Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lets start with consulting about a letter




30 comments:

  1. Hi Daniel,

    If I'm reading your letter correctly, it seems your administrative rights were removed after much consultation -- but that none of that consultation since 2001 involved you. If so, due process seems to be lacking.

    Here are my recent thoughts about the way Baha'i institutions make decisions:

    No one expects the inquisitorial system

    Non-adversarial decision-making.

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  2. Daniel,

    This blog is a worthy endeavor. I'm all for bringing these things to light. I remember reading your blog post on your wedding last year, and I wondered at the time if the administration would do anything about it. Bless you.

    BTW: I recently posted on the the subject of Iranian refugees having their administrative rights removed because of how they fled Iran. http://bahaitheway.blogspot.com/2009/05/shall-we-punish-refugees.html

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  3. Thanks Priscilla... I figured being open, honest and out there was the best way... as I wish I had been treated wit the same respect. Hugs!

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  4. Daniel,

    I am so sorry that this happened to you. Thank you for posting the full text of the NSA's letter, as well as their document, "The Meaning of Deprivation of Membership Rights."

    I was most taken aback by the opening line of the NSA's letter to you:

    "It is with deep sadness that the National Spiritual Assembly has learned that you openly married your male companion in a same sex marriage ceremony on August 8, 2008."

    You and your husband deserve congratulations and joy, for your love and commitment to be celebrated, not to be mourned. That sentence says more to me about all of this than anything else.

    I also understand the wording in the second document to be explicitly saying that proof of a civil divorce would be necessary for reinstatement. The NSA is asking you to divorce your legally married husband. And calling that respect for Baha'i marriage law.

    I am so sorry.

    If there is anything I can do, please know you have my solidarity and support.

    This blog is a wonderful idea.

    Take care,
    Amanda Respess

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  5. Hello Daniel,

    I have to say how unbelievably brave you are, and that I am thankful for your efforts to be open and honest. You and your husband are strong and courageous, and your love is inspiring. It makes me have more faith in the world and in humanity.

    I have lots of feelings about the letter you posted, but I want to ask YOU about part of it. When Ms. Conrad signed the letter "with warmest Baha'i regards", how did that feel? Did it feel sincere? deluded? I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around that, and I'm wondering about your reaction.

    offering support & hope,
    beth

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  6. Amanda - Thank you so very much! It is indeed heartening to hear from folks like you! Encourage other GLBT or any Revolkees to come forward... there is nothing to be ashamed of, and the best medicine is being honest, open and out!

    The message given to me by the Baha'is is : "You are not wanted here". I wonder when the Baha'is themselves will stand up to the homophobia in the community.

    A big nonrevokable hug to you!

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  7. Beth - thanks for your time and support! Concerning your thoughts on the "with warmest Baha'i regards"... I don't even know what to say... it seems insincere at best... I doubt very sincerely that that, since there was no attempt to talk to me before the letter they sent, to the consultation that the had that there is much real regard for me or any GLBT.

    Just say'n.

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  8. Thanks for my non-revokable hug! :)

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  9. Dear NSA: I am addressing this comment to you since it looks like you are now monitoring online statements (sad use of Bahai resources btw). You have removed Mr. Orey's rights because he married the person he loves in a union as strong as any fortress for well being. You also stated you removed his rights because of his statements in support of as you put it the homosexual "lifestyle". I would like to unequivocally state that "I support gay marriage since it is not something specifically mentioned in the Book and since the UHJ has not ruled on it." I also know a number of Bahais who support gay unions and not as you put it the homosexual "lifestyle". Would you like me to post these statements from card-carrying Bahais? Will you be removing the rights of ALL of these Bahais? It's only fair to do so. You can start with me I guess: Peyam Barghassa, inactive Bahai from Raleigh, NC.
    Sadly, it is YOUR prying into the personal lives of believers that is immoral and shaming the Faith at this time. NOT, Mr. Orey's beautiful union.

