A Bahá'í View of Homosexuality and Gay Rights
The Law of God= the holy laws revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in the Most Holy Book and other places.
The House= the Universal House of Justice, a council of nine men, elected by Bahá'í Electors every five years, to govern the Faith worldwide and "legislate" (make decisions) on matters not clearly decided in the Holy Writings. Their decisions will govern the local Houses of Justice: local elected tribunals of nine men and women who decide cases locally.
The World Order= the international government created by Bahá'ís that will have world-jurisdiction, and will be governed by a Judicial-Legislative Branch called "The Houses of Justice" and by an Executive Branch called "The World Executive".
Bahá'u'lláh, in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, paragraph 107, and Questions and Answers, number 49, forbids paederasty and sodomy. The following extract from one of His Tablets reveals the strength of His condemnation:
"Ye are forbidden to commit adultery (ZINA), sodomy (LIWAT) and lechery (SIHAQAQ). Avoid them, O concourse of the faithful. By the righteousness of God! Ye have been called into being to purge the world from the defilement of evil passions. This is what the Lord of all mankind hath enjoined upon you, could ye but perceive it. He who relateth himself to the All-Merciful and committeth satanic deeds, verily he is not of Me. Unto this beareth witness every atom, pebble, tree and fruit, and beyond them this ever-proclaiming, truthful and trustworthy Tongue."ZINA=Arabic word that means adultery as well as fornication (any heterosexual act outside of lawful marriage).
LIWAT=Arabic word meaning "the sin of the men of Lot" (i.e. Sodom). It refers to homosexual "sex acts" and not merely to anal sex as "sodomy" has come to mean in modern American English.
SIHAQAQ=Arabic word meaning "pounding" or "griding"--the female homosexual sex act between two women often called in modern American English "scissors".
In a letter dated March 26,1950, written on his behalf, Shoghi Effendi, the authorized interpreter of the Bahá'í Teachings, further explicates the Bahá'í attitude toward homosexuality. It should be noted that the Guardian's interpretation of this subject is based on his infallible understanding of the Texts. It represents both a statement of moral principle and unerring guidance to Bahá'ís who are homosexuals. The letter states:
"No matter how devoted and fine the love may be between people of the same sex, to let it find expression in sexual acts is wrong. To say that it is ideal is no excuse. Immorality of every sort is really forbidden by Bahá'u'lláh, and homosexual relationships He looks upon as such, besides being against nature.Bahá'ís believe that Shoghi Effendi (shawg-khee ef-fen-dee), the great-grandson of Bahá'u'lláh, was "infallible" in His interpretations of the Law of Bahá'u'lláh. His interpretations are "infallible" and "binding" upon all Bahá'ís, and will be until the coming of the next Manifestation of God; at least 1000 literal lunar years from 1863 A.D.
"To be afflicted this way is a great burden to a conscientious soul. But through the advice and help doctors, through a strong and determined effort, and through prayer, a soul can overcome this handicap."
The Manifesatations of God have told us that certain practices "retard the progress of the soul" in the Afterlife. Among the practices that retard the progress of the soul in the Afterlife are....
3) Liwat (male homosexual sex acts)
4) Sihaqaq (female homosexual sex acts)
We are NOT told "why" these practices retard the progress of the soul in the Afterlife. We are only told they "do".
Bahá'u'lláh forbid His followers from practicing adultery, or fornication, or "liwat" (homosexual sex acts), or lechery. He did NOT explain "why" He forbade them! We are not given "reasons" why these retard the progess of the soul in the Afterlife; only that they do.
To be a Bahá'í means to "belonging to Baha"; meaning we have no "free will" but HIS WILL become our will. We trust He is a Manifestation of God. We trust He knows what is best for us. Like small children who can't understand why we must eat vegitables and brush our teeth, we only trust that our parent only wants the best for us! So we obey.
In practical terms, there are gay and lesbian Bahá'ís, and some or most of them are sexually active in their private lives. This is called MOON-NAW-FEE-KOON (Hypocrisy). Moonawfeekoon is allowed in the Faith. In other words, what you do in your private life is between you and God, but, if your private behavior becomes public, then it is no longer your "private" life. Then it becomes a public matter. Gay and Lesbian Bahá'ís who speak about their sex lives face disciplinary action from the Local Spiritual Assembly (council of nine men and women who act as administrators and judges in local Bahá'í Communities).
Gay and Lesbian Bahá'ís are forbidden from...
1) Speaking about their sex lives in public.
2) Advocating that the Law of God regarding LIWAT (homosexual sex acts) be "changed" (no Holy Law can be changed except by the next Manifestation of God--the next One is now due until 1000 lunar years after 1863 A.D.)
3) Marching in Gay Rights parades.
4) Getting involved in partisan politics or entering into into political or religious arguments.
In the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, when the nations are governed by "Kings and Queens" who rule under the Most Holy Law of Bahá'u'lláh, homosexual acts will be illegal. A fine is imposed; which doubles with each offence, and other punishments may be stipulated by the Universal House of Jusice (council of nine men who rule the Faith internationally).
The Law of God doesn't make exceptions for age-of-consent, or if the relationship is loving and monogamous. LIWAT (homosexual acts) is forbidden in the Faith, and will be forbidden in the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh.
In the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, LIWAT will be illegal, and it will be condemned just as "adultery" is now condemned. Anyone accused of homosexual "acts" (liwat) must appear before a local House of Justice (judicial council), and they will be at least fined; with fines doubling for every offence. Other punishments may be proscribed.
We are not told "why" homosexual acts retard the progress of the Soul in the Afterlife.
We are not told "why" some people seem to be born homosexual, or bisexual.
We do not "speculate" on these things, but accept them because we believe that Bahá'u'lláh was a true Manifestation of God, and revealed the Will of God to us. If we cannot believe that, in every case, then we are not Bahá'ís but Hypocrites.
The purpose of the Religion of God is to show us "THE WAY" back to God. Certain sexual practices "retard the progess of the soul" in the Afterlife. We are not told "why". We simply "trust" that Bahá'u'lláh is our Heavenly Father. We trust Him. We know we'll find out "why" some day. Until then, we trust. If we cannot "trust" Bahá'u'lláh, then we are not Bahá'ís.
Gay "rights" is another matter! The Faith does preach "tolerance". In the World Order of Baha'u'llah, simply being "gay" or "lesbian" will not be illegal. There will be no discrimination in housing, in jobs, or in education. However, in the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, there will be no "same sex" marriage. That will be illegal. Homoexual "acts" will also be illegal and there will be some sort of "punishment" beyond the "fine" that doubles with each offence.
Gay and Lesbian people must now decide "if" they wish to become members of a religion which believes it will one day establish a World Order in which homosexual acts will be illegal in all parts of the world.
Those reading this who are Gay and Lesbian, should consider joining the Unitarian-Universalists, or some other organization that doesn't condemn monogamous homosexual relationships.
There are a "few" of you who are gay or lesbian who inwardly "know" that while same-sex love may be physically and emotionally satifying, it is nevertheless is bad for the soul. You are welcome in the Faith! You are welcome to marry in a heterosexual marriage (some gay and lesbian Bahá'ís have done this and most appear to be happy), or to remain celebate and offer up your sexuality on the Altar of God as a sacrifice to Him.
The Law of God and Divine Interpretation is "set" in the Faith! It cannot be "changed" except by the next Manifestation of God (expected 1000 lunar years from 1863 A.D.). So, don't think that you can "re-interpret" the official interpretations! That won't happen. The Faith has no "seminaries" wherein you can debate Bible verses! The Faith has no "clergy" that you can enter hoping to "change from within". The Law of God against LIWAT is very clear, and the Guardian of the Faith (Shoghi Effendi) has officially "interpreted" it to mean that all homosexual "acts" (male and female) are to be forbidden in the Faith; without exception. The only Person Who can "over-ride" this interpretation is the next Manifestation of God; due sometime in the 27th century.
But PLEASE...don't be a MOON-NAW-FEEK (Hypocrite)! If you choose to become a Bahá'í, please obey Him Who came to reveal the Law of God. Obey Him, or don't become a Bahá'í. The choice is yours.
Q. Will Homosexuals be persecuted in the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh?
A. Highly doubtful. The Faith attracts "Liberal" types of personalities, but if a person is too "Liberal" they find themselves in conflict with a number of Bahá'í Laws. Most Bahá'ís are "moderate" Liberals. The Universal House of Justice (not a building, but a council of nine men elected every 5 years) are almost always moderate Liberals, and it is highly unlikely this council will ever impose draconian punishments upon homosexual people. More likely, they won't prosecute charges of homosexual acts, as the U.S. government today refuses to punish illegal immigrants unless those immigrants commit some other crime; such as murder, or rape, or grand-theft, etc.
The Law of God authorizes the imposition of a fine, paid in gold, for every offence of ZINA (fornication or adultery), or LIWAT (male homosexual sex act) or SIHAQAQ (female homosexual sex act); with fines doubling with every offence. Bahá'u'lláh left it to the "House" to impose additional punishments. Again, as long as the House is composed of moderate members, it is doubtful any additional punishment will be imposed; other than perhaps mandatory "treatment" or counseling.
The Universal House of Justice will have no power to "enforce" the Law of God. There will be no "Civil" Law. Everyone will be under the Law of God. But the "House" will have no executive power. That power will be invested in the World Executive; which shall have its own police force with international juridiction.
Every community will have its own "House of Justice" consisting of nine men and women who are elected without campaigning. They will decide individual cases based upon the Decisions of the Universal House of Justice in Haifa, Israel.
Nations as we know them will cease to exist as we know them today. Nations will be divided into Principalities and Electorates; with kings and queens ruling the Principalities, and Electors governing the electorates.
Q. Will Gay and Lesbians Have to go back into the closet under the World Order?
A. Again, many States in the U.S. still have laws making sodomy illegal, yet these are not enforced. We cannot say if the anti-Liwat laws in the World Order will be enforced, or ignored. Much depends on the local Houses of Justice and the local governments in a particular Principality or Electorate. Some will be more conservative than others, and some will be more liberal than others. Gays and Lesbians will probably find themselves "moving" to the more liberal Electorates; as gays and lesbians found "sanctuary" in certain cities (such as San Francisco) in the 1970s and 1980s.
It is highly unlikely there will be same-sex marriage in the World Order. However, again, in the more liberal Electorates, the anti-Liwat laws may be ignored and non-enforced.
Q. Why would a Gay man or a Lesbian woman wish to join a religion which intends to establish a World Government which will, at least on paper, outlaw their private sex lives and deny them the right to marry and (probably) the right to adopt children?
A. I don't know why! One must ask gay and lesbian Bahá'ís that question. There are homosexuals in the Faith who know the Law of God, and, nevertheless, they remain in it. Some believe that they can eventually "apply pressure" on the House, who will over-rule (abrogate) the Law of God in regards to LIWAT (homosexual acts), but this is wishful thinking. The House cannot "over-rule" any Law of Bahá'u'lláh. The only One Who can do this is the next Manifestation of God; due 1000 lunar years from 1863 A.D.
Some gay and lesbian Bahá'ís remain celebate (or at least claim to), and some marry in heterosexual marriages. Are they lying to themselves, or are they trying to keep the Law of God? Only they and God know for sure.
b>Q. Why did God create some people to be gay and lesbian if this opposed His Will?
A. There are several answers to that:
1) We Don't Know. We don't know why ( this is the most common Bahá'í answer).
2) Under the Earth-is-Hell View (i.e. the Material/Physical Realm is "Hell" where the Sun burns our skin and we experience punishments and "trials"), gay and lesbian people, and well as pedophiles, the violent, etc., are experiences "trials"; tests we are sent to overcome. Under this View we all lived on a planet before this, and sinned, and we are here to experience various forms of "punishments" (i.e. the Earth is Hell). If we "overcome" our weaknesses, we shall be rewarded in the next life.
3) Homosexuality-is-Accidental View: this view says that in the Material/Physical Realm "accidents" happen. Some are born retarded, some deformed, some with congenital diseases, etc. God has not caused these things, but they are "accidents" of Nature. Homosexuality is a "birth defect" just like any other; an accident of Nature, and Nature is not God. Nature is God's creation, but is in "rebellion" against Him like a horse or dog that doesn't always mind its master.
4) Bahá'u'lláh and Shoghi Effendi were Semi-Inspired View. Some of the most "liberal" Bahá'ís adhere to the view that Bahá'u'lláh and Shoghi Effendi (both wrote anti-Liwat things) were "inspired by God" on some things, but not others (such as the Gay issue). Those who hold this view are sometimes declared "Covenant-Breakers" by the Universal House of Justice, and are officially shunned; so many who hold this view usually don't discuss it except among like-thinking Bahá'ís, in hushed tones, behind closed doors. Many Bahá'ís don't consider these people "Bahá'ís" at all, but "Moon-Naw-Feek-Koon" ("Hypocrites") and "Naw-Kaw-Zeen" ("violators"). Accepted Doctrine (official teachings) declare that Bahá'u'lláh and Shoghi Effendi were "infallible" in everything they personally wrote or dictated.
It is "possible" that, one day, the Universal House of Justice will be composed of men who will simply "ignore" the Law of God in regards to homosexuality. But most Baha'is believe that Day will never come, since the "House" (council) will always be "under the shadow" of Bahá'u'lláh (i.e. divinely-guided by His Spirit).
Q. Has not science PROVEN that homosexuality is normal, good, natural, and in-born?
Science cannot determine what is "good"--only that homosexuality occurs in the animal kingdom as well as the human kingdom. The Prophets tell us what is "good" and "bad" and "natural" and "unnatural". Science cannot make any "moral" judgements. For example, many dogs will have sex with their own daughters, and many male cats will have sex with their own mothers. Should people do the same because this is found in the animal kingdom? Again, some will say "Yes" but the Prophets of God say "No".
Q. Hasn't science proven that a person cannot change from homosexual to hetersexual--that people simply CANNOT be "cured" as Shoghi Effendi said?
A. The answer is "No". A number of scientists claim many have been "cured". A number of homosexual men and women, after undergoing treatment, claim to be "cured". Statements from the American Medical Association, and the American Psychiatric Association, saying that homosexuality is "good" and "normal" and "cannot be cured" are not based upon scientific discoveries, but rather "political and economic pressure" by special-interest groups put upon these assocations.
There are thousands of homosexual men and women who are alive today who claim they were "cured" by treatment. Are they ALL lying? No doubt some are, but the fact remains, thousands claim to be cured regardless of any "politically correct" statements made by the AMA or APA based upon bowing to political/economic pressures.
There is an institution called the BNASAA (Bahá'í Network on AIDS, Sexuality, Additions, and Abuse)--sometimes referred to as "Ben-nas-saw"--which sponsors worshops and "Sharing Circles"--created to act as sort of a "12-Step" counseling program for Bahá'ís strugglign with AIDS, HIV, homosexuality, sexual addictions, and sexual abuse. Counseling is combined with Baha'i Prayers, and peer support, in efforts to help Baha'is "deal" with such issues. For further information please go to their website at:
A. Good point! If the Bahá'í Faith is nothing more than a "set of Principles" (i.e. the "12 Principles") then there is no reason to outlaw any sexual practice that doesn't "harm" another. Yet, the Cause of God also teaches that certain practices "retard the progress of the soul" in the Afterlife. If there was no soul, and no Afterlife, then there is no reason to outlaw any sexual practice that doesn't violate another's rights or desires.
If Bahá'u'lláh is the Spirit of Truth, then certain sexual behaviors, such as fornication, adultery, and male and female homosexual acts, retard the progress of the soul in the Afterlife. We don't know "why". But, if He is the Spirit of Truth, then He spoke only the Truth. If we are truly Bahá'ís, then we accept what He says. We don't need "reasons" other than that.
The main purpose of the Religion is God is NOT the World Order; nor the "12 Principles" which will be part of that Order. The main purpose of the Religion of God upon this planet is to prepare our souls for the Worlds of God in the Afterlife.
"O My servants! Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes. You are destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits, to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of their sustaining grace. To each and every one of them you will, no doubt, attain. (Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 329)