The Emerson Avenger

The Emerson Avenger is a "memory hole" free blog where censorship is scorned. This blog will "guard the right to know" about any injustices and abuses that corrupt Unitarian Universalism. Posters may speak and argue freely, according to conscience, about any injustices and abuses, or indeed hypocrisy, that they may know about so that the Avenger, in the form of justice and redress, may come surely and swiftly. . . "Slowly, slowly the Avenger comes, but comes surely." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

In 1992 I underwent a profound revelatory experience of God which revealed that the total solar eclipse "Eye of God" is a "Sign in the Heavens" that symbolizes God's divine omniscience. You may read about what Rev. Ray Drennan of the Unitarian Church of Montreal contemptuously dismissed as my "psychotic experience" here: - This revelatory religious experience inspired me to propose an inter-religious celebration of Creation that would take place whenever a total solar eclipse took place over our planet. You may read about what Rev. Ray Drennan and other leading members of the Unitarian Church of Montreal falsely and maliciously labeled as a "cult" here: - I am now an excommunicated Unitarian whose "alternative spiritual practice" includes publicly exposing and denouncing Unitarian*Universalist injustices, abuses, and hypocrisy. The Emerson Avenger blog will serve that purpose for me and hopefully others will share their concerns here. Dee Miller's term DIM Thinking is used frequently and appropriately on this blog. You may read more about what DIM Thinking is here -

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Between Good Friday and Easter Former U*U Minister Rev. Mary Scriver Helps To Resurrect The Issue Of Clergy Sexual Misconduct In The UUA

In a blog post titled 'Between Good Friday and Easter' former U*U Minister Rev. Mary Scriver has helped to resurrect the issue of clergy sexual misconduct, as well as non-sexual forms of clergy misconduct, in the UUA. In fact, in a blog post titled 'Sexual Ethics In The Pews', written on Good Friday itself, Rev. Mary Scriver aka Prairie Mary pretty much nailed the UUA to a cross of its own making by, amongst other things, validating several of the statements that I made in my initial comment on that blog post. Herewith, with (in)appropriate embedded hyperlinks, are the comments that Rev. Mary Scriver validated, and an as yet unpublished follow-up comment -

Robin Edgar said...

:Religion and congregations with ministers are about power. The minister is the focus of the power -- those who control the minister control the resources of their congregation.
(quoted from Prairie Mary)

Needless to say, especially within Unitarian*Universalism where congregational polity makes U*U churches highly independent, those who control the resources of their congregation control the minister. . . Right Mary? If a U*U minister displeases those who control the resources of the congregation, i.e. the Board of the church and perhaps also some well-heeled "pillars of the church", the minister can be fired or pressured into resigning.

:They have a certain underground status, access to normally undisclosed information, and influence on the ministers’ actions.
(quoted from Prairie Mary)

Indeed they do, I doubt very much that Rev. Ray Drennan would have dared to label me as "psychotic", trash my monotheistic religious beliefs as being nothing but "silliness and fantasy", and falsely and maliciously label Creation Day as a "cult" (i.e. "normally undisclosed information" as it were) if he did not feel that he had the "moral support" of the Board and other influential members of the Unitarian Church of Montreal who were whispering such things behind my back more than a year before he was selected as the minister of the church. . . In light of how the Board of the church, to say nothing of the UUA and MFC, responded to my complaint Rev. Ray Drennan quite evidently did have that support. No doubt a similar "social dynamic" can and does take place in some cases of clergy sexual misconduct as well.

:This is particularly true of illicit relationships, because another huge source of power in a hierarchical institution is secrets: being able to blackmail, to attach information seekers to oneself, to influence events.
(quoted from Prairie Mary)

To be honest I sometimes wonder if one of the reasons that so little is done about clergy sexual misconduct in the UUA is because U*U ministers have various types of "dirt" on each other and use it to "blackmail" their colleagues into inaction when they are accused of misconduct themselves. . . When one knows that UUA President Bill Sinkford is himself suspected of being guilty of clergy sexual misconduct one can't help but consider the possibility that maybe just maybe his suspected or actual clergy sexual misconduct goes a long way to explaining why so little was done about clergy sexual misconduct, or indeed non-sexual misconduct, during his eight year term as President of the UUA. The very reason that Nashville U*Us wrote that Open Letter is because the UUA failed miserably to live up to the promise of the apparently less than sincere "apology" that it delivered to victims of U*U clergy sexual misconduct at the 2000 UUA GA in Nashville almost a decade ago now.

2:35 PM

prairie mary said...

Robin is quite right on all counts.

But don't just blame the minister. Parishioners collude.

Prairie Mary

Thank you for that very public validation of the concerns that I have shared here Mary. I really do try to be right in what I say. If I think that I may be wrong about something I usually hold my tongue, or state clearly that I might be mistaken about what I am suggesting.

