“The purpose of justice is the appearance of unity among men.”

Bahá’u'lláh, quoted by Shoghi Effendi, Advent of Divine Justice

Ahhhh… unity. Our favorite word as Baha’is. More often than not you will hear it as the go-to answer that we are willing to share with folks who inquire about our Faith. It is the beginning and the end of all we are striving to bring forth into this divided world. Therefore, with unity being such a weighty concept and central to our spiritual identity it is clear that it is something not to be taken lightly or casually accepted as self-evident.

Let’s recall a page from US history. The Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776, states as follows:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.*”

Of course those familiar with the march of American history probably chuckled just a bit at this assertion as they recall the circumstance surrounding that specious occasion. Abolitionist Thomas Day responding to the hypocrisy in the Document in 1776 wrote:

“If there be an object truly ridiculous in nature, it is an American patriot, signing resolutions of independency with the one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves.*”

We still struggle in the shadow of both of these legacies. Consider the irony that on the same day that a statue honoring civil rights heroine Rosa Parks was unveiled in the Capitol, the US Supreme Court took up a case brought by Shelby County, Alabama to consider overturning the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a law ironically crafted to curb the discrimintory practices against Southern African American voters whose rights were supposedly guaranteed by the 15th Ammendment in 1870.**

With that said, even the greatest declarations of unity and equality spiral into obsolescence when there is no human will to create the conditions to bring them about. That is why we pray that God ‘unite the hearts.’ The heart is where we align our will with the will of God and garnish the strength to create an environment where the possibility of unity can exist.

Take time today to reflect on the areas of your life where unity is waning. Where was the breech of justice? Start this reflection in your home, with your spouse, children, and friends and let this thoughtful reflection spill out into the world ensuring the appearance of unity among mankind.

So powerful is light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth. Bahá'u'lláh

*All Men Are Created Equal, Wikipedia article

**Voting Rights Act, Wikipedia article

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Photo by Dean Kalyan
Food for the Soul: 19 Days of Music and Devotion is a series of devotional songs from Badasht vol. I & II coupled with inspiring images and quotations from sacred Writings, initially to accompany the Bahá’í Fast from March 2-20. Please use them in your own way, and share with your friends & family.

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