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 -

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rev. James Ishmael Ford Endorses Rev. Laurel Hallman For UUA President

U*U blogger Rev. James Ishmael Ford, Senior Minister of the First Unitarian Society of Newton, Massachusetts has publicly endorsed Rev. Laurel Hallman as his choice for the next President of the Unitarian*Universalist Association of Congregations aka the UUA. Here are Rev. Ford`s exact words, as reproduced on Rev. Laurel Hallman`s Elect Laurel Hallman for President of the UUA web site.

I have been an admirer of Laurel Hallman for many years. She is at once grounded, practical and possessed of a soaring vision of transformation for us as individuals and for our world. I believe she is uniquely qualified to lead us in these next difficult years. I deeply hope Laurel Hallman will be our next Unitarian Universalist president.

Rev. James Ishmael Ford
Senior Minister
First Unitarian Society of Newton, MA

I can`t help but notice that Rev. James Ishmael Ford speaks of "these next difficult years" in his endorsement of Rev. Hallman. I can`t help but wonder just what he means by that turn of a phrase. In what ways does Rev. James Ishmael Ford believe that the coming years will be "difficult years" for the UUA or the Unitarian*Universalist religious community more generally? I hereby invite Rev. James Ishmael Ford to elaborate on just what he means by commenting on this blog post.

The Reality of U*Us Believing Whatever U*Us Want. . .

This is my slightly revised point-by-point response to the blog post titled The Impossibility of Believing Whatever You Want on Jeff Wilson`s Transient and Permanent blog. I have tried submitting it a few times without success so I am posting it here instead. I will add pertinent hyperlinks to the text shortly.

:There’s a mighty big myth about Unitarian-Universalism that has been circulating for years. It’s the idea that in UUism “you can believe whatever you want.” That’s not at all accurate.

Unfortunately it is by no means an impossibility for Unitarian*Universalists aka U*Us to believe whatever they want to. In fact all too many contemporary U*Us do exactly that in various ways. Like many myths (but by no means all myths. . .) that perception or indeed stereotype about contemporary Unitarian*Universalism is based on fact and observed behaviour. The fact of the matter is that many Unitarian*Universalists are effectively free to believe whatever they want to believe, even if their beliefs can be shown to be quite untenable. It seems that the Unitarian ideal that one`s religious beliefs (to say nothing of other beliefs) should be solidly founded on Reason went out the door some time after the 1961 merger of the Unitarians with the Universalists, if not some time before it. . .

:Truthfully, in UUism it’s more like: “you have to believe what you really do believe, whether you want to or not.”

This sounds like goobledegook to me. It would be far better to say “U*Us have to believe what the facts lead U*Us to believe, whether U*Us want to or not.” Unfortunately, well documented facts have never got in the way of U*U beliefs about me or any number of other people and things.

:Followed authentically, this is potentially a far harder, more spiritually refining course than creedal religion. UUism isn’t for slackers.

Tell that to all the hundreds if not thousands of U*Us who have been “slackers” (to put it mildly) for over a decade regarding the facts that I have brought to their attention about the anti-religious intolerance and bigotry of some so-called Humanist U*Us and various other well-documented U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy. I might add that there is plenty of other evidence of U*Us being slackers on any number of other issues, including fundamental monotheistic religious beliefs. . .

:Wanting has nothing to do with belief. Who can believe what they want?

Montreal Unitarian U*Us for starters. . . They can and do continue to believe that I am psychotic even though church leaders have been given two letters from a qualified psychiatrist stating that he could find no traces of psychoses in me. They can believe that Creation Day is a cult even though there is no evidence supporting that belief. They can believe that I will commit a serious personal injury offence even though I have a proven track record of non-violent direct action that is more than a decade long. They can believe that they have done no wrong whatsoever inspite of the abundant documented evidence of their obvious injustices, abuses and hypocrisy. The UUA and its very aptly named Ministerial Fellowship Committee can believe that Rev. Ray Drennan`s obvious anti-religious intolerance and bigotry and related verbally abusive harassment is “within the appropriate guidelines of ministerial leadership” even though it clearly violates both the letter and the spirit of the UUMA Guidelines of Professional Practice aka the UUMA Code of Ethics, to say nothing of various other claimed principles and ideals of U*Uism. Plenty of other U*Us believe what they want about all manner of things in complete disregard of hard facts that call their dubious beliefs into question.

:In UUism people are called to believe what they believe:

Huh? Isn`t that effectively believing whatever you want to believe? Be assured that I know plenty of U*Us who believe what they believe even though their dubious beliefs are quite untenable when confronted by hard facts. . .

