Religion & Human Rights

religious_persecution

Two Prickly Folks At The Café

PF1: “How can you say that? God intended for His servants to worship him through well-trained and devoted ministers—people called to His service and anointed with His power!”

PF2: “Bull!  You think God cares about the kind of ministers you have? Bigoted, servile automatons is what they are!!

PF1: “Well, I’d rather listen to one of my ministers than one of your so-called ‘priests’—just a bunch of puny excuses for real  men—

~~~~~~~~~
Your humble observer quickly left the Café before a fist-fight broke out…
~~~~~~~~~

That imaginary “conversation” isn’t all that different from real ones I’ve heard. People displaying highly irreligious attitudes as they fight like animals over what they claim is the “True Faith”.

This kind of religious intolerance can quickly lead to actual violence and, if sanctioned by powerful organizations or governments, roll right downhill into flagrant and physical persecution of whole groups of our human family.

From the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom:

Countries of Particular Concern:

Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

Lest someone think that concerning themselves with religious freedom is of low value, remember: losing one freedom erodes the security of other freedoms…

International Conventions that need global support:

International Religious Freedom Act of 1998
“The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom shall have as its primary responsibility the annual and ongoing review of the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom and the making of policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress with respect to matters involving international religious freedom.”

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes the freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
“Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, and teaching.”

From The Guardian:
“Religious persecution can never be excused, but its causes can be explained. The haunting fear of hidden, unexpected revolution drives every dictator, sooner or later, to savage attacks on those he fears most and understands least. Dictators who claim dominion over a man’s mind as well as his body, whose regimes are based on tyranny and their people’s ignorance of the outside world, are wont to attack religious leaders, who must, at all costs, be discredited.”

Spiritual Quote:

“The activity most intimately linked to the consciousness that distinguishes human nature is the individual’s exploration of reality for himself or herself. The freedom to investigate the purpose of existence and to develop the endowments of human nature that make it achievable requires protection. Human beings must be free to know. That such freedom is often abused and such abuse grossly encouraged by features of contemporary society does not detract in any degree from the validity of the impulse itself.

“It is this distinguishing impulse of human consciousness that provides the moral imperative for the enunciation of many of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration and the related Covenants. Universal education, freedom of movement, access to information, and the opportunity to participate in political life are all aspects of its operation that require explicit guarantee by the international community. The same is true of freedom of thought and belief, including religious liberty, along with the right to hold opinions and express these opinions appropriately.

“Since the body of humankind is one and indivisible, each member of the race is born into the world as a trust of the whole. This trusteeship constitutes the moral foundation of most of the other rights — principally economic and social — which the instruments of the United Nations are attempting similarly to define. The security of the family and the home, the ownership of property, and the right to privacy are all implied in such a trusteeship. The obligations on the part of the community extend to the provision of employment, mental and physical health care, social security, fair wages, rest and recreation, and a host of other reasonable expectations on the part of the individual members of society.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Mar 03, The Prosperity of Humankind, Section II

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Religious Persecution

religious_persecutionOur last post brought attention to the plight of seven Bahá’ís in Iran—arrested and held for eight months with no access to legal counsel and scheduled for trial this week on charges of  “…espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities, and propaganda against the Islamic republic”.

Similarly baseless charges are being leveled against Christians, Jews, Sufis, and many others.

There has been global and swift reaction to this gross example of religious persecution of the Bahá’ís from governments, groups, and individuals.

From a Resolution of the U.S. Congress to strong individual coverage of the situation, people are rallying to aid their fellow humans.

One reason the Bahá’ís are deeply troubled about their incarcerated Friends is a hauntingly similar situation in 1983 when a girl of 16 named, Mona, was hanged with nine other young women—just for being Bahá’ís…

monasstory_picMona

Would that we All  could help in some way to end All 
religious persecution…

Spiritual Quote:

Legislation can and does suppress both acts of religious persecution and the attitude of religious intolerance itself. As Mr. Arcot Krishnaswami indicates in his Study of Discrimination in the Matter of Religious Rights and Practices , “Individuals are inclined to consider wrong what the law prohibits, and right what it enjoins them to do” (p. 63). However, to eradicate religious intolerance at its root, legislation must be supported by education, beginning in primary school.

