The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience


From: Juan Cole <jrcole@u...> 
Date: Thu Dec 5, 2002 2:41 am
Subject: Re: [talisman9] Problems with Facts

No, I cannot publish anything at all in Baha'i-run "journals." I have 
tried and been told no. The issue is not what I might have to say but who 
I am. The allegation that if only I tried I might succeed functions as a 
smokescreen to any outsiders or gullible insiders who might be 
listening. It is a falsehood pure and simple. It is like saying Alison 
could publish in Baha'i Studies Review (now under new, less troublesome 
editorship). She can't.

The Baha'i system works in an Orwellian way. Very strict behavioral 
limits, often somewhat arbitrary, are set up. And if someone trips over 
them, they are required to allow themselves to be shafted without 
protest. If they kick up a fuss they become non-persons for official 
purposes. There is a difference between being a non-person and being 
shunned. I am not officially shunned (as if I would care one way or 
another), but I am an official non-person.

The purpose of having this system where it is so easy to turn insiders into 
outsiders is to maintain very strict control over the community by its 
leaders. The idea is that everyone still on the inside will fear being 
made a non-person or being ostracized or being shunned, and so will keep 
quiet and let the leadership do as it pleases with them. Silent suffering 
of tyranny and injustice from one's leaders is the actual definition of a 
Baha'i in good standing.

Of course, this requirement is cult-like.
As with Roman Catholicism, where 
excommunication plays a similar if far less Draconian role, it produces a 
system full of corruption and unsavory practices that are hidden from the 
ordinary believers. Unfortunately the Baha'i faith is not important enough 
for the press to take an interest in it. Otherwise there are as many juicy 
stories in Wilmette as in Boston.

Anyone who has "trust" that the so-called universal house of justice would 
be any better at running people's affairs than Cardinal Law and the Vatican 
have been is in for a rude surprise. Infallible religious leaders aren't 
good for people. They literally screw them over.

And, of course, *none* of this social control has anything at all to do 
with poor Baha'u'llah, who believed in democracy and freedom of speech and 
giving people their heads. Makes a person believe in the 2nd Law of 

cheers Juan