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  10. Daniel,

    Bahai administration is largely devoid of integrity, and they DO NOT OWN your luminous spirituality, or your tireless activism, or your commitment to social justice and social change.

    They are a near-dead bureaucracy that endlessly grinds, rumbles and clanks on into increasing oblivion, attempting one after another meaningless forms of reinvention that never get at the real problems.

    Evolution gave us the ability to appreciate "beauty, good and truth". No supposed "revelation" or "prophet" or "religion" can limit what we strive for, or how enlightened we can become, or how much meaning we get from "being real people" in our communities, or what we get out of our struggles in life.

    The "beauty, good and truth" that you put into bahai was not returned by a heartless bahai bureaucracy, but I know what those things really mean to you, as do a lot of other dear souls who are devoted to real unity, love and peace.

    You are a cherished soul, never doubt your worth as a human being full of spiritual light.

    You will get back the love you put into the world, dearest brother.

    Adeu amic!

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  11. Anon - thanks... you really are too kind, I have done nothing... I just want people to be treated well and fairly, like I see in my friend's churches and at my work. I think that if how the NSA deals with these things was done to me at my work, I could sue for a million dollars and retire... but alas... my luck! As far as the activist term fits... my HUSBAND might disagree, as the beds are not made or the dishes done... not very active here.!

    Muito obrigado amigao!

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  12. Oh Daniel, dear Daniel,
    You are truly a hero in my book. Nothing and No One can take the love of Baha'u'llah from you. You will always be a Baha'i in the eyes of Baha'u'llah. That's what counts! Thank you for standing up and saying, Hey, I am a human being created by my creator, the same creator of earth and heaven that created all the world's religions, and I have the right to be accepted fully with all the human rights that the Messengers of God established to create an ever advancing civilzation. God created all of us and loves us all equally. The world is indeed moving on toward it's Destiny, which is the true "Oneness of Mankind" and the "Unification of the Planet", which includes gays and lesbians...BTW, the Domestic Partnership legislation has passed today in Nevada, despite what Gov. Gibbon's tried to do...Another example of history moving forward. This will continue across the country and across the world until one day soon the complete equality of gays and lebsians will be common place. It happened with women's rights, racial rights, interracial marriage rights, and now it will happen with gay and lesbian rights. Hold your head up high dear friend. It's because of brave souls like you that our equal rights will become a reality.
    In Peace,
    Bill

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  13. Thanks to all... see the post above re: Pilgrimage

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  14. Bravo, Daniel! Thank you for opening a new channel for those of us who are disenfranchized and marginalized to share with each other. My administrative rights were yanked decades ago, and the pain is still raw. But my love for Baha'u'llah is unaffected. I pour that love into grateful service to other communities now, and I have that love amply returned. There is a rich life after removal from the BAO. Live it to the fullest, and keep speaking the truth! That is God speaking!
    Love always,
    Dan Ware

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  15. This from a hetero Bahá´í colleague and her husband:

    I am soooooo sorry about national stripping away your rights---and I am sooooo angry too. G and I had just talked about finding a new community and now I just don't have the heart. I want a religion that is inclusive to ALL. I just can't do this anymore.

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  16. From a bud


    Daniel,

    I just read the letter revoking your admin rights. It's heartbreaking. It's the most ignorant sounding letter one could imagine - starting off with "It's with deep sadness that the NSA has learned that you openly married.." Ignorant, erroneous (the quote about "however fine the love may be.." does nOT condemn same sex relationships - just the sexual expression of that love - as if it's any of their business whether or not you're having sex!!) And then its unbelievable tone of condescention!

    I'm just hurt for you - and for all of us, and have a sense of pity (ok and disgust) for the ignorant individuals thinking they are leaders - of a supposedly progressive spiritual community. I can't believe this is 17 years after you guys wrote that amazing letter - one of the best things I've ever read on religion, faith and sexuality, period!

