This website is humbly offered in memory of all who have given their lives for the Bahai cause – whether in death or living martyrdom – that their sacrifice be not wasted in the stagnation of the visionless, but that their faith may be grafted unto ourselves, bursting forth into abundant fruit in beautiful splendor.

Unitarian Bahai Association

A liberal, all-inclusive
worldwide Bahai faith community

The Shrine of Bahaullah

Bahai pilgrimage site: The Shrine of Bahaullah, Israel
Bahaism, often called the Bahai faith, is a new religious movement started in the late 1800s by the spiritual teacher Bahaullah, an exiled Persian nobleman who devoted his life to proclaiming a universal message of peace, human rights, interfaith harmony, and ever-advancing global civilization.

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

Bahai martyrs

Dying for a liberal faith. Like many other Bahai martyrs, this father and son were arrested and executed for the "heresy" of being Bahais. Photo taken in 1896.

The Bahai Story

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:

Important Bahai Teachings and Principles

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:

  1. Unity of God. God is One, infinitely transcendent, and cannot be equated with any person, book, or institution. Religious leaders are not infallible, because they are human. No one can claim authority to command people in the name of God for at least the next 1000 years.
  2. Unity of Religion. All religions contain divine inspiration, but no religion is perfect or the "only way" to salvation. We are called to befriend and share fellowship with people of all faiths, shun no one and fight with no one over religious differences.
  3. Unity of Humankind. All people are the children of God; we all have the divine spark within. It doesn't matter what is your race or ethnicity, nationality, or any other distinguishing feature; we are one.
  4. Equality of Women and Men. Because God is both male and female, masculine and feminine attributes are equally praiseworthy and valuable. The age of patriarchy has ended; women must enjoy equal legal rights and freedoms.
  5. Overcoming All Prejudice. People must strive to free themselves and society from all forms of prejudice, whether based on race, ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, social or economic class, etc.
  6. Universal Education. All children must have the right and the means to receive a high-quality, broad, objective, informative education that will prepare them for a mature and productive life. Parents, governments, and nongovernmental institutions must ensure this.
  7. Independent Search for Truth. All people are called to learn and seek truth according to their own conscience, on their own ongoing journey, without blindly following or imitating the beliefs, practices or ideologies of authority figures.
  8. Harmony of Science and Spirituality. There is no inherent conflict between truth as discovered by science and spiritual concepts such as God, the soul, life after death, and nonphysical dimensions of existence. Religions must yield to scientific knowledge, and science must be open to phenomena that transcend present scientific conceptions of reality.
  9. Institutions for World Peace. There should be lasting international cooperation and diplomacy rather than wars; the creation of an international tribunal with powers to enforce international law and bring justice in disputes and conflicts between nations; an international peace-keeping force; and an international interfaith democratic assembly representing all the peoples of the world.
  10. Universal Auxiliary Language. One language, either an existing one or a new one, should be promoted as an international second language that all children will learn and all people will use as a standard means of communication between people of different linguistic backgrounds throughout the world.
  11. Elimination of Extremes of Poverty and Wealth. Both within each nation and among the nations, extreme concentrations of poverty or wealth are undesirable and should be mitigated by moderating economic policies and regulations to create stability and benefit for all.
  12. Secular Spirituality. Bahaism does not have its own clergy, and Bahaullah prohibited Bahais from practicing monasticism, asceticism, or confession of sins to religious leaders.

Unitarianism and Bahaism

The Unitarian Bahai Association chose this name for ourselves because we are Unitarians. There are three meanings of this word that apply to us:

Practicing Our Unitarian Bahai Faith

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.

Seek, Discuss, and Join the Unitarian Bahai Community

Whether you're a member of the Unitarian Bahai Association or just interested, we invite you to join our online discussion group. Or you may contact the UBA directly with your questions and comments.

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.