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

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Did Rev. Peter Morales "Mess Up" His UUA Presidential Campaign "Stump Speech"?

The following comment was submitted to Rev. Peter Morales' 'Along The Campaign Trail' blog on his Peter Morales For UUA President web site. Unfortunately, Rev. Morales' poorly formatted campaign website does not provide URLs for individual web-pages, so you will just have to go to the home page of his homepage, click on the link to his UUA presidential campaign blog and then click on the link to the 'Old Friends' post if you want to read my comment as it is posted there. I am reproducing the comment verbatim here (with some corrections of typos etc.) for various reasons, not the least of them being eliminating the chore of finding it on Rev. Morales' blog.
I am reasonably confident that Rev. Peter Morales has the personal integrity not to "memory hole" my critical comment on his blog but I do believe that it is worthwhile cross-posting it here in any case.

Although my comment covers a variety of topics, it is the first time that I have directly and publicly confronted Rev. Morales about some rather questionable aka problematic public statements that he made about unspecified "obsolete religions" in his "stump speech" that announced his candidacy for UUA President. Although these allegedly "obsolete" religions that Rev. Peter Morales suggested "lead to tribalism, violence, suspicion, hatred, and oppression" and "contribute to the darkness" of "hatred, injustice, prejudice, ignorance" were not expressly named in the same breath as that dismissive, if not contemptuous, swipe at them; it is quite evident from the full context of his "stump speech" that, at minimum. . .
Rev. Morales was speaking about the three "Abrahamic religions"
(i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam), if not other religions that he apparently considers to be "obsolete". In fact, in that Rev. Morales did not specifically identify those "old religions" that he considers to be "obsolete religions, created for another time" one can readily assume that he was being *inclusive* of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism and any number of other "old religions" that were created some time ago. . . Indeed one might even reasonably presume that Rev. Morales meant most other "old religions" with the exception of that "tiny, declining, fringe religion" known as U*Uism aka Unitarian*Universalism. I look forward to Rev. Peter Morales' responses to the various questions I posed and the legitimate criticism that I expressed in this comment. I will add appropriate embedded links to the comment soon -

"The people I am talking to feel that we should be a movement that is much larger, much more a force for good in the world. I am convinced that this is a healthy frustration—a frustration that can motivate action."

One would hope so. . . Paradoxically, if U*Uism was "much more a force for good in the world" than it currently is within the limitations of its "tiny" current membership levels, U*Uism would almost certainly become movement that is much larger. In other words, if U*Us tried a bit harder to actually do more good in the world (including within the microcosm of the U*U World itself) than they currently do, more people might be interested in joining the U*U religious community. Actions speak louder than words and, from what I have seen over more than a decade now, U*Us are no better at practicing the principles and ideals that they preach than other "obsolete religions" as you have put it Rev. Morales. In fact, in my experience and observation, U*Us may well be considerably more lax in living up to the letter and spirit of their claimed principles and ideals than the members of those so-called "obsolete religions".

How much respect for the inherent worth and dignity of *every* person do U*Us really practice on an ongoing basis?

How much genuine justice, equity and compassion is there in human relations between U*Us themselves, to say nothing of between U*Us and non-U*Us?

How much genuine *acceptance* of "other" U*Us is there? Do U*Us really encourage *spiritual* growth in U*U congregations? From what I have experienced and seen spirituality, and indeed *religion*, are actively discouraged in some "Humanist" dominated U*U congregations. No shortage of U*U "Welcoming Congregations" are anything but genuinely welcoming to God believing people in general and Christians in particular. If U*Us want to repel fewer visitors, and indeed new members, U*Us would be very well advised to take steps to ensure that theists and liberal Christians are not treated as second class citizens in the U*U World.

Do U*Us really engage in a free and responsible search for truth and meaning or do they all too often turn a blind eye to unpleasant truths that they do not want to acknowledge and responsibly deal with?

Just how democratic is the "democratic process" within the U*U World? From what I have seen it can be considerably less democratic than questionably democratic municipal, state, and national politics. Indeed I have seen plenty of cynical manipulation of the democratic process within the U*U World and even outright anti-democratic behaviour that is symptomatic of tin-pot totalitarianism and despotism.

Just how hard do U*Us work towards the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for *all* within the microcosm of the U*U World itself? Not very. . . in terms of what I have personally experienced or observed over the years. Indeed I have seen outrageously hypocritical U*Us work quite hard to suppress liberty, perpetuate injustices, and make "war" on people and groups that they are hostile towards.

Sometimes I even wonder if U*Us understand the truth and meaning of the term "interdependent web of all existence" let alone respect it. . .

