Do Baha'is Get Involved with Politics
Updated: Aug 19, 2020
Baha'i Attitude to Politics
Politics is sometimes defined as the art or science of government, of winning and holding control over a government, particularly the competition between different groups or individuals for power and leadership.
The Bahá'í Faith is, in the words of Shoghi Effendi,
'essentially non-political, supranational in character, rigidly non-partisan, and entirely dissociated from nationalistic ambitions, pursuits, and purposes'.
Bahá'ís are prohibited from participating in partisan politics: Let them refrain', Shoghi Effendi wrote, 'from associating themselves, whether by word or by deed, with the political pursuits of their respective nations, with the policies of their governments and the schemes and programmes of parties and factions. In such controversies they should assign no blame, take no side, further no design, and identify themselves with no system prejudicial to the best interests of that worldwide Fellowship which it is their aim to guard and foster.
As to voting in political elections, in a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, it is stated: The friends may vote, if they can do it without identifying themselves with one party or another . . . It remains for the individuals so to use their right to vote as to keep aloof from party politics, and always bear in mind that they are voting on the merits of the individual, rather than because he belongs to one party or another.
Shoghi Effendi has stated, however, that Bahá'ís may hold government posts which are not political or linked to partisan politics: 'It is their duty to strive to distinguish as clearly as they possibly can ... such posts and functions as are either diplomatic or political from those that are purely administrative in character, and which under no circumstances are affected by the changes and chances that political activities and party government, in every land, must necessarily involve.'
The Bahá'í attitude to politics 'implies neither the slightest indifference to the cause and interests of their own country, nor involves any insubordination on their part to the authority of recognized and established governments. Nor does it constitute a repudiation of their sacred obligation to promote, in the most effective manner, the best interests of their government and people. It indicates the desire cherished by every true and loyal follower of Bahá'u'lláh to serve, in an unselfish, unostentatious and patriotic fashion, the highest interests of the country to which he belongs. . .