Bahais pray for release of prisoners in Iran
Full story: The York Daily Record
Lovely article. Baha'is in our area have also gathered for prayers for this situation. It's very sad to think of these innocent people in jail for no reason except their religion. One thing I would bring to the reader's attention: Baha'u'llah is considered the latest of God's Messengers but not the final one. We believe God will always send His guidance from age to age and that another Messenger will appear sometime after 1,000 years from when Baha'u'llah's ministry began in 1852. Thank you for bringing this issue of the persecution of our Iranian brothers and sisters to the attention of your readers.
Firstly, I would like to correct an error in this article which states that Bahá'ís say that their Founder is the "final prophet". Bahá'ís do not believe in the concept of a "final Prophet". We believe that our Founder is the latest Prophet, not the last or final Prophet.
While we deplore the abuse and injustices of Iranian authorities towards Bahá'ís in that Nation, we consider that readers should be informed that The National Spiritual Assembly of Bahá'ís of the United States is acting with a similar attitude and plans towards Orthodox Bahá'ís in America as the attitude and plans of Iranian authorities towards Bahá'ís who live in that Nation. The National Spiritual Assembly of Bahá'ís of the United States is attempting to use U.S. Courts to force Orthodox Bahá'ís to stop practicing their Faith, stopping them from identifying themselves as Bahá'ís or using the name Bahá'í or the symbols of their Faith. The National Spiritual Assembly
failed in its Court Action to deprive Orthodox Bahá'ís of their freedom of religion and now the National Spiritual Assembly filed an appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals of Judge Amy J. St. Eve's decision in favor of the Orthodox Bahá'í Faith. Here is the link which leads to the details of the Court Action: http://www.truebahai.com/court_case.html
Evidently the goal/plan of the leadership of the large body of Bahá'ís concerning Orthodox Bahá'ís parallels the goal/plan of Islamic leaders in Iran towards Bahá'ís, namely to eradicate them, and the justification of the leadership of the large body of Bahá'ís for its actions against Orthodox Bahá'ís is identical, namely, that it considers Orthodox Bahá'ís to be apostates (heretical/Covenant-breakers).
Ross Campbell is the public voice of the so-called "Orthodox Baha'is" - a tiny schismatic group of 40 people very active in posting negative comments against the 5 million member worlwide Baha'i community and its institutions. Mr. Campbell is well aware that the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States is not trying to deprive the "Orthodox Baha'is" of their right to believe as they wish, of their life, property, or any other civil right. Baha'is are bound to uphold these, even for someone who has been expelled from the Baha'i community.
The court case to which he refers is about the methodology of his organization in misusing identifying trademarks of the Baha'i Faith to make others believe that their organization represents the Baha'i Faith rather than the extremely small schismatic group for which he speaks.
The Baha'i Faith has a covenant that preserves the unity of the Baha'i Faith. It stems directly and explicitly from the Baha'i scriptures as revealed by Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha. It explicitly names those who are the Head of the Faith and the conditions under which succession occurs. The 9-member Universal House of Justice is the head of the worldwide Baha'i Faith. One who violates this covenant by attempting to set up a schismatic group and competing institutions is expelled. Mr. Campbell is one such person. One term used in Baha'i scriptures for such excommunicants is "covenant-breakers" or "violators of the covenant."
While Mr. Campbell attacks the Baha'i community for using the term "covenant-breaker," he fails to explain that his own organization has repeatedly attacked the members of the worldwide Baha'i community in the same terms that he claims to abhor. He also fails to note that his organization, while hating and opposing the Universal House of Justice, has set up a decoy site calling itself the "Official Website of the Universal House of Justice."
It should be repeated that the worldwide Baha'i Faith does not, nor would ever, seek the persecution of those who have been removed from membership in the Baha'i community for violation of the covenant. Baha'is have spiritual obligations regarding non-association with expelled individuals, but they are absolutely bound, by the teachings of their Faith, to accord those expelled from the Baha'i community the same civil and human rights that are due to all by their common humanity. Mr. Campbell well knows this.
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