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Same sex marriages – 2

On Planet Bahai, one of the participants wrote:

… if at some point in the future the House of Justice proclaimed that homosexual relations are not a violation of Baha’i law I would take that as pretty strong evidence that the Faith is false, that the House was pandering to the public instead of standing up for its principles.

My response (23 August 2009)

I think you seriously underestimate the flexibility that is built into the application of Bahai principles to the needs of the society and of the day, through the mechanism of the Houses of Justice. Change is a law of nature, and it affects all religious communities. However where the religious institutions depend for their aura of legitimacy on venerability, on a claim to represent “the original” faith, they often obfuscate about change. They still change, but they pretend to be returning to an ‘original’ newly rediscovered. They walk into the future, facing backwards. Baha’u’llah however built flexibility into his religion, first by giving its institutions scriptural charters, so they don’t have to appear to be the ancient unchanging church, and second by not ruling on all sorts of matters and allowing the Houses of Justice to make and change laws, as they apply the principles to changing social conditions.

There’s a tablet of Abdu’l-baha here (Amr wa Khalq 4:298) 275.gif (INBA 59)

which talks about the powers of the UHJ and says, in part:

“As for the matter of marriage, this falls entirely within the social laws. Nevertheless, its preconditions are found in the Law of God, and its fundamentals are evident. The union of relatives, however, is not explicitly treated, and is referred to the House of Justice, which will give a ruling in accordance with social customs and medical requirements, wisdom, and suitability for human nature. … In short, whatever ruling the House of Justice makes on this question, that is in truth the decisive decree, it is God’s sharp sword. No one may deviate from it. If you consider, it will be apparent how much this rule is consistent with wisdom. For whenever a difficulty may arise and a local decision is required, at that point, since the House of Justice delivered the previous ruling, the secondary House of Justice, can issue a new national ruling on a national case and topic, in the light of local imperatives. To entirely avoid any risks, the rulings that the House of Justice has made, it can also abrogate. … In short, in this most great cycle the foundation has been laid in such a way that its laws can remain relevant and appropriate to all ages and eras, unlike the bygone religious laws, the implementation of whose provisions is unattainable and impossible today.” (my trans.)

The question of Bahai recognition of same-sex marriages that are recognised by the state has not been addressed by Baha’u’allah, or indeed by Abdu’l-Baha or Shoghi Effendi. It is a new issue that did not arise in their day. So it lies in the sphere of the UHJ first, and then National Assemblies, to make whatever rulings they like “with social customs and medical requirements, wisdom, and suitability for human nature” — and to change them as the times dictate. The UHJ has not made the rulings that would be required (eg, what to do about the dowry), so presumably same-sex marriages by existng Bahais cannot be recognised. I don’t think it has ruled on what to do about a same-sex married couple if one or both partners became Bahais. Demanding a divorce would seem to be against more basic Bahai teachings, so I can’t image them decreeing that. But if they do, they have to be obeyed.

For reasons I’ve given before, I don’t expect any change soon, so the question of recognising homosexual marriages may seem academic. But the attempt by some to lay down a priori limits to what the UHJ may choose to do in the future is not a trivial thing to be ignored. It is wrong in itself, and it is an “oppression” for those you describe: ‘my friends and relatives who have no interest whatsoever in the Faith for this very reason.’ It creates an unnecessary barrier hindering people from investigating the teachings of Baha’u’llah himself.

“What “oppression” is more grievous than that a soul seeking the truth, and wishing to attain unto the knowledge of God, should know not where to go for it and from whom to seek it? (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 31)

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29 Responses to “Same sex marriages – 2”

  1. You have described a fundamental problem shared by almost all organized religions: handling change. It is something that few faith groups do well. Christians often quote Jude 1:3 in the Christian Scriptures “…contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” as a support for the unchangeability of religious doctrine. Most resist change with great tenacity.

    Although I am not a Baha’i, I have great respect for the faith because it has traditionally been able to adapt to new developments in science.

    The participant on Planet Bahai referred to the acceptance of loving, committed same-sex relationships and the acceptance of same-sex marriage. They used the term “pandering to the public.” I look upon this more as bringing ones beliefs into harmony with what is now known about human sexuality. Unfortunately, it would require the faith to acknowledge that they have been wrong in the past. That is never easy.

    Back before the 1950, there was a near consensus about homosexual behavior: it was evil, degenerate, sinful, immoral activity by mentally ill sexual perverts. Then in the 1950s, Evelyn Hooker actually studied homosexuals in their natural habitat for the first time and found them to exhibit average mental health. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. Since then, human sexuality researchers have concluded that homosexuality and bisexuality is unchosen, fixed in adulthood, and both normal and natural for a minority of adults. There are very strong indications that sexual orientation is biologically caused.

    If the Baha’i faith had been around in the time of Copernicus, it would have had to adapt its teachings to a changed understanding of the cosmos. The Baha’i faith is in the 21st century, and eventually must come to terms with the recent developments in knowledge about homosexuality.

  2. Sen said

    I agree – a homosexual orientation seems to be quite largely natural, inborn, and not in itself harmful. Like a heterosexual orientation, homosexuality is best channelled in a long-term marriage relationship. The ‘perversions’ associated with homosexual sub-societies have resulted largely from the exclusion of homosexuals from the instititution of marriage, and other forms of social marginalisation.

  3. The discussion concerning same-sex marriage in the Christian community, at least, is somewhat broader than it can be at this moment in the Baha’i community. Simply put the Bible never addresses the subject and because it does not and because so much emphasis has been placed, arguably, on the centrality of the individual Christian’s conscience then there will always be graduations of acceptance / rejection in the Christian community. This does not seem possible in the Baha’i faith with it’s emphasis on individual believers not deciding what the teachings mean but rather being guided by the institutions and central figures of the faith.

  4. Matt said

    Although Shoghi Effendi referred to homosexuality as a “handicap” and an “affliction”, I think it is important to remember when he wrote those words. Possibly the 1950’s or even earlier. When compared to most other major religious leaders at that time, in regards to homosexuality, he probably appears to be the most “huggable” in regards to the language he used. I have to go now, but I may comment again later.

  5. Sen said

    Hi Ray,
    I think you’re quite wrong about the Bahais not deciding what the teachings mean. The elected institutions are not able to make authoritative interpretations of the Bahai writings and teachings, and “individual search for truth” means that every individual has to do this for themselves. However the elected institutions decide what the law and policy of the community is, which means that no individual can say what other individuals ought to do – or think and believe. That difference between doctrine and canon law resembles the Catholic situation, rather than the Protestant one. It’s one of a number of dimensions in which the Bahai Faith resembles Catholicism more than Protestantism

    ~~ Sen

  6. robert van der hope said

    I feel that I must comment on the subject of homosexuality. Yes, there are some individuals who have a natural attraction to those of the same sex from an early age, and this attraction also includes a sexual attraction, as opposed to the normal Platonic attraction of many young people towards each other. On the other hand, many young people have had poor sexual training, or education (which is the fault of the religious of all persuasion, Bahais included, and most secularists), and this can result in a poor relationship with the opposite sex resulting in painful experiences both emotionally and physically (even if sex activity is delayed until efter marriage – as most religion prescribes). A permissive modern society then allows and encourages the exploration of social cohesiveness through various social organizations, many of which are of a homosexual orientation. It is not surprising that many people, especially, but not exclusively the young find the friendship and comfort of same sex environments attractive and supportive. It is a short step from there to a change in sexual orientation. Bi-sexuality is a very common proclivity, and it is not hard to make either bi-sexuality or homosexuality an accessible reality, in, say, a club or pub environment. That is why you sometimes read the statement that 1 in 10 males in the community are innate homosexuals. This is wrong. Most males are capable of homosexuality, given the *right* conditions. It is the *right* conditions that are wrong. The conditions exist because society has failed in education. Let me make myself clear, I am not referring to the few men or women (in my personal experience about 3 in a thousand) who are GENUINELY and ONLY attracted to the same sex, and not become so through social interactions. These people are in a situation which would appear to be quite beyond social influence or interactions.

