Does your faith impact your voting preference?
must admit to being somewhat of a reluctant voter after following the
electoral campaign. The conflicted, self-defeating strategies we have
been witnessing beg for new and creative solutions by politicians
However, the Bahá’í Faith does offer guidelines for voting in civil
elections. Two are mentioned here. First, the Bahá’í community
carefully avoids any form of divisive partisanship. This is coherent
with the Bahá’í Faith’s spiritual philosophy whose bedrock teaching is
“unity” (not uniformity) in all its forms. While Bahá’ís may and do
vote, they do not belong to political parties.
Bahá’í organic and institutional unity would be seriously damaged were
members of the community to engage in political partisanship. No
political party, whatever its policy or programs, is in full harmony
with the Bahá’í teachings and spiritual practice. Consequently, our
first loyalty is to the Bahá’í Faith and its teachings, rather than
This position does not prevent Bahá’ís from cooperating, on a
consultative basis, with whatever government is in power on human
rights, education, social justice, women’s, development and poverty
issues. Bahá’ís are not anti-government, but loyal citizens of the
government in power.
A second relevant principle would be, roughly stated, vote for the
individual, not the party. While this view runs contrary to political
practice that adheres rigidly to party lines, it does underscore the
point that the Bahá’í voter should not blindly align herself with any
one party. This guideline demands a character assessment of those
running for office.
Shoghi Effendi (1897-1957), the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, and the
authorized interpreter of its teachings, wrote to the Bahá’ís of the
United States and Canada: “As regards the non-political character
of the Faith... The friends may vote, if they can do it without
identifying themselves with one party or another. To enter the arena of
party politics is surely detrimental to the best interests of the Faith
and will harm the Cause. It remains for the individuals to so use their
right to vote as to keep aloof from party politics, and always bear in
mind that they are voting on the merits of the individual, rather than
because he belongs to one party or another” (letter of March 16, 1933).