The Emerson Avenger

The Emerson Avenger is a "memory hole" free blog where censorship is scorned. This blog will "guard the right to know" about any injustices and abuses that corrupt Unitarian Universalism. Posters may speak and argue freely, according to conscience, about any injustices and abuses, or indeed hypocrisy, that they may know about so that the Avenger, in the form of justice and redress, may come surely and swiftly. . . "Slowly, slowly the Avenger comes, but comes surely." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

In 1992 I underwent a profound revelatory experience of God which revealed that the total solar eclipse "Eye of God" is a "Sign in the Heavens" that symbolizes God's divine omniscience. You may read about what Rev. Ray Drennan of the Unitarian Church of Montreal contemptuously dismissed as my "psychotic experience" here: - This revelatory religious experience inspired me to propose an inter-religious celebration of Creation that would take place whenever a total solar eclipse took place over our planet. You may read about what Rev. Ray Drennan and other leading members of the Unitarian Church of Montreal falsely and maliciously labeled as a "cult" here: - I am now an excommunicated Unitarian whose "alternative spiritual practice" includes publicly exposing and denouncing Unitarian*Universalist injustices, abuses, and hypocrisy. The Emerson Avenger blog will serve that purpose for me and hopefully others will share their concerns here. Dee Miller's term DIM Thinking is used frequently and appropriately on this blog. You may read more about what DIM Thinking is here -

Monday, February 05, 2018

First Parish Norwell‏ Unitarian Universalist "Church" And Canada's Archaic Anti-Blasphemy Law - What's The Connection?

Can U*Us say Peacebang aka "less than perfect" New England U*U pastor Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein?

With some interconnected #UU #ChildSexAbuse courtesy of First Parish Norwell's "less than perfect" "pedophile rapist" parishioner Richard Buell?

And some interdependent #UUA #LegalBullying courtesy of the Unitarian Universalist Association's "less than perfect" Canadian attorney Maître Marc-André Coulombe of Stikeman Elliott Barristers & Bullshitters LLP?

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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Islamophobia And The Unitarian "Church" of Montreal: What's The Connection?

Can U*Us say Valmyre "Val" Bourdon, and other "Islamophobic" aka anti-Muslim Atheist Unitarian bigots who were*, and possibly still are. . . members of the "less than honest" Unitarian "Church" Montreal?

Here is the online Facebook comment that I just posted in response to an article by Miriam Lafontaine in Concordia University's student newspaper The Link that is headlined:

Upcoming Vigils to Mark the Quebec City Mosque Shooting: Many Hope for a National Day Against Islamophobia

in which it is reported that a vigil against Islamophobia will be held today "between 4 and 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Church of Montreal, near Vendôme metro":

Things may have changed for the better, but in the mid-1990s, some of the most Islamophobic people I had the misfortune to know were the cranky, intolerant, and at times outright bigoted hard-core Atheist members of the Unitarian "Church" of Montreal. . . Following the first celebration of Creation Day in 1994, at what was left of the Unitarian "Church" of Montreal on Simpson Street, a very cranky Atheist Montreal Unitarian Valmyre "Val" Bourdon expressed his disgust that Muslims in traditional Muslim clothing had crossed the threshold of "his" church.

* The Montreal Unitarian anti-religious bigot Valmyre "Val" Bourdon is no longer a member of the Unitarian "Church" of Montreal because he passed on to the afterlife that he did not believe in some years ago, but other anti-religious Atheist Montreal Unitarians who displayed plenty of anti-religious bigotry, such as former UCM President Frank Greene are still members of the Unitarian "Church" of Montreal. Other anti-religious former Montreal Unitarians, such as Rev. Ray Drennan, are still members of the greater Canadian or North American Unitarian Universalist "religious" community.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Projet Montreal's Sue Montgomery And Unitarian Universalist Rape Culture - What's The Connection?

How about this most recent "electronic communication" that I sent to Montreal media and defamation lawyer Mark Bantey, of Gowling Henderson Lafleur LLP, who had me served with a "less than honest" (to say nothing of "less than competent") cease and desist demand letter asserting that Montreal Unitarian U*U, and newly elected Projet Montréal mayor of Montreal's borough of Côte-des-Neiges Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Sue Montgomery "will not hesitate" to sue Yours Truly for alleged libel 2 years, 11 months, and 3 days ago aka 1069 days ago. . .

Robin Edgar 


Nov 6 at 11:58 AM
Monday November 6, 2017

Dear Mr. Bantey,

It is now 2 years and 11 months since I sent you the email dated December 6, 2014, in response to the "less than honest", to say nothing of "less than competent". . . cease and desist demand letter that you had me served with on the evening of December 4th, 2014, as I was protesting against your ostensible client, Montreal Unitarian U*U and now "retired" Montreal Gazette "Justice Reporter", Sue Montgomery's complicity in the Unitarian*Universalist aka U*U religious community's clergy abuse cover-up efforts outside La Tulipe on Papineau street. I am still waiting for Sue Montgomery to get around to acting upon your assertion that Sue "will not hesitate" to sue Yours Truly for alleged libel against her. Let's face it Mr. Bantey, your ostensible client Sue Montgomery has now been hesitating to sue me for alleged libel for 1068 days.That's a LOT of hesitation in my books Mr. Bantey.

It is very unfortunate that you and The Gazette's former "Justice Reporter" Sue Montgomery totally ignored, and thus rejected, the quite generous offer of conditional forgiveness for falsely accusing me of libel that I offered you 2 years and 11 months ago today. There would be a lot fewer Tweets, Facebook posts, The Emerson Avenger blog posts, and U*UTube videos about Montreal Unitarian U*U Sue Montgomery's past (and indeed ongoing. . .) complicity in Unitarian Universalist clergy abuse cover-up efforts, to say nothing of her complicity in various other U*U injustices and abuses, if you and Sue had accepted my quite generous offer of conditional forgiveness.

Allow me to remind you and Sue exactly what I said 1066 days ago on December 6th of 2014:

That being said, in light of the fact that today is the 6th Day of Chalica, which is dedicated to celebrating U*Uism's 6th Principle of ostensibly striving for "the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all", even if U*Us believe that goal to be, like your highly questionable cease and desist demand letter. . . "extravagant in its hopefulness and improbable in its prospects", I will generously extent to you and your client the following peace offering which I had intended to offer to Sue Montgomery even before she saw fit to hire you to falsely accuse me of defamation and libel. If you and Sue Montgomery formally withdraw the highly questionable accusations that you have brought against me in your cease and desist demand letter, and properly and publicly apologize to me for bringing them against me; and if Sue Montgomery acknowledges that I actually do have what a lawyer might call "reasonable grounds" for making "such statements" about her, and also admits to her complicit silence re. the UUA's immoral and unethical attempted misuse of Canadian blasphemy law to hide the fact that children have #BeenRaped by Unitarian Universalists such as Rev. Mack Wallace Mitchell, Richard Buell, and Steven Craig Bulleit to name but 3 such U*U rapists that (to date) she #NeverReported in The Gazette, nor to my knowledge ever spoke out against in any way, and if Sue Montgomery acknowledges her direct involvement in some of the Unitarian Church of Montreal's attempts to suppress my ongoing peaceful public protest in front of said "church", and also agrees to research and write a series of genuinely fair and balanced news reports about UU clergy abuse and UU cover-up and denial thereof that will be published in The Gazette starting later this month, I will forgive Sue Montgomery's past sins of commission and sins of omission and provide her with a clean slate for 2015.

end quote

Imagine where we might be today if you and Sue had accepted that offer of forgiveness instead of rather foolishly ignoring it, and thus rejecting it?

I am giving some consideration to making a second offer of conditional forgiveness to Sue Montgomery that will give her a clean slate for 2018, assuming of course that Sue actually possesses the personal integrity and "gros bon sens" that will be required to meet my somewhat expanded conditions for forgiveness that I have not yet completely decided upon yet. I regret to have to inform you however that I will not be offering you the same, or similar, conditional forgiveness as I did 1066 days ago. Instead I will soon be moving forward with bringing an ethics complaint against you with the Bureau du syndic du barreau du Québec for what I consider to be a "less than ethical" false accusation of libel against me that both you and Sue Montgomery have obstinately refused to formally withdraw, and properly and publicly apologize for, for 1066 days now.


Robin Edgar aka The Emerson Avenger

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Senior Times Facebook Page And Montreal Unitarian U*U Sue Montgomery's Complicity In Unitarian Universalist Clergy Sex Abuse Cover-Up - What's The Connection?

