The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience


PRESS RELEASE - (Use as Model) - Letter to the Editor - March 7, 2002
Observer & Eccentric Newspaper - Oakland County, Michigan 
(Third wealthiest county in the nation.)
Circulation 120,000. A Response to half-page Baha'i Ad.

Feel free to use or customize this letter as a model to respond to
any local propaganda efforts by fundamentalists among my fellow
bahais in your area since it has passed at least one editor's evaluation. 
SUGGESTION: Use Karen Bacquet's article instead of, or with, Prof. Cole's.

Ascii text version of this press release

In response to the paid half-page ad by my fellow Baha'is in your February
28 issue (2002), which offers a website link "for more information," I
believe Professor Juan Cole, of the University of Michigan's Department
of History, has a website of extensive and disturbing documentation
that anyone interested in the Baha'i Faith should be aware of, especially
his article "Fundamentalism in the Contemporary U.S. Baha'i Community,"
Religious Studies Review, Vol. 43, no. 3 (March, 2002):195-217:

In his book Modernity and the Millennium, published by Columbia University
Press in 1998, Professor Cole observes the Baha'i administration has
increasingly come under the control of fundamentalists, "stressing
scriptural literalism . . . theocracy, censorship, intellectual intolerance,
and denying key democratic values (196)."

For numerous other views in balance to the paid ad O&E ran,
I also recommend the over 50 megabytes of documentation
on my own website, The Bahai Faith & Religious Freedom
of Conscience:

Rochester Hills

Karen Bacquet, "Enemies Within: Conflict and Control in the
Baha'i Community." Published in American Family Foundation's
Cultic Studies Journal, Volume 18, 2001, pp.109-140: 

"AFF (American Family Foundation) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt research center
and educational organization founded in 1979. AFF's mission is to study
psychological manipulation and cultic groups, to educate the public and
professionals, and to assist those who have been adversely affected by a
cult-related experience. AFF consists of a professional staff and a growing
network of more than 150 volunteer professionals in fields ranging from
education, psychology, and religion to journalism, law enforcement, and
business." Further details about AFF:

[on page A10]


Appeared as O & E half-page page ad on February 28, 2002, on page A3:

The Destiny of America
and the Promise of World Peace
A Statement from the National Spiritual Assembly
of the Bah▀' of the United States

At this time of world turmoil, the United States Bah▀' community offers
a perspective on the destiny of America as the promoter of world peace.

More than a hundred years ago, Bah▀'u'll▀h, the founder of the Bah▀' Faith,
addressing heads of state, proclaimed that the age of maturity for the
entire human race had come. The unity of humankind was now to be established
as the foundation of the great peace that would mark the highest stage in
humanity's spiritual and social evolution. Revolutionary and world-shaking
changes were therefore inevitable.

The Bah▀' writings state:
The world is moving on. Its events are unfolding ominously and with
bewildering rapidity. The whirlwind of its passions is swift and alarmingly
violent. The New World is insensibly drawn into its vortex. . . . Dangers,
undreamt of and unpredictable, threaten it both from within and from
without. Its governments and peoples are being gradually enmeshed in the
coils of the world's recurrent crises and fierce controversies. . . . The
world is contracting into a neighborhood. America, willingly or unwillingly,
must face and grapple with this new situation. For purposes of national
security, let alone any humanitarian motive, she must assume the obligations
imposed by this newly created neighborhood. Paradoxical as it may seem, her
only hope of extricating herself from the perils gathering around her is to
become entangled in that very web of international association which the
Hand of an inscrutable Providence is weaving.

The American nation, Bah▀' s believe, will evolve through tests and trials
to become a land of spiritual distinction and leadership, a champion of
justice and unity among all peoples and nations, and a powerful servant of
the cause of everlasting peace. This is the peace promised by God in the
sacred texts of the world's religions.

Establishing peace is not simply a matter of signing treaties and protocols;
it is a complex task requiring a new level of commitment to resolving issues
not customarily associated with the pursuit of peace.

Universal acceptance of the spiritual principle of the oneness of humankind
is essential to any successful attempt to establish world peace.

Racism, one of the most baneful and persistent evils, is a major barrier to

The emancipation of women, the achievement of full equality of the sexes, is
one of the most important, though less acknowledged, prerequisites of peace.

The inordinate disparity between rich and poor keeps the world in a state of
instability, preventing the achievement of peace.

Unbridled nationalism, as distinguished from a sane and
legitimatepatriotism, must give way to a wider loyalty, to the love of
humanity as a whole.

Religious strife, the cause of innumerable wars and conflicts throughout
history, is a major obstacle to progress. The challenge facing the world's
religious leaders is to contemplate, with hearts filled with compassion and
the desire for truth, the plight of humanity, and to ask themselves whether
they cannot, in humility before their God, submerge their theological
differences in a great spirit of mutual forbearance that will enable them to
work together for the advancement of human understanding and peace.

Bah▀' s pray, "May this American Democracy be the first nation to establish
the foundation of international agreement. May it be the first nation to
proclaim the unity of mankind. May it be the first to unfurl the standard of
the Most Great Peace."

During this hour of crisis, we affirm our abiding faith in the destiny of
America. We know that the road to its destiny is long, thorny and tortuous,
but we are confident that America will emerge from her trials undivided and

¨National Spiritual Assembly of the Bah▀' s of the United States

For more information and for a free copy of the booklet "The Promise of
World Peace" please visit our web site at or call us toll
free at 1-800-22-UNITE Local Phone 248-737-4006