The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience


A Selection of Comments by FG on the poet Robert Hayden

For a more nuanced understanding of Robert Hayden's work, see my essay "Robert Hayden in the Morning Time" in my book The Grove of the Eumenides: Essays on Literature, Criticism, and Culture. Earthrise Press, 2007. ISBN-13: 9780967042183. Pages, 247-265.

Re-Centering: The Turning of the Tide and Robert Hayden (web page also has links to other Hayden information)

Robert Hayden also discussed in: Letters from the American Desert: Signposts of a Journey, A Vision. ISBN: 9780967042114..HardcoverPreface. Earthrise Press, 2008. 172 pages.

See also Re: Abuse of Robert Hayden by Bahais

UseNet: alt.religion.bahair
From - Wed Jul 09 07:13:41 1997
Chris wrote:
> In a message which I read on alt.religion.bahai, FG
> <> wrote
> >Trash, is what "Bahai" inspired art is in the Bahai Faith.... The
> >Bahai Faith stands irrevocably opposed to art beyond the
> >kindergarten stage.... beyond the age of innocence when children
> >begin to develop a mind and conscience of their own....
> Ok, Fred, so you do not like 'Baha'i' art, of whatever discipline as it
> is at this time. That is your right and I won't argue with you as to a
> certain extent I am in agreement with you. But, what sort of art do you
> like?

Art that is alive, experiencing, questioning, and confronting the
fullness of the human condition.... Those things aren't allowed
in the Bahai Faith.... There are "moderators" and third-rate
"administrators" who know better....

Do you dislike all the music, paintings, dance etc. that has been
> created and interpreted by Baha'i artists of all disciplines?

Just about.... The only two artists, who happened to be Bahai,
I can genuinely feel any respect for would be the painter Mark
Tobey and the poet Robert Hayden. After that it's Bahai old
maid sentimentality.... You're thinking above primarily about
the performing arts, less threatening historically to fascists
of every stripe, religious or other....


One must, as Horace said, delight and teach, but "pleasure" is a very
modern word.... "Uplift" is a Bahai conception, among some, not always
appropriate to art. It leads to maudlin, nauseating sentimentality.... The
pathetic efforts of dilettantes, really.... Tragedy transpires on a
more profound level of the human psyche than the usual Bahai mind
can even remotely understand, especially the Iranian one, given the
narrow range literature was always limited to in that culture....

> It is my hope that one day Baha'i composers will match the grandeur of
> these works that move me, but, like you, I fear we have a long way to
> go.

Given the present stifling atmosphere in the Bahai Faith, a
thousand years, at best....

From: FG[]
Sent: Friday, September 26, 1997 7:38 AM
Subject: Re: evil in Bahai Writings

I suggest a more profitable passage by Abdul-Baha on evil is his
discussion in Chapter 30 of Some Answered Questions, "Adam and Eve."
Instead of theorizing ideally, as he does in "The Non-existence of Evil,"
he confronts the reality that "in the human world light and darkness,
good and evil, exist as opposite conditions" (123). Analogously, he
observes, "This attachment of the soul and spirit to the human world,
which is sin . . . is always in the midst of, and at enmity with, the
spirits and the descendants of Adam." To my mind, this is a much
more profound Vision of Evil than the one usually perceived, a
mature one, one capable of bringing in the masses of humanity,
unlike the more maudlin conception.... Lest anyone misunderstand,
Abdul-Baha states unequivocally, "That enmity continues and
endures" (124).

I think of Robert Hayden's "Alas, there is no Eden without its Serpent."

A dark and horrifying vision of human evil....

UseNet: alt.religion.bahai

March 31, 1997

The Universal House of Justice of the Bahais of the World
Haifa, Israel

Dear Members of the Universal House of Justice:

After careful reflection and prayer for the past few days, I've
decided that open public discussion and knowledge are more
important than my own status as a Bahai.

