The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience

From: <>
Subject: Re: What is a Cult? and McKenny case
Date: Friday, January 29, 1999 5:47 PM
First of all, Michael McKenny did not break the Baha'i covenant, even by the
rigid standards of the Extreme Orthodox, so it would have been politically
difficult for the Baha'i authorities to have had him shunned.  I'm not even
sure that Canadian law would allow them to mount a conspiracy against him of
that nature.
Second of all, Mr. McKenny did not break any Baha'i law.  The Phoenix LSA
member who embezzled $70,000 is still a Baha'i, though with rights removed. 
A former Canadian NSA member involved in a sex scandal is not only still a
Baha'i but is drawing a salary from the Baha'i faith.  Mr. McKenny led a
spotless Baha'i life.  And yet he is declared 'not a Baha'i.'  On what
grounds?  Doug Martin doesn't like his views?
Third, in the Baha'i faith I once joined, you couldn't be removed from the
rolls unless you renounced belief in Baha'u'llah.  McKenny did not do that.
Finally, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights bestows on human beings the
right to belong to any religion they choose.  If Mr. McKenny felt he was a
Baha'i, he had a right to be a Baha'i.  If he broke a law, he could be
sanctioned by having his administrative rights removed.  Declaring him 'not a
Baha'i' is a totalitarian imposition on his freedom of conscience.  It would
never have occurred before the 1990s, when the UHJ took its rightward swing.
But I'm now confused.  I thought Schaut was maintaining things like this don't
happen at all?
cheers   Juan

In article <78svpi$>,
  "Rick Schaut" <RSSchaut@email.msn.NOSPAMcom> wrote:
> wrote in message <78spc1$pjr$>...
> >Just as one case, we can look at the treatment of Michael McKenny.
> Well, perhaps Dr. Cole can answer a few questions that he has, heretofore,
> refrained from answering.
> Mr. McKenny was handed his membership card and told to go on his merry way.
> He wasn't even declared a Covenant-breaker.  How does this compare to the
> imprisonment and torture that are the substance of the investigations of
> Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch?
> If the Universal House of Justice's intent was to remove the influence of Mr.
> McKenny's ideas on the Baha'i community, why didn't the Universal House of
> Justice declare him a Covenant-breaker?
> Regards,
> Rick Schaut
Juan Cole
History, U of Michigan
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