Saturday, July 3, 2010

I wrote this letter to my LSA to include in a box of things I no longer wanted:

The Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Carmichael

PO Box 60912

Carmichael, CA 95860 0912


Sunday, June 27, 2010


Dear Friends,


Enclosed with this letter you will find a number of books and things. Because I really don’t know what to do with them, nor do I want them anymore, I thought it best to give them to you to decide how to dispose of them in a respectful manner. The rest of my Baha’i library has been donated to the California State University-Sacramento library, much of which I imagine they will sell, as I was told there is little if any interest in the Baha’i collection at California State University, Sacramento.


As you are fully aware, the National Spiritual Assembly recently removed my administrative rights. Though I will always consider myself a Baha’i, this has given me great pause. I harbor serious reservations about being associated with any community that secretively hounds out its gay & lesbian members in such flagrant examples of dishonesty, homophobia and bigotry. My response is posted on my blog found at: http://revoked2.blogspot.com.


I recently attended the Pride Festival on the Capitol Mall, which took place just yards away from where the Master spoke and walked. Anybody walking amongst the many tables and informational booths would have been as impressed as I was by the many religious organizations, ministers and members of numerous congregations walking in the parade and inviting GLBT people to participate in their communities. These very same religions have identical if not similar teachings re: homosexuality, yet despite this are proving to be loving and welcoming to their gay & lesbian brothers and sisters.


So it is that I bid you all a less than fond farewell. Please remove my name from all mailings and notices, despite my core belief in Baha’u’llah, I cannot find it in myself to associate with such hateful people. Despite my deep disappointment in all of you, I assure you, that I carry no malice towards the Faith at large. I do however feel very, very sorry and ashamed of you all, and very sorry indeed for a Faith that once held so much hope and vision, that is now so mired in dysfunction, dishonesty and bigotry. It seems deeply sad that the capitol region of the richest most populous state in one the richest most powerful countries on earth cannot find in itself a way to garner a truly prominent presence here. I am convinced that the intolerance and outmoded practices I experience only continue to keep the Faith from gaining any stature what so ever in Sacramento.


No response to this letter is necessary, as there is little if anything neither you nor I can or will do to ameliorate this disgraceful set of circumstances. I wish you all luck, and hope that at some time in the future this community will live up to the promise the Blessed Beauty promised us all.


Sincerely,


Daniel Clark Orey

55 comments:

  1. The Blessed Beauty has identified two fundamental obstacles to the spiritual and material development of humanity: pride and passion. These are ancient obstacles and ones each human must face, and can defeat through generation of will power and through concerted effort; all with the grace and assistance of God.

    The model that religious experience presents to us is that we must die to the spiritual condition in which pride and passion reign. It is an imperative, and presented to us by example. This is the meaning of the crucifixion: to die to the values of the world (passion, pride, sensuality, self-gratification, constant pursuit of satisfaction in this life, and so on) so that we can rise up to a new life of spirituality. The latter becomes the meaning of the resurrection. It is not easy to accomplish this process. Many are called ... .

    Or, we must free ourselves from the slavery to these earthly desires, as the Israelites freed themselves from slavery in the land of Egypt (that is, the land of sensuousness and pursuit of satisfaction of desire) and embark on a course towards the promised land, where those ruling forces (represented metaphorically by Pharoah, or in Jesus' time, Herod) dominate no more.

    Abdu'l-Baha called the "wandering in the wilderness" phase of the Exodus account the "outer story." The inner meaning, He observed, was that the wilderness of Sin is the wilderness of pride. So you have said that you willingly and joyfully attended a pride event, celebrating your sexuality. Is this not the very pride Abdu'l-Baha identifies in his interpretation of the meaning of wandering in the wilderness? Do not Abdu'l-Baha, and Baha'u'llah, challenge you to die to that pride? Or to set aside that pride? Can you do it? Or do you prefer to deny that this is the asking price for so great a sacrifice?

    Humans are experts at wandering in the wilderness and erecting golden calves ... gods ... in their lives during this process. Take communism, for example. What a great system of ideals and goals! And what an abysmal failure, psychologically, economically, socially, spiritually. It had a huge following ... billions of people ... a theory of human nature as a material, economic entity; a massive literature; and all the trimmings of religion. But it has burnt out. The Baha'is recognized that it would, all along.

    Jesus was approached by a rich man who wished to follow Him. Jesus told the rich man (that is, a human being encumbered by worldly desires and passions) to "go and sell all that you have" and then come back and follow Him. What a challenge. The man went away, and did not return. Jesus didn't say to him "go and sell all that you have with the exception of that one particular thing that you feel so proud of; that you are so attached to." Further, we can contemplate just how is it that the camel can pass through the eye of the needle? It must divest itself of its entire load; not just some of its load.

    In the conclusion of the Hidden Words, Baha'u'llah challenges each of us: "Let it now be seen what your endeavors in the path of detatchment will reveal."

    Acceptance from we humans is in knowing that each of us has the capacity to overcome our pride and passion; not that we should acknowledge and accept that pride and passion as unqualified, fixed human coditions.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Funny that anony Ned ("profile not available") thinks that Gay Pride is about pride. It's about equality.

