Posted by: samandal | January 15, 2011

Bahá’í Unitarianism, I

Day of the Regency

The Unitarian Universalist Association is a North American association of Unitarian congregations, the largest organization of its kind worldwide. Unitarians commonly draw their beliefs from more than one religious or philosophical tradition; they may therefore identify with Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islám, the Bahá’í Faith, or any tradition that appeals to them. The Unitarian Universalist Association espouses liberal religious values, the free search for spiritual truth, and a profound commitment to social justice and public witness. In addition, the UUA also recognizes many organizations—such as the Unitarian Universalist Buddhist Fellowship, the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship, and Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness—as independent affiliates and theological resources.

The Unitarian Bahai Association is a nascent alignment and organization for liberal Bahá’ís—many of whom are already active members of the Unitarian Universalist Association—who wish to explore the Bahá’í Faith within the context of their liberal religious convictions.

There are, naturally, some significant differences in belief and practice between the democratic, liberal, inclusive and truly universalist approach of the Unitarian Bahai Association and the approach of the Bahá’í International Community of Haifa and ‘Akká. Among the most significant are the integration, inclusion, and acceptance of gay and lesbian people as full and equal members; the complete equality and full participation of women; and the full encouragement and development of multiple religious affiliations—all in accord with the principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Bahá’u’lláh defined the Bahá’í house of worship (mashriqu’l-adhkár) as any building that had been erected for the remembrance of God. Members of the Unitarian Bahai Association regard Unitarian houses of worship as Bahá’í mashriqu’l-adhkárs. In the authentic Bahá’í spirit of interfaith reconciliation, members of the UBA are not required to disavow their membership in their current religious communities in order to affiliate themselves with the Unitarian Bahai Association.