Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Baha'i rift: Baha'is upset with Orthodox Baha'i Faith - Chicago Tribune

Every religion has been riven by struggles over authority and authenticity.

Buddhism began when a maverick Hindu prince inspired disciples to embrace asceticism. Judaism has sprouted branches from ultra-orthodox to ultra-liberal, even Jews for Jesus. Christianity went through numerous profound splits, including the Protestant Reformation sparked in the 16th Century by Martin Luther in Germany and the 19th Century Mormon movement led by Joseph Smith in the U.S.

Now the Baha'i Faith, the organization representing the most recent sect to spring from Islam, is struggling to defend its identity in federal court in Chicago, where North American Baha'is have been based ever since believers came to the U.S. about 90 years ago. They contend that a tiny band of believers known as the Orthodox Baha'i Faith can't call themselves Baha'i or use one of its key symbols without violating trademark law or a previous court ruling more than 40 years ago.


In the hands of the federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the case could set a precedent for settling religious schisms, doctrinal disputes and claims to truth.

Baha'i rift: Baha'is upset with Orthodox Baha'i Faith - Chicago Tribune

Forum explanation

You see, since from the beginning this has been a religious dispute couched in other terms, no court at any level has had jurisdictional authority to even hear it let alone rule on it but they have anyway with full knowledge that they are overstepping their bounds in a profound way. After that the pandora's box is open and any religiously based argument could be heard by any court in the land. Imagine the field day some groups would have if they knew the court could actually hear their "cases". Just start with the very smallest town and the very pettiest of religious laws someone thinks is being "transgressed" and let the idea spread to something like Roe v. Wade, or teaching evolution or "creationism" in school, or homosexuality.

This case could make that change in a way that nobody is or will be terribly concerned about since it only appears to deal with some religion most Americans are woefully ignorant of and indeed this ignorance could prove to be much to the detriment of our free society. If the Haifa based Baha'is gain a victory in this case it would become illegal for anyone of any other Baha'i sect to speak, teach, publish, gather, put up webpages or use any of the terminology of the Baha'i Faith.

The bottom line is this, that the stage is being set for a dissolving of the line between matters of state and matters of faith by the very system in place to assure that doesn't happen and has been for some few years now and it's only one more appeal away from the final step necessary to make it set legal precedent for the entire U.S.


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