Tags: politics

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The Bahá'í doctrine of progress allowed Bahá'ís to stand watch as social change happened around them

To my Bahá'í friends and family who've shared reminders about keeping faith in the inevitability of moral progress in response to political tumult:
A broad understanding of the history of social change means recognizing that change invariably demands organized agitating for new laws and new policies that come from a shifting of the moral consensus through a deliberative discourse, all of which are inherently political and often partisan.
The North American and European women's suffrage movements thoroughly were partisan and political endeavours. The Labour movements that brought sorely needed rights to workers exploited in factories were partisan and political. The Civil rights movements of the Americas were also partisan and political. The fight for gay and lesbian rights are political and partisan. One could multiply examples.
And where were Bahá'ís in any of these historical changes?
Yes, there may have been individual Bahá'ís there (famously Táhirih comes to mind), but Bahá'ís weren't organizing for these changes. Why? Because like Jehovah's witnesses, Bahá'ís abstain from and are prohibited from organizing anything (as Bahá'ís) that might have the tinge of partisan politics. Bahá'ís have been reciting designated holy words into the ears of passersby with the hope to usher in the forever fated "entry by troops". While confidence in fated progress is no doubt comforting (and stupefying), it is also the reason why Bahá'ís have not been at the helm of any movement for social change.