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

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Houston U*U Rev. Matt Tittle Tilts At "Giant Crosses" In *The Lone Star State* ;-)

Apparently, Rev. Matt Tittle of Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church in Houston Texas believes that Steve Riggle Senior Pastor of Grace Community Church in Houston is being "ridiculous" in proposing building "several giant crosses all around the city" of Houston. According to Rev. Tittle, Pastor Riggle's hope that these giant crosses "will mark our city for God" is "a ridiculous idea". Rev. Tittle then goes on to say, "I find erecting crosses to the exclusion of other faiths to be even more ridiculous." For someone who says, "I am almost at a loss for words," Rev. Matt Tittle seems to have plenty to say about Senior Pastor Riggle's proposal to mark Houston for God by surrounding it with several giant crosses. I dare say that Rev. Tittle appears to be rather cross about Pastor Riggle's project to build giant crosses around Houston. Indeed the "rant" that he posted on his Houston Chronicle hosted 'Keep The Faith' blog seems to be tainted by a certain amount of anti-Christian, or at least anti-Evangelical Christian, prejudice. But don't just take my word for it, take the word of the commenter who said, "The usual Anti Christian hysteria seems alive and well over this as the number and tenor of responses demonstrates."

Just as Rev. Ray Drennan tried to mask his thinly veiled anti-Christian and anti-Catholic attack on Pierre Elliot Trudeau's Roman Catholic state funeral by wrapping his offensive diatribe in the politically correct mantle of religious diversity Rev. Matt Tittle says, "Perhaps we should start with erecting 150-foot Buddhas, Stars of David, Ganeshas, Stars and Cresents, Flaming Chalices, Pentacles and so on, so that we can also "mark" the city for Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Unitarian Universalism, and Paganism... I could think of many others. We are all here in Houston, one of the most diverse cities in the nation, religiously and otherwise. Shouldn't we equally honor all of our most sacred traditions?"

And this is where Rev. Matt Tittle's lame argument that Pastor Steve Riggle is "erecting crosses to the exclusion of other faiths" falls flat on its face, because Pastor Riggle is doing no such thing. What Pastor Steve Riggle is proposing is building 150 foot Christian crosses on his own church property, and presumably other church owned or church leased land. As Rev. Tittle's anti-Christian "rant" says -

Riggle is starting with plans for crosses at Grace's south and north campuses, and he plans eventually to "surround the city."

Rev. Tittle's disingenuous suggestion that Pastor Riggle is "erecting crosses to the exclusion of other faiths" is repeated and reinforced when he says, "We are not an exclusively Christian city or nation." So just what is stopping Houston Buddhists from building "150-foot Buddhas" Rev. Tittle? What is stopping Houston Jews from building 150-foot Stars of David? Or Houston Hindus from building a 150-foot Ganesha or Shiva Nataraj statue? Or Houston Muslims from building 150-foot Stars and Crescents, to say nothing of 150-foot or higher minarets to call Houston Muslims to prayer? Indeed what is stopping Unitarian*Universalists, Houston U*Us or otherwise, from building 150-foot Flaming Chalices or Houston pagans, U*U pagans or otherwise, building 150-foot Pentacles and so on? Nothing as far as I can see Rev. Tittle. . . I think it's that thing called "freedom of religious expression", only you apparently believe that Christians, or at least Evangelical Christians, should not be allowed the freedom to build 150-foot crosses in and around oh so "diverse" Houston. Right Rev. Tittle? So, when it gets right down to it. . . your assertion that Pastor Steve Riggle is "erecting crosses to the exclusion of other faiths" is itself quite *ridiculous* to say nothing of just plain dishonest.

You know what Rev. Tittle? I bet you wouldn't have said boo if Houston Buddhists had announced plans to build a 150-foot Buddha on the "campus" of one of Houston's Buddhist temples. Am I wrong? If a Houston area synagogue had proposed building a 150-foot Star of David or a "giant menorah" to celebrate Houston's Jewish community you would not only not have complained about it on your blog but would have expected an invitation to its public unveiling ceremony. If Houston area pagans wanted to display a 150-foot Pentacle right next to a Christmas chreche scene in front of Houston City Hall you would no doubt be ardently defending their right to do so.