  7. Sen said

    I’m in no position to argue about the weight of nature vs nurture, except to say that nature clearly plays a role. I do know that it is wrong to discriminate against homosexuals, and I know that prejudices corrupt the person who suffers from them, as well as harming the object of prejudice.
    ~ Sen

  8. robert van der hope said

    Yes Sen, nature plays a role in certain instances, but I do feel that some people are finding it convenient to over-emphasize any natural proclivity compared to that which is socially engineered. The heavy drinker finds it pleasant and convenient to encourage others to join his lifestyle. That doesn’t make it natural or desirable to drink alcohol. Rather, it is better to not bring alcohol into social situations in the first place. And that is largely a process of education. One can learn to be homosexual just as one can learn to be a drinker. And, yes, there are some drinkers whose attraction to alcohol is “inborn” or uncontrollable – we all know people like that.
    The question of “marriage” is really a matter for State jurisdiction. Marriage, or defacto situation of homosexuals is for the State ( not me or anyone else) to decide. It must be a community i.e. State decision. I certainly agree. That does not alter my view that most children if brought up in a decent and loving environment (and that can certainly include a homosexual parent) will by natural inclination, in the vast majority of cases have a *normal* sexual orientation. I have personally known homosexuals who would really much rather have preferred to have opposite sex attraction and lead an ordinary married existence. Yes, they have said that openly to me. My greatest respect goes out to several of those friends who restrained from ever intruding on our beautiful friendship with sexual advances. Let us examine this subject with common sense, science (yes), and genuine friendship and understanding.

  9. Dear Robert Van Der Hope, on
    April 13, 2010 at 3:10 am, you made some statements that are fundamentally full of errors. Baha’u’llah encourages the independent search for truth, but you may not make statements and assumptions about others, then pass them around as “valid observations” and “assessments” which you believe you can thrust upon others–people in subcategories of society whom you don’t really understand.

    First, you work from an assumption that you may make pronouncements on how wrong it is to “encourage others” in anti social leanings and behaviors. To quote you “The heavy drinker finds it pleasant and convenient to encourage others to join his lifestyle.” You display a distinctly masculine preference you slipped in here—the “his” rather than “her or his” because both genders are affected by drug addictions. (I won’t depart from kindness and ask if you aren’t horribly miserable yourself “in the closet” but I have better manners than that.) What’s now much more important is that you don’t seem familiar with much of the recent and accepted theories and practices of the definitions and treatment of alcoholism (which is really drug abuse) at all. Addicts (regardless of the chemical for which the addict obsesses) find a limited and even dangerous “acceptance” (albeit a negative one) with one another because they don’t have to challenge any of their denial (that they have a problem with addictive substances) when associating with using addicts. Many addicts find relief when they discover how counterproductive is their sense of denial, and can then fully begin to “accept” that they are powerless over their addictions and that their lives have become unmanageable. With this thunderous shift, ironically, a using addict can experience the first authentic beginnings of a non-using life style and from that point on, must be extremely careful to change “play pens, play toys, and play mates” or suffer relapse. When any addict gives up a life of actively consuming drugs, no parallels can be drawn to homosexuality. You won’t find any real parallels, although you talk as if you can. Gay people band together not out of denial but for friendship, acceptance and even sexual relations because members of the opposite sex are not the object of their interest physically. Do gays have healthy relationships with straight friends? All the time. Addicts shun non-users because it keeps them out of prison “except” when a fellow addict tells the police their name or assists the police in arresting fellow users rather than going to jail themselves. Active users can viciously and selfishly turn on one another because active addiction is a horrible “dog eat dog” world. How can you logically compare this to, for instance, a loving profound relationship two women or two men have? You can’t. Another significant point you’ve seemed to ignore is that almost everyone in this sub-society of addicts keeps one another from dealing with their denial that they have substance abuse problems. Breaking through that denial can shatter the facade of power achieved through drug use and at that crucial point, intervention and supportive redirection of perceptions and behaviors can produce remarkable results.

    Addicts don’t “recruit” miserable members, and neither do homosexuals. You might read this from writers but that doesn’t make what they write accurate. The whole concept of “pusher” betrays a deep misunderstanding of drug usage and the transmission of substances. Drug sales is a seller’s market: the demand always outnumbers the supply. Many gays find sexual activity in their youth but when they pass a certain age, no one finds them attractive any more—and it is similar in the heterosexual world at large. I have worked with these populations all my adult career and I’m sorry: You are just flat out wrong.

    Many people seem to drink in moderation and never suffer consequences. If a non-problem drinker gives a drink to another non-problem drinker, does this equate into conversion tactics? Neither gays nor addicts “convert” anyone. Alcoholics who suffer negative consequences to their behavior have the disease of addiction, they aren’t “converted” or “recruited” any more than gays are. But a fundamental thinking error of yours is that alcoholism is a perfect metaphor for discussing homosexuality. The two aren’t even in the same ball park and by you drawing upon these erroneous metaphors, you do yourself a disservice and you prove your own argument, misinformation. Most gays look back to their first sexual experience as becoming “whole” for the first time–quite similar to heterosexuals. I hear straights and gays all the time express the same sense of “relief” knowing deep down that their orientation is either one or the other or both.

    All drug addictions (please recall this includes alcoholism) can be viewed as a complex with 4 major components, in varying degrees of representation in every addict: social, spiritual, mental and physical. For an addict to fully develop into a drug seeking and drug using individual, these 4 areas have to become flawed, dismantled and malfunctioning–and using addicts form the best example of the old saying “misery loves company”–but this is not laudable or humorous. It’s quite tragic and can help lead to overdose and death of many an addict.

    However, and this is remarkable, the use of drugs, can be arrested, only if the addict wants to stop using and gets the appropriate help in all 4 areas above and an “addict” who stops using drugs can lead a life in recovery. But various important factors have to come together in the right proportions in a fairly systematic way for recovery to result. If any stage is interrupted, the addict will return to using. How can one logically find parallels between these parameters and homosexuality?

