In late October, all over the entire world, elected officials recognized and commended Baha’i communities for their work building unity.
The Baha’i community where I live, Eloy, Arizona, was honored to receive a proclamation issued by Eloy Mayor Joel Belloc in honor of the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, which he read in person at their celebration on Sunday, October 22nd. We were pleased that Eloy was among the hundreds of cities making such proclamations by their mayors and city councils across the United States. We were happy to note that of the several governors who also did so, one was given by Arizona Governor Douglas Ducey.
Congratulatory and commendatory letters, proclamations and official statements came from state senators, congressional representatives, and former President Jimmy Carter, who wrote:
We are heartened by your global community’s rededication to peace, racial justice, the equality of men and women, and the essential unity of all religions. As many of our people struggle with persistent systemic injustice against African Americans and Indigenous Nations, chronic violence against women, religious conflict, and endless war, the centrality of peace, human equality, and religious unity found in the Baha’i Writings and activities can serve as an inspiration to those of all faiths and creeds.
The United States is just one of numerous nations where proclamations and letters of congratulations were offered, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the Indian subcontinent and various island nations.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind wrote:
India’s well-being depends on the ever greater commitment among its citizens to the principle of unity in diversity … The exertions of the Baha’i community offer hope that the goal of oneness can be achieved.
Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Truong Thi Ngoc Anh appreciated that: “The Baha’i community has made significant contributions to the country’s development via activities to improve living conditions of needy people and enhance the public’s intellectual standards.”
In congratulating the Baha’is, Frank Fagan, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador wrote that the Baha’i community in his jurisdiction:
… is a diverse community, including members from many different national and ethnic backgrounds. In our towns and communities throughout the Province, the Baha’is seek to put into practice programs which address the educational needs of children, the spiritual empowerment of youth, and the health and well-being of their communities. These initiatives reflect important Baha’i principles, such as the unity and equality of peoples, races and creeds.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote:
Today, we join the Baha’i community in Canada and around the world to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i faith.
Baha’u’llah’s teachings aim to inspire respect, as well as to promote diversity and inclusion, gender equality, and education for all – values that we hold dear as a country.
Canada’s diversity is one of our greatest strengths and sources of pride. This year, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, I invite all Canadians to reflect on how they can put into practice these values of openness and respect.
This outpouring of official messages from so many parts of the world means that many governmental agencies and figures recognize and appreciate the efforts of the Baha’is to elevate the level of discourse among their fellow citizens, promote emotional and spiritual well-being, help knit together a closer and more cohesive society, and try to be lights of unity in their communities. Baha’is strive to do and be as Baha’u’llah instructed:
They that are endued with sincerity and faithfulness should associate with all the peoples and kindreds of the earth with joy and radiance, inasmuch as consorting with people hath promoted and will continue to promote unity and concord, which in turn are conducive to the maintenance of order in the world and to the regeneration of nations. Blessed are such as hold fast to the cord of kindliness and tender mercy and are free from animosity and hatred. – Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 35.
… the peoples of the world to observe tolerance and righteousness, which are two lights amidst the darkness of the world and two educators for the edification of mankind. – Ibid.