Cannabis Use

All research or scholarship questions
aghtp
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Cannabis Use

Postby aghtp » Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:13 pm

If someone were to try cannabis while knowing it went against the Baha'i faith, would he be considered a covenant breaker?

spursfaninla
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Re: Cannabis Use

Postby spursfaninla » Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:58 pm

A covenant breaker:

Bahia term for one who has broken the COVENANT, by which the official succession of the Centres of the faith were established. In other words, if you deny the legitimacy of Abdul Baha, shogi effendi, or now the Universal House of Justice.

Covenant breaker is a term thrown around by people who really mean, " If I do x, will I get kicked out of the bahai faith.

There are few things you can really do for that to happen, depending on the community of course.

Being publically in a homosexual relationship.

living with someout out of marriage.


Otherwise, you pretty much have to publically talk bad about the bahai administration.

Actually, people will usually at worst lose their voting rights. It is pretty hard to get kicked out, much less do something that warrants a covenant breaker label, which can only be given by the administration. For instance, Professor Juan Cole is sometimes referred to as a covenant breaker, when he just left the faith because he disagreed with the administration.

But yeah, smoking pot is just like drinking beer, not allowed.

Jonah
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Re: Cannabis Use

Postby Jonah » Thu Jun 19, 2008 2:00 am

Thanks for your great answer!

Being publically in a homosexual relationship.
living with someout out of marriage.


Actually, I think the most severe punishment for these offenses would be removal of voting rights. One has to actually undermine or challenge the Covenant itself in order to be declared a Covenant Breaker, and then only the UHJ can declare CB status. As an example of challenging the Covenant, one would have to, e.g., deny that Shoghi Effendi was the rightful heir of Abdu'l-Baha, or claim that the current UHJ is illegitimate without a living Guardian, etc.

aghtp
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Re: Cannabis Use

Postby aghtp » Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:56 pm

Thank you, that was a relief.

brettz9
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Re: Cannabis Use

Postby brettz9 » Sun Jun 29, 2008 2:31 am

As far as administrative rights being removed, there are quotes like this:

"As you no doubt know, deprivation of administrative rights is a very serious sanction, and the beloved Guardian repeatedly cautioned that it should be exercised only in extreme situations. In a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to another National Spiritual Assembly which asked similar questions, it was pointed out that it was the task of the institutions to provide both counsel and education for the believers, and thereafter it is for the individual Bahá'í to determine his course of conduct in relation to the situations of his daily life."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, March 23, 1983)


While on the one hand, this may mean that it is less likely for rights to be removed, it also implies that a Baha'i in good conscience (and for fear of God if not that) would feel concerned about the consequences to his soul for actions that do harm the Faith such as drug use do. All of the laws of God are to protect us and the protection of the community.

As to cannabis specifically, there is this:

"Although we have found no direct reference to marijuana in the Bahá'í writings, since this substance is derived from what is considered to be a milder form of cannabis, the species used to produce hashish, we can share with you a translation from the Persian of a Tablet of Abdu'l-Bahá on hashish:

'Regarding hashish, you had pointed out that some Persians have become habituated to its use. Gracious God! This is the worst of all intoxicants, and its prohibition is explicitly revealed. Its use causeth the disintegration of thought and the complete torpor of the soul. How could anyone seek this fruit of the infernal tree, and by partaking of it, be led to exemplify the qualities of a monster? How could one use this forbidden drug, and thus deprive himself of the blessings of the All-Merciful?...

'Alcohol consumeth the mind and causeth man to commit acts of absurdity, but ... this wicked hashish extinguisheth the mind, freezeth the spirit, petrifieth the soul, wasteth the body and leaveth man frustrated and lost.'"

(From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Hawaiian Islands, November 11, 1967)


best wishes,
Brett

aghtp
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Re: Cannabis Use

Postby aghtp » Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:27 am

Thanks Brett, for quote; I never knew there was an explicit reference to hashish.

brettz9
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Re: Cannabis Use

Postby brettz9 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:19 am

Sure, aghtp. And welcome to the forum!

You might find a lot of interesting issues touched on in these two large compilations:

http://bahai-library.com/?file=hornby_lights_guidance (for all kinds of topics)
http://bahai-library.com/index.php5?fil ... ommunities (esp. for community and administrative topcis)

best wishes,
Brett

brettz9
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Re: Cannabis Use

Postby brettz9 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:04 am

I might add further that the injunction to lead a chaste and holy life (which Shoghi Effendi states also includes "total abstinence from all alcoholic drinks, from opium, and from similar habit-forming drugs") is not to be imposed on non-Bahai's:

"...If Bahá'í youth combine such personal purity with an attitude of uncensorious forbearance towards others they will find that those who may have criticized or even mocked them will come, in time, to respect them..."

(From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to a Local Spiritual Assembly, July 9, 1973)


So, as individuals, we should basically be tough on ourselves and soft and forbearing with others. Nevertheless, there is still this injunction for Baha'is to tackle these issues directly in our own community:

All of them, be they men or women, must, at this threatening hour when the lights of religion are fading out, and its restraints are one by one being abolished, pause to examine themselves, scrutinize their conduct, and with characteristic resolution arise to purge the life of their community of every trace of moral laxity that might stain the name, or impair the integrity, of so holy and precious a Faith.

(Shoghi Effendi, Advent of Divine Justice, p. 29)


While that does not mean our targeting or interfering in others' personal lives or failing to first and primarily address our own shortcomings, it is clearly calling us to raise consciousness and standards in the community. And this is not to speak of the role of the institutions to deal with matters that become more serious.

best wishes,
Brett


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