    In the Telegraph today, an item on Dr. John's chances of becoming an anglican Bishop, and the comment added from the Telegraph writer:

    "..the prime minister [of the UK] criticised the Church of England over failing to be more accepting in its attitudes to homosexuality.

    "But I think the Church has to do some of the things that the Conservative Party has been through – sorting this issue out and recognising that full equality is a bottom line full essential.""

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/7870158/Gay-cleric-in-line-to-become-bishop-in-Church-of-England.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is nothing wrong with being proud of your self for being different.

      Delete
  3. Dear Daniel,

    I'm glad to hear you will still have access to the Writings. Yes, everything is online these days. My humongous library (about 15,000 volumes) now seems like an anachronism. The issue of the Baha'i Teachings on homosexualit is an issue you've gone back and forth with, and I don't say that to be diminish what you have gone through, to the contrary I realize it has been heart-wrenching. Still, I don't think you should blame the Baha'i institutions for holding to a position which they see as based on their scriptures. I don't see how we can discard revelation as our source of authority and remain authentically Baha'is. And sorry, I don't find Jackson's arguments on this topic as an accurate representation of what Baha'u'llah intended. Does that make us homophobic? Obviously some are and some aren't, but I don't think you can automatically accuse the NSA of this simply because they enforced what they understood to be a Baha'i law. As I think you know, my brother was gay and eventually died of AIDS. I can't remember whether that was before or after we were last in contact with one another. This is the I gave at his memorial service:
    http://stevesdance.susanmaneck.com/
    Personally I never would have supported anti-gay legislation like Proposition 8, partly because I don't believe that in a pluralistic society any religion should be dictating morality to those that don't adhere to that religion. By the same token, I don't think it is right to pressure or compel a religion to change its own religious beliefs and practices.
    Really Dan, I wish you all the best and I think there are more Baha'is in the community that do the same than you are prepared to acknowledge right now.

    warmest, Susan

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Susan... so sorry to hear about your brother, this is very sad. I have had over 15 friends pass away because of this... it is terrible, and tragic.

    In regards your post - I respectfully disagree... tho it is nice to know that some Baha'is are more enlightened... but by their silence as well as electing of people that secretly spy upon and hounding out of glbt folk is to my mind accepting of the status quo... so many religions are welcoming and loving to glbt - yet have the very same teachings... yet the Baha'i Faith would much rather see any of us as gay non-Baha'is than as gay Baha'is... I have Episcopal, Methodist, Jewish and Buddhist friends who keep asking me why I put up with this homophobic ignorance.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Barb Ruth-WrightJuly 4, 2010 at 6:27 PM

    Ned, one of the definitions of "pride" in my well-worn Webster's is "a reasonable or justifiable self-respect" - this is what gay pride is about - reasonable and justifiable self-respect, without which no human being is emotionally healthy. I wonder if you would also offer such "counsel" as you have to Daniel, to blacks or to women who have sought this kind of self-respect in the face of others who have sought to denigrate them for their racial or gender identity? If not, why? How is this different? And if you would offer the same counsel, then I suggest you shout it loud and clear in your Baha'i community, so that others know exactly what your position is in regard to racial prejudice and sexism.

    Susan, with all due respect, I suggest that your brother danced because he loved life and found joy in it - a characteristic not uncommon among GLBTs, and one we could look to as a model for living - would that we all found such joy in life that we could not help but dance, even in the face of the self-righteous ignorance and prejudice of the "religious."

    When I criticize anyone who is anti-gay as being "not on the side of the angels," I mean it quite literally.

    Barb

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks Barb, Susan is right... there are good Baha'is about... they too need to come out of the closet!

    a big hug!

    D

    ReplyDelete
  7. Uh, Ned, you anonymous fundamentalist conservative "Bahai" (I use that loosely since I really don't sense the love of Abdul-Baha from any of the supposed Bahais here who support the horrible actions of the US NSA against Daniel), you started out your ugly post with what the Blessed Beauty identified for the development of humanity. Did you know that Bahaullah came for the happiness of Mankind? The Bahai community disenfranchises the LGBT community through its administrative order and Bahais like you and this Susan person feel that is perfectly justified. How is that bringing happiness and unity to mankind? It is a far cry from the love and unity truly taught by the Blessed Beauty and expounded on by his Beloved Son. You people should be soooo thoroughly ashamed of yourselves. The loving relationship that Daniel has with his partner is EQUAL to any fortress of well-being inside the Bahai community. In fact, his relationship outshines some of the sorry Bahai marriages that I have seen (more than 1/2 of which end up in divorce). If any thing, the Bahai community should embrace gay couples such as Daniel and offer the Bahai community as a solace for such relationships. But alas, as Daniel pointed out, the Bahai community can't even show itself at a Pride event to teach the Word of God to those homosexuals. How then can we expect it to ever be mature enough to actually love and accept LGBT as equals. I love Bahaullah, but I am utterly disgusted with the homophobia that runs deep inside the Bahai administrative order and the community!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh and Susan said: "By the same token, I don't think it is right to pressure or compel a religion to change its own religious beliefs and practices. "
    No, no... we are not presurring a "religion" to change. The Word of Bahaullah needs no change. IT IS ALL ENCOMPASSING. IT DOES MAKE ROOM for LGBT people. What we are doing is making sure the "Bahai community and it's AO" realize that there is a different way to view homosexuality from the dogmatic manner that leads to discrimination against LGBT people. The Dogma that you espouse is very different from the actual Words of Bahaullah.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I find the post by "Ned" reeking of the pride he proposes that all religions condemn. To lose one's "self" also seems to me to include losing all pre-conceived notions of "right" and "wrong" and viewing all through the eyes of oneness. Such judgementalism is nothing but deceitful pride incarnate!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Joseph andrejchak GalataJuly 4, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    Many men such as Daniel became Bahai's because their souls are magnets for the Energies of God through the magnetic force of Baha'u'llah. Bigoted and prejudicial Baha's - those who condem gays- interfere with a man receiving the Energies of God. The Long Healing Prayer tells us God Iis the All Loving and All Bountiful. No where in that beautiful prayer does it say that God is only loving and bountiful to heterosexuals. The Energies of God cannot permeate any Bahai individual or community that denies God as being All Lovingand All Bountiful. So, many Bahai' men leave the Bahai community, but don' t leave Baha'u'llah's magnetic force delivering the Energies of God!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks... sniff, sniff... Pey, Dan and of course our beloved and most great Andrejchak!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Daniel,

