Baha’i marks 200 years of unity
By VIRGINIA BURKI
Special to The Vindicator
This weekend, members of the Baha’i Faith have been celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah, prophet-founder of the Faith, who brought this new universal religion to revitalize mankind spiritually, break down barriers between peoples and lay the foundation for a united world society based on the principles of love and service.
“The Earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens” were among the stunning words penned by Baha’u’llah in the mid-19th century as he established a faith that recognizes the major problems of our age: conflicts between ideologies, nations, religions, races and classes. World opinion increasingly recognizes that the solutions to these conflicts must be applied on a world level to have a lasting chance of maintaining peace.
The major religions are sharply divided and are themselves sources of conflict and often hinder understanding. Baha’u’llah came to foster world unity, teaching that “The well-bein g of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.”
Born in Persia, shunning a life of wealth and nobility, dedicating himself to service of the poor, and embracing his fate of exile and imprisonment, Baha’u’llah came to restate the spiritual truths of God, such as the Golden Rule, and bring laws and teachings such as the following, which apply to the needs of society at this particular time, humanity’s collective maturity, foretold in all the world’s Scriptures:
The oneness of God and religion.
The oneness of humanity.
Elimination of prejudice of all kinds.
Equality of men and women.
Encouragement of interracial marriage.
The harmony of science and religion.
Progressive revelation of religious truth.
Universal compulsory education.
A universal auxiliary language.
Baha’is are marking this important anniversary of this voice of God this weekend by sharing prayers, music, films, meals and Baha’u’llah’s message of unity with their friends and neighbors not only at the eight major Baha’i Houses of Worship around the world, but in communities across Ohio and around the globe. The Mahoning Valley Baha’is are members of the Greater Cleveland Baha’i District, which is marking the event with programs in various Northeast Ohio towns, including Kent, Chagrin Falls, Cuyahoga Falls, Akron, Peninsula, Massillon, Bedford Heights, University Heights and Cleveland, where the Cleveland and Cleveland Heights Baha’i communities are presenting a public program from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. today at the Cleveland Museum of Art at 11150 East Blvd.
Virginia Burki is a member of the Northeast Ohio Baha’i District, which includes the Mahoning Valley.