May 2007 Archives

A Faith Denied: The Persecution of the Baha'is of Iran

May 23, 2007

In preparing for the URI Global Council meeting in Antwerp, Belgium — which I'll be attending as quasi-staff in a couple of weeks — I wanted to brush up on the recent history of the persecution of the Baha'is of Iran. I found a recent (Dec 2006) detailed report that includes facsimiles of many government documents, newspaper clippings, and other first-hand sources showing the widespread repression, produced by the independent Iran Human Rights Documentation Center. Their description of the report:

This report explores how Bahá'í religious practice has effectively been criminalized inside Iran. Bahá'ís are subjected to a level of social exclusion and harassment in Iran that shocks the conscience and A Faith Denied illuminates the persistent role played by the clerical establishment in perpetuating such abuse. Community leaders have been murdered and sites of irreplaceable religious significance destroyed. The report finds rising levels of persecution since the 2005 election of President Ahmadinejad and resurgence of other conservative political figures.

Cultural Evolution, Feedback, Things to Ponder

May 10, 2007

The notion of cultural evolution is one I've been wanting to explore further in this space, particularly after reading Paul Ehrlich's Human Natures (hopefully one day soon I'll manage to write a review of this excellent work). If you're not familiar with the concept, the gist is this: Homo sapiens, as all other life forms, has evolved to its present state through a process of genetic evolution. This process is described by neo-Darwinian evolution theory. Unlike other creatures — or to be more precise, to an extent light-years beyond any other living being — H. sapiens has added a second component of social evolution. In this component, DNA and genes are not the sole drivers of human evolution. These are augmented by culture.

Followup: Prayer for Soldiers, Baha'i Temple

May 4, 2007

I finally have time to followup on last week's post. Weekend America did indeed include me in last Saturday's broadcast, in a piece called Symbols for the Dead. Half of what I recorded with them did not make it, and I wasn't entirely happy with what they chose to keep, but it was fun to hear myself anyway =). I've extracted just this portion of the broadcast in mp3 format. Also following up below on a post that never made it in the first place, about the Bahá'í House of Worship in Chicago.

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