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 -

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Continuing The Conversation With Rev. Mary Scriver aka Prairie Mary

Rev. Mary Scriver aka Prairie Mary posted a blog titled 'ACCUSING THE CLERGY... AND ACCUSING... AND ACCUSING' which is currently unavailable to be read. It is possible that this is a temporary glitch and that it will reappear on her Prairie Mary blog or she may have decided to "memory hole" the whole blog post, along with the comments that were submitted to it for some reason. In that Mary Strathan Scriver has not "memory holed" any of her previous recent blog posts that touch upon the problems of the U*Us, including but not limited to U*U clergy misconduct, I hold out hope that this blog post will reappear shortly. For the time being I will cross-post here my initial comment on that blog post which was fortunately a point-by-point response that covered most if not all of the bases in her "disappeared" blog post. As usual I may add some extra embedded pertinent hyperlinks that were not in the original comment -

Hi Mary,

I will respond to this point point-by-point taking pertinent snippets of what you said so as not make it *too* lengthy and repetitive.


Easy enough to do when it comes to U*U clergy who seem to be quite happy to provide no shortage of "ammunition" for accusations of various kinds. Of course the same might be said about any denomination but U*U clergy and Unitarian*Universalists more generally decided to pick a fight with me. At this point in time I have a backlog aka stockpile of "ammunition" that has yet to be used but U*Us have not refrained from passing me more ammunition in spite of requests to do so. . . ;-)

:He had a vision and can’t get his congregation or minister to accept that, though he’s been trying for years.

You could just as easily replace congregation with *denomination* i.e. The Uncommon Denomination aka *The* Tiny Declining Fringe Religion which claims in its obviously fraudulent religious propaganda to be a religion where "Revelation is not sealed!" Coulda fooled me. . . In any case my protest is not an attempt to persuade U*U to accept my vision, it is a protest against the fact that U*Us defecated all over my vision in various ways not the least of them being intolerantly and abusively labeling me as "psychotic" or otherwise insane, otherwise belittling and maligning my monotheistic religious beliefs such as by dismissing them as nothing but "silliness and fantasy", and falsely and maliciously labeling Creation Day as a "cult" even going so far as to make snide "jokes" suggesting a link between Creation Day and the notorious Solar Temple cult. My public protest is a protest against these and other U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy. Nothing more, nothing less. . .

:First, David Pohl -- who was the head of the Department of Ministry when I started out -- used to say that the challenge with the UUA was to fit the minister to the congregation.

Rev. Ray Drennan was in fact a good fit for a U*U congregation that was dominated by a clique of anti-religious "Humanist" U*Us. He fit right in. . . Indeed the *fit* that he threw in my apartment on Thursday November 9, 1995 was a pretty good fit too.

:There is a wide array of styles and convictions in both categories and a mismatch always startles and confuses everyone.

If there was a "mismatch" it was between yours truly and a predominantly "Humanist" U*U congregation that was largely controlled by a clique of intolerant and even outright bigoted anti-religious "Humanist" U*Us.

:If Robin is horrified by the comparatively conservative and classic context of the Unitarian Church of Montreal, proud of being founded in 1842,

That is not what I am "horrified" about Mary. I have no problems with that. My main problem is that the Unitarian Church of Montreal allowed Rev. Ray Drennan and other prominent lay leaders to trample all over the pearls of wisdom I offered them.

:I hope he never drops in on one of the more free-spirited California congregations. I daresay that communion, which is still celebrated in the Christian sense twice a year in Montreal, takes on a whole new meaning in a hot tub, though wine might be involved. The "bread" is likely to be money.

I am not particularly Christian oriented and am pretty open-minded and free-spirited myself. I do realize that many California congregations are largely Humanist but there are Humanists and then there are "Humanists". The latter make a total mockery of the word humanist by being intolerant of and even outright hostile towards the religious impulse in human beings. I expect that some California congregations, even Humanist dominated ones, would have been much more open to my vision even if they chose not to accept it.

:It is possible for a lay member to get out of sync with a congregation or with a minister or even a whole denomination.

