Social Question

Qingu's avatar

What is the Baha'i position on homosexuality?

Asked by Qingu (21175points) September 9th, 2009

I had always thought Baha’is were among the most progressive and tolerant of religious folk, but I found this website that says otherwise re: homosexuals:

I know there are some Baha’is on Fluther—would you care to elaborate on what your beliefs are about homosexuals?

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94 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

I wonder why no one has answered this?

AstroChuck's avatar

Man, do I hate religions.

Qingu's avatar

@tinyfaery, to be fair, I did only just ask it, and there’s only 2 Baha’i I know of on Fluther.

But it is interesting that in all my interactions with these two on Fluther and other Baha’is, their views on homosexuality have never come up. I hope the website is wrong; I hope this isn’t a fun little “surprise” that Baha’is only tell you about once you’re sufficiently indoctrinated into the cult—like how Scientologists avoid mention of Space Emperor Xenu until you’ve put enough money into their organization that your buyer’s remorse won’t kick in.

Jude's avatar

I’m waiting for a response, as well.

PupnTaco's avatar

I say why bother with any religion that is in conflict with your natural, loving, core being?

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I think the link states pretty clearly that Baha’i faith opposes homosexuality.

Facade's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic I agree. I don’t understand the misunderstanding.

EmpressPixie's avatar

I think he was surprised by the information in the link and is hoping to hear about Baha’i practice. It is fairly easy to “prove” that Christians, for example, stone their children when they don’t listen and are stubborn or rebellious using scripture. I, for one, have never met a Christian who has done this. And they explain their inaction through use of other parts of scripture and by explaining Christian practices.

It is possible that the Baha’i consider this an outdated ideology related to their beliefs. Thus, the question.

iAManEXPERT's avatar

obviously they dont like homosexuality

DominicX's avatar

I know just linking to Wikipedia isn’t doing much, but obviously it’s an issue otherwise this article wouldn’t exist:

Edit: Nevermind. Fluther doesn’t recognize European characters. The article is called “Homosexuality and the Bahai Faith”.

In the overview it says: The Bahá’í Faith has been described as a religion “ambiguous or contested on the issue of LGBT inclusion”. Bahá’í beliefs in a universal God for all people encourages efforts to social equality for all people. However, the religion also has a strong emphasis on traditional values found in Abrahamic religions, and this includes a strong preference for opposite-sex marriage and sex for procreation, which “leave[s] little room for tolerance of same-sex eroticism”.

augustlan's avatar

Ooh, I see a Baha’i crafting a response! We’ve missed you, fireside!

fireside's avatar

Well, first off, I think that you have to read further down the page on that link:

Persons with homosexual, bisexual or transsexual orientation are all welcomed as members of the Baha’i Faith. As stated by a draft FAQ approved for distribution by the US National Spiritual Assembly:

“To regard homosexuals with prejudice and disdain would be entirely against the spirit of Baha’i Teachings. The doors are open for all of humanity to enter the Cause of God, irrespective of their present circumstances; this invitation applies to homosexuals as well as to any others who are engaged in practices contrary to the Baha’i Teachings.”

Also, I can speak from my personal experience about my exposure to the Baha’i faith. The person who I would call my best friend over the past 15+ years is gay. He is also the person who first told me about the Baha’is, he is the person who suggested I start attending firesides to learn more about the faith, he is the person who gave me my first prayer book after I became a Baha’i, he was at the meeting where I was elected to the Local Spiritual Assembly and he is the person who decorated and helped out above and beyond the call of any friend for my Baha’i wedding last month.

If someone I have known for years is gay, is a Baha’i and is recommending to his friends that they learn more about the faith, then I don’t see a problem. He wrote a letter to the Universal House of Justice years ago and got a response much like the later parts of the link Qingu provided. It’s not the feelings it is the acts that are against the teachings. Just like premarital sex is against the teachings, just like backbiting is against the teachings and just like drinking is against the teachings.

He also saw a movie last year called Trembling before God which was about a Jewish gay man who got the same answers from his investigation into the Jewish faith.

It is my personal belief that the Baha’i faith is still the most progressive religion and contains God’s teachings for our time.

Thanks Auggie : )
I’ve been pretty busy with my new family and a big project I’ve been working on since right before the wedding. Finally got my office set up and am starting to get a bit of a break from the constant meetings. Just deleted 1750 Questions for me and 250 Responses for me so now I’ve got a clean Fluther plate.

Response moderated
Ria777's avatar

@Qingu: Scientology has a completely different structure than other religions. anyway, their belief in Xenu has very little to do with anything. in the outside world it detracts from the real evils that they do (and do to each other) though I suppose at least it keeps away potential recruits. (also, I have a sneaking suspicion that the current head may have done away with that part of Scientology doctrine to keep up the pretense so as to make critics look wrong.)