I have been a Bahai for more than twenty years, since 1976. I
became a Bahai by reading almost every single Bahai book
published at the time. Given my background as a Catholic and
poet, I was deeply moved by the beauty and profundity of the
Bahai Writings. As a young person, I spent two months travel
teaching throughout Michigan with several other youthful,
innocent Bahais. Like many, I have sacrificed financially to
contribute to the Bahai Faith. I pioneered for a year and a
half in Japan, for two years on an American Indian reservation,
and have travel taught in China. The spiritual profundity of
the Bahai vision, as reflected in the work of the
African-American poet Robert Hayden, inspired me to study at
the University of Michigan under him and to spend considerable
time and labor editing his collected poems and prose for
Liveright and the University of Michigan Press. I have
published two essays in the Bahai magazine World Order and
spent more time than I can remember at Bahai summer camps,
workshops, and deepenings. Throughout all my varied Bahai
experience, I have loved the Figures and Teachings of the Faith
even as the conviction has grown that all information and
discussion in the Bahai Faith is subtly manipulated, controlled,
and distorted for the "good of the Faith." There seems to be a
pervasive, rigid control of all thought, ideas, and information
that calls into question the motives of the individuals in
power in the Bahai Administration.

As a published writer and former college and university
instructor of rhetoric and literature for over ten years, I
believe the whole process of "review" has become a complete
farce and disgrace to the Bahai Faith and is suggestive of the
worst censorship under the most repressive regimes, religious
or secular, of historical experience. If one truly wishes to
understand why many Bahais, both highly educated and others,
leave the Bahai Faith or become "inactive" and withdraw into
silence and uninvolvement with the religion, one need only to
look objectively at what seems to be the oppressive and
coercive methods of people in the Bahai Administration itself
to find the answer.

My experiencing of these same methods of censorship and
distortion on soc.religion.bahai proved to be the last
intolerable straw. My attempt to form an unmoderated newsgroup
on the Internet that no one could manipulate and censor has a
long experience of Bahai tyranny in the background. The
resorting to deceit and back-channel communication by the
moderators of soc.religion.bahai and others naively believing
they're working for the benefit of the Bahai Faith by
campaigning for 691 unethical NO votes on talk.religion.bahai
further proves the pervasive acceptance of disreputable tactics
by Bahais in their attempt to maintain a stranglehold over all
thought and discussion.

Recently, more than ever, I've often recalled the words to me
in private several times of Robert Hayden, the only Bahai to
be appointed Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress:
"Why I continue to have anything to do with the Bahai Faith, I
do not know, I do not know." I myself no longer know.

I suppose I hope that the oppressive, coercive methods that
have come to be accepted and justified in the Bahai
Administration, demonstrated for instance in the crushing of
the magazine Dialogue, the incidents surrounding the Bahai
Encyclopedia, the listserv Talisman I, and the continuingly
crude, unreadable propaganda vehicle of the American Bahai,
might yet be put aside in favor of the beautiful vision of
Baha'u'llah and Abdul-Baha for freedom of religious conscience
and belief and a humane, tolerant universalism. I fear that all
too often the religious totalitarianism of Baha'u'llah's
fanatical homeland has seeped into every nook and cranny of
His religion, smothering out the free light of the human soul
and hamstringing His Administration.

It was with the bitterest of feelings that I observed some
time ago the Bahai exhibition, a deceitful propaganda event
really, on freedom of religious conscience and belief sponsored
by the National Spiritual Assembly in the rotunda of the
Capitol in Washington, D.C., so far in reality from the truth
was it, so misled, trusting, and uninformed were the
Congressmen of my country....

If censorship is allowed in the Bahai Faith, I would like to
know what passages of the Bahai Writings support it and what
are the "rules," if you will, of Bahai censorship. It seems to
me that censorship pervades the Bahai Faith so thoroughly that
some Bahais regularly use it as a method of intimidation and
silencing of anyone with an unconventional opinion by accusing
the individual of being a covenant breaker. This tactic was
used against me by at least three Bahais during the discussion
period for talk.religion.bahai and tacitly condoned by the
moderators and others.

I include, at the end, a threatening, coercive email message I
received on March 27, 1997, from Mr. Hoda Mahmoudi,
Auxiliary Board Member for Michigan, at a crucial juncture of
the discussion and voting for talk.religion.bahai and would like
an explanation of his motives.

I, and perhaps the rest of the world, would greatly appreciate
evidence that there are not now nine ayatollahs residing in
Israel on Mt Carmel.



From - Thu Nov 21 08:44:02 1996
Cheryll & Wade Schuette wrote:
> Are you the same person who edited Robert Hayden's _Collected Poems_ ?
> I haven't read the work, although now I will do so, but it was my wife
> who recently reorganized and cataloged the library at the Hayden House
> in Ann Arbor. Cheryll says that there are numerous manuscripts which
> neither she nor the daughter know how to handle, piled in the basement,
> and wonders if you have any suggestions.

Yes, I am. I'd suggest contacting the University of Michigan's special
collections librarians. Ask them if they're interested in acquiring any
of the manuscripts. They were at one time. Mrs. Hayden had considered
making a bequest of the bulk of her husband's papers there but then
decided on the Baha'i Archives. I helped box most of his papers and took
them to Wilmette. I'm surprised to hear there are "numerous manuscripts."
A few, yes.

> >From your postings I see a person deeply committed to the Baha'i Faith
> and an unmet desire to focus attention on communication structures and
> processes which have potential instabilities that suggest a need for
> analysis and, perhaps, re-engineering from basic principles.

More objective then I could muster but basically perhaps true. I don't
believe we can re-engineer the human heart....

> Please let me know if you might be interested in participating in such
> a discussion.

I'm not a technician. I'd don't know if I'd have anything significant
to add give your approach. If you're open to someone from the humanities,

> Best regards,
> Wade Schuette
> Ann Arbor, MI

From: FG[]
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2000 5:52 PM
Subject: Abuse of Robert Hayden by Baha'is

Thirteen Member & Viewer Relations
450 West 33rd Street
New York, NY 10001 <>
cc: <>

To Whom It May Concern:

I have misgivings about the link to the Bahá'í Faith's
website on the Lesson about Robert Hayden at

As the editor of both his Collected Poems and his
Collected Essays, I am well aware of his regard for
the Baha'i Teachings. However, I believe his
membership in the Baha'i Faith are often misused
by my fellow Baha'is who are fundamentalists and
are only interested in USING his religious beliefs
for proselytizing.

During the last several years there have been many
abuses by Baha'is of the human rights of numerous
Americans--a potential that Hayden himself was
highly aware of but which is never acknowledged by
such Baha'is as Mr. Peter Murphy.

I suggest you look at the many incidents of Baha'i
suppression of conscience on my website or on
Professor Juan Cole's site, especially his essay below:

I hope you will consider removing the link to the Baha'i site.

The Bahai Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience

From: Patrick Henry[]
Sent: Saturday, January 08, 2000 11:16 AM
Subject: Re: slander and bullying by so called liberals

As the editor of Robert Hayden's Collected Prose (U of Michigan Press)
and his Collected Poems (Liveright, imprint of W. W. Norton), I'm not at
all unfamiliar with Black racists attacking and maligning me, not to mention
changing through their insidious racism the course of my life on a number of
occasions, but invariably because I am white....

Jamal's comments reflect the typical shallowness of radical thinking in
America and in the Bahai faith. It was of course uhj member Glenford
Mitchell who was a supporter of Malcolm X's brand of violent race
relations, editing a magazine full of racist rubbish and resentment, and
who has apparently taken the same tactics with him to contribute to
the Stalinization of the uhj.

Let me recommend again David Horowitz's recently published Hating
Whitey and Other Progressive Causes and Ward Connerly's forthcoming
book against Black racism and race preferences that will be released in
February for Black History Month, for those truly interested in history,
not racist romantic fantasy and embitterment.... Since I'm mentioning
Blacks with some real intelligence, one truly interested in these matters
shouldn't miss Keith . Richburg's courageous Out of America: A Black
Man Confronts Africa.

Jamal's comments represent quite well the pathetically low level to which
the uhj and Henderson have allowed Baha'u'llah's commanding vision of
human oneness to be banalized and perverted. His comments also reveal
that in the Bahai faith the search for "The shining spark of truth" that
"cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions" has been replaced
by self-righteous "race rhetoric," as Hayden called it on one occasion....

Only a free and open forum, beginning with the ending of "review" and
following the Teaching of Baha'u'llah Himself in this regard, can permit the
much-needed exchange of views exploring what it really means to be a
human being in this day and age, instead of a caricature of someone's
leftist to marxist, racist thinking....

FG....The Bahai Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience:
Into the Ruins:

From: BIGS - Bahai in *Perfectly* Good Standing[]
Sent: Monday, November 05, 2001 9:37 AM
Subject: Re: Maxwell Baha'i School - Welcome to the religious cult school from hell


I'm not sure what that slur is supposed to mean. This person, like
the majority of bahais, in and out of the administration, haven't
a clue about what Robert Hayden actually thought and said
about the bahai faith and its fascist elements. His views are available
for those who are intelligent enough to seek them out. Antinomies too
deep for philistines....

Even putting the philistinism aside, it's evident that those lackeys
in charge of monitoring, as was recently mentioned, talk.religion.bahai
and alt.religion.bahai, don't have a clue either, so little do they
understand the intellectual and spiritual issues involved. Rigid minds
find complexity and ambivalence too formidable for consideration.

To them one question should always be asked, the crux of the issue:
More than eighty years after its institution, has the "temporary measure"
of "review" been lifted yet by the uhj?

Elsewhere I spell these issues out more fully, in literary terms, more
deeply, I would hope, than can be done in work-a-day prose. I suggest
the non-bahai read the reflections below and then ponder why the bahai
fundamentalists are so desperate to discredit me and other voices of
conscience, as is further documented on my website:

"These are effectual and sufficient proofs that the conscience of man is
sacred and to be respected; and that liberty there secrets of the contingent
world. Moreover, if interrogation of conscience, which is one of the
private of produces widening of ideas, amendment of morals, improvement of
conduct, disclosure of the possessions of the heart and the soul, take
place in this world, what further recompense remains for man in the court of
divine justice at the day of general resurrection? Convictions and ideas are
within the scope of the comprehension of the King of kings, not of kings;
and soul and conscience are between the fingers of control of the Lord of
hearts, not of [His] servants." --Abdul-Baha, A Traveler's Narrative, 91.

"Lunar prescence, / foredoomed, already dying...." --Robert Hayden

Nothing could prove it more than the conduct of the uhj during
the last decade, betrayers of Abdul-Baha's own Words above....

The Bahai Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience

From: FG <>
Subject: Response to Sharaf's Honest Questions
In article <>, (Sharaf94) wrote:
> I really do not understand the opposition to an unmoderated discussion of
> the Baha'i Faith. I prefer not to pass by what I say to any censor, and I
> do not believe the principles of Baha'i consultation support the concept
> of having anyone approve what is stated before announcing it to the group.
> I wonder if there is not a hidden agenda by the Baha'is here? Is it
> really fear of opposition voices that motivates the naysayers?
> Is this Baha'i unity? squelch the dissenting voices?

In all sincerity, God bless you. Either you're one of the most heroic
souls in the Bahai Faith today or . . . I don't know what! You're
stating exactly how I feel. WHAT is the big deal? How can any
thoughtful person watching this spectacle not think there must be
a "hidden agenda"? That's precisely what I thought last November
when I experienced the arbitrary manner in which the moderators of
soc.religion.bahai censored messages.... It is, in my opinion,
contrary to Bahai consultation, unless consultation is meant to be
a fascist suppression of all views at the least variance with
prevailing sentiment among most Bahais.... When in the history of
the world have MOST people ever been in the right? Do we lack
all historical perspective and humility so badly we can not
cautiously weigh our own use of power? These things have
concerned me all along, and my posts all demonstrate that for
anyone who wants to pull them up to look at them....

I'm not trying to destroy the Bahai Faith. I've been a member
of it since 1976; I've sacrificed and taught the Faith in
two countries, Japan and the USA; I studied with and edited
the collected poems and prose of the poet Robert Hayden partly
because as a Bahai I had a deep respect for the vision he
evokes in his work; I homefront pioneered on an American
Indian reservation for two years, with much sacrifice to myself
and family; as a writer myself, I've published and written more
than a dozen essays and books that I've tried in to confront
the complexity of social and religious history in the modern
world from a serious Bahai perspective, in terms of my own
conscience.... and so on. I have not tried to destroy the
Bahai Faith. I would like to see it do what it has not:
spread and flourish.

Sadly, "squelching" seems the only way many in this religion
seem to be able to choose when confronted with someone who
does not babble back to them their own opinion....

If I'm honest about the subtle thoughts that have passed
through my mind, watching one Bahai event or another, I
would have to say it has often seemed the "unity" is a
fraud tacked together with the glue and tape of oppression
and coercion.... Nothing that has happened lately with
soc.religion.bahai has led me to think otherwise, including
its lowering now of an iron, electronic curtain.


Sent: Monday, March 25, 2002 7:17 AM
Subject: Re: Robert Hayden

Dear Ms. Murray:

The quotation comes from a letter written to me in 1979 or 1980. A copy should exist at the Baha'i archives in Wilmette.

I'm pleased to hear of your interest in Hayden. His work has been grossly underappreciated and studied in my view. I wish you well in your work and hope you can help remedied those shortcomings.

Thank you for your good words on my editing his prose and poems. There were many difficult editorial decisions that had to be made on both books that perhaps only someone like yourself who has studied the variants and sources can begin to understand. My overriding purpose was to create readable texts that would help his reputation to continue to grow, not repositories of every scrap, something Bob and I had often discussed. It is my experience that the complexity of his work is very far beyond the various current levels of understanding within Baha'i circles.

If you're unfamiliar with it, my essay "Recentering" on Hayden may be found on my website at
Best wishes,


From: FG[]
Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 1999 1:21 PM
Subject: Re: An apology to Fred wrote in message <79sbme$o16$>...
>I mean, I'd be glad to be a Baha'i. But not at the price
>of my personal integrity.

Pretty much the way I feel too.... Given all the lies and deceit
and "hikmat" and hiding behind contemptible lackeys, I don't
know why I don't resign too....

I recall the words of Robert Hayden to me so many times:
"Why I continue to have anything to do with Bahais,
I do not know. I do not know."

FG....The Bahai Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience:
alt.religion.bahai, and AOL: Keyword Bahai, Message Boards

From: FG[]
Sent: Sunday, February 21, 1999 10:35 PM
Subject: Re: Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Freedom of Conscience

jrcole wrote in message <7a1lco$d2n$>...

That this is my reading is one reason that I met the threats against
>me with publicity, since it was clear that people were being bullied this
>all the time and it was being gotten away with precisely because those
>bullied covered it up or fell silent, making it easy for the next person to
>be victimized. I decided that this behavior was cult-like and needed to be
>challenged. And I am quite convinced that my speaking out has prevented a
>whole string of further victims from being silenced or sanctioned.

This is my hope with talk.religion.bahai too....

>And don't worry, ultimately it is good for the community to have an
>gadfly like me. It only got to the point where administrators thought they
>could get away with dictating permitted speech to major academics because
>everyone was being too nice to and compliant with these bullies, who got
>and more arrogant. They've scaled back, now, and the community will

Robert Hayden used to refer to them as THAT CROWD....
Most apropos. The man never expressed anything but
contempt for them behind their backs.... complaining to me
once he had given them too much too easily. I often recall
that when I hear of another attempt to exploit his career

FG....The Bahai Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience:
alt.religion.bahai, and AOL: Keyword Bahai, Message Boards

From: Patrick Henry[]
Sent: Friday, May 21, 1999 2:08 PM
Subject: Re: Stealing Bahai Chairman

K. Paul Johnson <> wrote in message

Here's what I think I understand: it was
> right and necessary for the Administrative Order spokesman to say
> what he did, but wrong and unnecessary for critics of the AO to
> try to figure out what is really going on behind the smokescreen
> of vague character assassination.

Character assassination is the way the Bahai AO always
operates. Where else do you think the fundamentalists on
soc.religion.bahai and here learn it?

> Is that it?
> PJ
> PS-- Needless to say I don't support Fred's characterization of
> the matter, which is further character assassination.

Nelson obviously got caught STEALING money from
a dead widow's estate. How's that character assassination?

Incidentally, anyone wishing to understand Henderson
should read Robert Hayden's poem "Witch Doctor,"
which W. H. Auden thought highly of. It perfectly captures
the dynamics of Henderson's personality as I witnessed
his performance once at an annual convention in about 1990
or so.

Patrick Henry
"Give me liberty or give me death."
Visit The Bahai Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience:

From: Patrick Henry[]
Sent: Sunday, June 27, 1999 6:42 AM
Subject: Re: Hooper Dunbar and Austin Powers


Glenford Mitchell, a Jamaican-born journalist
> and civil rights campaigner who had emigrated to the US, became
> secretary of the US NSA after Ruhe, and was elected to the House from
> that position in 1983.

His past may not be as unblemished as some would
like others to think. I believe he may have actually
been a supporter and propagandist for the Malcom X
school of racial understanding. He was apparently the
editor of a radical journal along such lines at one point.

I have a vivid memory of his cutting a very poor figure
at a memorial dinner for Robert Hayden in 1980....

Patrick Henry, "Give me liberty or give me death!"
The Bahai Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience:
Into the Ruins:

From: &lt;;
Subject: Re: Baha'i Scriptures and Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Date: Monday, April 26, 1999 8:13 PM

Thanks so much for the kind words, Fred. I hope you will also do some
writing, on things like Robert Hayden's spirituality (I know it is far more
complex than the biographies allow).

It is true that a subcommittee of the Universal House of Justice composed of
Farzam Arbab, Douglas Martin and Ian Semple had the counselors of the
International Teaching Center accuse me of 'making statements contrary to the
Covenant' in April 1996, just because they did not like my email postings. As
a result, I was confused for two and a half years. After all, I had not in
my own mind contravened &quot;the Covenant&quot; in any way. I mean, had I claimed to
be the 17th Guardian? No! Had I claimed to be able to do more than express
my personal and non-authoritative opinion about the meaning of Baha'i
scripture? No! Had I made any unreasonable demands on the UHJ? No! At that
very time, the UHJ had asked me and I had agreed to help with the
retranslation of *Some Answered Questions*! I had offered them, and they had
accepted, my provisional translations of the Tablets. What weird sort of
dealings did they have with people, to essentially employ them on the one
hand but to horsewhip them on the other? I'm afraid I thought that the only
sort of persons went about behind the scenes threatening college professors
with being shunned unless they fell silent were wild-eyed cultists, and I'm
afraid that is still my opinion of Farzam Arbab, Doug Martin, Ian Semple,
Fred Schechter, Monajjem, Stephen Birkland et al. Unfortunately, there are
lots of nooks and crannies in the Baha'i administration where cultists can
hide out and abuse adherents.