These "humanist principles" that "promise freedom, equality, mutual respect, community and striving for peace" are nothing but empty promises, and indeed broken covenants. . . when U*Us disregard them, compromise them, deny them, or violate them. Martin Voelker's optimistic (some would say naïve) faith that -

"Once people see that they truly have a choice they're bound to chose with reason."

is quite demonstrably Humanist "blind faith" thanks to the readily observable, and highly verifiable, fact that plenty of U*Us who have freely chosen their "faith" and its "Humanist creed" quite unreasonably, quite consistently, and even quite obstinately, refuse to actually practice the principles and ideals that their "Humanist creed" preaches. Most people can see religious hypocrisy a mile away and, unlike some "obsolete religions", there is virtually nothing compelling them to join the Unitarian*Universalist "religious community" or remain a member of it when they encounter hypocrisy, to say nothing of injustices and abuses. If U*Uism does not want to remain the "tiny, declining, fringe religion" of "the rotating door" Unitarian*Universalists will have to try a little harder to actually practice what they preach.

Martin Voelker rightly points out that "the humanist creed" of the ostensibly (but in my view questionably) "creedless religion" does not carry "poisonous elements that lead to dogmatism and religious war". Unfortunately however, as I have already pointed out, plenty of U*Us blithely disregard, or even outright violate, the "covenants" that are expressed in that "Humanist Creed" aka The Seven Principles. There is in fact dogmatism of various kinds and even "religious war" within the U*U World itself; but some U*Us also inflict their dogmatism (Humanist dogmatism or otherwise) on the outside world and even wage "religious war" with so-called "obsolete religions" such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam etc. In fact the simple act of dismissively, if not quite derisively and contemptuously, describing these major world religions as "obsolete religions, created for another time" is something of a cheap shot in that ongoing religious war of words. Of course I have seen rather worse war words than that rather gratuitous insult come forth from the mouths of U*Us. I do however take note of the fact that Rev. Peter Morales' quite regrettably, but also quite consistently, belittled and maligned Christianity, Judaism, and Islam (to say nothing of other unspecified "obsolete religions") in his "stump speech" announcing his candidacy for President of the UUA in order to bolster his rather questionable claim that U*Uism can become "the religion of our time."

I find it quite ironic that Rev. Morales admits that, "I mess up all the time"' in his campaign "stump speech" and then goes on to "mess up" by being consistently negative about most if not all of the world's major monotheistic religions. Even going so far as to write them off as "old religions" that "lead to tribalism, violence, suspicion, hatred, and oppression" and "obsolete religions created for another time" that "contribute to the darkness" of "injustice, prejudice, ignorance." Dare I point out that Unitarian*Universalism suffers from most of these things itself? Dare I suggest that if there was rather less suspicion, prejudice, ignorance, indeed hatred and oppression, and yes. . . even violence and *tribalism* within the U*U World itself that more people might be interested in actually selecting Unitarian*Universalism as their chosen faith? I call upon Rev. Peter Morales, Rev. Laurel Hallman, and all other U*Us to responsibly acknowledge that all of these evils and "sins" exist in varying forms, and to varying degrees, within the U*U World itself. I urge Rev. Peter Morales, Rev. Laurel Hallman, and all other U*Us to commit themselves to confronting these evils and sins that corrupt the U*U World and genuinely strive towards creating a U*U World *community* that genuinely and consistently honors and upholds its claimed principles and ideals.

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How To Tell U*Us They Have Said Or Done Something Anti-Religious. . .

U*U minister Rev. Kit Ketchum aka Ms. Kitty has just blogged about How to tell someone they have said or done something racist.
Rev. Ketchum asks her blog readers "What do you think?" about the YouTube video below -



I have submitted a comment to Rev. Ketchum's "moderated" Ms. Kitty blog and I am reasonably confident that she will see fit to post it.
Ms. Kitty had a bad habit of "memory holing" some of my critical comments in the past but she seems to have learned that such censorship and suppression of legitimate criticism and dissent doesn't reflect all that well on her or other U*Us, U*U clergy or otherise.
In recent weeks and months Rev. Kit Ketchum has been quite good about posting the comments that I have seen fit to post to her "moderated" Ms. Kitty's Road Show And Saloon blog. Here is a slightly revised and improved version of the comment that I just submitted:

I generally follow the policy advocated in that video in terms of all kinds of injustices and abuses, not just discrimination. I tell the person, or those other people that they are ostensibly accountable to. . . what they said or did and why it is wrong. That being said however, if a person or persons, or indeed group of persons, consistently say and do things that justify saying what they *are* I do not hesitate to do that as well.

A racist, is a racist, is a racist.