:to test their beliefs and those of others, to replace fantasy with truth,

I am still waiting for U*Us to get around to doing that. When will U*Us replace the fantasy that I am psychotic or suffering from some other serious mental illness with the truth that I am remarkably well-balanced and sane, especially for someone claiming a profound revelatory experience of God? When will U*Us replace the fantasy that Creation Day is a cult with the truth that, by definition, an inter-religious event that brings together people from diverse religions cannot possibly be a cult? When will the UUA and it`s aptly named Ministerial Fellowship Committee replace the fantasy that Rev. Ray Drennan`s verbal abuse and harassment is “within the appropriate guidelines of ministerial leadership” with the truth that his anti-religious intolerance and bigotry clearly violates both the letter and the spirit of the UUMA Guidelines of Professional Practice aka the UUMA Code of Ethics? I could present numerous other examples of U*Us abjectly failing or obstinately refusing to replace fantasy with truth but it would take up a lot more space here.

:even when fantasy seems infinitely preferable to truth.

Indeed it does to plenty of U*Us. In fact Montreal Unitarian U*Us and no shortage of other U*Us, including U*U clergy and top-level UUA administrators, have found fantasy to be preferable to the well-documented truth for over a decade now. . .

:With no creedal litmus test, UUs can’t hide behind dogmas they barely understand or even disagree with.

You`d be surprised. . .

:When discussing what a Christian is, one doesn’t say “A Christian is someone who claims to believe in God, whether he really does or not.”

Actually I have heard of some U*U clergy, including one UUA President, pretending to be Christians even though they are not Christians and may not even believe in God. . .

:Likewise, one shouldn’t say “A UU is someone who can believe whatever they want to.”

Why not? It is effectively very much true these days, even though it should not be true. . .

:The UU who believes what he wants to believe is not a model UU,

I agree in principle, but the U*U who believes what he or she wants to believe, even in defiance of hard facts and compelling evidence, seems to be very much the de facto U*U these days. I won`t paint *all* U*Us with that brush but that statement certainly can be applied to hundreds and even thousands of U*Us if not a majority of U*Us.

:just as the Christian who fakes allegiance to the Nicene creed is not a model Christian (no comments here about the stereotyping of what it takes to be a Christian please–this is just being used to illustrate a point).

What about U*U ministers, including at least one UUA President faking being Christians for various reasons? What about those many U*Us who fake allegiance to the Seven Principles of U*Uism and other claimed ideals of U*Uism?

:When a mature UU encounters theist UUs, she never thinks “Oh, he just wants to believe that there is a God.” Rather, she assumes that he has struggled with his beliefs and found that he can’t deny the existence of God.

I guess that makes Rev. Ray Drennan and all those other intolerant and abusive Humanist U*Us who have repeatedly mocked and ridiculed my carefully though out monotheistic religious beliefs, and have even gone so far as to label me as psychotic or otherwise insane, are immature U*Us. . . No argument from me about that.

:When she encounters Wiccan UUs, she never think “Oh, he just wants to believe in magic.” She assumes that he has wrestled with how the world works, and can’t discount that our intentions impact the world and what we put out into the universe comes back to us many times over.

Well the intentions of Rev. Ray Drennan and other intolerant and abusive U*Us have certainly come back to U*Us many times over. . . It is most unfortunate that U*Us have repeatedly proven themselves to be chronically unready, obstinately unwilling, and seemingly outright unable to responsibly acknowledge and adequately redress the well-documented injustices and abuses arising out of the intentions of Rev. Ray Drennan's, and other outrageously hypocritical U*Us', anti-religious intolerance. . .

:She assumes these UUs believe different things as UUs because they can’t escape the fact that they believe them, not because they merely wish them to be true or find such beliefs fun.

Of course. . .

:And that’s why even though she may not agree with either perspective, she gives both UUs genuine respect.

Right. . . Which is why no shortage of atheist Humanist U*Us have shown all kinds of disrespect for, to say nothing of having engaged in various forms of discrimination and harassment of, bona fide monotheistic Unitarians and Universalists as well as pagan U*Us.

:Believing what you really do believe can be a very harrowing path. It also means that you must allow a certain level of criticism. To be a UU is to be vulnerable in your conviction and to accept that vulnerability as part of the price of acknowledging your true beliefs.

Up to a point. . . I draw the line at being subjected to ridicule, deep insults, slanderous lies and defamatory allegations about me and my religious beliefs and practices by intolerant and abusive Unitarian*Universalist U*Us.

:If UUs must make elevator speeches, let them be the opposite of the ones that have been made before.

Which ones might those be?

:“You are a UU? What do UUs believe?” “UUs believe in being fully authentic with our beliefs and actions, even if there are consequences. That seems puzzling? Well then, let me tell you how I live that belief. . .”

Here are a couple of examples, but by no means all of them. . . of how I live the belief that U*U beliefs and actions have consequences -

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Rev. Laurel Hallman For UUA President Website And Blog Changes

Rev. Laurel Hallman, the minister of the First Unitarian Church of Dallas Texas, has had a new and improved web site and blog designed to promote her candidacy for UUA President. Rev. Hallman`s original Elect Laurel Hallman Unitarian Universalist Association President website was at the URL: but her new Laurel Hallman for UUA President website is at the URL:

The original Elect Laurel Hallman website has been deleted and the URL redirects to her new web site but a Google cached version of Rev. Laurel Hallman`s original web site may still be viewed here. Cache it will U*Us can. . . This cached web page will eventually disappear into the gigantic cyberspace "memory hole" of extinct web sites. Click the following link to go to a Google cache version of the biography page of Rev. Laurel Hallman`s original Elect Laurel Hallman website.

