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

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How Much Is U*U Silence Worth?

Sexologist and U*U minister Rev. Debra W. Haffner, who is the Director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing, asks How Much Is Silence Worth? on her Sexuality and Religion: What's the Connection? blog. You can catch her drift on her blog. Here is my response to her post that I submitted as a follow-up comment. Hopefully Rev. Debra W. Haffner will not censor this response -

:How Much Is Silence Worth?

How much is silence worth to the UUA?

:Well, in the case of the Vatican, apparently 660 million dollars.

How many dollars have the UUA and/or individual U*U congregations paid out to buy the silence of victims of U*U clergy sexual misconduct?

:That's how much it's going to cost the Roman Catholic Church to settle a case brought by 508 people who were sexually abused by priests over the past fifty years.

How many U*Us have been victims of clergy sexual misconduct committed by U*U ministers over the past 46 years?

U*U minister Dan Harper says -

"In my Unitarian Universalist tradition, some experts estimate that over fifty per cent of all Unitarian Universalist congregations have experienced an incident of clergy sexual misconduct since the 1960’s. . ."

http://www.danielharper.org/blog/?p=210

Maybe U*Us should think for a moment about how those 500 (or more) people and their wives, husbands, partners, and children have suffered.

Think how much the UUA doesn't want UUA leaders to have to testify in public about why U*U ministers were simply moved to another U*U parish rather than being removed from service completely. . . If you don't believe that the UUA has done this I suggest that you have a chat with uugrrl. It is my understanding that the U*U minister who was found to have committed clergy sexual misconduct against her and several other women in her U*U parish was not defellowshipped by the UUA, and that he is still presiding over a U*U parish somewhere else in the U*U World. I have treason to believe that he is by no means the only U*U minister guilty of clergy misconduct to be shuffled off to another U*U parish either.

:The Vatican said on Monday that they are now committed to ending this problem.

The UUA said in 2000 that they are now committed to ending this problem but there is little evidence that they have done very much to redress past abuses or deal responsibly with current ones. Of course secrecy and lack of transparency in the guise of "confidentiality" makes it difficult to assess just how well or how poorly the UUA is living up to its pledge that its own failures will be remedied and that the UUA will "bend toward justice" in this "untended area".

http://www25.uua.org/cde/csm/apology.html

:They also said in their release that other institutions have this problem as well.

So did the UUA in its apology to U*U victims of clergy sexual misconduct. . . Interestingly enough the UUA admitted that - "Other denominations have done better." I hate to have to say so but, at least when it comes to publicly acknowledging cases of clergy sexual misconduct and providing financial compensation to victims of clergy sexual misconduct the Roman Catholic Church seems to be well ahead of the U*Us. . .

:It reminds me of the child who says, "But everyone is doing it" when their parent discovers cigarette smoking. Perhaps the Vatican forgot that the book of Matthew tells us to take the log out of our own eye first.

Perhaps you and other U*Us forgot that the book of Matthew tells us to take the log out of our own eye first. . .

:I understand why each of these survivors would want a million dollars, why it would feel justified. But I can't help but think it means we'll never really know how this abuse of power and patriarchy was allowed to go on for decades...or if it has really ended now.

I could say the pretty much the same thing about the U*U abuse of power that has gone on for decades and which I have good reason to believe has not really ended now. . . I doubt however that any victims of U*U clergy sexual misconduct have ever received anything approaching a million dollars in compensation for the damage that U*U clergy did to them. Then again. . . Who knows how just much the UUA has paid out to buy the silence of U*U victims of clergy sexual misconduct?

3 Comments:

Blogger Robin Edgar said...

The Emerson Avenger would like to thank Rev. Debra Haffner for seeing fit to promptly publish my critical commentary on her "moderated" Sexuality and Religion: What's the Connection? blog. I do think that a heartfelt Bravo! may well be in order here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 3:28:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Darn! It just occurred to me that I should have titled this post -

How Much Is The Silence Of The U*Us Worth? ;-)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 3:30:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Rev. Haffner has said the following on her blog -

To Robin Edgar -- I have asked someone at the UUA to respond to your very serious allegations. In my years as a UU minister, working with congregations and clergy, I have not encountered this situation. I have no doubt that there have been women and men hurt by clergy misconduct in my denomination (as in every denomination) but I do know that our ministerial code of ethics is VERY clear about such relationships and that such complaints are taking very seriously at the denomination headquarters. If you would like to talk with me, please contact me directly through the Religious Institute.

Wed Jul 18, 04:07:00 PM EDT

I would be very interested in knowing just how "someone at the UUA" will respond to Rev. Haffner's query. Here is my response to Rev. Debra Haffner which she has posted to her blog -

Robin Edgar said...

:I have asked someone at the UUA to respond to your very serious allegations.

Which ones? Any actual allegations are based on things that I have been told by U*Us in the know, or are based on seemingly reliable information that is publicly available on the internet.

My question -

"How many dollars have the UUA and/or individual U*U congregations paid out to buy the silence of victims of U*U clergy sexual misconduct?"

Is just that. A question. It is within possibility that the UUA has not actually paid victims of clergy misconduct money to buy their silence. I have been told that the UUA has other means of imposing silence on victims of clergy sexual misconduct committed by U*U ministers.

:In my years as a UU minister, working with congregations and clergy, I have not encountered this situation.

Which situation? I presented a few different situations.

:I have no doubt that there have been women and men hurt by clergy misconduct in my denomination (as in every denomination) but I do know that our ministerial code of ethics is VERY clear about such relationships and that such complaints are taking very seriously at the denomination headquarters.

I agree that the UUMA's code of ethics is indeed VERY clear about the relationships of U*U clergy with their parishioners; however, quite regrettably, it can be and, in my own bitter experience of non-sexual clergy misconduct, has been completely disregarded by UUA administrators. In fact it is my understanding that only fellowshipped U*U ministers can bring a misconduct complaint against another U*U minister on the basis of the UUMA's Code of Ethics aka Code of Professional Practice.

:If you would like to talk with me, please contact me directly through the Religious Institute.

I think I just might do that.

Thank you,

Robin Edgar

Wed Jul 18, 04:52:00 PM EDT

It sure is a refreshing change to not only have a U*U minister refrain from censoring and suppressing such comments, but to openly respond to them in a manner that shows some concern and integrity. Hopefully this dialogue about how the UUA handles clergy misconduct complaints will continue further.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 5:54:00 pm  

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