How about these questions about Montreal Unitarian U*U, #BeenRapedNEVERreported hashtag co-founder, and Projet Montreal's "less than perfect" candidate for mayor of Montreal's burrough of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace aka CDN-NDG, Sue Montgomery that I just posted in the comments section of The Senior Times Facebook post entitled 'Do you know Sue?'

Robin Edgar Do you know that The Gazette's "star journalist" Sue Montgomery is not nearly as good a listener as she pretends to be, and that Sue can be VERY dismissive of people who ask her to report on her religious community's immoral UNethical, borderline criminal, to say nothing of insane. . . misuse of Canada's blasphemy law in UUA clergy sex abuse cover-up legal bullying that seeks to conceal "such despicable crimes as pedophilia and rape" committed by "certain Unitarian Universalist ministers? Do you know Sue even gets really short with such people, even going so far as falsely accuse them of libel when they tell the readily verifiable Truth about her?


Robin Edgar Do you know that The Gazette's "star journalist" Sue Montgomery reluctantly accepted a "buy out" from her PostMedia employers approximately one month after I publicly protested outside The Montreal Gazette's editorial offices against Sue's complicity in her religious community's misuse of Canada's blasphemy law in clergy sex abuse cover-up legal bullying meant to hide pedophilia and rape committed Unitarian Universalist clergy?

Do you think maybe PostMedia made Sue an offer she couldn't refuse?

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Media Lawyer Mark Bantey Sucks At Misusing Libel Law In Legal Bullying Intended To Hide Montreal U*U Sue Montgomery's Complicity In Unitarian Universalist Clergy Sex Abuse Cover-Up Etc.

Friday the 13th of October, 2017

Dear Mr. Bantey

Are you feeling lucky?

It is now two years, ten months, one week, and two days (i.e. 1044 full days) since you falsely accused me of making "libellous statements" about your ostensible client, Montreal Unitarian U*U and now "retired" Montreal Gazette "Justice Reporter" Sue Montgomery, laughably pretended to be able to read my mind, and stridently asserted that Sue Montgomery "will not hesitate to initiate the appropriate legal proceedings" against Yours Truly for allegedly libeling her. ICYMI Sue Montgomery has now been hesitating for the better part of three years to "initiate the appropriate legal proceedings against" me. I put it to you, and your "less than honest" client" Montreal Unitarian U*U Sue Montgomery, that Sue's Big Fat U*U Hesitation to sue me for alleged libel is primarily because there are ZERO *appropriate* legal proceedings that Sue Montgomery can initiate against Yours Truly for alleged libel because she knows ful well that I am telling the readily verifiable Truth about her complicity in Unitarian Universalist clergy sex abuse cover-up legal bullying, and her knowing and willful participation in cynical misuse and abuse of Canada's criminal justice system by Rev. Diane Olenick Rollert and other outrageously hypocritical Montreal Unitarians that was quiet evidently intended to deprive me of my ability to exercise my constitutionally guaranteed civil right to engage in peaceful public protest outside the Unitarian "Church" of Montreal.

The purpose of this "electronic communication" is simply to remind both you and Sue Montgomery, and any other implicated party such as The Gazette for example. . . that until such a time as both of you shameful liars formally withdraw your false accusation of libel against me, publicly apologize for bearing false witness against me, and publicly acknowledge that my allegedly "libellous statements" about Montreal Unitarian U*U, and wannabe mayor of Côte-des-Neiges Notre-Dame-de-Grace, Ms. Sue Montgomery are in fact very justifiable opinions about Sue Montgomery's outrageously hypocritical and "less than ethical" conduct that are supported by various forms of hard evidence, such as videos and legal documents etc., I will consider both of you to be very foolishly standing behind your demonstrably false accusations of libel, and governing myself accordingly.

Yours Truly

Robin Edgar aka The Emerson Avenger


Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour

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Saturday, October 07, 2017

The Senior Times Reporter Irwin Block Gets Asked A Big Fat U*U Question About Montreal Unitarian U*U Sue Montgomery's Complicity In Unitarian Universalist Clergy Abuse Cover-Up

In this typo corrected and "annotated" version of this comment that I successfully posted in response to Irwin Block's puff piece entitled:

Former star journalist Sue Montgomery vies for mayoral seat in CDN-NDG

What kind of "feminist and progressive" not only condones her religious community's immoral, UNethical, and even borderline criminal attempted misuse of Canada's blasphemy law in UUA* clergy sex abuse cover-up legal bullying that was-is quite evidently intended to conceal "such despicable crimes as pedophilia and rape" most certainly committed by "certain Unitarian Universalist ministers" from the public, but even knowingly and willfully participates in cynical misuse of Canada's criminal justice system by Montreal Unitarians in misguided efforts to force an end to my ability to freely exercise my constitutionally guaranteed civil rights and freedoms by engaging in peaceful public protest against Unitarian Universalist clergy abuse, and other U*U injustice, abuses and hypocrisy outside the Unitarian "Church" of Montreal?

