Posted by: samandal | December 21, 2010

The Tradition of Lovers, I

Hajj of the Báb

In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Bahá’u’lláh forbade pederasty (liwát). Shoughí Effendí Rabbání, in a letter written on his behalf, interpreted this to imply a general prohibition on all forms of homosexuality.

Shoughí Effendí defined his own infallibility as confined solely to the interpretation and application of scripture and the protection of the Faith. It did not extend to economics, science or technical matters; unlike the Manifestations of God, he was not “omniscient at will.” There is no basis to conclude that the statements of an international House of Justice (or, indeed, the statements of a national House of Justice) are infallible in any relevant sense.

The Guardian insisted on a distinction between the letters he wrote himself and those written on his behalf by his secretaries. Though his secretaries generally conveyed his thoughts and instructions and the letters usually received his assent and approval, the authority of these letters is confined entirely to the interpretation of the scriptures and the protection of the Faith.

It would be unreasonable to give more weight to the words of a secretary written in response to a local situation than to the stated text of the scriptures and the actual practice of Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoughí Effendí. When the Guardian had an important message to convey, and when he gave an authoritative interpretation of scripture, he wrote a general letter addressed to all the Bahá’ís throughout the West, or to all the Bahá’ís throughout Iran. He did not, however, wish Bahá’ís to treat the words written on his behalf by his secretaries as possessed of the same authority as his own letters: they are authoritative for the person to whom they are addressed in the situation in question, but they were not intended to establish general principles universally applicable to particular situations.