    You chose Love and Light. You chose to be honest and to defy the lies of a silly religious hierarchy.

    The others chose to worship the lesser gods of scriptural literalism, fundamentalism and dehumanizing bureaucracy, and their darkness is obvious.

    You chose the higher path, and made those on the path of delusion, those that worship banal organization, look bad by comparison.

    They have no choice but to try to make you into a less-than-human scapegoat, but in the process they show how dehumanized they themselves really are by cult belief.

    You are, as ever, a great inspiration. Your service to the community is a spectacular example of selfless service to a higher path in life, and dedication to justice.

    The bahai administration doesn't deserve to have you, and now they don't. You are too good.

    Your Brother,
    Eric P.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Susan,

    Please stop hounding people that have been abused and traumatized by bahai administration.

    This is about Daniel's path in life toward truth, love and light.

    It is not about your sick need to be an "important" person in a dysfunctional cult religion that dehumanizes and abuses people seeking spiritual life and community.

    Let some of the vast hot air out of your ego for once, and simply have some UNPOLLUTED compassion for someone else's pain (without exploiting them for cult reinforcement).

    Regards,
    Eric P.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The problem Payam, is these are the actual words of Baha'u'llah:

    "Ye are forbidden to commit adultery, sodomy and lechery."

    And elsewhere the Aqdas refers to the penalty for sodomy being left to the Universal House of Justice.
    That doesn't seem to leave much room for same sex behavior.
    Baha'is didn't just make this stuff up themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The problem Susan is that this is the same teaching in every religion, yet they do not throw out their gays, or there is a place for them anyway... fundamentalist views about GLBT relationships do nothing but hound people out, and scare good people away... there is no place for GLBT Baha'is... what I am asking is the following,

    "What is better a gay Baha'i or gay non-Baha'i?"

    ReplyDelete
  16. The problem Susan is that those words that you take at face value to mean no room for same-sex relationship is YOUR dogma. A committed, same-sex relationship is completely a thing that is not covered by the Book, so it is fully left to the Universal House of Justice. The current 9 men (as well as you) have chosen to continue the dogma that hurts so many gay people. Imagine Susan if your brother had not been chastised in his life by society/religion for being gay. Imagine if he had been told that he should seek a wonderful person to be committed to and build a family. Maybe, the outcome for his life as well as the lives of countless gay men who wander in destructive behaviour, would have been different. Maybe your brother would be here today... as you are. Again, by continuing your dogma in the Bahai community against wonderful committed relationships such as Daniel's, you are ensuring that future gay youth in the Bahai community will have to deal with self-hate and destructive behaviouir because they are being taught- wether you sleep with a different person each day and abuse others sexually or wether you live in a loving committed relationship- it is a ALL a sin. Bahaullah has left a lot more room for his religion to adjust to the needs of humanity than most conservatives in the Faith are willing to admit.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm also amazed at how so many educated people continue to equate the word "sodomy" with same sex relationships. How would Bahais like their "fortresses of well-being" equated with one sexual act. Sodomy as I undestand it in its historical context was a forced act and has nothing to do with sex between a committed couple in a stable relationship (which gays could have if the UHJ would actually legislate on the matter). If sodomy means purely anal sex, then Susan I suggest that we put cameras in every Bahai married couple's bedroom to make sure that no one is having anal sex. Since you are assuming that gay men in a committed relationship are having anal sex, then I will assume the same of married Bahai couples.

    ReplyDelete
  18. LOVE rather than judge
    INCLUDE rather than exclude.Hatred paralyzes life.
    Love releases it.
    Hatred confuses life.
    Love harmonizes it.
    Hatred darkens life.
    Love illuminates it.

    -Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ned's has certainly chosen a creative approach for an exclusionary reading of the Bahai Teachings. But strangely enough 'Abdu-l-Baha would have disagreed with him as he encouraged Bahais show by deeds that the Bahai Faith was inclusive. He actively encouraged the Baha'is to confront the evils of the times - racism. I am sure that he would be encouraging Bahais today to stand up and be counted in the struggle for equality for our gay brothers and sisters.

    Ned, if you read Daniel's letter, the message that rings throughout is not so much that he had his voting rights removed for being married, but that he is left in the cold by his Bahai community. Think about it. What type of loving community, drops an individual, just like that. Whether they have or don't have voting rights?

    I realise that part of the problem for Baha'is is that they may feel uncomfortable around homosexuals as these are missing in Bahai community life in general. So make a difference. Next time be nice, be friendly, but don't be patronizing. If you feel it is OK for Baha'is who are gay and married to lose their voting rights, you don't have to then condemn a Bahai for participating in a march for equality and visibility. Here in the Netherlands these marches (which as a Bahai I see as my duty to participate in) are about showing that gays are everywhere and part of the diversity of the garden of humanity.

    love to you all here who dare to speak for the many many gay and lesbian Baha'is who are still afraid to, Sonja

    ReplyDelete
  20. A couple of brief comments:

    1) It's true that a number of Baha'is are homophobic. They might even go out of their way to justify their feelings by quoting the Baha'i writings. When a person enters a religion that's new to them they don't magically transform into "sainthood" overnight--or ever.

    2) Unlike the Unitarians and similar, Baha'i is not a mix and match doctrine. It's a package deal. There is no getting around what both the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice have published about sexuality or any part of the spectrum therein. If Baha'is use those documents as a club then they're just being jerks but that doesn't make those documents any less authoritative or what they say optional.

    3) Why is sexuality so all-fired crucial to people? At some point there is a choice of what people value the most. It's either their physical sexuality that's more important to them or their metaphysical beliefs that are more important. Just because you freely chose one over the other doesn't mean that your choice is correct for everyone else or the only possible choice. I have known homosexual Baha'is who were open about it but practiced abstinence--you know, the same abstinence that most religions also put upon unmarried people regardless of their sexuality.

    4) Personally, I have not one but two neurodiverse conditions, one of which makes many people uncomfortable (a Schizoaffective spectrum disorder) because they are ignorant and the mass media distorts it terribly for the sake of sensationalism and ratings. In all my years in the faith, I've only encountered a tiny handful of Baha'is who were made uncomfortable if I disclosed it. I have never encountered any discrimination however. Additionally, I have never seen true discrimination against homosexuals in the ranks of Baha'is. I think that's a gross and unfair exaggeration and distortion of the truth.

    Finally, if you believe that the Guardian made a mistake in either translation or interpretation then you are correct to throw out the entire belief system. As I said, it's either all or nothing.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Daniel, I tried to post a comment, but it wouldn't take my name as an open ID. Here's what I tried to say:

    Daniel, you have taken the path of standing up, declaring your love and honoring yourself for it. That took a lot of courage.

    Perhaps my greatest challenge as a lesbian and a Baha'i is to have faith in a God that is not a petty punisher. Abdul Baha used to ask of the Baha'is "Are you happy?" I believe that becoming hyper-vigilant over "sins," creates misery that blots out the grace we all deserve and which, I believe, is promised to us. I won't allow anyone to steal that Grace. I count on it.

    I love the quote (7 valleys and 4 valleys?) that says we arrive at a place where we find "justice in injustice and in justice, grace." I may have misquoted that, sorry scholars if I did. That, to me, is a spiritual promise that has nothing to do with administrative rights.

    Having worked at the National Center, I saw the institutions of the Faith enforcing the social laws, not the spiritual ones. For me, that was freeing. Ultimately, it is between me and God. I have no expectations of other Baha'is. You and I can embrace spiritual laws without conflicts because they are universal. Baha'is don't have a corner on that market. We just don't fit into the Baha'i social order. I hang out with people who accept me as I am and let the rest go. I hope you can move forward from this difficult time and do the same.

    Ellen

    ReplyDelete
  22. Sorry Cary Enoch Reinstein but if you haven't experienced "true discrimination against homosexuals" as you say, you haven't read your own words above... its like saying " there is no racism" because I know a black person... feh! Please read our letter that a group of LGBT folks wrote to the NSA, asking for help (it was ignored and never answered): http://bahai-library.com/orey_open_letter_gays

    ReplyDelete
  23. Dan, it honors me that you've asked me to participate in your discussion. The posts are interesting, and reflect the changeless character of what also extinguished my connection to most of the so-called Baha'is - but not at all to the Blessed Beauty.