    Baha’u’llah forbids the use of mind altering substances and gay sexual relations in order for the society to become improved. Sexual activities among gays is just as discouraged as heterosexual relations outside a legal marriage between a man and a woman. I know drug addicts who are clean and I know many recovering addicts in the Baha’i Faith. Likewise gays who abide by the Baha’i laws in the Baha’i Faith can and do thrive in a community of love and acceptance. The Baha’i Teachings offer a valuable set of alternatives for active drug users and gay sexual activities, but no one, including Baha’u’llah, equates the two human activities as one and the same. Maybe you shouldn’t either. The Baha’i laws call humanity to a higher standard. But I’ve never found a confirmed gay who became Baha’i and fully adopted a heterosexual lifestyle, they become celibate. And that is what older gays become anyway. If some exist, I stand corrected, but it doesn’t deny what I’ve outlined herein.

    The homosexual is not “recruited” but senses deep down, inside herself/himself, that “from the beginning of their life” they felt an “attraction” to the same sex which was developing fully without any outside “stimulation.” No missionaries “convert” people into sex with another member of the same gender identity. (Pederasty is a whole different matter and most child rapist are heterosexuals.) Many gays internally “resist” this interest because society constantly pounds away all the litany of anti-gay sentiment, until it becomes so overwhelming that they blossom into their acceptance of themselves and this makes them whole and honest. It is dishonest for a gay to pretend to be straight. But gay people can and do find peace and reconciliation inside the Baha’i community and these teachings of acceptance and understanding.

    If our role models and their “recruitment” of the “correct” sexual expression were really as cut and dried as you seem to assume, all those celibate nuns would be “converting” a lot more celibate children into celibate adults than they have been (so far) throughout history. Homosexual teachers don’t “teach” straight folks into becoming homosexuals anymore than drug users convert non-users into using addicts. An addict will seek out drugs or allow themselves to become willing to partake because that disease of addiction was already in their makeup–and circumstances had to develop in such a manner that using became possible. But “pushing” drugs on someone is a totally erroneous concept. Making someone get hooked so they’ll have to return to purchase more was an invention of Hollywood—not real life. Real drug users will use even if you beat them, imprison them, cut them off from their kids and their families–nothing (including the most awful and cruel torture) will get an addict to stop using UNTIL THEY DECIDE TO STOP USING ON THEIR OWN VOLITION.

    When you state “it is better to not bring alcohol into social situations in the first place” you are many thousands of years way to late. You should have been around in ancient times when the ancestors began drinking and it became socially acceptable and legal. I’m not supporting the use of drugs (including alcohol) outside legitimate medical usuage but again, likening the social problem consisting of negative consequences from addictive drinking doesn’t belong in the same sentence with gay people having sexual relations. You have brought in oranges and apples and stuck in kleenex, tooth brushes and empty picture frames–they don’t fit.

    If you advocate education for solving drug problems in society, you are getting more helpful and I support your statement: “And that is largely a process of education.” But educating an addict into a change of thinking that can result in a radical change in behavior isn’t the least bit relevant to a discussion of gays and the desires of a bigoted society at large to “force” gays to become something that they aren’t. “Someone convinced against their will, is of the same opinion still.”

    Your most inaccurate statement is glaring: “One can learn to be homosexual just as one can learn to be a drinker.” A problem drug user can not be equated with a homosexual and their sexual fantasies, identity, self esteem and sexual expression. (Drug abusers come in all cultures, colors, religious backgrounds, all genders and sexual preferences.) The developing of reliance on chemicals in drug abuse do not have anything to do with the expression of love and sexual relations between homosexuals. While straights and gays may or may not develop drug problems, some straights are hair dressers and never considered sex with the same gender.

    And in your judgment (I find full of unfounded hopelessness) “some drinkers whose attraction to alcohol is “inborn” or uncontrollable” shows me quite clearly you don’t understand how successful the treatment of drug addictions CAN be. The disease of addiction drives the user to use “uncontrollably” regardless of the negative consequences on their health, family, life style, employment, and many even loose their freedom and are imprisoned (or at worse) die of overdoses or other fatal outcomes, before they might ever get into recovery. Some addicts never achieve recovery. But again, those gays who want to become straight will do so–I haven’t seen one yet, ever, but I’m open minded. Just stop making assumptions that gay people are somehow equivalent to alcoholics, pathetic, unable to control the aspects of their life you feel you have the right to condemn.

    Baha’u’llah calls all humanity into a whole new dimension of human and cultural development.

  10. Sen said

    Thanks Don: you write from the heart and from the shoulder at once.

    You say “I’ve never found a confirmed gay who became Baha’i and fully adopted a heterosexual lifestyle, they become celibate. And that is what older gays become anyway.” At least in the Netherlands, older gay couples, who have been together for many years, are not at all uncommon. By older, I mean, they are still together as they go into retirement, and stay together until one dies. I don’t know whether they become celibate: their sexual activity is none of my business. That’s why I talk about same-sex marriage rather than homosexual marriage.

    I suspect that the picture you outline, of multiple sexual partners in youth followed by celibacy later, would be more prevalent in societies that do not have a legal framework for same-sex marriages, where social acceptance is low, and for those who do not have a religious or ethnic community that accepts same-sex couples. Given sufficient social support, I don’t see why the pattern of life for homosexuals should not be similar to that of heterosexuals: most marry fairly young, and have mixed success in staying together through life.

  11. robert van der hope said

    Dr Donald. Sen’s comments are wise, and I have observed what he has observed. You are rather silly accusing me of sexism because I use *he* instead of *he/she*. I stand by what I said. I neither abuse or accuse anybody. I have observed the problems caused by homosexuality for some people, just as I have seen what sexual problems can do to heterosexuals. I stand by my statement that you can learn to be homosexual, just as you can learn to become bi-sexual. You say that a homosexuals cannot be recruited ? Clearly you you have never been incarcerated in a jail. I stand by my statement, and I keep my homosexual friends and defend their dignity.

  12. Tim Watts said

    I have enjoyed, if that’s right word, this thread. I would point out to the last contributor that in fact one may “learn” to have sex with someone of the same sex and to the lay person this may look like that person is learning to be homosexual. In fact this is not so, I think you will accept that learning the mechanics of sex is different from having a sexual attraction. This latter cannot be learned from my experience. If by some chance I had sex with a woman I would be “learning” how to do this as I am not physically attracted to women. Sexual orientations are theefore not learned…this, I thought, everyone now accepted.

  13. robert van der hope said

    Hi Tim, I sure take your point, but it has been shown in the scientific literature that feminized (lesbian if you want to put it that way) animals in long-term female relationships can revert to normal behavior in an altered environment. In humans it is more complex, because the pituitary and hypothalamus glands may be involved. If therefore (perhaps through a glandular irregularity) a borderline sexual person becomes oriented to homosexuality, that may tip them into the behavioral and cultural environment which is then, as Dr Donald rightly pointed out a very very difficult state to alter – whether acquired or innate. It terribly hard to revert from a homosexual proclivity to a straight one. That’s my whole point. I think it is stretching the bow to breaking point to suggest that Baha’u’llah’s teachings are a preparation for gay and lesbian marriages as well as straight ones. But in any case, if a State allows gay marriages, Baha’is must acknowledge them also. That is only justice. I don’t know precisely the answer to all this, except for us to love and respect each other, regardless of sexuality, and try to understand the situation. The UHJ has made a statement about this matter I believe. But there are some on this blog who have reservations about the UHJ. Personally, I respect their judgement, and when I disagree with them, I express that clearly through the guidelines laid down by Shoghi Effendi. Personally, I think that is the best way to go, so far as one is able. For me, that is easy. For others, much more difficult. I am not my brothers (oops — or sister’s) judge.

