Are Baha’is politically active?

For people who care so much about changing the world, many wonder if Baha’is get involved with politics? When considering the way Baha’is interact with the world’s current political environment, it is important to understand the way leadership is chosen inside Baha’i communities. For Baha’is, elected leadership is a noble and important responsibility. Inside the Baha’i Faith, there are no political parties or factions. Leaders do not ‘stand’ or ‘run’ for office as they do in countries or organizations. There are no speeches or nominations. Individuals, who are of voting age (21), after careful prayer and meditation, simply must write down the names of nine members of the community who they feel would be best suited to take on this responsibility.

While Baha’is are encouraged to vote in the countries in which they reside, they do not take part in partisan politics. Some individuals find this to be a test because they see some political interests coinciding with Baha’i interests, such as protecting the environment or encouraging social justice. As is written in our Writings, “Although each believer realizes that he is a member of one great spiritual family, a member of the New World Order of Baha’u’llah, he does not often carry this thought through to its logical conclusion; which is that if the Baha’is all over the world each belong to some different kind of society or church or political party, the unity of the Faith will be destroyed; because inevitably they will become involved in doctrines and policies that are in some way against our Teachings, and often against another group of people in another part of the world, or another race, or another religious block.” (on behalf of Shoghi Effendi LG, p. 421).

But Baha’is are also not supposed to be cut off from the world around them. They are supposed to “Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.” (Baha’u’llah, GWB, p. 213). And thus Baha’is often keep up with news and current events. Baha’is should vote in elections. But they should only vote with their conscience, not any party affiliation. Baha’is can individually contribute to causes that they care about, such as protecting the environment, curing diseases, and solving social problems.

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