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, October 31, 2006

Did The CUC Collude With The UUA To Redirect Trust Funds Intended For Charitable Purposes Back To The UUA Coffers?

One little, two little, three little skeletons. . .

Four little, five little, six little skeletons. . .

Seven little, eight little, nine little skeletons. . .

Ten little U*U skeletons.

And then some. . .


From: Robin Edgar - view profile
Date: Sun, May 26 2002 7:50 pm
Email: robin_ed...@altavista.com (Robin Edgar)
Groups: alt.religion.unitarian-univ

On Saturday May 18th, 2002 the Ottawa Citizen newspaper ran a very misleading article about the UUA CUC split. The headline attributed the split to differences over gay rights. CUC Executive Director was Mary Bennett was extensively quoted in the article so it seems that much of the misinformation is due to her feeding the reporter a few red herrings.

http://www.canada.com/search/site/story.asp?id=88566851-23F8-437B-A4E...

In a letter to the editor seeking a correction Bill Van Iterson, President of First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, said -

The big step now being taken flows almost inevitably from many years of concern over the dominant U.S. perspective and viewpoint within the UUA and from the steady growth of the CUC as an organization over the past 20 years. Finally, in the last few years some complex financial matters (including the weak loonie) have brought the issue to a head.

Those "complex financial matters" deserve a closer look. Here is my letter to the editor which may or may not be published by the Ottawa Citizen -


Letters to the Editor,
News Tips,
Bob Harvey,
Ottawa Citizen


I realize that this is rather long for a letter to the editor. Feel free to edit it or even suggest changes. Feel free to consider running it as an Op/Ed piece too. In any event please responsibly look into what I am saying and run some kind of follow up piece soon that corrects the misleading misinformation/propaganda provided to you by CUC Executive Director and "spin doctor" Mary Bennett


re. - Canadian, U.S. Unitarians split over gay rights Americans not ready to accommodate Canadian church's liberal principles, Saturday, May 18, 2002


The Ottawa Citizen might do well to do some competent investigative journalism about the split between the Canadian Unitarian Council and the Unitarian Universalist Association rather than happily swallowing the red herrings fed to it by CUC Executive Director Mary Bennett hook, line, and sinker. (If I may mix metaphors...) This "divorce" is not quite as "friendly" as Ms. Bennett would have the Canadian public believe and it has little to do with gay rights or Canadian Unitarians being more "liberal" than American ones. A free and responsible search for the truth behind this Unitarian "divorce" will reveal that money, and even the apparent "laundering" thereof, is very much at its root.

The poor exchange rate of the Canadian dollar was a major factor in this "divorce" since it affected how much Canadian Unitarians paid the UUA for various services; however, another form of "exchange" of money is sadly even more telling. I refer those who might be interested in the seeking truth behind this Unitarian "divorce" to Rev. Charles Eddis' 'draft sermon' titled CANADIAN UNITARIAN INDEPENDENCE: LOSS, RISK, AND OPPORTUNITY. It may be conveniently found on the web site of the Ottawa Unitarian Congregation.

See - http://www.uuottawa.com/cuc_eddis0.htm

This "sermon" shamelessly reveals that the UUA employed the CUC to divert funds from restricted trusts that were clearly meant to be used for charitable purposes outside of the USA back to the coffers of the UUA no doubt so that this money could be "put to better use".

The most pertinent passages from Rev. Charles Eddis' sermon are -

Then in 1983 another fund appeared, the Liberal Religious Charitable Society. Because of restrictions in the bequest, the UUA could only spend this money outside of the United States. Accord number four was then worked out. The CUC agreed to pay all the money it raised, less $4,000, to the UUA. The UUA, in return, would give the CUC the same amount out of the restricted funds of the Liberal Religious Charitable Society.

The net result, give or take $4,000, was that for every dollar the CUC raised in Canada, the UUA got two,- and the CUC kept for its own use all the money it raised. This was sufficient for the CUC to hire its first executive director, a full-time position, to add to its administrator, then Thelma Peters.

