Sunday, May 19, 2013

Vote4Zahra

So, I have recently been in conversation with some folks about the gender segregation of Baha'i elections, specifically of how inappropriate the exclusion of women from the Universal House of Justice is.  Makes it not quite "universal" justice, don't you think?  We can do better.

Anyway, of course the next Iranian presidential election is looming around the corner.  I have been delighted by the work of Amir and Khalil at Zahra's Paradise for quite a while, but this election-related development may have made my year:

http://vote4zahra.org/

Check it out, cast your vote, and lend your voice and support to this incredibly smart initiative.  Donate, if you can.  For my Baha'i readers with jitters about partisan politics, read through the poll questions and you will find that is a non-issue.  Also, Zahra is a fictional character.  ;)  But a powerful symbol!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

95 Theses

I have not been blogging recently because there's been a lot of pressing life to tend to.

But I have just been reminded of why I started this blog in the first place, and even of my very first post.

Today I have received disturbing communications from a Bahá’í once-friend who ended our generations of friendship today in rarified double-speak, because I am not a Bahá’í, and because of what I say about that fact on this blog.

And even though that is a private thing, I thought I would just make public what that experience is like for an ex-Bahá’í, for the benefit of my still-Bahá’í friends, so you will not act so cruelly. Or so mistakenly. And because I know you are not talking openly about it where it counts. Because the tide of our shared upbringing encourages you to cast leave-takers aside. And it also encourages leave-takers to shut their mouths in silence. And in shame. That's the anatomy of ostracism. It unfolds in small acts, not just in the published announcements in The American Baha'i that so-and-so has been administratively sanctioned in some way.

But the love we share is better than all that, so I know you will forgive my lack of silence and complete lack of shame, and recognize I still speak to you because I love you and I have nothing to be ashamed of.

When you break bonds of friendship and love because I am a once-Bahá’í by birth and now not Bahá’í by conscience and adulthood, you break my heart a little. Because I will never ostracize you back. Because unity in diversity is actually a real principle I believe in, not just give lip-service to. When you end real friendships because I am not a Bahá’í, I am sad because I come to realize you are afraid and have no real friendship in your heart. You do not know what unconditional love is. You do not know what family is. You do not know what freedom is. You are violating the spirit of every morally wise bit of scripture and poetry the world has ever known. You probably don't even laugh at the funny parts of movies. If I prayed, I would pray for you. But I don't. And I won't.

When you ostracize me for leaving the Faith, you remind me again out of the blue why it was I left to begin with. You make me so grateful to be free of dogma and fear that oppressive and blinding. You make me remember one of my favorite passages of Bahá'u'lláh, "Thus have their superstitions become veils between them and their own hearts and kept them from the path of..." ...friendship. Common sense. Common decency. Civil society. The blogosphere.

Ending friendships overtly, or just asphyxiating them slowly over time out of fear, because your friend is different from you and not ashamed of it, (and knows how to use blogger) is a morally reprehensible thing to do. You would think the last 166 years of Bahá’í history, of being persecuted for your beliefs, would have taught you the Golden Rule. Treat Others The Way You Want To Be Treated. If you want freedom of belief, it has to be for everyone. That (shockingly) includes people who disagree with you. Trying to manipulate and coerce others into silence or into agreement through exerting social force is tacky. And I'm from the South. You know "tacky" is meant, in this case, as a very weighty insult. The biggest I can muster. I could've gone with something like, but hey- if monolithic public opinion and suppression of free thought is your thing, there are regimes that agree with you. Except, you keep having to ask me to blog about your rights to freely believe and speak whatever you want in the land of your religion's birth. I guess my ability to use social media only comes in handy when it's your opinions we're protecting.

I guess you'll have to learn how to be ecumenical after all.

So, here's my advice. My 95 Theses I'm nailing to the wall. They aren't theological. I could give a rat's ass about theology.

Be Nice.


Oh, wait, I guess it was just one. It's so easy to remember I guess you only have to say it once, not 95 times. ;)

But maybe do try it every day.