto you a mere code of laws. Nay, rather, We have unsealed the choice Wine with the fingers of might and power. To this beareth witness that which the Pen of Revelation hath revealed. Meditate upon this, O men of insight!…

. Whenever My laws appear like the sun in the heaven of Mine utterance, they must be faithfully obeyed by all, though My decree be such as to cause the heaven of every religion to be cleft asunder. He doth what He pleaseth. He chooseth; and none may question His choice. Whatsoever He, the Well-Beloved, ordaineth, the same is, verily, beloved. To this He Who is the Lord of all creation beareth Me witness. Whoso hath inhaled the sweet fragrance of the All-Merciful, and recognized the Source of this utterance, will welcome with his own eyes the shafts of the enemy, that he may establish the truth of the laws of God amongst men. Well is it with him that hath turned thereunto, and apprehended the meaning of His decisive decree.
 
Dec 2009
165
United States
#7
I don't see why anyone would see the teachings of the Bahá'í Faith on homosexuality and marriage to be discriminatory, because Bahá'ís who follow the teachings do so based on personal choice. They weren't forced to be Bahá'ís and they don't (or at least shouldn't) try forcing these teachings on anyone else.

To say that Bahá'í prohibitions against homosexual actions and same-sex marriage are discriminatory is, to me, like saying that the prohibition against drinking by Alcoholics Anonymous is discriminatory against alcoholics. Members of the Bahá'í Faith and Alcoholics Anonymous make or strive to make lifestyle changes because of personal choice, and I don't understand why that would be discriminatory.
 
Oct 2013
697
Glenwood, Queensland, Australia
#8
Good morning bahai

Your question focusses, I believe, on the wrong aspects of the question. Frankly, the whole sex bit has taken on far too great an importance. Sexuality is an expression of the animal nature in us. Flat. The Revelation of the Prophets simply tell us the proper way to deal with that aspect of our nature.

A person's sexual preferences should never have any affect on the nature of our relationship with a homosexual. Because our relationship with a person should, if we are following the counsels contained within the Writings, should be a spiritual relationship.

So far as Baha'i Law is concerned, the proper expression of sexuality is between a wife and her husband, a husband and his wife. This places the homosexual and the lesbian in identical circustances to a single person.To resist the impulses of the body in these cases not only can be, but is very very hard. In my own mind, this also covers the act of masturbation, though each may have a different opinion here, but is not masturbation sex with one's self?

Thus, in discussion, the issue becomes not one of 'straight' versus 'gay', but of identifying our true needs, which are spiritual. The individual themself then becomes responsible for evaluating their own actions, in the light of the Teaching of this Faith. It is not ours to make that evaluation.

There is another aspect seldom touched upon. Examine the history of the known civilisations of the past. What things were common then immediately prior to their collapse which we are finding common now? Examine carefully also the Surih of Hud, as indirectly suggested by Baha'u'llah.

Corruption as an accepted way of life.

Rampant homosexuality and lesbianism, not only permitted but encouraged.

Avirace and greed at all levels of society.

Elevation of the individual over society.

Just a couple. There are more which you are quite capable of uncovering yourself.

In looking carefully, these are all symptoms of the loss of spirituality and the decline into our animal nature. But we are not animals, we are humans, and we have an eternal spirit, such as animals do not have, which has been given this opportunity, this once in a life-time opportunity, to develop and prepare ourselves for when we step through that ever-so-thin veil into the next world, to commence a new period of service with the qualities and attributes we developed here.

This undue assertion of importance on such trivial animal desires is a betrayal of our true nature. Yes, the battle is difficult - nothing worth gaining is gained easily. Yes, the desires can lead us into this betrayal, should we continue to place this undue importance and value upon it. The lessons of detachment and of faith are often hard to take, and it many times seems easier to just give in. But what then? Does anyone feel pride in betraying their own selves? Only those who do not yet have that awareness of their spiritual being, and its purpose and role in the scheme of things. And when that lesson, imposing, daunting and appearing sometimes almost overwhelming, is learned, the individual will of their own accord alter their behaviour, and the animal nature in us becomes further subdued toward its proper role, as our servant, not as our master. Otherwise, the lesson is as we see in the world around us, in the crumbling of all the institutions and customs and ways to which we had aclimatised ourselves over the preceeding centuries.

As a final thought, remember that love is not forbidden. There is nothing wrong with a male loving a male, a female loving a female, an unmarried male and female for each other. The thing forbidden under Baha'i Law is the physical act of sex between a couple who are not a man and woman married to each other, and thus our love for any other has no bearing on gender, for we love each with the same great depth and desire to be of service, and desire to possess the other's body has no entrance to being.

And a final note. Should a couple of people who acknowledge and accept Baha'u'llah engage in what Shohhi Effendi terms immoral acts, unless such acts bring the Faith into disrepute, it becomes a matter of conscience for the two involved. Neither you nor I have any right under [B}any[/B] circumstances, to form any degree of judgement. That for the Institutions, who are fitted and responsible for such actions.

Our task as servants in this Cause is to teach the Faith, and allow and assist the Teachings of Baha'u'llah to take hold in the hearts of the people. Baha'u'llah will look after matters from there.

With greetings

Romane
 
Oct 2013
697
Glenwood, Queensland, Australia
#9
Good morning bahai

Your question focusses, I believe, on the wrong aspects of the question. Frankly, the whole sex bit has taken on far too great an importance. Sexuality is an expression of the animal nature in us. Flat. The Revelation of the Prophets simply tell us the proper way to deal with that aspect of our nature.

