The Role of the Baha’i. In the Wake of the Newtown School Massacre
The Sandy Hook School massacre of December 14 has no doubt been seized upon by the present police state as a raison d’être for heightened gun control measures. Yet a more subtle element of the event is the promotion of a political worldview under the cloak of psychiatry and an increasingly prominent notion of “community building.”
Stepping into the emotional fallout of December’s mass shooting is Dr. John Woodall. The former Harvard psychiatrist was almost immediately making the rounds in Newtown, consoling the grief stricken and advocating a seemingly unique communitarian creed. Woodall’s presence was unsurprising for locals since he resides in Sandy Hook, where his “Unity Project” non-profit is also based. What is more, the event was eerily appropriate for the “teaching children resilience” mission Woodall’s organization was already undertaking in Newtown area schools. Unity Project had already contributed to such exercises following major crises including 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.
At first glance the Unity Project appears to be yet another new agey, “let go of the hate” platform for Woodall’s pop-humanist psychology. We must learn to overcome our ordeals and look beyond our differences on the way to one big group hug. The organization has created such a program for the youth of Newtown’s high school where students have been encouraged to fill out a psychologicalsurvey and negotiate with administrators and teachers to lessen the homework load.
On its face the prospect of developing well-rounded and engaged citizens sounds desirable. Who wants to be considered a holdout against local cooperation, peaceful coexistence, even global trade harmonization? The consequence these days includes running the risk of being deemed a grouchy extremist. Perhaps this is why groups are actively espousing and disseminating Unity Project precepts in schools and communities throughout the world.
“As we move more deeply into a national and global climate fraught with complex and nuanced problems,” Woodall explains,
young people need to become masters of working with this complexity and diversity in cooperative and constructive ways. Our democracy and the happiness of our lives depend upon it. Young people need to know how to recognize bias, see the big picture and resist and problem solve cooperatively and to resist the human tendency to allow fear and anger to pull us to simplistic and extremist solutions that only create division and conflict and end up worsening the problems we face.
This exact doctrine was articulated in Woodall’s December 14 remarks to the Associated Press.
I do this for a living—I do trauma work for a living. I ran programs overseas for the State Department. I’ve worked in school shootings before. But all that—none of that counts. All that counts at that moment is that another human being is there for you … It’s a strong community. It’s a resilient community. The task now is for the community to give this a meaning. It’s like in New York City after 9/11. The lesson of 9/11 wasn’t that we should be afraid or angry, or bitter or blame or point fingers. The lesson of 9/11 is that we’re all in this together and we need to show compassion for each other to give meaning to the loss.
In Woodall’s evaluation the death and horror from such events constitute a sort of nightmarish martyrdom from which a greater good will arise. Indeed, many of the Sandy Hook victims’ families publicly exhibit this very ability to unemotionally cope with profound loss, an ostensible response and mindset that does not go unnoticed by the broader public. The wide exposure of this apparent struggle suggests a mass conditioning toward the community resilience that is a foremost element of what contemporary social engineers have termed the “Newtown transition.”
Along these lines and throughout the bulk of Woodall’s writings and pronouncements there is a clear resemblance to the precepts of the Bahá’í faith, to which Woodall is a devotee. Even though his professional training and pedigree suggest a “scientific” (qua psychiatry) approach to personal and community problems, Woodall’s writings are essentially those espoused by the Bahá’ís. He just seldom declares such affiliations or beliefs publicly. An exception was when Woodall and his spouse Margo Woodall recited Bahá’í passages at the December 16, 2012 interfaith gathering for Sandy Hook victims attended by President Obama.
From its headquarters in Haifa Israel and under the authority of the Universal House of Justice, Bahá’í is overseen country-to-country by National and Local Spiritual Assemblies. The religion is an international phenomenon, with its spiritual founder prophesying a global socio-political transformation under the Bahá’í order’s aegis. “The Bahá’í Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent religions,” the International Bahá’í Community website notes.
Its founder, Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), is regarded by Bahá’ís as the most recent in the line of Messengers of God that stretches back beyond recorded time and that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad. The central theme of Bahá’u’lláh’s message is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for its unification in one global society. God, Bahá’u’lláh said, has set in motion historical forces that are breaking down traditional barriers of race, class, creed, and nation and that will, in time, give birth to a universal civilization.
In 1982 the Bahá’í faith unambiguously professed before the United Nations “the goal of a new World Order, Divine in origin, all-embracing in scope, equitable in principle, challenging in its features — that a harassed humanity must strive.”
Toward this end Bahá’ís’ guiding philosophy and goals include:
All humanity is one family.
Women and men are equal.
All prejudice—racial, religious, national, or economic—is destructive and must be overcome.
We must investigate truth for ourselves, without preconceptions.
Science and religion are in harmony.
Our economic problems are linked to spiritual problems.
All major religions come from God.
World peace is the crying need of our time.
If this is indeed the basis of a global religion, before which all other beliefs and denominations must yield, there are a number of obvious concerns. For example, how does one define national or economic “prejudice”? Will one’s economic wherewithal be contingent upon converting to a new, state-mandated religion/spirituality? And along these lines, if science and religion are conflated, what entities will help determine the moral parameters of the many scientific pursuits that run counter to and endanger life on earth? Under such a scheme will psychiatrists and bioethicists make up a new clergy? Many of the Bahá’í tenets would fit well in a technocratic order where the state is the foremost authority.
According to the Center for Media and Democracy’s Sourcewatch database  the Bahá’í faith’s ambitious vision is a forthrightly political project calling for the creation of
A World Super State
A World Legislator
Unification of all the world’s religions under the umbrella of the Bahá’í faith
A World Parliament
A World Police Force
A Supreme Tribunal
A Single World Currency
A World Taxation System
A Single Universal Auxiliary Language
Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Earth Charter
Establishment of a World Free Trade Area
Along with the institutionalized secular faith of carbon-centric environmentalism that figures centrally in the Bahá’ís’ undertakings, the Unity Project’s understated transnationalism is likewise making inroads at public schools and in communities throughout the world. As in his previous endeavors, the Sandy Hook tragedy has provided the backdrop for Woodall’s evangelizing that seeks to realign the traumatized individual and group toward certain ideals and norms. What is arguably of concern is that Woodall proceeds under the cover of mental health professional while espousing an ardent globalist ideology that runs counter to the traditional political beliefs and religious faiths that, for better or worse, are espoused by a majority of the world’s population.
In the broader scheme of things the impulses and goals of the anti-individualistic Bahá’í faith’s and Dr. Woodall’s Unity Project provide clear glimpses of what may soon become a prevalent if not compulsory worldview–the elements of which are already being employed to ease the world’s population into a heightened tempo of violent and traumatic mediated events en route to the digitally-enforced feudalism of the twenty-first century.