In an open letter to U*Us on her new and improved 2009 UUA election web site Rev. Laurel Hallman says:

I am running because I believe the very future of Unitarian Universalism hinges on our ability to claim who we are as faithful individuals in covenanted congregations in our time. As UUA President, I will lead our members and our Association out of our isolation, to build stronger connections within our congregations and in our communities.

I believe that our Unitarian Universalist congregations exist to:

--remind us how we can live in right relationship with the holy, with our deepest selves and with one another. I believe that the UUA must model these relationships as we use our resources to benefit our congregations, and in the intentional living of our highest values.

--call us from self-absorbed isolation. I believe Unitarian Universalism is called to reclaim the democratic process and civil dialogue as spiritual disciplines, in the company of companion faith traditions. Humbled by the complexity of human relationships and challenged by the possibility of their redeeming power, I believe we must embody the change we imagine, inside and outside our congregations.

end quote

I can`t help but notice that Rev. Laurel Hallman believes that Unitarian*Universalists and the Unitarian*Universalist Association of Congregations need to be led out of isolation and even self-absorbed isolation. Dare I add that much of the isolation of Unitarian*Universalists and the UUA is self-imposed? Dare I say that isolation is the chosen fate of some individual Unitarian*Universalists, Unitarian*Universalist congregations, and even the UUA? If I combine Rev. Laurel Hallman`s description of Unitarian*Universalism with the words of the only other known candidate for President of the Unitarian*Universalist Association of Congregations Rev. Peter Morales, Unitarian*Universalism becomes a self-absorbed isolated tiny fringe religion. I can think of a four letter word that sums up those words quite nicely. . .

Could it be that Rev. Laurel Hallman believes that Unitarian*Universalism is called to reclaim the democratic process and civil dialogue as spiritual disciplines, because she recognizes that Unitarian*Universalism has either moved away from or seriously degraded both the democratic process and civil dialogue? How can U*Us reclaim something that they pretend to already have? I well remember how the Executive Director of the Canadian Unitarian Council Mary Bennett gushed about how "Democracy is coming to the CUC!" just a few short years ago. . . Gee I wonder where democracy was in the Canadian Unitarian Council, to say nothing of the Unitarian*Universalist Association of Congregations and any number of individual Unitarian*Universalist churches. . . prior to 2004? Following the example of CUC Executive Director Mary Bennett I guess that I will simply quote the lyrics of the song `The Future` by Canadian poet, singer and songwriter Leonard Cohen -

"It's coming from the feel that it ain't exactly real, or it's real, but it ain't exactly there."

I dare say that the so-called "democracy" of the Canadian Unitarian Council aka the CUC, the Unitarian*Universalist Association aka the UUA, and no shortage of Unitarian*Universalist congregations still ain't exactly real and still ain't exactly there. . .

I certainly hope that Rev. Laurel Hallman will embody the change she imagines in her human relations with me and other victims of U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy. I will certainly give her the opportunity to do so regardless of whether or not she is elected as the next President of the UUA at the 2009 UUA GA.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Some Jazz And Justice And A Bit Of A Snow Job For The Unitarian Church Of Montreal. . .

Tonight was the second of three Jazz & Justice fund-raising concerts at the Unitarian Church of Montreal. The Jazz & Justice series of concerts is an initiative of "Humanist" Montreal Unitarian U*U, and former President of the so-called Unitarian Church of Montreal, John Inder who is numbered amongst that select group of obnoxious, intolerant and abusive Montreal Unitarians who have had the gall to label Creation Day as a "cult" and/or "cult-like" to my face. . . In John Inder's case "and" is the operative term.

Needless to say I try to make a point of protesting against the anti-religious intolerance and bigotry of John Inder and other Montreal Unitarian U*Us, as well as other U*U injustices and abuses, when a Jazz & Justice concert takes place. I managed to miss protesting at the first concert in February because I was distracted by an unexpected visit from a friend. I was almost distracted from protesting at tonight's Jazz & Justice concert by the fact that someone claiming to be Wilhelmina Tiemersma, the troubled transexual organist who burned down the Unitarian Church of Montreal in 1987, posted a comment to an Emerson Avenger blog post and I decided to blog about that quite unprecedented occurrence.* Most fortuitously a Google News alert on the term "Unitarian Church of Montreal" in my email inbox reminded me about tonight's Jazz & Justice concert because the Montreal Gazette published an announcement of the concert in today's Gazette so I was able to grab my picket signs and hop on the METRO in time to get to the Unitarian Church of Montreal about a half hour before the concert started.

As I was unbagging my picket signs and preparing to set up the two freestanding ones that I have left Nancy Lorimer aka Nancy Durnford Lorimer, a retired lifestyle journalist from The Gazette, showed up at the "church" with her husband Gordon. As they were approaching the Unitarian Church of Montreal from the east her husband said, "Do you see what I see?" Needless to say Gordon Lorimer was obviously referring to yours truly. Nancy Lorimer answered in the affirmative so I said to both of them, "Did you really think that I wouldn't show up?"

The Lorimers entered the "church" without further incident but, some time later, Gordon Lorimer came out of the "church" and appeared to be looking around. I thought perhaps that he had called the police and was expecting a police car to arrive immanently but he walked past me and disappeared up Bulmer Street which is the street immediately to the west of the Unitarian Church of Montreal. Several minutes later I saw him approaching from the east with Nancy Eddis so he must have gone around the block or at least through the backlot that connects Bulmer Street to Claremont Street which is the street immediately to the east of the "church". Both Gordon Lorimer and Nancy Eddis entered the narrow path for disabled people that runs along the front of the sanctuary of the Unitarian Church of Montreal and connects with the ramp for disabled people that runs along the right side of the main entrance to the "church". Nancy Eddis was several feet behind Gordon Lorimer. As he drew level with me on the path which is set back from the sidewalk by about ten feet or so Gordon Lorimer angrily yelled, "Get out of my way stupid!" This is by no means that first time that Montreal Unitarians have pretended that I am in their way but it is the first time that a DIM Thinking Montreal Unitarian has pretended that I was in their way when we were on two different sidewalks separated by about ten feet. . . ROTFLMU*UO!

Nancy Eddis immediately expressed some dismay and disapproval of Gordon Lorimer's ridiculous angry outburst but I did not catch her exact words. Too bad that Nancy Eddis and Rev. Charles Eddis failed to express some suitable dismay and disapproval when, along with most other members of the Unitarian Church of Montreal, I brought it to their attention that Rev. Ray Drennan had gone well beyond angrily calling me "stupid". . . I responded that the stupid people were inside the "church" which was not entirely fair since many of the people inside the Unitarian Church of Montreal at the time were non-U*U members of the Montreal public who had just come to hear the Jazz & Justice concert, but I am reasonably sure that both Gordon Lorimer and Nancy Eddis caught my drift.

Speaking of drifts. . . A Montreal snow-clearing crew chose to clear de Maisonneuve boulevard in front of the Unitarian Church of Montreal at about the same time that the Jazz & Justice concert started. I am not sure quite how soundproof the sanctuary of the Unitarian Church of Montreal is but I am reasonably sure that it is not soundproof enough to completely block out the heavy bass thrumming of the rotating blades of the snowblower, the loud engines of the snowtrucks and graders etc., and the blaring honks of the horns of the snowclearing crew who occasionally sounded their approval of my "alternative spiritual practice" of protesting against U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy.

At least a couple of other Gazette employees showed up for tonight's Jazz & Justice concert, namely Mark Abley and Irwin Block the Gazette reporter who wrote the reasonably fair and balanced news report about my first court appearance arising out of Rev. Diane Rollert's deeply misguided and almost certainly futile effort to seek a restraining order against me on the highly questionable grounds that she has "reasonable grounds" to *fear* that I will commit a "serious personal injury offence" against her. When I recognized Irwin Block approaching the Unitarian Church of Montreal from the west I simply said, "Hello, hello." Irwin Block maintained seemingly sullen silence. It seems that Irwin Block doesn't appreciate my justifiably less than favorable opinion of the Montreal Gazette even though I have told him a few times that I had no complainst about his story which, to date, is the only fair and balanced news report that the "paper where no news is bad news" has ever published about my trials and truibulations with the Unitarian Church of Montreal. My encounter with Gazette columnist Mark Abley is quite another story, one that is rather more comparable to my run-in with Gordon Lorimer and, because it merits individual treatment, it will be reported in a separate follow-up post. . .

When I left the scene there was still a fair bit of snow that needed to be cleared on de Maisonneuve boulvard in front of the Unitarian Church of Montreal so I expect that the rest of this month's Jazz & Justice concert included a fair bit of completely unintended improvisation as it were. If my memory serves me well the coincidence of snow removal with a Jazz & Justice concert has happened before. No doubt a few paranoid Montreal Unitarians are thoroughly convinced that they have "reasonable grounds" to *fear* the City of Montreal is secretly conspiring against hapless Montreal U*Us by deliberately scheduling noisy snow removal to coincide with Jazz & Justice concerts. Who knows? Maybe litigious, to say nothing of "criminal minded" (as it were), Montreal Unitarians are already seriously considering charging the city's noisy and "disruptive" snow removal crew under section 176(3) of the Canadian Criminal Code which prohibits wilfully doing *anything* that disturbs the order or solemnity of "an assemblage of persons met for religious worship or for a moral, social or benevolent purpose". . . Montreal Unitarian U*Us might actually have a slightly better chance of actually obtaining a conviction in this case than they did with yours truly a few years back in that the rather loud noise, including quite *wilfully* honking their approval of my protest. . . caused by the municipal snow removal crew almost certainly did disturb this assemblage of persons for a social or benevolent purpose. ;-)

* This was the first time that someone claiming to be Wilhelmina Tiemersma has posted a comment to The Emerson Avenger blog, however it is within possibility that Wilhelmina Tiemersma has already commented on some TEA blog posts in the past, either anonymously or under a pseudonym.

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Did The Real Wilhelmina Tiemersma Post A Comment Here?

This is just a brief post to inform The Emerson Avenger blog readers that someone claiming to be Wilhelmina Tiemersma, the talented but troubled transexual organist who burned down the Unitarian Church of Montreal on May 25th 1987, posted a comment to my October 2007 TEA blog post titled The Unitarian Church Of Montreal And The Truth About Wilhelmina Tiemersma earlier today. This person claimed that my (limited) sympathy for Wilhelmina Tiemersma was not something that they "cherish" and warned me that they might take legal action against me, although I can see no reasonable grounds for them to do so. If you want to see what the person claiming to be Wilhelmina Tiemersma said, and how I responded to it, just follow the link to my October 23, 2007 blog post about Wilhelmina Tiemersma.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Where's The Welcoming In "Welcoming Congregations"?

An alternative title for this Emerson Avenger blog post could be 'U*U World Or Potemkin Village?' but I think that I will reserve that particular title for another TEA blog post about more generalized* Unitarian*Universalist hypocrisy. This blog post reproduces my response to a blog post titled 'Where's the B and the T in LGBT?' on Rev. Debra Haffner's 'Sexuality and Religion: What's the Connection?' blog. Rev. Haffner, who besides being a community minister with the Unitarian Church in Westport Connecticut, is also the director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing, has been pretty good about posting my critical comments submitted to her blog, even some comments that are openly critical of some of her posts, albeit in a reasonably friendly way. I think that there is a pretty good chance that Rev. Debra Haffner will see fit to post my latest critical comment to her moderated 'Sexuality and Religion' blog but it may be just a bit *too* hot for her to handle so I will not be all that surprised if she chooses to suppress it instead. I am giving Rev. Haffner the benefit of my comparatively small doubt that she will post my critical comment but I am none-the-less cross-posting that comment about less than genuinely welcoming Unitarian*Universalist "Welcoming Congregations" to The Emerson Avenger blog in order to increase the number of people, Unitarian*Universalist U*Us or otherwise, who will find it and read it.

I have in the past pointed out how some if not many so-called "Welcoming Congregations" of the Unitarian*Universalist Association of Congregations are anything but genuinely welcoming to all kinds of people, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people who are Christian oriented or otherwise believe in God. I have on occasion also pointed out how some if not many U*U "Welcoming Congregations" aren't really all that welcoming of GBLT people more generally unless they "look straight" or are otherwise somewhat closeted. Rev. Debra Haffner's 'Where's the B and the T in LGBT?' blog post, and the first comment posted to it by an anonymous closeted bisexual Unitarian*Universalist, goes a long way to confirming some of the things that I have been saying about the UUA's Welcoming Congregations program for some time now. Rev. Debra Haffner concluded her post about how many Unitarian*Universalist congregations that are *officially* designated as "Welcoming Congregations" "fall far short" when it comes to welcoming "the B and the T of LGBT" by saying, "It's time to stop just saying saying LGBT, and pay attention to what those letters mean."

Herewith, typos and all, is my response to Rev. Debra Haffner's post:

It's time for U*Us to stop just saying saying we affirm and promote the inherent woth and dignity of every person, and pay attention to what those words mean. . . The same can be said about most of the other Seven Principles of U*Uism. The second and third principles of U*Uism come into play here as does the Seventh Principle. Sometimes I wonder if U*Us even know the meaning of the word compassion. . .

Your post here, and the sole follow-up comment so far. . . reveals some of the flaws of the UUA's "Welcoming Congregation" program but by no means all of them.

:Our policies, our membership materials, and our web site all affirm our welcome to LGBT persons.

What about the people? How do the members of your congregation actually welcome to LGBT persons? Indeed how do they welcome people more generally? I know of plenty of so-called "Welcoming Congregations" that are far from genuinely welcoming to people who walk through their doors on any given Sunday, regardless of their sexual orientation. How are visible minorities, or not so visible minorities. . . welcomed? Not to put too fine a point on it I know of so called "Welcoming Congregations" where LGBT persons find themselves to be less than genuinely welcome because of their religious orientation. Yes, God believing LGBT people have been made to feel unwelcome because of their Christian or otherwise theistic religious beliefs rather than their sexual orientation.

:But like most of the congregations I work with we fall far short on the B and the T of LGBT.

I am not the least bit surprised to hear you say this. As will become clear from subsequent comments.

:We are just taking baby steps to look at how we can be welcoming of transgender persons; a workshop I led in the fall on transgender has started to focus attention.

15 years down the road from *officially* becoming a "Welcoming Congregation". . . This is by no means the only way that U*U congregations fall far short of what their *official* policies, membership materials (aka marketing materials and U*U "church" propaganda), and web sites claim.

:When I suggested at this meeting that we also need to become more welcoming of people who are bisexual, I was taken aback by some of the comments. Several people mentioned bisexuals as "promiscuous", confusing having attractions to people of both sexes with wanting to have sex with multiple partners.

Forgive me for being a bit waggish here but if a bisexual person acts upon their attractions to people of both sexes it means that they will have sex with at least two different partners. . . There is no confusion there. The real question is what actually constitutes being promiscuous. But that raises another question that harks back to my initial comments. Why should promiscuous people be shunned by U*Us if U*Us affirm and promote the inherent woth and dignity of *every* person? Allow me to play Devil's Advocate here and suggest that maybe U*Us need to add a P to the B and the T in LGBT, maybe an H or an S wouldn't hurt either. . .

:(I thought to myself, but didn't mention Kinsey's definition of promiscuous: anyone who is having more sex than you are.)

Surely, in this context, you mean anyone who is having more sex than U*Us are. ;-)

:Others mentioned that bisexuals can choose to live as heterosexual and therefore don't have the same issues as gays and lesbians.

That's a good one. . . Why didn't these "others" mention that gays and lesbians can "choose to live as heterosexual" as it were? There is this thing known as the closet. . .

:But naming is so important -- as is breaking the silence about the range of sexual orientations and gender identities.

To say nothing of breaking the silence about U*U hypocrisy about sexual orientations and gender identities.

:I think it's fair to assume that there are signficant numbers of people in my home congregation (and in your's) who are bisexual, who have questions about their erotic attractions and interests, and who need our support.

I guess that would depend on what the term "significant numbers" means. . . If one reviews official UUA membership statistics it becomes clear that many U*U congregations have fewer than 50 members and many more have fewer than 100 members. One has to wonder just how many LGBT members such small U*U congregations may actually have, even when they go out of their way to pretend to be welcoming to LGBT people.

:Anonymous said... I am a UU who is bisexual, but in a committed long-term heterosexual relationship for the last six years. I am about as far in the closet as you can be in my church, because if I am perceived as straight but allied I am much better accepted then I would be as a bisexual in a monogamous heterosexual relationship.

It's a sad day in the U*U World when a bisexual U*U, possibly even a member of a so-called "Welcoming Congregation". . . admits to being all but completely closeted because if they are open about being "bisexual in a monogamous heterosexual relationship" they will be less accepted than if they keep up the sham of being "straight but allied". Indeed this bisexual U*U is so closeted for fear of a negative reaction to their bisexuality that they feel compelled to post anonymously. Oh well, so much for the Third Principle of U*Uism that calls for "acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations". . .

Dare I once again point out that many gay and lesbian U*Us do their darndest to be perceived as "straight" as possible in some if not many U*U "Welcoming Congregations"? Which brings us full circle to how transgendered people, perhaps especially those who cross-dress before successful completion of a sex change operation, are not really all that welcome in many U*U "Welcoming Congregations".

:You are right... I dont have the same issues... but that does not mean that there are no issues at all for me. One of those issues is that I have never felt welcome to share this aspect of myself in church.

Which really does beg the question as to whether or not the U*U congregation that this anonymous closeted "straight but allied" bisexual U*U belongs to is *officially* a "Welcoming Congregation" and affirms its welcome to LGBT persons in its policies, its membership materials, and its web site etc. There are times when I can't help but wonder if the so-called U*U World isn't the Potemkin Village of religions and this post about far from genuinely welcoming "Welcoming Congregations" is certainly one of them. . . I dare say that a good number of *officially* "Welcoming Congregations" in the U*U World would be rather more appropriately decribed as being "Unwelcoming Congregations", and not just in terms of how they fail to be genuinely welcoming to LGBT people.

*pun intended

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

R.I.P. U*U COP aka Peter Kohl Montreal Unitarian "Citizens' Police Officer"

My No. 1 "hit" U*U Tube video of a Totalitarian Montreal Unitarian "Citizens' Police Officer" repeatedly throwing my picket signs into de Maisonneuve boulevard just attained 1,001 views earlier today. That's not bad for a fairly obscure U*U themed YouTube video that is not heavily promoted by Unitarian*Universalists as some UUA marketing aka propaganda videos are. In fact that U*U COP video seems to be holding its own against another comparatively popular U*UTube video that features the famous sceptic James Randi which was posted to YouTube at around the same time, i.e. late September of 2007.

