We All Have Rights, unless . . .

rightsPeople just love to shout about their personal “rights”. Groups love to petition about “our  rights”. Organizations love to write official papers about “human rights”.

So, why do so many people not have their rights respected?

And, which rights are Right ?

Not to mention, who decides what rights belong to which people?

Take a moment to consider these recent news clips:

From OneWorld.Net: Anger in Kosovo as UN ‘Muzzles’ Democracy Leader

From Times Online, UK: Call for access to education for all members of the Iranian Baha’i community

From GlobalVoices: “08 Charter” (blueprint for the democracy prospect in China) Signers Arrested and Questioned by Police

From Bahá’í World News Service: Faith groups sign human rights statement

Some people effectively have no  rights…

Some people spend almost all their time screaming about having their rights trampled on…

Some folks stay calm, put up with those who trample on their rights, and continue to work, quietly but effectively, to ensure the rights of all the members of our human family…

I have no “point” to make in this post; just want to stir things up.

So, I’ll urge you to let yourself be stirred up by 12-year-old Severn Suzuki speaking at the UN Earth Summit in 1992:

Spiritual Quote :

“Ultimately…the emergence of a peaceful and just social order animated by moral principle is contingent upon a fundamental redefinition of all human relationships—among individuals themselves, between human society and the natural world, between the individual and the community, and between individual citizens and their governing institutions. In particular, outmoded notions of power and authority need to be recast. A basic reconceptualization of social reality is thus envisioned, a reality that in spirit and practice reflects the principle of the oneness of humankind. To accept that ‘the body of humankind is one and indivisible’ is to recognize that every human being is ‘born into the world as a trust of the whole’.”
Bahá’í International Community, 2001 May 28-31, Overcoming Corruption in Public Institutions

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Being Nice To Our Mother…

climate_changeDo you like to breathe? Would you rather not be poisoned by your drinking water? Will your great-grandchildren still be able to see the Sun?

Humans are amazing!  Give them a world to play in and they’ll work as hard as they can to make it unliveable…

Some recent news clips:

From The New York Times:: Amid a Hopeful Mood, U.N. Talks Set Countries on Path Toward a Global Climate Treaty

From The Daily Telegraph, UK: Climate summit ends in acrimony

From OneWorld.Net: Activists Demand ‘Change’ at Climate Conference

From BBC News: Australians condemn climate plan

O.K., so the Big-Rollers are worried because they’re having problems continuing to milk the moderately-affluent. The poor are getting poorer. Human slaughter is rampant. Corruption is eating us alive…

So, imagine all those problems are resolved to everybody’s satisfaction—I know, it would take a huge change of a massive number of hearts but just imagine it:

Rich and poor are equalizing their holdings, no one is murdering thousands, and politicians are learning trustworthiness…

And… most of us are dying from the backlash of a ferociously mad Mother Earth…

Here’s some sobering information ( from GreenFacts ):

What are the likely consequences of climate change?

And, some fascinating videos about how bad it really is…

Spiritual Quote :

“A little over a hundred years ago, in a series of letters to the world leaders of the day, Bahá’u’lláh spoke of humankind as entering on a period of history that would entail the radical restructuring of the life of the planet. Challenges never before contemplated would, He said, soon overwhelm the resources of even the most advanced nations. They could be addressed only by a world federal system whose central organ would be a representative world parliament empowered to create a code of universally agreed upon and enforceable international law. ‘The earth is but one country,’ Bahá’u’lláh asserted, ‘and mankind its citizens’.

“As the magnitude, complexity, and urgency of environmental problems have gradually forced themselves on public attention, the logic of this prescription has become daily more apparent. The available international legislative machinery and processes are proving inadequate, primarily because they are based on laws governing nation-states. To the Bahá’í International Community it seems clear that, unless creative new steps in the restructuring of the international order can be taken, environmental degradation alone, and its long-term implications for social and economic development, will lead inexorably to a disaster of appalling dimension.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1991 Aug 13, International Legislation for Environment Development

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A Merry (?) Christmas

terrorist_doll

Many in the world are buying Christmas presents for their kids…

When I was small, I had a few guns to play with…

Now, kids can have full virtual environments in which to practice killing…

World-wide, people are killing each other and bloggers are reporting and commenting on it. This post’s intention is to wave a flag of warning about what we teach our children. Also, I want to introduce you to Global Voices. In their own words: “Global Voices aggregates, curates, and amplifies the global conversation online – shining light on places and people other media often ignore.”

Here’s a recent post from the site:

Palestine: Terrorist Dolls Not the Best Stocking Stuffer

Thursday, December 11th, 2008 @ 13:47 UTC

by Maya Norton

This post is also available in:

“What could be more enjoyable for your kids this year than a doll resembling an Al-Qaeda terrorist?” asks Palestinian-American blogger Nawal of Bloggin’ Banat.