Likewise an Atheist Supremacist is an Atheist Supremacist is an Atheist Supremacist. . . ;-)

For the record, I recently told UUA Presidential candidate Rev. Peter Morales what he said during his "stump speech" announcing his candidacy for President of the UUA. See the comment that I posted to the 'Old Friends' post on his 'Along The Campaign Trail' blog. Unfortunately Rev. Morales' poorly formatted campaign website does not provide URLs for individual pages so you will just have to go to the home page of his Peter Morales for UUA President website, click on the link to his UUA presidential campaign blog and then click on the link to the 'Old Friends' post to read what I said about what he said. I am reasonably confident that Rev. Morales has enough personal integrity not to "memory hole" my legitimate concerns about his apparent religious intolerance. Hopefully in the coming days Rev. Peter Morales will responsibly respond to my public sharing of my legitimate concerns about his rather poor choice of words about "obsolete religions" in a way that allows me to refrain from saying what he might very well *be*.



Update: A quick check back to Rev. Kit Ketchum's Ms. Kitty blog confirms that she did post my comment but asserted that she feels that my final paragraph about what Rev. Peter Morales said in his "stump speech" is "off-topic". Here is the follow-up comment that I just submitted in response to that assertion by Rev. Ketchum -

Rev. Kit Ketchum said, "Robin, your final paragraph is off-topic, I feel. Please stick to the topic. Thanks."

That would depend upon just how narrowly you want to define the topic Rev. Ketchum. Some people consider words or actions that discriminate against Jews or Muslims as being "racist" even though that is not really true for Muslims at least. Rev. Peter Morales effectively described Judaism and Islam as "obsolete religions, created for another time" that "lead to tribalism, violence, suspicion, hatred, and oppression" and "contribute to the darkness" of "hatred, injustice, prejudice, ignorance" in his "stump speech" announcing his candidacy for UUA President. Other people would call that "discriminatory behavior" religious intolerance. Is intolerance of religions that are closely associated with specific races not a form of racism? I dare say that Rev. Peter Morales' blanket condemnation of Judaism and Islam as "obsolete religions" could be considered to be a form of anti-Semitism aka antisemitism. . . Would you like me to run Rev. Morales' "stump speech" by the Anti-Defamation League aka ADL and the Council on American-Islamic Relations aka CAIR or the Islamic Society of North America to see if they consider it to be "racist"? It might be a worthwhile exercise just to see how these organizations respond to what Rev. Peter Morales quite evidently said in his "stump speech".

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Is Richard Dawkins The Very Model Of An Atheist Supremacist?

OK. . . So Richard Dawkins is not a Unitarian*Universalist U*U, nor am I aware of any other major ASSes* being U*Us, but Richard Dawkins, along with his fellow Atheist Supremacist Spokespersons such as Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Dan Dennett and last (and probably least) P. Z. Myers, most certainly have something of a following within the U*U "religious community." No doubt a certain number of the subset of atheist aka Humanist U*Us that I usually refer to as fundamentalist atheist "Humanist" U*Us can be quite justifiably described as being Atheist Supremacists themselves, even if these U*U Atheist Supremacists are not quite as famous or influential as Richard Dawkins et al. I certainly have reasonable grounds to consider fundamentalist atheist "Humanist" U*U minister Rev. Ray Drennan to be something of an Atheist Supremacist based on his well documented words and actions and I can think of a few other "Humanist" U*U ministers who might fit the bill as well. Then of course there are the numerous fundamentist atheist "Humanist" U*Us who, as lay people, make a certain number of Unitarian*Universalist "Welcoming Congregations" anything but genuinely welcoming to God believing people in general and Christians in particular. I could name at least a handful of "Humanist" members of the Unitarian Church of Montreal who can very justifiably be described as Atheist Supremacists. Val Bourdon and Franke Greene come to mind immediately. So, even though my satirical reworking of Gilbert & Sullivan's 'The Major General's Song' into 'The Atheist Supremacist's Song' mainly lampoons Atheist Supremacist Grand Dragon Richard Dawkins, it is hereby dedicated to all the intolerant and outright bigoted fundamentalist atheist "Humanists" in the U*U World, especially those "Humanists" whose words and actions show them to be Atheist Supremacists themselves or Atheist Supremacist "fellow-travellers" on the U*U "Ship Of Fools".

Without further ado, or indeed to*do. . . here is -


'The Atheist Supremacist's Song'


aka 'I Am The Very Model Of An Atheist Supremacist'

I am the very model of an Atheist Supremacist
I'm an Intellectual, Evangelical, Godless Evolutionist
I know the crimes of Christians, and I quote their fights historical
From Jerusalem to Ireland, in order categorical

I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters biological
I understand equivocation, both scientific and theological
About the "Holey Bible" I'm teeming with a lot o' news
With many fearful facts about Christians and the Jews

With many fearful facts about Christians and the Jews
With many fearful facts about Christians and the Jews
With many fearful facts about Christians and those darn Jews

I'm very good at bigotry and anti-religious insults
I know the scientific names of beings animalculous
In short, in matters biological, theological, and religious
I am the very model of an Atheist Supremacist

