Is the UN or human rights work "political involvement"

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armchairscholar
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Is the UN or human rights work "political involvement"

Postby armchairscholar » Sat Dec 13, 2014 5:09 pm

Is the Baha'i Involvement in the UN "political involvement"? What about the petitioning for human right in Iran? Sometimes this is presented as political involvement in polemics. It's usually framed that this is hypocrisy bevause Baha'is refuse to support Palestinians over Israel.

Jonah
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Re: Is the UN or human rights work "political involvement"

Postby Jonah » Sat Dec 20, 2014 6:29 pm

I wish I had the time to craft a good reply, Emma -- but to be honest, I'm not 100% sure how to answer the question myself. I know the common Baha'i answers (e.g., yes we should be active in our polis, our community's affairs, but not in partisanship), but there is a certain grey area.

In the meantime, here are some relevant documents:

Political Non-Involvement and Obedience to Government (compilation)

Membership in the National Organization for Women ("The National Spiritual Assembly does not keep a list of "approved organizations" but has provided a number of criteria that individual Bahá'ís may use to decide whether and in what manner to support a given organization...")

Amnesty International ("In general Bahá'ís are encouraged to collaborate with all others who are working towards the same goals as the Faith. Bahá'ís are not permitted, however, to be members of certain secret societies, of the religious organizations of other Faiths, of political organizations or, of course, of organizations whose goals are in conflict with the Bahá'í principles...")

Socio-Political Order, Speaking on ("The term “politics” can have a broad meaning, and therefore it is important to distinguish between partisan political activity and the discourse and action intended to bring about constructive social change....")

armchairscholar
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Re: Is the UN or human rights work "political involvement"

Postby armchairscholar » Sun Dec 21, 2014 2:58 pm

Someone should write to the Universal House of Justice about this.

Sen McGlinn
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Re: Is the UN or human rights work "political involvement"

Postby Sen McGlinn » Sat Dec 27, 2014 1:03 am

Bahai participation in the UN and petitioning of its agencies is not in breach of the principle requiring Bahai institutions not to enter into politics. The UN (like many national governments) makes room for non-govermental agencies, and the Bahai International Community participates as one of these. It does not act as if it were a state member, or as if it were a national or international political party. It steps into the space made for non-political, non-state actors.

MontanaDon
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Re: Is the UN or human rights work "political involvement"

Postby MontanaDon » Sat Dec 27, 2014 5:54 pm

This is a complex topic and I recommend people read and carefully consider all the authoritative tests on the issue.

What is the problem w/ political involvement and why did Abdu'l-Baha say to get out?

IMO, it is because the purpose of political activities today is the accretion of power in order to force others to do things their way. This is the natural result of an authoritarian mentality accepted by both the left and the right, an attitude I believe is inconsistent w/ mankind's developing maturity.
The function of administration and governance in the Baha'i schema is the promotion of justice thru' consensus. Baha'is are permitted to be involved in the latter so long as they do not promote the former.

Don C
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Understood properly, all man's problems are essentially spiritual in nature.


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