Editor’s note: “Spiritual leaders answer” is a weekly column inviting Kaua‘i religious and spiritual leaders to share their doctrine’s perspective on a suggested subject. Every Friday a topic is printed inviting a response. Due to space limitations, submissions are edited. Thoughts or suggestions for future topics are always welcome. Next week’s subject is on ritual. The topic at the end of the column is for the following week.
The Baha’is of Kaua‘i
A government must look after the welfare and security of its people. The laws and regulations adopted must be selected through the process of consultation involving those who are governed. The people, likewise, have responsibilities toward a just government to be law-abiding and loyal citizens. If there is a need to make changes they must rely on educational methods and on the force of good example, not on violence. Baha’u’llah, the prophet founder of the Baha’i faith teaches: “Those trusted with the framing and administration of laws and regulations must hold fast to the rope of consultation, and decide upon and execute that which is conducive to the people’s security, affluence, welfare and tranquility; for if matters be arranged otherwise, it will lead to discord and tumult.”
“Baha’is … must behave toward the government of that country with faithfulness, truthfulness and obedience. If change is necessary, they must rely on educational methods and on the force of good example, not on violence, for bringing about a better state of affairs in the nation.”
Abdu’l-Baha, son of Baha’u’llah, visited the United States in 1912. During this period he was impressed by the American form of government. But he cautioned the Baha’is not to be involved in campaigning or partisan politics which create division and disunity. However, he instructed them to take part in elections.
“Now, as the government of America is a republican form of government, it is necessary that all the citizens shall take part in the elections of officers and take part in the affairs of the republic. This is a necessary matter and no excuse from it is possible.” Abdu’l-Baha approved of the decentralization of government modeled by the United States with independent states united and protected by a federal government.
The American form of government will be an example for future governments and will be conducive to international peace. Abdu’l-Baha blessed our great American nation with a prayer: “O thou kind Lord! This gathering is turning to thee. These hearts are radiant with thy love. These minds and spirits are exhilarated by the message of thy glad-tidings. O God! Let this American democracy become glorious in spiritual degrees even as it has aspired to material degrees, and render this just government victorious. Confirm this revered nation to upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity, to promulgate the most great peace, to become thereby most glorious and praiseworthy among all the nations of the world. O God! This American nation is worthy of thy favors and is deserving of thy mercy. Make it precious and near to thee through thy bounty and bestowal.”
Science of Mind practitioner
During these past years the term government has gotten a bad “rep.” Perhaps if a better term were used, it would be heard. Why not use the term authority. Depending upon the new or old version of the Bible you’ll find “government” and “authority” used interchangeably. Isaiah 9:6,7 speaks of Jesus’ birth and the fact that “the government will be upon his shoulder” with an “increase of his government.” In a newer version, the Bible speaks of authority resting up on his shoulders and authority growing continuously.
Somehow authority is easier to comprehend. The joy is that we have choice to choose who will govern us. Other nations are not so fortunate. Even our true government/authority, God, gives us choice in all things.
The great thing is that we are also given spiritual intuition to guide us — whether or not we choose to acknowledge this gift. Complaints, denials and fears don’t serve us. Choosing to vote for an authority we can trust does. Choice is our greatest blessing and we always have the authority to choose.
Topic for two weeks from today:
• Will you speak to us on creation?
• Spiritual leaders are invited to e-mail responses of three to five paragraphs to email@example.com
• Deadline each week is Tuesday, by 5 p.m.