U.S. citizens may have grown disenchanted with their political electoral process for various reasons, but not all elections are so controversial. A Religion Brief (Herald, June 9) mentioned that Mark Reddy will serve on the Four Corners Regional Baha’í Council until an election on Nov. 26. In Baha’í elections, from local to international, no campaigning or electioneering is allowed. The criteria for someone to be considered for election are the same at all levels, including selfless devotion to the service of the faith, a well-trained mind, mature experience and recognized ability.
Members come together in an atmosphere of reverence and spiritual contemplation to vote for the individuals they consider best equipped to direct activities of Baha’is. Those elected owe no special allegiance to the people voting for them – or even know who they are. They serve by considering and deciding what is best for the Baha’i community, keeping in mind what is also best for society at large.
In the local community, the election is direct. Members gather and, in an atmosphere of quiet prayer, elect the Local Spiritual Assembly of nine who will serve for one year. National and international elections are indirect. Someone is elected to serve as a delegate to a convention where the delegates elect the body that will serve. National Spiritual Assembly members serve for one year. Members of the Universal House of Justice serve the Baha’is of the world for terms of five years.
The Administrative Order of the Baha’i religion seeks to serve all humanity through this spiritually directed electoral process. This dedication to serving mankind has become a recognized hallmark of the Baha’i faith around the world. International membership in the Baha’í faith includes residents in 189 independent countries and 46 territories. Its rich diversity embraces people from most of the planet’s races, creeds and cultures, including more than 2,100 different ethnic groupings.
Faye L. Gooden