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>>   Letters from the Universal House of Justice
Abstract:
Two letters from the House on joining armed police forces, e.g. the Ulster Defence Regiment and the police force in Northern Ireland, and whether they would be allowed to bear arms. Also discussion of consummating marriage, and marrying an atheist.
Notes:
First letter includes unrelated mention about the numbers of Bábí martyrs; see more on this topic at uhj_mazandarani_number_martyrs.

Second letter includes unrelated topic: a couple does not have to literally "consummate" their marriage, as long as their intent is to establish a family relationship, and a Baha'i cannot marry anyone, including an atheist, if he/she refuses to participate in the Baha'i marriage ceremony.

Both letters published in BSB with permission of recipient.


Police Forces Bearing Arms, Bahá'í Enlistment in

by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice

published in Bahá'í Studies Bulletin, 3:4, pages 99-100
1995-12
first written or published 1984

1. First letter, January 22, 1984
published in Bahá'í Studies Bulletin, 3.4 (Dec. 1995), p. 99

Department of the Secretariat

22 January 1984

Dr. Iain S. Palin

“Esslemont”
13 Summerhill
Prehen
Londonderry
BT47 2PL
United Kingdom

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

Your letter of 20 December 1983 has been received by the Universal House of Justice which instructs us to send you the following reply.

Enlisteent in Armed Forces

The attached “Summary of the Guardian’s Instructions on the Obligations of Bahá'ís in Connection with Military Service”, with the added amplification of the Universal House of Justice about voluntary enlistment, will answer your queries on this subject. The Ulster Defence Regiment and the police force in Northern Ireland are, as you state, armed forces.

20,000 Martyrs

We are to inform you that the well-known Bahá'í scholar, Fáḍil-i-Mázandarání, in his “Ẓuhúru’l-Ḥaq”, states that the number of 20,000 is clearly recorded in the “Násikhu’t-Taváríkh”, which is the official government historical record of events in Iran, written by Muḥammad Taqí, Lisánu'l-Mulk-i-Sipihr.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

For Department of the Secretariat

Enclosure

cc: International Teaching Centre
Board of Counsellors in Europe
National Spiritual Assembly of the
United Kingdom

2. Second letter, February 14, 1984
published in Bahá'í Studies Bulletin, 3.4 (Dec. 1995), p. 100

Department of the Secretariat

14 February 1984

Dr. Iain S. Palin

“Esslemont”
13 Summerhill
Prehen Park
Londonderry, BT47 2PL
United Kingdom

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

The Universal House of Justice has received your letter of 31 January 1984 and has directed us to send you the following comments on its behalf.

Concerning your question as to whether Bahá'ís may join the police force of a country where this force bears arms, there is in general no objection to Bahá'ís volunteering to serve in the police force. However, police forces vary considerably from country to country, and according to local situations, and conditions can change from time to time. Therefore the House of Justice feels that under current world conditions no hard and fast rules can be laid down, and if the friends have a strong desire to participate in law enforcement they should in such matters come to their own conclusions.

With reference to your question about Bahá'í marriage, there is nothing in the Writings to indicate or imply that Bahá'í marriage is open only to those who are physically able to have children. The bearing of children is but one of the purposes of marriage, albeit the primary one. The consummation of marriage by a couple is an intimate and private matter outside the scrutiny of others. While consummation normally implies a sexual relationship, the Bahá'í law requiring consummation to take place within twenty-four hours of the wedding ceremony can be considered fulfilled if the couple has commenced cohabitation with the intention of establishing the family relationship.

As for a Bahá'í wishing to marry an atheist who states that the Bahá'í marriage vow will compromise his convictions, in order to be married, a Bahá'í must have the Bahá'í marriage ceremony. If, for any reason, the person the Bahá'í wishes to marry refuses to have the Bahá'í marriage ceremony, then the Bahá'í cannot marry that person.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

For Department of the Secretariat

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