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Baha'i and homosexuality?

Discussion in 'Baha'i Faith DIR' started by Sunstone, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora Staff Member Premium Member

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    How does the Baha'i faith view homosexuality?
     
  2. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus Staff Member

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    Sunstone likes this.
  3. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora Staff Member Premium Member

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    Thank you, Michel. Your source is very helpful.
     
  4. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber New Member

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    Greetings, Sun! :)

    Briefly, the Baha'i position can be summed up in two statements:

    First, as in the teachings of ALL the great religions (with only a few nonconformist groups differing), sex is to be restricted to heterosexual marriage ONLY. All non-marital sex, heterosexual or homosexual, is thus prohibited.

    But second, that said, in every other respect homosexuals have the same rights and prerogatives as anyone else and so must not be discriminated against. (And indeed, there are Baha'i homosexuals.)

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
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  5. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora Staff Member Premium Member

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    Thank you, Bruce. That's very helpful.
     
  6. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule Well-Known Member

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    I have before me an article on the Buddhist attitude towards homosexuality which states, in part:
    I particularly appreciate the last sentence.
     
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  7. ayani

    ayani member

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    so can a seme-sex couple be in a relationship if there's no sexual contact involved?
     
  8. lunamoth

    lunamoth Will to love

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    From some of the posts I've read recently I get the impression that perhaps there has been a change in Baha'i policy regarding gay Baha'i's who seek civil unions. Would there no longer be sanctions imposed upon such Baha'i couples?

    lunamoth
     
  9. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    I'm not sure what posts you're referring to, unless you're referring to something I wrote.

    The guidelines haven't changed, nor are they likely to, considering the contents of the writings on the subject.

    If you were referring to anything I wrote, as you know, the Baha'i Faith doesn't allow drinking alcohol, but we're not out trying to close down bars. Similarly, while same-sex relationships are not ok in the faith, that means nothing about what happens in the secular realm. I haven't heard anyone within the faith, at any level, address the topic of demands for civil unions outside the faith.

    I'm trying to find that statement on the subject from the Universal House of Justice. When I do, I'll post the link.
     
  10. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    OK...no link yet, but there's this short summary. The italics are mine, and address lunamoth's earlier post.

    Treatment of Homosexuals

    Bahá'ís are taught not to treat homosexuals as condemned outcasts, and are told not to apply the Bahá'í teachings to people who have not accepted Baha'u'llah.


    The Bahá'í writings teach people to treat everyone, including homosexuals, with love, respect, and dignity.

    Gay Bahá'ís

    Individuals who are openly homosexual are not prevented from entering the Faith and joining in community life. This acceptance is not an endorsement of their personal conduct, rather it is a recognition that becoming a Bahá'í is not conditional on their complete and strict compliance with all Bahá'í standards and laws. Homosexuality is seen as one of many tests and difficulties every individual must face, which can be discussed openly and sympathized with.


    Homosexual Bahá'ís have been reprimanded for being flagrant in their presentation to the public. There are many examples of situations where an individual's administrative rights were taken away when their actions were decided by a Spiritual Assembly to be damaging to the image of the Bahá'í Faith. This response is also applied to alcoholism, heterosexual promiscuity, and anything that is considered flagrant immorality. As a general rule, the Spiritual Assemblies do not get involved in the private lives of believers, unless their actions are causing some harm to the community.


    The Bahá'í Faith has received criticism in the gay community. The Baha'i administration has reminded followers of the religion not
    to single out homosexuality over other transgressions of the religious code, and to be very tolerant of what is perceived to be immoral behaviour.
     
  11. lunamoth

    lunamoth Will to love

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    Yes, I was referring to your posts which leave the general impression that Baha'is condone homosexual relationships. You know this is important to me. It's one of the main reasons I started to doubt Baha'u'llah. I can't imagine a Kingdom of God in which people in gay relationships are not allowed to participate in community consultation. I know that Baha'is do not go around telling people outside the Baha'i community that they need to follow Baha'i laws, but certainly it is still expected that gay Baha'is will remain celibate, and avoid any public display of a homosexual union.
     
  12. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    I know that's a problem for you, Lunamoth. Honestly, I wish it were otherwise, but it's tough to get past the writings on the subject and pretend they say something different.

    Gays are allowed to participate on community consultation. Not everyone is sanctioned just because they are a practicing homosexual, just as not everyone is sanctioned because they are still struggling with other issues that run counter to the Faith's teachings.

    I don't know the circumstances of any cases you know of, so I'm not in any position to comment on them. The cases that have come before LSAs I've served on I can't discuss, except I'd mention that in no cases did we even recommend sending the info on to National for them to consider. We read the guidelines and determined in those cases it was none of our business.

