For America’s Spiritual Growth . . .

statue_of_liberty

This is not a 4th of July post.

That particular celebration commemorates the
Declaration of Independence.

That document includes this statement: “… as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War...” Also, certain traditional songs used at the celebration “recall images of the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812 [Wikipedia].

Our last post was about human rights in Iran and this one is about America’s spiritual destiny…

Many are unaware of the vastly important spiritual future of Iran and the United States and current events are certainly, to say the least, confusing on that score. One of the Spiritual Quotes  below addresses a future relation between Iran and the United States…

This video is a song about America that uses the words from the other Spiritual Quote

Spiritual Quotes:

“Some of the creatures of existence can live solitary and alone. A tree, for instance, may live without the assistance and cooperation of other trees. Some animals are isolated and lead a separate existence away from their kind. But this is impossible for man. In his life and being cooperation and association are essential. Through association and meeting we find happiness and development, individual and collective.

“For instance, when there is intercourse and cooperation between two villages, the advancement of each will be assured. Likewise, if intercommunication is established between two cities, both will benefit and progress. And if a reciprocal basis of agreement be reached between two countries, their individual and mutual interests will find great development. Therefore, in the unity of this radiant assemblage I behold the link between Orient and Occident. Such unity is the means and instrument of cooperation between the various countries of the East and West. It is evident, then, that the outcomes from this basis of agreement and accord are numberless and unlimited. Surely there will be great harvests of results forthcoming for Persia and America. In Persia advanced material civilization will be established and the doors thrown open wide to American commerce.

“Above and beyond all this, a great love and fountain of affection shall bind and blend these two remote peoples, for Bahá’u’lláh has proclaimed to the world the solidarity of nations and the oneness of humanity. Addressing all mankind He has said, ‘Ye are all leaves of one tree and the drops of one sea’. The world of humanity has been expressed by Him as a unit—as one family. It is, therefore, hoped that the American and Persian nations may be conjoined and united in reciprocal love. May they become one race endowed with the same susceptibilities. May these bonds of amity and accord be firmly established.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 35

“O Thou kind Lord! This gathering is turning to Thee. These hearts are radiant with Thy love. These minds and spirits are exhilarated by the message of Thy glad-tidings. O God! Let this American democracy become glorious in spiritual degrees even as it has aspired to material degrees, and render this just government victorious. Confirm this revered nation to upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity, to promulgate the Most Great Peace, to become thereby most glorious and praiseworthy among all the nations of the world. O God! This American nation is worthy of Thy favors and is deserving of Thy mercy. Make it precious and near to Thee through Thy bounty and bestowal.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 23

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Law and Terror

law_terrorWhat good is government?

Why do people need government?

How much government is too much government?

Take those three questions to your favorite hangout and you can guarantee at least spirited discussion, if not an actual fight…

As humanity has evolved through the stages of Family, Tribe, City-State, and Nation, various forms of government have been organized. Some worked, some didn’t. Some helped people, some oppressed people.

The United States recently elected a new head of state, Barack Hussein Obama. Many hailed his inauguration as a new force in America and the world. Many are troubled by what he stands for.

I certainly don’t envy his position of power, the problems associated with the day to day administration of a government that must deal, in some way, with terrorist groups or movements; especially for anyone with what appear to be Obama’s beliefs.

People criticize him for his stance on “engagement” rather than acting from advantage, his apparent desire to induce the unity of contending parties, his relative inexperience in the harsh world of Washington politics.

I can only hope he has some chance to make some of the changes that some of his words seem to portent. I want to see the world unified. I don’t want my grandchild to live in a squandered or terrorized world. I don’t want my grandchild’s grandchildren to have no civilization at all, no government organizations or protections.

Mr. Obama recently gave a speech to the members of the CIA. It’s rather remarkable when compared with the attitude of the last American administration. I pray he means what he says and I pray he can influence the powers that be to create what he envisions in this video:

Spiritual Quote:

“The realization of human rights does not involve only action by the government or freedom from unjust government interference or oppression; rather it requires the construction of a progressive social order from the ground level upwards. It demands a new awareness of the reality of human unity and the development among all peoples of an all inclusive notion of community that extends from the family, to villages, towns, cities and localities, to nations, and, most importantly, to the boundaries of the planet itself. Moreover, given that rights cannot exist without corresponding responsibilities, each member of a community has a responsibility to uphold the rights of the other members based on a recognition of their unity and interdependence.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1993 Feb, Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

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Gaza, Israel, and Justice

You can read all our Gaza posts heregaza_israel_justice

Aaron and Julia at the Café


A: You’re totally mad !

J: Why, thank you, sir. It’s been said that to be crazy in an insane world is healthy…

A: The world sure is acting insane but a world government? Let’s just make the elite class even stronger and all become slaves.

J: I’m not talking about a dictatorial government; more like one that the whole human family elects. Just look at Gaza and Israel and the United States and Egypt and a few others. All those people in all those governments talking about justice and the citizens still suffer. The balance of world powers is off and trying to regain equilibrium by violence or embargoes or political fiat won’t ever make the scales come even.

A: Big dreams sweetie but nobody will ever be ethical enough to run a world government and the people won’t ever be smart enough to participate in a global election process.

~~~~~~~~~
Aaron and Julia talked for another hour and didn’t come to an agreement…
~~~~~~~~~

Outside my imaginary café people are saying very similar things and it’s fairly obvious the balance of global power is off-kilter and the citizens of many countries are steaming mad.

Consider the following news items:

From Al Jazeera: Fear and trauma in Gaza’s schools – An article about the adjustments in Gaza’s youthful population

From Bloomberg: Americans Sympathetic Toward Israel on Gaza in Poll – Opinion from the other side of the Big Pond

From The New York Times: The Bullets in My In-Box – A reporter discusses how he tries to maintain a balance within a highly polarized situation

The Gaza Conflict is just the latest in what seems to be an upward spiral of violent conflict and contention. It seems clear to me that the current systems of governance are not bringing us closer to global, or even local, peace.

What if there could  be an organization of human affairs that included all, enslaved none, and truly set the human spirit free?

The Bahá’ís say they’re working toward that dream and that their Universal House of Justice (which happens to be in the country of Israel) is the most important human step yet taken to lead to global peace.

By way of introduction to my Spiritual Quote for this post, I’ll let a Bahá’í poet have her say:

Look to Haifa, all Israel;
~~Look to Israel, Haifa, from Mount Carmel.

Look to Israel, all people;
~~Look to all people, Israel, from The Universal House of Justice on the holy mountain.

Look to the House of Justice, all lands and earth;
~~Look, lands homeless, hopeless, to the hope of justice in the house of man.

Susan Marie Le Mar, PsalmSpeak

Spiritual Quote:

“The physical unification of the planet in our time and the awakening aspirations of the mass of its inhabitants have at last produced the conditions that permit achievement of the ideal, although in a manner far different from that imagined by imperial dreamers of the past. To this effort the governments of the world have contributed the founding of the United Nations Organization, with all its great blessings, all its regrettable shortcomings.

“Somewhere ahead lie the further great changes that will eventually impel acceptance of the principle of world government itself. The United Nations does not possess such a mandate, nor is there anything in the current discourse of political leaders that seriously envisions so radical a restructuring of the administration of the affairs of the planet. That it will come about in due course Bahá’u’lláh has made unmistakably clear. That yet greater suffering and disillusionment will be required to impel humanity to this great leap forward appears, alas, equally clear. Its establishment will require national governments and other centres of power to surrender to international determination, unconditionally and irreversibly, the full measure of overriding authority implicit in the word ‘government’.

“This is the context in which Bahá’ís must strive to appreciate the unique victory that the Cause won in 1963, and which has consolidated itself over the years since then. A full understanding of its meaning is beyond the reach of the present and perhaps of the next several generations of believers. To the extent that a Bahá’í does grasp it, he or she will hold nothing back in a determination to serve its unfolding purpose.

“The process leading to the election of the Universal House of Justice—made possible by the successful completion of the three initial stages of the Master’s Divine Plan under the leadership of Shoghi Effendi—very likely constituted history’s first global democratic election. Each of the successive elections since then has been carried out by an ever broader and more diverse body of the community’s chosen delegates, a development that has now reached the point that it incontestably represents the will of a cross-section of the entire human race. There is nothing in existence—nothing indeed envisioned by any group of people—that in any way resembles this achievement.

“When one considers, further, the spiritual atmosphere that pervades Bahá’í elections and the principled conduct called for in even their simplest operations, one is humbled by a much greater awareness. In the raising up of the supreme governing institution of our Faith, one is witnessing a striving to the utmost of human capacity to win the good pleasure of God, a united and ardent determination that nothing whatever, in either cultural conditioning or the promptings of personal desire, should be allowed to stain the purity of this ultimate collective act.”
Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, p. 92

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Financial Strain

debtThose posts on the United Nations are still in the works but another Internet friend shared a song with me today and, in light of the global financial situation, I want to share it with you.