This double dipping, as Bert Christensen, one-time CUC President and later UUA Board member called it, was, as Bob Hope's theme song went, "swell while it lasted." In 1987 the party ended. The Veatch Fund stopped giving annual matching grants. Instead, it gave the UUA U.S. $20 million outright to complement its annual fund raising. In addition, the UUA broke the trust of the Liberal Religious Charitable Society, so that it could spend its income in the United States if it wanted to. The UUA income outside its own fund raising remained as before. The free ride in the UUA for the Canadian congregations, however, was over. The UUA wanted CUC payment for services rendered to Canadian congregations.

end quote

Had the UUA been unable to break this charitable trust via questionable legal manouvres it is likely that the CUC would still be "married" to the UUA today. As the title of Rev. Eddis' sermon suggests, the much vaunted "independence" of the CUC from the UUA is in reality more of an unwanted and un-asked-for "loss" and "risk" than an actively sought after "opportunity". Rev. Charles Eddis' bold assertions that UUism is an "ethical religion" (in CUC pamphlets) is belied by his "sermon" which shamelessly reveals what a British Unitarian justifiably refers to as, "A fairly extraordinary and shameless example of manipulation of trusts there!" This apparent manipulation of restricted UUA charitable trusts seems quite unethical at best however I wonder if it might not even be illegal under Canadian laws and/or US laws regulating charities and/or religions. Yes, the Canadian Unitarian Council's collusive "party" of financial "double dipping" that unethically diverted funds from restricted UUA trusts away from the foreign charitable purposes that they were originally intended for back to the coffers of the UUA may have been "swell while it lasted" but it was also remarkably shameful while it lasted.

It is true that the Unitarian "church" has its roots in the Christian tradition, but it has evidently betrayed its Christian roots. In fact Unitarianism has largely betrayed its monotheistic roots. Many Canadian Unitarians are agnostics and quite a few are even dogmatic fundamentalist atheists. It is sad but true that rather too many Canadian Unitarians, including some Unitarian clergy, are intolerant and abusive anti-religious bigots who belittle and malign God believing people in general and Christians in particular. Rev. Ray Drennan of the Unitarian "Church" of Montreal even offensively attacked the state funeral of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. In a highly opinionated editorial in the Montreal
Gazette appropriately titled 'Wrong Message' (October 9, 2000) Rev. Drennan expressed his "uneasiness", his "irritation", and "even an anger" that it was a Roman Catholic rite. He even went so far as to label this Roman Catholic state funeral as a "sham" that "made a mockery" of Pierre Trudeau's own ideals and implied that it was a "meaningless" ritual. The Canadian Unitarian "church" is not only
divorced from the UUA it has effectively divorced itself from God. This is a far greater loss, a far greater risk, and the farthest thing from an opportunity.

Sincerely,


Robin Edgar


Another pertinent older post from Google Groups:

From: Robin Edgar - view profile
Date: Sat, Dec 21 2002 11:58 am
Email: robin_ed...@altavista.com (Robin Edgar)
Groups: alt.religion.unitarian-univ


Hi Greg,

I see you have started a whole new thread on the "Church of Fraud" concept. Could it be because you prefer that people don't see the fact that I shot down all the previous objections to my use of this picket sign slogan in flames in the original ARUU - What's It All About thread?

As I have already shown my use of the word "fraud" is hardly "vague". I can assure you that many passers-by of my local UU church who see my "CHURCH" OF FRAUD? picket sign slogan "love" it precisely because it applies to any number of other hypocritical churches that don't practice what they preach not just the Unitarian Church of Montreal... What most of them may not know is that it is pretty much "fraud" for the Unitarian Church of Montreal to call itself a "church" at all. This is the ultimate meaning of this picket sign slogan which obviously references the phrase "Church of God" although it refers to other UU "fraud" as well.

>However, at least two of these alternate-meaning sites preserved a modicum of precision by using adjectives, as in "spiritual fraud" or "doctrinal fraud".

Picket sign slogans are rarely noted for their "precision" but most of my picket sign slogans are in fact quite precise. The Unitarian Church of Montreal is guilty of "fraud" not only by purporting to be a "church" when it clearly is not a "church" in the "precise" sense of the word "church"... Above and beyond this the Unitarian Church of Montreal engages in "fraud" by purporting to uphold various ideals and principles that it flagrantly disregards and wantonly violates on an ongoing basis.

>There were several who, along with Robin, do not, such as one site claiming that the Roman Catholic Church is a fraud because it is not Christian.

Actually the Unitarian Church of Montreal, to say nothing of any number of other "Unitarian" "churches" is a "fraud" because its not Unitarian in the precise sense of the word either... Actually, one of the atheist members of this alleged Unitarian "church" already pointed this out in a letter to the "church" newsletter when there was discussion about replacing the word "church" with something else that was less fraudulent... In the end the congregation voted to maintain this "pious fraud" of Unitarian Church of Montreal. About the only word in its name that is not a fraud is Montreal...

>However, the best adjective I found was "pious". Apparently a "pious fraud" (see the first citation above) was a fraudulent (forged) manuscript or other object created by monks in the Dark Ages, with full connivance of their superiors, to sell to raise money for the monastery.

Well the "manuscripts" that are created by UUs in these "Dark Ages" of UUism may not be "forged" but they are still "fraudulent" in that they purport to adhere to certain principles and ideals and enforce certain policies and bylaws that UUs continuously disregard and violate, with the full connivance of their superiors... In that the fine, but quite evidently empty and insincere, words in these UU "manuscripts" are fully intended to attract members to UU "churches" and thus "raise money" for the UU "religious community" they are quite fraudulent even in the "precise" sense of the word.

>The bottom line is that if, as Robin would have it, the UU Church is a Church of Fraud, then this status should cement it strongly and centrally into the Christian tradition, not single it out as an object of disdain. Actually, I believe exactly the converse to be true (No fraud, therefore not in Christian mainstream).

Why am I not surprised that Greg uses my "CHURCH" OF FRAUD picket sign to take a swipe at Christianity as a whole while denying any fraud on the part of UUs? I have already pointed out the various ways in which the Unitarian Church of Montreal and indeed the greater UU "religious community" engage in "fraud" in the broader sense of the word. I have also pointed out that the slogan "CHURCH" OF FRAUD is indeed applicable in other ways to many other churches.

>However, my main point is that most instances where people talk about "fraud" with respect to a church, they mean actual fraud, like wire fraud or other scams, not "spiritual fraud" or "doctrinal fraud", and therefore Robin should desist, unless he has evidence of actual, criminal fraud (or even "pious" fraud).

Sorry Greg most people fully understand and appreciate (in every sense of the word...) the broader meaning of my "CHURCH" OF FRAUD picket sign. I am confident that few passers-by of the Unitarian Church of Montreal think for a second that my picket sign slogan refers to actual financial fraud. They know perfectly well that I am saying that the words of UU "covenants", principles, and other propaganda and publicity are so devoid of truthfulness and sincerity that they are effectively "fraud". I am sure that if they knew more of the gory details that most would agree that it is "fraud" for the Unitarian Church of Montreal to even call itself a "church"...

>P.S. I looked for a case in which a UU church actually did commit fraud, but the only instance I found was this one, in which the UU Church of Milford, NH, was helping to free a person accused of Visa (as in immigration, not credit cards) Fraud.

UUs are pretty good at covering up their errors and keeping them out of the public eye. You can be pretty sure that there have been instances of actual financial fraud committed by individual UU churches. It is not out of the question that the UUA as an organization has engaged in fraudulent financial practices too.

Here are a few paragraphs from a "sermon" of Rev. Charles Eddis -

Then in 1983 another fund appeared, the Liberal Religious Charitable Society. Because of restrictions in the bequest, the UUA could only spend this money outside of the United States. Accord number four was then worked out. The CUC agreed to pay all the money it raised, less $4,000, to the UUA. The UUA, in return, would give the CUC the same amount out of the restricted funds of the Liberal Religious
Charitable Society.