Montreal Unitarian, and "retired" Montreal Gazette "Justice Reporter", Sue Montgomery is a two-faced hypocrite who is guilty of a variety on UNethical behaviors from where I stand. I find it to be quite an interesting "coincidence" that The Gazette's "star journalist" "Justice Reporter" Sue Montgomery was offered a buy out by PostMedia within a few months of my protesting against her complicity in Unitarian Universalist clergy abuse outside the editorial offices of The Gazette in early 2015. I suspect that Sue Montgomery's "less than ethical" misuse and abuse of the services of Montreal media lawyer Mark Bantey (possibly with the full knowledge and backing of The Gazette editor Lucinda Chodan. . .) in highly questionable legal bullying that falsely accuses Yours Truly of libeling Sue Montgomery, when all of my allegations about her complicity in U*U clergy abuse cover-up etc. are very solidly supported by hard evidence, may well have contributed to PostMedia making Sue Montgomery a "buy out" offer that she could not refuse in early 2015. Sue Montgomery somehow persuaded Montreal media lawyer Mark Bantey, who typically works for institutions like The Gazette, to assert in a foolish cease and desist demand letter that Sue Montgomery "will not hesitate" to sue Yours Truly for libel if I did not take down aka delete allegedly "libelous statements" about her on December 4th of 2014. I never deleted so much as a comma from my blog posts and Tweets about Sue Montgomery, and I have repeated everything that I am saying about Sue Montgomery on numerous occasions in public forums such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. More than 1000 days later I am still waiting for a VERY hesitant Sue Montgomery to get around to acting upon her quite evidently empty threat to "not hesitate" to sue me for libel. I would only be too happy to prove what I am saying about Sue Montgomery's complicity in Unitarian Universalist clergy abuse cover-up etc. is not only very Truthful, but supported by hard evidence, in a court of law. . .

I encourage The Senior Times reporter Irwin Block, and anyone else who reads this comment (assuming it is not suppressed by The Senior Times. . .), to practice Unitarian Universalism's Fourth Principle by engaging in a free and responsible search for the Truth and meaning of what I am saying about Montreal Unitarian Sue Montgomery by running some free and responsible search engine searches for appropriate key words found in this comment.

You can start with a search for - Montreal Unitarian "Sue Montgomery" clergy abuse cover-up

* UUA = Unitarian Universalist Association

Update: I was able to successfully post this corrected version of my original comment on The Senior Times' website to The Senior Times' Facebook page just after 1pm today (October 7, 2017). In that The Senior Times publisher and editor Barbara Moser is, or at least was. . . a member of the Unitarian "Church" of Montreal, it will be interesting to see how The Senior Times responds to my comments. . .

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Will Rev. Jason Shelton UU Musician Stay In Relationship With The Emerson Avenger?

Just asking. . .

In this comment that I just posted in response to this post on former UU Safety Net member Rev. Jason Shelton's Facebook page:

"The challenge for a spiritually mature UUism, I believe, is not how to avoid all injury but how to stay in relationship when it inevitably occurs. Thus do we covenant..."

So what do you have to say about this less than spiritually mature UUA injury Jason?

Please honor and uphold your covenant to "stay in relationship". You and I have quite a number of things to discuss regarding past and apparently ongoing UUA cover-up and denial of U*U clergy sexual misconduct. . .

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UU Safety Net IS As Corpse-Cold Unitarian Dead As UUA Moderator Jim Key Who Was Almost Certainly Responsible For UU Safety Net's Premature Demise

Here is a comment that I just posted in response to the Unitarian Universalist Association: Awakened by One Bold Survivor post on Catherine Thiemann's Survivors Awaken The Church blog:

I recently discovered that the UU Safety Net website was not accessible. I got a "Site Not Found" notice when I tried to access it approximately three weeks ago. I have since been informed by the receptionist of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville (FUUN), Tennessee, that the UU Safety Net website was knowingly and willfully taken down, and that it has been archived (in a way that is apparently not available to be viewed online) by Meadville Lombard Theological School. FUUN's receptionist also told me that UU Safety Net is not on the list of FUUN committees, and that she had no knowledge of any activity by-of the UU Safety Net committee while she has been employed at FUUN. It seems that UU Safety Net has been "dead" for at least a year and more like two years, and that it disbanded soon after it's founder, Anna Belle Leiserson, threw in the proverbial towel in mid-2015, as may be gleaned by reading between the lines of her comment here. UU Safety Net's Rev. Gail Seavey has repeatedly ignored my phone messages seeking information about the status of UU Safety Net, and what is or is not happening with reform of the UUA's policies and procedures for handling clergy misconduct complaints, that I have left for her on several different occasions spread over the last several months.

R.I.P. UU Safety Net

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Unitarian Universalism's Proposed 8th Principle And "Such Despicable Crimes As Pedophilia And Rape" Most Certainly Committed By "Certain Unitarian Universalist Ministers" - What's The Connection?

How about this little Tweet of mine?

Just for starters. . .

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Rev. Carlton Elliott Smith And Unitarian Universalism's Shameful History Of Clergy Sexual Abuse Of Children - What's The Connection?

How about this comment that I posted in response to this post on UUA Southern Region Congregational Life staff member Rev. Carlton Elliott Smith's Facebook page just for starters?

When a "less than honest" man of "Southern Heritage" decided who he would acknowledge in his "official apology" to victims of U*U clergy sexual misconduct, some victims and survivors of U*U clergy sex abuse got erased. . .

UUA Moderator Jim Key's Big Fat U*U Lie is astounding, and keeps U*Us from learning Unitarian Universalism's shameful history of clergy sexual abuse of children.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Unitarian Universalists Create Their Own Heaven And Hell Here On Earth By The Way U*Us Live

But don't take *my* word for it U*Us. . .

Take the word of the
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Clemson, as posted in this comment on the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Clemson's Facebook page: 

"There have always been varied beliefs about Jesus, heaven, hell. In early American history the Universalists were called the "no Hell people" because we do not believe that Hell is Biblically (sic) sound. Jesus taught love in the most profound sense and we belief is God is truly a loving God, no souls would be condemned for eternity. We create our own heaven or hell here on earth by the way we live."

But you can take my word for it too U*Us, as per this comment that I just posted in response to the above statement minutes ago:

"We create our own heaven or hell here on earth by the way we live."

Apparently. . .

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Christian U*U Rev. Ronald Eugene Robinson Has Been Sentenced To 57 Months Of Imprisonment For Using A Computer To View Child Pornography

But don't take *my* word for it U*Us.

Take the word of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma as posted to the interdependent web of the internet in this Department of Justice Press Release:

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Oklahoma

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Turley Minister Sentenced To 57 Months Of Imprisonment For Using A Computer To View Child Pornography

Chief United States District Court Judge Gregory K. Frizzell sentenced Ronald Eugene Robinson, 62, of Tulsa, to 57 months of imprisonment for Accessing with Intent to View Child Pornography, announced Loretta F. Radford, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma. Chief Judge Frizzell also sentenced Robinson to 10 years of supervised release following his release from prison.

On November 10, 2015, agents with the United States Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Phoenix, Arizona, conducted an undercover operation in an internet chatroom. While in the chatroom, HSI agents observed Robinson, a minister in Turley, Oklahoma, and other individuals watching child pornography that was being streamed. Robinson used a computer to access the chatroom. Some of the children in the videos were under the age of 12.

HSI agents observed Robinson making comments in the chatroom about raping a child and responding to a comment about killing a child after sexual abuse. HSI agents also went through Robinson’s chat logs and discovered that he had engaged in conversations with other individuals about raping, torturing, and abusing of children.

This case was investigated by HSI, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, and the Tulsa Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Neal C. Hong.
Project Safe Childhood

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Rev. Dr. Richard Frederick Boeke Former Minister Of The Unitarian Universalist Church Of Berkeley Gets An Electronic Communication Courtesy Of The Emerson Avenger

In this comment that I just posted in response to this Facebook post of Rev. Dr. Richard Frederick Boeke who, in addition to being the former minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, once worked at the Unitarian Universalist Association:

What happened when you were minister of the Berkeley UU church Richard?


