Well today was the first Sunday on which I had protested in front of the Unitarian Church of Montreal in several weeks and it was significant in a variety of ways. I had not protested much in the first quarter of the year since I was quite busy working on a special project and I had then gone on a trip south of the Mason-Dixon line for a few weeks before returning to Montreal earlier this week. It turned out that today's sermon, delivered by interim minister Rev. Peter Boulatta, was titled 'The Five People You Meet In Hell' and it was all about seeking reconciliation with those people that you have harmed, as expressed in the brief description of the sermon - "What if you had to spend all of eternity with people you had wronged? Wouldn’t forgiveness in this life be better? Would reconciliation be easier?" Quite evidently this is a sermon subject that U*Us in general and outrageously hypocritical Montreal Unitarian U*Us in particular would do very well to pay heed to. . . It was thus almost imperative that I put in an appearance today and, as it happened, I didn't really have anything particularly better to do with my morning anyway.
It turned out to be a somewhat more eventful morning than I had originally anticipated, although it was somewhat less eventful than it could have been if I had committed a certain act of civil disobedience that I seriously contemplated undertaking in light of the sermon subject. It was pretty much the 8th anniversary of my ongoing protest campaign which began in May of 1998 and has continued to this day because Montreal Unitarian U*Us are neither ready, nor willing, nor apparently even able to deal responsibly with abusive clergy misconduct and their own religious intolerance and bigotry, to say nothing of various other injustices and abuses that they have perpetrated and perpetuated against me and indeed other people over the last decade or so. The first article that broke the news about my now approaching a decade long public protest against Unitarian U*U injustices, abuses and outrageous hypocrisy was quite appropriately titled 'Spitting In God's Eye'. It was written by Montreal journalist Jacquie Charlton and was published in the Thursday June 4th, 1998 edition of the Montreal Mirror alternative weekly newspaper. So, in that I was splashing around on Tybee Beach near Savannah Georgia last Sunday, today was the first Sunday on which I could commemorate that quite justifiably "image tarnishing" news that made my ongoing protest against Unitarian U*U religious intolerance and bigotry known to thousands of Montrealers. You may read the original Montreal Mirror article here
and I would also recommend reading my rather *too* heavily edited follow-up letter to the editor
which corrects some errors in the article and challenges misleading U*U "spin" and disinformation as well. Pardon the pun but it looks like the Unitarian Church of Montreal, and indeed the greater Unitarian Universalist (aka U*U) "religious community", have now had over eight years of rather bad "luck" since this undeniably "image tarnishing" "bad news" about U*Us was broken to the Montreal public in the Montreal Mirror.
Quite regrettably rather dismal weather conditions did not permit writing various witty protest slogans in coloured chalk on the sidewalk as I usually do in the summer, and as I had hoped to do to celebrate the 8th anniversary of what one insightful Unitarian Universalist minister once appropriately described as my "alternative spiritual practice", however I hopped on the METRO with a full complement of picket signs and proceeded to display them to the public in front of the Unitarian Church of Montreal as I have done for the last eight years or so. I brought my Nikon D70s digital SLR camera along to record the occasion and it prooved to be more useful than expected. . . At one point one of the cranky old women that make up a significant portion of the Unitarian Church of Montreal's stagnant if not "aging and dwindling" membership began to knock down my picket signs that I place against trees and bushes and lampposts etc. to inform the Montreal public of this U*U church's outrageous hypocrisy etc. This sort of willfully ignorant vigilante U*U censorship of my perfectly legitimate and perfectly legal public protest has happened in the past but I never had a camera at the ready to catch the perpetrators in the act. Although I was a good distance from the cranky U*U churchgoer, and had the camera's zoom lens set to its widest-angle setting to photograph my picket signs with the alleged Unitarian Church of Montreal in the background, I was able to catch her red-handed as it were. I think that this kind of petty willfully ignorant censorship pretty much sums up U*U attitude to my protest activities. Not only do they just not want to know the truth but they will do anything they can to hide it from public view, even if they know that their Phyrric victory will be measured in the seconds that it takes me to walk back to the signs and put them back up again.
Those who have read this blog before, or who have seen my other pertinent internet posts elsewhere, will know that other Montreal Unitarian U*Us have not only engaged in this kind of foolish and futile activity but have even illegally seized (aka stolen. . .) my picket signs in the past. Most ironically, and indeed most entertainingly. . . the haughty and arrogant Queen's Counsel lawyer who had advised the Unitarian Church of Montreal about how it could attempt to cynically criminalize my protest activities in a deeply misguided and ultimately totally futile attempt to bring a permanent end to my protest, quite literally took the law into his own hands one Sunday when it had become clear that having me arrested on trumped up criminal charges did not bring about the desired results. The rather less than honourable Kenneth Howard QC stole my picket signs by snatching them right out of my hands and then technically assaulted me by shoving me backwards when I sought to grab my purloined picket signs back from this fool of a lawyer. I had him charged with theft and assault and the charges stuck. . . So far, this foolish Queen's Counsel lawyer who engaged in theft and assault against me, and another "church" member who morev recently uttered threats of violenced against my person are the only people to have been found to have committed criminal acts in this long drawn out conflict. Yours truly was acquitted of the cynical and completely unfounded criminal charges that were brought against me by perjurious Montreal Unitarians who made a complete mockery of U*U claims to be opposed to censorship by church or state in their desperate efforts to silence me.
Not long before I was about to leave a police patrol car pulled up and two officers got out to have a chat with me. It was the usual story about church members calling in complaints about my "disruptive" presence in front of their so-called "church" only this time it had the added element of a member or members complaining about me taking pictures of them. Wouldn't it be ironic if the complaint to the police had been called in by the cranky old lady who toppled over my picket signs on her way into the alleged Unitarian Church of Montreal earlier and who I was able to catch in the act with my digital camera? As usual the police officers wanted to know the reasons for my protest and, as usual. . . I proceeded to tell them most of the gory details of the malicious and abusive labeling of Creation Day as a "cult" by Rev. Ray Drennan and two Board Presidents of the Unitarian Church of Montreal, namely John Inder and Frank Greene. I told them how Rev. Drennan had labeled me "psychotic" and how other "church" members had falsely and maliciously pathologized me because I am claiming a profound revelatory religious experience. I actually tried to keep it short and sweet but they pressed for more details and got them. A third police officer showed up in another car and joined in the discussion. I started all over again with him and he ended up taking over the discussion. The two other officers stood by and listened to the whole sorry saga. . .
This third police officer seemed to be quite interested in chatting and our discussion covered a variety of points and was spread over at least fifteen or twenty minutes I think. I won't bore you with all the details right now but he seemed to want to find ways to try to resolve the dispute if possible so that my ongoing protest could finally end. He was polite and professional as were the two other officers who had initiated the discussion. Basically we had a civil discussion of many of the issues involved and in the end he and the two other officers who stood by listening for the most part were pretty thoroughly briefed about the situation and understood that the main problem was the obstinate refusal of the Unitarian Church of Montreal to enter into any kind of dialogue in an effort to resolve the conflict. The irony of the sermon subject was not lost on these police officers. In fact I made it very clear that I had made a point of being there this Sunday precisely because the sermon subject was about seeking reconciliation with people that you had wronged. . . When the police officer asked why I was so persistent in my ongoing protest in spite of the obvious eight year long obstinate refusal of the Unitarian "Church" of Montreal to acknowledge wrongdoing and seek reconciliation with me, or to even enter into ANY dialogue with me at all I responded by asking him why it was that some police officers were so persistent in bringing criminals to justice. . . Needless to say they all got the point.
At one point Jeremy Searle, the arrogant former Montreal city councillor whose highly misleading and even outright perjurious testimony against me was instrumental in the police arresting me on trumped up criminal charges, cut into the conversation as he passed by us on his way into the "church" that he had previously claimed in sworn testimony that he was afraid to attend because of my "intimidating" presence. He spouted his usual U*U BS by aggressively demanding that the police had to get rid of me because of my "hateful" protest activities in front of the "church". Having my camera at the ready I snapped of a few frames of this perjurious polititian who seems inordinately proud of his status as a WASU* catching him jabbing his finger towards the police officer that I was having a civil discussion with. The police officers were a bit surprised that I had snapped a few shots of Searle while in their presence since the complaints against me were in part due to my taking pictures of people, but we had already established that I had every right to take pictures of people if I wanted to and that it was a civil matter if the people objected to it. I explained the "issues" that I had with Searle as a result of his perjurious testimony against me in terms of the Unitarians' cynical attempts to criminalize my protest activities in their misguided and futile efforts to force an end to my protest. When they asked what I intended to do with the photo of Jeremy Searle I responded that I would probably post it to the internet. See below. . .
I was actually quite surprised to see Jeremy Searle coming to the Unitarian Church of Montreal today because it had literally been years since I had seen him attend a "church" service. During my criminal trial he had repeatedly stated in sworn testimony that he was physically and psychologically intimidated by yours truly and had been compelled to stop attending services at the Unitarian Church of Montreal as a result of my oh so intimidating presence that caused him to shake with a combination of fear and (hint hint) anger when he dared to walk by me and attend a "church" service. Interestingly enough his sworn testimony about when he stopped attending services at the Unitarian Church of Montreal as a result of my deeply intimidating presence began just after Rev. Ray Drennan offensively attacked the Roman Catholic state funeral of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau in an Op/Ed piece in the Montreal Gazette that was most ironically titled 'Wrong Message'. Coincidence? I am not so sure. . .