The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience


Shunning > Menu


From: <>
Subject: Re: Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Freedom of Conscience
Date: Friday, February 12, 1999 8:53 PM

Dear Milissa:

Shunning is the marker of a cult.  It is instrumental. Leaders have people
shunned to achieve their objectives, and they don't care whom they hurt.  The
Jehovah's Witnesses, Amish, some Mennonites, and others all do this.  If
Baha'is are happy to be in that company, fine and well.  But note that these
are all relatively small cults and none of them will ever really amount to
anything in mainstream society.

I think shunning is a human rights abuse.  It may be legal (in non-tort
situations), but then, lots of human rights abuses are legal.  I don't see
the difference between the Mafia organizing a conspiracy to have someone's
restaurant boycotted unless he pays protection money, and a religious
organization threatening to prevent someone from seeing his coreligionist
relatives at reunions unless he is blindly obedient to them.  Both are forms
of coercion that invade privacy and detract from the autonomy and dignity of
the individual.

cheers Juan

In article <7a21l9$olm$>,
  Milissa Boyer Kafes <> wrote:
> Hi Susan--
> when I wrote:
> > >The thing I don't get, however, is that if the true purpose of shunning is
> > >protection of Baha'is, then her voluntary withdrawal should have been
> > >sufficient.
> >
> > The problem is that if she is now under the influence of Covenant breaking
> > ideas, she is likely to spread them to other Baha'is. Again, you do not have
> > to deny Baha'u'llah to leave the Faith. But if your only reason for leaving
> >  is to avoid being declared CB it is possible your resignation will not be
> >   accepted on
> > those grounds.
> But given this definition, *anyone* can be declared a CB, can't they?  You can
> be declared one even if you leave, and even if you were never Baha'i. Given
> this defintion, what is preventing Baha'is from shunning the Baptist minister
> and his congregation?

Juan Cole
History, U of Michigan