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UUA Clergy Sexual Misconduct Policies & Procedures : As Analyzed By UU Safety Net Founder Anna-Belle Leiserson

Since the UU Safety Net website has magically disappeared into thin cyberspace, either due to negligence and incompetence on the part of its administrators, or knowing and willful "memory holing" by UU Safety Net and*or the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray led UUA administration, I have decided to reproduce some of the more important UU Safety Net blog posts here on The Emerson Avenger blog, so that the information remains publicly available to persons of inherent worth and dignity who might want to access that information. This is the first UU Safety Net blog post that I am republishing here. I may add some of my own links to its text:

An Analysis of UUA Policies and Procedures on Clergy Sexual Misconduct

November 18, 2014

By Anna Belle Leiserson, Safety Net Member

This is an appraisal of the UUA’s policies and procedures for responding to allegations of clergy sexual misconduct (CSM). It was originally completed on September 24, 2014, in preparation for the October UUA Board meeting. I did it as part of my work on the UUA Board’s Congregational Boundaries Advisory Group. My hope in posting it on the Safety Net site is that it will be helpful to others and a springboard for a wider dialog about our association’s CSM policies and procedures.

My analysis covers the three primary policy and procedure documents that address UU clergy sexual misconduct (CSM).
  1. The MFC Rules of January 2014
    Original URL:
  2. The MFC Policies updated April 2013
    (Original URL:
  3. The Process for Handling Complaints of Misconduct last updated July 21, 2014
    (Note: to my knowledge changes to this page are not subject to Board review, so I did not place as much emphasis on it.)
Based on my work, I believe there are four primary areas of UUA CSM policies and procedures that are in urgent need of attention. I summarize these areas with a few instances below. (This is not a comprehensive list of my concerns.)

1. Convoluted and Confusing

As the Figure 1 demonstrates, the rules, policies, and procedures are quite convoluted and confusing. I did a similar analysis and flowchart in 2007 and as you can see the current ones have become significantly more complicated. Unlike in Jan. 2007, it is now impossible to map a step-by-step process with any degree of certainty. Nor is the relative authority of the three documents clear, which is especially important when they are inconsistent. Moreover, the MFC Rules and Policies cover some, but not all of the Intake procedures, which appear to be outside the purview of the MFC. In addition the complexity is in stark contrast to the new simplicity of the UUMA Guideline related to sexualized behavior that was approved in June 2013. (The new rule is just 21 words: “I will not engage in sexual contact, sexualized behavior, or a sexual relationship with any person I serve as a minister.”)

2. Inadequate Accountability

Accountability of those with the power to make decisions is not adequately built in. Accountability can be of at least two types. One level is provided by stating a standard for a decision or action to be taken, such as authority to drop a case that is determined to be frivolous. Another level of accountability is provided when a decision is subject to a reporting requirement or an appeal process. Neither of these appears to exist at many steps, particularly in the first stages before the case reaches the MFC. Thus the Intake Person and the UUA Consultant appear to have unlimited power. This is particularly concerning since abuse of power is central to CSM.

3. Skewed Against Victim/Survivor

As was true in 1993 when I filed a complaint, there is still not parity between the accused and the accuser. While the accused is treated with respect, the accuser remains an object (evidence at best), not a person. This was pointed out in the Safe Congregation Panel report of 2000. Speaking for myself, in 1993, while it was a terrible ordeal to be treated as evidence by the MFC (at the same time I was being shunned in my congregation), I understood that it was the early days of addressing CSM and the MFC was learning as they went along — doing the best they could. Twenty-one years later, when this issue has been pointed out repeatedly, I believe there is no good explanation for policies and procedures that dehumanize anyone — particularly a victim of a UU minister.

In a similar vein, even though a victim/survivor is pressured by MFC Policy 19A to come forward, the UUA policies still do not guarantee that s/he will be informed in writing of the outcome of the case. In Policies 19E and 20C it is written in, but there are a number of other ways a case can terminate where it is not spelled out. If our policies are going to reflect our first principle, I believe this guarantee must be absolute and unequivocal.

4. Need for Compassion and Ministry

Most important in my opinion, a victim/survivor’s overriding need for compassion and ministry is largely ignored in the policies and procedures. Based on my interactions with current UUA staff, I believe if a victim/survivor spoke up today, s/he would be treated with great compassion during the intake phase. However, since it’s not in the policies, it’s dependent on personalities and UUA staff can change at any time. Tragically, just a few years ago, there was no compassion extended to the victim/survivors I know who tried to speak up.

We are not talking about sexual misconduct by politicians, doctors, or other professionals. This is about ministers misconducting themselves. And the majority of those representing the UUA in these proceedings are ministers. This must be a standard at least the ministers representing the UUA are held to. But history has shown that it cannot be assumed that they will act compassionately. Therefore, this must be clearly written into formal policies and procedures.

The Core Issues

I ask myself, what has happened to create this mess? This is the point where most of us (including me in the past) head down the path of blame. The question in a blame model is, “Whose fault is it?” This blame model is a destructive way to go, and that’s the kind of thing we on Safety Net have had to learn from the inside out in order to continue to do this work. So back to the original question….
What has happened? My best guess, based on experience building policies and procedures at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, is that there are two fundamental problems with the current UUA policies and procedures.

First, the focus is not on safeguarding the ministry, but rather on safeguarding ministers. Superficially the distinction appears subtle. It is not only an easy trap for the authors to fall into, it’s also difficult for outsiders to discern. In reality, the difference is enormous, and confusing the two results in untold heartache. The situations become unnecessarily personal for both the accuser and the accused — when what’s needed is more of a clinical analysis of whether or not a minister has upheld his or her professional responsibilities, and, if he or she hasn’t, the extent of the damage and long-term risk to the UUA of allowing him or her to remain credentialed as a minister.

Second, the process used to formulate these policies is exclusive. Most of the authors are UU ministers — and not just any ministers, but arguably those with by far the most power in the UUA, i.e. members of the MFC. Since CSM is at its heart an abuse of power, this is particularly concerning. Double checks to this kind of power have got to be put in place for everyone’s sake. In particular, no past complainants have ever been brought in to help with any revisions. And it’s not because we haven’t asked. I’ve been asking for 18 years, and the Safe Congregation Panel recommended it in 2000. I believe in recent months people like me have been heard and my expectation is this will be changing in the very near future.


I have been very impressed and encouraged by the UUA leaders (Board, MFC, and staff) I have met this year involved in this work. Moreover, my sense is that they are not alone in their attitudes and approaches. I have not the slightest doubt that they are doing their best to be there for victim/survivors. Thus I believe the state of the current policies and procedures is a disservice to them as well. They need documents that are easier to follow and that give clear guidance on justice and compassion. While these documents can never be as simple and clear as the new UUMA rule, nonetheless they can be revamped to be a good match — to work well in concert with it in achieving the ends it suggests.

To this end, I believe the time has come to start over, doing three things:
  1. Create a new inclusive process — including in particular significant representation of survivors who have filed a complaint.
  2. Reimagine what is most needed by everyone, clearly delineating primary goals. Then and only then….
  3. Write new policies and procedures from the ground up.


    I welcome all comments. Please see our guidelines for help in posting comments.

    Update of Nov. 18, 2014

    This article was originally posted on Oct. 25, 2014. I recently received some helpful feedback from the Rev. Jason Shelton and so have slightly expanded it — particularly the section about the UUMA guidelines. Also, to address one concern of his: he thought that the two “MFD” references near the end of the flowchart might be typos. I thought the same thing when I first read this initialism in the MFC Rules. In fact it’s the MFC’s initialism for “Ministries and Faith Development Staff Group” (which is why this section of the flowchart has a gray background).

    2 Responses

    Dr. Kate Rohde
    It is clear that these policies are not meant to help rid us of clergy abuse. As one who worked for the state in situations of abuse, we had much less red tape to get complaints investigated and adjudicated and yet we certainly missed aiding those who were abused in a huge percentage of cases. One thing this system lacks is some sort of mandated reporting. Often UUA staff know of concerns about abusive clergy and fail to report it — indeed it is not clear that they can.
    Dear Rev. Rohde, I had not considered the need for mandated reporting for staff. Thanks so much for pointing this out.

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Friday, September 08, 2017

Is UU Safety Net As Corpse-Cold Unitarian Dead As Corpse-Cold Unitarian UUA Moderator Jim Key?

Just asking. . .

Because UU Safety Net's whole website seems to be "not found", and it may well have been knowingly and willfully "memory holed" as part of ongoing efforts by top-level UUA leadership, and other implicated Unitarian Universalists, to cover-up and deny U*U clergy sexual misconduct aka U*U clergy sex abuse as much as they think they can get away with. . .

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