Questions on sexuality, for a student research project
Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 12:25 pm
A high school student has the following questions for her school project. Answers welcomed.
- Does the Baha’i faith accept differing sexualities? (I know that they don’t but I have to ask as if I do not know that.)
- Why doesn’t the faith accept differing sexualities? I’ve done some research and most of what I have read has said its due to the last leader had died without calling a successor so then no one can change the interpretations which are like a law? This is all mostly from the Internet so please correct me on anything.
- How do you feel/think the message of unity compares to their accepting of differing sexualities?
Re: Questions on sexuality, for a student research project
Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:05 pm
1. Depends what you mean by "accept". Do we accept that people may be born with different sexual inclinations? Our Writings do not speak to this, but it is not ruled out. If the question is whether we accept the behaviors of people with different sexual inclinations in the wider society, then the answer is yes, our Writings indicate we should not try to impose our laws on others and should show "uncensorious forbearance" to others, even standing up for their rights if the society is genuinely persecuting them (the question of such things as civil unions, however, is considered a political matter with which we don't interfere). If the question is whether we accept the expression of different sexual inclinations as a norm in behavior to which we as individual Baha'is should reconcile ourselves, then the answer is no. Our Writings indicate that society's overemphasis on sex is responsible for the view that sexual inclinations are unalterable and the view that they should be allowed to be expressed without restriction. The Baha'i view is that although it will be difficult for people to overcome their sexual inclinations--whether homosexual or otherwise--we should not reconcile ourselves to this being an accepted norm or such a fundamental part of our identities, since we believe the primary purpose of the sexual instinct is for use within the institution of marriage and for the procreation of children (though people incapable of having children can still have a heterosexual marriage).
2. While it is true that the last Interpreter of the Baha'i Faith, the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, did die without leaving a will and appointing a successor, and his interpretations cannot be changed, we believe the appointed interpreters of our Writings were infallible, and that the law they have interpreted was intended by God for the next thousand or possibly thousands of years. If the question is whether the law may be changed after this time, and although normally we believe the future Educators of mankind, Whom we call Manifestations of God, can change the law laid down by a previous Messenger, the institution of marriage is specifically mentioned in our authoritative Writings in the context that "...the command of marriage is eternal. It will never be changed nor altered. This is divine creation and there is not the slightest possibility that change or alteration affect this divine creation (marriage)." The Baha'i Faith does not offer much explanations as to why the case of homosexuality is forbidden, but it is a law we are to accept on faith.
3. The Baha'i Faith is a voluntary organization which has certain laws for behavior. Our elected representatives are not to pry into people's private lives, but there is no inconsistency with unity by a community having certain standards of behavior. People who come to believe in Baha'u'llah are to be lovingly embraced by the community, whatever their inclinations may be or whatever their behaviors may have been, and we are likewise to be uncensorious to others who have not accepted our Faith, but there is also an expectation among believers that we do not flagrantly violate its laws.