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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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Gay and proud

I joined the Baha'i Faith in my early 20s, being attracted to its message of universal peace and justice. But I was repressing my own sexuality and looking to escape into religion. I dropped out a few years later after I overcame the shame of being gay and am now in my 40z happily married to my husband. As long as the Baha'i administration continues to hold retrograde views about homosexuality, it will never grow. People who believe in racial, religious, and gender equality are naturally drawn to accepting homosexuality as s natural form of human diversity. Besides the anti-gay stance, I also had other problems with the faith: 1) Why aren't women allowed on the UHJ? Because patriarchy still rears its ugly head. 2) It has a poor understanding of Hinduism, Buddhism, and other non-Abrahamic religions, often forcing them to fit into its worldview or progressive revelation. 3) It refuses to speak o ut about injustices that don't affect the Baha'i community — a very insular and self-absorbed culture. Specifically, the apartheid-like treatment of Palestinians under the Israeli government. I guess protecting their fancy Mt. Carmel monuments is more important than defending people living under humiliating prison-like conditions. 4) The notion of infallibility-- totally unscientific and creates a sheep-like mindset that discourages questioning, reasoning, and experiential knowledge.

I'm a much happier person now, having come to a place where I am true to myself and my heart. I sometimes go to Unitarian Universalist services and meetings for a spiritual community, and that is enough for me.

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