I was "out of sync" with the "Humanist" clique at the Unitarian Church of Montreal from the beginning. I tried to work with the more open-minded and moderate member of the congregation but the "Humanist" clique kept trying to sabotage my efforts in various ways, especially when they saw that I was making some headway within the congregation. . . The second celebration of Creation Day scheduled for mid-October 1995 was unanimously approved as an Adult RE activity by the RE Committee but the UCM's Board which was controlled by the "Humanist" clique banned Creation Day from being celebrated in the Unitarian Church of Montreal in an anti-democratic "in camera" segment of the October 1995 Board meeting that was so secretive that it wasn't even mentioned in the minutes of that Board meeting. . . About a month later Rev. Ray Drennan was angrily describing Creation Day as "your cult" to my face and in a moronic effort to cover his ass was repeatedly insisting that he was "just being honest" and was "the only one being honest" with me. The clear implication of that assertion was that a good number of other leading members of the Unitarian Church of Montreal were calling Creation Day a "cult" as well. . . At the time I though he was exaggerating although Frank Greene, the "Humanist" President of the UCM had "jokingly" said "I hope what you are doing has nothing to do with the Solar Temple" when I was organizing the first celebration of Creation Day a year earlier and had unilaterally quashed my attempt to start a spiritual discussion group at the UCM. I was later informed by a church member that Frank Greene had repeatedly referred to Creation Day as a "cult" in a phone conversation with this UCM member that would have occurred in late 1994 or early 1995, months before the selection of Rev. Ray Drennan as the new "settled minister" of the Unitarian Church of Montreal.

:Witness Luther or Emerson himself, who refused to serve communion.

To say nothing of openly reject "corpse-cold Unitarianism". . . That phrase still rings true today in a number of respects not the least of them being the callously indifferent manner that the UUA and individual U*U congregations respond to victims of clergy misconduct of all kinds. . .

:(What about Jesus, who was trying to reform Judaism, not start Christianity?)

Guess who's trying to reform U*Uism? And only in terms of trying to persuade U*Us to actually practice what they so emptily, insincerely, and at times outright fraudulently. . . preach. Of course I could just start a new religion but I have my reasons for not doing so.

:People used to say that the advantage of Unitarianism is that you could change your theology and, since there was no required dogma in UUism, you didn’t have to go find a new denomination. This doesn’t seem to be true anymore.

Maybe it never was true, along with a variety of other things people say about Unitarianism. . . "Revelation is not sealed" my U*U. . . For the record "Humanist" U*Us tried damned hard to change my theology or at least make damned sure that me and my monotheistic theology were far from welcome in their alleged "Unitarian Church" and so-called "Welcoming Congregation". I used to half joke that they needed a Welcoming Congregation program for theists who seem to be the social outcasts of the Unitarian Church of Montreal and no shortage of other Unitarian Churches. It's not really all that funny that liberal Christians and other God believing people are far from genuinely welcome in many U*U "Welcoming Congregations". I like to point out to U*Us that plenty of Christian-oriented or otherwise theistic GBLT people are not *really* welcome in some "Humanist" dominated U*U "Welcoming Congregations". Am I wrong about that Mary?

:My own original home church has made me uncomfortable for the last twenty years or so.

How so? Please do blog about it. Is it possible that you are a Humanist U*U who is "uncomfortable" with increasing "God-talk" in your original home church? I have heard about that flip-side of my "coin" but I have yet to hear of any Humanist U*U facing the level of intolerance, contempt, hostility, and outright anti-religious bigotry that I and other theists have encountered in so-called Unitarian churches.

:I googled Rev. Drennan, who reacted so strongly to Robin and who so easily went to a mental health diagnosis, and see that he had earlier served conservative denominations and institutions with a more top-down style -- including formal mental health counseling.

Correct. He was formerly a Presbyterian minister who, according to his own testimony, was subjected to a "heresy trial" and tossed out. Not surprising really when it becomes clear that he was not only an atheist but an outright anti-theist. . . If the hypocrite had an ounce of personal integrity he would have resigned as a Christian minister soon after determining that he was an atheist, to say nothing of an outspoken anti-religious bigot. But don't fool yourself Mary. When it comes to dealing with clergy misconduct at least the UUA has plenty of top-down style. Too bad it has no *class*. . .

