The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience

From: Matthew Cromer <>
Subject: Re: Where LIBERTY is LIMITED
Date: Thursday, June 11, 1998 10:12 PM
In article <6lq13s$nj9$> George & Marlena,
>Matthew Cromer wrote in message <6logmo$37s$>...
>>In article
>>> John Noland, writes:
>>>Nobody is forced to become a Baha'i, and nobody is forced to remain a
>>And with the present downward trend towards censorship, denigration of
>>free discourse, and the like, it is no surprise that in the enlightened
>>countries of the world where intellectual freedom is well understood many
>>people are leaving the faith because of this issue and many more are
>>never joining at all.
>Would you please list the statistical sources for this statement?
Juan posted that there are 60K Baha'is in the United States that identify
themselves as Baha'is.  This is no increase from 10 years ago, nor from
20 years ago for that matter.
>>Yes, the Baha'i religion has avoided schism for the most part.  However,
>>the Baha'i religion has also avoided growth, dynamism, and has
>>increasingly driven away its most intellectual, its most creative, and
>>its most dynamic members because of the issue of a refusal to allow frank
>>consultation of the issues, censorship, using the "covenant breaker"
>>threat, usually whispered behind the back, as a thought control
>>technique, and other sins against the developed conscience.
>Would you please list the statistical sources for the above statement?
Of course I cannot give statistics on the number of dynamic, intellectual
members who have left or been driven out, but I will name a few names:
K. Paul Johnson (author)
Juan Cole
Linda Waldbridge
Matthew Cromer (myself), certainly an intellectual, although I won't
flatter myself my claiming to be in the same class with the previous
I can name dozens of "inactive" Baha'is who don't want anything to do
with the Baha'i community who have become inactive for the same kinds of
I'm sure others here can come up with more people who have
withdrawn--Juan Linda and myself left/were driven out in the last few
>>In a world where free and open discourse are the watchwords of all
>>progress, it ought to bother people when a body advocates the exact
>>opposite approach as an ideal to be implemented.  Especially when the
>>Baha'i scriptures themselves advocate honest open frank consultation.
>Sorry, I can't seem to find the quotes you used from the Universal House of
>Justice that would show this conflict.
The quote is at the very beginning of this thread.  To wit:
		"In the Kitab-i-Aqdas Baha'u'llah states: "We approve
	of liberty in certain circumstances, and refuse to sanction
	it in other."  One area in which LIBERTY is LIMITED in the 
	Baha'i community is that governing methods and channels
	for the expression of CRITICISM..."
			-The Universal House of Justice, letter
			 dated 2 July 1996 to an individual believer
This quote obviously displays a misunderstanding of the principle of
honest and frank consultation.
>>Unfortunately if you are a Baha'i you cannot discuss this, you are not
>>allowed to think for yourself, you are forced to espouse the party line.
>>Censorship is truth.  War is Peace.
>I never knew that.  Could you tell me where that is written?
Simple.  If you repeatedly question the established Baha'i authorities on
an issue, you are quite likely to get thrown out of the faith or be
declared a covenant breaker, unless you resign.  Ask Juan Cole, he has
personal experience with this.
Also, Baha'is are not allowed to publish anything about the faith without
having their works vetted by the "proper" authorities.  Ask Juan Cole
about this if you have any questions.
>Thanks for your help.
You are most welcome.
Matthew Cromer