Rights and Responsibilities

At such a time when the political world is chaotic and society seems to be on the verge of death, as a result of the activities of societies that contain only half-truths, the friends of God should be united and act as one single organism. The greater their unity the surer they can be of winning the day. And this unity cannot be achieved save through obedience to the Assemblies. It is true that these are still immature and may at times act unwisely. But supporting them will help more their advance toward an administration that is truly representative of the Cause, than by criticizing them and ignoring their advice. Bahá’u’lláh has not only advocated certain principles, but has also provided a mechanism whereby that ideal can be established and perpetuated. Both of these phases are essential for the realization of His goal of world unity.”

From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi February 27, 1933, Rights and Responsibilities p. 57

This video clip from “Building Momentum” is an inspiring look at how individuals and Baha’i Institutions can best serve together through a mutual spirit of cooperation and encouragement.


The Bahá’ís are fully entitled to address criticisms to their Assemblies; they can freely air their views about policies or individual members of elected bodies to the Assembly, local or National, but then they must wholeheartedly accept the advice or decision of the Assembly, according to the principles already laid down for such matters in Bahá’í administration.
From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi — May 13, 1945 Rights and Responsibilities p. 57

…you had asked whether the believers have the right to openly express their criticism of any Assembly action or policy: it is not only the right, but the vital responsibility of every loyal and intelligent member of the Community to offer fully and frankly, but with due respect and consideration to the authority of the Assembly, any suggestion, recommendation or criticism he conscientiously feels he should in order to improve and remedy certain existing conditions or trends in his local Community, and it is the duty of the Assembly also to give careful consideration to any such views submitted to them by any one of the believers. The best occasion chosen for this purpose is the Nineteen Day Feast, which, besides its social and spiritual aspects, fulfils various administrative needs and requirements of the Community, chief among them being the need for open and constructive criticism and deliberation regarding the state of affairs within the local Bahá’í Community.

But again it should be stressed that all criticisms and discussions of a negative character which may result in undermining the authority of the Assembly as a body should be strictly avoided. For otherwise the order of the Cause itself will be endangered, and confusion and discord will reign in the Community.
From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi — December 13, 1939, Rights and Responsibilities p. 58

Advertisements