“It comes fully accessorized too (which is awesome cause that’ll save you money during this financial crisis). It comes with hand grenades, a pistol, an assault rifle and the all too important rocket launcher (awesome, huh?). And just so you know, there’s a Nazi major figure also. You know, just to even out the indignation.”

Humorous and appalling… The doll is made by BrickArms of Redmond, Washington (USA).

The Spiritual Quote below is addressed to mothers but I want to say a word to fathers:

My dad abused me with his tongue but his  father physically beat him. I found this out when I was in my 30s and it helped me release the hate I had for my dad—helped begin a process I’m still engaged in—freeing myself from the influence my father had on me, well before I could use my mind to counter it—to struggle to stop repeating his less than humane mistakes.

May we all give our children the gifts of love, compassion, understanding, and tolerance . . .

Spiritual Quote :

“Let the mothers consider that whatever concerneth the education of children is of the first importance. Let them put forth every effort in this regard, for when the bough is green and tender it will grow in whatever way ye train it. Therefore is it incumbent upon the mothers to rear their little ones even as a gardener tendeth his young plants. Let them strive by day and by night to establish within their children faith and certitude, the fear of God, the love of the Beloved of the worlds, and all good qualities and traits. Whensoever a mother seeth that her child hath done well, let her praise and applaud him and cheer his heart; and if the slightest undesirable trait should manifest itself, let her counsel the child and punish him, and use means based on reason, even a slight verbal chastisement should this be necessary. It is not, however, permissible to strike a child, or vilify him, for the child’s character will be totally perverted if he be subjected to blows or verbal abuse.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 125

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Who Is Writing The Future ? – Part Six

writing_the_future-who_is_writing_the_future
This is the final post in this series, inspired by the document, Who Is Writing the Future? Reflections on the Twentieth Century. In the final section of that document, these words appear:

“Viewed through Bahá’u’lláh’s eyes, the history of tribes, peoples, and nations has effectively reached its conclusion. What we are witnessing is the beginning of the history of humankind, the history of a human race conscious of its own oneness. To this turning point in the course of civilization, his writings bring a redefinition of the nature and processes of civilization and a reordering of its priorities.”

If you’ve been following along in this series, you’ve probably realized that the answer to Who is writing the future?  is Bahá’u’lláh—with the strong hint that we can participate in the effort.

It may be hard to imagine that Bahá’u’lláh could, well over 100 years ago, speak to our times—provide sure counsel about how to reorder our priorities—give us a “map” of the road our human family needs to follow as it strides into its long awaited maturity.

The road we’ve traveled has been full of crises, danger, wonder, enlightenment, and spiritual growth. Still, it’s time we leave behind the adolescent greediness of jealously independent peoples and nations and embrace the Oneness that is obvious to not only truly religious people but also reasonable scientists.

Fine… Pretty words… Wonderfully exalted ideas, but…

How?

Certainly, the education of people (especially children) so they can see that it’s not totally impossible. And, certain globally enforced laws that curb insane imbalances in wealth and poverty. There are so many initiatives that are already underway and critically necessary to prepare the ground. Still… There appear to be solid chunks of impacted soil, dark with materialism, and even rock-solid layers of corporate and governmental agendas that need breaking up before the ground can be properly plowed so the seeds of twentieth century humanitarian action can take root; not to mention the liberal application of the fertilizer of Love…

In the words of the document:

“There is nothing in Bahá’u’lláh’s writings to encourage the illusion that the changes envisioned will come about easily. Far otherwise. As the events of the twentieth century have already demonstrated, patterns of habit and attitude which have taken root over thousands of years are not abandoned either spontaneously or in response simply to education or legislative action. Whether in the life of the individual or that of society, profound change occurs more often than not in response to intense suffering and to unendurable difficulties that can be overcome in no other way. Just so great a testing experience, Bahá’u’lláh warned, is needed to weld the earth’s diverse peoples into a single people.”

Can you remember a time in your life when you were overcome with intense suffering—suffering so strong you felt you might cave in and give up the game? That  is right where humanity is. Let’s hope and pray that We don’t give up the game…

Remember when the suffering was over and you found you had a new sense of internal strength? You may have also experienced the flow of renewed initiative leading to solid improvements in your life-situation. That  is where humanity is headed—the Light at the end of the tunnel of humbling suffering…

Hope hides in the clouds of suffering—illumination spawning the silver lining of the future.

I’ll close this series of posts with these words from Who Is Writing The Future?:

“However great the turmoil, the period into which humanity is moving will open to every individual, every institution, and every community on earth unprecedented opportunities to participate in the writing of the planet’s future. ‘Soon’, is Bahá’u’lláh’s confident promise, ‘will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead.'”