First, let me share the lyrics she uses:

“Should prosperity befall thee, rejoice not, and should abasement come upon thee, grieve not, for both shall pass away and be no more.”
Bahá’u’lláh, The Arabic Hidden Words, #52

I want to hazard an interpretation but be aware, when distilling the meaning of holy text, the ultimate interpretation comes from your  heart…

Rejoice not if prosperity blossoms because it can swiftly pass away.

Grieve not if you slip into abasement because you can swiftly rise.

Basically, to me, the words convey a need to remain detached from material circumstances; certainly, we need to pay attention and work toward our goals but we also, to remain spiritually whole, need to keep our hearts beating far above the twists and turns of mundane happenings…

The song is by Elika Mahony. Here’s a clip from her bio: “Vocalist, composer, pianist, and artist, Elika considers herself a world citizen; her parents are from Iran, she was born in the US, raised in Kenya, and now lives in China. Elika’s love of music began when she was a child growing up in Africa. In between she has lived in Israel and Hong Kong. Her music beautifully expresses the diverse cultures that have been a part of her upbringing, blending and reflecting the influences of this varied background, drawing upon classical Western structures but incorporating instrumentation and styles from Iran to Ireland and China to Spain.”

Enjoy her angelic vocal rendition of Bahá’u’lláh’s Words:

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The War Against Free Speech

journalistWhen most people see the words “police state” they think of Nazi Germany, or maybe some of the current African states, or possibly Niger:

From OneWorld.Net: U.S. Reporter Arrested Covering Nigeria Oil Story “An award-winning U.S. journalist covering ‘the economic and ecological disaster’ taking shape in a strategic oil-producing region of Nigeria was arrested this week on spying charges…”

Journalists (especially those covering abuse of rights by the police) have recently experienced the dreadful repercussions of police-state-mentality in the United States of America:

From OneWorld.Net: RNC: Media Intimidation Condemned “Police and local and federal officials in St. Paul, Minnesota are under fire from independent media groups for their crackdown on reporters at this week’s Republican National Convention.”

The last news link has some extremely interesting but possibly nerve-wracking videos showing abuse of journalists’ rights.

The quote below has these words, “…masses of people unable to exercise the functions of citizenship…”. When journalists are treated in repressive ways and arrested in the course of their duties, citizens are deprived of information critically necessary for competent discharge of their duty.

Today’s Spiritual Quote:

“An equal standard of human rights must be upheld, and individuals given equal opportunities. Variety and not uniformity is the principle of organic society. Since lack of opportunity, repression and degrading conditions have created masses of people unable to exercise the functions of citizenship, such persons are a moral trust laid upon the conscience of the rest, to educate the ignorant, train the immature and heal the sick.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1947 Feb, A Bahá’í Declaration of Human Obligations and Rights

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Values for All of Us

workers

Tomorrow is Labor Day in the United States–a federal holiday that began as an honoring of workers and has become a summer-ending Party . . .

From MarketWatch: Labor Day 2008: Building a New American Dream for America’s Workers

From the SunSentinel: Labor Day in Florida: Working class dreams are dying

From khsltv.com (California): Violent Crime Spikes in Chico Over the Labor Day Weekend

Holidays just aren’t what they used to be. Even if some folks celebrate Labor Day as honoring America’s workers, it’s usually honoring them as the most cherished workers, worthy of regard above any other workers. Some are, I’m sure. Yet, what about the World’s workers–those paid so little they work as slaves, those who work at staying alive–whose work is dodging bombs and guns . . .

Putting Americans, the workers or the massive parties, on a pedestal is counter-productive for America’s future–it’s globally dissonant–causes strife and contention from other nations.

This globe will never solve its problems as long as nations keep playing their trump cards against each other. A favorite American saying is, “United we Stand, Divided we Fall”.

Should a united America stand so tall she encourages a divided world?

Today’s Spiritual Quote:

“We assert that the emerging global order, and the processes of globalization that define it, must be founded on the principle of the oneness of humankind. This principle, accepted and affirmed as a common understanding, provides the practical basis for the organization of relationships between all states and nations. The increasingly apparent interconnectedness of development, security and human rights on a global scale confirms that peace and prosperity are indivisible — that no sustainable benefit can be conferred on a nation or community if the welfare of the nations as a whole is ignored or neglected. The principle of the oneness of humankind does not seek to undermine national autonomy or suppress the cultural and intellectual diversity of the peoples and nations of the world. Rather, it seeks to broaden the basis of the existing foundations of society by calling for a wider loyalty, a greater aspiration than any that has animated the human race. Indeed, it provides the moral impetus needed to remold the institutions of governance in a manner consistent with the needs of an ever-changing world.”
Bahá’í International Community, The Search for Values in an Age of Transition, p.3

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