  14. Dr. Donald Francis Addison said

    Robert, you can “stand by” any opinion you want, but I have to point out another misapprehension you revealed: YOU WROTE:

    “You say that a homosexuals cannot be recruited ? Clearly you you have never been incarcerated in a jail.”

    Assuming “clearly” that I “have never been incarcerated in a jail” prompts me to ask, with all due respect, why don’t you ask me this first, before levelling, again, another assumption you can’t prove to strengthen your weak and upsupportable stand? If you would have asked me before posting this, I would have happily and enthusiastically answered you honestly. But asking me questions isn’t your problem (and there is room for you to improve in this respect) and in the long run, it makes no difference to me. By not “asking” me, you’ve left yourself and your views suspect and unconvincing, again.

    First off, are you aware of the two totally different, clearly demarked “cultures” of the prison staff on one hand and the prison inmates on another? But don’t treat either as monolithic, they are quite variable and understanding either poses many problems for the scholar, especially studying the phenomena of homosexuality in prisons. And I use the plural form (phenomena) deliberately. And the “two” (which again is a descriptive adjective that is very misleading) express a whole constellation of variability when posed (inmates and prison law enforcement) in their dealings one with another.

    The practice of homosexuality in prisons by inmates is a complex, multi-faceted array of both criminal and anti-social behaviors, but at the same time, for a small minority of men or women, can be a source of strength and a loving nurturing relationship, in spite of society’s hatred and homophobia at large. Prison inmates develop a wide variety of inmate cultures with their own set of “rules” and “enforcement” of their “norms.” And inmate prison cultures are always fluid and ever evolving in trends and smaller sub-divisions that make an accurate assessment all the more difficult at any given time–but none of this will prove your point that prison/jail is an “education” that can “recruit” homosexuals. This just isn’t supported by the facts in the literature.

    You must draw a fine distinction between homosexual as a life-style/identity OR a practice for convenience in a prison inmate population.

    Nothing you have said so far gives me any evidence that your reference to inmate homosexuality supports any of your assumptions. If you “mean” homosexual rape, forced upon a victim of the same sex in the prison, that’s not “education,” that’s illegal sexual abuse which deserves and draws severe penalties, if discovered by corrections officers. Victim’s of homosexual rape while incarcerated rarely if ever develop into well-adjusted gays who “come out” and lead happy, productive, and well-adjusted lives, in or out of prison. No studies by responsible scholars exist to suggest otherwise.

    Most homosexuality in prisons is usually not even expressed in an actual sex act–our of fear and peer pressure and prison policies and fear of greater punishment by the prison system if caught. Many gay couples, male and female, are either “into each other” for companionship or friendship, and in limited cases, actual sexual acts–and by far, the largest percentage of actual sexual activities between two men are sex acts that neither inmate would consider engaging in, if they were not in prison. It’s a crude term but it’s the correct inmate vocabulary word here–they “get their rocks off” with a member of the same sex, because the opposite sex simply isn’t available. Lots of straight men engage in homosexual acts in prison ONLY because it is all “that’s available” and certainly not their “first choice” because most rapes of men by men in prisons are done by straight men–both the “top” (the penetrator) and the “bottom” (one penetrated).

    Only a tiny minority of “men” in prison are openly “fem” or “nelly” and deliberately act feminin and (in their own mind) feel “lucky” to have the “popularity”, but in effect, no inmate or prison staff respects them, really. The “fem” inmate delights in being weird and strange and, ironically, gets “attention” although it’s usually negative attention. This sub-culture of nelly inmates also can’t represent homosexuality “education” and doesn’t turn anyone into a geniune homosexual.

    Authentic, truly gay inmates, with or without any sexual activity in the prison at all, usually are the most “closeted” imaginable. They have to be–to keep from becoming a victim of sexual abuse or worse. Gays are not always segregated for their own welfare in some states. And I’ve even seen young attractive male inmates deliberately put in segragation or hospital wings to protect them from a whole host of dangerous predators. State prisons, while full of deficiencies, sometimes protect the innocent from predators. Most prison officials will go to any extent to prevent rapes, but none of this rises to the level of “homosexual education” and the soliciting you assume goes on in prisons to “convert” straight men into fully well adjusted gay identities.

    So, are you ready for your answer? All you got to do is ask.

  15. robert van der hope said

    Dr Donald, you seem to delight in attacking me on the issues of my style of expression and elucidation of ideas. If I was wrong in my assumption that you have never been incarcerated, all you had to do was to say so. Nevertheless you appear to give a good description of the prison situation, and we must all thank you for that. whether you have thus demonstrated that in all instances, jail or otherwise, that recruitment is impossible is another matter. The understanding of many is that there is a category of undecided young people who are seeking to explore their sexual feelings – one way or another. Their situation may well be related to what I have mentioned in regard to the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus interaction – a connection that both anatomically and physiologically is still only beginning to be fully understood. It is even possible that further study will reveal the full extent of this relationship to homosexuality. The science is certainly not settled. Hypothetically if this association proved to be critical to this behavior, then medical intervention, with the advancement of medical science would be perfectly feasible IF THE PERSON SO WISHED. In the meantime I am perfectly happy with my homosexual friends, but it is not in my power to alter the Baha’i disapproval of the homosexual state I don’t expect that it is an easy decision for some, to remain celibate for example and insofar as they cannot change the way they feel in the foreseeable future, it is regrettable that they are in this position. My personal view is that in general the Baha’i Faith has other considerations that more important than moralizing over this issue in a confrontational way.

  16. Sen said

    it is not in my power to alter the Baha’i disapproval of the homosexual state

    Robert, it is in your power to revise and review your own disapproval of the homosexual state. You could also, if you wished, gently try to reduce the prejudice against homosexuals, in the Bahai community and outside it. What is not in your power, is to elevate your views to ‘the Bahai view.’

  17. Robert wrote: “Dr Donald, you seem to delight in attacking me on the issues of my style of expression and elucidation of ideas.” No Robert, I can’t accept your words here, I’m not “attacking” you nor am I taking any issue with your “style of expression and elucidation of ideas.” Where you make invalid assumptions, that’s where I address the discrepancies I detect. Don’t deflect off the inaccuracies you post and try to redirect a criticism back onto me. I have no goal in attacking you. If you “go there”, I now express concern that you reconsider exactly what I’m saying, rather than a re-appraisal that avoids correcting misconceptions and lack of knowledge among the populations about which we discuss. I am not attacking you so try to put that assumption of yours aside. If we can discuss without personalizing statements, this discussion will be fruitful. A fruitful discussion can profit everyone, so thank you SEN for your blog on same-sex marriage.

    What I am focusing on are the lack of accuracy in WHAT Robert states and I am trying to redirect away from the inaccuracies in your appraisal of these issues and replace these with accurate facts. A discussion of your IDEAS is not an attack on you for writing these ideas. Don’t personalize anything I say. Personalizing is a form of deflection and in prison inmate populations, this is a common feature of criminal thinking–a term of collected and assembled common denominators found among recitavistic offender inmate populations. This is all abundantly well documented in a vast literature available many places.

