Only two weeks after Wahid Azal and I did a podcast together, and after I intervened to prevent the moderators of the ExBahai subreddit from banning him, he repaid my help by stabbing me in the back! And he was expelled from the subreddit anyway. He is proof that not all arguments against the Baha’i Faith and not all critics of the Baha’i Faith are created equal and I will work with him no more.
Anyway, here is the podcast he made attacking me.
He speaks of me starting about two minutes in. He accuses me of “shiftiness” and “brownnosing”, which I did not understand. He also calls me racist and says that I, like all American liberals, are anti-Muslim, anti-Iranian, and pro-capitalist. Note: Making bigoted statements does nothing to defeat the bigotry of others, especially when that supposed bigotry of others is not even a real issue.
Such extreme black and white thinking will do nothing to make him allies. “Agree with us on everything or I won’t help with anything,” is a formula for disaster in any case.
Question: How can he believe in God and also be an admirer of Karl Marx, who was an atheist and considered religions to be the “opiate of the people” and supporters of the same capitalist systems he denounces so often? Indeed, when I first got to know Wahid Azal many years ago, I actually thought he was an atheist too and it was only later that I realized he was a Babi or Bayani.
As I explained in the podcast I did with Azal, it was the failed ministry of Shoghi Effendi that made me start questioning the Baha’i Faith. Since I had little access to the writings of the Bab, I knew any judgement I made of him would be limited in scope, since the stories about him were colored by the historical narratives of the Baha’i leadership, which I already stopped believing in. I did not reject the Bab when I rejected the Baha’i Faith, he was simply irrelevant to the actual issues I had against the Baha’i Faith.
Azal also attacked a reddit user known as “Christian-ExBaha’i”. She explained some of what Azal meant by shiftiness and brown nosing on my part.
It means you were being polite to people instead of confrontational. Such as to myself. We all know you disagree with my Christianity and are active on the ex-Christian subreddit. However, you’re polite to me here. That could be seen as brown nosing as you aren’t constantly telling me what you really think about what I believe. (And thank you for that.) It appears that what seems like a virtue to some can appear as a flaw to others. You can’t please everyone all the time, but a choice to live in peace is a good one. If we were all constantly telling each other off for not believing exactly as we do, life would be much more painful and chaotic. Thus, some of us choose to be polite.
You of all people are not racist (and I’m not either) . . . as a Universal Unitarian you’re inclusive of all people, right? I think the keyword in what he said is “all” . . . because when people overgeneralize, they’re usually wrong. We can’t all be lumped together and labeled in one way, because there are too many variations among people.
I was dumbfounded!
It’s called DIPLOMACY, dammit, and I make no apologies for that. If the American and Soviet leaders, who clearly despised each other, had not showed restraint and diplomacy during the Cold War period, the result would have been World War III that might have caused the total destruction of human civilization in a nuclear holocaust.
And thank YOU for staying out of the ex-Christian subreddit! You are no hypocrite like DavidBinOwen, that I can clearly see.
Wahid himself barged back in with another reddit account and……
No, nothing was way off course. Your problem is that others have been raining on your parade to recruit for the church and Dale Husband’s for the UU. That really is your issue. Both of you are using exbahai lists online as a cover to pull people into your own organizations: you for Evangelical BS and Dale for some white liberal, wooley pipe-dream of a church without God known as Unitarian Universalism. And both of you are typical of your white American breeding, biased and racist to the core: you overtly and Dale, like all liberals, passive-aggressively
My response to that nonsense:
It is not enough to bash the Baha’i Faith. To make real progress against it, one must also recommend alternatives to it to give the seeker a means of gaining spiritual nourishment and social community apart from the Baha’i Faith. You [Christian-ExBahai] promote evangelical Christianity, while I promote Unitarian Universalism. Two VERY different paths, but as long as we both remember our purpose here, we can get along and not bash each other. I can go elsewhere to slam Christianity, just as I would expect you to slam atheism in other places. Here, we must say nothing negative about each other, lest we be no better than Wahid Azal was. And for the record……I will not defend or excuse his behavior again. He fired me as a moderator of the realexbahais subreddit he created, even though I said nothing against him beforehand…..and I have left that and will stay here. I swear, Wahid is really his own worst enemy!
There I was being consistent with the values I always professed.
For the record, I am very critical of the Christian religion. But my slamming it ends when I am dealing with a Christian who is open-minded enough to befriend and respect me in spite of my hostility towards his religion. Such a person, in turn, earns my respect. I only do battle with bigots among the Christians, not Christians in general. If I hated all Christians, I wouldn’t be a Unitarian Universalist (UU). UUs, even those that reject Christianity, are still Protestants. If not for the Protestant movement in Christianity, UUs as a denomination wouldn’t exist.
Consistency is something I have always demanded from people I call friends. Returning to that conversation in reddit:
For the record, I have been in other subreddits similar to this one, most notably the exMormon and exChristian ones. And while I have seen tons of criticism of religion in them, I never had to deal with a reactionary fanatic like DavidBinOwen (or, rather, the Christian or Mormon version of him), nor did I ever see any anti-Christian or anti-Mormon extremist accuse the moderators of those subreddits of “gatekeeping”. So this seems to be a unique case.
I don’t care how polite someone looks; if a person persists in repeating discredited talking points, asserting things without any proof whatsoever, and making others feel attacked, HE MUST BE BANNED FROM HERE. Both DavidBinOwen and Wahid Azal are extremists; they are just extremist about different things.
I guess I feel betrayed because Wahid did make me a moderator of the realexbahai subreddit (I didn’t ask for that), supported me in my fights against Baha’i apologists like Susan Maneck, refered to me as a brother, agreed to do that podcast with me (he could have refused and I would not have brought it up again), and in all those fights and other events we had together I never made a secret of being a dedicated UU, or a supporter of American liberalism, both of which he seems to scorn because they are godless to him. If he rejects me now, he should have rejected me a decade ago. I don’t reject people for being different from me. If I did, I’d be slamming Christian ExBahai constantly. Or slamming Muslims here too. Incidentally, you can criticize Islam as a religion and also defend the right of Muslims to practice Islam peacefully. I do both. I also do the same with the Baha’i Faith and Baha’is. My willingness to defend the rights of people I strongly disagree with stems from my belief in the common humanity we all share; it has nothing to do with promoting or denying any religion or anti-religious ideology. Even as a non-theist, I despised the notorious founder of American Atheists, Madilyn O’Hair, because I saw her as a bigoted extremist who hated religious people more than she loved the freedom to be an atheist she promoted.
So I don’t discriminate; I want to be friendly and supportive of all kinds of people. But bigotry of any kind I will never accept.
And I will end with that.