However, I worked my way through things, and found my faith in Baha'u'llah
once more, even if I have become convinced by my dealings with them that the
Universal House of Justice has in fact been mutilated by the absence of a
living Guardian, just as he predicted would happen. But this 'mutilation'
can be a good thing, too. I think the reason we don't have a Guardian is
because God decided human beings needed to grow up and stand on their own two
feet. This maturity of humankind, which Baha'u'llah proclaims when he talks
of the ";advent of Universal Reason"; among "the people,"; is incompatible
with having someone interpret our scriptures for us authoritatively. So, we have
been left with a purely legislative body (the UHJ), and everyone is now free
to express their conscience and proclaim their views about Baha'i theology
and social principles.

Because the UHJ has been, unfortunately, mutilated by the absence of a living
Guardian, they have no one, as Shoghi Effendi explicitly predicted, to tell
them when they are straying from their proper legislative functions into
matters where they have no scriptural or constitutional authority (like the
email messages of Baha'i professors or those of Baha'i fiction writers like
Michael McKenny). I fear I have concluded that the *only* force that can in
some ways repair the damage of the mutilation, the only prosthesis that can
allow the House of Justice to walk normally again, is Baha'i Public Opinion
and the consensus of the believers. And that is why I speak out and will
continue to speak out every time the Baha'i administration contravenes the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights with regard to its own adherents, given
the close fit between the ideals of that document and those of Baha'u'llah
and the other holy figures.

So, you see, in the end I haven't been 'driven out' of anything. I am a
Baha'i, just like any other Baha'i, a believer in Baha'u'llah. Whether
others wish to recognize and acknowledge that, and whether they wish to
backbite me or listen to others backbite an innocent person, is completely
irrelevant to the facts.

cheers Juan

Juan Cole, History, U of Michigan

From: &lt;;
Subject: Re: Abuse of Robert Hayden by Bahais
Date: Sunday, May 07, 2000 9:28 AM; wrote
Were Mr. Hayden alive today, who would he choose to edit his
work? I think he would choose an individual who shares his love for
Baha'u'llah, an individual who strives to be like 'Abdul-Baha', in
addition to the normal professional qualifications.
As much as Fred pisses me off at times, like recently, when he says
that Hayden distanced himself from the current Baha'i organization, I believe
him. Why? Because Fred knew and worked with this man and probably had
access to a side of the man that you people who wish to claim (and
misappropriate) him for your own sectarian motivated ends simply do not.
That makes a difference. Having read a little Hayden myself (yes, Fred,
I bought your book!) and detecting a liberal and open-minded spirit in
him, I doubt very much he would have looked upon what is currently going
on inside the Baha'i organization with anything but disdain. He would
have been simply appalled, to say the least, as any other reasonable
thinking human being with a conscience would. All you people wish to do
with Hayden is to garner PR for yourselves. You care not one iota as to
what the man truly represented. Shame on you for misappropriating the
name of departed in such fashion!


From: FG &lt;;
Subject: To UHJ #6 (Juan Cole: Protest to Islamic Authorities
Date: Saturday, December 13, 1997 8:26 AM

Dear Members of the Universal House of Justice:

I ask you to consider this forwarded message, from some
of today's most widely recognized writers of international stature,
including one Nobel laureate. The oppressive atmosphere that has
developed in the Bahai Faith during recent memory, as Dr. Juan
Cole suggests here, and others have testified elsewhere, seems
appallingly reminiscent of that in present day Iran.</pre>

As a published poet and literary critic, having edited the poems
and prose of Robert Hayden, I deeply feel the irony and poignancy
of this critique and comparison. Indeed, it was the initial conviction,
born of 21 years of membership in the Bahai Faith, that no real
artistic work of worth could ever be written in the present Bahai
environment that has compelled me to sacrifice myself, my
membership in the Bahai Faith, if need be, to help create an
unmoderated forum on Usenet.

I beg you again with all my heart and soul to give evidence to the
world that the Bahai Faith lives up to its own teachings on human
rights and free speech and respects the conscience with which
God has endowed humankind.

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Re-Centering: The Turning of the Tide and Robert Hayden 1983