On rules and restrictions

So I’m technically a Baha’i. I’ve never revoked my signature card. But I’m really not a Baha’i. I have some issues with the restrictions – it’s supposedly a progressive religion, and yet things like alcohol and drugs and sex outside of marriage are COMPLETELY forbidden. Did we learn nothing in the 20s during Prohibition about how well people respond to complete restrictions? I agree that addictions and promiscuity need to be addressed, but this isn’t the way to do it.

But my biggest issue is how it’s supposedly all about community and acceptance and not judging – yet homosexuality is also COMPLETELY forbidden. Never mind that homosexuality occurs in every species that mates for life, mammalian and avian alike. Never mind that we are supposedly created perfect – yet people with this variation of perfection are never allowed to fall in love and be together. Huh?

I got to thinking about this because last night I went to a concert of my favorite local musician – who happens to be transsexual, female to male. I couldn’t care less – he’s still a wonderful singer, and Alec is clearly happier and more comfortable in his skin than Heather ever was, so I’m happy for him. It’s that simple, in my world. But it got me to wondering what the “official” Baha’i stance “should” be. Heather was married to a man, Alec is married to a woman – so technically that should be fine, I guess. No homosexuality on either side. And what about serial monogamy? To me, that’s not a whole lot better than polygamy, adultery, or promiscuity – but technically, it would be “acceptable” to the Baha’i’s. Whereas I think I would benefit greatly from sessions with a sexual surrogate, if only a) such things were legal, and b) I could afford it, but that would be forbidden to me as a Baha’i, never mind my background and needs.

I have a friend who, after much intense self-work, fell in love with a woman. She had to relinquish her position on the LSA (local spiritual assembly) because of it, and I heard from mutual friends that she lost some close friendships because of it – because she had some Baha’i friends who couldn’t handle that she was now in a homosexual relationship. How is that something to be supported or condoned by a religion that says it’s all about love, community, and non-judgement?

I have another friend who went to consult with his LSA about the issue, because it’s one of many things that’s causing him to question his faith. He was told, point-blank, that this is exactly why people shouldn’t be talking/thinking/etc about it – because all it does is cause divisiveness and loss of faith. Um, even the military finally figured out that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” actively causes harm. We can’t just stick our heads in the dirt and pretend that alternative sexualities don’t occur.

I haven’t considered myself an actual Baha’i for quite some time. I drink again – in moderation, as always – and I do periodically toy with trying to find a sexual surrogate. And I don’t much care. I’ve never been one for religion anyway, no matter how I’ve wished for the comfort that I see others achieve from it, and I wasn’t an “active” Baha’i for long enough for it to have become particularly ingrained for me. My main issue is the friends I have who think I’m Baha’i – I’m still so low on self-esteem and such that I don’t want to deal with the confrontations when/if it comes up. But for this friend who went to the LSA about the homosexuality issue? It’s a much bigger deal. He’s been a Baha’i for a very long time. His wife is and they’ve been raising their children with the values. It’s a major piece of his personality, and would cause major upheaval both in his world and in his psyche. Is causing major upheaval in his world and his psyche.

Not sure where I’m going with any of this. I’m just frustrated by the whole thing, I guess.

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