The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience

From: <>
Subject: Re: Letter of resignation
Date: Tuesday, June 29, 1999 11:23 AM
In article <7l8pea$>,
  "Rick Schaut" <RSSchaut@email.msn.NOSPAMcom> wrote:
> Please know that both of you are in my prayers.  When one is not sure
> to believe, making such a serious decision, and taking the attendant
> must be monumentally difficult.
> I have, for quite some time now, believed that those who are sincere
> always find refuge in the fact that "Mercy" is one of God's
> I pray that you have not fallen victims to a campaign of
misinformation and
> betrayal, though I must say that this fear weighs very heavily on my
> particularly after reading your post.
> If you haven't already, I would strongly encourage both of you to
take your
> concerns directly to the Universal House of Justice.  Their reply
cannot do
> you, or the Cause, any harm, can it?
> Regards,
> Rick Schaut
Dear Rick,
Thank you for your post and your concern.
I feel I must point out, though, a couple of things I have said on
other lists of which you may not be aware.
The decision to resign was ours alone. My views regarding the issues
raised in our letter concerning methodologies, scholarship, academic
freedom, etc and the attendant crises over them within the Bahai Faith,
were arrived at independently long before I knew any of the individuals
involved in them and before I was active at all on the internet, and
are not the result af any "campaign of misinformation."
I have been clear elsewhere in the past and still am that I have not
always agreed with some of the positions, actions, attitudes, etc.
taken by various individuals or institutions involved in these issues.
I'm certain they disagree with mine on many occassions. I say "my"
views on the academic issues because, while my wife agrees with my
positions, I am the one who is involved in the academic community.
But, those concerns, especially heightened by the April 7 letter,
raised in _both_ of us other questions about positions the Faith has on
other issues (see our letter again regarding these) and our own
positions on those same issues. I don't want to reiterate here what we
said inour letter, but simply, we came to the conclusion that, in order
to be honest with ourselves, with the Faith, and with God, we had to
make the choice to resign. Some will say that, despite our assertion in
our letter, we cannot believe in Baha'u'llah and not remain in the
Faith and "just accept" these issues as they are. Again, we have said
that our relationship to Baha'u'llah is our own, and He alone, not any
individual or Institution, in His love and compassion, knows our hearts
and our motives.
You encouraged us to write the House with our concerns. Frankly, Rick,
the academic issues have been addressed in many letters, both public
and private, most often in a much more eloquent manner than my own. The
responses do not vary greatly and I am certain my concerns would elicit
the same type of response. As for the other issues concerning Lisa and
I which are addressed in our letter, these are, as I am sure you will
agree (except possibly the issue of review) things that simply will not
change, and on which there are definite positions held by the Faith,
positions with which we wholeheartedly disagree.
Thus it is not a matter of asking the House for clarification. It would
be simply pointless. The position on homosexuality, women on the UHJ,
etc. are clear already. The April 7 letter was the catalyst that caused
us to reexamine our own position on these and resulted in our decision
to resign.
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