Will the Universal House of Justice become a civil government agency?

Aug 2010
724
New Zealand mainly
#31
and some quotes

A world, growing to maturity, must ... establish once for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life....

The unity of the human race, as envisaged by Bahá'u'lláh, implies the establishment of a world commonwealth in which all nations, races, creeds and classes are closely and permanently united, ... This commonwealth must, as far as we can visualize it, consist of a world legislature, ... A world executive, backed by an international Force, ... A world tribunal ... A mechanism of world inter-communication ... freed from national hindrances and restrictions,
(Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 203)
Theirs is not the purpose, ... to violate, under any circumstances, the provisions of their country's constitution, much less to allow the machinery of their administration to supersede the government of their respective countries.
(Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 65)
“Should they place in the arena the crown of the government of the whole world, and invite each one of us to accept it, undoubtedly we shall not condescend, and shall refuse to accept it.” ( Tablets of the Divine Plan 51)
The signature of that meeting should be the Spiritual Gathering (House of Spirituality) and the wisdom therein is that hereafter the government should not infer from the term “House of Justice” that a court is signified, that it is connected with political affairs, or that at any time it will interfere with governmental affairs. … (Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha Abbas vol. 1, page 5).
The one true God, exalted be His glory, hath ever regarded, and will continue to regard, the hearts of men as His own, His exclusive possession. All else, whether pertaining to land or sea, whether riches or glory, He hath bequeathed unto the Kings and rulers of the earth. ...The instruments which are essential to the immediate protection, the security and assurance of the human race have been entrusted to the hands, and lie in the grasp, of the governors of human society. This is the wish of God and His decree…. .” (Gleanings, CII 206-7)
Sow not the seeds of discord among men, and refrain from contending with your neighbor, for your Lord hath committed the world and the cities thereof to the care of the kings of the earth, and made them the emblems of His own power, by virtue of the sovereignty He hath chosen to bestow upon them. He hath refused to reserve for Himself any share whatever of this world’s dominion. To this He Who is Himself the Eternal Truth will testify. The things He hath reserved for Himself are the cities of men’s hearts, that He may cleanse them from all earthly defilements, and enable them to draw nigh unto the hallowed Spot ...
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, 303)
The Second Ishraq
We have enjoined upon all mankind to establish the Most Great Peace — the surest of all means for the protection of humanity. The sovereigns of the world should, with one accord, hold fast thereunto, for this is the supreme instrument that can ensure the security and welfare of all peoples and nations. They, verily, are the manifestations of the power of God and the daysprings of His authority.
(Tablets of Baha’u’llah, 125)
Were sovereignty to mean earthly sovereignty and worldly dominion, were it to imply the subjection and external allegiance of all the peoples and kindreds of the earth – whereby His loved ones should be exalted and be made to live in peace, and His enemies be abased and tormented – such form of sovereignty would not be true of God Himself, ...
… the purpose of these verses is not what they have imagined. Nay, the terms “ascendancy,” “power,” and “authority” imply a totally different station and meaning. For instance, consider the pervading power of those drops of the blood of Husayn which besprinkled the earth. What ascendancy and influence hath the dust itself, through the sacredness and potency of that blood, exercised over the bodies and souls of men! ... (Kitab-e Iqan 125-9)
.
Amongst mankind are some who say this servant desireth the world for himself … Doth he who regardeth not his life (as assured) for less than a moment, desire the world? … They shall be questioned as to that which they have said; on that day they shall not find for themselves any protector nor any helper. (Tablet to Nasir-e Din Shah, tr. Shoghi Effendi, published in The Baha’i World, Vol. 4, 1930-1932, 103)
 
Mar 2015
206
Bend area, Oregon
#32
Sen:

Respectfully considering your many years of research on this topic of separation of church and state in the Baha’i Writings, and what you have offered in your posts above, and in many other places and works, would you please provide your perspective on what Shoghi Effendi has written in the following excerpt from a letter dated May 4, 1953? In the letter, he described six thousand years of progressive revelatory processes that have lead to the Baha’i Revelation and to the “present (1953) Crusade” which “by virtue of the dynamic forces it will release and its wide repercussions over the entire surface of the globe, contribute effectually to the acceleration of yet another process of tremendous significance which will carry the steadily evolving Faith of Bahá'u'lláh through its present stages of obscurity, of repression, of emancipation and of recognition--stages one or another of which Bahá'í national communities in various parts of the world now find themselves in--to the stage of establishment, the stage at which the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh will be recognized by the civil authorities as the state religion, similar to that which Christianity entered in the years following the death of the Emperor Constantine, a stage which must later be followed by the emergence of the Bahá'í state itself, functioning, in all religious and civil matters, in strict accordance with the laws and ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the Most Holy, the Mother-Book of the Bahá'í Revelation, a stage which, in the fullness of time, will culminate in the establishment of the World Bahá'í Commonwealth, functioning in the plenitude of its powers, and which will signalize the long-awaited advent of the Christ-promised Kingdom of God on earth--the Kingdom of Bahá'u'lláh--mirroring however faintly upon this humble handful of dust the glories of the Abhá Kingdom.

