A Positive Interaction with a Baha’i on Facebook

Ever since I defected from the Baha’i Faith, my only dealings with members of my former religion have been through the internet and most of them have been battles that tended to leave me angered and even a little sick of their arrogance and nonsense.

Some of those battles are seen or described on these blog entries:

Baha’is must reject the Guardianship!

My Battle on Amazon with a Haifan Baha’i

Another Battle with a Haifan Baha’i, this time on Blogspot

Treachery of Baha’is @ reddit

Muslim-bashing and Libel Against Ex-Baha’is in Reddit

A series of ludicrous comments on YouTube and Facebook

But last month a totally different encounter occurred on Facebook, one that gives me hope for the future.

In the following conversation, the Baha’i who contacted me will be referred to as L B (for Local Baha’i) and his words will be in red italics. My words in the actual conversation will be in blue italics, while additional notes I add here for commentary will be in green. To protect his privacy, all specific identifying information will be withheld.

First, L B sent me a friend request, which I rejected, not even recognizing his name at first. I then asked who he was.

Have we met before? I see you sent me a friend request.

Yes, you used to come to feast at my house in (city). I’m (mother) and (father)’s son

That was enough to jog my memory. This young man had been only a child when I knew him.

I remember them. But I haven’t been a Baha’i since 2005 and am now a Unitarian Universalist.

I know, I saw your blog
I just thought of you randomly and wanted to say Facebook Hi
Are you still in Haltom city? I work at (medical job).
Ok, no harm, no foul. I looked at your profile and worried you were trying to harass me.
Like a scammer or like a malignant Baha’i?
your profile is open, so I saw your screenshots of responses to scammers
His using the words “malignant” and “Baha’i” in the same breath was the first indication to me that he wasn’t as loyal to the Faith as I thought he’d be.
Yes, I live here with my elderly parents. You say you saw my blog? You must know then that I’m one of the most hard-core critics of the Faith now. But that doesn’t mean I hate Baha’is. I cannot hate what I used to be.
At this point, I thought he would end the conversation. But he continued.
Oh no, I saw the basis of your criticisms and your recommended conversation or cooperation tactics with Baha’is for other Universalists
As for scammers, I enjoy busting them and then warning others about their tricks.
I admire a person who investigates the truth and is dedicated to the truth, so I admire your spirit
Thank you.
I guess he really takes seriously the supposed Baha’i idea of “Independent Investigation of Truth”.
Do you or your parents ever come to (my workplace)?
I don’t think so.
Honestly, I never thought I would see or hear from any of you again.
I’ve thought of you a few times throughout the years
I searched for you once maybe a year back, but I didn’t find anything
then last night my sister was telling me about a meme her friend had referred to that was anti-Baha’i
and in the course of finding this unrelated meme, I saw a blog that had posts critical of the Faith by someone named Dale Husband
and I was like “No way!” and I looked at your blog and found you on Facebook
His sister was only a baby when I knew her. She would be a teenager now.
I’m all over the internet. Also, my essays have been copied and cited by many others.
well, I found the ones in your reasoning thinker blog
Anywhere you see a red, white and blue Circle H logo, that’s me. It’s my trademark.
You are welcome to ask me questions.
where is there a unitarian universalist church near here?
is the following large?
WOW!!! So he is not even trying to defend the Baha’i Faith, but goes straight to the other big issue of mine in religion. I was elated!
There are several UU churches in the Fort Worth area. The oldest one is First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church. Google that name. The total number of UUs in the Fort Worth area is about 400.
There are an estimated 250,000 UUs nationwide.
The address for First Jefferson is 1959 Sandy Ln. in east Fort Worth.
Since you seem to respect me despite my defection, I invite you to come visit me at the aforementioned church in the interest of having a dialogue between us. It would be very helpful for you to see what UUs are like and what they might offer you.
What service do you attend?
Sunday service is at 11:00 AM, but you can arrive as early as 9:00 AM if you want to be given a tour of the place and then attend one of the gatherings that start at 9:30 AM such as Adult Forum or Adventures in Religion.
I can’t make it this Sunday, but it would be nice to check out the church on a Sunday soon
my work has me working weekends many weeks, so it might be a struggle for a bit
thank you for the invitiation
OK. Just let me know if and when you plan to visit so I could meet you there.
For the record, it never occurred to me, because of his Persian background, that L B would likewise defect from the Baha’i Faith. All my blog entries I wrote against the Faith were not about making people leave it, but about showing non-Baha’is what it is really like so they would not be so easily deceived by Baha’i propaganda as I was. But if my blog has made him quit believing, then I have scored a stunning victory far beyond my wildest dreams!

