The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience


From: <>
To: <>
Cc: <>
Subject: Re: Unpopular voices getting equal time....
Date: Thursday, October 01, 1998 4:03 PM

RBCF Administration (Jerry White):

I just wanted to add my voice to FG's in the appeal for more
tolerance  of pluralism (opposing, or dissenting viewpoints) in Baha'i Forums.
The substance of what Mr. Glaysher says is absolutely true--I've observed the
problem myself for a number of years.

Even the most carefully worded, tactful style would be found objectionable by
conservative Baha'is in this context--because there are sacred cows
in the Baha'i religion, as in other religions, that remain off-limits for
questioning. Those who persist in questioning are soon perceived as a mortal
threat to the flock of "true believers." Baha'i critics, naturally, are never
welcome in "their" forums. Critics like Glaysher (or myself) are immediately
singled out for exclusion. We feel our views are just as valid and informative
as the messages of the orthodox camp. Sure, we need not be strident, but what
justification is there to shield the "true believers" from opposing,
responsible views--the same views they will ultimately face in the real world
anyway? Counter attacks by the Baha'is on Glaysher (and others) are to be
expected. They'll call him anything--"anti-Baha'i," "covenant-breaker"--to
dismiss his credibility and weaken his influence. Certainly, in the regard, the
Baha'is are anti-democracy--a contradiction in terms of what the internet is
all about.

So, what is my point? It's that Baha'i forums should be required to make
concessions like any other intellectually honest forums, allowing a fair share of
unpopular views to contrast what has so far been propagandistic drival and authoritarian
muscle-flexing. Glaysher and I believe that the Baha'i Faith is a world-class
religion worth a whole lot more than that. We believe that fundamentalist
mentalities--believers from Christian and Islamic backgrounds--have usurped
all of the mainstream public forums now available to Baha'is--within and without
their religious community.

In light of the above, please reconsider (if there is room left to do so) Mr.
Glaysher's appeals. He does speak for a number of others in this regard.

Thanks for "listening." --Barthaman