:He no longer serves congregations.

He is no longer a full time "settled minister" but he stills serves congregations in other ways, not the least of them being "certified" to deliver Healthy Congregations Workshops of all things. . . Prior to that the UUA's department of ministry put Rev. Ray Drennan in charge of screening ministerial candidates for eight years knowing full well that he was an anti-religious "fundamentalist atheist". I can't imagine why the UUA would do that. Well actually I can. . . It seems that they are still discouraging ministerial candidates who are *too* Christian oriented or otherwise theistic. A U*U ministerial candidate can be as GBLT as can be, indeed it seems that there is plenty of "affirmative action" in the hiring of GBLT U*U ministers (possibly to the exclusion of some "straight" ones. . .), but if a GBLT ministerial candidate happens to be Christian or theistic then that may be a "problem" with the Regional Sub-Committee on Candidacy, especially if it U*Us know who or "like-minded" screeners of prospective U*U clergy are on it.

:Robin, more than most UU’s, insists on emphasizing his personal experience of revelation.

That goes with the territory Mary. It was a prophetic type mystical experience that is in many way comparable to those of ancient prophets and/or mystics. The Unitarian*Universalist "religious community" pretends to be one where "Revelation is not sealed!" and "the word of the prophet still flows." I found out the hard way what a crock of U*U "shit" that was, and still is. . .

:These two people were a clear mismatch.

Elementary my dear Mary.

:It appears that the congregation backed their clergyman.

To the hilt, which makes them all active or passive colluders in Rev. Ray Drennan's anti-religious intolerance and bigotry, and related injustices and abuses in my books. . .

:Robin needs a congregation that accepts revelations and this is evidently not it.

Quite evidently indeed. . . The same might be said about the so-called Uncommon Denomination as a whole regardless of it's *evidently* fraudulent claims to the contrary.

:If he thinks he will convert them by picketing them, he is indulging in the usual liberal parade of conscience with the usual lack of consequences.

Well I am indeed "indulging in the usual liberal parade of conscience with the usual lack of consequences" as you put it, but not in terms of trying to convert U*Us to my "vision", only to try to persuade them to actually practice what they preach about justice, equity and compassion in human relations and other U*U principles rather than making a total mockery of them. . . U*Us should be utterly ashamed of their callously indifferent response to my peaceful public protest against the anti-religious intolerance and bigotry that I encountered at the Unitarian Church of Montreal and other U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy. Indeed it is to the eternal shame of Montreal Unitarians that they have willfully ignored my entirely legitimate protest against very real and well documented U*U injustices, abuses, and hypocrisy for over a decade now. While there may indeed be no obvious "consequences" to Rev. Ray Drennan and the Unitarian Church of Montreal within the so called U*U World there are definitely consequences for these and other U*Us in the real world, not the least of them being that the Unitarian Church of Montreal itself claiming that my protest has caused "irreparable" damage to its reputation aka public image. Maybe they should have thought of that before ignoring me for a decade. . . The same goes for the greater U*U "religious community" which shares in that "tarnished image" that the UUA itself is largely responsible for helping to spread the "tarnishing".

:Second, I am NOT focused on clergy misconduct, sexual or otherwise. Leadership School was my epiphany. What I learned there was that it is the System that makes trouble, creating forces that incline people to break rules, use poor judgment, cross the line, whatever.

I do not disagree that "the System" at the UUA and in individual U*U churches is seriously flawed, but it is seriously flawed because seriously flawed individual human beings make it that way. . . The rules and policies to deal appropriately with my legitimate grievances were and still are in place at the UUA and the Unitarian Church of Montreal but there was no willingness to properly act upon and implement those bylaws, policies and rules etc. Au contraire. . . U*Us misused and abused them to try to suppress my legitimate dissent. In fact Montreal Unitarians have even gone so far as to try to misuse and abuse the Canadian Criminal Code and Montreal municipal bylaws in their deeply misguided efforts to force an end to my legitimate peaceful public protest against their own and other U*Us' injustices, abuses, and hypocrisy.