I have recently mentioned that the Totalitarian Unitarian who describes himself as a "Citizens' Police Officer" conducting a "citizen's arrest" in this U*UTube video was amongst those Montreal Unitarians who submitted written testimony against me to the Montreal police and/or Crown prosecutor in support of Rev. Diane Rollert's deeply misguided and outrageously hypocritical effort to obtain a restraining order against me. It turns out that this no longer so anonymous Montreal Unitarian U*U is one Peter Kohl. I Googled his name in an effort to find out a bit more about him as I fully intended to thoroughly cross-examine him about his rather questionable prosecution testimony against me. Not much was found about a Montreal Unitarian named Peter Kohl but there was a Guelph Mercury newspaper article dated January 30, 2008 that carried the headline:

Colleagues, family remember former Mercury publisher

Businessman, environmentalist Peter Kohl died of pneumonia Dec. 27 in Montreal

It seemed somewhat unlikely that there would be two people named Peter Kohl in the 70 plus age bracket in Montreal so I decided to see if there was any mention of the death of Peter Kohl in the newsletter of the Unitarian Church of Montreal. Sure enough the February 2008 NUUSletter of the UCM had a piece titled 'In Memory of J. Peter Kohl' written by Rev. Diane Rollert herself. Here are some rather ironic quotes from Rev. Diane Rollert's NUUSletter UUlogy for longtime U*U Peter Kohl -

“We should do something practical,” he said. “Adopt a school or a village, or something like that.” I remember making a mental note, “Now here’s someone to tap for the next big project.”

As fate would have it, Peter did get quickly engaged in congregational life, despite the number of years he had been away.

It is thanks to Peter that we have a whole cadre of people he dubbed “Fresh Air Ambassadors.” These are the volunteers who make our outdoor entry a place of warmth and welcome on Sunday mornings. Peter would have been pleased to know what a positive impact his ambassadors are having on newcomers, members and friends.

His humour and his irreverence were fun and infectious and he was persistent.

When Peter got hold of something, he didn’t let it go until he’d followed it through to the end.

That is what makes his last weeks of life all the more remarkable because, when the time came, he had a courage that his doctors said they had never seen before. He knew how to let go with grace.

He often said, “Be big in small ways.” That’s how he chose to live his life.

So I guess that I won't have the pleasure of personally cross-examining Montreal Unitarian U*U "Citizens' Police Officer" Peter Kohl about his rather dubious written testimony against me, which doesn't really do much to support Rev. Diane Rollert's foolish effort to seek a restraining order against me in any case. Au contraire, Peter Kohl's written prosecution testimony includes some misleading half-truths and outright false testimony that can easily been shown to be misleading and/or false by contrasting these claims with the content of my U*U Tube videos that immortalize this late, but not so great, self-proclaimed "Citizens' Police Officer".

I can't help but notice that, according to Rev. Diane Rollert's UUlogy, Peter Kohl was once "General Manager at the Montreal Gazette, and Publisher of newspapers in Thunder Bay and Guelph." I can't help but wonder if Peter Kohl used some of his "pull" to try to influence the Montreal Gazette's coverage of Rev. Diane Rollert's "big project" of seeking to misuse and abuse the Canadian Criminal Code in yet another Unitarian*Universalist attempt to undermine and abrogate my Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteed right to what most real Montreal cops understand is a peaceful protest against U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy. I well remember that Montreal Gazette reporter Irwin Block initially displayed an attitude that was heavily biased against me when he questioned me immediately after I left the Montreal courtroom on July 4th of 2007 after informing the court that I would be contesting Rev. Diane Rollert's attempt to obtain a restraining order against me.

In light of his obviously biased attitude I made it very clear to Irwin Block that I expected him to write a genuinely fair and balanced news report about Rev. Rollert's attempt to obtain a restraining order against me. I told him that he had probably been lied to by members of the Unitarian Church of Montreal and that he should responsibly listen to my side of the story before writing anything. Although Irwin Block he refused to take the time to have a coffee with me and properly interview me I managed to point out some of the ways that Montreal Unitarians may have mislead him, I also made it clear that Rev. Diane Rollert's alleged fear that I would commit a serious personal injury offence against me was symptomatic of paranoia since she had no reasonable grounds for that fear. In fact I said that Irwin Block could quote me on that in his report. In the end Irwin Block wrote a "just the facts ma'am" new report that I believe actually reflected better on me than on Rev. Diane Rollert and the Unitarian Church of Montreal. Certainly the article's headline 'Man contests minister's bid for restraining order' and the final sentence -

"Edgar claimed outside the courtroom yesterday that the restraining order is an attempt to restrict his weekly protests."

made it quite clear to Gazette readers of intelligence and conscience that I am standing up for my constitutionally guaranteed right to engage in peaceful public protest in the face of a highly questionable cynical effort to over-ride and/or suppress that civil right on the part of Rev. Diane Rollert and the Unitarian Church of Montreal as an institution.

Of course it doesn't hurt that several other members of the Unitarian Church of Montreal are Montreal Gazette journalists or former employees of the Montreal Gazette. . . Let's see now there is Sue Montgomery the Gazette's "Justice Reporter" who took my calls to the Gazette's City Desk when I tried to get The Gazette to responsibly report on my first arrest on trumped up criminal charges in early December of 2000. I well recall how Gazette "Justice Reporter" Sue Montgomery repeatedly insisted that this arrest on highly questionable, and very rarely enforced. . . criminal charges prohibiting the disruption of religious services was "not newsworthy". Needless to say, when I was rightly acquitted of these trumped up criminal charges, because the Crown prosecutor could not prove a single one of the four or five elements of law that he needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction, the Montreal Gazette decided that my acquittal was "not newsworthy" either. . .

