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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Meeting of the Parliament 24 October 2017

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Motion Without Notice, British Sign Language (National Plan), Unconventional Oil and Gas, Business Motion, Decision Time, Helicopter Safety (North Sea)


Contents


Time for Reflection

Good afternoon. Before I introduce our time for reflection contributor, I remind members that we have a ministerial statement later today on the launch of the British Sign Language national plan. BSL interpreters are present in the chamber and will be interpreting this afternoon’s business. I am sure that members will join me in welcoming them, along with the BSL users in the public gallery, to the Parliament today. Our time for reflection leader today is Dr Sean Morrissey, Bahá’í Community of Scotland.

Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you for the opportunity to address you today.

This weekend, around 5 million Bahá’ís and countless more friends, neighbours, family and co-workers gathered in localities across the world to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í faith.

Dr Morrissey, forgive me for interrupting. There is a problem with the microphones in the chamber. I suspend the meeting so that it can be resolved.

14:03 Meeting suspended.  

14:14 On resuming—  

Thank you, everybody, for your patience. As you can tell, the sound system has been fixed. I ask our time for reflection leader, Dr Morrissey, from the Bahá’í faith, to start from the beginning.

Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, thanks again for the opportunity to address you today.

This weekend, around 5 million Bahá’ís and countless more friends, neighbours, family and co-workers gathered in localities across the world to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í faith. The weekend’s festivities, involving people from diverse ethnic, social, and religious backgrounds, constituted a powerful demonstration of global solidarity in a world seemingly ever more divided. The joyful, reverent and uplifting celebrations provided rich opportunities for those present to reflect on Bahá’u’lláh’s life and teachings and their implications for today’s society.

Bahá’u’lláh was born in Iran in 1817. Though blessed with saintly character and uncommon wisdom, he was made to endure 40 years of suffering and exile. Yet Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings speak to the nobility of the human spirit—the good in us all. The society that he envisioned is founded on principles that will safeguard that virtue and integrity.

At the heart of Bahá’í teachings is the principle of the oneness of humankind. Bahá’u’lláh compared the world of humanity to the human body—an organism whose functioning is governed by co-operation and reciprocity. Once viewed with scepticism, this fact—that humanity constitutes a single people and our world is essentially interconnected—is now widely accepted.

The oneness of humankind has far-reaching implications. It implies a transformation of the very relationships that bind society. It demands that all forms of prejudice be eliminated. Bahá’u’lláh tells us that prejudice in its various forms destroys the edifice of humanity, whereas the light of unity is so powerful that it can illuminate the whole earth.

The oneness of humanity also demands an equitable distribution of resources and opportunities, including universal access to education. It calls for a set of economic relationships that allow wealth to serve the interests of the entire human family.

The oneness of humankind affirms the principle of unity in diversity. Fundamentally, the Bahá’í writings see every person as a spiritual being with unique talents and capacities; every person is

“a mine rich in gems of inestimable value”.

Everyone has a part to play in carrying forward an ever-advancing civilisation.

May your work as parliamentarians, who are serving in a period of unprecedented global change, reflect the principle of the oneness of mankind and all that it implies for a vibrant, unified Scotland playing its part in an interconnected world.