    I'll read over everything very carefully, and if I feel there is value, I'll say something.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Cary you asked "Why is sexuality so all-fired crucial to people?"
    If you cared at all, if you were a caring human being (forget caring Bahai; I certainly don't see in you any of the love that Abdul-Baha showed), then you would realize that the question is "Why is acceptance of one's family crucial to people?" Because THAT is what this is all about. I know for "Bahais" (again I use that term losely when it refers to you people) such as yourself it is ALL about sex when dealing whith homosexuals. But we are not talking about sex. We are talking about couples who have built lives together and may be raising children. You think it is ok to shut the door on these individuals, or condemn them to a life of seperation and celibacy (or worse sham marriages with people of the opposite sex). I don't believe this is the vision of Bahaullah's all-embracing Faith. And fortunately, many other Bahais with open hearts and open minds also do not agree with your literalist worship of dogma in the Bahai Faith. There is no law against the beautiful relationship that Daniel has created, what there is are a number of un-authoritative letters from Shoghi Effendi's secretaries- nothing more. I don't worship those secretaries. I believe only in Bahaullah and the "official" interpreations given to us by Abdul-Baha and Shoghi Effendi. Period!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Cary, Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian never wrote anything on the topic of homosexuality. There is a distinction between the many letters written on his behalf and what he wrote himself as authorative interpretator.
    I realise that Bahais might say it is a closed book as you have, but it is not the case.
    My blog goes into detail about the authority and status of these letters, some which are ignored and some which are not. As you wrote yourself, Baha'is shouldn't be picking and choosing which ones to ignore and which ones are to be treated as if they as Scripture.
    They are either Scripture or not. I prefer to rely how it seems that Shoghi Effendi treated these letters and i've quoted this on my blog.

    http://justabahai.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. Cary,

    (its great hearing from you, it has been along time since the good old days on the original talisman email list.)

    haifan bahaism is as much a "mix-n-match" affair as unitarianism. yes, I'm a UBA supporter and ex-haifan-bahai (bias disclosure), which the USNBC is aware of.

    haifan bahaism has become a cult bureauracy, which in itself is a massive violation of the "purity" scenario you propose and various basic principles in bahai scripture.

    part of the cult mentality that has come to predominate in haifan bahaism is an obsession on control and "enforcement" of rigid rules that were inherited from a premodern society.

    the reality is that many bahai ideas and rules are absurdly backward and need to be tossed out and/or ignored.

    of course this is difficult to do for people that are still under the influence of bureaucratic haifan bahai mind control paradigm.

    have a nice day.
    E.P.
    Sacto.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Daniel,

    I am honored to have another gay Baha'i brother to stand up for this injustice that we face. Soon enough I will receive another "visit" or a letter for my online discussions, but I no longer live in fear. If I loose my Administrative Rights it is their loss. I dream of a day when the LBGT community will ignite the now stale Baha'i Community, until that time comes I will devout my time to dialogue that helps to create a homophobic-free Baha'i Faith.

    lots of love,

    Sean

    ReplyDelete
  28. Sean, you make us all proud! Viva!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Daniel,

    It seems to me that, rather than disposing of your books or hording them in your home, you are sharing them with others who might make better use of them. Dude! You are such an exemplary Baha'i!

    -Dan

    ReplyDelete
  30. I have had many friends leave the Faith, in the administrative way, due to this issue. Love of Baha'U'llah remains in their heart.
    Baha'U'llah's pen is silent in this matter. Science and religion will agree.
    Generations may pass and hearts will be broken, until, justice and understanding will be manifest.
    Until then...
    Bless you Daniel for you public outcry and service of your web sites. As long as discussion is alive the issue will be addressed.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hey Daniel,\
    Thanks, if you can post this that would be great. Hang in there my brother, YOU ROCK!

    Dear Daniel,
    As you know it seems we are beating a "dead horse" here. From the various responses it still comes down to the "literal, fundamentalist" Baha'is and the more progressive types. I'm must say I'm some what dismayed at Susan's response. Susan, I have always had great respect for you and your knowledge of the writings and the workings of the Faith. Unfortunately, you and so many other wonderful, dedicated, knowledgeable Baha'is seem to fall apart and become almost "Islamic" when it comes to the subject of homosexuality! What's the big deal? The world is moving on toward it's destiny and guess what? Part of that destiny is the acceptance of gay and lesbian people as equals in society and in spirituality and yes, within the Baha'i Faith. Unless and until the Faith moves on from a "Guardian from the grave" mentality it will long continue to struggle to attract any appreciable numbers of people no matter how many well organized global plans of Ruhi courses take place.

    So what if the Guardian said certain things regarding homosexuality. That was in the forties and fifties. We've come a long way baby. My belief is that the House of Justice will one day reach it's full potential by doing what so ever it willest! The one and only Guardian we've ever had and ever will have was an amazing, thoughtful, compassionate man. He functioned beautifully without the House of Justice. The House of Justice has worked and progressed wonderfully without a living Guardian. So there you have it! What ever was projected in the Will and Testament obviously was altered by the changes and chances of this world. OK, so let's move ahead, and let the House decide on something that was never mentioned by Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi, namely, same-sex marriage and long term gay and lesbian monogamous relationships!

    Bravo, Daniel for your bravery, love, commitment, and dedication to keeping a light on this subject. A subject that many Baha'is wish would simply go away!

    One final thing: For all you straight Baha'is out there that keep equating homosexuality with Sodomy, it's time to STOP! Are all the heterosexual relationships out there defined solely by vaginal/penile intercourse? Of course not, so stop referring to our relationships as just based on some sexual act!

    In Peace,
    Bill Garbett

    ReplyDelete
  32. Regarding e.p.'s comment:

    Sooner or later someone was going to mention the old Talisman list. My belief is that it was a hotbed of untruths, accusations, and small-minded criticsms of Baha'i administration including but not limited to the US-NSA. I subscribed to it during a brief period when I was completely in a Schizoaffective psychotic state yet no matter how wild I was, I never turned on the faith or its institutions. Even today more than a decade later, it still haunts me because all of its messages are online and easily accessible via Google. It is profoundly embarrassing and distressing. That list should have remained private but taking it public fit its ultimate thinly disguised purpose which was to attack the Baha'i faith on many levels.

