Also see US District Court of Northern Illinois rules against Haifan
Baha'is - April 23, 2008
Amici curiae, Reform Bahai Faith
FEDEXed to the Second Judicial District County of Bernalillo, State
July 13, 2001
Re: Second Judicial District County of Bernalillo, State of New Mexico,
Deborah Buchhorn, for Herself and for Minority Members of the Spiritual
Assembly of the Bahais of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Plaintiffs, Vs. No.
2001-01978 Trustees of the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of
New Mexico, and The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of Albuquerque, New
Mexico, a Non-profit Corporation, and the National Spiritual Assembly of
Bahais of the United States, an Illinois Corporation, Defendants.
I request the Court to consider my testimony as amicus curiae on July
2001, in the Motion to Dismiss Deborah Buchhorn's lawsuit against the
Local Spirtual Assembly of Albuquerque and the National Spiritual
of the United States.
I converted to the Bahai Faith in 1976 and have never withdrawn from it
been notified otherwise by the Bahai administration.
I, like many Bahais, was and am attracted to the teachings of
and Abdul-Baha by the progressive and liberal tenor of their writings.
Relevant to Deborah Buchhorn's lawsuit are the almost numberless
that are well represented by two brief quotations:
These are effectual and sufficient proofs that the conscience of man is
sacred and to be respected; and that liberty thereof produces
ideas, amendment of morals, improvement of conduct, disclosure of
secrets of the contingent world. Abdul-Baha, A Traveler's Narrative,
When freedom of conscience, liberty of thought and right of speech
prevail--that is to say, when every man according to his own
may give expression to his beliefs--development and growth are
Abdul-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, 197.
Like many Bahais, the young person I was more than twenty-five years ago
trusted these words indicated how the Bahai Faith itself would conduct
own affairs. Unfortunately, Deborah Buchhorn's experience, suggested
the details of her lawsuit, demonstrate the lived reality of everyday
community life for all too many of its members.
The many other victims of fundamentalists among my fellow Bahais include
Indiana University Professors Linda and John Walbridge, editor of
magazine Stephen Scholl, its other editors, the Bahai Encyclopedia
who resigned in protest over the distortion of many historical facts,
Langness, Professor Juan Cole of the Department of History of the
of Michigan, Canadian writer Michael McKenny, Nima Hazini, former
to the Auxiliary Board Paul Dodenhoff, New Zealander Alison Marshall for
writing a critique of Bahai publishing and censorship, and Australian
Olympic champion Cathy Freeman.
I urge the Court seeking to understand the Bahai Faith to consider the
experience and views of the Bahais and ex-Bahais mentioned above. Many
their testimonies may be found on my website, The Bahai Faith &
Freedom of Conscience, which I created in May of 1998 as a means of
documenting the pervasive abuse of the liberty and freedom of conscience
extolled by the Founders of the Bahai Faith. The over 30 megabytes
information that I have collected can leave little doubt for a
that there are indeed very serious reasons for
concern about the wide
discrepancy that exists between the written and publicly proclaimed aims
and goals of the Bahai Faith and the actual experience of many such Bahais,
like Deborah Buchhorn, with persistent fraud and character assassination.
Since Bahai fundamentalists have always relied on their ability to
one way in one country and another elsewhere, and because the Internet
no longer makes it possible with impunity, they have mounted for several
years a concerted campaign of fraud and libel on such sites as AOL, the
Usenet newsgroups soc.religion.bahai, talk.religion.bahai,
many email lists, and elsewhere to
discredit and malign independent and diverse voices. Again, the details
Deborah Buchhorn's allegations merely read like more of the same old
Far from the Court dismissing Deborah Buchhorn's lawsuit, it is the
wish of this Bahai, and I know of many Bahais and non-Bahais, that
receive a hearing. While her allegations may surprise the inexperienced
uniformed about the Bahai Faith, every single detail of Ms. Buchhorn's
lawsuit reads like old news to me, and I'm sure many other Bahais. In my
opinion nothing she alleges hasn't already happened many, many times to
other Americans, and Bahais elsewhere in the world, and has been
repeatedly. What is unusual in her case is that she and her attorney
Marinakis have the stamina, courage, and strength of character to
the ferocious onslaught of fraud and libel so routinely meted out by the
most fanatical and intolerant elements of the Bahai administration.
I appeal to the Court to grant Deborah Buchhorn a just and full hearing.
The Bahai Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience