More than one hundred years ago Bahá'u'lláh, Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, proclaimed the principle of the oneness of mankind. Among His writings we cite: “Close your eyes to racial differences and welcome all with the light of oneness.”
“Ye are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch ... So powerful is the light of unity that it can illumine the whole earth.”
“Ye dwell in one world, and have been created through the operation of one Will. Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love.”
“The earth is but one country; and mankind its citizens.”
“The well-being of mankind, its peace and security are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.”
The Bahá'í Faith arose at the beginning of the new stage in human evolution when science and technology are destroying ancient boundaries separating the peoples of the world. Races and nations have become interdependent and subject to one destiny. The Bahá'í proclamation of the principle of oneness supplies the spiritual guidance needed for understanding of this great process which is transforming the conditions of human existence. By this principle the Bahá'ís recognize that God is the Creator of all races and peoples, and therefore conflict and dissension arising from prejudice is contrary to the Divine Will. Through unity the world can attain a new and higher civilization, while the outbreak of another international conflict can cause general destruction.
As long ago as 1911, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, expounding the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, declared in a public address:
“This is a new cycle of human power... It is the hour of the unity of the sons of men and of the drawing together of all races and all classes. You are loosed from ancient superstitions which have kept men ignorant, destroying the foundations of true humanity.”
In 1931 the Guardian of the Faith wrote: “The proclamation of the Oneness of Mankind ... implies at once a warning and a promise —a warning that in it lies the sole means for the salvation of a greatly suffering world, a promise that its realization is at hand.” Viewing the ominous international situation he also wrote: “We have but to turn our gaze to humanity’s blood-stained history to realize that nothing short of intense mental as well as physical agony has been able to precipitate those epoch-making changes that constitute the greatest landmarks in the history of human civilization.”
Membership in a Bahá'í community, participation in its worship, its activities and the operation of its elective institutions follow upon acceptance of the Faith, free from any racial or other discrimination. Bahá'í schools, wherever they have been established, are open to all members. The qualities and capacities of the individual Bahá'í determine his role in the community, not his race or class.
Bahá'í communities at this time exist in all the continents, with a membership representing great diversity of racial and religious backgrounds. Despite the pressure of international events, these communities are demonstrating that even today a religious fellowship can exist which represents a cross-section of the human race. Obedience to government is a definite requirement of their Faith. Therefore, Bahá'ís abide by the spiritual principle of oneness and do not become involved in political controversy. Inter-racial relationships are today no longer a matter of merely domestic concern — their influence is felt in distant countries.
This statement of Bahá'í teachings has been prepared in order to clarify the position of members of the Faith throughout the United States at this critical hour.
NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BAHA’IS OF THE UNITED STATES