Friday, September 12, 2014

What part of "resignation" do you not understand?; An early objection by a Baha'i to my book on Comenius' Peace Plan

Dear Friends,

I think Comenius' plan for a democratic world government is the most brilliant plan to reform government, any and all forms of government, ever devised. This opinion often raises the hackles of my fellow Baha'is, who in my opinion have mixed their (mis)understanding of politics in with their religious beliefs. When I say, "There is no Baha'i peace plan, so there is no problem when I say that that of Comenius is the best put forth so far," they get all upset. But consider, the Book of Baha'u'llah's covenant starts off with this unequivocal declaration:

"ALTHOUGH the Realm of Glory hath none of the vanities of the world, yet within the treasury of trust and resignation We have bequeathed to Our heirs an excellent and priceless Heritage. Earthly treasures We have not bequeathed, nor have We added such cares as they entail." (

Lest there be any misunderstanding that His message is at all political, Baha'u'llah goes on to declare:

"O ye the loved ones and the trustees of God! Kings are the manifestations of the power, and the daysprings of the might and riches, of God. Pray ye on their behalf. He hath invested them with the rulership of the earth and hath singled out the hearts of men as His Own domain."

So, when it comes to politics, the duty of a Baha'i is not to put forward some alternative plan to replace any government, local, national or world, but to stand back and pray. We are concerned, and love and pray for them, but we do not lift a finger to interfere in their affairs.

This policy, by the way, is identical with the Christian position, as laid out by Paul, that "the powers that be are ordained of God." (Rom 13:1) Comenius himself broke this teaching and paid a bitter price when most of his unpublished writings were burned at the order of a Polish king against whom he had spoken out. Later, in his letter to a peace conference, Comenius invoked this "powers that be" ordinance, admonishing them not to set royalism against aristocracy against democracy, but to accept all forms of government as "ordained of God" and live together without rivalry or subversion. How much blood and treasure would have been saved had politicos paid attention to this!

When I started on the work that ended in this book, the questions came in. I blogged the following exchange, from a blog entry made in 2010 (

Let me close with a frank email exchange that I recently had with a rather conventionally-minded believer about the book I am writing. They wrote:

"There is something I saw in this blog and in others you have written which disturbs me somewhat.  You state that the world government proposed by Comenius "is the most insightful and appealing plan for a world government ever devised." Where does it leave the plan for world government which Baha'u'llah gave us now stand in your opinion? It sometimes seems to me that you have supplanted the Baha'i Faith in your book by idolizing Comenius..."

JET: Dear ----,

My book, People without Borders [now, Beyond Borders], will be a work of political science, which as you know, the Guardian encouraged young Baha'is to study. I am comparing Comenius's design of a world government with other plans made up by world federalists and political scientists.  I would not compare the Plan of God to what any man has thought up, if only because nobody knows how God's inscrutable Plan will play out.

When Baha'is speak of the Plan we do not refer to any detailed plan for a world government, since we are non-political. The Guardian was emphatic that we not advocate any scheme for a world government, nor are we to put forward a political platform. Nor did Baha'u'llah try to make up any detailed design of a world government, although He did advocate the attempt -- but he made it clear that it was to be done by kings and leaders, not by Baha'is. He forbids such meddling by His followers in the Kitab-i-Ahd.

Besides, since Comenius's plan is based on Biblical teaching, I'd say that his plan is to a large extent God's plan, and that he would presumably have submitted to Baha'u'llah had he lived a few centuries later. I am intentionally not mentioning Baha'i in this book, for several reasons. I may follow it with a book that does, I certainly have lots of material.

Thank you for reading along, and feel free to mention any further problems that occur to you.

Response: "Dear John, Thanks very much for your clarification. That will certainly help me to understand your future essays."

Brilliant Talk on Civics

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

my new book: Beyond Borders

Dear readers of the Badi' Blog,

Those of you who are my "friends" on facebook will already know that my book has been published and is now available on amazon, here:

In the acknowledgments of Beyond Borders I thank you, the readers of my now pretty much inactive blog, for the influence of your feedback in writing this book. Again, thank you.

Here is the blurb for the book:

"Worldwide, instantaneous communication at our fingertips is creating a global society before our very eyes. Whether we make it a heaven or a hell depends on how we conceive of world government. InBeyond Borders, author John Taylor presents opinion polls showing that the majority of people, in the majority of nations, believe we are in need of a world government. Taylor then offers up one of history's forgotten geniuses, John Amos Comenius, who in the mid-1600's made the first detailed proposal for a democratic world government. His idea starts with unifying the continents, rather than squabbling nations.
Beyond Borders explores Comenius's insight that the only global governance safe from tyranny is one where everyone is invested in the happiness for all, where all resources of humanity go to aiding each of us to become a balanced, educated and effective world citizen. However diverse our interests, this will take us down three paths of convergence: faith, science and politics. Comenius, one of history's greatest minds, solved the most controversial issues of our time, how to balance governmental authority and personal freedom, how to relieve tensions among science, religion, and politics, and how to blaze our own path to common prosperity and enlightenment."