Ria777's avatar

It’s not the feelings it is the acts that are against the teachings. Just like premarital sex is against the teachings, just like backbiting is against the teachings and just like drinking is against the teachings.

I have actually that a lot from christians who disapprove of homosexuality. it took me a good deal of trying of his trying to wriggle out of it to get a Salvation Army officer to admit that they don’t approve of GLB either. (I had heard that they did so and as a result I will never give money to the Salvation Army. a pity, because I buy almost all of my clothes from thrift stores.)

SuperMouse's avatar

First, thanks @augustlan for the heads up!

Second, @fireside, you rock as usual!

I have not responded until now because I was in school and working all day, now I am home and saw this question.

I personally have absolutely no problem with homosexuals and/or homosexuality. I do not see it as a sin or even an issue at all. I do not agree with any statement against homosexuality, no matter who makes it. I do however, firmly agree with @fireside that the Baha’i Faith is the most progressive religion around and that Bahá’u’lláh is God’s Manifestation for our time.

I have expressed my opinion of The Faith’s stance on homosexuality to all the folks I consider my spiritual mentors. I have told them honestly that I have issues with this belief. But I am not willing to let go of a faith that speaks to me like none other before, that is so very progressive, has such a wonderful message of peace and unity in our time, because I do not agree with a single belief. I will continue to study and learn and love the Faith, I will also continue to disagree with the belief that there is anything wrong with homosexuality.

Qingu's avatar

@fireside, first, congratulations on your marriage!

Secondly, you said “It’s not the feelings it is the acts that are against the teachings.”

This is no different than what the Old Testament says. Is your friend celibate? It seems that’s the only way he could act within the rules of your religion.

I certainly don’t see why anyone should be against homosexual acts. Let alone someone of a “progressive” faith. I’d call that the opposite of progressive.

@SuperMouse, I’m glad that you don’t think there’s anything wrong with gays and lesbians choosing to have sex. Would you say that this is, in fact, a flaw in Bahaullah’s teachings?

Qingu's avatar

@Ria777, fair enough. I mostly brought it up because it’s an example of something that members of that religion don’t present in their “marketing” material. All religions tend to emphasize certain aspects of their faith when they’re proselytizing (on Fluther or otherwise!) while de-emphasizing other aspects. For example, I’m sure many women who convert to Islam are surprised to learn that many Islamic traditions say they should obey their husbands and are worth half as much as men as witnesses to crimes. But this isn’t in Islamic “marketing” material.

So I guess I’d like to see Baha’is be more up front about aspects of their religion that they know perfectly well are going to be controversial to people they’re marketing their supposedly “progressive” religion towards.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

The Bahai’s I spoke with a decade or so ago said they were of the same mind towards homosexuality as even the more progressive Christian faiths, which struck me along the lines of ‘equal, but different.’

That’s when I created Evelynism. I wanted a religion that included everybody, and there were none out there, so I made up my own. Since calling it LIACYRMV would be too complicated, I renamed it Evelynism.

no one really takes Evelynism seriously, but that is okay, Evleyn still loves ya, baby!

Critter38's avatar

Congrats as well to fireside! Life with a great partner just gets better and better.

@Supermouse Great to hear it. May I suggest though that if your “spiritual mentors” don’t get it, or make some handwaving excuse, then you shouldn’t see them as spiritual mentors. Your conscience (reason and empathy) is likely to be a far better judge of what is morally right or wrong than any “thou shalt not” commandment. And if they do get it, why not try to reform the church with them?

As someone once said, “In order to protect religions’ persons, we must criticize people’s religions.”

Fireside, I know you are happy with your religion, but do or do you not think that this is simple bigotry? You seem to leave it to the response of the victim of prejudice to decide whether will put up with it… and then consider this to be a reasonable gauge of whether the teaching is ethical or not? It isn’t. It’s like working in a sexist company and thinking “Well if women keep working here, the sexism must be okay.”

I don’t expect you to go try and reform your religion (perhaps we can leave that to Supermouse). But I do question the lack of a clear statement that you disagree with this teaching, but perhaps you don’t (perhaps your belief that these are “god’s teachings for our time” mean that you will not consider even the possibility that a single teaching could be wrong?”

Is there anything morally wrong with gay sex in you opinion, or premarital sex for that matter, and why?

Frankly I think this is a perfect example of the problem with religious based morality that relies on simplistic edict from authority, rather than acknowledging the need for open reason, empathy, discussion, evidence, and continuous revision. A great discussion of this (for those who are interested) is in a book by Austin Dacey called “The Secular Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in Public Life.”

Think of it this way. Put yourself in the position of a gay teenage son or daughter of two Bahai parents who accept these teachings. I can’t imagine the awfulness of trying to deny let alone change one’s own sexuality for no reason other than the fact that my parents place the opinion of one dead guy above their own capacity for compassion and critical thinking.

Beliefs have consequences. The continued membership to an organization which promotes a bigoted view against homosexuality is at the very least passive endorsement of those views. As long as sufficient members continue to overlook this teaching for the fringe benefits of their continued membership at the “most progressive” religion option available, the religion will not change.

mattbrowne's avatar

My understanding of Bahá’í Faith is that humanity is understood to be involved in a process of collective evolution (Wikipedia). New messengers are able to improve the Bahá’í Faith. I would expect a revision of the views on homosexuality any time soon.

Qingu's avatar

@mattbrowne, yeah, God really should get on that. I wonder what the holdup is?

I have a feeling that a new batch of “progressive revelation” will arrive when gay rights reaches a political tipping point of acceptability. God does work in mysteriously convenient ways.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Critter38 I didn’t say anything about the way my spiritual mentors reacted when we discussed this. But thanks for the advice.

@Qingu as I explained, I haven’t researched exactly what He says about homosexuality enough to say whether I agree or believe it is a flaw in the Writing. I’ll get back to you on that. But if you are hoping to sign me up on your way to that toaster, don’t hold your breath.

Critter38's avatar

@SuperMouse You’re welcome.

Qingu's avatar

@SuperMouse, what research needs to be done, exactly? The link I provided quotes directly from Baha’ullah’s writings. Are you really unable to say whether or not you think those particular passages are incorrect/immoral?

Cupcake's avatar

How we interpret and judge religious law cannot be resolved through online debate. There are disparate philosophies among us. On the one hand, people choose to form their morals, actions and personal responsibility through an externally defined set authoritarian set of rules. On the other hand, people choose to judge externally defined authoritarian rules through their personal beliefs, desires, values and experiences.

It’s like the abortion debate – we’re approaching it from different perspectives.

If the question were asked “Is it OK to discriminate against people who are homosexual?”, then the overwhelming majority of people (Baha’is included) would reply with a resounding “No”.

If the question were asked “What are the Bahai laws regarding marriage and sexual acts?”, then the answer would be that Bahai law states that marriage is between a man and a woman and sexual acts outside of the context of marriage are not acceptable.

If the question were asked “Does everyone always follow every religious law all of the time?”, then the answer would be no.

If the question were asked “Does every follower of a religion understand the full reason for, implication of and true application of every law?”, the answer would be no.

As a Bahai, I choose to follow a set a laws. I believe that my life is better because of it. I believe it gives my family a foundation to build upon. I judge my own actions (NOT the actions of others) through my understanding of the Bahai teachings and laws.

As a Bahai, I also value unity above all. I do not pretend to understand the reasons for the laws or the spiritual implications for following or not following them. I also do not have a right to judge others. We all have our own set of experiences, desires, struggles and capacities.

I am a Bahai, and I do not follow every law every day. I’ll admit it. Lightning has not struck me down nor have I been kicked out. The most grievous sin, according to Baha’u’llah, is gossip and backbiting (NOT homosexuality or sexual activity outside of marriage). I’ve participated in gossip. Bahais are required to say an obligatory prayer each day – I’ve missed days. I had a child out of wedlock. I could go on and on.

The point is that we all have limited understanding and limited capacity to understand. We are all bound in this life to live on this earth and with that comes exposure and desires. We choose our actions. We also choose how we determine our values. We also choose if we judge or discriminate against others.

I choose to be a Bahai and do my best each day to follow the laws. Every day I fail. Every day I strive to bring my life in accordance with the Teachings.

Do I understand why the marriage law in the Bahai Faith is limited to men and women? No, I don’t. Do I believe that makes the Bahai Faith wrong or flawed? No, I don’t.

Qingu's avatar

@Cupcake, yes, everyone comes at debates from different perspectives. For example, fundamentalist Muslims come to the debate about the legitimacy of the Baha’i religion from the perspective that their religion is the final revelation and any other religion is a heresy worth eradicating, which explains why they persecute, imprison, and kill Baha’is living in Muslim countries.

Point being, it’s trivial to point out that people debate from different perspectives when the legitimacy of those perspectives is the very thing that’s being debated. I find the “fundamentalist Muslim” perspective on treatment of Baha’is to be utterly wrong and immoral. I also find the Baha’i perspective on homosexual sex to be utterly wrong and immoral.

In your post, you claim:
• Bahai’s don’t discriminate against homosexuals
• The laws of the Baha’i faith say homosexual acts are not acceptable

Do you not understand why this is a contradiction? Imagine if I said “I don’t discriminate against Baha’is, but it is not acceptable for people to perform Baha’i rituals.”

The law of your religion plainly does discriminate against homosexuals. Declaring by fiat that it doesn’t is just absurd. And it comes off as hollow and dishonest to those of us who realize that consentual sex between two loving, committed adults is always acceptable, no matter what chromosomes they have.

When you say “I don’t understand the reason behind the law but I still choose to follow it,” I see the same willful ignorance and blind faith that I see in theonomist Christians who support slavery because the Bible’s law allows it. If you are unable to speak out against injustice simply because it’s codified in your religion’s law, you have the moral development of a child.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Qingu – My understanding of a messenger is different (deist view). God created the universe and sustains the natural laws, but he or she doesn’t intervene making phone calls to messengers. The messengers have to figure it out by themselves how people should get along and what kind of moral signposts humanity might need (like loving one another which includes homosexuals and so forth).

Qingu's avatar

@mattbrowne, so your God has nothing to do with human morality and for all intents and purposes may as well not exist at all.


SuperMouse's avatar

@Qingu I want to read all the writings I can find that discuss homosexuality. I want to read them all in context and figure out how they relate to one another.

fireside's avatar

What happened Qingu? Did you get tired of complaining about the ancient Hebrews and their acceptance of genocide?

The fact is that there is no way of knowing why every major religion has put limits on sexual acts outside of marriage or why marriage is limited to men and women.

The point you are making is that your moral code is more correct than any other moral code and that anyone who does not agree with your understanding of morality is childish. This of course goes back to the old debate over where morality comes from.

I can give you possible reasons why the laws of marriage did not change with the Baha’i dispensation, but I’m sure there are plenty of other possible reasons and only God knows the full truth.

If you accept the belief of Progressive Revelation, that being that God has been unfolding laws and teachings to humankind over the centuries in order to aid in their development and bring them to a higher plane of being, then you have to look at the whole picture. Unity is growing in ever wider circles; God first created a covenant with an individual, then with a family, then a tribe, a region etc. until you get to the point we are at today where the teachings are meant to bring all people together under the same belief that all religions are from God and there is only one God.

The Prophets and Manifestations of God are giving us the most important things to get us to the next level.

From a purely sociological perspective, if you were intending to bring people together under a single understanding, you need to moderate the amount of changes that you make. Much like Christianity grew by incorporating pagan rituals into the central teachings, God’s progressive revelations allow certain things to persist while changing others.

It is all a part of an ever widening circle of acceptance. The Baha’i faith teaches that prejudice is wrong, that men and women are equal, that religion must conform to the understandings of science, that all people are worth equal respect.

This may be enough of a challenge for the people of this time to accept.

From a biological perspective, maybe the teachings are to promote the persistence of humankind by encouraging only sexual relations which create new life.

From a spiritual perspective, read The Seven Valleys by Baha’u’llah and you will see that the ultimate goal is for the spirit to be unencumbered by the desires of the physical plane.

Certainly these are only musings on my part, not Baha’i teachings.

I doubt that anyone on this forum is qualified to say why the teachings have been laid out the way they have, but that doesn’t mean that they are wrong or that they are not intended to bring us to a different level of understanding.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Qingu – God has nothing to do with human morality? Yes, he does have something to do with human morality, but only in an indirect way. I believe he or she created the orderly biophilic universe. Therefore he created humans (and perhaps other intelligent beings elsewhere in our universe). Therefore he gave humans the brains and the tools to define morality frameworks that benefit humans. He gave us strength. All we need are the insights. Jesus was one good example of a very insightful human being. Christians consider him to be the “son” of God because he defined a moral framework for orderly people-friendly human societies. Like the orderly universe I think it’s God’s wish that we humans create orderly and friendly societies. I believe God doesn’t directly intervene. We have to do it ourselves. But Christianity is only one way to create those orderly societies. Your way will work too (I’m referring to your proposed “science and secular humanism-based” framework promoting your best set of morals). No religion or atheist belief system should claim exclusive rights. Let’s see what works best and evolve.

Qingu's avatar

@fireside, please don’t play the moral relativism card; you should know better than that. Some moral codes are more tolerant, more progressive, and more based in fact than others.

And please don’t play the esoteric “it’s a mystery” card. It’s a mystery to me why my grandfather—an otherwise wonderful, kind, progressive man—hates Arabs. But just because I don’t understand the exact nature of his intolerance doesn’t mean I should blindly follow it or shrug when I encounter it.

I certainly have my suspicions about an explanation to the “mystery”—namely, that my grandfather, like Baha’ullah, is a human being and the product of his times and his culture, and his views on morality reflect this fact. And as morality has progressed since that time, as human beings have learned more about one another, my grandfather’s views on Arabs—and Baha’ullah’s views on homosexuality—are simply frozen snapshots of a now-archaic morality.

