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Pete Haug

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Armed with an AB in English literature, Pete Haug plunged into journalism fresh out of college. That career lasted five years while he reported for a metropolitan daily, edited a rural weekly, and worked in industrial and academic public relations. He abandoned all for graduate school, finishing with an MS in wildlife biology and a PhD in systems ecology. Pete taught college briefly, then for a couple of decades he analyzed environmental impacts for federal, state, Native American, and private agencies. His last hurrah was an 11-year gig teaching English in China. After he retired in 2007, curiosity led Pete to explore climate change and fake news and to give talks about both. About five years ago he returned to journalism to write columns under the watchful eye of his draconian live-in editor and wife Jolie. They’ve both been Baha’is since the 1960s. Pete’s columns on the Baha’i Faith represent his own understanding and not any official position.

The Evil in This World: ‘The Devil Made Me Do It!’

“Satan” in the Baha’i writings symbolizes our inclination to turn from God. Satan’s persona is “a product of human minds and of instinctive human tendencies toward error,” according to ‘Abdu’l-Baha. Pride, ego, the “insistent self,” symbolized by Satan, represent baser human instincts.

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The Evil in This World: Is It Evil to Lie?

The recent SpokaneFāVS series on “The Evil in this World” may have missed something. Evil is certainly abundant; multiple examples are provided. But how much is focused on what may be the most common evil of all — lying? This simple act ranges from the deliberate whopper to nuanced shading of truth, from military propaganda to religious leaders denying child molestation to rationalization.

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Reflecting on the Jewish Culture I Know and Love

Jewish culture

Last week’s commentary “for non-Jews on Judaism” by Hyphen Parent caught my interest. I’m not Jewish. Never was. I was raised Episcopalian, embraced agnosticism for more than a decade and settled into the Baha’i Faith for the last half-century. Along the way I’ve always admired the rich cultural heritage of my many Jewish friends.

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Ten More Years: ‘An Unbelievable Injustice’ in Iran

Consider the fate of two Baha’i women in Iran who, in November, were sentenced to their second 10-year prison terms after a hiatus of four years. Mahvash Sabet, 69, and Fariba Kamalabadi, 60, were first incarcerated in 2008 and released in 2018. At the time they were part of an informal group of five men and two women who tended to the basic pastoral needs of the Iranian Baha’i community. This was with “full knowledge of the Iranian government,” according to the Baha’I International Community (BIC) in Geneva. The BIC represents the worldwide Baha’i community at the UN and other international forums.

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Denominational Distinctions Divide Us

all religions

The Bible promises an unending covenant between God and man, God’s commitment never to leave humankind alone. That original covenant is symbolized by the rainbow: “I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” The succession of God’s prophets over millennia fulfills that promise. God’s message is “updated” periodically through “Manifestations of God.” Abraham and Moses appear in the Old Testament, Christ in the New Testament and all within Muhammad’s Quran. Baha’is believe other manifestations include Krishna, Zoroaster and Buddha.

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Can We Heal Our Divisive Politics?

Baha'i Universal House of Justice

In our zero-sum political system, winners take all. It pays to invest in politicians who further our own interests, often at the expense of others. Ironically, our system of governance is among the world’s finest. For a couple of centuries it’s set the gold standard for emerging democracies worldwide. And that’s what’s scary. We can, we must, do better.

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