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Obstacles

One of the great obstacles to progress is the tendency of Bahá’ís to be sucked into the general attitudes and disputes that surround them, to be influenced, for example, as you yourself pointed out, by the prevailing attitude to marriage so that the divorce rate becomes a problem within the Bahá’í community itself which should be an example to the rest of society in such matters. Involvement in politics and controversial questions is another aspect of the same phenomenon. In one of His Tablets Bahá’u’lláh warns the Bahá’ís: “Dispute not with any one concerning the things of this world and its affairs, for God hath abandoned them to such as have set their affection upon them. Out of the whole world He hath chosen for Himself the hearts of men—hearts which the hosts of revelation and of utterance can subdue.” (Gleanings CXXVIII) As you realize, this cannot mean that Bahá’ís must not be controversial since, in many societies, being a Bahá’í is itself a controversial matter. The central importance of this principle of avoidance of politics and controversial matters is that Bahá’ís should not allow themselves to be drawn into the disputes of the many conflicting elements of the society around them. The aim of the Bahá’ís is to reconcile, to heal divisions, to bring about tolerance and mutual respect among men, and this aim is undermined if we allow ourselves to be swept along by the ephemeral passions of others. This does not mean that Bahá’ís cannot collaborate with any non-Bahá’í movement; it does mean that good judgement is required to distinguish those activities and associations which are beneficial and constructive from those which are divisive.
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 516-517)