"O God! Let this American democracy become glorious in spiritual degrees even as it has aspired to material degrees, and render this just government victorious."
These are the words of 'Abdu'l-Baha, master of the Baha'i faith, revealed during his visit in America in 1912. Members of the Missoula Baha'i community take those words to heart.
"America's spiritual destiny is great!" says Neal Chase, a Missoula Baha'i.
"Of all the countries in the world, America has made the most progress toward overcoming social injustice," he told a crowd gathered on the courthouse lawn at the recent "justice rally" sponsored by the Baha'is Under the Provisions of the Covenant. "God bless America? God has already blessed America! And to whom much is given much is expected."
Now, in the wake of the Trade Tower tragedy and American troops at war in Afghanistan, "America is at a crossroads," Chase said. "Its victory is contingent upon justice. If America is not just, its injustice will be the folly of its own undoing."
Chase, decade-long host of "Baha'i Phone-In Live!" that aired Fridays on MCAT, says America's destiny was set up by its founding fathers who, believing Jesus would return in America, aimed to establish laws providing the freedom to practice beliefs on American soil without being persecuted.
Victor Woods, a Missoula Baha'i, says that destiny was further shaped by Baha'i teachings that emphasize the oneness of humanity, guiding an entire generation of American leaders from Lincoln to Kennedy.
During the Civil War in the mid-1800s, Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Baha'i faith, journeyed the holy lands in exile, heralding an end to bloodshed, and instructing world leaders to implement a peaceful solution through a world legislative tribunal, Woods said. Through central communications with the Czar of Russia, Baha'u'llah guided Abraham Lincoln, leading to the preservation of the federal union, the abolition of slavery, and later the establishment of the World Court in the Hague.
In 1912, Baha'u'llah's son, 'Abdu'l-Baha, came to America and guided President Wilson, whose daughter was a Baha'i, leading to Wilson's ending World War I, and the setting up of the covenant of the League of Nations, in imitation of Baha'u'llah's Council of the International Tribunal. 'Abdu'l-Baha's guidance led to the women's suffrage movement, the establishment of an international war crimes tribunal in Nuremberg after World War II, and the United Nations, Woods said.
"The successorship in Baha'i faith has been instrumental in guiding the world toward a just system," he said.
Says Chase, the world was cut off from that guidance in 1957 after the death of the Guardian Shoghi Effendi. The Baha'i world abandoned Effendi's successor - the International Tribunal or Council with the Davidic kingship as its executive branch. But that Council, he said, was re-established in the Rocky Mountains in America.
Chase said the covenant of the Davidic kingship is the root of America's destiny because King David was of the chosen tribe of Judah (Psalm 89). "The American Christian clergy know and teach this," Chase said. "That is why American foreign policy supports Israel."
Chase added that Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha sat upon the Davidic throne. This lineage continued through 'Abdu'l-Baha's son who was an American, and to 'Abdu'l-Baha's great-grandson who is alive today.
"Therefore, the U.S. government doesn't have to support a government overseas!" he said. "For the throne of David the U.S. is mandated to protect is here in America now."
To win the war against terrorism, Chase said that America must take refuge in the International Council in which "nation shall not lift up sword against nation," as prophesied in Isaiah 2.
"The American people can still recognize this guidance. And they're in a unique position because whatever America does, all the other countries will follow suit," he said.
"Justice will prevail. America needs to realize that the purpose of the Davidic kingship is so we can recognize the true International Council," Chase said.
"America is looking at a war that will eliminate all prejudice," he said. "But to survive the cataclysms that are taking place, Americans must love the light; they must accept that all people are of one single family of humanity. The Davidic kingship is a symbol of this truth."
For more information on Baha'i, call 721-5737 or visit www.bahaifaith.net.
Eva Bradlee is a freelance journalist with the Missoula Baha'is Under the Provisions of the Covenant.