    BIg-aSS hUg. (ok- my ass isn't that big)
    r

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  17. Daniel,
    Did the letter dated May 22, 2009 have your name anywhere on it? Did you remove your name and address for web privacy? I was surprised that you were not addresses Dear Daniel or Mr. Orey. Was this exclusion a way of the NSA protecting your privacy in the future?
    What was the time frame leading up to this letter? Did your LSA call you in or did you meet with a representative of the Auxiliary Board or NSA? Surely this did not come a a surprise to you as your were aware of the consequences of your action.
    I am sorry the letter seemed so abrupt. I guess even the NSA is on a learning curve for tact and grace.
    Does Milton share in your love of Baha'u'llah?
    I remember how sad it was that my husband did not pray with me.
    I wish you both the best in your relationships.
    SueB9

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  18. Danial,
    I just read "Why I will not give up!"
    Thank you.
    SueB9

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  19. SueB9 - thanks for asking

    1. no one ever asked to meet with me.

    2. I removed my mailing address.

    I interpret their method as homophobic and unjust. Secrecy, allowing someone to report an other's action, then acting on it while depriving an individual to speak for themselves is no better than the Iranian authorities treatment of the Baha'is.

    Unjust, secretive, bigoted, homophobic actions are and should be a disgrace to this religion, that I thought had offered a model for a better future.

    Apparently not.

    I am deeply sad for a Faith that finds it easier to worry about infractions to laws that are unjust and bigoted, and not on creating an inclusive, loving world. The Baha'is need be ashamed of the Institutions and the treatment meted out unjustly.

    I am angry and bitter, yes!

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  20. p.s. because of this sanction, many of my friends and work colleagues, both my husband Milton and my son will have nothing to do with the Baha'i Faith.

    Why would they?

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  21. My recent encounters with the Baha'i administration have served only to undermine my faith in the Administrative Order.
    After moving to a new community, I suffered prejudice, persecution, backbiting and spying. This was all either condoned or instigated by the Spiritual Assembly.
    As a result of carefully selecting extracts from the Writings, and sending them as a reminder to the Spiritual Assembly of its duties and obligations, I had my voting rights withdrawn.
    I was assured that I could make an appeal against this decision. I did so, but it was ignored for over 8 months. One year later, I am still waiting for a decision on my appeal.

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  22. Thanks anon... the AO seems to be expending more energy in throwing out people for petty offenses, and less time in unconditional love... a big hug!

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  23. Dear ones,

    I am sad to see that you have knowingly and with intent had a same-sex marriage. Whether you agree with the Baha'i teachings or not, this action is not in accord with those teachings and will result in removal of rights. You nevertheless remain a Baha'i, albeit one without those rights. In taking your action, you accepted those consequences. Now you must live in those consequences.

    In all the postings here, there is a presumption that the foundations of the Faith's teachings regarding homosexual acts and the nature of marriage are wrong, that Baha'i institutions are acting capriciously, and that taking action on flagrant disobedience to laws is "hateful."

    Dan, you were given ample information well in advance that marriage to another man was not only a contravention of Baha'i law but would result in deprivation of rights. Your protestations and the belittling of Baha'i institutions as "the AO" (surely your intention then is to demean and insult the very institutions created by Baha'u'llah and elected from among the believers), do not change the fact that the letter you received from the National Spiritual Assembly reflects more gentleness than you give credit for, and a history that does not require lengthy consultations about an action that would automatically bring removal of rights. You took a conscious action and the known consequences followed.

    Nowhere in the letter from the National Spiritual Assembly do I see a lack of love. The National Spiritual Assembly and you Local Spiritual Assembly have the respect for you to know that you can handle the consequences of your action - one that you took on your own recognizance and for which you seem willing to pay the price of losing some rights in the community. But your desire that the community and institutions abandon as "petty" the explicit teachings and authoritative interpretations of the Faith regarding sexual morality and the nature of marriage sets an impossible condition. Love for Baha'u'llah leads the majority of Baha'is to desire to live by those teachings. Those teachings include both the standards of behavior in morality and ethics as well as the principles of love and compassion.