:Good people in awkward predicaments behave badly.

So do "bad people". . . But I agree that so-called "good Unitarians" have behaved very badly in this "awkward predicament" that is largely of their own making. Things could have gone very differently if "good Unitarians" aka good U*Us had made even a half-assed effort to honor and uphold the Seven Principles and other claimed ideals of Unitarian*Universalism in dealing with my legitimate grievances. Quite regrettably U*Us have repeatedly, indeed shamefully consistently. . . chosen the fate of doing the wrong thing when they have been asked to do the Right Thing in this matter.

:That is, I do NOT believe in evil or bad character, so much as I see misguided expectations and opaque practices.

My expectations were perfectly reasonable. The practices of the Unitarian Church of Montreal, the UUA and its very aptly named Ministerial *Fellowship* Committee are far from transparent but they are not quite as "opaque" as they might like them to be.

:The Alban Institute has struggled with this for many decades now and small progress is made.

From what I can so little or no real and tangible progress has been made when it comes to the UUA's handling of clergy misconduct complaints. There have been some minimal "reforms" on paper but in practice this "progress" is non-existent because UUA officials like Rev. Dr. Tracey Robinson-Harris and Rev. Beth Miller amongst others simply disregard the rules and guidelines that are in place.

:As it happens, I know quite a lot about the Ministerial Fellowship Committee because my home minister was the chair of it in the Seventies and Eighties. They DID put people out of fellowship. I know that the whole committee struggled mightily to understand what rules and procedures would produce the best outcomes. I’ve seen the tottering stacks of material they read and I’ve been before them in my own entry to ministry. They are not devils, they don’t always agree with each other, they are lay people as well as professionals, and they do their best. Which is sometimes just not good enough. And they know it.

Sorry Mary but the Ministerial *Fellowship* Committee and other UUA officials responsible for dealing with clergy misconduct complaints do not do their best, far from it, unless their "best" is pathetic mediocrity and chronic incompetence to say nothing of gross negligence and complicit "whitewashing" of transgressive U*U clergy. . . Here's yet another example of how the corpse-cold Unitarians at the UUA "do their best".

:Third, our North American culture has taken some very abrupt turns in the last fifty years. The white male conformity that came out of the WWII years was the standard for ministry at that time. Now the last of our veterans are gone.

Right. . . So what is is now Mary? White female conformity. White GBLT conformity? Whatever it is in the UUA it is still 97% White. . . Where are all the U*U clergy who are "people of color" other than the "tokens" here and there?

:Call the next wave hippies if you want to. They no longer got drunk at ministers’ meetings -- they got high and sometimes they got laid.

*At* ministers' meetings Mary. That would be a sight to see. . . Sorry Mary but I couldn't resist that "gotcha". ;-) Still, I have certainly heard about U*U clergy getting laid at UUA GA's etc. even when they were married. . .

:It was considered good mental health -- “warm,” flexible, capable of intimacy.

Yes that is pretty much what I read between the lines of UUA President Bill Sinkford's take on clergy sexual misconduct in his 2002 pastoral letter addressing clergy sexual misconduct. He placed a huge emphasis on pedophilia, which is rare, while affirming that adult sexual relationships are a "blessing". . .

:We have not had a wave of people with visions like Robin’s. The people doing fMRI studies would be very interested in his experience and not inclined to put it down.

As far as I am concerned a "religion" that pretends to be one where "Revelation is not sealed!" should be ready, willing, and most importantly *able* to responsibly investigate the kind of revelatory religious experience that I am claiming. The well established fact that The U*U Movement is totally unprepared to do so, in every sense of the word "unprepared", and allows intolerant and abusive "fundamentalist atheist" "Humanist" U*U clergy to deeply insult and defame, or otherwise harass and abuse, people claiming such experiences with complete impunity is a telling indictment of the contemporary U*U "religious community". I was in fact asking Rev. Ray Drennan to help to ensure that my revelatory experience was responsibly investigated by the U*U religious community when he chose the fate of contemptuously dismissing my revelatory experience as "your psychotic experience" and angrily insisted that I seek "professional help" immediately. . .

