Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Via LGBT* Bahá'is:

Gender and sexual minorities battle the stigma of being labelled sinful.  In order to deconstruct that stigma, we must understand a few things.  Firstly, what the nature of sin is, how to classify and recognize it; and secondly, we must determine whether or not homosexuality, transexuality and other gender and sexual minorities fall under the category of “sinful”. Currently, based on very little and controversial evidence, being lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* or otherwise gender non-conforming is seen as inherently evil and sinful.

Baha'is believe religious laws, not to be mere laws and regulations to be followed, but rather “that the precepts laid down by God constitute the highest means for the maintenance of order in the world and the security of its peoples ”  To me this means that these laws are written into the very nature of existence, and if not adhered to, there are consequences to one’s soul and to one’s life. Sometimes these consequences are spiritual in nature, sometimes mental and sometimes physical.  And usually this can lead to the break down of one’s life and society in general.

For instance, all religions generally prohibit murder, arson, theft and mendacity.  These are universally seen as sinful and inherently wrong.  They are clearly explained in almost every Religion of God.  Murder, for example, is wrong because God has willed to raise something up, and you are making yourself an equal to God, and believe that you have more of a say to who has life and who doesn’t than He does.  This is only one reason that murder is wrong. 

Another good example is the use of drugs and alcohol.  Almost every religion prohibits the consumption of substances that impair or impede a person’s natural senses and sensibilities.  This impairment is itself a reason for banning the use of alcohol and other drugs. The consequences of alcoholism and drug addiction are easily seen. Science has proven that these substances have a negative effect on the lives and health of human beings.

So we can see that these things (arson, murder, alcoholism et cetera) are harmful to human beings.  Science has shown this, and it is in agreement with religions that say these actions have harmful spiritual effects.

In the Baha'i Faith, and most other religions, however, being gender or sexually non-conforming (homosexual, trans* et cet) is lumped into the same category as these sins.  It is seen as inherently evil and sinful and is treated as such.  In what way is this the case though?  I have never seen a single shred of evidence to suggest that this is the case.  In the Baha'i Writings other issues such as drug addiction and alcoholism are explained and deconstructed. This is not the case with LGBT* issues.  Despite the Baha'i view that homosexuality is a disease, not one shred of evidence as to its pathology, its treatment or its prognosis is given.  This is not the case with other “diseases” such as alcoholism.  In terms of murder being viewed as a “spiritual disease,” this is not the case.  The pathology is explained and has been in the human consciousness for a very long time (I gave an example of its “pathology” above). This alone is all that is necessary to prove its sinfulness.  In the Baha'i Faith, a huge onus is put on the individual to independently investigate reality.  It is important to “see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others.”  So we are not exactly taking it for granted that murder and other sins are against the Laws of Nature, but rather we see with our own eyes that they are wrong.  Through the mercy and grace of God, it has been written in the Books of almost every religion, and our own limited scientific accomplishments have proven, that these sins are inherently destructive to human-kind. However, in almost every one of the Central Books of the main world religions, rules and regulations regarding gender-variant and sexual minorities have been vague and non-conclusive.  It seems the Prophets have chosen to remain silent about this subject.

Until the time that being homosexual, trans* or otherwise a sexual or gender-variant minority is proven to be inherently wrong and against the Laws of Nature in a conclusive and non-biased setting, it should be viewed as against Baha'i law to in any way discriminate against them (including their right to be joined in a Baha'i marriage). Why? 
Bahá'u'lláh has declared that religion must be in accord with science and reason. If it does not correspond with scientific principles and the processes of reason, it is superstition. For God has endowed us with faculties by which we may comprehend the realities of things, contemplate reality itself. If religion is opposed to reason and science, faith is impossible; and when faith and confidence in the divine religion are not manifest in the heart, there can be no spiritual attainment.1 
-‘Abdu'l-Baha
At this point, science has proven homosexuality as non-pathological. It is not a disease, it is not inherently wrong, and it has no known consequences.  Science has shown that discrimination based on gender and sexual identity is damaging to individuals and society at large. Until this ceases to be the case, it is impossible to hold someone accountable for using their judgement on these things. To discriminate, and removing a person’s voting rights and effectively expelling them from the community for being “flagrantly homosexual” is discrimination, against an LGBT* person for aligning themselves with current scientific thought and medical practice, is immoral.  To do the same for a homosexual couple who decides to marry, when it is not done to heterosexual couples who procreate outside of marriage or otherwise break current Baha'i sexual laws, is discrimination, and it is not in keeping with the Baha'i principles of independent investigation, personal conscience, unconditional love or justice.

I will post soon about the Baha'i laws and Writings that currently effect LGBT* people, how they have been interpreted and other possible ways of interpreting them.

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