Baha'i and tithing?

Discussion in 'Baha'i' started by iBrian, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    I'm curious - is there a tithe involved in Baha'i?

    If Baha'is are setting up various social institutions, how are they funding them?

    Is there a form of personal tithe involved - either mandatory or voluntary - where the individual is expected to help fund Baha'i institutions from their personal finance?

    Or is it a donor oriented financing - where one or two particular individuals provide the bulk of funds.

    Or is it an issue of collective and co-operative bodies, where businesses are generated for the sole purpose of creating profits for use in Baha'i projects, rather than personal gain?

    Simply curious.
     
  2. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Hi Brian,

    There are Baha'i funds at the local, national and international levels. Donating to these funds is encouraged but entirely voluntary. Only Baha'is can contribute to the Baha'i funds.

    Baha'i's believe in what we are doing, so it is a bounty to be able to contribute, at whatever level we are able. There is no coersion or belittling. One person may only be able to give $5 which may be a tremendous sacrifice for them another can give $5000, but it is a strictly personal thing. It is a prayerful and reflective process. And up til now, we have managed to develop the resources we need when we need them.

    I'm sure someone will come along and be able to give you better specifics, but since noone had responsed to your query yet, i thought i should at least say something.

    Loving Greetings, Harmony
     
  3. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    No, thanks for that. It's interesting. One of the most "pitfall-ridden" (for lack of a better adjective) of organised belief is the funding.

    If you tithe, there is the risk of being seen as a "cult". If you don't tithe, there is the risk of being seen to be under undue influence of a few financially powerful individuals.

    Funding always interests myself. :)

    I would also be interested in details on charity work that Baha'is may be involved with at an organised level. I presume that it is only an individual's choice as to whether to give to non-Baha'i charities or not - Oxfam, WWF, etc - but I figure there are Baha'i specific charities. I would certainly be interested in finding out more about these - their practical aims and values, and how they fit into the overall organised whole of the Baha'i funding structure.

    Nosey, I know - :) - but Christian denominations are often very difficult to get any kind of figures from,
     
  4. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Hi Brian,

    Here are a couple links about Socio-Economic development projects that Baha'i's are involved with...

    http://www.bahai.org/article-1-8-1-1.html

    http://www.bahai.org/article-1-8-0-1.html

    There are many other links from there.

    Baha'i's can donate to any non-Baha'i Charities they choose. We should look for those that uphold Baha'i principals and support them.

    Time for me to go home. Hope that is somewhat helpful. Let me know if it's not exactly what you had in mind.

    Loving Greetings, Harmony
     
  5. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    We don't tithe as in other groups.

    Only Baha'is can contribute to Baha'i Institutions.... and there is no pressure placed on the friends to contribute. The Treasurer doen't seek out those who are not contributing and try to pressure them... Contributions are of course confidential.

    If a Baha'i has been particularly blessed financially there is a fund called the Huquq'u'llah or Right of God and it is calculated somewhat in the following way... After expenses a person can donate 19% of their profit to the use of the Baha'i World Centre.... for various projects around the world. You can also of course have your contributions go to specific causes...Huquq is encouraged for those of us who can afford it.

    Every year the National Treasurers Office reports how funds are spent and where the deficits are....

    - Art
    ;)
     
  6. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Baha'i

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    Hi! :)

    I think the answers you've already gotten have explained Baha'i funding very well. I'll just add a couple details.

    As others have said, non-Baha'is may never contribute to Baha'i Funds: giving to them is a privelege reserved for members only! So you'll never hear a Baha'i on the tube begging for money! :)

    No collection plate is ever passed at meetings, and no one may ever be told how much he or she should give: that's strictly up to the individual!

    The special fund that was mentioned, called the Huquq'u'llah or "Right of God" is on one's surplus funds only, after all expenses have been paid. What these necessary expenses are varies with each individual: one may be paying a child's college tuition, for example, while another has only a mortgage and ordinary subsistence expenses. We are asked to contribute 19% of any surplus funds after expenses to this fund (no other fund ever has any specific number associated with it, and there is never a levy against one's income!). Each person determines for him- or herself whether not there is a surplus--no one else may do this "for you." And if you decide you have no surplus, then you owe nothing whatever, which is fine!

    There are well over a thousand Baha'i socioeconomic development projects around the world! Just a couple of these are a school in India that trains women in literacy and skills such as sewing that will enable them to obtain jobs. The Baha'i International Community was also responsible for a campaign of vaccinations, etc. that completely eliminated screwworm disease from northeastern Africa. We also operate public schools in various locations; these are open to non-Baha'is (and at least some of them charge tuition).

    I also know that a Baha'i community in, I think, Oregon operates a nightly free dinner for migrant workers. In contrast to many of the church-run feeding programs in existence, there is a 30-minute break between the end of food service and any "talk" about the Baha'i Faith to give those who don't want to sit through it a chance to eat and leave before the talk!

    I hope this helps give you a picture of how we operate.

    Best, :)

    Bruce
     
  7. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    I curious, though, are the socioeconimic projects limited to serving those of the Baha'i faith only?
     
  8. 9Harmony

    9Harmony goin' with the flow...

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    Hi Brian,

    No, we participate in projects for the betterment of society at large. Anything that promotes the principals of our Faith is acceptable and encouraged. Anything that strives to eliminate prejudices, that promotes the equality of men and women, that promotes education, among many others, the avenues we can take are numerous.

    Loving Greetings, Amy
     
  9. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Sample of Baha'i inspired social economic projects:

    Here's a sample of Baha'i inspired projects in the continent of Africa alone:

    In collaboration with the Ministry for the Integration of Women and Social Affairs in Equatorial Guinea, short courses on the advancement of women were organized in the cities of Malabo, Baney, Luba Bata and Ntobo.

    * In Cameroon, a project aimed at improving the status of women in seven villages in Lom and Djerem was initiated, and in the three villages of Ndokayo, Badan and Nandoungue, income-generating projects were developed. A total of 145 people, including 70 women, participated in training seminars in Kadei.
    Ugandan Bahá'ís making bricks for new community buildings.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    * More than 60 small-scale income-generating projects were initiated at the grassroots level by Assemblies and believers in Kenya, covering activities such as beekeeping, brick-moulding, crafts, literacy, fruit-drying, poultry, textiles and "zero grazing".

    * Several kindergartens, owned by Bahá'í women in Mauritius, provided pre-primary education based on Bahá'í principles to both Bahá'í and non-Bahá'í children.

    * In Mozambique, two community primary schools in Costa-do-Sol and Matola-Rio operated beginning in 1993.

    * Bahá'í nursery schools operated in Ghana, Nigeria and Swaziland.

    * In six communities in Nigeria, development projects were established in the fields of literacy, child education and farming.

    * Training courses on literacy, soap-making, beekeeping, local pharmacopoeia and market-gardening were included in the permanent institute programs in Togo.

    * A beekeeping project was initiated in Côte d'Ivoire.
    * In the Democratic Republic of Congo, 188 community health agents were trained; 24 literacy centres were established; and 72 agricultural facilitators were trained.
    * In Zambia, Bahá'ís raised bees in the Eastern region, worked with the district hospital in the Northern region, and held French classes for Rwandan refugees in Lusaka.
    * Agricultural and cooperative farming projects were initiated in Ghana, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Source:

    http://www.bahai.org/article-1-8-1-3.html
     
  10. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Is there any emphasis on learning Baha'i as a faith - or teaching of it - to the people being helped in any manner?

    I'm simply curious - from what else was posted about financing the Baha'i movement, I was half-given the impression that Baha'is see themselves as separate to some degree from non-Baha'is. Therefore I was almsot given the impression that Baha'is will only promote projects that are involved with directly promoting not simply Baha'i principles, but also Baha'i faith, too?
     
  11. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Baha'i inspired social economic projects:

    These projects go beyond "financing the Baha'i movement" ...that is, we also do that through our local and national funds, but these are partially funded through foundations by us internationally.

    What you could do is explore the site I provided and you'll be able to find specific examples of various projects.

    These developement projects are inspired by Baha'is and partially funded by us...... so we the Baha'is fund these projects or our portion and the goals or aims are various from raising the status of women in society to giving people more independence and becoming more self sustaining... The people who benefit can be of any religion.

    Usually our projects focus are related in some way to our princples such as universal education, health care or developement.

    - Art
     
  12. barefootgal9

    barefootgal9 Baha'i

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    separation of Baha'i from non-Baha'i

    Learning or teaching Baha'i faith to those served -- No. These are not "proseletization" projects, but human service projects. Baha'u'llah has linked "service to mankind" with worship, and for us, helping to address the needs of humanity is a form of worship. There are no limitations whatsoever on who may benefit, and these projects are disassociated from spefically teaching efforts. Other than it probably being known that the project is Baha'i-sponsored, or passing conversations between Baha'is and non-Baha'i participants, teaching the Faith is not a purpose of the project.

    The distinction is important, and has impact on how funding is handled:

    Baha'is MAY accept funds from non-Baha'i donors for strictly charitable projects (economic development, general literacy programs, etc) , but only and specifically for that project -- ie projects which are not for the advancement of the Faith itself, but strictly human service to the general population.

    When a goal is exclusively for the benefit of the Baha'i Faith (for example, the translation of texts or building of Baha'i properties), we are strictly NOT to accept funds from anyone outside the community. This is a matter of integrity. There is no way to know the hoped for purposes a donor may have had in his mind or heart (perhaps he had assumed Baha'i was just a service organization? or even a Christian mission?) and it would be a violation of that person's trust to use that person's gift in any way that person would not have desired. We can only freely use funds given by the Baha'is themselves for the promotion and development of the Baha'i community. In this case, consent can be assumed to be implied for the institutions to use the funds in anyway they see needed. Baha'is may also "earmark" funds for use for specific purposes, if they wish.