:His time may come, but it looks as though it’s not now, unless he can find or start an accepting congregation.

This is not simply a matter of an unaccepting congregation Mary. We are talking about an unaccepting *denomination*. The Unitarian*Universalist religious community as a whole, particularly as represented by the UUA and CUC, has made it abundantly clear that it is not genuinely open to or accepting of people who claim profound revelatory religious experiences of a prophetic nature, to say nothing of lesser forms of religious/spiritual experience. I know of a U*U woman who experienced a classic NDE during a difficult birthing but who was callously brushed off by her atheist U*U minister when she sought his counsel and comfort.

:I would predict that in Montreal his chances are good except in his old context. He should honor his own epiphany by concentrating on it rather than the weaknesses of those who scoff at it.

I have my reasons for doing what I am doing Mary. You are effectively saying that I should allow U*Us to get away with the "murder" of the character assassination that they are clearly and unequivocally guilty of. . . The anti-religious intolerance and bigotry and other injustices and abuses that I have been subjected to by U*Us goes well beyond "scoffing" and harms my ability to "honor" my "epiphany". Why do you think that I filed a complaint against Rev. Ray Drennan and ultimately felt it necessary to publicly protest outside the so-called church that allowed this fundamentalist atheist bigot and other "church" leaders to egregiously dishonor my "epiphany"?

:Happens all the time. No malign conspiracy is necessary. A congregation can simply drift off into a different direction or a minister can feel a personal conversion that no longer makes the pulpit waltz possible.

True enough, but when there is in fact a "malign conspiracy" in an individual U*U church congregational polity does not help to resolve the situation does it? It seems to me that congregational polity allows for what might be termed rogue congregations.

:I would not be so quick to label this as Sin.

"Enabling" ministers, male or female, is a Sin when one is enabling the sins of the minister. . . Clearly Rev. Ray Drennan and other transgressive U*U clergy have plenty of such "enablers". I wouldn't be surprised if some congregants even enable some U*U ministers when it comes to sexual misconduct. In the spring of 2007, one U*U congregation learned that its choir director *and* its former minister of 20 years had both engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct toward congregation members. One can't help but wonder if they "enabled" each other in their "inappropriate sexual conduct" whatever it may have been.

:Referring to politicians again, for a long time the media and other second-level people suppressed and covered over the “private” lives of presidents like Kennedy and so on.

Yes the UUA and individual U*U "churches" go to considerable lengths to suppress and cover over the so-called "private" lives of U*U ministers, including UUA Presidents like Sinkford and so on. . .

:In the new “Disclosure Puritanism,” all the pockets get turned out -- some of them pretty sordid.

My own "Disclosure Puritanism" has everything to do with U*U allowing U*U clergy to insult and defame me with complete impunity. I long ago told U*Us that as long as they allow these slanderous lies to hang over me like a shadow that I will be telling some rather unpleasant truths about U*Us, some of which are indeed more than a little bit sordid be they real or imagined sordidness.

:It’s one thing to have a president fooling around with the usual adventuring little female --

Tell that to the UUA's own alleged "Slick Willie" Rev. William G. Sinkford. . . Are you condoning Presidents committing adultery or engaging in other forms of sexual misconduct Mary? What constitutes "fooling around"?

:quite another to have senators tapping out signals to same-sex strangers in airport restrooms.

Or fifty something U*U ministers forcibly raping teenage Tibetan refugee girls that they invited to America for that express purpose it would seem. . .

:We’ve developed a peculiar and vicious combination of seeking the smallest detail and then condemning the perps entirely.

As a rule I just condemn the "perps" for what they are actually guilty of, and its usually not just "the smallest detail" by any means.

:The great irony is that often the perps are the very people who encouraged this climate in the first place, mostly for the purpose of getting elected.

Yes this does happen. I am not in fact a "Puritan". I am simply demanding that the UUA honor and uphold and properly enforce its own claimed principles and guidelines etc. In fact I am on record as saying that some forms of non-sexual clergy misconduct are every bit as harmful, sometimes even more damaging all round, then some of the less serious forms of clergy sexual misconduct. My emphasis is on non-sexual clergy misconduct precisely because the UUA has sexualized clergy misconduct to the point of ignoring or dismissing, if not outright condoning and effectively endorsing, fairly serious non-sexual clergy misconduct.

:I see two reasons why the inquiries and proclamations and classes don’t get results. The first is that they don’t address anything but the power inequity (victim, victim, victim), and the second (closely related) is that they don’t ever look at the whole complex structure of relationships and outcomes. (The underdog always wins.)

Thanks Mary, I do so look forward to "winning" in another decade or two. . . Please do explain how this particular "underdog" has "won" in this ongoing conflict. Maybe you can explain to uugrrl how she and other victims of clergy sexual misconduct are "winners".

:So little is done because no one really knows what to do in practical terms.

Right. . . I was and still am ready, willing, and able to tell the Unitarian Church of Montreal and the UUA what needs to be done in practical terms to redress my grievances. I expect that most victims of clergy misconduct can do likewise. If "no one really knows what to do" it just might be because they don't want to know and *that* is because they don't really want to do anything at all. . . My initial grievances could have been redressed with a formal retraction of Rev. Ray Drennan's insulting and defamatory words accompanied by a formal apology that was adequate, and at least had the appearance of being sincere. Quite regrettably the Unitarian Church of Montreal and the UUA repeatedly chose to raise the stakes by not only dismissing my grievances but by punishing me for daring to air what President Bill Sinkford once rightly described as my "obviously deep concerns". . .

:And because the status quo always has the most votes.

The status quo does not always have the most votes which is why the minority that wants to maintain the status quo often resort to undemocratic and outright anti-democratic methods to preserve the status quo Mary. You should know that. . .

:Change means people lose things they value, even if it’s only the right to make the coffee on Sunday morning.

Or the "right" to have an utterly Godless "Humanist" dominated Unitarian Church. . .

:An apology doesn’t do much.

An apology can do a great deal if it is adequate and sincere, but it is true that sometimes there may be things above and beyond the apology itself that are required to validate it. I believe that the UUA has betrayed the "promise" of its official apology to victims of clergy sexual misconduct by failing to live up to its "pledge" to "bend towards justice" in the wake of that now almost decade old apology. To the best of my knowledge the UUA has done virtually nothing to provide any genuine and tangible restorative justice to any victims of any form of clergy misconduct. Nashville Unitarians had good reason to write that Open Letter and yes, at this stage a decade down the road, that official apology seems to be barely worth the breath that it was spoken with and the electrons it is written with. . .

Rev. Mack Mitchell was convicted and sentenced to a jail term for his criminal behavior of raping Tibetan refugees that he had invited to America, apparently for the express purpose of serving as his sex slaves. Some months down the road the UUA's Ministerial Fellowship Committee finally got around to defellowshipping him. If you have any doubts about that enter into a free and responsible search for the truth by asking the UUA for starters, or divvy up for the news articles. Will you take Oprah's word for it Mary? Read it and weep.

:One of the problems with repeating and exaggerating and embellishing such accusations is that they can confuse the actual legal trial to the point of injustice either way.

I am not embellishing or exaggerating anything Mary but the principle that you point to here applies very well to how U*Us are guilty of repeating and exaggerating and embellishing their false and malicious allegations about me. . . That injustice is ongoing with no end in sight, hence my ongoing protest activities.

:Rev. Mxxxxx, if cleared, will also be entitled to compensation for libel.

He wasn't cleared and, unlike some of the U*Us I have the misfortune to know, I am very careful about not libeling people. I tell well documented truths, or state clearly that I am talking about *allegations* when I cannot back an "accusation" with strong supporting evidence.

:There you go again.

Wrong Mary. There's a middle-aged U*U who forcibly raped young girls going to jail again, unless Rev. Victoria Weinstein's parishioner Richard Buell was falsely convicted of raping a neighbor's daughter and even a "female family member" who was most likely one of his granddaughters. As I said, I do not talk about this kind of thing unless I have very reasonable grounds to believe that it is true.