“Schools must first train the children in the principles of religion,” says Bahá’u’lláh, “so that the promise and the threat, recorded in the Books of God, may prevent them from the things forbidden and adorn them with the mantle of the commandments; but this in such a measure that it may not injure the children by resulting in ignorant fanaticism and bigotry” (Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh , 68). Religious education should teach children to manifest the nobility with which they were endowed by a loving God. It should encourage them to cultivate in their own character such divine attributes as compassion, tolerance, justice, righteousness, loyalty, truthfulness, wisdom, and humility. Children who learn to see in all religions the signs of the one Creator, will consider all religions part of a common human heritage, worthy not only of respect but of careful study.

The study of the history and culture, if based on the premise of the oneness of humanity, should lead to a growing appreciation of the diverse religious traditions. This appreciation will be strengthened by interaction with people of different faiths, if the purpose is to promote unity. An everyday familiarity with people of different backgrounds will help each individual to lift the veil of cultural difference and see beneath it the shared humanity of all the peoples of the world. “O people! consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship,” Bahá’u’lláh commands His followers (Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh , 22). “Consorting with people hath promoted and will continue to promote unity and concord” (Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh , 36).
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Jan 10, Promoting Religious Tolerance

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My Rant About A Rant…

rant_moral_entertainment

Josh and Marie at the Café:

M: Been listenin’ to Ryder and Baxter on KROQ about Christian Bale?

J: Ah… No.

M: Too awesome! They got this remix of him blasting some guy on the crew of Terminator: Salvation.

J: Remix?

M: Yeah, they took Bale’s rant and mixed it with music and it’s kinda like a musical ode to the word F__k !!

J: How… interesting… Gotta go, Marie…

~~~~~~~~~

Some people…

Some ideas…

Sometimes I feel like exploding…

So much wrong and some people invest in being more wrong with some crazed idea of social acceptability…

The Movie.

The actor and his story.

The Remix of the Rant. {Caution: liberal use of the word, “F__k”}

~~~~~~~~~

While all this ranting about a rant in an industry that has become a rant of itself is happening, other things are going on that for various perverted reasons are receiving almost no attention. Here’s a very sad example:

Spiritual Quote:

“This same force […capacities to love, to forgive, to create, to dare greatly, to overcome prejudice, to sacrifice for the common good and to discipline the impulses of animal instinct ], that operated with such effect in ages past, remains an inextinguishable feature of human consciousness. Against all odds, and with little in the way of meaningful encouragement, it continues to sustain the struggle for survival of uncounted millions, and to raise up in all lands heroes and saints whose lives are the most persuasive vindication of the principles contained in the scriptures of their respective faiths. As the course of civilization demonstrates, religion is also capable of profoundly influencing the structure of social relationships. Indeed, it would be difficult to think of any fundamental advance in civilization that did not derive its moral thrust from this perennial source. Is it conceivable, then, that passage to the culminating stage in the millennia-long process of the organization of the planet can be accomplished in a spiritual vacuum? If the perverse ideologies let loose on our world during the century just past contributed nothing else, they demonstrated conclusively that the need cannot be met by alternatives that lie within the power of human invention.”
The Universal House of Justice, 2002 April, To the World’s Religious Leaders, p. 3

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The Polls ~ Reprise

poll
You can take these polls without reading the series, One Common Faith ~ The Story, but if you’d rather read it first, here it is…

You can select multiple answers


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Hate, Love, and Religion

More posts on the Gaza situation here…
religion_hate_love

Jill & Olivia at the Café
after two months of not seeing each other


J: So, you signed-up, eh?

O: I became a member, yes…

J: It’s a real religion?

O: Yeah, a world religion.

J: I can’t imagine you in some organization that tells you what you can and can’t do.

O: Well, there are  spiritual laws but there’s nothing that isn’t just good common sense—well, common sense without a materialistic focus—maybe, good spiritual common sense…

J: hmmm… What’s the hardest thing about following all those laws?