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  24. Anon (who does not have the guts to sign his/her posts) says, "I am sad to see that you have knowingly and with intent had a same-sex marriage. Whether you agree with the Baha'i teachings or not, this action is not in accord with those teachings and will result in removal of rights. You nevertheless remain a Baha'i, albeit one without those rights. In taking your action, you accepted those consequences. Now you must live in those consequences."

    Why are you sad? I am overjoyed, and thrilled to be married to a great man! Who has brought more joy and wonder into my life than any Baha'i community I have ever lived in. Since living in Sacramento, I was never made to feel welcome at any Baha'i gathering, no one ever expressed love or interest in my life or work,no one wants to be a friend, there is no community here, I was inactive... any number of religions are far more loving, welcoming and gracious to glbts than the Baha'i Faith. Your post only confirms this... I dearly love my husband, his family, my friends and colleagues, why be sad?

    There is nothing but homophobic judgment coming from the Faith, your post only confirms it. Good luck!

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  25. Hey Anon. I'm sad to see that a person like YOU is not sanctioned in the Bahai community. Same sex marriage is NOT forbidden by Bahaullah. It is a homophobic dogma being perpetuated by the Bahai administration, but it does not have its roots in the Words of true Justice from Bahaullah. You have chosen to keep the Bahai community a small, dwindling club of conservative straight people and closeted gays who hate themselves- mirroring some of the worst cultish Christian evangelical groups out there. If that is what you think the Bahai Faith should be... I really feel sorry for you. Fortunately, I have met many true Bahais online that believe in the Words of the Beloved Beauty in regards to justice and equality (true unity) among mankind. Your ilk hopefully will dwindle away and a true Bahai community of love and acceptance will flourish one day.

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  26. Hey Daniel,

    Could you please add this to the blog...Thanks.

    "The harmony of religious belief with reason is a new vista which Baha'u'llah has opened for the soul of man."
    Abdu'l-Baha in The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Pages 453-457, Baha'i Reference Library, reference.bahai.org.

    Oh how I love the Master! This statement pretty much sums up what's needed in the present day Baha'i community when it comes to discussing gay and lesbian Baha'is.

    In Peace,
    Bill Garbett

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  27. Gays need not apply:


    13 April 1999




    Dear Baha’i Friend,

    In your enail dated 14 March 1999, you ask whether a homosexual who is in a committed same sex relationship, or who is involved in a same sex marriage, may be permitted to stay in such a relationship upon becoming a Baha’i. The answer, as indicated in our previous letter to you of 5 March 1999, is that such persons cannot be accepted as members of the Baha’i community while maintaining such a relationship. However, if individuals involved in a homosexual relationship have a desire to become Baha’is, they should be patiently and lovingly informed of the position of the Faith on homosexuality, but they should not be instructed by Baha’i teachers or by Baha’i institutions to separate in order to become Baha’is; rather, they should be left free to decide for themselves whether or not they wish to change their way of life and apply for Baha’i membership. In other words: armed with knowledge of the Baha’i position as explained to them, they can exercise their own judgment as to what to chose to do. This is the meaning of our previous statement that, “They will be free to draw their own conclusions and act accordingly.”

    It is only proper that the response of the Baha’is to such persons should be as described here: on the one hand, the law of the Faith must be upheld; on the other, our community must be open to those who choose to abide by that law. By affirming through word and deed their determination to follow the way of Baha’u’llah, they must unhesitatingly be accorded the privileges of Baha’i membership. The same approach applies with regard to those persons who wish to join the Faith but are known to have a problem with drinking, drug abuse, adultery, etc.

    We trust that this explanation clarifies the questions with which you are concerned.


    With loving Baha’i greetings,

    Department of the Secretariat

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  28. something that strikes me... she is sorry to hear about your marriage. i was delighted to hear about it. even if she and the NSA she rode in on feel it is not in keeping with baha'i law, can't she at least be happy that you have a love you want to commit to and build?

    i'm stopping there, b/c everything else i have to say will only ruin my day.

    love and happiness to you both <3
    beth

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  29. I'm "revoked" as well...

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