    Robert wrote: “many young people have had poor sexual training, or education (which is the fault of the religious of all persuasion, Bahais included, and most secularists), and this can result in a poor relationship with the opposite sex”. This “poor sexual training” has not at all been defined or clearly identified or even supported in your writing, and when you attribute this “poor sexual training” as a “reason” for mal-adjusted interest and then a lack of a sexual attraction to the opposite sex, you don’t help your case with logic or the facts. When children all over the globe begin to develop into adults, their developing sexuality is a long process, with many varied influences, taking many turns and twists, both internal and external.

    A very large amount of the gay populations I have worked with for many years voice a very similar internal ever increasing and developing awareness that they can’t ignore and in which they KNOW (from a very early or young age) that they are attracted to members of the same sex, (in direct contradiction to all the massive messages they’ve been hearing, messages of homophobic bigotry at all levels of society) so when the conditions develop in just the right proportions and a first “willing partner” (not a prison rape) indicates a mutual attraction AND interest in initiating a sexual act, the two move into a new direction, into that “new experience” which they explore (both bringing a varieties of “expression” and the giving and accepting of what they each interpret as “pleasure”) based upon a whole host of preconceptions, interests, curiosity, physical attraction, background, peer pressure, or a personal decision to ignore (at least temporarily) the peer pressure against sexual expression between two members of the same sex. If ONE of the participants really “isn’t into the other person”–this may be the first and last sexual experience with anyone of the same sex (and this was only experimental and meant nothing) OR this person may re-think their internal “radar” toward developing an appetite for more, and then wishing for sex with someone of a pleasing physical look, rather than just “someone” of the “same sex.” So aesthetics or a person’s views of “beauty” or “good looks” is also a developing factor very important internally to any genuine homosexual. Every human develops their sense of “good looks” purely on the basis of their own interests, background, experience and many more factors. This aspect of gay sexual expression is not something that develops because their religious or secular community has failed them. This interest can rarely (if ever) be forced (as in rape) but not “taught” by a religious or secular community or teacher. You haven’t mentioned this aspect of “attraction” at all–that’s not me saying you’re a bad person–that’s me saying your facts you offer are flawed and lead you to misapprehensions.

    One “development” of homosexuality at a young age, before sexuality is even a topic of interest, is a very young boy who begins to notice the whiskers, beards, moustaches of men, he grows to admire this, and decides what he can accept as “attractive” and others he categorizes as “unattractive.” Advertising and television and internet are among the many sources that help shape a young person’s development of what “looks” in another, they begin to “admire” —but they are sometimes predictable. (Some say “I only like red hair” or “I will only have sex with a blond” or “someone tall” or “someone thin and shorter than me” and on and on.) He’s not forced into noticing and developing an attraction to another male’s looks, but in a very powerful and internal way, he’s creating inside his own mind, what he begins to sense in his physical development–an attraction to physical “types” in time, and earlier and before this, most all boys develop an interest in shaving and begin to notice masculine things with which he identifies–playing ball, competition and success at it, running faster than others, etc.

    These processes are all (but not confined to) physical, mental and psychological and all quite natural. If the boy slowly but with ever increasing regularity becomes attracted physically to what he sees in other men, this supports his growing identity but won’t determine whether he becomes gay or straight. Lots of men like their masculinity and this helps them all the more become sexually attracted to the female population. Whether a boy develops a sexual attraction to other men or to women is a hugely complicated multi-faceted process and can’t possibly be written off as “lack of proper education” or the “fault of religions and secular institutions” of society. If the “exertion” of “pressure” to conform to society’s “norms” and this were sufficient to keep straights from becoming gays, then Iran’s murdering of gays would be (God forgive) the “answer” but Hitler couldn’t “kill them all” either. I have tracked a lot of gays in prison who NEVER disclose this to anyone in the whole prison, and told me that I was the only one they ever shared this information with so I felt honored with this level of trust in which they saw me. So pressures to stay in the “closet” are extremely powerful in some segments of society. How can anyone, in light of this, attribute the attraction to sex with an attractive member of the same sex as merely a “lack” of adequate religious and secular teachings, peer pressure, “education” and the like. That type of stand ignores all the authentic internal, psychological, physiological, and social factors that exert their influences upon a develoing gay identity.

    Robert, now I took at your following words, and I can’t believe my eyes: How can you say this? ROBERT WROTE: “(which is the fault of the religious of all persuasion, Bahais included, and most secularists)” How can you lump all together all religious and secular populations to try to fit them into one monolithic population whom you accuse of “failing” to keep youths from developing into gays?

    I think you fail to defend your stand by this accusation that religious and secularists fail to give proper sexual education. And no one can support a view that homosexuality results from “improper” or “lack of acceptable” sexual education and then blame this on BOTH religions and secularism. The vast diversity of religious and secular approaches to homosexuality in the world is so incredibly differentiated, no one can blame gayness here either. Religions and secular institutions are so incredibly divergent and display a dizzying array of all aspects of sexuality.

    I lovingly invite you (without being patronistic) to consider a totally different trajectory here: Baha’i education of their young is multifaceted and differs from culture to culture because Baha’u’llah did not design the Baha’i Faith to be fostered (or characterized) by any one cultural grouping on the planet. He grew up in Persia with Persian parents speaking Persian and Arabic, but the Baha’i Faith is not a Persian religion. Although some Persian Baha’is have dispersed into many places all over the globe, most have relocated to escape bitter oppression of the Baha’i Faith which is openly insulted outlawed in Iran. Baha’u’llah’s laws and teachings, it is significant to clarify, did not develop or become generated out of His own cultural matrix. Much of His teachings stand in direct contrast to many aspects of the Persian society out of which He came. The Baha’i stand on homosexuality is not culture-bound harkening back to Persian society and history.

    Gays are not discriminated against by Baha’is, by Baha’i Institutions or the Baha’i Sacred Texts. Sexual relations between any non-married couples (a man and a woman) are discouraged and illegal in Baha’i law. Baha’is universally teach their children to accept members of all races, religions, ethnic cultures and identities and that when they grow up, a man and a woman who decide to possibly get married must acquire the explicit permission of both living parents in order to marry their prospective partner. Further, the “Kitab-i-Aqdas” specifically forbids the use of “boys”–which has been interpreted by the lawful authoritative interpreters and institutions of the Baha’i Faith as an actual forbidding of sexual relations between members of the same sex, whether males or females. And all of this is to prepare humanity and help this ever advancing civilization to flower into a whole new golden age in the future which will be as different from life in today’s world as today’s life is different from two centuries ago, or two thousand years ago. It’s impossible to guess what folks will do in the future, but we can talk about today’s world.

