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Mark Tobey (1890-1976),

famous artist, dedicated and devout Baha'i, was gay. His life and work were commemorated.. More

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Discussion > Gay Baha'i interviewed in German magazine

Here's a loose English translation :

A few years ago I resigned from the church and converted to the Baha'i faith. Baha'is believe that the Divine for humans is not clear but is revealed through spiritual personalities in different cultures and eras. These figures include not only Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Baha'i faith, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna, and the founders of other religions.

The aim of the Baha'i Revelation is the unity of mankind in diversity. Bahai not proselytize why. They recognize the other religions unconditionally and enter into a dialogue with them. You want to build a peaceful and united society of people in all their diversity.
These views and the lived spirituality in the form of simple devotions, prayers, meditations and the service of the people told me too much. In a pretty young church I learned to better understand the scriptures, to broaden my horizons to develop myself spiritual, human and intellectual further. Soon I also took over functions in the community. I became a member of spiritual councils, even once chairman of such Council. It was a wonderful time.

But I could never resolve a conflict: I'm gay - gay Bahais but may not live their sexuality. I should seek therapeutic help me and take steps towards heterosexuality, I was advised. They gave me writings of religious figures from the 1950s to read, where homosexuality is described as a disease as a disorder, as a perversion of human nature.

However, the Baha'is believe that religion and science are to enter into a harmonious relationship. If the religious teachings contain something that is contrary to science, it must be revised. This is a fundamental principle of the Baha'i faith. And while it is being applied in other areas, it is ignored when it comes to homosexuality.

Due to some failed relationships with men I took the writings on homosexuality unfortunately very much to heart. I began to think that the problems in the gay community had its basis in homosexuality. I began to see myself as a perversion of human nature. For two years I denied myself and tried to develop feelings that I had not. Every time I saw an attractive man, I told myself that it was wrong to feel that way. I hated myself.

Fortunately, I finally met capable therapists who advised me, myself, so assume I am. So I began again more open with my homosexuality. I also told them some Bahai and only learned tolerant to very positive reactions. However, some of the religious leaders advised me not to serve within the community. Above all, I should not conduct children's classes and youth groups. The highest national body, the National Council, called on me in a letter not to participate in activities for children.

I was shocked and hurt. Was that the much-vaunted unity in diversity? The abolition of prejudice? The harmony of science and religion?

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I sought contact with other lesbian and gay Bahai. I found them online. Tucked away. Injured. Excluded. The website gaybahai.net lists some of their stories. There are stories of pain, suffering and self-hatred - fueled by a religion that is committed to the aim of reducing prejudice and to create unity in diversity.

At the moment I consider myself as an agnostic rather than a believer. Much of the Bahai I see now critical. Even my connection to spirituality, religion and belief, I have lost, weakened to God. I guess I should leave the Bahai, on the other hand I love and appreciate my community.

I still believe that the Baha'i religion has great potential to contribute good in the world. But first she must be self-critical and its principles match with their dogmas. You must finally the issue of homosexuality the same openness have placed such other topics as well.

The author writes under a pseudonym. His real name is known to the editors.

This post is part of our series who believes it. We continue to look forward to your contributions - please e-mail to leseraufruf@zeit.de, Subject "faith."
December 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterModerator