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: http://revelationisnotsealed.homestead.com - 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: http://creationday.homestead.com - 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 - http://www.takecourage.org/defining.htm

Monday, October 16, 2006

How The Unitarian Church of Montreal Misuses The Montreal Police Force As A Proxy To Impose Church Censorship

In a CUC pamphlet titled 'What Unitarians and Universalists Believe' (both links go to PDF files) the minister emeritus of the Unitarian Church of Montreal, Rev. Charles Eddis, proclaims that Unitarian Universalists aka U*Us "are opposed to censorship by church, state, or any other institution."

Well you could have fooled me Rev. Eddis. . .

Isn't threatening church members with temporary and even permanent expulsion from your alleged "Welcoming Congregation" for doing nothing more than calmly and peacefully distributing legitimate letters of grievance to church members after church services have eneded an attempt to impose church censorship via coersion and intimidation?

Is it not true that I was expelled from the Unitarian Church of Montreal for a full six months in the spring of 1997 for doing nothing more than delivering a significant and potentially pivotal letter of grievance to the Board of the Unitarian Church of Montreal and making a few phone calls to UCM Board members when the UCM's 'Disruptive Behaviour Committee' misused and abused the UUA's 'Disruptive Behavior Policy' to impose church censorship on my letters of grievance?

Is it not true that the Unitarian Church of Montreal subsequently expelled me for an additional full year after I began my peaceful public protest against U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy outside the Unitarian Church of Montreal in the spring of 1998?

Is it not true that these expulsions from the Unitarian Church of Montreal were nothing less than retaliatory punitive measures for my decision to "go public" with my criticism and dissent because Montreal Unitarians and UUA and CUC officials in Boston and Toronto had failed or refused to responsibly redress my serious grievances?

Is it not true that the members of the Unitarian Church of Montreal held a special congregational meeting that was effectively a carefully orchestrated kangaroo court "show trial" and all but unanimously voted to permanently expell me from the Unitarian Church of Montreal because they felt that my peaceful public protest activities were "tarnishing" the already less than pristine "image" of the Unitarian Church of Montreal?

Is it not true that when these unjust, inequitable, far from compassionate, and ultimately deeply cynical and hypocritical attempts to coerce and intimidate me into silence proved to be totally futile the leaders of the Unitarian Church of Montreal then sought a court ordered injunction that would order me to stop protesting against U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy in front of the Unitarian Church of Montreal?

Is it not true that when Montreal Unitarians were informed by their legal counsel that they could not obtain a court ordered injunction that would order an end to my peaceful protest because my rights to public protest were protected by the Constitution ( aka The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ) that they then cynically sought to criminalize my protest activities because this was the only way that they could have the legal system order an end to my protest?

Is it not true that Montreal Unitarians had their legal counsel scour the Canadian Criminal Code in search of a criminal law that they could misuse and abuse in order to impose church censorship of my public protest by using the "civil authorities" of the state (i.e. the Montreal police force and Quebec Crown Prosecutor) as a proxy?

Is it not true that in December of 2000 Montreal Unitarians had me falsely arrested on trumped up criminal charges that misused and abused an obscure and rarely enforced subsection of the Canadian Criminal Code (176:3), that is intended to prohibit the willful disruption of church services.

Is it not true that prior to that false arrest, and throughout the six years following it, Montreal Unitarians have repeatedly called in spurious complaints to Montreal police in continuing misguided efforts to misuse and abuse state authoroties to censor and suppress my legitimate public protest in front of their alleged "church"?

Is it not true that when the Queen's Counsel lawyer who had advised the Unitarian Church of Montreal to have me arrested on those highly questionable criminal charges became angry and frustrated at the fact that my arrest on those trumped up criminal charges did nothing to prevent me from almost immediately continuing in my protest activities, as he and no doubt most if not all other Montreal Unitarians had hoped it would. . . that he quite literally took the law into his own hands by snatching some of my picket signs away from me and that he also technically assaulted me by forcefully pushing me backwards when I sought to retrieve the picket signs that he stole from me?

Is it not true that when I had this fool of a Queen's Counsel lawyer charged with theft and assault that he was subsequently subjected to non-judicial treatment for his criminal acts and thus most ironically became the first member of the Unitarian Church of Montreal to be found to have committed criminal acts in this ongoing conflict?

Was not this theft and presumable destruction of my picket signs an act of censorship? Is there any significant qualitative difference between illegally (or even legally. . .) seizing and destroying picket signs and seizing and destroying letters, pamphlets, or even books that U*Us don't like?

Is it not a petty act of "church" censorship when Montreal Unitarians repeatedly knock down my picket signs and even foolishly continue to try to steal them when they think they can get away with it, as the former UCM Board member Aurelien Guillory and another church goer tried to do earlier this year?

In light of all of the foregoing and what is yet to come. . . is it not deeply cynical and outrageously hypocritical for Unitarian Universalists in general and Montreal Unitarians in particular (to say nothing of Rev. Charles Eddis as a prominent U*U leader and the writer of these quite evidently empty and insincere words. . .) to continue to pretend in U*U propaganda that, "We jealously guard the right to know, to speak and to argue freely, according to conscience, within our own church and in society at large. We are opposed to censorship by church, state, or any other institution.We believe that truth emerges more clearly under conditions of freedom."? Have not Montreal Unitarians, and U*Us more generally, repeatedly demonstrated through their words and actions that this is complete and utter U*U BS? And I have not even mentioned the heavy censorship and "memory holing" suppression that U*Us regularly engage in on the internet. . .

So what's up Chuck? Spill the beans. . . I really want to know. . . Just why is it that you and so many other outrageously hypocritical U*Us have gone to such extreme lengths in your deeply cynical, misguided, and thankfully largely futile efforts to try to abrogate and deny my constitutionally guaranteed rights to know, to speak and to argue freely, according to *my* conscience, within the Unitarian Church of Montreal, the greater U*U "religious community" and in society at large?

The following post was made to the CFUU forum (one of the few U*U managed online forums that is not heavily "moderated" aka censored) just under a year ago. In the coming weeks and months I will be moving forward with my formal complaint with the Police Ethics Commission against the two over-zealous Montreal police officers who, at the behest of Montreal Unitarians. . . seized and destroyed my picket signs last October. Yes, once again, Montreal U*Us are responsible for using the state authorities as a proxy to impose their own cynical brand of church censorship on my entirely legitimate and entirely legal public protest activities.

Unitarian Church of Montreal and Montreal Police Trampling On Civil Rights Again. . .

Posted by Robin Edgar on October 21, 19105 at 21:41:21:

Last Saturday night I was engaging in my "alternative spiritual practice" of protesting against the intolerance and bigotry of Rev. Ray Drennan and other "Humanist" leaders of the Unitarian Church of Montreal and the Unitarian Church of Montreal's unjust, inequitable and far from compassionate response to my legitimate grievances. A police patrol car pulled up and parked at the corner and the police officers inside the car informed me that they had received a complaint from the church. I responded by saying that I was conducting a peffectly legal public protest. Needless to say the Unitarian Church of Montreal, or members thereof, lend a whole new meaning to the term "police harassment" by calling in complaints to the Montreal police almost every time that I show up to protest even though it has been long ago established that I am not doing anything illegal.

The two police officers, one male and one female, got out of the patrol car and had a look at the extra picket signs that I had leaning up against a lamp-post, a stop sign shaft, a rubbish bin, and a couple of trees in front of this alleged "church". The male officer stated that I could not place my picket signs of "church" property and demanded that I remove them. I responded by pointing out to him that my picket signs were not on "church" property but were on municipal property. A fact that he should have been able to figure out for himself considering that they were leaning against lamp-posts and stop sign shafts etc. . .

The police officer responded by saying that I could not place my picket signs on municipal property either. To which I responded that I was unaware of any municipal bylaw that prohibited me from placing my picket signs in the manner that they were displayed.
I informed the police officer that this issue had come up in the past with church leaders making such claims and that I had gone down to city hall to verify the law and not only had found no municipal bylaw prohibiting my activity but had even found some bylaws that were apparently in my favor such a bylaw allowing an unlimited number of picket signs to be displayed during protests. I informed him that I had been displaying my picket signs in exactly the same manner for "many months" and even some "years" and that I had never had any problem with the police about placing them on city property before. I also informed him that in the past I had specifically asked police officers if there was any problem with said manner of displaying my picket signs and that they had said that there was no problem with it. I made it clear to him that I was quite certain that I was not breaking any laws and that I was only enagaging in a peaceful public protest in accordance with my civil rights that are constitutionally guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

All of this was not good enough for this police officer who seemed quite intent on having me remove the picket signs. He warned, or perhaps I should say threatened, that if I did not voluntarily remove the signs immediately that he would gather them up himself and throw them all in "la poubelle". As I said, one of the signs was leaning against a municipal trash can that has recently, and conveniently for me. . . been installed right at the entrance to the main pathway that leads to the entrance of the Unitarian Church of Montreal. I made it clear to the police officer that if he acted upon his threat that I would file a complaint against him. I made it clear that I thought that he was abusing his authority and in a way that infringed on my civil rights and freedoms and that if he did in fact overstep his authority that I would file a complaint against him. The officer said that he could ticket me and I responded that I would definitely contest any ticket that he issued to me as I was quite certain of my rights.

At about this point the female officer intervened and told me how "fine" (French for "nice") they were being to me by allowing me to keep the two picket signs that I held in my hands. I made it clear to her that from my perspective they were not being "fine" to me at all by insisting that I remove the other picket signs andI told her that as far as I was concerned I almost had a "droit acquis" (i.e. an acquired right) in that I had been displaying the same picket signs in the said manner for years and had never been asked to remove them before by the police. I reiterated the points made earlier. She scoffed at my "droit acquis" assertion and continued to insist that I remove the signs and I continued toi refuse because I was very sure that I was not breaking any law.

I repeatedly asked the two police officers to show me the municipal bylaw law that they thought that I was breaking. Police officers are not obliged to do so but they do carry a notebook of bylaws etc. and had they showed me a law that was seemingly applicable Iwould have temporarliy complied until I had verified the situation. Just a week earlier I had come to such a mutually agreeable arrangement with a couple of much nicer police officers who had questioned my right to write slogans in chalk on the sidewalk after receiving a complaint from the "church". Instead the male officer gathered up all of the picket signs other than those I was holding and threw them into the back seat of the patrol car. At that point I said "d'apres moi ça c'est un vol" (i.e. as far as I am concerned that is theft). I reiterated that I would file a complaint against them if they were in fact overstepping and abusing their authority.

The two officers went into the front seats of their patrol car while I patiently waited outside. I had to be patient because they were inside for a rather long time. At least ten minutes or so. No doubt they were scouring their computer trying to find a municipal bylaw that they could pin on me. Of course just the fact that these two police officers apparently believed that a municipal bylaw could over-ride my constitutionally guaranteed rights to peaceful public protest says much about their rather totalitarian attitude. Finally they emerged with a ticket with a fine of $100 and a minimum of $41 in costs that referred to a law 270, article 18. The police officers' description of this law written on the ticket said "Avoir sans autorisation placé des objets sur le domaine public" (literal translation - "Has without authorization placed objects on public property") Needless to say I could not believe that this was an accurate description of the law since, as written, one couldn't even place a picnic basket on a parks grass without permission. . . I made it clear that I intended to get my picket signs back and told the police to keep them in a safe place such as the station's evidence room. I made it clear that I felt they were abusing their authority and would file a complaint if this was in fact the case.

Because I was quite sure that the written decription on the ticket of the city bylaw that I was being charged with breaking was at the very least less than accurate I decided that I had better head down to City Hall again to see what it actually said. Before doing that however I got on the blower to inform various Montreal media outlets about this apparent abuse of authority by Montreal police which clearly showed considerable disregard and even a disturbing lack of respect for the Canadian and Quebec Charters of Rights and Freedoms. After all the two officers never stopped to even consider the possibility that, even if there was a municipal bylaw that they could possibly use as an excuse to seize my picket signs, that a city bylaw might be in conflict with constitutionally enshrined civil rights and freedoms that guarantee the right to engage in peaceful public protest.

Besides calling the local media I also called the police station responsible, Station 11, and spoke with the supervisor. I related what had happened and what my intentions were and made it very clear to him that I wanted to retreive my seized picket signs as soon as possible. He indicated that if I contested the ticket that the picket signs might be held as evidence but said that he would look into the matter and get back to me. Unfortunately he never got back to me.
I spent the next few days talking to various media outlets, not all just local. . . legal advisors (including an associate lawyer from Montreal's top civil rights law firm Julius Grey), advocacy groups such as Mouvement Action Justice, who combat police brutality and other abuses of power by the police, and the Ligue des Droits et Libertés Civil. Based on their responses I was highly confident that I would be vindicated in the end if not in short order. . .

Since I was unable to find Montreal bylaws posted online I trotted down to City Hall on Monday to consult the actual wording of Montreal municipal bylaw 270 article 18. In the basement of City Hall there is an office of the "greffe" where one can consult the bylaws and have photocopies made for thirty cents a pop. I asked the clerk if he could show me city bylaw 270 article 18. His immediate response was a terse "C'est abrogé" (i.e. it's abrogated). I was quite surprised by his assertion but asked to see the law anyway if at all possible. The clerk could not believe that had been issued a ticket for breaking that bylaw and initially didn't see the point in showing it to me. He really was quite incredulous that that it was in fact that particular bylaw that I had been charged under and I couldn't prove it because I had not bothered to bring the ticket with me. He thought he would be wasting his time trying to find it. I said that I wanted to see it if possible and he finally pulled an old law book off the shelf and began leafing through it. He found article 18 of municipal bylaw 270 without too much trouble and it did fit the scenario. . . It is in a subsection of municipal bylaw 270 titled "Entretrien des rues" (i.e. maintenance or cleanliness of streets. . .) Here is what it actually says -

Section 18 - Il est defendu de porter ou distribuer des placards, annonces, prospectus, circulaires, ou papiers dans les, pres des ou sur les rues, allees, trottoirs et places publiques de la cite.

Translation - It is prohibited to carry or distribute placards, announcements, prospectus (or prospecti perhap?), circulars, or papers in the, near the or on the streets, alleys, sidewalks and public places of the city

It dates from the turn of the century and, when I asked the clerk when this particular municipal bylaw had been "abrogé" (I assumed that it had happened soon after the enactment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms if not earlier), I was somewhat surprised to learn that it was abrogated in 1999. Not that long ago really but still a good six years or more and, ironically, not long after I began my protest outside of the UInitarian Church of Montreal.
I still find it hard to believe that two Montreal police officers could have the gall to seize most of my picket signs and hit me with a $141.00 ticket citing a turn-of-the-19th-century bylaw about street cleanliness that has now been off the books for at least five years AFTER I had repeatedly warned them that I had previously checked the city's bylaws myself and, as far as I was concerned, I was not breaking any municipal bylaws, that I was perfectly legitimately and legally acting on my constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful public protest, and that I would file complaints against them if they did overstep and abuse their authority. Oh and did I forget to mention that when I called Station 11 the other day to inquire again about how and when I could retreive the seized picket signs the person who answered the phone was the female officer who had participated in the seizure and ticketing. When she said her supervisor was not available I asked her about the status of my picvket sign and she responded that the were destroyed. . . Oh and I also have not yet mentioned there is a municipal election on

November 6th. Doh!

Since the defunct municipal bylaw that these two cops used to trample all over my civil rights and freedoms by seizing and destroying my picket signs is basically an anti-pamphleteering bylaw I am planning to publicly protest this misuse and abuse of police power and authority by getting my hands on a bunch of copies of the Canadian and Quebec Charters of Rights and Freedoms and handing them out to the police as they enter and leave Station 11, I may do the same in front of other police stations starting with Station 12 that was responsible for my false arrest on trumped up "public nuisance" criminal charges that were brought against me by the Unitarian Church of Montreal. Let them ticket me for that!

Before getting that brainwave a day or two ago I had been planning to protest more conventionally with a picket signs saying -

MONTREAL POLICE MISUSE AND ABUSE THE CANADIAN CRIMINAL CODE AND MUNICIPAL BYLAWS TO ABROGATE AND DENY MY CHARTER RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

Ditto for the Unitarian Church of Montreal. . .

What was it that its minister emeritus Rev. Charles Eddis once said in a currently re-published and publicly distributed Canadian Unitarian Council tract that is displayed on the web site of the Unitarian Church of Montreal and other Unitarian Universalist web sites, including the web site of the Mouvement Universaliste et Unitarien du Québec.

http://www.cuc.ca/who_we_are/cucbeliefsbrochure_web.pdf

http://www.ucmtl.ca/services/PDF/eddis_affirm.pdf

http://www.uuqc.ca/libres_penseurs.html

Unitarians believe, first of all, in a open search for truth and meaning. Truth cannot be embalmed to be preserved for posterity. We jealously guard the right to know, to speak, and to argue freely, according to conscience, within our own church and in society at large. We are opposed to censorship by church, state, or any other institution. We believe that truth emerges more clearly under conditions of freedom

Official MUUQ French translation - Les Unitariens croient d'abord et avant tout à la liberté dans la recherche de la vérité. Il n'est pas nécessaire d'embaumer la vérité pour la conserver à l'intention de la postérité.

Nous revendiquons vigoureusement le droit de savoir, de parler et de discuter librement, selon notre conscience, au sein de notre propre église et de la société en général. Nous nous opposons à la censure pratiquée en général. Nous nous opposons à la censure pratiquée par une église, par l'État ou par quelque autre institution. Nous croyons que la vérité se manifeste plus clairement dans un contexte de liberté.

Incroyable! In every sense of the word. . .

Clearly my picket sign slogan that says -

A "CHURCH" WHERE HYPOCRISY IS THE BEST POLICY

is fully justified by comparing the words and actions that the Unitarian Church of Montreal, and indeed many other UUs, have used to try to silence my legitimate criticism and dissent and abrogate and deny my constitutionally guaranteed my civil rights and freedoms.

In fact, as my proposed police station protest picket sign slogan suggests, the Unitarian Church of Montreal has clearly tried to misuse and abuse the Canadian Criminal Code in order to obtain a court ordered injunction or other form of court ruling prohibiting me from protesting Unitarian injustices, abuses, and indeed outrageous hypocrisy in front of their alleged Unitarian "Church".

Allah prochaine,

Robin Edgar

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