239 Days in America, Day 29: May 09, 1912 | Washington, D.C.
It’s Not All Sunshine and Roses 1
Other churches in Washington also objected to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The Washington Post reported on April 29 that Methodists were praying for him — that he would see the light and go home. The Rev. Dr. James Montgomery told his congregation at the Metropolitan Memorial M. E. Church that he wished that “some of those who have listened to Abdul’s lectures would take the role of teacher themselves, and convert to Christ this remarkable priest of the ‘universal cult.’ ” While ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was “doubtless sincere,” he said, he hoped that becoming a Christian would enable him to “return to his Eastern home a greater man.”
Just four days ago, Dr. Ernest C. Smith reminded his congregation at St. Thomas’s Church, near Dupont Circle, that “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Nothing good could possibly come out of Persia, he believed, but the bigger problem was that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá raised other religions to the same status as the one taught by Jesus Christ, “whom we dare not compare.” “Because of these things,” Smith said, “the only Godspeed we can bid him is a Godspeed back to his own country.”
In spite of these reports, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá doesn’t seem at all perturbed by the negative press. He told one friend that he doesn’t worry about criticism. “The denunciation by the leaders of religion,” he said, “is a proof of the greatness and influence of the Cause because no one pays any attention to something insignificant.”
Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C.
On Thursday, May 9, people came to Him all day long. Many ministers invited Him to speak in their churches. When a few spoke against Him, He observed, “‘I deal with people very gently that they may not turn away and raise the least objection. Yet these ministers have accused us of atheism…’”. 2 3
Pay no attention to those who objected to the Cause 4
There was a continuous going and coming of visitors at the Master’s house from morning until noon. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had lunch at Mrs Parsons’s, where in the afternoon He received many people. In the evening He addressed a well-attended meeting, speaking on the principles and tenets of the Faith and counseling the friends to pay no attention to those who objected to the Cause. As the fame of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the Cause spread, certain narrow-minded ministers had, out of jealously, raised their voices in opposition.
Today various clergymen invited the Master to honor their churches by addressing their congregations. He told them that He was unable to accept because He had limited time but that He would be returning to Washington DC.
- Menon, Jonathan. “It’s Not All Sunshine and Roses.” 239 Days in America, May 9, 2012. https://239days.com/2012/05/09/its-not-all-sunshine-and-roses/. [return]
- Bagdadi, Zia. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá in America,” Star of the West, 19, no. 5. (Aug. 1928) 141. [return]
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 64. [return]
- ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=3#section46. [return]