O: Funny you should ask; well, not funny for you but just yesterday I had my first real spiritual test…

J: Do tell!

O: Well… it was about the situation in Gaza. I was talking to an Israeli and a Palestinian and they both kept referring to each other as monsters and terrorists and I got pretty worked up and almost started an argument but I remembered that I should treat everyone with kindness so I asked them if they thought any  Palestinians and Israelis were good people…

J: Yeah… So?

O: They both got real quiet and then got up and walked off.

J: How was that a test?

O: ‘Cause, while they were ranting about how evil the Palestinians and Israelis were, I was getting pretty mad and when I remembered a quote from the Scripture, “…should they be unjust toward you show justice towards them…”, I calmed right down and asked about the possiblity of good Palestinians and Israelis.

J: I still don’t understand the test part…

O: I wanted to slap them for what they’d been saying, pretty war-like for me, but I decided to be fair to them, benefit of the doubt and all, and asked about the possibility of good people on both sides. If I’d slapped them, even with my words, we would have been “at war”; but, maybe what I said will make them think and be more fair to each other…

~~~~~~~~~
Jill and Olivia talked for two more hours and explored some of Olivia’s new Scripture…

Here’s what they talked about:

Spiritual Quote:

“O ye beloved of the Lord! In this sacred Dispensation, conflict and contention are in no wise permitted. Every aggressor deprives himself of God’s grace. It is incumbent upon everyone to show the utmost love, rectitude of conduct, straightforwardness and sincere kindliness unto all the peoples and kindreds of the world, be they friends or strangers. So intense must be the spirit of love and loving kindness, that the stranger may find himself a friend, the enemy a true brother, no difference whatsoever existing between them. For universality is of God and all limitations earthly. Thus man must strive that his reality may manifest virtues and perfections, the light whereof may shine upon everyone. The light of the sun shineth upon all the world and the merciful showers of Divine Providence fall upon all peoples. The vivifying breeze reviveth every living creature and all beings endued with life obtain their share and portion at His heavenly board. In like manner, the affections and loving kindness of the servants of the One True God must be bountifully and universally extended to all mankind. Regarding this, restrictions and limitations are in no wise permitted.

“Wherefore, O my loving friends! Consort with all the peoples, kindreds and religions of the world with the utmost truthfulness, uprightness, faithfulness, kindliness, good-will and friendliness, that all the world of being may be filled with the holy ecstasy of the grace of Baha [Light, Splendor], that ignorance, enmity, hate and rancor may vanish from the world and the darkness of estrangement amidst the peoples and kindreds of the world may give way to the Light of Unity. Should other peoples and nations be unfaithful to you show your fidelity unto them, should they be unjust toward you show justice towards them, should they keep aloof from you attract them to yourselves, should they show their enmity be friendly towards them, should they poison your lives, sweeten their souls, should they inflict a wound upon you, be a salve to their sores. Such are the attributes of the sincere! Such are the attributes of the truthful.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Will and Testament, p. 14

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One Perpetual Faith

Due to recent world crises and the important information it contains, this post will stay up till Sunday, 18 January.

world-religion-day
Emory and Suzanne at the café:

E: World Religion Day? Come on, get serious.

S: I am serious, Emory, I want you to come to the gathering.

E: Sorry, I don’t think religion has anything that will help with the problems going on in the world right now.

S: Why not?

E: Well, for one, they’re all fighting each other. How can rabid religionists help establish peace?

S: I’m talking about real religion, the kind that induces love and unity.

E: Where does that exist?

S: Come to the gathering and you just might be surprised…

E: Who else will be there?

S: Tom, Elaine, and Pete; Christian, Jew, and Muslim…

E: Well, it might be fun watching them argue themselves into a frenzy.

S: I’ll bet they all get along and that you learn something that can help in your work for peace.

E: I’ll take that bet. In a way……… I actually hope I lose…

~~~~~~~~~

Emory will go to the gathering for World Religion Day and he will lose his bet. He’ll also learn that the core of all true religions are the same and all guide humanity to the road of peace and tranquility.