    What else did it represent to me? A forum for political progressives whose radical leanings took precedence over their religious views. I was and still am probably to the left of all of them so I suppose that was its temporary appeal to me at the time. But as I mentioned, I was quite "crazy."

    And whither have many of its main particpants gone? A lot of them have either left Baha'i or turned viciously against it. Need I mention the controversial--but accurate--essay by M. Momen that analyzes some of them? Let's take its founder for a moment. Where is he now? Back then he was criticizing the Guardian for making deliberate errors in translation. That was very germane to this very discussion of you recall it. Now you see him from time to time mentioned in the Israeli press as an ardent spokesperson for Hamas.

    I also remember Dan Orey who I remember fondly and consider a good person. I met him in person at Bosch. I wish him only the best. As for most of the others on Talisman, I want to be lightyears apart form any possible association with their propaganda.

    ReplyDelete
  33. another great discussion is and post well worth reading can be found at:

    http://justabahai.wordpress.com/

    thanks Sonja for sharing this

    ReplyDelete
  34. "If you cared at all, if you were a caring human being..."

    Who is showing their true colors now? I see nothing but bitterness and meanness in a comment such as that one that was directed at me. Have you elevated yourself to the level of the Exemplar Himself that you can judge me like that? You truly cannot realize how utterly false and malicious remarks were. At least most of the other people here presented themselves in a logical and reasonable way. You cannot use me as a foil to show how much you detest Baha'is. It is time I bowed out of this discussion.

    ReplyDelete
  35. 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

    ReplyDelete
  36. Cary,

    I had nothing to do with the placement of talisman archives on the public internet, do not think they should be there. Since they were however, identities should have first been stripped out, writing styles scrambled, etc.

    I'm no big fan of Cole, but he has made some major contributions to bahai scholarship. Do you actually support the NSA's boycott of Kalimat Press?

    As a libertarian, I was a frequent critic of the pc-left radical excesses on talisman. I saw them as self-indulgent "boomer" narcissists, and thus counterproductive of reform. It turns out that no reform was possible anyway because bahai administration was already corrupt beyond fixing.

    You make a big mistake by smearing all ex-bahais. The NSA groveled trying to keep Dann May and his wife in the haifan bahai community, to no avail. Sen McGlinn was kicked out for little more than writing theology! The former president of the US Chamber of Commerce in China left because of legitimate objections to the NSA meddling in chinese politics to the detriment of reform. haifan bahai administration has demanded cult worship, and that is the sure sign of corruption, dehumanization and exploitation.

    The atmosphere in the community became horribly toxic. Ineptitude was rampant. Constant failure led to pointless attempts at bureaucratic reinvention.

    Memon's article on bahai apostates is mostly polemic garbage, illogical assumptions and inaccuracies. The haifan bahai system produces such intellectual corruption.

    What is now evident is that haifan bahaism has become rigidly orthodox and reactionary, and there is intense loathing of nonconformism, criticism and dissident.

    In other words, a backward, medieval social structure based on mythic belief and conformism has overtaken haifan bahaism.

    The world does not need another imperialitic, backward religion that puts on a fake "spiritual" mask of social progress.

    You did not address my main point: haifan bahaism is as much a mix-n-match affair as is unitarianism. bahais systematically ignore large areas of their own scripture when it does not reflect the prevailing paradigm.

    What haifan bahais do not ignore is the parts of their scripture that supports cult worship of administration and conformance to fundamentalism, literalism, and authoritarianism.

    Any legitimate sociologist could easily identify the standard "textbook" characteristics of dysfunctional organizational culture in typical haifan bahai communities in a short period of time.

    I've seen at least 10 people of "high capacity" leave in disgust, and about that many people get kicked out.

    No meaningful "internal" reforms have happened in 20+ years, on the contrary, all attempts at reform have been viciously attacked, or falsly appropriated and used to exploit people.

    The sad reality is that gays are scapegoats in the bahai community. The unrecognised "shadow" (collective sin) of the bahai community is "projected" onto nonconformists.

    This is not a religion that models healthy culture.

    http://www.panarchy.org/koestler/holon.1969.html

    "9.4 If the challenge to the organism exceeds a critical limit, the balance may be upset, the over-excited holon may tend to get out of control, and to assert itself to the detriment of the whole, or monopolize its functions - whether the holon be an organ, a cognitive structure (idée fixe), an individual, or a social group. The same may happen if the coordinate powers of the whole are so weakened that it is no longer able to control its parts (C. M. Child).

    9.5 The opposite type of disorder occurs when the power of the whole over its parts erodes their autonomy and individuality. This may lead to a regression of the INT tendencies from mature forms of social integration to primitive forms of identification and to the quasi-hypnotic phenomena of group psychology."
    (Arthur Koestler)

    Regards.
    Eric P.
    Sacramento

    ReplyDelete
  37. Cary. You belittle us by equating loving gay relationships with a sex act and condemn gay couples from ever participating as equals in the Bahai community. And then you expect me to see you as a loving/caring person towards us who doesn't judge? Please! I love how "some" Bahais try to cover their homophobia for the world at large, but it always shines through.