A Critical Analysis of the Epistle of 2 Peter

The Second Epistle of Peter is one of the most controversial parts of the New Testament, with many Bible scholars claiming it wasn’t even written by the apostle in question, and was instead composed many years after his death to promote the teaching of Peter’s rival, Paul. Let’s start looking at the text.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Peter%201%20;&version=KJV

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is kicking @$$ in Washington D. C.

For most of American history, the federal government in the USA, including its Congress, has been a haven for elitist jerks with no interest in relating to the average American. Most members of Congress are millionaires, after all.

Enter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a young New York woman who was a waitress only a year ago, but who this year upset all expectations by overthrowing a member of the Democratic establishment in the primaries and then went on to win a seat in the House of Representatives. And what is she doing now to change things?

New Congresswoman Will Pay Her Interns $15 An Hour. Is That A Big Deal?

When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez takes office next month, representing New York’s 14th District, she will be a part of the “blue wave” of new Democrats in the House. But the 29-year-old may end up being a part of a different kind of wave, too: a bipartisan effort for members of Congress to pay the interns they employ.

“Time to walk the walk,” she tweeted on Tuesday. “Very few members of Congress actually pay their interns. We will be one of them.” And she pledged more than just a stipend: Her interns will make $15 an hour.

Last year, two former unpaid House interns, Carlos Mark Vera and Guillermo Creamer, founded an organization called Pay Our Interns. They collected data about who pays what on Capitol Hill, and they found that about 90 percent of House offices don’t pay their interns at all — a figure that Creamer called “abysmal.”

The numbers are a bit better on the Senate side: Half of Senate Democrats pay their interns at least a stipend, while 55 percent of Senate Republicans do.

As for the $15 hourly wage, only three members of Congress currently pay their interns so well, Creamer tells NPR: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Doug Jones, D-Ala., and Rep. Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington state.

In the for-profit world, the Department of Labor’s rules on paying interns have been clarified in recent years to state that that an intern must be the “primary beneficiary” of the internship, rather than the company. If the company is the primary beneficiary, then that intern is really an employee, and employees are entitled to minimum wage and overtime.

But those laws exempt internships at nonprofits and in the public sector. Thus congressional offices are not obligated to pay interns, and often, they don’t.

The House and Senate both passed bills earlier this year appropriating money for intern pay. The House approved $8.8 million, giving each member’s office $20,000 per year to pay interns. The Senate version includes $5 million, to be allocated according to a state’s population, providing an average of $50,000 per office.

Despite those new pools of money, most members haven’t started to advertise paid internships, Creamer says, because they’re waiting for new guidelines about using the funds. And that’s an issue, because the congressional offices are accepting applications for the January class of interns right now.

He points out that Ocasio-Cortez isn’t waiting for guidelines: “Her intention was to pretty much pay her interns regardless, and that’s because they allocated that in their budget.”

Whether an internship pays has a profound effect on who is able to apply for and accept it. Young people without wealthy parents or a university footing their expenses may find themselves juggling second or third jobs in the evenings after their internship.

But a congressional internship can be an important step toward future opportunities in government or elsewhere. If such positions are open only to children of the wealthy, then the wealthy will very likely continue to be overrepresented as public officeholders.

As Congress prepares for the next session, Creamer urged its members to start making plans for paying their interns — something his organization is more than happy to assist with.

“They know the money’s there; they know the money is coming,” he said. “Why not try and start structuring it now?”

You’d think with slavery having been abolished after the American Civil War, unpaid interns would already have been illegal, and in any case, it should be.

Ocasio-Cortez should be only the beginning. Over the next few decades, more and more young people need to vote out the establishment members of Congress of both the Democratic and Republican parties and replace them with members of the working class that are like themselves. Then we will truly have a government of the people, by the people and for the people. And NO ONE should be in Congress for several decades anymore! Such power entrenchment is a disgrace!