Sinead O’Connor was both wrong and right.

In 1992, this Irish singer took a stand against the Roman Catholic Church for abusing children, yet when she did so, she failed to make a connection to her audience. Instead of  just telling people what the problem was, she tried to shock people as a way of getting their attention. That only damaged her career.

Soon afterwards, she made an public appearance where she was booed by the audience. They simply did not understand or  appreciate what she’d been trying to warn them about.

Nearly two decades and many more abused children later, O’Connor corrected herself with an appearance on CNN. By now, most people were ready to listen to her and she spoke about the issue with grace and understanding, as she should have done in the first place.

Let this be an object lesson for activists of all types: You CANNOT force people to listen to what they are simply not ready to hear, and both timing and method are crucial to make your case. Ripping up a picture of the Pope did no good. Ripping up the Pope in writing or speech detailing what he may have done wrong does and always will do good.

I am NOT an “Orthodox” Baha’i!

Ever since I came out as opposing the Baha’i Faith headquartered in Haifa, Israel, I have been a lighting rod of criticism from a few of those zealots associated with it.

Let me clarify my position for those who may be confused about where I stand.

1. By theological conviction, I am an agnostic, meaning I consider the issue of God’s existence to be beyond the ability of humans to know. By some definitions, I am also an atheist, except I consider atheism to be only the claim that there is no God. As a strict empiricist, this is not an option I accept for myself.

2. By religious affiliation, I am a Unitarian Universalist.

3. As far as Christianity is concerned, I consider the Baptist wing of Protestanism to be the “true” form of it, and see all others as deviating from the original Gospel in various ways and degrees. But if the teachings of Jesus were literally true, then he should have returned to establish his kingdom by AD 100. He did not, so any further claim that he will eventually return is bogus.

4. As far as the Baha’i Faith is concerned, I see the Faith as having been vitually ruined by the concept of the “Covenant” established by Abdu’l-Baha in his Will and Testament. No Baha’i sect which claims to follow the directives of that document is legitimate, because no one actually follows it consistently.  NONE OF THEM!

Those who encounter the title “Orthodox Bahá’í” for the first time, especially those who are followers of the sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice, may wonder why people would identify themselves as Orthodox Bahá’ís if, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has stated, the Bahá’í Covenant makes it “impossible for any one to create a sect or faction of belief.” Why, then, would those who identify themselves as Bahá’ís find it necessary to add the word “Orthodox”? Aren’t they, by doing so, going against the Covenant and what ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said? Aren’t they attempting to make a schism in a Faith that carries the promise of never experiencing division? Shouldn’t they, instead, identify themselves with the majority faction of the Cause so that the Bahá’í Faith continues to convey the promise of never splintering into differing sects?

When you start off like that, you already look rediculous, and you make it worse when you continue with a ton of doublespeak. Why not just say Abdu’l-Baha was wrong and be done with it? Oh, because then the Orthodox Baha’is’ own claim to be following the true Guardian would be invalidated. LOGIC FAIL!

There is absolutely NOTHING in the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha to indicate that anyone outside the male descendants of Baha’u’llah (defined in that document as “branches”) could succeed Shoghi Effendi. Charles Mason Remey, who tried to claim the Guardianship even before the Universal House of Justice could be established, was not a “branch”. There was no explicit statement from Shoghi Effendi in his lifetime that Remey was intended to be his successor. And nine elected Hands of the Cause of God would have had to approve Shoghi Effendi’s choice anyway. That certainly was not done! Instead, Remey was declared a “Covenant-breaker” and expelled from the Faith by his fellow Hands. And likewise, Joel Bray Marangella has no rightful claim to the Guardianship either. He is a fraud, just as much as the Universal House of Justice in Haifa. The only “true” Baha’is are those who recognize that even Baha’u’llah was not totally sinless and infallible and allow for him to be as human as the rest of us, respecting him as their Faith’s founder but also being willing to think for themselves to allow the Faith to evolve according to the needs of the modern world. To some extent this evolution has occured even within the Haifan Baha’i Faith, but the assumption of infalliblity of the Faith’s leadership remains. That is a lie and we need to deal with that lie constantly until its credibility is destroyed completely.