The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience


Shunning > Menu

From Sun Feb  8 19:41:50 1998
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Date: Sun, 08 Feb 1998 22:41:54 -0500
To: Dean Betts <>
From: (Juan R. I. Cole)
Subject: Re: New Zealand shunning of non-Baha'i
That's right from the point of view of the Baha'i authorities.  However,
there is U.S. case law on shunning, and it is not my impression that the
courts would look kindly on a religious body having a non-adherent shunned,
since it is probably a form of libel as traditionally defined in Anglo-Saxon
I'm afraid we are, on this terrain, a very, very long way away from
Baha'u'llah's ideals of universal love and openness to all and the unity of
humanity.  My guess is that non-Baha'i institutions, both governmental and
civil society, will eventually force the religion's leaders to start
behaving in a civilized fashion if the religion ever becomes big and
important enough for them to care one way or another.  It is a sad thing
that the impulse for open-mindedness and love and justice does not come from
within the religion's leadership itself.  It is even more sad that persons
who engage in such invidious activities are now the primary ambassadors of
Baha'u'llah to the world, giving the world a most unfortunate and inaccurate
picture of the sort of ideals the latter preached.
cheers   Juan

At 07:20 PM 2/8/98 -0500, Dean Betts wrote:
>So resigning from the Faith will not *necessarily* prevent one from being
>declared a CB.
>>>We regret to have to advise you of the determination which has been made, in
>>>consultation with the Hands of the Cause of God, that Pauline Smith of
>>>Masterton has broken the Covenant.
>>> she submitted a resignation from the Faith in an apparent attempt to
>>>avoid being designated as a Covenant-breaker.
>     Verily, He is the Merciful, the Compassionate. Praise be to God, the
>Lord of all the worlds. 
>                                      - Baha'u'llah