    So Baha’is who openly engage in sexual activities with members of either the opposite or the same sex AND who reflect negatively on the whole community of Baha’is CAN loose their voting rights. It isn’t excommunication but for some Baha’is, the loss of voting rights can be a great motivator to change their thinking and behavior. Only Baha’is “in good standing” can vote for the members of their local and national spiritual assemblies, the secret-ballot elected “committees” who administer the Baha’i organizations and communities. Loosing one’s voting rights doesn’t alter or erase one’s internal attraction to the same sex, but it can exert a positive influence on stopping the sexual behavior (while openly professing the Baha’i Faith and all its activities and teachings) so that a gay person (once celibate) can and do regain their voting rights within the Baha’i community. If a drinker stops ingesting alcohol, if an addict stops consuming drugs, if a potential bigot can overcome their prejudices, all of these, and more, becomes part of the conversion process all go through when they grow more deeply in their knowledge of the Baha’i teachings and an increasing identification with the community associated with the Name of Baha’u’llah. They find a greater joy in being a fully recognized Baha’i “in good standing” than in breaking the Baha’i laws.

    However, these are only a very few aspects of Baha’i community actions and concepts, which vary remarkably from other religions. So when you lump all religions together, you weaken the stand you are trying to sustain. In Iran today, gays are routinely whipped drawing blood in the wounds, imprisoned, raped, and even hanged. The Shi’i religious government and clergy of Iran grossly violates the human rights of gays. That’s not going to make homosexuality go away–what it does is magnify the pain and the loss and the despair of the families left behind when a gay is hanged and their friends and associates suffer sadness and loss as well. And even larger on a global level, Iran’s lack of human rights and the cruelty of the government is widely disseminated all over the planet.

    Robert, lastly, don’t throw back at me the challenge I offered you in a respectful manner. I had asked you not to make assumptions about me without asking me the appropriate question to begin with. I am hurt you’d say “If I was wrong in my assumption that you have never been incarcerated, all you had to do was to say so.” YOU made an assumption without asking me (that I might have been incarcerated) and redirected your focus to criticize me for NOT offering (unasked) information I didn’t yet know you might want to read or have.

    I believe that Baha’u’llah has offered a richly rewarding Message and in that Message all shades of discussions of any aspects of human societies can be studied, understood and appreciated. Baha’u’llah didn’t “write” what “caused” homosexuality–NO ONE AT THAT TIME THOUGHT TO ASK HIM.

  18. Sen said

    Donald, you said “the “Kitab-i-Aqdas” specifically forbids the use of “boys”–which has been interpreted by the lawful authoritative interpreters and institutions of the Baha’i Faith as an actual forbidding of sexual relations between members of the same sex, whether males or females.”

    I’m not up to speed on this issue. Could you tell me whether there has actually been a ruling from the UHJ as to whether this applies to a legally married couple of the same sex? Are they expected to be celibate within the marriage, to divorce, or is it “don’t tell we won’t ask?”

  19. robert van der hope said

    Sen, my last reply to Donald, which was a summation of my point of view, despite Donald’s wealth of information and attempt at repudiation of my understandings, has not as yet appeared. Perhaps that is partly due to the exchange of sarcasms, [ …] . It is of course true that we get nowhere by the use of sarcastic criticism or personal animosity (quite un-Baha’i-like you will agree). For my part I apologise for any of that.

    I would like to point out though that many scientific hypotheses were rejected in the past by science, including the cure of scurvy by vitamin C, and beri-beri by vitamin B1. With the advent of nano-science and technology it is very possible that if homosexuality is shown to have a genuine anatomical and/or physiological basis, (which many believe) that this condition may be reversed through future medical technology. There may always however be those who wish not to avail themselves of any such future possibilities, and that is their right to so choose. Lifestyle choice should remain the prerogative of the individual. – Robert.

  20. Dr. Donald Francis Addison said

    Robert wrote:

    “Sen, my last reply to Donald, which was a summation of my point of view, despite Donald’s wealth of information and attempt at repudiation of my understandings, has not as yet appeared.”

    First, I’m at a loss to determine what is the actual subject of this sentence? What “has not as yet appeared”? Is a request for me to write something about his “summation of my point of view” implied here? It’s difficult to tell.

    Second, why does Robert write this accusation I “make an attempt at repudiation” of your “understandings”? Then Robert attempts a compliment in the same breath— “despite Donald’s wealth of information”—and these two juxtaposed notions display a “passive-aggressive” taunt, and it feels like Robert is trying to edge me into some type of argument. I don’t do arguments. Is this really how Robert wants to appear?

    Third, while accusing me of an “attempt at repudiation of my (Robert’s) understandings”, please tell me what “has not as yet appeared”?

    Fourth: Are my (Don’s) “repudiations” (as Robert now hypothesizes) “Perhaps that is partly due to the exchange of sarcasms”? Offering no proof, why am I accused of sarcasm? Or when Robert wrote “despite Donald’s wealth of information”—how can that “wealth of information” now become “exchange of sarcasms”? I can’t follow any logic here. What is it? A “wealth of information” or an “exchange of sarcasms”? I feel I’m being attacked and deliberately accused of something because I haven’t engaged in further postings?

    Robert then says Don’s “use of sarcastic criticism or personal animosity (quite un-Baha’i-like you will agree)” is an accusation I’m not acting in accordance with Baha’i what? Teachings? Robert has no right to say I’m “quite un-Baha’i-like”. This has now moved into a direct attack of me and I’m not going to allow Robert to edge me into a defense of myself. I won’t allow anyone to “rent free space in my head”—I’m not going to attack Robert back nor will I accuse Robert that his actions are “quite un-Baha’i-like”—-who can justify saying such a criticism?

    I’m just not going to allow these accusations to drag me into an argument. Baha’u’llah urged His followers to “Compose your differences” (Kitab-i-Aqdas, parag. 70) and for me to insult Robert in return doesn’t interest me in the least. Baha’u’llah wrote “Let none contend with another” (Kitab-i-Aqdas, parag. 73) so when I read these contentious remarks of Robert’s, I refuse to contend with him on the same level, in return.

    Fifth, Robert wrote: “it is very possible that if homosexuality is shown to have a genuine anatomical and/or physiological basis”. No one has ever successfully demonstrated being gay results from some “genuine anatomical” or “physiological basis.” This is simply conjecture.

    Sixth, “medical technology” has never yet offered gays the option that “this condition may be reversed”. Again this is so full of sheer conjecture, it doesn’t fortify anything Robert said.

    Now he contends “Lifestyle choice should remain the prerogative of the individual” but on earlier postings, he likened it to the disorder of alcoholism. The use of alcohol by the alcoholic is a symptom of the disease of alcoholism. How can the end to consuming alcohol by an alcoholic be a lifestyle change comparable to a gay becoming straight?

  21. Sen said

    Don, Robert was referring to a comment he submitted to this blog, which I did not publish. His words “sarcastic criticism or personal animosity (quite un-Baha’i-like you will agree)” refer to a kind of discussion to be avoided. I agree – so much so that I did not publish it!

  22. Dr. Donald Francis Addison said

    Dear Sen,

    Thank you for your kind reply and objective approach. You moderate this blog in a very fair manner, and I appreciate that.

    I apologize for my not yet privately addressing my earlier reference to “boys” in the Aqdas, and subsequent administrative guidance and deeper understanding that you asked me to provide. I’m looking for my notes on this, good information which I’d like to share with you on this topic.

    Robert, in item 19, does seem to be published for all to read, am I wrong?
    I quote it below, within these addition signs:

    19. robert van der hope said
    May 1, 2010 at 3:48 am

    Sen, my last reply to Donald, which was a summation of my point of view, despite Donald’s wealth of information and attempt at repudiation of my understandings, has not as yet appeared. Perhaps that is partly due to the exchange of sarcasms, [ …] . It is of course true that we get nowhere by the use of sarcastic criticism or personal animosity (quite un-Baha’i-like you will agree). For my part I apologise for any of that.


