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Abstract:
Two letters, sent at different times and to different individuals, regarding the proposed newsgroup talk.religion.bahai.
Notes:
Transmitted by email.

Internet: Creation of the newsgroup talk.religion.bahai

by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice

1997-10-14
Subject: Proposed newsgroup
From: "Bahá'í World Centre"

Dear xxxx,

The Universal House of Justice has received your two email messages of 6 October 1997 regarding the proposed newsgroup "talk.religion.bahai", and we have been asked to reply.

The House of Justice does not feel that it can comment on the validity or appropriateness of various reasons for voting for or against the proposed newsgroup. Individual Bahá'ís who are interested in the matter must come to their own decision, based upon the dictates of their conscience and their understanding of the principles of the Faith.

In general, the House of Justice has no objection to Bahá'ís participating in public, unmoderated discussions about the Faith, whether those discussions take place in person or through some form of electronic communication. The wisdom of participating in particular discussions, must, of necessity, depend upon circumstances prevailing at the time. When, through such discussions, the Faith is attacked or erroneous information about it is disseminated, it may become necessary for individual Bahá'ís to actively defend it. In some circumstances, however, to avoid participating in argumentative exchanges, attracting attention to enemies of the Faith, or engaging Covenant-breakers, it will be more appropriate to withdraw from the discussion. While the institutions of the Faith may, on occasion, find it necessary to offer the friends guidance related to their participation in particular discussions, generally this, too, is a matter left to the individual.

You are free to share this advice, electronically or otherwise, if you feel it appropriate.

    Department of the Secretariat
TO: Mr. xxxx,
DATE: 19 December 1997

The Universal House of Justice has asked us to reply as follows to your email of 20 November 1997 concerning the proposed Internet newsgroup "talk.religion.bahai."

To a previous inquiry about the proposal addressed by an individual to the House of Justice, we conveyed the following reply on its behalf:

The House of Justice does not feel that it can comment on the validity or appropriateness of various reasons for voting for or against the proposed newsgroup. Individual Bahá'ís who are interested in the matter must come to their own decision, based upon the dictates of their conscience and their understanding of the principles of the Faith.
The clear purpose of this statement was to indicate that the House of Justice did not wish to get involved in this matter, since it feels that the friends should not need its guidance in this instance and are free to make their own decision.
    Department of the Secretariat
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