In short, in matters biological, theological, and religious
He is the very model of an Atheist Supremacist

I know God's mythic history, from Osiris to the (Day of Yule)
I answer to my critics, I've a petty taste for ridicule
I quote in elegiacs all the crimes of Heliogabalus
In comics I will fight those other gods who are so fabulous

I can't tell undoubting Muslims from Bahá'ís or Zoroastrians
But know the croaking chorus from those corpse-cold Unitarians
Then I can hum a fugue of which I've heard the music's Rapical
And whistle at the "fairy tales" of infernal nonsense Biblical

And whistle at the "fairy tales" of infernal nonsense Biblical
And whistle at the "fairy tales" of infernal nonsense Biblical
And whistle at the "fairy tales" of infernal nonsense oh so Biblical

Then I can write a bashing book of Biblical enormity
And tell you ev'ry detail of Creationism's deformity
In short, in matters biological, Biblical, and religious
I am the very model of an Atheist Supremacist

In short, in matters biological, Biblical, and religious
He is the very model of an Atheist Supremacist

In fact, when I know what is meant by "Babylon" and "churlish"
When I can tell at sight a Mormon from a Whirling Dervish
When such affairs as prayers and "crackers" I'm more wary at
And when I know precisely what is meant by "Eat your hat"

When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern funnery
When I know more of tactlessness than a novice in a nunnery
In short, when I've a smattering of fundamental strategy
You'll say a better atheist had never spat at G

You'll say a better atheist had never spat at G
You'll say a better atheist had never spat at G
You'll say a better atheist had never ever spat at G

For my religious knowledge, though it's narrowy and shallowy
Has only been brought down to the early Nineteenth century
But still, in matters theological, minimal, and religious
I am the very model of an Atheist Supremacist

But still, in matters theological, minimal, and religious
He is the very model of an Atheist Supremacist

The End

I dare say that this version of 'The Major-General's Song' is as good as, if not somewhat better than, my reworking of 'The Major-U*U's Song' aka 'I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Unitarian'. I am none-the-less open to suggestions for improvements to the lyrics of both 'The Atheist Supremacist's Song' and or 'I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Unitarian'.


*Atheist Supremacist Spokespersons

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This Picasa SlideShow's For U*Us. . . ;-)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Throwing Some U*U "Fish" Back At Rev. Clyde Grubbs. . .

Sort of like fishing in a stocked pond

I have it on good authority, to say nothing of direct personal experience. . . that the UUA, its ever so aptly named Ministerial Fellowship Committee, and possibly even the UUMA, throw U*U ministers rightly accused of clergy misconduct of various kinds, including clergy sexual misconduct. . . right back into the scummy pond of the U*U World after they have been caught. To keep this comment even more "on topic" I have heard that a certain unmentionable U*U minister who was once justifiably accused of clergy sexual misconduct was thrown back into the U*U "pond" and was eventually elected as the President of the UUA.

Am I wrong Rev. Grubbs?

Thanks for all the fish anyway. . .

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A Few Important Questions For Rev. Peter Morales

I just submitted the following important questions as a comment to the "Major donors" post on UUA Presidential candidate Rev. Peter Morales' 'Along The Campaign Trail' blog. My comment did not appear immediately so it would seem that Rev. Peter Morales' Presidential campaign blog is "moderated" aka censored. The little padlock symbol with the "pop-up" saying - "Manage Comments for this Entry" - right next to the "Add A Comment" link makes this quite clear. It will be interesting to see whether or not my comment is actually published on Rev. Morales' Presidential campaign blog and, if so, if Rev. Morales actually answers the questions that I have posed in it. Please note that I am adding some pertinent embedded links to this TEA blog post that are not in the comment that I submitted. Needless to say Rev. Peter Morales is more than welcome to post his answers to these questions as a comment, or comments, to this blog post. In fact I hereby extend my personal invitation to UUA Presidential candidate Rev. Peter Morales to do just that. R.S.V.P.* A.S.A.P Rev. Morales.

Here is what I submitted as a comment to the "Major Donors" post -

May I ask how your perceived responsibility towards these donors will be manifested Rev. Morales?

I would like to ask you a few more questions about your campaign for President of the UUA, including a few questions about some rather problematic public statements that you made in your "stump speech" announcing your candidacy for UUA President. I will draw up a modest list of questions and send them to you, or post them publicly as an "open letter" blog post, in the coming days or weeks.

I do however have a few important questions that just came to mind within the last few days that I will ask you now. I hope to receive adequate and detailed answers to these questions ASAP and I expect many U*Us would want to hear your response to these important questions. In your "stump speech" you quite justifiably describe Unitarian*Universalism as a "tiny, declining, fringe religion" but you then go on to say that you believe that U*Uism "can be the religion of our time." Indeed it would appear that your campaign slogan is,

"We can be the religion of our time."

Here are my questions that arise out of those public statements -

Do you genuinely believe that Unitarian*Universalism can actually become "the religion of our time" or is your campaign slogan just empty campaign rhetoric intended to help you to gain votes and win the UUA Presidential election?

What specific conditions do you believe would need to be attained and sustained for Unitarian*Universalism to credibly be able to claim the status of being "the religion of our time"?

How do you propose to transform Unitarian*Universalism from the "tiny, declining, fringe religion" that it currently is to "the religion of our time" within a reasonable time frame, let's say 25 years?

Please provide detailed and realistic answers to the latter two questions which are obviously posed on the assumption that you do genuinely believe that Unitarian*Universalism actually can become "the religion of our time." Needless to say you need not answer the latter two questions if your campaign slogan is simply over-the-top campaign rhetoric that you don't genuinely believe in.

I look forward to seeing your detailed answers to these three important questions in the coming days. Let's say a week or two at most. I expect that a good number of Unitarian*Universalists would be very interested in seeing your answers to these important questions as well.

Sincerely,

Robin Edgar

*R.S.V.P. = "Répondez s'il vous plaît", a French phrase meaning "Please respond" or, quite literally, "Answer, if it pleases you."

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U*Um. . . EU*U. . . Seriously U*Us

Herewith a couple of comments with some revelatory embedded links that I just posted over on ChaliceChick's blog -


Robin Edgar said...

I hear you Bill. ;-)

TEA who notes again how quickly plagiarism sunk Rev. Donald Cameron, but Rev. Ray Drennan's anti-religious intolerance and bigotry is apparently no big deal. . . ;-)

Sorry CC. I just couldn't resist that. Yes it is "off-topic" to John McCain and Hillary Clinton but, like most such comments I post, it is very much on-topic to the basic principles involved.

5:27 PM, July 19, 2008

Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Um...

Eww...

Seriously...

5:33 PM, July 19, 2008

It looks like I erred slightly with the embedded link in 'Seriously'.
I had intended that it should link to the archived TEA post which provided the complete email string of my communications with Rev. Dr. Tracey Robinson-Harris that arose from my decision to gauge the current UUA response to clergy misconduct by filing a formal complaint about Rev. Victoria Weinstein's obviously unbecoming conduct with the UUA's Ministerial Fellowship Committee via its Director of Congregational Services who now apparently serves as a self-serving institutional buffer between complainants (aka victims of clergy misconduct) and the MFC. Oh well. No big deal. . .

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Justice Denied Is Justice Betrayed. . .

Is a bon mot aka epigram aka saying that I just came up with minutes ago as a result of contemplating U*U perversion of justice that denies justice. . .

An appropriate Google search proves that my bon mot is an original, although the same Google search shows that someone at the New York Daily News did come up with a headline reading - Justice betrayed is justice denied - back in 2002. That however is pretty much the only use of the reversed version of the bon mot that I thought up tonight. I prefer my version and believe that it makes a bit more sense, although the reversed version rhymes better with "Justice delayed is justice denied." Of course U*Us manage to delay justice, deny justice and even outright betray justice to say nothing of actively pervert justice. Needless to say, U*Us also directly perpetrate and indirectly perpetuate a variety of injustices. . .

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Is "Evangelical" U*U Minister Rev. Scott Wells A Whiner?

Over on his 'Boy In The Bands' blog, in a post rather dubiously titled 'Unitarian Universalism is a Christian religion' self-described "Evangelical Universalist" U*U minister Rev. Scott Wells is apparently "whining" about the fact that Unitarian and Universalist Christians just can't seem to get any respect within the "tiny, declining, fringe religion" known as Unitarian*Universalism these days.

Rev. Scott Wells gloomily whines -

"I’m hacked off that it’s acceptable to verbally minimize the import of Unitarian and Universalist Christians and not expect pushback."

Woo hoo! After years of stunningly DIM Thinking Denial, Ignorance and Minimization of the anti-Christian, and more broadly anti-religious, intolerance and bigotry that pervades and degrades Unitarian*Universalism aka U*Uism, Rev. Scott Wells is finally "hacked off" about it, and seemingly wants to engage in some "pushback". Enjoy the ride Scott. It might be a bumpy one. . .

Needless to say I'm still just a tad "hacked off" that it’s quite evidently perfectly acceptable to the Unitarian*Universalist Association of Congregations, its ever so aptly named Ministerial Fellowship Committee, and rather too many individual U*Us (including Rev. Scott Wells himself) for intolerant and abusive fundamentalist atheist "Humanist" U*Us, including bigoted "Humanist" U*U clergy such as Rev. Ray Drennan, to verbally belittle and malign, insult, abuse, and outright defame Unitarian*Universalist theists of all kinds. Not just Unitarian and Universalist Christians such as those ever so "Christian" U*Us Rev. Scott Wells and Rev. Victoria Weinstein. . .

I have been providing more than my fair share of highly justified "pushback" to these and other U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy for well over a decade now, which is more than can be said about you and other DIM Thinking U*Us isn't it Scott? What was it that "Humanist" U*U minister Rev. Brian Kopke of the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa once said to lamely attempt to cover his exposed U*U when I confronted him about the fact that he and two other DIM Thinking Canadian U*U ministers had abjectly failed, if not obstinately refused. . . to responsibly act upon my serious grievances about Rev. Ray Drennan's anti-religious intolerance and bigotry and his related abusive clergy misconduct when they conducted his first "peer review"?

Oh ya. . .

"Nobody did anything."

What was it that Edmund Burke once supposedly said about evil Rev. Wells? Not that it really matters all that much who actually said it. . . Wasn't it, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" or something like that Scott? Of course you and other "good U*Us", to say nothing of "Christian" U*Us. . . didn't just do nothing did you? No, not at all, you and other DIM Thinking U*Us sought to discredit me and Deny, Ignore and Minimize the reality of the U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy that I was exposing and denouncing. Indeed I seem to recall you calling me a "whiner", besides casting aspersions on my sanity. . . But now, years later. . . you seem to be doing a bit of "whining" yourself aren't you Rev. Wells? Oh well. . . At least you have finally "seen the light" as it were.

Or perhaps I should say that you are finally beginning to perceive the "darkness" of those very U*U evils that you have Denied, Ignored and Minimized since you first expressed your disdain and outright contempt for me when I peacefully protested against U*U anti-Christian intolerance and bigotry and other U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy at the 2002 UUA GA in Quebec City.

N'est-ce pas Scott?

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Jaume de Marcos Andreu And The "Robin Edgar Virus". . .

It looks like International Council of Unitarian*Universalists Secretary Jaume de Marcos Andreu, who I blogged about earlier today, chimed in to Rev. Scott Wells' 'Boy In The Bands' blog post that cast the usual U*U aspersions on my sanity as noted (and linked to) in the previous blog post. According to this noted U*U historian I am some kind of "virus" -

I am not concerned by the Robin Edgar virus and I don’t think that his arguments and links are convincing for anybody but those who want to be confirmed in their own prejudices. Nevertheless I appreciate that Peacebang’s blog is giving such good image about UUism, and perhaps this should be noted by others who seems to be so concerned about UU visibility and growth.

end quote

ROTFLMU*UO! Gotta love that bit about "Christian" U*U Rev. Victoria Weinstein's Peacebang blog "giving such good image about UUism". . .

That's right Jaume, no doubt Peacebang's "sodomy fantasy" involving anally impaling a US senator on the Statue of Liberty's torch does some wonderful things for the public image of Unitarian*Universalism aka U*Uism. That and her outrageously hypocritical finger pointing at comparatively minor *alleged* (but not proven) Roman Catholic clergy sexual misconduct at a time when one of her own aging parishioners Richard Buell, had just been convicted of forcibly raping a neighbor's daughter and a "female family member" who seems most likely to have been his own grand-daughter. Not that Mr. Buell didn't rape his own daughter(s) either. . . Based on some "very illuminating" follow-up comments to one of my blog posts about the rape conviction of this "pillar of the church" of Rev. Victoria Weinstein's First Parish Church Unitarian in Norwell, Massachusetts, it seems that Richard Buell may well have raped at least one daughter along with another "female family member", who seems most likely to be his grand-daughter considering that she was prepubescent at the time of the rape(s) and he was sixty something. . .

Peacebang aka Rev. Victoria Weinstein quite regularly insults and defames people on her Peacebang blog, or elsewhere on the internet, but the UUA's Department of Congregational Services, under the dubious "oversight" of Rev. Dr. Tracey Robinson-Harris, and it's Ministerial Fellowship Committee under the similarly dubious leadership of "Ms. Firewall UUA" Rev. Beth Miller, jump through all kinds of Orwellian hoops to rationalize their obstinate refusal to hold Rev. Weinstein even remotely accountable for her insulting and defamatory unbecoming conduct. I don't know Jaume. . . I could be wrong, but I am quite confident that most people of intelligence and conscience find both my arguments, such as those well-documented arguments with Rev. Dr. Tracey Robinson-Harris and Rev. Beth Miller for just a couple of examples. . . and my links to be more than adequately convincing when it comes to U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy.

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U*U Minister Rev. Scott Wells Can't Say "Tiny, Declining, Fringe Religion". . .

As a result of running a Google search on - UUA membership - I just found this older, but still quite relevant, post titled 'Back to reviewing UUA membership stats', by "Evangelical Universalist" U*U minister Rev. Scott Wells, on his 'Boy In The Bands' blog. Here are a couple of paragraphs of the "very illuminating conclusions" that he came to as a result of his analysis of UUA membership statistics back in 2004 -

Even so, some interesting facts. There are twenty-seven emerging congregations, but some of those have been “emerging” for years. Did you know the one hundred smallest congregations (including federated ones, reporting the Unitarian Universalist share of a large membership) equal a mere 1,287 adults. Compare that with the largest local congregation — First Unitarian, Madison, Wisconsin — with 1,315 members.

Or take the smallest 25% of congregations. They make up a total of 6,406 members, or every congregation with 42 or fewer members. As I said in February or March, I can see why the powers-that-be would want large-membership church starts, but the reality is that we are a small church denomination. Rather than ignore this reality (or fight it), can’t we strategically target our resources to making them as strong, efficient, and faithful as possible.

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Here is the comment that I just submitted to Rev. Scott Wells' "moderated" aka censored 'Boy In The Bands' blog. The chances of it being published are pretty much zero since Rev. Scott Wells has consistently censored and suppressed my own "very illuminating" comments submitted to 'Boy In The Bands' -

"but the reality is that we are a small church denomination."

Actually the reality is that Unitarian*Universalism is a tiny, declining, fringe religion. But don't take my word for it Scott. Take Rev. Peter Morales' word for it. . . ;-)

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It should be noted that Rev. Scott Wells took an immediate disliking to me when he first saw me protesting against anti-Christian, and more broadly anti-religious, intolerance and bigotry on the part of "Humanist" U*Us at the 2002 UUA GA in Quebec City. Rev. Scott Wells DIM Thinking reaction to my peaceful public protest against these and other U*U injustices, abuses, and hypocrisy was extremely condescending and quite rude. He has yet to have a civil word to say about me on his blog. In fact he has been more than a tad rude to me on 'Boy In The Bands' here and there. Here is a typical sample of Rev. Scott Wells' insulting and defamatory language -

"(I refuse to make an argument about sanity, sensibility and Robin the same breath.)"

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Teaching U*U Historian Jaume de Marcos Andreu A Lesson In U*U History. . .

Over on his Pfarrer Streccius blog Chicago area Conservative U*U Bill Barr questions Spanish U*U historian Jaume de Marcos Andreu's assertion that, "Unless American UUism makes a decision about whether they are a single body, or a conglomeration of congregations, associations, or religions, it will be hard to be relevant and to speak with a single, consistent voice." I responded in a comment that Jaume de Marcos needed to bone-up on his U*U history since it is pretty glaringly obvious that the UUA aka the Unitarian*Universalist Association of Congregations long ago made a decision that it was an "association of congregations". . . It seems that Jaume de Marcos, who besides being a U*U historian of sorts was also "elected" as the Secretary of the International Council of Unitarian*Universalists last year, as I had so prophetically predicted ;-), decided that I needed a lesson in U*U history myself and posted the following response to my comment -

Robin, thank you for your encouragement. I do try to learn a bit more every day about U+U history, that is why I have already published a book on that subject, and have been given lectures during the past three years. Have you?

By the way, if someone needs to learn about what congregational polity is, it's you. Remember your love affair with the Montreal church and Rev. Drennan? You have my full support in your learning process, Robin, as always.

I have responded to Jaume de Marcos on Bill Baar's Pfarrer Streccius blog but feel that it is worthwhile cross-posting my response here. Bill Barr has been pretty good about not "memory holing" most of my critical comments posted to his U*U blogs but he has "memory-holed" a few of my comments in recent months. This cross-posting will ensure that if my response to Jaume de Marcos' comment is "memory-holed" by Bill Baar that it none-the-less be available here. I have corrected some typos in the original comment and may yet add some extra embedded links to it -

Jaume de Marcos Andreu said...

:Robin, thank you for your encouragement.

You're welcome Jaume. Anytime. . .

:I do try to learn a bit more every day about U+U history,

You seem to try to suppress unflattering U*U history from time to time Jaume. Have you learned anything interesting about the seemingly credible allegations of various German anti-racist and anti-fascist groups that the German Unitarian religious community was "steeplejacked" by Nazi ideologues, including former SS officers who were convicted war criminals? Maybe you should research and write a book about that fascinating aspect of U*U history some time Jaume. . . You can start your free and responsible search for the truth and meaning (or possible lack thereof) of those disturbing allegations about the Deutsche Unitarier Religionsgemeinschaft and Bund Deutscher Unitarier which split off from the DUR in the 1980's. I look forward to seeing it published some time.

:that is why I have already published a book on that subject,

I am quite aware that you published a book about one rather ancient "famous Unitarian" who got into a spot of trouble with Calvin for pointing out apparent flaws in Christian theology Jaume, but you seem to be rather ignorant of more recent U*U history, particularly in terms of the UUA's policy of "congregational polity". This is precisely why I suggested that you need to do some more research into U*U history. . . In fact, considering that you are something of a U*U historian, your apparent ignorance of such fundamental policies of U*Uism is somewhat surprising.

