The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience

From: K. Paul Johnson <>
Subject: Re: Why I left ( (K. Paul J)
Date: Wednesday, August 19, 1998 12:37 PM
Richard Schaut ( wrote:
: K. Paul Johnson wrote in message <35dad616.0@vlinsvr>...
: >specious of reasons or none at all.  And of course there was a
: >lengthy exchange with R. Schaut who insisted that I was indeed
: >an enemy of the Faith.
: Mr. Johnson, I believe your memory is faulty.  I've said that it's not hard
: to see why someone might consider you an enemy of the Faith.
Pardon me for missing the subtle distinction between arguing (at
length, in several exchanges) that it was *justifiable to describe
me as* an enemy of the Faith, and actually saying that I *was*
one.  Don't agree that different memories are at fault here,
since *at the time* I felt that you were calling me an enemy of the Faith.
Even now, your distinction doesn't seem a very meaningful one.
Especially when the real issue wasn't what I was being *called*,
but how I was being *treated* on the basis of a perception which
you were defending as justified.
  I've said that
: it's difficult to consider as a friend someone who thinks we should set
: asside one of our most basic and unifying principles for the sake of some
: superficial change.
Sometimes our friends are those who will tell us things we don't
want to hear but are in our best interests to know.  But no, I
would never claim to be a friend of the Baha'i Faith, or
Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Theosophy, etc.  They're all
institutions and I'm not friends with institutions.  But try to
be friends with Christians, Buddhists, Baha'is, Theosophists,
etc. while retaining freedom to dissent respectfully from their
views.  In any case, there is a huge category of people who are neither
friends nor enemies, so saying I'm not a friend does not imply
that I'm an enemy.
What most basic and unifying principles, and what superficial
change are you talking about?
  But I've never insisted that you are an enemy of the
: Faith.
Pardon me for misunderstanding.  Were you, though, saying that it
was justified for Baha'is to treat me as one?  (Hasten to add
that only a handful of Baha'is have done so, but these act so
very proud of themselves when they're into that mode.)
: I have never questioned your intentions, Mr. Johnson.  I've merely pointed
: out how the things you think might be good for the Baha'i Faith are viewed,
: by at least most Baha'is, as destructive of the Faith.
And I would not call Baha'is "enemies of humanity" even though I
have pointed out how the things you think might be good for
humanity are viewed, at least by most non-Baha'is who know about
Baha'i visions of the future, as destructive of hard-won freedoms
and pluralism.