Councillors unsure of Baha'i plan
Representatives of the Baha'i faith have expressed their disapppointment at Wingecarribee Shire Council's divisive response to a statement of world peace to be given at a council meeting next month.
So strong was Cr David Wood's stand against the faith's five-minute peace message that he declared it wasn't in council's interest and he wouldn't be present if the speech went ahead.
Wingecarribee Baha'i spokeswomen Judy Harper was concerned the Baha'i people had been misunderstood by many of the councillors.
Pointing to the main tenants of the Baha'i faith, Mrs Harper said the whole aim of their religion was to promote the oneness of humankind.
"Baha'is believe that there is only one humankind and there is one God that is worshipped by all," Mrs Harper said.
"So to be responsible for division is certainly not our aim."
Pointing to the concerns raised over the Baha'i giving prayers on behalf of council instead of the usual Christian prayers that open the meeting, Mrs Harper said it wasn't necessary for Baha'i prayers to be given if that would aid in resolving the division.
"I guess these kinds of stances have happened before, especially when people mistakenly connect Baha'is with Islam in the current climate that we live in but that's not what the speech is about," she said.
The statement of world peace that the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'i hopes to deliver was first written for the International Year of Peace in 1986, where world leaders right down to local governments across the world were urged to work toward peace.
In the aftermath of September 11, Baha'is across the world have decided to reiterate their peaceful message.
"Some have asked what the relevance of such a message is in Wingecarribee Shire Council," Mrs Harper said.
"What we are saying is that peace comes from every individual.
"It's about local people working for peace in the own lives and in the community.
"This message is going out throughout the world by Baha'i people and we wouldn't want Wingecarribee Shire Council to miss out."
©Copyright 2002, Southern Highland News (Australia)