    As you already know, in my opinion there needs to be more discussion on the subject among American Baha'is, because it won't work to just put our heads in the sand and ignore what's going on around us. If we're going to continue to teach that chastity is demanded except in cases of a man and woman who are legally married, then we are going to have to learn how to work with people who do believe in Baha'u'llah, but are struggling to follow what he says.

    We all have our stuff that we need to overcome. I think it's weird that my personal stuff is somehow more acceptable in our society than being gay, considering the places I could've gone with my life would have been VERY destructive to people.
     
  13. lunamoth

    lunamoth Will to love

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    Thank you for posting that info Booko. I appreciate your honesty about this. The problem is that bottom line a gay Baha'i in a relationship will be viewed as being 'flagrant,' at least from all that I have heard official and unofficial on the topic. You don't need to be marching in the Gay Pride Parade with your Baha'i t-shirt on. Having a romantic cup of java and sharing a chaste kiss in the corner, but observed by another Baha'i, could be enough to get the ball rolling. So, while a homosexual person may be welcomed into the Faith, and I know first-hand that this is true, they must also accept that they must remain celibate, or work toward the goal of being celibate or in a hetero marriage. Gay people born into a Baha'i family will have to choose between the religion of their family or a life without sexual initmacy.
     
  14. Feathers in Hair

    Feathers in Hair World's Tallest Hobbit

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    Hi, guys! *waves* Sorry that I'm coming into this thread a bit late, but I notice it's in the 'discussion' area, and not the 'debate' area. If one wishes to debate something like this, please create an area in the debate section. Thanks!
     
  15. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    I've never seen a Baha'i couple of any sort having a "chaste" kiss in the corner, lunamoth. I saw a couple of teens being not at all chaste, and their behaviour was immediately corrected by one of the adults present. Actually, I'd submit that a kiss in public is not chaste at all -- it belongs at home. That isn't a very popular sentiment in this country, but it is well understood in many other cultures.

    Yes, that's true. Just as a Catholic who is ordained or enters vocations will have to choose. I know it's unfashionable in our society to believe it's possible to have a good live without having sex, but it's been possible and practiced by many people in many times in history.

    And don't think the burden falls only on homosexuals. Heterosexuals who are not married have the same burden placed on them. I know a number of straight Baha'is who have never married, and remained chaste. If there's a difference, it's that I haven't heard them complain about how unjust the demands are that are placed on them, but there's probably somebody somewhere who does complain about it.

    When it comes to sanctions being put on anyone, the most common reason is getting married without parental consent. There's hardly a witch hunt going on for gay Baha'is.
     
  16. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    Oh...I didn't even notice...um...are we debating?
     
  17. lunamoth

    lunamoth Will to love

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    Well and good Booko, but it is not a 'problem,' nor does it reflect upon my 'comfort' as Scott say. I see it as a justice issue, since we are talking about the Kingdom of God here. And I see it as a compassion issue.

    But is the sanctioning of even one gay Baha'i justifiable? To save the image of the Faith?

    And I would not ask you divulge such information, although I think in general the NSA should release some data on this.

    I am not trying to change the Baha'i Faith, and even if there was some progress on this issue in the Faith it would not turn my faith around anyway. However, it is incongruous that you are saying it's all well and fine for non-Baha'is to have gay civil unions and at the same time be saying that Baha'i Law is the best law for this day and age, and Baha'i Law prohibits same sex relationships.

    Yes, we DO all have our stuff to overcome. I hope that you succeed in getting the dialog going on this in the Baha'i community.

    peace,
    lunamoth
     
  18. Feathers in Hair

    Feathers in Hair World's Tallest Hobbit

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    I wasn't sure. *blushes* :eek: I'm not very good at telling between very calm debate and lively discussion.
     
  19. lunamoth

    lunamoth Will to love

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    Hi Feathers, sorry if this is too hot for the community section. I do not intend to debate, just get clarification on this issue. Anyway, I think booko has answered the question.

    peace,
    lunamoth
     
  20. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    Uh yeah...which makes it a problem for you? At least in the sense that you couldn't reconcile a belief in Baha'u'llah and the teachings on the subject. Really, lunamoth, I think you may be reading a subtext into "problem" that isn't there on my end.

    Is sanctioning a couple who married w/o parental permission, when there is no issue of image, justifiable?

    How would you suggest we choose which of the ordinances we're going to pay attention to, and which we just ignore? We can't excuse away what it says on the grounds that it's an ancient text and meant something different in another culture. Christians can do that -- we can't.

    They too have confidentialty rules they have to follow.

    I figured.

    There's nothing incongruous in recognizing that same-sex relationships with children lack protections the children should have. There's nothing incongruous in demanding that simple human decency should be accorded same-sex couples on matters like hospital visits and disposition of property.

    I make the rounds doing deepenings on the subject whenever I can, because there's a lot in that statement from the House that goes ignored. And I assume when the House takes the time to write something, they probably thought it was important for us to know.
     
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