Contributing to social progress: The U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs
The following content is from the website of The U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs. © 2020 National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States
FORMED IN 1985 and operating under the auspices of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States to represent the American Baha’i community on the national stage, the U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs hopes to help evolve America further in the direction of unity and justice by contributing to some of the most urgent and timely discourses of society.
The vision of this institution is articulated on its website:
Society is built on ideas.
Sets of ideas, or discourses, help shape our institutions and communities, and even our individual minds. Although intangible, the discourses of society wield a powerful influence on how society conceives of itself: its strengths, its challenges, and the range and scope of its potential progress.
Our Office contributes to these discourses based on the principles of the Baha’i Faith, drawing from the collective experience of the American Baha’i community to apply these principles in action. These principles include the oneness of humanity, the essential harmony of scientific and religious truth, the need to eliminate the extremes of wealth and poverty, and the need to abolish all forms of prejudice.
Our work leads us into close collaboration with like-minded individuals and groups. With them, we hope to recast the national conversation around urgent social issues, discovering new ways of engaging with them that propel America to greater heights of unity and justice.
Focus areas of the U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs include:
Racial Justice & Unity
What unique role can religion play in the elimination of racism?
“Our office works to promote racial justice and racial unity, driven by the principles of the oneness of humankind and the need to abandon all forms of prejudice. We believe that racism stifles the potentialities of its victims, corrupts its perpetrators, and blights human progress. Addressing this fundamental issue requires understanding the history of racism in the U.S. and the mechanisms through which it lives and operates.”
Why is it critical to address extreme economic inequality?
“Our work in economic justice is guided by the belief that eliminating extremes of wealth and poverty is a requisite for peace and prosperity. It is also premised on the understanding that there is an inherent moral dimension to the generation, distribution, and utilization of wealth and resources.”
How is the future of our planet interlinked with humanity?
“Inspired by a belief in the oneness of humankind and the interrelatedness of planet and people, our Office has spent more than two decades contributing to the discourse on environmental balance. We believe that the interests of the most vulnerable, including the poor and the young, must be protected.”
Role of Media in Society
How should media function in a just and unified society?
“Our work in media stems from a belief in its importance as a social institution. The power of media to convene public deliberation and disseminate solutions to social problems cannot be overestimated.”
What are the implications of the spiritual equality of each human being?
“Guided by beliefs in the inherent dignity of the human being, the fundamental equality of all people, and the vital importance of justice, our office has been actively engaged in human rights work in for over 30 years.”
Gender Equality & The Advancement of Women
Why is the equality of women and men imperative?
“Guided by the belief that the equality of women and men is a spiritual truth, our work includes advocating for policies in the U.S. that support women’s full and equal participation in all spheres of human endeavor, eliminating violence against women and girls, and engaging men and boys in advancing justice as equal partners and allies.”