    What was not “published”? Remarks of Robert’s or a response from me, to his accusation of my using “sarcstic criticism or personal animosity (quite un-Baha’i-like …) ….” ?

    By the way? How do you pronounce your name “Sen”? Is it similar to American English “Sean”? [Shawn] ?

    And I’ve always read about the many older/aging gay couples in Holland who seem happy together, but a great many also live here in the US in spite of the negative climate against gays by federal and state governments (and statutes) and the extreme homophobic climate that is still very prevalent in both the rural and urban populations in the US. It isn’t as bad as the Anita Bryant days and her campaign, but that residue heritage is still prevalent in the far Christian right—and alarmingly powerful and persuasive.



  23. Sen said

    Thanks Don, but I don’t really want to be moderating a discussion forum here! As you can see from this thread, it quickly gets complicated, it’s time consuming (if I stop to think what I’m dong!) and in any case forum set-ups are better for that than blog comments.

    What was not published was a reply to you, from Robert. I still have it, and if he or anyone else wants someting I’ve not published, they can send me an email and I’ll send their own text to them – which they can then publish on their own blog, or on a forum or email list.

    If you look closely, you’ll find Robert wasn’t accusing you specifically of sarcastic criticsm etc.., – I think he was rather trying to raise the tone, and included an apology for his own part in it. And if we start talking about the rights and worngs of THAT, we get even more off-topic, there’s no end to meta-discussion.

    Sen is pronounced “Sen.” Imagine you were trying to say “Zen”, through gritted teeth, while grinning like a maniac for the camera.

  24. robert van der hope said

    Sen, you have displayed wisdom in defusing the aggravation of this debate. It is a difficult subject. May I present an overview of some of the science involved:

    D.F. Swaab conducted the next noteworthy experiment in 1990. This experiment became the first to document a physiological difference in the anatomical structure of a gay man’s brain. Swaab found in his post-mortem examination of homosexual males’ brains that a portion of the hypothalamus of the brain was structurally different than a heterosexual brain. The hypothalamus is the portion of the human brain directly related to sexual drive and function. In the homosexual brains examined, a small portion of the hypothalamus, termed the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), was found to be twice the size of its heterosexual counterpart [2].

    Simon LeVay conducted another experiment regarding the hypothalamus of the human brain in 1991. LeVay, like Swaab and Allen also did a post-mortem examination on human brains; however, he did his examinations on patients who had died from AIDS-related illnesses. He examined 19 declared homosexual man, with a mean age of 38.2, 16 presumed heterosexual men, with a mean age of 42.8, and 6 presumed heterosexual women, with a mean age of 41.2 [3]. LeVay discovered that within the hypothalamus, the third interstitial notch of the anterior hypothalamus (INAH3) was two to three times smaller in homosexual men then in heterosexual men. The women examined also exhibited this phenomenon. LeVay concluded the “homosexual and heterosexual men differ in the central neuronal mechanisms that control sexual behavior”, and like Allen and Swaab, agreed that this difference in anatomy was no product of upbringing or environment, but rather prenatal cerebral development and structural differentiation [2].

    Another line of testing done to support the biological perspective are neuroendocrine studies. The neuroendocrine viewpoint’s basic hypothesis is that sexual orientation is determined by the early levels (probably prenatal) of androgen on relevant neural structures [7]. If highly exposed to these androgens, the fetus will become masculinized, or attracted to females. This research was conducted on rats at Stanford. The adult female rats that received male-typical levels of androgens sufficiently early in development exhibited male symptoms of attraction. The same was true in the reverse when applied to the male subjects. The female exposed to high levels of the hormone exhibited high levels of aggression and sexual drive toward other females, eventually trying to mount the other females in an act of reproduction. In the males, the subject who received deficient levels of androgen became submissive in matters of sexual drive and reproduction and were willing to receive the sexual act of the other male rat [7].

    Jean Foucault argues, “…homosexuality became because we made it so” [11]. Foucault says that the category of homosexuality itself was only created a mere one hundred years ago, after a German neologism coined some twenty years later. Foucault gives root to the social derivation of homosexuality believing that homosexuality appeared as one of the forms of sexuality, only “after it was transposed from the practice of sodomy into a kind of interior androgyny, a hermaphrodism of the soul” [10]. The theorists believe that the homosexual had been an aberration, and had then become a species, justifying itself with a new word.

    … We have examined many causes for homosexuality in the preceding pages, both biological and social. And although an interesting topic of debate, no one theory or experiment leads to a definitive answer. Some believe that the characters found on Xq28 are the Holy Grail of homosexuality research, the elusive ‘gay gene’. Others may place stock in the theories of Foucault and Halperin. Perhaps Simon LeVay did reveal to us that anatomy is the key to understanding the difference in sexual orientation. Perhaps there is no one answer, that sexual orientation, whether homosexual or heterosexual; gay, straight, lesbian, or bisexual, all are a cause of a complex interaction between environmental, cognitive, and anatomical factors, shaping the individual at an early age.

    [1] APA Online. “Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality”. Online. 11 April 2003. Available

    [2] “Biological Basis for Homosexuality.” Online. 8 April 2003. Available

    [3] Bull, James J. and Pease, Craig M. “Biological Correlates of Being Gay” Online. 11 April 2003. Available

    [4] Fujita, Frank. “The Nature-Nurture Controversy.” Online. 8 April 2003. Available

    [5] Hoback, Wyatt. “Lecture 21. Sociality.” Online. 11 April 2003. Available

    [6] Moberly, Elizabeth R. Homosexuality: A New Christian Ethic. James Clarke and Co.; Cambridge, MA, 1983.

    [7] Pillard, Richard. “NPR Letters on the Biological Basis of Homosexuality.” Online. 8 April 2003. Available npr_letters_on_the_biological_ba.htm

    [8] Sullivan, Andrew. Virtually Normal: an Argument about Homosexuality. Alfred A. Knopf; New York, NY, 1995.

    [9] Thompson and Devine. “Homosexuality: Biologically or Environmentally Constructed?” Online. 8 April 2003. Available

    [10] Thorp, John. “The Social Construction of Homosexuality.” Online. 8 April 2003. Available

    [11] Taylor, Tim. “Current Theories on the Genesis of Homosexuality.” Online. 11 April 2003. Available
    Copyright © 1999-2003, AllPsych and Heffner Media Group, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Last Updated April 28, 2004

    [edited to remove duplications – Sen]

  25. Clint said

    Um, no, this is not a “difficult subject”. I’m a gay man. I have a partner of the same sex as me. We have a home together and are very happy. If God doesn’t like it, then why has God blessed us so much, and blessed others through us? Our gay, partnered friends also have happy, hospitable and inclusive homes that are blessings to everyone, gay and straight, who come into their lives. If God does not “approve” then why all the joy and blessings, and hospitality and warmth and all the rest? Gay people who have tried to have sexual intimacy and build homes in the “approved” way with partners of the opposite sex almost always wind up divorced, and the whole situation becomes traumatic and suffering ensues. This obviously shows us that such a thing is not meant to be and may perhaps be an abomination.

    Again, this is not difficult, it is very obvious. If the obvious facts of the situation do not gel with scriptures, then it must be that the scriptures are not understood correctly, or the author is not infallible.

  26. Robert wrote on April 20:

    “the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus interaction – a connection that both anatomically and physiologically is still only beginning to be fully understood.”

    I have seen no evidence that any such “interaction” or “connection” has ever been demonstrated with regards to whether a developing young person becomes gay or not. Nothing has been “understood” from this discussion yet. This is such a formidable “leap”—we just can’t accept such a “connection” exists because some people want to believe it.

    Robert further wrote on April 20:

    “It is even possible that further study will reveal the full extent of this relationship to homosexuality.”

    Stating it is “even possible” and “will reveal” are both still unproven. That means there is nothing “possible” nor has anything been revealed to prove that the development of a homosexual orientation can be attributed to any physical or anatomical developmental causes. What brain cells “cause” homosexuality?

    Robert added on April 20: “The science is certainly not settled.”

    I totally agree, but no one with any credibility can state with any empirical proof that the science “is” settled. So this tells us nothing new.

    Robert finally wrote on April 20: “Hypothetically if this association proved to be critical to this behavior, then medical intervention, with the advancement of medical science would be perfectly feasible IF THE PERSON SO WISHED.”

    This sounds very similar to the old pseudo sciences that plagued the work of Samuel Morton in the 1840s and scores of others. He measured brain volume by dumping buckshot into skulls of Native Americans in order to prove the assumed correlation between brain size and civilized behavior and higher levels of mental excellence. He believed North American Euroamericans displayed the highest level of civilization, culture and intellectual abilities based upon physical traits he “tried” to “prove”. He set out to demonstrate (even though his evidence led him elsewhere) that Euroamericans were smarter and more civilized because they were caucasian with bigger skull volume. Native Americans were incapable of higher intelligence and civilized culture because their skin color was not white and their brain volumes smaller. Of course, Morton found some Native American skulls (especially in some Southwestern tribes) larger than all European and Euroamericans but he deliberately left them out of his study (he published as “Crainia Americana”) and replaced them with Inca skulls from Peru–and Peru isn’t located in North America–but that didn’t stop him. He did this deliberately because Inca skulls were smaller (due to environmental adaptions) when compared with Euroamerican skulls of North America. Morton manipulated his studies and managed to “fit” his data and his “findings” to support the current anti-Native American sentiments and assumptions by whites in his day.

    Just exactly as Robert talks about all these “possible” correlations between homosexual orientation development with anatomical phenomena, Morton tried to attribute superior intelligence with Euroamerican caucasions–Native Americans and their ancestors, therefore, could not possibly have been intelligent to have been the builders of all those incredible earthen mounds of the Mississippian (and the earlier Woodlands or Hopewellian) cultures. White folks especially admired the grandeur of Cahokia’s ancient metropolis of earthen mounds (near St. Louis, MO) but were so beguiled by “possible” scientific evidence, that never came to light, no one dared to attribute the earthen mound structures to Native Americans.

    But Cyrus Thomas got funding from congress in 1879 and proved beyond any doubt, that Native American’s ancestors were indeed the earthen mound builders. Samuel Morton’s hypothetical theories were debunked from lack of empirical evidence—and Robert’s statements remind me of Samuel Morton’s—just exchange “homosexual leanings” with “brain size” or “civilized culture” or “innate higher intelligence” of Euroamericans.

    Robert assumed “then medical intervention, with the advancement of medical science would be perfectly feasible IF THE PERSON SO WISHED.” So Robert “agrees” that some gays want to remain gay and wouldn’t. OK. However, with or without these capital letters as a bow to the confirmed homosexual, any notion of “medical intervention” to “cure” the homosexual or reverse these inclinations and transform them into happy little heterosexuals frankly sounds offensive and closer to the ghastly Nazi medical “cures”–which we now call the lowest medical achievements in history. These Nazi “experiments” and Robert’s “medical interventions” sound way to similar for comfort. I realize most straight people would like to manipulate gays “into their own image” and force them “to conform” but this notion of an application of medical science to reverse that “thing” that makes one gay and not straight still alludes all medical science.

    Even more importantly, nothing in the Baha’i Writings suggest the an anatomical “cause” in developing a homosexual orientation. There are no brain cells that can be isolated which transforms their victim into gay. But what the Baha’i Writings abundantly urge is the elimination of all prejudices.

  27. robert van der hope said

    Thank you Donald for your reply. The current and most recent genuine scientific information that I am aware of is as follows: D.F. Swaab in 1990 documented a physiological difference in the anatomical structure of the heterosexual and homosexual brain. Swaab found that a portion of the hypothalamus (the suprachiasmatic nucleus) was twice as large in the gay brain than in the heterosexual samples. Laura S. Allen made a similar discovery, finding that the anterior commissure of the hypothalamus was significantly larger in homosexual subjects. Simon LeVay also found differences in the hypothalamus. These changes appeared to be “pre-natal”, and therefore not the result of later environmental factors. However an environmental factor is posited by a study at Stanford University where it was found that animals (rats in this instance) exposed to high levels of androgens in the fetus, became masculinized. Adult females who received high levels of androgens “sufficiently early in their development” exhibited male symptoms of attraction. OK, these were animal studies, but I think there is some scientific relevance here. the pollution of our food and water includes in many instances, hormonal pollution, and there is evidence in American rivers and streams, to give one example, of fish exhibiting sexual changes. We know also that many young human females have abnormal early development of breast tissue. This may possibly be also due to hormonal environmental pollution, as well as other factors. Other studies have found characteristics present on gene Xq28 that may be implicated in homosexuality. Nano technology in the future will be capable of altering human physiology and biochemistry, hopefully in a positive way that people can choose – by delivering specific treatments for example to cancerous tissue, and by modifying various structures such as the ear and the eye, or other organs. None of this has anything to do with Nazi racism, hatred or eugenics. I am certainly not one of those people who are obsessed by any desire to turn gay people into “straight”. That is not my position at all. It is not my wish to be judgmental. My initial comments concerning the effect of pubs and clubs would be the same for heterosexuals. Certain environments are conducive to “immoral” behaviors, and may not be helpful if seeking to change one’s thinking or attitudes. Many social clubs have a positive role to play, let me say, and I am not against them as such, I am just trying to help any gay person or heterosexual person, present or future, to consider the reality of their situation in a way that they can find acceptable, from a physiological, social and religious perspective. If medical science has a role in this, then we should know about it. The choice, as I said, should still be the prerogative of the individual. As Baha’is we are expected not to be negatively criticizing of others, but to look to our own concerns.

  28. Jas said

    Hi, thank you for this post. I was wondering if you have the english name of the tablet from Abdu’l Baha that you quoted, or some link to it.
    Thank you

  29. Sen said

    Hi Jas,

    Cole has called it “On the House of Justice and Baha’i Jurisprudence”. I have called it the tablet “on religious law and the House of Justice.” Most of the tablets of Abdu’l-Baha do not have generally agreed English titles. See the posting on this tablet for a full translation.

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