It is a shame that my grandfathers’ views have not progressed with the times. And it is a shame that Baha’ullah’s religion has not progressed with the times as well, though I think that is simply the nature of religion.

I did not say that anyone who disagrees with my moral code is “childish.” I said that people who blindly accept their religion’s laws—even when they doubt the morality of those laws—is childish. And it is. Children do not discover, modify, and wrestle with their moral codes. They accept the moral codes handed down to them by their parents without question.

I’m sure I don’t need to point out the irrationality of your justifications for Baha’ullah’s pronouncements against homosexuality. I’m sure you realize the “biological argument” is fallacious in an overpopulated world and with respect to infertile couples, and I’m sure you realize that appealing to spiritual escape from the physical plane to explain anti-homosexuality makes no sense in a religion that is perfectly accepting of heterosexual marriage and sex.

These feel less like “musings” than half-hearted excuses from you, Fireside. I think you know perfectly well that the Baha’i faith’s laws about homosexuality are immoral and incongruent with progressive tolerance. The question is, what are you going to do about it?

tinyfaery's avatar

Yeah. I call bullshit. Sorry @SuperMouse.

DominicX's avatar

I’m beginning to think that homosexuality truly is the final frontier. Maybe in 10,000 years there will be a religion that accepts it, but for now, it is just so abstract that even the most progressive of religions cannot accept it. In thousands of years, perhaps after everything else that doesn’t harm another person or the environment is no longer considered “wrong”, then maybe it will be accepted. Until then, I am finding myself becoming less and less religious each year I get older.

Qingu's avatar

@DominicX, some sects of Christianity accept it. Unitarian universalism accepts it. I’m pretty sure Wicca does too.

So it’s not like this is some impossible social barrier for the Baha’is to overcome. Oops, I mean it’s not like the Baha’i God cannot magically manifest as a pro-gay-rights prophet in today’s social climate.

fireside's avatar

@Qingu – what is the moral relativism card? Should a plea to not play that card be followed up by a statement that some moral codes are different than others? Seem a bit inconsistent : )

Anyway, you can reject my musings if you like. I never tried to pass them off as the right answer. It is much easier to dismiss something than to admit that you don’t understand it.

I’m not going to disregard the volumes of teachings that do make sense just because I don’t understand the origins of a few paragraphs. You, of course, are free to do as you choose.

Qingu's avatar

I’m a moral relativist. To me, that means acknowledging that moral codes are different.

“Playing the moral relativist card” means going from there to saying that, therefore, one shouldn’t criticize other moral codes. Which is nonsense.

I wasn’t asking you to disregard the volumes of teachings that make sense to you. I’m wondering if you’ll disregard the specific teachings that don’t make sense to you.

fireside's avatar

That one doesn’t apply to me, so I have no need to disregard it.
Sorry if that seems like a cop out answer.

tinyfaery's avatar

Again with the pick and choose.

Qingu's avatar

@fireside, do you think the law of your religion should disallow homosexual sex? You also never answered my question about your gay friend: is he celibate?

fireside's avatar

@tinyfaery – I’m not sure how that is picking and choosing. I don’t think any differently of my best friend just because he prefers to sleep with men. I do feel bad for him that he cannot get married within the Baha’i faith if he found someone though.

@Qingu – I didn’t write the Qitab-i-Aqdas and there is no one alive today who can modify it. Your question seems to reflect a limited understanding of the Baha’i faith.

Whether I understand it or not, it is what it is. But that doesn’t mean I think any differently of people who are gay. Just like I don’t think any differently of people who are alcoholics despite the fact that there is a law against drinking. Just like I don’t think differently against people who like to gossip despite the law against backbiting.

Qingu's avatar

Why is it so hard for you to just say whether or not you agree with a certain passage from a text.

fireside's avatar

How can I agree or disagree with something if I don’t understand the reasoning behind it?
All I can say is that I don’t understand it.

To do otherwise would be an act of hubris and egotism.

Qingu's avatar

What possible reasoning would make you agree with it?

Qingu's avatar

Also, are you saying that people who disagree with that passage and support gay rights are egotistical and full of hubris?

fireside's avatar

No, I support gay rights. I feel that homosexual couples should be entitled to the same benefits as heterosexual couples.

Unfortunately, no matter what civil rights are provided, that will not change the Aqdas.

So all I can do is reserve judgment on that teaching of Baha’u’llah’s.
Questioning someone that I believe to be a manifestation of God is hubris and egotism.
Therefore all I can do is offer vague musings and have faith that it was put forth for a good reason, even if I don’t understand that reason from my limited perspective on the global progression of God’s teachings over the course of centuries.

