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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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It's hard to express what's in my heart regarding my love for Baha'u'llah and how His community has evolved regarding the subject of gay and lesbian Baha'is. I've been a Baha'i for 38 years, served in many different capacities in the Baha'i community. Basically, the Faith was my life and the very breath of my soul. Coming out as a gay man after many years of suffering in silence was the second greatest liberating event in my life. Accepting Baha'u'llah as my Lord and Savior was the first. Baha'u'llah will always be my Lord, but I could no longer be associated with the prejudice and ignorance that runs rampant throughout the Baha'i community regarding homosexuality. Locked in a "1950's' mindset about this subject, I realized that no amount of reasoning, scientific research, or empirical evidence will ever convince the "Powers that be", that gay and lesbian Baha'is are loved by Baha'u'llah, should be accepted into His community just as they are, should be allowed to marry their life partners and be active participants in developing Baha'u'llah's Vision of a unified world based on love and compassion. With a very heavy heart I now realize that the healthiest thing for any gay and lesbian Baha'i to do is simply become inactive in the community. It will take a few more generations of Baha'is to finally make the change. Already, you can see that the young people of the world are demanding equal rights for their gay and lesbian friends. The young people of the world look upon all religious movements that don't accept gays and lesbians as out of touch, and living in the dark ages. Today, unlike when I was young, almost every young person knows gay people. They are their friends, relatives, parents, school teachers, and "American Idols". They embrace these people with love and equality, never questioning the validity of any gay persons right to "Be". My feeling is that until the Faith steps into the 21st Century regarding this subject, it will continue to be viewed by the non-Baha'i world as odd, strange, fringe, and hypocritical. A Faith that teaches the Oneness of Mankind and the Elimination of Prejudice and the Harmony of Science and Religion and yet believes that homosexuality is a defect that can be overcome with prayer and medical assistance? What??? That is a religion that seems to be speaking out of both sides of it's mouth. The young people can see right through it. And, without young people NO organization can last.

Bill

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