My comment in no way blames only the minister. Au contraire, I think that I made it abundantly clear that not only the Board and congregation of the Unitarian Church of Montreal actively or passively colluded with Rev. Ray Drennan's insulting and defamatory attack on me, which arose from his "fundamentalist atheist" intolerance and bigotry, but they UUA and MFC effectively colluded in it as well thanks to their negligent and effectively complicit response to my complain about Rev. Ray Drennan's intolerant and abusive clergy misconduct. In fact, as I am sure you are very aware, the collusion of parishioners, professional colleagues aka other *fellowshipped* U*U ministers, as well as UUA officials and administrators, many of whom are *fellowshipped* U*U ministers themselves, as is clear in terms of the Ministerial *Fellowship* Committee handling complaints about U*U clergy misconduct of all kinds, is a serious problem. Collusion, be it active support for the transgressive minister and active oppression of the victim, or simply sheep-like passive acceptance of the minister's transgressive behavior and the further victimization of the victim by other U*Us, including U*U clergy. . . is a serious part of the overall problem of clergy misconduct of all kinds. Active or passive collusion of U*U parishioners and U*U clergy is very common and it always adds further insult and injury to the original injustices and abuses initial clergy misconduct, whatever it may be.

I am acutely aware of the collusion of U*U parishioners, as some of my U*UTube videos of my peaceful public protest in front of the Unitarian Church of Montreal should make clear. I have repeatedly spoken about the collusion of DIM Thinking, i.e. Denial, (Willful) Ignorance and Minimization of unethical behavior, of Unitarian*Universalists in their negligent and effectively complicit (to say nothing of unjustly punitive. . .) responses to my own complaints about clergy misconduct, and other people's complaints about clergy misconduct.

You said that I am "quite right on all points" I would just like to confirm that this includes my point about my "educated guess" aka "sneaking suspicion" that one of the reasons that so little is done about clergy sexual misconduct in the UUA is because U*U ministers have various types of "dirt" on each other and use it to "blackmail" their colleagues into inaction when they are accused of misconduct themselves. If you could confirm that and shed more light on that situation it would be most appreciated not only by me but by other victims of U*U clergy misconduct including, indeed perhaps especially, victims of clergy sexual misconduct.

BTW You might want to browse through the "good cop" of the U*U World's blog devoted to UUA (mis) handling of clergy sexual misconduct. Although it is no longer active, because its author was "discouraged" by some UUA administrator's negative responses to it, it is well worth reading. Comments are no longer being accepted since the author has left the blog dormant but you might want to pick up where uugrrl left off on her 'Speaking Truth To Power' blog by commenting on some of her blog posts in your own blog posts here. I intend to do what I can to make the UUA's ongoing mishandling of all forms of clergy misconduct a UUA Presidential campaign issue. You could be an important voice in that ongoing struggle for justice, equity and compassion within the U*U World if you dare to choose that fate. ;-)

Thank you for your helpful input so far,

Robin Edgar
The Emerson Avenger

Here is an additional follow-up comment that I just submitted at about 7pm TEA time -

:The point is that ministers, esp. now that females and older second-career people are common, may also be scared, dislocated, lonely, or confused.

That may well be true in some cases but allow me to point out that female U*U ministers, and older second-career people (female or otherwise), are perfectly capable of engaging in various forms of clergy misconduct, including clergy sexual misconduct. I know of one case of a lesbian U*U minister making unwanted sexual advances to a female parishioner and U*U minister Rev. Mack Mitchell was in his 50's when he invited some young Tibetan girls to his parish and forcibly raped them.

:Predators -- who may be laity or may be colleagues -- are happy for the opportunities. Where’s the book and the workshops for that?

Good question. Chances are pretty good that it doesn't exist. I would be the first to acknowledge that there are predators of various kinds, including sexual predators, in the U*U laity, in fact I could name a few. One who jumps off the page is a "pillar of the church" of an unmentionable U*U church in Massachusett's who was convicted of forcibly raping preteen girls at a time when he was "sixty something" and they were "ten something" if that. . . I suppose that the UUA's Safe Congregations Program addresses these issues to some extent but, like many other U*U policies and "guidelines", the letter and the spirit of the UUA's Safe Congregations policies are probably disregarded and left unimplemented and unenforced in too many cases.

:When I was in the ministry, on two different occasions men I hardly knew bluntly asked me for sex. Could I have sued them for that?

Probably not but, in theory, you could have taken other action if they persisted in their demands if or when you rejected them.

:If they had used force, of course, I could have simply gone to the criminal law.

Of course.

:Should a female minister do that?

Why not?

:What tough old cop wouldn’t laugh?

At what? Blunt demands for sex or rape?

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