Qingu's avatar

Well, @fireside, I hope this helps you understand at least why I have such a bee in my bonnet re: religion.

Religion is what makes an otherwise tolerant and progressive person “reserve judgment” instead of condemning an obviously homophobic passage in his religious scripture.

fireside's avatar

@Qingu – sure, i fully understand that. There are a lot of things that hold people back and give them a bad feeling about religion.

But in all fairness, there are also a lot of good positive benefits that stem from religion.

tinyfaery's avatar

I see no difference in what you’re saying than Catholics saying the same. Pick and choose what to believe. How do you know the meaning behind any of the teachings?

Anyhow, this is my main problem with most religions. I can’t change anyone’s opinion, but I still have mine.

Qingu's avatar

@tinyfaery, Fireside can correct me if I’m wrong, but in his case he’s not even picking and choosing. He’s just claiming he “doesn’t understand” the anti-gay stuff that offends us progressives, but still thinks it’s valid.

In this he is more consistent than your buffet-style Catholic, but reminds me quite a bit of a literalist Christian who “doesn’t understand” why God ordered rape victims to marry their rapists in Deut. 22:28 but still thinks the law should be followed.

fireside's avatar

@Qingu – Actually, you’re conflating religions and teachers. A Christian looking at Jewish text is not the same thing as what I am saying.

What I am saying is that I see the wisdom behind 99% of what I have read of Baha’u’llah’s writings and I’m not willing to blindly condemn him or his teachings because I don’t understand the 1%. Possibly a reflection of the time in which he lived, this particular teaching was not questioned much, so there isn’t a lot of commentary or interpretation regarding its intended purpose.

As Cupcake said above, the laws are personal ones to follow or not. It is not any more likely that someone would kick a gay Baha’i out of the faith any more than they will kick out one who is drinking or gossiping.

I hardly see how this equates to not protecting rape victims from their attackers, but I know you prefer extreme analogies to moderate or realistic ones.

Qingu's avatar

The similarity is your unwillingness to criticize a position in a sacred text that you think is wrong because you have faith in that text. Like a child unwilling or unable to question the morals given to him by his parents.

Do you really expect anyone to believe you “don’t understand” how love between gay people could be legitimate? That this is such a confusing and nuanced issue for you to take a position on, and you require some undiscovered “commentary” or “interpretation” to help you see the light?

You said yourself you think gays ought to have equal rights. But not in the Baha’i faith… because your cult leader said so, and you’re just following orders that you don’t understand.

Also, literalist Christians consider the OT their text, not just a “Jewish text.”

Qingu's avatar

And, you know, I like you, Fireside, and I’m sorry if this comes off as excessively harsh.

Treating gays as lesser human beings really pisses me off, though.

fireside's avatar

It’s not that I “don’t understand” how love between gay people could be legitimate

It’s that I don’t understand the reasoning behind why there is a prohibition against it. And to really get specific, there is still nothing in the writings about the “love between gay people”, just the sexual acts.

Qingu's avatar

That is really specific. Splitting hairs specific.

Also, is your friend celibate? You never answered.

fireside's avatar

Why? Do you want his number? : )

swuesquire's avatar

Answer please fireside. No tongue in cheek.

Qingu's avatar

Very cute.

fireside's avatar

Probably not. I haven’t quizzed him on his sex life lately.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Qingu and @swuesquire do you keep tabs on the sex lives of your friends? What exactly makes you think @fireside would?

DominicX's avatar


I don’t think that’s what they meant. I think it was more “I’m interested to know; if you happen to know, tell me”. I think it is relevant to the conversation. Plenty of people break religious rules.

swuesquire's avatar

Fireside, I’ll be honest. I like most of what Jesus said, and there’s some good stuff in the old testament. However, I’m not going to use this as a rational to believe I should stone a bride who is not a virgin on her father’s doorstep. Same book written by the same “authority”, but obviously some of the contents are reasonable and some are nutso crazy.

swuesquire's avatar

@SuperMouse: I most certainly do. This is a routine topic of conversation amongst humans.

SuperMouse's avatar

@swuesquire first, if you haven’t read The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs, I would highly recommend it. It is a great read!

Second, I am a girl and all, but honestly, do men really discuss their sex lives openly, honestly, and comfortably with one another? I have three older brothers and all I’ve ever heard them discuss are the conquests.

Qingu's avatar

@SuperMouse, I read it. Jacobs explicitly says “I’m ignoring all of these laws because it would be illegal to follow them.”

About Fireside’s friend’s sex life, Fireside brought him up as an example of how Bahai’s aren’t bigoted against gays because, look, a gay Baha’i! So I think it’s entirely fair to ask if this gay Baha’i feels the need to be celibate in a way that a straight Baha’i would not.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@SuperMouse: I would humbly suggest that perhaps there are generational differences at play or perhaps cultural ones, but I find the idea that you don’t know when most of your friends are getting laid utterly baffling.

fireside's avatar

@EmpressPixie – what about when your friends live 500 miles away?

swuesquire's avatar

@fireside Surely you would still have a sense about whether or not someone chooses to be sexually active or is even willing to be sexually active. I find the idea that you have no way of knowing this absurd.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@fireside: Absolutely. Modern communication is a wonderful thing.

fireside's avatar

i know that he wants to be active and has someone he spends a lot of time with, but as to what happens in the bedroom, it just doesn’t get discussed. Guess we just have better things to talk about.

He did tell my wife, as they drove by Dick’s Sporting Goods that Dicks was his favorite.

Qingu's avatar

Does he share your inability to state that the teaching he is apparently disobeying is incorrect? Or does he just feel guilty about it like a Catholic abortionist?

SuperMouse's avatar

@EmpressPixie my closest female friends do live a good 1500 miles away from me, so @fireside kind of made my point for me. When I was in the same town with my closest friends we discussed our sex lives, but we were a bunch of old married women so your point about the generational difference is a valid one. I am very close to my sisters and we do discuss these things.

@swuesquire he did say probably not when asked if this fellow is celibate, that is not equal to saying he knows nothing about whether he has sex. I can’t help but wondering if you have any gay friends with whom you routinely discuss one another’s sex lives? Or if vice versa if your are homosexual?

@Qingu I’m having trouble figuring out what your point is. Is it that no one should believe anything the Baha’i’ Faith preaches? Are you trying to convince people of faith that we are wrong and we should jump on the atheist bandwagon? All three of the Baha’i’s who responded in this thread have said pretty clearly that we do not judge homosexuals based on their sexuality. We have all said that we do not think less of homosexuals based on their sexuality. So what is it you are looking for?

swuesquire's avatar

@SuperMouse : I enjoy hearing my gay friends stories of their sex lives. They are generally very interesting. I am a heterosexual. This was awkward at first, but my childhood led me to be prejudiced against homosexuals. I am past this.

SuperMouse's avatar

@swuesquire I guess that is more proof that @EmpressPixie‘s generational or culture theory holds some water.

Qingu's avatar

@SuperMouse, my point is pretty simple. The part of the Baha’i faith that says homosexual sex is unacceptable is wrong.

That’s it. You can keep the rest. I’d think this would be a no-brainer.

mattbrowne's avatar

@tinyfaery – You can’t change anyone’s opinion in a religious community? Why not? Martin Luther changed the opinion about selling of indulgences. The community split. And later even the Catholic church gave up selling of indulgences. Eventually it embraced big bang theory and evolution. I don’t see why more of today’s religions can’t see homosexuality as acceptable. It might take another 10 years or so and certainly not 10,000 years. Keep in mind even the secular WHO deleted homosexuality from the list of illnesses only in 1992. Discrimination against gays and lesbians isn’t just a religious issue.

In many progressive churches the debate is ongoing. As an example see this article from the Protestant Church in Germany:

Critter38's avatar

Brian: Look, you’ve got it all wrong! You don’t need to follow me, you don’t need to follow anybody! You’ve got to think for yourselves! You’re all individuals!

The Crowd (in unison): Yes! We’re all individuals!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

What compels any religion, institution or person, to automatically accept the actions of another? Is it not good enough to accept a person as a person, purely upon them being a human? There are many restaurants that accept me as a person, and they even accept that I am a person who smokes. To deny that would be to deny the truth of reality. But now I must accept them as well, in that I can smoke as much as I like anywhere besides their establishment. What gives me the right to change their policy?

Tolerance is a two way street.

You don’t attempt to change me, and I won’t attempt to change you. What’s the problem with that?

Response moderated
tinyfaery's avatar

Bleepity, bleep, bleep…later.

DominicX's avatar


Is it just me or is this post indicative of many people who feel this way?

nitemer's avatar

I think my last answer was removed because of it’s powerful straight forward approach. The only reason for it“s removal must have been homosexuality of those who removed it.

Dog's avatar

[Mod Says]: Your answer was removed for spelling/ grammar errors and use of all capitols. Please review the Fluther Guidelines for more information.

nitemer's avatar

There was no spelling or grammar errors, if there were any please point them out to me.
If Capitols are not allowed, I apologize and will not do so again.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


You specifically spelled the word “virtuous” as “VIRTOUS”. That’s one I can remember, but it was not the first or the last. There were numerous misspellings in your comment.

A few are tolerable but so many makes it very difficult to read. Look for the little red line that appears under misspelled words. It often helps me out.

It’s good to have you here. You’re very passionate about your beliefs. It’s best to keep your comments specific to the thread question at hand. If you know what the Baha’i position on homosexuality is, or have a relevant example, then please share. But if not, then listening may be more appropriate.

Hope to see you around!

mattbrowne's avatar

@nitemer – Capitols are allowed in the United States. In fact every state has one. Why not use them on Fluther and show them to the moderators. Just kidding…

Welcome to Fluther!

nitemer's avatar

Homosexuality is wrong and they know it. Some eventually accept that fact and give it up, others stubbornly try to push it over. They try to fit an over size cube into a round hole and debate to no end expecting God to give them the benefit of the doubt. They ask the government and religious institutions to put the stamp of approval on their lifestyle. Homosexuality, much like smoking, drug addiction, or other activities usually committed in privet and behind close doors, are things that one should use his or her own judgement and conscience as an intelligent adult to resolve for themselves. Governments or religious institutions can have a roll in dealing with these issues only when the individual is seeking resolution and consultation. The progressive governments and religions have far more socially pressing issues to deal with. They need all the help they can get to do so. It will be much more productive to leave all of our in comparison none essential expectations(homosexuality, etc.) in the waiting list in favour of dealing with and helping to iron out more urgent problems at hand.

PupnTaco's avatar

Sorry to hear you’re hung like an oversized cube.

And I’ve never seen The Gays getting it on in a hedge, but that may be a regional thing where you live.

tinyfaery's avatar

Ooh. An old, tired, cliche point of view. How interesting and unique.~

mattbrowne's avatar

@nitemer – Discrimination of homosexuality is wrong and they don’t know it. Comparing homosexuality to drug addiction is very insulting to say the least. I distance myself from your posted views.

nitemer's avatar

expressing ones stance for or against is not discrimination, it is freedom of expression. Sodomizing is against the law but if apparently so called adults decide to inflict it upon each other, they are free to do so behind close doors and their own privacy. That is a sort of freedom furnished to them as it stands now. Freedom of one is allowed as long as it does not violate other’s freedom. So the solution of don’t ask and don’t tell has been the best way to contain this unresolved situation for now.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Get up to date on your supreme court cases—sodomy is not against the law. And the legal version of sodomy includes any oral sex as well as what is most often thought of as sodomy.

Esran3500's avatar


“The part of the Baha’i faith that says homosexual sex is unacceptable is wrong.”

This begs the question though, why is it wrong?

“That’s it. You can keep the rest. I’d think this would be a no-brainer.”

Until something else arises in society and the demand for another concession is made. I believe the day has already arrived when people readily affirm it is okay for a brother and sister to have intercourse, and I must note that in the beginning those who spearheaded the gay rights movement were effusive in their insistence that such unions would never follow from the logic of their own. Soon to follow will be parents with offspring. Unions between young children and adults will also follow.

This is, of course, only the logical outworking of making mutual consent the sole criterion of the good. Moral libertarianism arises late in the lifespans of exhausted civilizations, where competing viewpoints have eroded the confidence of most folks in the ability of any person to know better than another what’s good for people. Life is divided into public and private aspects to fend off ever-encroaching conflict; it never works. Collapse ensues.

I do not believe in the myth of a linear progress of morals in human society. In ancient Rome, in fact, it was customary for young boys to pay their tutors through sex. Mutual consent and the absence of harm to others was invoked as justification. In Greece, homosexual unions were lauded with honor in many places. Same goes for other departed civilizations. There is nothing new being proposed today, and like all our predecessors, we suffer the delusion that all history has been leading up to us.

Our descendants will condemn our “innovative” mores the same way the medieval Christians condemned the decadence of Rome.

The fact remains; the condemnation of such things is the norm and always reasserts itself after periods of social chaos, and then is always subverted again in another time of radical “change” (more accurately, a turn of the civilizational seasons). I have no reason to accept as true the prevailing attitudes concerning what constitutes real progressivism. This bout of sexual “liberation” is in the same vein as all the others before it. It will go just as they did.

And you may protest to the heavens that you know right from wrong, that it is obvious which way is good, that any man of reason would condemn as homophobic and reprehensible prohibitions against homosexual unions. And your descendant will do the same, but his view will be contrary, and his descendant, who will also be contrary, and so on. Who’s to say which one of you, in the final analysis, is right? Who is progressing in the right way? They will all be equally sincere and genuine in their belief that it is they who hold the truth.

To me, it appears to be just cycles without base, and without end. When you can answer me, from your viewpoint, why Spring is superior to Winter, I will change my conclusion. The only recourse I can see from this viewpoint would be to seek refuge in a divine revelation. Otherwise, your view means about as much as a leaf turning yellow from the approach of autumn.

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