    In cases where a non-Baha'i has accidently donated (say to a fund box), or insisted on giving something (which often happens) -- we are careful to earmark those funds as best we can "for general charitable work only."

    On the principle of non-Baha'is not being permitted to financially support specifically Baha'i funds -- this also is to prevent the inherent dangers of a situation where the Baha'is or it's institutions might be pressured to be answerable to a non-Baha'i donor, or expected to "whistle their tune." Likewise this is behind the strict confidentiality surrounding who gives what financial support -- that there should not, because of heavy financial support, be any pressure on the part of the faith or its members to "kowtow" to a wealthy donor.
     
  13. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

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    for example, our Temples

    Our Temples (here's one ) are open to all, and scriptures from religions are often read, but it is funded by Baha'is alone and offered to the community at large.

    The term non-Baha'i while practical often rubs Baha'is the wrong way. Being a Baha'i is much about being unified and not about any division. And yet we do divide in some sense. On the one hand for example Baha'is view our religion as being of the same "eternal Faith of God" of which all the major religions of the world are equally expressions of. And yet we are indeed, a seperate religion - with our own adminstrative structures and laws, not bound to the administrative structures and laws current among the other religions.

    I would also note there is a minimum level of income with the Huququ'llah - it's based on a combination of factors but if one were to consider none of one's personal posessions as required and all income and be free of all debt then the minimum personal wealth is approximately $29k. One also only pays with respect to one's current wealth compared to all past wealth. If once one reaches say three times this minimum one year and from then on one always has less then one never pays Huququ'llah again. One figures out this contribution on one's own - there is no oversight except that if the contact with the Adminstratition beleives the contribution is being given relunctantly *it will be returned*.
     
  14. bishbarmakV

    bishbarmakV New Member

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    nnnotebook

    Greetings.

    I want to buy notebook, prompt please
    Where is cheaper and more qualitative. And what configuration.

    Thank.
     
  15. Mick

    Mick World Citizen

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    Re: nnnotebook

    Which book are you interested in.
     
  16. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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  17. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays Well-Known Member

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    "In cases where a non-Baha'i has accidently donated (say to a fund box), or insisted on giving something (which often happens) -- we are careful to earmark those funds as best we can "for general charitable work only.""

    Primarily this is concerned with anonymous cash gifts that sometimes turn up in a center's fund box. Anonymous cash cannot be determined to be the contribution of a Baha`i and a Baha`i treasurer is instructed to keep those amounts of money seperate in the fund so it will not be spent on the promotion of Baha`i activities.

    Having been a treasurer it happens that anonymous cash turns up in a fund box after public events (Fund boxes are often hung on walls at a Baha`i Center. They are there for Baha`i's to drop contributions in in privacy. We never pass a 'hat' because dropping money or envelopes in a passing plate is public and contributions to the Baha`i Faith are strictly confidential.) Those moneys were kept til the end of the year and donated to a charity like United Way or Red Cross or programs for assisting the poor.

    A Baha`i Treasurer is never allowed to approach any individual about contributions, any appeal for funds must be to ALL members of the community at once, such as a mailing to every household or an appeal at Baha`i Feast or other Baha`i only events (District Convention and Local elections).

    The Treasurer is the only one who ever sees names attached to contributions (checks, etc.) and any disclosure of contributions is strictly forbidden.

    The Baha`i Faith in San Fransisco has a 501 C program to provide telephone messaging and e-mail services for the homeless to facilitate job searches and contact with their families. It is established entirely by Baha`i Funds though administered in cooperation with city and county government. It does draw funds from charitable contributions, the state, federal and local federal governments to continue in operation. No Baha`i teaching goes on at all in the program, though the signs announce the involvement of the faith.

    ------------
    The Life-Blood.
    The privilege of contributing to the Bahá'í Fund, "the life-blood" of the Administrative Order, can only be won by open declaration of Faith. Bahá'u'lláh says, in effect, that He will receive the things of this world only from those who recognize Him as the "Possessor of all things", the "Giver", the "Independent". His Cause will be built by faith only, and the condition of the Fund, "the bedrock on which all other institutions must necessarily rest and be established", is the measure of this faith. It is this faith which built the Temple in America, which maintains a flow of money to all the varied activities of the Cause.
    Strictly Voluntary.
    Following this same spiritual principle, there are no collections at meetings, and there can be no compulsion whatever to contribute to the Fund. The Guardian writes on this point: "I feel urged to remind you of the necessity of ever bearing in mind the cardinal principle that all contributions to the Fund are to be purely and strictly voluntary in character. It should be made clear and evident to everyone that any form of compulsion, however slight and indirect, strikes at the very root of the principle underlying the formation of the Fund ever since its inception. While appeals of a general character carefully worded and moving and dignified in tone are welcome under all circumstances it should be left entirely to the discretion of every conscientious believer to decide upon the nature, the amount, and purpose of his or her own contribution for the propagation of the Cause."
    (Compilations, Principles of Bahai Administration, p. 91)
    ------------

    Regards,
    Scott
     

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