Wendi Momen’s list of Baha’i human rights – a few comments and questions

Wendi published a terrific list of human rights and responsibilities culled from the Baha’i writings – if you haven’t seen it it’s HERE

Here are a few observations on Wendi’s excellent list of human rights and responsibilities.

Human rights poster1) It missed out the sweet, healing balm of – humour.  You can tell how civilized a country is by its attitude to satire and other forms of humour, (and we, quite rightly, are proud of Omid!).   I guess humour is a sub-set of ‘freedom of expression’.  The UK is still a great country – satire and humour generally was never in better shape in my 68 years (I know, I know I look so much younger!).

2) It wasn’t clear from the post and the ‘raw’ presentation of  the list whether it,

a)      is what we as Baha’is want for ourselves, or for others, or both.

b)      is applicable to governments in the wider community or to religions, especially those religions that see themselves as subsuming  political government into their religious viewpoint, as in Islamic republics – or again both.

2) It strikes me that the list goes from international to personal without visiting intermediate levels such as communities or families.  I don’t doubt that Wendi or some other able author will write about how those rights and responsibilities are very useful in thinking about other spheres such as a) marriage and family life and b) how communities and individuals relate to each other – e.g. as in ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ A country is a family writ large.

3) A very useful list of individuals who clearly didn’t have the right view of current Baha’i human rights and responsibilities has been supplied by Dr Moojen Momen.  An analysis is HERE and the original paper is HERE

An earlier Christian apostate

An earlier Christian apostate

This surely establishes another right in which we can set aside a whole range of admonishings such as not dealing harshly with the writings of men, avoiding gossip, back-biting and character-assassination, being forbearing, seeing with a sin-covering eye, no public humiliation, not taking on the responsibilities that rightly belong to institutions etc.

Terrific!  I’m all for privatizing the calling out of lists of apostates to the world – I’m working on my first list right now.  (By the way I had quite a problem tracking down the above links – my particular browser kept insisting that what I was looking for was Mormon Apostasy – very annoying.)

4) Purely theoretically of course, since the UHJ has absolute power in being infallible, and is in no way answerable to the electorate, it has the ‘right’ to abuse any of the rights in any way shape or form it decides.  Is that a problem or have I misunderstood?

5) Wendi didn’t say – it wasn’t of course the purpose of her post –  how the many moral injunctions of individuals or governments relate to safeguarding  human rights and responsibilities.  Moral injunctions? – any of the virtues or names and attributes of God.  My preferred list starts with justice, truth, beauty and goodness.

The worst thing of course would be to have a great big gap between public protestation and inner reality – the hypocrisy of not ‘walking the talk’ or demanding a set of rights that we, in turn, refused to give.  Thank goodness that’s not the case.

Thanks again for the great list – can you help with any of  my questions Wendi, and any chance of a list of sources?

'Fear of Choice' painting by Baha'i artist Mona Shomali

'Fear of Choice' painting by Baha'i artist Mona Shomali

Mona Shomali’s site is HERE

News update ‘ Prisoner of Conscience’ executed see HERE