If you’d like a copy of the original document, you can download a Word .doc or Adobe .pdf file.

Spiritual Quote :

“Strive then, O My brother, to apprehend this matter, that the veils may be lifted from the face of thy heart and that thou mayest be reckoned among them whom God hath graced with such penetrating vision as to behold the most subtle realities of His dominion, to fathom the mysteries of His kingdom, to perceive the signs of His transcendent Essence in this mortal world, and to attain a station wherein one seeth no distinction amongst His creatures and findeth no flaw in the creation of the heavens and the earth.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 5

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Who Is Writing The Future ? – Part Five

writing_the_future-who_is_writing_the
The Writings of Bahá’u’lláh that have been discussed in parts One through Four of this series are challenging to say the least—challenging to current theories about how to solve our human family’s crises—challenging, as the document this series is based on says, to social schemes that deny “a moral intelligence inherent in existence”—challenging to anyone who thinks human nature isn’t truly spiritual at its roots…

Some of the sadly mistaken ideas that plagued the twentieth century and need eradication to enable humanity to move towards its impending maturity are: unbounded individualism, dis-unifying political and economic structures, and a mindset that sees conflict as somehow “natural” for humans.

Yet, one of the most important principles that needs vast encouragement and global implementation is Justice. Justice alone can ensure that individuals receive their due from institutions and governments. And, deeply important, is the growth of a sense of personal justice (replacing individualistic complaining) that lets people see with their own eyes, hear with their own ears, feel with their own hearts, and think with their own minds—knowing that imitation in any of these areas is deadly…

Another crying need is the continuing entry of individuals into the arena of Service—going beyond self—enlarging the boundaries of self to include more and more members of our very human family.

These ideas and many more are the legacy left to humanity by Bahá’u’lláh. He put forward ideas that, in the context of the 1800s, were unthinkable. In the last century and a half, His conceptions and counsels have been adopted by progressive individuals, most of whom have never heard of Bahá’u’lláh.

I urge you to read the original document that’s inspired me to write this series of posts, Who Is Writing the Future? Reflections on the Twentieth Century. Also, you can download a Word .doc or Adobe .pdf file.

Next post will wrap up the series…

Spiritual Quote :

“The central purpose of the divine religions is the establishment of peace and unity among mankind. Their reality is one; therefore, their accomplishment is one and universal—whether it be through the essential or material ordinances of God. There is but one light of the material sun, one ocean, one rain, one atmosphere. Similarly, in the spiritual world there is one divine reality forming the center and altruistic basis for peace and reconciliation among various and conflicting nations and peoples.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 98

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Who Is Writing The Future ? – Part Four

writing_the_future-who_is_writing
Parts One through Three of this series have introduced Bahá’u’lláh, sketched out His major conceptions of human nature and the development of humanity, then presented collective endeavors, all from the twentieth century, that have set our human family on a course toward global maturity and peace.

I said “on a course toward” because we’re at the beginning of Eons of Light after Millennial Darkness…

Certainly, humanity has produced an abundance of light-giving conditions; it’s just that the darkness of the animal side of our nature has held us back from the full splendor we’re capable of reflecting.

The document that inspired this series of posts, Who Is Writing the Future? Reflections on the Twentieth Century,  is a landmark of rational spirituality, a call to awareness of the full potential of our human family when we live and act within a unity of consciousness.

The section of Who Is Writing The Future?  that this post is focusing on is short but the actual words are very high-minded, while displaying a practicality that’s sorely needed by our global community. I can’t match the document for its poetic yet reasonable presentation, so, here is the original:

“To appreciate the transformations brought about by the period of history now ending [the twentieth century] is not to deny the accompanying darkness that throws the achievements into sharp relief: the deliberate extermination of millions of helpless human beings, the invention and use of new weapons of destruction capable of annihilating whole populations, the rise of ideologies that suffocated the spiritual and intellectual life of entire nations, damage to the physical environment of the planet on a scale so massive that it may take centuries to heal, and the incalculably greater damage done to generations of children taught to believe that violence, indecency, and selfishness are triumphs of personal liberty. Such are only the more obvious of a catalogue of evils, unmatched in history, whose lessons our era will leave for the education of the chastened generations who will follow us.

“Darkness, however, is not a phenomenon endowed with some form of existence, much less autonomy. It does not extinguish light nor diminish it, but marks out those areas that light has not reached or adequately illumined. So will twentieth century civilization no doubt be assessed by the historians of a more mature and dispassionate age. The ferocities of animal nature, which raged out of control through these critical years and seemed at times to threaten society’s very survival, did not in fact prevent the steady unfoldment of the creative potentialities which human consciousness possesses. On the contrary. As the century advanced, growing numbers of people awakened to how empty were the allegiances and how insubstantial the fears that had held them captive only short years before.

