The Unitarian Bahai Association is a liberal Bahai community and network of individuals, local groups, initiatives and resources, independent from the Haifa-based Baha'i Faith denomination. We teach and practice Unitarian Bahaism, an understanding of the Bahai message that emphasizes the oneness and transcendence of God, the humanity and limitations of all religious leaders, the importance of inclusiveness and tolerance among Bahais and people of all faiths, and the responsibility of Bahais to engage with society to help build a better world. The UBA is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization founded in March 2010.
Unlike most other Bahai organizations and traditions, the Unitarian Bahai Association welcomes openly gay and lesbian people, politically active people, all residents of Israel, all descendants of Bahaullah (including those who are shunned by other Bahais), and people in Muslim countries who need to hide their Bahai faith and publicly practice Islam. Ex-Bahais who have left the faith because of disillusionment with the authoritarian Haifan Bahai organization will find a welcoming home in the UBA. Unitarian Universalists who are interested in the Bahai religion will find the UBA to be a key resource and community for exploring Bahaism from a progressive and freethinking perspective, within the UU church.
"Associate with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. Whatsoever has led the children of mankind to shun one another, and has caused dissensions and divisions among them, has, through the revelation these words, been nullified and abolished." — Bahaullah
Filled with suffering and triumph, liberal ideas and sectarian extremism, the history of the Bahai religion is a fascinating tale of light shining amidst darkness. Read these articles to learn about the historical background, central figures, and modern development of Bahaism:
In the Kitab-i-Aqdas ("Most Holy Book"), Bahaullah established commandments and teachings for Bahais to follow. These constitute a wholesome, moral, disciplined and productive way of life.
The following 12 principles constitute some of the most important spiritual and social teachings of the Bahai cause:
The Unitarian Bahai Association chose this name for ourselves because we are Unitarians. There are three meanings of this word that apply to us:
Unitarian Bahais get together several times a year to celebrate Bahai Holy Days and Feast Days. We believe in the importance of knowing God in many different ways and sharing fellowship with people of all religions, so we also may attend a diversity of worship services and spiritual groups (e.g. UU and interfaith congregations and events, Christian churches, Islamic mosques, Jewish synagogues, Hindu and Buddhist temples, Sufi gatherings, Quaker meetings, etc.) – wherever our heart leads each of us to go at any time.
Unitarian Bahais are encouraged to participate in House of Justice meetings. Bahaullah taught in his Most Holy Book that Bahais anywhere in the world should come together and hold their own town meetings. If at least nine believers are present, then the House of Justice for that community is in session – and there is no limit on how many believers may attend, participate, and vote. The purpose of the House of Justice is to discuss ideas for political, charitable, and social action to implement Bahai principles whether on a local, regional, national, or international level. The democratic decisions of the House of Justice are intended as guidance to Bahais either in a particular geographical area or in general. If House of Justice meetings all around the world are voting on the same issue, for example, then all the votes would be counted together and the decision would serve as guidance for all Bahais of the world.
Both women and men serve on the board of directors of the UBA, unlike the leadership organ of the Haifan Baha'i Faith which is restricted to men only. The UBA board exists purely for administrative purposes (maintaining our website, managing funds, public relations, and so forth). Our board claims no authority to determine Bahai orthodoxy or to regulate the personal decisions of UBA members.
Anyone who identifies with the principles of Unitarian Bahaism may become a member of the Unitarian Bahai Association. You DO NOT have to leave your current religious community (such as a UU congregation, Baha'i Faith group, church, mosque, synagogue or temple) to become a Unitarian Bahai. In fact, we encourage you to continue participating in any spiritual organizations of any faith, in the true Bahai spirit of interfaith reconciliation.