Abolition of Prejudice

Origins of Racism: the Case of the Count de Gobineau

arthur de gobineau

When we see racism still at work in our world it is important not only to know its current manifestations but also to understand something of how it arose. This article concerns, Count Arthur de Gobineau, a man who is often labelled a “father of racism”. Of course, no one individual is solely responsible – but…

White Australia Policy

white australia policy

Most us take a multicultural, multiracial reality in our stride – a normal and welcome part of life. It is a very recent development. For a Faith that arrived in Australia when the White Australia policy was the law, it inevitably raised questions for some of the newly enrolled Baha’is. How were they to square…

Louis Gregory – Service to the Oneness of Humanity

Louis Gregory

Slavery was not a tale read from dusty history books for Louis Gregory. It was a close family memory. Louis Gregory was born in 1874. Both Louis’ parents had been freed from slavery by the civil war. His grandmother on his mother’s side, was an African transported to America as a slave in the Atlantic slave trade, and his…

We are One – Overcoming Racism Part 2

As introduced in yesterday’s article, racism is entirely incompatible with Bahá’u’lláh’s thought. “Close your eyes to racial differences, and welcome all with the light of oneness.”[1] As westerners began to join the Baha’i Faith early in the 1900’s, it was clear that racism would need to be addressed, and Abdu’l Baha, Bahá’u’lláh’s son, set out to do so.…

We are One – Overcoming Racism Part 1

gathering of humanity - flowers of a garden - against racism

While Bahá’u’lláh, a persecuted prisoner of the Ottoman Sultan, was promulgating his universal teachings of the oneness of humanity, wholly different and toxic doctrines were taking hold in western thought. Racism was emerging as scientific and intellectual orthodoxy and was to reach its horrific nadir in the holocaust of World War II. Europeans held dominance over their fellow human…

Against Religious Fanaticism and Hatred

Bahá’u’lláh condemned religious fanaticism and hatred. Perhaps most strikingly in the following passage: Religious fanaticism and hatred are a world-devouring fire, whose violence none can quench. The Hand of Divine power can, alone, deliver mankind from this desolating affliction.[1] I admit that when I first read this passage sometime in the late 1980s or early 90s, I found…

No Human Being is Unclean

Bahá’u’lláh abolishes the concept of “uncleanness”. In different cultures, at different times, human beings and things have been held to be “unclean” – in the specific case of religion – “ritually unclean”.  In 1873, Bahá’u’lláh wrote: God hath, … abolished the concept of “uncleanness,” whereby divers things and peoples have been held to be impure. … Verily, all…