This final and crowning stage in the evolution of the plan wrought by God Himself for humanity will, in turn, prove to be the signal for the birth of a world civilization, incomparable in its range, its character and potency, in the history of mankind--a civilization which posterity will, with one voice, acclaim as the fairest fruit of the Golden Age of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh, and whose rich harvest will be garnered during future dispensations destined to succeed one another in the course of the five thousand century Bahá'í Cycle.
(Printed in Messages to the Bahá'í World: 1950-1957, pp. 155 – 156)

I am reminded of Baha’u’llah’s words referring to a “wondrous System - the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed.” (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 136).

Thank you Sen for any comment(s) you choose to contribute. - LR
 
Apr 2017
196
Mexico
#33
As we await Sen McGlinn comments, please bear with the opinion of such a newbie as me. Sometimes the view from someone who was just months ago an outsider and reads the Scriptures with fresh eyes could provide some insight into the matter.

I do not see an insurmountable incompatibility within what Sen McGlinn has presented as the strong foundation of the separation between the religious and civil authority (which I salute 100%) and the vision of a Baha'i State, as long as we understand the Baha'i Superstate as an State inspired by, or guided by, the principles of the Baha'i Faith, and not ruled by the Baha'i institutions and procedures as they stand now.

The missing link here is
1) We will build a true Baha'i civilization that will result in Baha'i-inspired art, science, literature, philosophy and politics.
2) Such Baha'i civilization implies important paradigms (religious freedom, elimination of prejudices, harmony with science, etc.) that were alien to the way theocracies were implemented in the past.

Any attempt to translate the current Administrative Order into the Most Great Peace without passing through the necessary change in civilazing forces (meaning, a change in the way man sees himself and other people) is doomed.
Any attempt to translate what we know about past theocracies to a future condition of mankind is absurd.

Just think in all current dualities:

Are husband and wife one or two persons? There is a verse in the Bible that says that they will become "one flesh".
Husband and wife are certainly two separate sovereignties, but they can become over the years, as their love and understanding grow, into something that looks like and works like a single entity.

Now what about science and religion, the two wings of man?
Their object and methods of knowledge are quite different. However, far in the future, the understanding of, say, how consciousness and "external" reality interact, will be at once a religious and a scientific knowledge.

Eventually, as eons of time go by, the biggest of all current dualities, God and man, will not be perceived, for any practical purpose, as a duality. As man's soul progresses in the course of eternity, its connection to God will become so strong and total, that the difference, although existent, will be irrelevant.
 
Last edited:
Mar 2015
206
Bend area, Oregon
#34
Camachoe:

Thank you for your comments. I was not suggesting “an unsurmountable incompatibility” but was inviting Sen’s perspective on how he perceives it all meshing together based on his years of extensive study and research on the topic. Thank you again. -LR
 
Mar 2013
541
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
#35
What I note in the passage from the May 4 1953 letter from Shoghi Effendi is what it does not say: It mentions "Baha'i State" and "Baha'i Commonwealth", but it does not say that the Universal House of Justice, nor Secondary and Local Houses of Justice will be involved in governing the Baha'i State and Commonwealth. Perhaps that is an extrapolation which many Baha'is assumed, but which is not actually the intention of the Guardian's guidance.

So, if the House of Justice doesn't actually govern, then what institutions would govern the the Baha'i State? Perhaps civil governments that are elected by all citizens, including non-Baha'is, and that give full rights to all citizens regardless of religion. There may preferably be a Monarch as head of state, who may or may not be a Baha'i, as that is not a position in the Administrative Order of the Faith, but the only the civil government.
 
Mar 2015
206
Bend area, Oregon
#36
JCC:

My intent is not to belittle anyone’s offering here, but I will offer in return, without taking a hard position, a brief response based upon the Baha’i Writings.

Early on, Shoghi Effendi did write: “Not only will the present-day Spiritual Assemblies be styled differently in future, but they will be enabled also to add to their present functions those powers, duties, and prerogatives necessitated by the recognition of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, not merely as one of the recognized religious systems of the world, but as the State Religion of an independent and Sovereign Power. And as the Bahá'í Faith permeates the masses of the peoples of East and West, and its truth is embraced by the majority of the peoples of a number of the Sovereign States of the world, will the Universal House of Justice attain the plenitude of its power, and exercise, as the supreme organ of the Bahá'í Commonwealth, all the rights, the duties, and responsibilities incumbent upon the world's future super-state.” (Letter February 27, 1929 - The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh pp. 6-7)

Given the Baha’i state will function “in strict accordance with the laws and ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the Most Holy, the Mother-Book of the Bahá'í Revelation,” it seems that the Universal House of Justice would have to play a significant role in the governance of the super-state.

Please bear with me in my requoting of ‘Abdul-Baha’s Will and Testament: “This House of Justice enacteth the laws and the government enforceth them. The legislative body must reinforce the executive, the executive must aid and assist the legislative body so that through the close union and harmony of these two forces, the foundation of fairness and justice may become firm and strong, that all the regions of the world may become even as Paradise itself.” (Part 1)

-LR
 
Aug 2010
724
New Zealand mainly
#37
Political theory in the Aqdas

Given the Baha’i state will function “in strict accordance with the laws and ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the Most Holy, the Mother-Book of the Bahá'í Revelation,” it seems that the Universal House of Justice would have to play a significant role in the governance of the super-state.
The argument supposes that the Aqdas envisions or allows the House of Justice to play a significant role in the governance of the super-state, or any state. If on the contrary the Aqdas says "We, of a certainty, have had no purpose in this earthly realm save to make God manifest and to reveal His sovereignty" and "[God]hath created you [kings] ... and ordained you to be, for all time, the emblems of His sovereignty" , then a state governed in accordance with the laws of the Aqdas would not be governed by a House of Justice, but rather by a parliament, where the reins of power are in the hands of the people.

The main section that deals with political theory is K78 to K96, containing summons and warnings addressed to the kings of the earth (K78-84), and specifically to Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria (K85), Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany (K86), to the Rulers of America and the Presidents of the Republics (K88) and to the peoples or countries of ‘Constantinople’ (i.e., Istanbul, K89), Germany (K90) and Persia (K91-94). One key verse is K83:

By the righteousness of God! It is not Our wish to lay hands on your kingdoms. Our mission is to seize and possess the hearts of men. Upon them the eyes of Baha are fastened. To this testifieth the Kingdom of Names, could ye but comprehend it.
The section closes with a general injunction to the people, and the blessing of the nations, and K95:
None must contend with those who wield authority over the people; leave unto them that which is theirs, and direct your attention to men’s hearts
.

In the Aqdas, Baha’u’llah recognizes and honours the institution of human government, in the forms of monarchy and republican government ("the reins of power [in] the hands of the people"), and enjoins all people to obey “those who wield authority.” The provisions of the Aqdas, according to Shoghi Effendi, “remain inviolate for no less than a thousand years.”

Abdu'l-Baha has given apparent interpretations of these verses in several places. One of them reads:

arrangements are being made for a constitutional (mashrutih) government that is in accord with the divine Law, in conformity with the explicit command of the Most Holy Book. ... This became a cause for great happiness. The constitutional government is, according to the unequivocal divine Text, sanctioned (mashru`ih) by the revealed Law, and it is a cause of the might and prosperity of the State, to which allegiance is owed, and of the progress and liberty of the respected citizenry.
 
Aug 2010
724
New Zealand mainly
#38
"Respectfully considering your many years of research on this topic of separation of church and state.."

I don't really have a comment Larry. I notice two things unsaid: Shoghi Effendi says nothing about a role for the Bahai Administration in governance, even in the remotest future, and you do not say why you picked these lines to ask for a comment.

My guess is that it might have something to do with "state religion" and "the separation of church and state." In US history, the separation of church and state is virtually synonymous with NOT having any established church (at the federal level; individual states retained their established churches for a long time after the first amendment). But the UK has two established churches, one for England and a different one for Scotland (the latter is called the state church not the established church), yet the UK certainly has the separation of church and state. So far as I am aware, every nation today that has an establishment of religion also embodies the separation of church and state in its constitution. Establishment after all is a long-term contract between the state and one or more religious institutions, so they have to be separate bodies (as you can see in the Will and Testament, for example).
 
Dec 2015
378
N Ireland
#39
"Respectfully considering your many years of research on this topic of separation of church and state.."

I don't really have a comment Larry. I notice two things unsaid: Shoghi Effendi says nothing about a role for the Bahai Administration in governance, even in the remotest future, and you do not say why you picked these lines to ask for a comment.

My guess is that it might have something to do with "state religion" and "the separation of church and state." In US history, the separation of church and state is virtually synonymous with NOT having any established church (at the federal level; individual states retained their established churches for a long time after the first amendment). But the UK has two established churches, one for England and a different one for Scotland (the latter is called the state church not the established church), yet the UK certainly has the separation of church and state. So far as I am aware, every nation today that has an establishment of religion also embodies the separation of church and state in its constitution. Establishment after all is a long-term contract between the state and one or more religious institutions, so they have to be separate bodies (as you can see in the Will and Testament, for example).
Sen,UK no longer has an established church
 
Aug 2010
724
New Zealand mainly
#40
I said that the UK has two established churches, and pointed out that the position of the Church of Scotland is one nuance different.

The Anglican church is formally the established church of England (excluding Wales), Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey, and thus it is not the established Church in Scotland. It has also been disestablished in Northern Ireland. But the Anglican Church's constitutional relationships are with the crown and parliament (both houses) of the United Kingdom, including Wales and Scotland and sometimes Northern Ireland. Of course, when I say parliament is the parliament of the United Kingdom, I'm not implying that all the MPs from Ireland actually take their seats in the Parliament. But 11 do which is good enough.

It's a typical English fudge: the Anglican church is and is not the established church of the UK, depending on the view. And it's definitely the established church in England, but not everywhere. Religious truth is relative, says Shoghi Effendi, and especially in Great Britain. Which of course is not the same as the British Isles (most of which are not British, but the big one is and that's all that counts).
 
Last edited: