Baha’is and politics. What is it about and what are they involved in? Do Baha’is engage in politics?

–keep in mind that the following is MY personal opinion–

Let’s get some terms straight here. First of all, what is the real purpose of politics? It is to transform society right? At the beginning of times, politics were based on working for the people and developing laws to protect the citizens of a certain area, city or country. People in lots of places loved their rulers and obeyed their laws.
Now, time went by and things got competitive. Politics then was regarded as divisive and to protect the rights of some and not all; to benefit some and not the group as a whole. This is the concept of politics that has prevailed until now. This is a very negative concept that most of us react against.

Baha’is are told by Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith to be loyal and obedient to our government. The Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi wrote in regards to this in the Bahá’í Publishing Trust of Germany (Bahá’í-Verlag), 1982 edition; page 311:

“…the Bahá’í Cause being essentially a religious movement of a spiritual character stands above every political party or group, and thus cannot and should not act in contravention to the principles, laws, and doctrines of any government. Obedience to the regulations and orders of the state is indeed, the sacred obligation of every true and loyal Bahá’í. Both Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have urged us all to be submissive and loyal to the political authorities of our respective countries.”

The core teachings of the Baha’i Faith revolve around UNITY. The unity of God (God is one), the unity of His Prophets or Messengers (they are the same spirit that appears to humanity from time to time) and the unity of humankind (we all come from God ad are equal in His Sight). So, on the basis of their religion Baha’is are not allowed to take part on any kind of activity that creates disunity, promotes the well-being of just a certain group or puts down a group or individual. Thus Baha’is do not take part in PARTISAN POLITICS. Which means, take sides or be part of a political party…pretty much that’s it. Baha’is are involved in all or most discourses of society -arts, science, medicine, politics, education, development, etc- and support organizations, activities and individuals that aim at the same goal: transforming society into one that is in continuous advancement.

So, if you are thinking of asking a Baha’i to support you in something political, take all this into account. What you have to ask yourself is: is this in ANY way partisan politics? If the answer is yes then you know they won’t but if the answer is no then go for it!

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About 95 Gems

Online store where you can find Bahá'í and Bahá'í inspired jewelry. View all posts by 95 Gems

2 responses to “Baha’is and politics. What is it about and what are they involved in? Do Baha’is engage in politics?

  • Marjorie Dickinson

    I’ve seen s quite of Abdulbaha stating it is necessary for Bahais in the US to vote no excuses ….Do you know where to find it

    • 95 Gems

      Dear friend, thank you for your request! We have done some more digging and have found the following guidance which we hope is what you were asking about:

      A Tablet revealed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to Mr. Thornton Chase was sent to the Guardian, and the following reply was received, dated January 26, 1933:

      “The Guardian fully recognizes the authenticity and controlling influence of this instruction from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá upon the question. He, however, feels under the responsibility of stating that the attitude taken by the Master (i.e., that American citizens are in duty bound to vote in public elections) implies certain reservations. He, therefore, lays it upon the individual conscience to see that in following the Master’s instructions no Bahá’í vote for an officer nor Bahá’í participation in the affairs of the Republic shall involve acceptance by that individual of a program or policy that contravenes any vital principle, spiritual or social, of the Faith.”

      The Guardian added to this letter the following postscript:

      “I feel it is incumbent upon me to clarify the above statement, written in my behalf, by stating that no vote cast, or office undertaken, by a Bahá’í should necessarily constitute acceptance, by the voter or office holder, of the entire program of any political party. No Bahá’í can be regarded as either a Republican or Democrat, as such. He is above all else, the supporter of the principles enunciated by Bahá’u’lláh, with which, I am firmly convinced, the program of no political party is completely harmonious.”

      In a letter dated March 16, 1933, the Guardian sent these further details:

      “As regards the non-political character of the Bahá’í Faith, Shoghi Effendi feels that there is no contradiction whatsoever between the Tablet (to Thornton Chase, referred to above) and the reservations to which he has referred. The Master surely never desired the friends to use their influence towards the realization and promotion of policies contrary to any of the principles of the Faith. The friends may vote, if they can do it, without identifying themselves with one party or another. The matter must be made perfectly clear to the individuals, who will be left free to exercise their discretion and judgment.”

      (Shoghi Effendi, Extracts from the USBN)

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