A person's sexual preferences should never have any affect on the nature of our relationship with a homosexual. Because our relationship with a person should, if we are following the counsels contained within the Writings, should be a spiritual relationship.

So far as Baha'i Law is concerned, the proper expression of sexuality is between a wife and her husband, a husband and his wife. This places the homosexual and the lesbian in identical circustances to a single person.To resist the impulses of the body in these cases not only can be, but is very very hard. In my own mind, this also covers the act of masturbation, though each may have a different opinion here, but is not masturbation sex with one's self?

Thus, in discussion, the issue becomes not one of 'straight' versus 'gay', but of identifying our true needs, which are spiritual. The individual themself then becomes responsible for evaluating their own actions, in the light of the Teaching of this Faith. It is not ours to make that evaluation.

There is another aspect seldom touched upon. Examine the history of the known civilisations of the past. What things were common then immediately prior to their collapse which we are finding common now? Examine carefully also the Surih of Hud, as indirectly suggested by Baha'u'llah.

Corruption as an accepted way of life.

Rampant homosexuality and lesbianism, not only permitted but encouraged.

Avirace and greed at all levels of society.

Elevation of the individual over society.

Just a couple. There are more which you are quite capable of uncovering yourself.

In looking carefully, these are all symptoms of the loss of spirituality and the decline into our animal nature. But we are not animals, we are humans, and we have an eternal spirit, such as animals do not have, which has been given this opportunity, this once in a life-time opportunity, to develop and prepare ourselves for when we step through that ever-so-thin veil into the next world, to commence a new period of service with the qualities and attributes we developed here.

This undue assertion of importance on such trivial animal desires is a betrayal of our true nature. Yes, the battle is difficult - nothing worth gaining is gained easily. Yes, the desires can lead us into this betrayal, should we continue to place this undue importance and value upon it. The lessons of detachment and of faith are often hard to take, and it many times seems easier to just give in. But what then? Does anyone feel pride in betraying their own selves? Only those who do not yet have that awareness of their spiritual being, and its purpose and role in the scheme of things. And when that lesson, imposing, daunting and appearing sometimes almost overwhelming, is learned, the individual will of their own accord alter their behaviour, and the animal nature in us becomes further subdued toward its proper role, as our servant, not as our master. Otherwise, the lesson is as we see in the world around us, in the crumbling of all the institutions and customs and ways to which we had aclimatised ourselves over the preceeding centuries.

As a final thought, remember that love is not forbidden. There is nothing wrong with a male loving a male, a female loving a female, an unmarried male and female for each other. The thing forbidden under Baha'i Law is the physical act of sex between a couple who are not a man and woman married to each other, and thus our love for any other has no bearing on gender, for we love each with the same great depth and desire to be of service, and desire to possess the other's body has no entrance to being.

And a final note. Should a couple of people who acknowledge and accept Baha'u'llah engage in what Shohhi Effendi terms immoral acts, unless such acts bring the Faith into disrepute, it becomes a matter of conscience for the two involved. Neither you nor I have any right under any circumstances, to form any degree of judgement. That for the Institutions, who are fitted and responsible for such actions.

Our task as servants in this Cause is to teach the Faith, and allow and assist the Teachings of Baha'u'llah to take hold in the hearts of the people. Baha'u'llah will look after matters from there.

With greetings

Romane
 
Last edited:
Aug 2010
725
New Zealand mainly
#10
Now, I don't know what my stance is on this topic. We know that the Baha'i writings state against it (I know Baha'is are told that we must accept homosexual people with love, but that homosexual acts are prohibited, gay marriage is not allowed, etc.).
I don't think we can simply say that gay marriage is not allowed. That's too much of a simplification. First, are we talking scripture or current administrative policy? Second, are we saying that Bahai cannot enter a same-sex civil union/marriage as defined by the state, or are we saying that Bahai communities cannot provide for and register same-sex marriages? Or are we saying that people who are in same-sex marriages are excluded from the Bahai community? Or that we would like them to divorce so they can join?

The state recognition of same-sex marriages means that the principle of obedience to government also comes into play: if the state has recognized a marriage, can we say that those people are excluded entirely from the Bahai community, or that when it comes to issues of child-rearing, divorce and custody, and inheritance, one partner has to be regarded as a non-parent? How do we decide which one we don't recognize?

The problem is we are using Bahai writings and the administrative decisions of the Guardian and the UHJ that date from an era when homosexual relations were presumed to be extra-marital, and now we are in a different situation. So far as I know, the UHJ has not made any ruling that deals specifically with same-sex married couples. When it does, I expect it will leave the matter to national spiritual assemblies, since the legal position differs so much from one country to another, and because the cultural acceptance of same sex relationships differs widely. Because the houses of justice are able to make new rulings for new situations, the Bahai community has considerable flexibility.

At least three considerations will have to be weighed:
+ Marriage is not simply a religious event that affects the religious community: it also has a social status and is regulated by the state. We do not question the right of the state to rule on this question. For example, if the state refuses to grant a divorce, the Bahai community also does not register a divorce.
+ Non-discrimination, the abolition of old prejudices, and applying the standard of unity to all matters. Doing what is "right" in theory, but which causes disunity and estrangement, would not be right.
+ Religion should be progressive, and in line with science and reason: religion which consists of the blind imitation of the past is bad religion.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.