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.

Symbols for the Dead - Cut Responses

In an alternate version of the explanation of Bahá'í history, I didn't fumble "modern Iran, formerly Persia" and stated more clearly that the Faith was announced on April 21, 1863, instead of vaguely saying "at this time." I also read the full Prayer for the Departed, after mentioning that it is the only community ritual in the Faith.

Further, I spoke about Baha'u'llah's promotion of unity and non-violence as the basis for Bahá'ís not being involved in combat roles in the military, although obedience to government is mandatory in the case of a draft. Finally, in response to a question about what people would find surprising about Bahá'í funeral services, I mentioned the reading of prayers and writings from various religions — based on the belief that all major faiths are of the same divine origin.

I should emphasis that it was no special virtue of mine to be on this program — they contacted the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the U.S., who contacted the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of St. Paul, of whom I was the member who was able to respond to the short timeframe of the request.

House of Worship

The popularity contest is over: the Temple in Wilmette has won the ChicagoLand division of the 7 Wonders of Illinois program. And well it should! It is the only Bahá'í Temple in all of North America and the oldest in the world (though it was preceeded by one in Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan, which was destroyed by the Soviets after an earthquake damaged it). Its architecture is one-of-a-kind, and well explored in a little promotional video on the Illinois "mile after magnificent mile" website.