    ReplyDelete
  38. And I love this statement you made Cary:
    "I have known homosexual Baha'is who were open about it but practiced abstinence"
    How do you know? Did you have cameras in their bedrooms? Most of the so-called abstinant, struggling gays end up having sex or constantly thinking about it (I certainly did when I was suppressing myself in an unhealthy way becayse if the Bahai community). It is a shame that people like you Cary would rather see someone like Daniel (who you say is a good person) OUTSIDE of the Bahai community and some sad, repressed, struggling individuals INSIDE the Bahahi community. That says A LOT about how caring you are!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Too bad the Baha'i Authoritative Odor feels it must emphasize such petty distinctions between Baha'i brothers and sisters, making some perfectly nice folks look like bigots in the process.

    Putting the Holy Word of the Secretary aside, this issue underscores the legalistic nature of the present Baha'i Authoritative Odor. Baha'is are compelled to argue "the law is the law" and are forced to cast general principles aside. Shame.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I just received my American Baha'i today and it had highlights from the National Convention. I found this on page 31 from Peter Khan which I find very interesting in light of what we are discussing here:

    "What is constant in our Faith and what is subject to change? This question is crucial for the Baha'i community now, said Peter Khan, former member of the Universal House of Justice, at the 102nd Baha'i National Convention."..."our institutions have a vast task that will require centuries: laying the foundation for a new culture and ultimately a new civilization." "Our strategies to advance this work, he said, must be appropriate to circumstance." "That may mean long-cherished practices are sometimes discarded. So it's essential for our community to balance constancy with change." "...The House of Justice, Khan said, is an institution "unique in history" for many reasons, ranging from its freedom from error to "its endowment with the commitment to make change" and the"magnitude of its authority and function."

    As I said earlier, the above from Peter Khan seems to be saying that the House has the God given responsibility to bring about change. At this point in its history I don't think Mr. Khan or the House feel that that "change" has anything to do with the present day "official" stand the Faith takes regarding homosexuality. It does give me a glimmer of hope though. As this discussion continues and intensifies the subject of same-sex marriage will have to be dealt with on a much more humane and spiritual level.

    In Peace,
    Bill Garbett

    ReplyDelete
  41. Bill, yes, you've hit the nail on the head!

    I wrote a blog last August called "Change is a Law of Nature" (incidently the same name for a performance piece of mine from 1996, which dealt with change and value (meaning) >
    http://www.sonjavank.com/change.htm)

    Anyway the blog

    (http://bahairants.com/change-is-a-law-of-nature-666.html)

    mentions some changes going on in the U.K. in connection with gay rights and I relate this to the ability of the UHJ to legistrate (make changes) on anything not covered in the Bahai Scriptures and there is nothing in Bahai Scripture that discusses homosexuality so they can. And further in this blog I discuss how they seem to have already by the way the Notes section of the Aqdas has been written by them which is also here:
    http://justabahai.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/mainly-about-homosexuality/#paederasty

    There is also blog which discusses flexibility in Bahai law:
    http://justabahai.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/flexibility/

    So Bill, I agree that same-sex marriage needs to be treated with more tolerance by Bahai's but I'd also argue that Abdu'l-Baha's Will and Testament states that areas, such as marriage will be up to secondary Houses of Justice (NSAs) to rule on, taking cultural norms into consideration. See:
    http://justabahai.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/flexibility/#change

    ReplyDelete
  42. With respect to what changes and what remains unchanged, the UHJ "doeth whatsoever It willeth, and ordaineth that which It pleaseth."

    ReplyDelete
  43. "ranging from its freedom from error"
    They need to start change by admiting that "freedom from error" does not mean that they don't make mistakes. It does not mean that they are 9 men who when they sit together they have a direct seance with Almighty God and poof they have the perfect answer. If so, why don't they just at least once pick the Lotto numbers and help the Fund out, instead of having NSA's beg poor Bahais to give, give, GIVE?! Maybe if they understood with humbleness that their mission is one and only one thing- to keep this community united and hopefully growing. They don't seem to be succeeding much right now.

    ReplyDelete
  44. kaweah wrote:
    With respect to what changes and what remains unchanged, the UHJ "doeth whatsoever It willeth, and ordaineth that which It pleaseth."


    Kaweah you have not only changed the "It" in the quotation from the original "He" but in this you are giving the Universtal House of Justice the same status as Baha'u'llah gives God. I'd think that the Universal of House would not be happy if Baha'is went around implying that "It" should treated like God.

    Here is the quotation which everyone can see for themselves that Baha'u'llah is referring to God and it is originally a reference to the Koran.

    "The spirit that animateth the human heart is the knowledge of God, and its truest adorning is the recognition of the truth that "He doeth whatsoever He willeth, and ordaineth that which He pleaseth.""
    http://www.bahaullah.com/bahaullah-writings-human-character-part2.html

    Finally: you have changed a quotation about faith and trust and knowledge of God into an autocratic statement you associate with the Universtal House of Justice. If you disagree with what I have written and wish show how I am wrong, please refer to the Universal House of Justice's own laws or to Baha'i Scripture and then we can debate further. I suggest that
    you start with reading the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Actually I interpreted Kaweah to be saying that the UHJ could change if they wanted to change because they are UHJ...

    ReplyDelete
  46. Daniel,

    I am unfamiliar with the Writings that state that homosexuality, per se, is forbidden. True, certain sexual acts are not permitted, but the matter of loving in a non-physical (or at least non-sexual) manner a member of the same sex is never forbidden. Two men can live in a chaste but loving relationship in the same manner as a man and a woman might outside of marriage. It is no-one's business what occurs within the sanctuary of the home unless untoward (according to the Writings) behaviour is notorious and/or openly professed or flaunted. A chaste "homosexual lifestyle" - whatever that means - should not, in itself, be of interest to the LSA, NSA, or the Universal House of Justice.

    In other words, according to the Writings, and please correct me if I am in error, the Baha'i Faith is open to all individuals who are gay and chaste (or chased).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Romantic and sexual REPRESSION is ABNORMAL,UNNATURAL , UNHEALTHY as well as DANGEROUS and IMMORAL and WRONG as well as STUPID and UNECESSARY and is also psychologically , psychically,emotionally and spiritually ( regardless of your religious, spiritual or non-religious preference) damaging and can lead to promiscuity, domestic abuse and rape as well as a result in difficulties for the individual who has decided to become romantically and sexually active (as they CAN and SHOULD , MUST and NEED to as a romantically and sexually active relationship whether it be with the same-gender or opposite- gender can be such a fulfilling and rewarding experience) to remain committed , monogamous, and faithful in their relationship to their "soulmate" ( as I like to call it) of the same gender or opposite gender and can result in severe sexual dysfunction that would require the guidance of a therapist to properly educate a person who has lead a life a repression whether for a short or lengthy period of time into helping the newly romantically and sexually active individual lead a more loving, committed ,monogomous romantically and sexually active relationship that is fulfilling and beneficial to both partners whether the couple is same-gendered or opposite- gendered with said proper education, practice, hope , faith, commitment, patience and progress. .

      Delete
  47. Sonja asked me to post her reply here:

    It is a double standard. one set of rules for all gays and one set of rules for all heterosexuals. The writer is ignoring the point of this whole blog which is about a gay marriage.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Reed wrote:

    Sonja,
    I am assuming your reply was to my comment.
    I disagree, there is no double standard. If either a homosexual couple or a heterosexual couple were to flagrantly declare on the Internet and to the community, that they are enjoying sexual congress outside of marriage the LSA must take action.

    As to the point of this blog, the letter from the NSA specifically states "As you are fully aware, homosexual relationships are not permissible within the Baha'i Faith, no matter how devoted and fine the love may be between the parties." That is false, as I tried to state. Hopefully, a homosexual relationship is more than a matter of sodomy; in fact, sodomy is not required for a homosexual relationship - if the gay community has been honest in its depiction these past few decades - only love, caring, trust, etc. None of these fine attributes are forbidden in the Writings; therefore neither is a chaste homosexual relationship. The NSA is in error, IMO.
    With warm regards,
    Reed

    ReplyDelete
  49. Reed... the point is... that the NSA IS removing rights of glbt folks... I was inactive, not participating, not causing problems AT ALL. Yet secretively, dishonestly, and I might add unjustly... they acted. I am good guy, a respected faculty member, father and neighbor... everyone I know is shocked & disgusted with the Baha'is.

    THEY are the cause of great harm to the image of the Faith, not me. I have been honest for years... why they chose to act in this way is sad. They are telling GLBT's to go away... as are many Baha'is in a number of these post attest.

    Daniel

    ReplyDelete
  50. Daniel,

    I am confused, I suppose. You are married to another man. However, the Baha'i Faith, as clearly stated by the Universal House of Justice, (notes on Homosexuality 1993 and 1995) does not recognize same-sex marriage. Therefore, the Faith does not acknowledge your present state. How can they then act upon what does not exist in the sight of God? This is similar to a person saying that matter doesn't exist and then asking for a hot dog.

    Your marriage vows may have been "open and notorious" (a legal term) but unless you included in the ceremony the expressed intent to commit sodomy, the LSA and NSA should have, according to what I have read of the Writings, no cause for complaint. The only assumption that the LSA could make, with a sin-covering eye, would be that you love - have affection for and a commitment to - your partner; assuming eros as well is not their responsibility. I understand the "appearance of propriety" is necessary, but unless the LSA is going to investigate the living arrangements of every Baha'i in the community, they have no need to focus on yours. OTOH, if you flaunted an active sexual life before others, then clearly the LSA had cause for concern.

    Unless you were openly performing or discussing your sexual activities (and I am not making any suppositions regarding unchaste behavior on your part), IMO you should take this matter to the Universal House of Justice.

    Reed

    ReplyDelete
  51. Reed -

    We are a very dull yet happily monogamous married couple.. not bothering anyone, not active, both of us are scholars and respected in our field... its very sad indeed that a religion such as ours does not welcome GLBT folks.

    I really appreciate your thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Thank you for sharing your story.

    ReplyDelete