The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience

From: K. Paul Johnson <>
Subject: Re: My case - a letter to my friends
Date: Wednesday, July 28, 1999 5:17 PM
Dear Friends and non-friends,
The Baha'i tradition of writing dismissively, angrily,
contemptuously about people without naming them continues.
Since I'm the target in this case and some factual inaccuracies
are included, I'll respond.  But it is with regret that I find myself
made the center of attention here (no--being demonized in fact),
when I simply commented on the dispute between Susan and Paul
about this case and what it reveals about Baha'i administration.
I understand Terry's unwillingness to discuss this further in
public, but also know that we are not friends and thus cannot
discuss it in private.  Herewith some reflections:
: especially an uninformed topic of conversation. One of the dangers of lack of
: knowledge is sheer speculation that allows for the assertion of preformed
: ideological templates to dominate discourse.
Lack of knowledge isn't total in this case, and the speculation
isn't sheer.  Nor are ideological templates the issue.
Considerable but not total (who has that?) knowledge of how Baha'i
administration has been operating in recent years, and what Susan
and Paul revealed about this particular case, inspired my
speculation.  It wasn't any ideological template but specific
real recent history that made and makes me suspicious of the AO.
A few years ago I had no such suspicions, even though I was not a
:  The response of the House of Justice ia hardly a case of "Plausibility
: structures and denial.
Terry seems to have read in great haste my remarks on this.  They were
*entirely* directed to the issue of the relative persuasiveness of
Susan and Paul on the Baha'i Administrative Order.  He has
nothing to gain by taking his stance; she has a lot to gain by
taking hers.
 Their letter was a
: response to my questions two months earlier before anything related to the
: April 7 letter becamea public issue. The disingenious
 combination of the
: sociologocal concept of plausability structuresd
they were combined only in being mentioned in the same post, and
had no connection otherwise.
  with the ideological concept
: of "plausible denial" is an example of a preformed template that will generate
: conclusions even in the absence of substantive knowledge of a case. In this
: situation the facts of my case. 
I think the preformed template here is being imposed on my words,
totally misunderstood.
:    Friends,  dictators and totalitarians do not express  deep regret that a
: soul was disressed or estranged by certian actions.
Sure they do, if it is in their interest to do so.  I bet you
could find plenty of such letters from Stalin or Hitler.
 They most assuredly do not
: take steps or direct that steps be taken to resolve the anguish or distess of
: *one human being.
If a situation has gotten out of hand and threatens to undermine
public confidence; if it turns a firm supporter of the AO like
Susan into a crusader for a persecuted person's case; if the
facts of the matter are on the side of the victim-- why not do
precisely what they did?  It was in their interest.
 yet that is exactly what the House of Justice did in my case.
: They intervened on my behalf because of the mistakes that were made in my case
: by Institutional representatives.
:   For anyone who is unable to distinguish bettwen acts of love and care and
: hypocritical PR damage control I have compassion.
I don't think Terry feels anything but pure hostility for me,
based on serious misrepresentation of my remarks.  I NEVER
said that any regrets expressed to him were insincere.  I said
that the denial that he had been targeted was insincere.  *Someone*
was threatened by his theology; *someone* attacked it in the
April 7 letter without naming him; we will never know the total facts
of who was thinking what about whom when it was written.  I don't
believe their denials.  Guess that makes me Satan.
  This kind of cynical linkage
: is an example Orwellian newspeak where love becomes hate.
I'll switch to the second person here.
You have misunderstood me, and reacted based on misunderstanding.
I forgive that, and apologize for commenting on the basis of
limited information.  I am very sorry about your trials and
torments.  If at present you need to turn all your blame and
anger and hostility on me, demonizing me as an example of
everything wrong with humanity, I won't blame you for it.  I'll
blame the ordeal you've been through, and the fact that you don't
choose to attribute responsibility for that ordeal to the system
that produced it.
:    There is no monolithic system around the Bahai world bent on crushing
: people.
That's a straw man.  There is a system bent on "protecting the
Faith" and if crushing people is part of the process, so be it.
I'm sorry that you were temporarily one of its victims.
This will be my final contribution to any Baha'i discussion on
the Net.  It is pretty shocking to find oneself demonized so
dramatically by someone for whom one feels only sympathy and
sorrow.  I take it (ideological template or no) as further
evidence of the toxicity of the whole Baha'i system, 
something I personally must avoid for reasons of spiritual
health.  That business about contagious spiritual disease really
does have some merit.  No organization I belong to, no individual
I know has the kind of problems Baha'is are experiencing daily
with their system.  It's not my problem, and no one is benefited
by my taking it on as a burden.  You will have to work it out for
yourselves.  But my heart bleeds for you all.
Best wishes to you all, friend and foe