Then of course there is the former religion reporter of the Gazette, Harvey Shepherd, who had actually done a pretty good job of responsibly reporting about my revelatory religious experience, and my efforts to promote Creation Day, but who repeatedly refused to report on the conflict and controversy arising out of Rev. Ray Drennan's false and malicious labeling of Creation Day as a "cult" etc. Gazette columnist Mark Abley is yet another member of the Unitarian Church of Montreal with close ties to Montreal's only English language daily. Besides these three Gazette journalists I have reason to believe that at least one or two other members of the Unitarian Church of Montreal held positions of some influence within the Montreal Gazette. So with these three Gazette journalists, former Gazette general manager Peter Kohl, and at least one or two other Gazette employees or former Gazette employees, the Unitarian Church of Montreal has some ability to influence the editorial decisions of the Montreal Gazette and I have reasonable grounds to believe that they have probably done so. . .

It is most regrettable that the Totalitarian Unitarian "Citizens' Police Officer" Peter Kohl totally disregarded those Unitarian*Universalist principles that call for a free and responsible search for truth and meaning, and justice, equity and compassion in human relations, before ignorantly embarking on his "big project" of trying to censor and suppress my legitimate public protest against U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy in front of the Unitarian Church of Montreal. If U*U COP Peter Kohl had made the effort to hear my side of the story before going to foolish "image tarnishing" lengths to try to silence my side of the story he might well have realized that the slogans on the picket signs that he repeatedly tossed into traffic on Saturday September 29th, 2007 held plenty of truth and meaning and protested against very real and very well-documented U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy. In his DIM Thinking Denial, Ignorance and Minimization of the U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy that I am protesting against Montreal Unitarian Peter Kohl became a perpetuator and even an active participant in them. . .

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Yet Another Very Frightened Unitarian*Universalist U*U. . .

"Humanist" U*U blogger Paul Wilczynski finally got around to seeing the documentary 'Jesus Camp' and blogging a three word "review" of this film.

According to Paul, "It's incredibly scary."

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Yet Another Pathologically Pathologizing Unitarian*Universalist U*U

Well today was the first Sunday following my February 25th court appearance to contest Rev. Diane Rollert's deeply misguided attempt to seek a restraining order against me that would force an end to my "alternative spiritual practice" of protesting against U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy in front of the Unitarian Church of Montreal. There is not a great deal to report, it was pretty much the same old same old. . . but there are a few things worthy of some brief mention and commentary.

As one may guess from the title of this blog post, yet another Unitarian*Universalist U*U from the alleged Unitarian Church of Montreal chose to pathologize me today. One of the aging female members of this alleged U*U "Welcoming Congregation" asked me, "On your medication today?" as she hobbled past me on her cane. My immediate response to her snarky question/comment that yet again cast aspersions on my state of mental health was to say, "Pardon me?" She just stared at me and did not repeat her question/comment. So my next response was to say, "Actually I think your minister could use some medication to treat her extreme paranoia. . ." After all, what's good for the gander is good for the silly goose who is seeking a restraining order against me on the basis of her paranoid delusions that cause her to be "very frightened" of me and even "terrified" of me. I dare say that I have far more "reasonable grounds" to suggest that Rev. Diane Rollert is suffering from a certain amount of paranoia than she has "reasonable grounds" to fear that I will commit a "serious personal injury offence" against her or anyone else for that matter.

And U*Us wonder why I display a picket sign that says -


in front of the Unitarian Church of Montreal on any given Sunday. . .

Ms. Theologian recently advised people to "Stand up to The Crazies" who make many U*U "Welcoming Congregations" anything but welcoming so I find it most ironic that one of the ways that I stand up to "The Crazies" of the U*U World is to ensure that they come to regret it when they falsely and maliciously pathologize me. . .

Speaking of that particular picket sign, which was confiscated aka stolen by crazy Montreal Unitarian U*U and interior decorator Aurélien Guillory a couple of Sundays ago, the oh so colorful Montreal interior designer showed up for "church" today and he had a rather down-trodden hang-dog look as he silently trudged past me staring at the sidewalk with a scowl etched on his face. . . I could not restrain myself from asking, "So how's my favorite Unintelligent Designer?" as he plodded past me. Can U*Us think of a better example of George Santayana's saying "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. . ."?

Come to think of it. . . I can think of plenty of other examples of DIM Thinking U*Us failing to learn from U*U history and thus repeating it. I dare say that Rev. Diane Rollert obviously learned nothing from the Unitarian Church of Montreal's outrageously hypocritical and ultimately futile previous attempts to misuse and abuse the Canadian Criminal Code in order to use the state as a proxy to impose U*U church censorship on my peaceful public protest against U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy.

For the record there was no police intervention today. A police squad car did briefly observe my protest activity from about a block away but it then drove off without intervening in any way. It is now more than five months since a police car has stopped in front of the Unitarian Church of Montreal and Montreal police officers have actually bothered to get out of their squad car and question me about my peaceful public protest aka non-violent direct action. . .