:and have been given lectures during the past three years. Have you?

I quite regularly give lectures about U*U history on The Emerson Avenger blog and as comments on other blogs etc. I can't imagine that you would want me delivering such lectures more publicly Jaume but perhaps one day I will. In fact I intend to do some more research into those allegations about alleged "Nazi Unit-Aryans" in the Deutsche Unitarier Religionsgemeinschaft aka DUR and Bund Deutscher Unitarier aka BDU and post the results of that free and responsible search for truth and meaning in the coming months. Maybe I will get around to throwing that book at U*Us before you do Jaume. . .

:By the way, if someone needs to learn about what congregational polity is, it's you. Remember your love affair with the Montreal church and Rev. Drennan?

Actually I have learned a fair bit about the seamy underbelly of "congregational polity" the hard way Jaume. Indeed my ongoing "love affair" with the Unitarian Church of Montreal and Rev. Ray Drennan actually shows that "congregational polity" allows rogue U*U ministers and rogue U*U congregations to "get away with murder", to say nothing of character assassination. But you should know that my "love affair" extends to the UUA, its Department of Ministry, the Ministerial Fellowship Committee and UUMA, and more recently, the UUA's Department of Congregational Services. All of these bodies hold responsibility for dealing appropriately with clergy misconduct and have abjectly failed and obstinately refused to responsibly redress by serious grievances about Rev. Ray Drennan's intolerant and abusive clergy misconduct. In fact the UUA has a terrible track record when it comes to providing genuine restorative justice to victims of clergy misconduct, including clergy sexual misconduct Jaume. Perhaps you should write a book about that. . .

:You have my full support in your learning process, Robin, as always.

Of course Jaume. No doubt, you consider your "memory holing" of my critical comments on your The Hanif blog to be part of that "learning process". Of course that "learning process" is a two-way street Jaume and I have done my fair share of teaching U*Us some lessons that they need to learn. It is most regrettable that U*Us are such slow learners though. . . I guess that U*Us will have to live and learn some more before our little "love affair" ends in divorce.

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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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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Keith Olbermann Disses Unitarian*Universalism On Countdown

For some time now U*U bloggers have been speculating about whether or not MSNBC news anchor and commentator Keith Olbermann is a Unitarian*Universalist. Well I guess it's now "official" that, once upon a time, Keith Olbermann was a Unitarian*Universalist aka U*U since he pretty much "came out" as being "raised in" Unitarian*Universalism on his Countdown With Keith Olbermann show on June 24th. Today's edition of Unitarian Universalists in the Media on the UU World magazine blog says -

'Countdown' host's Unitarian roots

Keith Olbermann, the host of MSNBC's "Countdown," exposed his Unitarian roots during an interview with actors Jason Bateman and David Cross. At about the 4:19 mark the two actors joked that they were planning to wed at a Unitarian church in California, and Olbermann, long rumored to be a UU, replied: "Oh, good! I was raised in that faith. So there's just a lot of political talk, there's no actual religion involved. OK, that's going to get me in trouble with my ancestors." (Countdown - 6.24.08)

end quote

In fact Keith Olbermann's impromptu announcement that he was "raised in" the Unitarian "faith" comes a few seconds later at the 4:27 - 4:28 mark after David Cross jokingly suggests that he and Jason Bateman will be getting married in a Unitarian Church. The official MSNBC transcript of this Countdown show pretty much matches the quote provided on the UU World blog - OLBERMANN: Good, I was raised in that faith. So there‘s just a lot of political talk, no actually religion involved. OK, that‘s going to get me in trouble with my ancestors.

If one views the video however Keith Olbermann actually said - Oh good! That's. . . I was raised in that faith. So everybody. . . So there‘s just a lot of political talk, no actual religion involved. OK, that‘s going to get me in trouble with my ancestors.

Keith Olbermann clearly began to say something about "everybody" prior to saying,

"So there‘s just a lot of political talk, no actual religion involved."

but apparently thought the better of it and held his tongue. I guess we will never know just what Keith was going to say about "everybody", he may have already forgotten himself by now, but. . . considering what Olbermann said immediately after biting his tongue it seems unlikely that it would have been all that flattering of Unitarian*Universalism. Keith Olbermann's succinct if not terse "elevator speech" about Unitarian*Universalism that was broadcast to millions of Americans on 'Countdown' propagates and reinforces the quite universal stereotype that portrays Unitarian*Universalism as being more about left-wing politics than a bona fide religion. Indeed, in asserting that there is "no actual religion involved" in the Unitarian*Universalist "faith" that he was "raised in", Keith Olbermann may have single-handedly dissuaded a good number of Americans from visiting or joining a "Unitarian Church" any time soon.

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