There’s a statement made in the Writings of my Faith that, if religion doesn’t lead to love and unity, a person is better off without religion…

In light of that statement, I want to introduce you to a major document that was sent to the world’s religious leaders, essentially telling them to reaffirm the core beliefs of their Faiths and get down to work helping their followers practice what real religion preaches. This link will let you read and download the document.

Also, in the time remaining before January 18th, you may want to learn more about World Religion Day and various activities that are being planned.

Here’s a video from the site:

Spiritual Quote:

“O ye steadfast loved ones! The grace of God is beating down upon mankind, even as the rains in spring, and the rays of the manifest Light have made this earth to be the envy of heaven. But alas, the blind are deprived of this bounty, the heedless are closed off from it, the withered despair of it, the faded are dying away—so that even as flooding waters, this endless stream of grace passeth back into its primal source in a hidden sea. Only a few receive this grace and take their share of it…

“We trust that in a time to come the slumberers will waken, and the heedless will be made aware, and the excluded will become initiates in the mysteries. Now must the friends work on with heart and soul and put forth a mighty effort, until the ramparts of dissension are toppled down and the glories of the oneness of humanity lead all to unity.

“Today the one overriding need is unity and harmony among the beloved of the Lord, for they should have among them but one heart and soul and should, so far as in them lieth, unitedly withstand the hostility of all the peoples of the world; they must bring to an end the benighted prejudices of all nations and religions and must make known to every member of the human race that all are the leaves of one branch, the fruits of one bough.

“Until such time, however, as the friends establish perfect unity among themselves, how can they summon others to harmony and peace?”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 277

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A Bahá’í’s Christmas Present . . .

christmas-tree-friendsJudy almost wanted to threaten to stay in her room all Christmas day; that is, unless her father let her friend Naquito celebrate the holiday with them…

She went and hugged her father, gave him a butterfly kiss on his wrinkled forehead, and whispered, “Please…?”

“Judy, your friend is a wonderful person but she isn’t a Christian, she wouldn’t feel comfortable here while we’re celebrating the birth of Jesus.”

“Dad, you don’t get it. Naquito loves Christ as much as you do. She just feels He wasn’t the only Messenger of God that ever came to earth.”

Judy waited for the expected defense…

“Well, little one, that isn’t a very Christian attitude is it?”

“Oh, Daddy, I love you so  much but Jesus loves Everybody and Naquito loves Him. If Christmas isn’t about love what’s it about?”

Judy swirled out of my imagination and this fictional religious exchange ended with Naquito sharing Christmas with Judy and her family. Judy’s father even ended up having more than one joyous giggle-session with Naquito…

And, even though I’m not a Christian, I respect and honor Christ so much that I wanted to give all my readers a Christmas present, a joyous, loving, maybe even giggly present.

Here’s a video from my super friend, Robin Easton, about her experience of Christmas and Daddy and… well… Watch and feel the Love!

And, here’s Robin’s Wonderful Blog.

Spiritual Quote :

“…the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh—if we would faithfully appraise it—can never, and in no aspect of its teachings, be at variance, much less conflict, with the purpose animating, or the authority invested in, the Faith of Jesus Christ. This glowing tribute which Bahá’u’lláh Himself has been moved to pay to the Author of the Christian Religion stands as sufficient testimony to the truth of this central principle of Bahá’í belief: ‘…The deepest wisdom which the sages have uttered, the profoundest learning which any mind hath unfolded, the arts which the ablest hands have produced, the influence exerted by the most potent of rulers, are but manifestations of the quickening power released by His transcendent, His all-pervasive and resplendent Spirit. We testify that when He came into the world, He shed the splendor of His glory upon all created things. Through Him the leper recovered from the leprosy of perversity and ignorance. Through Him the unchaste and wayward were healed. Through His power, born of Almighty God, the eyes of the blind were opened, and the soul of the sinner sanctified… He it is Who purified the world. Blessed is the man who, with a face beaming with light, hath turned towards Him.'”
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 185

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