:This is almost exactly the recurring accusation against early 1900’s Bureau of Indian Affairs agents who would not cooperate with the local cattlemen and mercantilists. I think there is a fantasy about older men having access to exotic young girls that comes out of some communal subconscious jealousy.

That may be so Mary but, like many fantasies, that fantasy is based upon reality and sometimes becomes reality again. BTW I am not sure that a neighbor's daughter and "a female family member" count as "exotic young girls". Young? Definitely. Exotic? I guess that depends on what the meaning of the word "exotic" is. . .

:Robin, you seem to think of ministers as being a sort of College of Cardinals. You are greatly over-reaching.

Actually I think that you are engaging in hyperbole aka greatly over-reaching when you suggest the above. On the other hand, since you raised that analogy, I would not be surprised at all if the UUMA and Ministerial *Fellowship* Committee do not share some close parallels with the College of Cardinals in some areas, not the least of them being the "old boys club" aspect. . .

:UUMA chapters have assigned spiritual buddies and often intervene with friends when they see someone getting out of whack or carrying an extra burden, like a spouse with a terminal illness.

Too bad no one intervened when Ray Drennan got out of whack by verbally whacking me. . . I forwarded my initial complaint against Rev. Drennan to UUA President John Beuhrens precisely so that he could exercise some "oversight" over the Unitarian Church of Montreal's handling of my complaint since I had very reasonable grounds to believe that the Board would arbitrarily dismiss my serious complaint, as it did in short order. Quite regrettably so did UUA President John Beuhrens and the MFC under the dubious directorship of Rev. Diane Miller. I am still waiting for the UUA to acknowledge the legitimacy and seriousness of my complaint and overturn those unjust, unequitable, and uncompassionate bureaucratic decisions.

:If a minister had a vision like the one you had, a colleague might very well drop by to see what it was all about, and help to think through the consequences.

Which is very much what I was asking for. . . OTOH I have heard about one U*U minister being given a hard time by his colleagues as a result of daring to speak openly about his vision.

:There is simply no doubt at all that from the very founding of the Unitarian denomination there were accusations of clergy misconduct. Tippy-toeing around marriage and romance goes back to the earliest Boston days. Sometimes it hit the newspapers, but usually such matters are handled quietly behind the scenes. Such accusations are as old as the Bible. Older.

Such realities are as old as the Bible. Heck shooting the messenger is as old as the Bible isn't it Mary?

:They may have perfectly legitimate reasons for not speaking out, like lack of proof, feeling it is irrelevant, or that they have nothing pertinent to say.

Or being afraid of "consequences" from the UUA and individual U*U colleagues. . . You know as well as I do that there is a "code of silence" written into the UUMA guidelines and that there is an even stronger unwritten code of silence. As you are well aware, this "code of silence" weighs much more heavily on "newbie" U*U clergy whereas well established "veterans" who are feeling reasonably secure in their positions have a bit more latitude, but how many U*U ministers have ever spoken up and spoken out about U*U clergy sexual misconduct or other U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy? Very few from what I can see Mary. . . It is only recently that a few fairly senior U*U ministers have dared to publicly "validate" some of my criticism and dissent. For years most U*U ministers did their damnedest to silence me and plenty still do. . .

:They may also be speaking behind the scenes in ways that are effective.

Or ineffective. . . If their speaking behind the scenes, which I do know occurs to some degree, were actually effective surely I and other people would eventually see the effect wouldn't we? I am still waiting for some *effective* results from the UUA in my case and no shortage of other cases. . .

:I am not in favor of witch hunts, exciting though they may be.

Neither am I Mary. I am hardly in favor of the witch hunt that labeled me "psychotic" aka "possessed" and Creation Day as a "cult" aka "coven". . . You are looking at the victim of a big fat U*U witch hunt. But yes, I admit that *sometimes* a witch hunt can be kinda fun. ;-)

:I’m interested in systems that encourage clarity and restraint, not just in the UU world but in our whole culture.

So am I. Unfortunately the system at the UUA does neither when it comes to U*U clergy misconduct. There is very little clarity aka transparency in UUA (mis)handling of U*U clergy misconduct indeed it can be very "opaque". I sought *restraint* for both Rev. Ray Drennan and Rev. Victoria Weinstein but the UUA did absolutely nothing to *real* them in and they both went on to insult and defame other people. There is hardly a month that goes by in which Rev. Victoria Weinstein doesn't insult and/or defame someone on her Peacebang blog.

:I do not think that punishment is as effective as prevention.

Well prevention is great. I have said that an ounce of prevention is worth a megaton of cure these days but when prevention fails then some level of accountability needs to occur. In fact one of the reasons that I decided that it was necessary and desirable to file complaints against both Rev. Ray Drennan and Rev. Victoria Weinstein was to prevent any further insults and abuse against me and other people. It was obvious to me, based on how Drennan behaved with me, that he had a rather short fuse and a less than restrained tongue, and thus was likely to insult and abuse me and other people in the future if he was not called to account. I was honestly concerned that he would publicly say and/or do something that would damage the reputation of the Unitarian Church of Montreal if he was not called to account. He proved me right down the road a bit. . . and I obviously don't care any more about sparing the Unitarian Church of Montreal from public embarrassment after what those outrageous hypocrites put me through for trying to warn them about Rev. Ray Drennan's intolerant and abusive behavior. . .

:What I would say to Robin Edgar is “forget that congregation, tell us more about your vision.”

It's more forget that denomination than forget that congregation Mary, and U*Us will rue the day that I decide to kick up the proverbial dust and "forget" Unitarian*Universalism, as some U*Us have all but demanded that I do. . . It's coming soon though if U*Us don't get around to doing the Right Thing in the next year or two. I will tell U*Us more about my "vision" when U*Us take steps to fully restore my worth and dignity by actually honoring and upholding U*U principles and ideals, especially the one calling for justice, equity and compassion in human relations, rather than repeatedly and continually making a complete mockery of U*U principles and ideals.

I have some very good reasons for taking a "go slow" approach to my so-called "vision" but plenty was available about it on the internet in the past. For now you can browse through this languishing blog. I look forward to the day when U*Us finally get around to examining their consciences about how they have treated me and other people, and then take appropriate action to try to redress the harm and damage that they have directly perpetrated, or indirectly perpetuated, for over a decade now. Needless to say much of the harm that U*Us are directly or indirectly responsible for cannot be "undone", as they say, even God cannot change the past. . . but U*Us can and should do what they can in the present and future to provide whatever restorative justice they can to me and other people who they have harmed, including those victims of clergy sexual misconduct who were promised justice nearly a decade ago but never got any. . .

Herewith is my response to a comment by Art that was posted to this blog post -

:So, while I sympathize with the dilemma presented by a visionary leader being rejected by his flock,

The Unitarian Church of Montreal was hardly my "flock". If anything it was "pastoral specialist" Rev. Ray Drennan's "flock".

:I find myself unable to generate much sympathy for the tactics that were employed.

What tactics might those have been Art? Writing letters of grievance? Finally deciding to engage in peaceful public protest when all other options had pretty much been "exhausted"? If you lack sympathy for my tactics I can only hope that you find the tactics of the U*Us to be quite appalling. . .

:There might have been a wiser way.

There was indeed a much wiser way, the way I initially proposed to U*Us. . . but U*Us abjectly failed and obstinately refused to go that route and, so far, still do. It might interest you to know that after I had publicly protested for a few years and my legitimate protest was obstinately ignored by Montreal Unitarians, other than their deeply misguided attempts to suppress it of course, I made a picket sign that said -


Right on the money I'm afraid. . .

:And that too may have been part of the vision. Sometimes the hardest test of a mystic is that you must often live invisibly.

My revelatory mystical experience was one of the "prophetic" variety. i.e. It conveyed a message or two to deliver. One cannot do that "invisibly" nor is one expected to. I can assure you that I am no masochist as The Emerson Avenger blog ought to make clear. I do sometimes wonder if U*Us are masochists though. . .

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