And so on. . .

Sorry, Rev. Tittle, your "rant" is not really about affirming and promoting religious diversity in Houston. Au contraire, it's all about minimizing or reducing Christian visibility in and around Houston. You are entitled to express your doubts that Pastor Steve Riggle's project of "marking" Houston for God with giant crosses is going to solve any of your city's, your nation's, or indeed the world's social ills but who is to say that a quite literally higher visibility for Christianity in Houston might not have some positive impact on Houston society or indeed on American society? You are also entitled to your oh so U*U doubt that Pastor Riggle's "marking" of Houston with crosses will put your city or nation in God's favor, but who is to say that your all too (stereo)typical U*U doubt is not somewhat misplaced? The only way to oh so scientifically determine just how much impact Pastor Steve Riggle's giant crosses will have on Houston society, or indeed Texas and American society, is to allow him to build his crosses and see what, if anything, happens as a result of his project.

Rev. Tittle throws "God's words", as transmitted by the prophet Amos, at Pastor Riggle:

I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream. (Amos 5:21-24).

but he apparently doesn't stop to consider how these very words attributed to God might just as readily, and perhaps even more justifiably. . . be applied to the dubious offerings of fattened U*U clergy, the noise of U*U songs from which the word God has been expunged, and his own and other U*U harping about Christianity in the U.S.A. . .

Rev. Matt Tittle then not so melodiously harps on the cost of Pastor Riggle's project and estimates that it might be as much $1 million per cross. He says, "I can think of a whole lot of things to do with a million bucks. Perhaps we should start with justice and righteousness...I find nether in giant crosses." Was that "nether" just a typo or a Freudian slip Rev. Tittle? Well can't we all find a whole lot of things to do with a million bucks? Are U*U "churches" immune from what many would perceive as wasteful spending? But who, other than Rev. Tittle of course. . . says that Pastor Riggle's 150-foot crosses will cost a million dollars each anyway? And who says they might not eventually turn a profit even if they did? It seems to me that such crosses might cost considerably less than $1,000,000 each and, if Pastor Steve Riggle was astute enough to some allow telecommunications companies to place some antennae in the upper part of these crosses, they might even eventually bring in some revenue to Grace Church.

It seems to me that Pastor Riggle's giant crosses can be seen as a form of advertising for Christianity, and not just for Pastor Steve Riggle's Grace Church but all Christian churches and Christianity more generally. Didn't the UUA just spend well over a million dollars on its national marketing campaign that consisted of placing print media ads in TIME magazine, as well as some other forms of publicity such as Google AdWords? Surely that money could have been spent on "a whole lot of things" other than shilling the "tiny, declining, fringe religion" known as Unitarian*Universalism to the American public. Didn't the UUA recently spend well over a million dollars trying to establish a U*U "mega-church" in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of the *Lone Star State*? The last time I checked. . . The UUA "start-up" Pathways Unitarian*Universalist Church in Southlake had a whopping 94 adult members and 56 kids enrolled in what passes for Sunday school in the U*U World. So much for that million dollar, if not multi-million dollar. . . U*U fiasco.

Didn't the UUA run an advertising campaign in Texas aka The Lone Star State that ran from January to mid-April 2005? So what was the result of that local or regional UUA advertising campaign? Well, according to a certain Rev. Matt Tittle. . . "The biggest effect of the Houston campaign was that the ads gave our members talking points." Woo hoo! So just how many dollars did the UUA spend in Texas so that existing U*Us in Houston could have some "talking points"? Rev. Tittle goes on to say, "The campaign created some excitement about Unitarian Universalism and their church. When their neighbors and coworkers got our postcards in the mail it gave our members an opportunity to share their religion. It got us more out of the closet." Amazing! The Houston area advertising campaign "created some excitement" amongst existing U*Us and helped them to do some recruiting amongst their "their neighbors and coworkers." I can just imagine how the CEO of a major corporation would look if he announced at a shareholders meeting that the "biggest effect" of a major advertising campaign was to provide "talking points" to existing customers. . . It seems to me that the UUA, to say nothing of some individual U*U churches and a few UUA districts, have flushed several million dollars that might have been better spent on "a whole lot of things", including some "justice and righteousness". . . down the proverbial toilet.

Rev. Matt Tittle concludes his "rant" by saying, "Christianity is not about giant crosses. Faith is not about building icons and idols. It is about building the beloved community. My beloved community does not require a fortress of crosses. It requires faith, hope, and love...these three...I can do this without giant crosses on the highway."

That's funny, apparently Rev. Matt Tittle's "beloved community" aka the Uncommonly Hypocritical Denomination does require spending multiple millions of dollars on national or regional advertising campaigns. As far as "faith, hope, and love" go. . . I and plenty of other people, no doubt including other people sucked in by the UUA's false advertising campaigns or other highly misleading or outright fraudulent U*U propaganda, have seen precious little of all three of these things in the "tiny, declining, fringe religion" known as Unitarian*Universalism.

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19 Comments:

Blogger Joel Monka said...

I have to agree with you on this one, Robin. here and here are churches with far larger monumental structures than the proposed crosses, and far costlier as well- but he would never criticize them! It is simply the cross he finds offensive. As a NeoPagan, it is my belief that such monumental structures are signs of doubt, not of faith- but they don't offend me. If it would make them happy, and they can afford it, let them have their cross!

Sunday, July 06, 2008 10:12:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Well I am not sure that ancient pagans would agree with your take on monumental structures Joel but it is pretty obvious that Rev. Matt Tittle is exercising a rather hypocritical double standard in his "rant" against Paster Steve Riggle's crosses. Unfortunately Rev. Tittle's anti-Christian "bad attitude" is shared by too many other U*U clergy and no shortage of lay U*Us. Although I don't find his rant quite as offensive as Rev. Ray Drennan's anti-Catholic attack on Pierre Trudeau's Roman Catholic state funeral I do see some clear parallels, especially when it comes to his lame attempt to hide his anti-Christian intolerance behind a smoke screen of pretended tolerance and respect for non-Christian religions. I have challenged Rev. Matt Tittle to come here and respond to my post but I don't really expect him to actually show up, especially since he is pretty much in a non-winnable argument.

Monday, July 07, 2008 1:24:00 am  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

For the record, I did submit a comment to Rev. Matt Tittle's 'Keep The Faith' blog yesterday challenging him to respond to my post here but he did not post it. I am about to submit yet another follow-up comment that plays off another commenter's remarks but don't expect my comment to see the light of day either. Rev. Matt Tittle has been suppressing my comments to his blog for some time now. Here is the comment I am submitting -

Keep the Faith

A reader blog about liberal religion with the Rev. Matt Tittle

Previewing your Comment

Randy said - "In short, this attack on Pastor Steve does not reflect at all who he is or his vision. This is one thing that we in his congregation believe is a calling from OUR God."

Well, to be fair, Rev. Matt Tittle's attack on Pastor Steve Riggle does seem to reflect Pastor Steve Riggle's vision when it comes to surrounding Houston with giant crosses. More to the point however, Rev. Tittle's clearly intolerant and somewhat offensive attack on Pastor Steve, if not Evangelical Christians more generally. . . does reflect who *he* is and his U*U "vision". I dare say that Rev. Tittle is suffering from yet another case of U*U foot-in-mouth disease. OTOH I have seen rather worse intolerant and insulting attacks on Christians by U*U "pastors" aka U*U wolves in shepherd's clothing. Quite regrettably I expect to see more such attacks in the future since the top level leaders of the Unitarian*Universalist "religious community", including UUA President Bill Sinkford, have done little or nothing to discourage U*U ministers from engaging in insulting, intolerant, hostile and even outright abusive anti-religious attacks on people. It might interest Randy to know that one of the candidates for next President of the UUA, Rev. Peter Morales, is on public record as suggesting that Christianity and other theistic religions are "obsolete religions, created for another time." Of course Randy probably won't have the opportunity to know this because Rev. Matt Tittle censors this blog and has already proven several times now that he lacks the moral courage and personal integrity to post my critical comments that reveal serious problems within the Unitarian*Universalist "religious community".

Posted by Robin Edgar at July 7, 2008 03:58 PM

Monday, July 07, 2008 5:05:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Oh, one more thing Rev. Tittle, on the off chance that you actually come here and read this legitimate criticism of your obvious intolerance and hypocrisy, you and other U*U hypocrites can keep your bad faith. . .

Monday, July 07, 2008 5:12:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Well right after posting my comment I went back to the comments page on Rev. Matt Tittle's 'Keep The Faith' blog to see if any other comments had been posted in the meantime and, as Rev. Matt Tittle's chosen fate would have it he had actually posted several follow up comments, including a rather disingenuous (dare I say dishonest?) one of his own in which he denied saying "anything derogatory about Pastor Riggle". Here is the response that I submitted that probably will not be posted by Rev. Matt Tittle.

Keep the Faith

A reader blog about liberal religion with the Rev. Matt Tittle

Previewing your Comment

"I neither "attacked" nor said anything derogatory about Pastor Riggle."

No, of course not Rev. Tittle, you clearly did not attack Pastor Steve Riggle, or say anything derogatory about him, when you quite *disdainfully* dismissed his proposal to erect 150-foot crosses in and around Houston as a "ridiculous idea". I don't think that I or anyone else has misunderstood or misinterpreted those particular words you no doubt "misspoke". . .

"I appreciate honest dialogue here, not a distortion of my words."

Then perhaps you would be well advised to start by by being a bit more civil yourself and avoid distorting the words and actions of other people Rev. Tittle.

Besides rather contemptuously dismissing Rev. Riggle's "vision" as *of course* a "ridiculous idea" you said, "I find erecting crosses to the exclusion of other faiths to be even more ridiculous." Now maybe you can explain to everyone here just how Pastor Steve Riggle's project of erecting giant crosses in Houston is in any way "to the exclusion of other faiths". . .

Posted by Robin Edgar at July 7, 2008 04:33 PM

Monday, July 07, 2008 5:40:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Don't U*Us just love it when U*U clergy suffering from a case of foot-in-mouth disease try to cover their U*U by pretending that they didn't say what they clearly did say? Rev. Matt Tittle keeps jamming his foot firmly in his mouth every time he tries to cover his U*U in follow up comments to his initial post that attacked Pastor Steve Riggle's proposal to build 150-foot high crosses in and around Houston.

Here is the latest comment that I just submitted to Rev. Tittle's 'Keeping The Faith' blog -

Keep the Faith

A reader blog about liberal religion with the Rev. Matt Tittle

Previewing your Comment

"As I expressed in this post, I would no sooner erect a 15-story flaming chalice (a symbol of Unitarian Universalism) or any other giant religious icon or idol than I would erect a cross."

But you didn't clearly express that Rev. Tittle. Au contraire. . . You actually said, "Perhaps we should *start* with erecting 150-foot Buddhas, Stars of David, Ganeshas, Stars and Cresents, Flaming Chalices, Pentacles and so on, so that we can also "mark" the city for Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Unitarian Universalism, and Paganism...I could think of many others. We are all here in Houston, one of the most diverse cities in the nation, religiously and otherwise. Shouldn't we equally honor all of our most sacred traditions?" Please forgive me for using good old Unitarian *reason* Rev. Tittle but you actually did suggest erecting "a 15-story flaming chalice" (to say nothing of the other 150-foot religious symbols) *sooner* than "giant crosses". Isn't that what the word "start" means? Giving precedence to something? Doing it first, or at least before doing the other things that have been proposed? So, perhaps quite revealingly, you actually suggested erecting giant symbols of a bunch of other faiths, including your own "chosen faith", to the (at least temporary) *exclusion* of erecting Christian crosses. Please do correct me if I misunderstood or misinterpreted your words. I will allow others to decide if your clearly written words here are just a case of "tongue in cheek" or yet another example of U*U foot-in-mouth disease.

Posted by Robin Edgar at July 7, 2008 06:33 PM

No doubt this comment won't be posted either since, along with my other censored comments, it rather firmly nails Rev. Matt Tittle to a "giant cross" of his own making. . .

Monday, July 07, 2008 7:43:00 pm  
Blogger Erin said...

I personally don't agree with either 'side' on this issue. I don't think it's a matter of censorship--as a person that lives no more than two miles away from the proposed site, I think I should have a few things to say about it.

"Eyesore" is the first thing that comes to mind, but then I'd get all the devout Christians in a hissyfit. Honestly, I don't think it's a case of censorship or discrimination or blah-de-blah, I think it's a case of pure common sense. It's a residential-commercial area, and I don't care if it was the black monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey made 150 feet high, I wouldn't want it in my front yard. There are some things I wouldn't mind because they present some sort of architectural and aesthetic sense, perhaps a steeple or cathedral. This sort of sense is why I don't see an Islamic mosque as an eyesore, because its tower is meant to be tall, and doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. Same thing with the aforementioned steeple. They're structures that are meant to be tall. Same thing goes for nonreligious structures--for example, I don't really mind the Anadarko building being over 400 feet tall because it's a pretty, well-maintained building that brings commerce to the community. But if the Woodlands Mall suddenly decided they were going to put a giant advertisement out on the freeway that was a third the Anadarko building's height, yeah, I think I would take issue with it because it is no more than pandering to the people that run the place.

And what do you think will happen if a giant cross gets erected on the side of the freeway? Do you think people are just going to look away from it and go "hmm, that wasn't here yesterday"? From a practical standpoint, it's going to be a target for vandals, Christian or no. It's not going to be properly maintained if the church runs out of funding, and even if it doesn't run out of funding, who's to hold the church to its maintenance? If anyone would use their head in this issue, they'd also start to wonder why the church feels the need to blow a million bucks on something that only makes our city look like the most xenophobic place in the world, when instead the church could use that money for more charitable means? I know that if I put five bucks in a collection plate, it better be going towards either paying for the service and maintenance of the church, or going to some charity or mission fund. If they want to attract attention, they'd make a better statement by just paper machee-ing the damned thing with all the checks and bills.

I'm not spouting hate against the Christian faith, or any faith at all. I would take the same offense with a 150 foot Star of David or crescent, or whatever religious symbol is your choice of the week. It just goes against common sense to waste so much money on something that does so little, and reverses any chance for Texans not to act like big bigot pricks.

There. I said it. Argue as you like.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 12:17:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

It seems that Erin has cross-posted her comment on her own The Standard Deviation of Pi blog because she was afraid that it would be deleted. I guess she didn't read my blog profile that makes it clear that this is a "memory hole" free blog. I even wonder if she properly read what I posted here because her comment is all about Pastor Steve Riggle's proposal to build giant crosses in and around Houston Texas rather than Rev. Matt Tittle's intolerant, disingenuous, and hypocritical opposition to what he call's Pastor Steve's "ridiculous idea". I havbe posted a response on Erin's blog and I am reproducing it here with some typos corrected -

Hi Erin,

Thanks for your comment on The Emerson Avenger blog. You don't have to worry about it being deleted because I am strongly opposed to censorship and will not "memory-hole" any comment submitted to my "memory-hole free" blog that is devoted to exposing Unitarian*Universalist injustices, abuses and hypocrisy. At worst I will move completely off-topic comments or extremely offensive ones to what I call the "U*U Hole" where people may read them if they so wish.

Your comment actually is pretty much off-topic to what I was discussing on The Emerson Avenger blog which was the apparent anti-Christian intolerance and hypocrisy of Houston U*U minister Rev. Matt Tittle, as well as his obvious disingenuousness and even dishonesty in his original post and his U*U covering follow-up comments. That being said, I see no compelling reason to move your off-topic post to the U*U Hole and it will stay exactly where you put it even though it does not address the issues I was dealing with in my post.

Be assured that there is no lack of common sense in what I said about about Rev. Matt Tittle's obvious hypocrisy and somewhat less obvious, but none-the-less discernable, anti-Christian (or at least anti-Evangelical Christian) intolerance, disingenuousness, and dishonesty. The proof of that is that he has not posted the comments that I submitted to his "moderated" aka censored blog because he knows that my arguments are solid and damning. I have challenged him to defend his position on my blog but he hasn't even done that because he knows that he has already lost the argument.

There is no "evangelicalism" on The Emerson Avnenger blog unless perhaps you think that I am being somewhat "evangelical" in spreading the news about Unitarian*Universalist injustices, abuses and hypocrisy. I am not a Christian and far from being an Evangelical Christian. I am not defending Pastor Steve Riggle's proposal to build giant crosses around Houston. I am exposing and denouncing the thinly veiled intolerance, the hypocritical double standards, and the disingenuous and dishonesty evident in Rev. Matt Tittle's public attack on Pastor Steve Riggle. Feel free to read my blog post again and respond to those particular topics.

Robin Edgar

aka The Emerson Avenger

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 1:47:00 pm  
Blogger Erin said...

I would like to say I'm sorry about mentioning the possibility of censorship, but I didn't understand your disclaimer about "memory hole" as I wasn't familiar with the term. That being said, I don't think my comment was off-topic.

I re-read the Rev. Tittle article that you linked to in your original post--I found it prior to your blog when I was searching for news on the issue. As I said previously, I am a local and thus on my way to work was clued in to the imminent cross-raising at Grace Church. Now, my first reaction was something like "hell, no" because I was trying to mentally quantify what a 150 foot cross in the middle of urban sprawl would look like. I have to say that I am a little personally concerned with the issue, as Spring has been my hometown since the age of five and I'm not really ready to have my town become another freak show for every religious debater out there.

I believe this is relevant mostly because your post's topic is this cross, and more specifically the comments of the U*U pastor. First off, most Christians in the area are Methodists, Lutherans, non-denominational protestants, and any controversy concerning U*U itself is fairly removed from the issue at hand. With the only local article that I have been able to find so far being fairly unquestioning of the issue, I found Rev. Tittle's opinion to be relevant, useful, and not specifically intolerant towards Christians. He had the guts to first raise the question when local news has not touched it yet. Most of your argument against this preacher seems to be on prior censorship on his blog, and while I can't agree with this sort of censorship, you seem to take it as his personal issue that his church has wasted some money of its own. You're taking a side against the issue because of one person's hypocrisy; the truth is, Rev. Riggle himself has said much more, quoted in an article as saying that "This will mark our city for God," and "Here is an opportunity to physically and spiritually mark the city in a tangible way." If you want to quote someone on intolerance, you should nab this guy.

My point is, you could be a lot more intolerant than Rev. Tittle, and even if his church doesn't have a great record doesn't mean his words don't have a spark of truth. Dismissing his words as untrue because he is backed by a faith you have a personal beef with is missing the issue altogether. The real issue here is that most locals are not going to want a cross shoved in their face every day in the name one reverend that thinks we are a purely Christian city. It's lunacy to think that he should be allowed to speak for a city of four million. There are much larger churches in the area that do not tout that they are the voice of Houston.

And stop throwing your pseudo-logic in my face, please. No one is denying that Christianity is by far the majority religion down here, and they're not to be babied around like a toddler getting picked on. When the founding fathers created this country they created it with the intention that the minority would never be silenced, and Riggle's words have not concealed his intent to silence minorities in the area. In this case, it is more important that we don't let a megalomaniac assume that he speaks for all. And that is the point that needs to be made.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 3:06:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Erin said, "If you want to quote someone on intolerance, you should nab this guy."

Sorry Erin but, to paraphrase a well known advertising slogan, this blog's for U*Us. Or at least it's about U*Us. It is within possibility that Pastor Steve Riggle is guilty of some intolerance of his own, but this blog is dedicated to exposing and denouncing the anti-religious intolerance and bigotry that pervades and degrades the Unitarian*Universalist "religious community" and various other U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy. This blog post is about what U*U minister Rev. Matt Tittle said about Pastor Steve Riggle's "giant crosses" on his 'Keep The Faith' blog. It is not about the issue of the "giant crosses" themselves. In any case I do not see much intolerance in Pastor Riggle wanting to "mark our city for God" with a 150-foot cross or two, or even a dozen for that matter. Houston, to say nothing of most other cities, is already "physically and spiritually" marked for God in a tangible way by any number of other religious institutions and symbols. Here in Montreal we have a huge illuminated cross on top of Mount-Royal that obviously "advertises" Montreal's Christian religious heritage but few people see it as a sign of intolerance. When it comes to Pastor Steve's "giant crosses" it is the people opposing his religious vision who are being intolerant.

:My point is, you could be a lot more intolerant than Rev. Tittle,

Actually I think I made that point myself once or twice. I can assure you that no shortage of Unitarian*Universalist U*Us, including other U*U clergy, are more intolerant than the anti-Christian intolerance that Rev. Matt Tittle has displayed on his 'Keep The Faith' blog. That does not change the fact that Rev. Tittle has displayed a certain amount of intolerance and has been both dishonest and hypocritical in his criticism of Pastor Steve's "ridiculous idea" as he puts it. . .

:and even if his church doesn't have a great record doesn't mean his words don't have a spark of truth.

I don't disagree with that at all. Unfortunately however some of Rev. Tittle's words have a spark of intolerance, dishonesty and hypocrisy and it is his untruthful, intolerant, and hypocritical words that this blog post is about.

:Dismissing his words as untrue because he is backed by a faith you have a personal beef with is missing the issue altogether.

Actually you are largely missing the issues that this blog post deals with. The only words of Rev. Matt Tittle that I am exposing as "untrue" are those words that have every appearance of being untrue. If you or Rev. Tittle don't like me pointing out how disingenuous, misleading or outright "untrue" some his words are than all I can suggest is that Rev. Tittle should refrain from making untrue statements aka *lies* on his blog. As far as I am concerned Rev. Matt Tittle is acting in bad faith when he posts untrue words on his 'Keep The Faith' blog.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 4:27:00 pm  
Blogger Erin said...

I'm afraid we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 4:57:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

That's fine by me Erin. Your issue is Pastor Steve Riggle's proposed "giant crosses" whereas the issue I am dealing with here is the manner in which Rev. Matt Tittle responded to that proposal on his blog. Personally I think that there are better ways for Pastor Riggle and other religious leaders (not just Christian ones) to leave their mark on Houston and other cities but if a religious group chooses to build gigantic religious symbols with their own money on their own property they have every right to do so even if other people may believe that their are better ways for them to spend their money and leave their physical or spiritual mark on the territory they live in. I don't see a huge difference between Pastor Steve's 150-foot crosses and the costly billboard advertising campaigns that Unitarian*Universalists have run in various U.S. states in the last few years.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 5:20:00 pm  
Blogger Erin said...

I don't really understand religious advertising either. It's common down here to see commercials and billboards for different churches (usually non-denominational, independent churches) and Grace Community Church is one of them, I believe.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 5:32:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Well the Uncommon Denomination known as Unitarian*Universalism ran commercials, including billboards, in Texas not so long ago Erin. You can read all about the UUA's North Texas/Fort Worth Media Campaign on the UUA website.

BTW I forgot to accept your apology for suspecting that I would censor your post here. I have a personal policy of pretty much unconditionally accepting apologies that are volunteered without me even asking for one or indeed feeling one is required. That slight was minor compared to some of the deeply insulting and outright abusive crap I have had to put up with from U*Us so it did not really bother me that much. Thanks for being gracious enough to voluntarily apologize. Would that Unitarian*Universalists would learn from your example. This blog probably wouldn't even exist if U*Us learned the fine art of apologizing for their insults and other wrongdoing.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 6:01:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We love our Pastor!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am proud and honored to support Pastor Steve Riggle 150 percent!
Steve Riggle for President!! (Hey! That's a GOOD confession!)
May God Bless You,
Gloria - Houston, TX

Wednesday, July 09, 2008 11:00:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

The Houston Chronicle has published a story about Pastor Steve Riggle's proposed "giant crosses" titled Church wants 2 giant symbols to bear witness, which includes an architectural sketch of one of the "giant crosses" Pastor Riggle is proposing to build. The sketch clearly shows that the proposed "giant crosses" are actually a kind of open-air prayer space, and thus might be considered to be chapels or small (albeit quite tall) churches in their own right. If anything this calls Rev. Matt Tittle's objection to the construction of these crosses into further question in that he is objecting to a religious structure that is not simply a giant religious symbol but an actual place of worship. Rev. Tittle is effectively objecting to Houston Christians building some small churches or chapels in the form of a 150-200 foot high cross. Well done Rev. Matt Tittle. . .

Rev. Tittle is the only Houston "religious leader" quoted in the article who objects to Pastor Steve Riggle building his giant crosses. He says that "the crosses don't offend me" yet goes on to describe the crosses as a "monstrosity" and "a symbol of intimidation to some" in almost the same breath. Looks like Rev. Matt Tittle is yet another Unitarian*Universalist minister who can be seen to be sucking and blowing at the same time. . .

Friday, July 11, 2008 12:44:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

ABC13 in Houston ran a news report about this issue titled 'Giant Houston crosses stirring controversy' and Rev. Matt Tittle got a fair chunk of the 2 minutes of air time that was devoted to this story. Rev. Tittle was the only religious leader other than Pastor Steve Riggle who was interviewed and he clearly represented opposition to this project. I find it most interesting, and quite revealing. . . that immediately after suggesting that Pastor Steve Riggle's "ridiculous idea" of a Christian prayer center in the form of a giant cross would be an "unnecessary" waste of "a million dollars" Rev. Matt Tittle declares that it would be "a great idea" as long as the Christian cross was removed from it and it was an "interfaith prayer center" instead of a purely Christian one. It would appear that Rev. Matt Tittle is not really opposed to building a million dollar prayer center for Houston, just a Christian prayer center displaying a large cross. . .

Friday, July 11, 2008 4:53:00 pm  
Anonymous Hank said...

I know you will call me out as being off topic, but I found this post while searching on this crazy cross scheme that Riggle is proposing.
I live in the same area as Erin, and agree that this would be an eye sore that I simply could not tolerate.

Now, onto the U*U hypocrisy, I hate to point out, all people involved in religion for profit or power are hypocrites. nuff said.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 10:58:00 am  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Hi Hank,

You're on topic to the broader issues here so I have no beef about that. I am not sure that Pastor Riggle's crosses can be properly described as "an eye sore" any more than a church steeple can be described as such. Here in Montreal we have a large illuminated cross overlooking the city on top of Mount-Royal. Few people consider it to be an "eye sore". Maybe you need to examine just why you "could not tolerate" Pastor Riggle's crosses.

As far as U*U hypocrisy goes, not all U*U are "into" this "tiny, declining, fringe" religion for profit or powers. That may be true of some U*U clergy and the UUA, perhaps more the former than the latter for the UUA, but it does not apply to the many U*Us in the broader membership who exhibit stunning hypocrisy and turn blind eyes to U*U injustices and abuses when they are not outright condoning them or actively participating in them.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 5:03:00 pm  

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