Participating in Public Discourse

“Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and centre your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.”

— Bahá’u’lláh

Across all levels of society, people talk about issues of importance to the future of our collective life. These issues include the challenge of poverty and inequality, the relationships between women and men, the role of religion in society, reconciliation, climate change, diversity, and social justice. Humanity as a whole is undergoing a transition towards a more integrated society, in which we are increasingly conscious of the reality that the earth is our common homeland and we are a single human family. This transition can be both exciting and disruptive, leading many to ask questions about the future.

In a society that regards itself as democratic, real attention needs to be given to the ways we converse in public. Our public discourse often reduces these complex questions with simplistic analysis. More than ever, there is a need to rebuild faith in the capacity of people to deliberate about the issues of the day, with the intention of discovering points of unity that can advance the common good. When people are invested in their communities and institutions, they should freely participate in public discourse, with due respect for others and with an openness to changing their own mind.

Bahá’ís are encouraged to participate in the life of society, as neighbours and members of their communities and as professionals in their field of work. This involvement often includes joining discussions about the issues of the day, while avoiding partisan debate. Bahá’ís welcome opportunities to engage in conversations to share insights from their teachings and their experiences in applying them to the betterment of their communities and professions.

At an official level, the Office of Public Affairs of the Bahá’í Community of Canada participates in national public discourses as part of Canadian civil society. Its representatives are active in supporting the advancement of a number of national discourses on themes that include the role of religion in society, youth empowerment, citizenship and reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.

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