“‘Peerless is this Day’, Bahá’u’lláh insists, ‘for it is as the eye to past ages and centuries, and as a light unto the darkness of the times.’ In this perspective, the issue is not the darkness that slowed and obscured the progress achieved in the extraordinary hundred years now ending. It is, rather, how much more suffering and ruin must be experienced by our race before we wholeheartedly accept the spiritual nature that makes us a single people, and gather the courage to plan our future in the light of what has been so painfully learned.”

If you’d like a copy of the full document as a download, here are a Word .doc and an Adobe .pdf file.

Spiritual Quote :

“Man is like unto this lamp, … but spiritual splendors are like unto the light within the glass. No matter how translucent the glass may be, as long as there is no light within, it remains dark. Likewise, man, no matter how much he advances in material accomplishments, will remain like the glass without light if he is deprived of the spiritual virtues. Material virtues are like unto a perfect body, but this body is in need of the spirit. No matter how handsome and perfect the body may be, if it is deprived of the spirit and its animus, it is dead. But when that same body is affiliated with the spirit and expressing life, perfection and virtue become realized in it.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 303

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Who Is Writing The Future ? – Part Three

writing_the_future-who_is
Parts One and Two of this series introduced a major Figure in world history, Bahá’u’lláh. They indicated His major conceptions of human nature as well as the idea of progressive spiritual evolution—not just of individuals but of the entire human family—stages of infancy, youth, adolescence, and adulthood—showing that humanity is now leaving its turbulent adolescence and entering the inevitable stage of maturity.

As hard as it may be to grasp the idea that humanity is approaching a sane, mature, rational, and peaceful consummation of its often tragic and certainly painful growing-up, the document that spawned these posts, Who Is Writing the Future? Reflections on the Twentieth Century,  gives compelling evidence of a new direction, a new mandate in human affairs. The fact that most of the evidence of this growth into human maturity occurred in the twentieth century—an evolutionarily short time—is as significant as each of the signs of impending global sanity and the much prophesied peace and tranquillity of all peoples.

I think it’s extremely important to focus on what has  been accomplished by humanity in its suffering struggle to establish a mature, peaceful world. Certainly, this attitude of positivity will do far more to help the process than the quite common attempt to belittle efforts that haven’t yet blossomed into efficient operation—like slapping a child who’s learning to walk when it falls down because it isn’t doing it right yet . . .

The major learning of humanity in this phase of its growth is Unity.

Some say that we won’t have unity till we have peace. Bahá’u’lláh makes it indelibly clear that peace will not be possible until unity is established. Here are two quotes from the document:

“The central spiritual issue facing all people, Bahá’u’lláh says, whatever their nation, religion, or ethnic origin, is that of laying the foundations of a global society that can reflect the oneness of human nature.”

“The unification of the earth’s inhabitants is neither a remote utopian vision nor, ultimately, a matter of choice. It constitutes the next, inescapable stage in the process of social evolution, a stage toward which all the experience of past and present is impelling us.”

This is an extremely important document so I’ve also provided a Word .doc and Adobe .pdf file for download.

Here’s a list of some of the most important changes in humanity’s focus, begun in the twentieth century and, sad to say,  too often slapped down in people’s discussions, well before humanity has had a chance to learn to walk confidently down their pathways:

* The United Nations as a global peace-building organization

* The wide-spread shame at the perversities of the second world war which led to a multitude of non-governmental, humanitarian organizations which consult with the U.N.

* The systems of financial control, reserve funds, and trade regulations instituted after the Great Depression which may  instruct current leaders in the proper steps to avoid having it happen again

* Global programs aiming to establish universal education and the Internet—a tool which can accomplish that goal

* Technological and scientific inventions reaching heights that have made any insane acts by people or nations instantly visible to the rest of humanity (before 1900, it was relatively easy to commit atrocious acts then argue them out of existence)

* The universal awareness of the equality of women as well as the racial components of our human family, though yet to be implemented universally

* The growing awareness that poverty is not a necessary feature of human life

* The wide-spread, though inadequately enforced, conception of the unity of the world’s religions

And, summing-up these never-before-seen phenomena  of collective human action, the document quotes Bahá’u’lláh’s prophetic utterance:

“A new life is, in this age, stirring within all the peoples of the earth; and yet none hath discovered its cause or perceived its motive.”

That statement was written over 140 years ago. There are a growing body of people discovering its cause and learning how to perceive its motive . . .

Spiritual Quote :

“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth. The One true God, He Who knoweth all things, Himself testifieth to the truth of these words.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 14

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