The net result, give or take $4,000, was that for every dollar the CUC raised in Canada, the UUA got two,- and the CUC kept for its own use all the money it raised. This was sufficient for the CUC to hire its first executive director, a full-time position, to add to its administrator, then Thelma Peters.

This double dipping, as Bert Christensen, one-time CUC President and later UUA Board member called it, was, as Bob Hope's theme song went, "swell while it lasted." In 1987 the party ended. The Veatch Fund stopped giving annual matching grants. Instead, it gave the UUA U.S. $20 million outright to complement its annual fund raising. In addition, the UUA broke the trust of the Liberal Religious Charitable Society, so that it could spend its income in the United States if it wanted to. The UUA income outside its own fund raising remained as before. The free ride in the UUA for the Canadian congregations, however, was over. The UUA wanted CUC payment for services rendered to Canadian congregations.

end quote

The financial arrangements described here are highly questionable. It could be suggested that this cynical manipulation of the Liberal Religious Charitable Society is a form of "fraud".

Another pertinent post by Robin Edgar aka The Emerson Avenger on Google Groups -

23 From: Robin Edgar - view profile
Date: Sat, Mar 16 2002 6:54 pm
Email: robin_ed...@altavista.com (Robin Edgar)
Groups: soc.religion.unitarian-univ

Irrelevant stuff sniffed

> At this point, it's hard for me to tell if it's made any noticeable
> difference. But, then again, I'm not as active with all aspects of our
> congregation as I could be. My understanding is that this is just one of
> those things that made sense, that CUC had come of age, and it just made
> sense for Canadian congregations to organize under that umbrella, rather
> than the U.S. one.

> Here's something that's posted on our church's website:

> CUC Coming of Age
> http://www.uuottawa.com/cuc_eddis0.htm

> Sue


Hi Sue,

My understanding is that the recent CUC "independence" from the UUA results from the fact that UUA finally brushed off the CUC because it no longer depended on the CUC to "launder" money from UUA trusts that were clearly intended for charitable purposes outside of the USA by redirecting these funds back to the coffers of the UUA for other purposes... This understanding is based on a rational assessment of the financial information that is quite shamelessly provided in Rev. Charles Eddis' "working paper" CANADIAN UNITARIAN INDEPENDENCE: LOSS, RISK, AND OPPORTUNITY that you have provided a link to.

Please note that the sub-heading of Rev. Charles Eddis' 'draft sermon' begins with the words "LOSS" and "RISK" before proceeding to "OPPORTUNITY"... This is a classic example of trying to making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. The CUC was not really seeking its new found "independence" from the UUA. The UUA simply decided to divest itself of its financial ties to the Canadian Unitarian Council because it no longer needed the CUC to unethically redirect funds from charitable trusts back to its coffers since it had managed to "break" the original terms of those trusts through questionable legal shenanigans. This is abundantly clear from the not so subtle subtext of Rev. Charles Eddis 'sermon'. I find it very disturbing that Charles Eddis
so shamelessly talks about how the Canadian Unitarian Council colluded with the Unitarian Universalist Association to effectively "launder" the money from these charitable trusts that had clear restrictions on how the money was to be used so that the Unitarian Universalist Association could use these laundered funds for other purposes.

The most pertinent passages from Charles Eddis' sermon are -

Then in 1983 another fund appeared, the Liberal Religious Charitable Society. Because of restrictions in the bequest, the UUA could only spend this money outside of the United States. Accord number four was then worked out. The CUC agreed to pay all the money it raised, less $4,000, to the UUA. The UUA, in return, would give the CUC the same amount out of the restricted funds of the Liberal Religious Charitable Society.

The net result, give or take $4,000, was that for every dollar the CUC raised in Canada, the UUA got two,- and the CUC kept for its own use all the money it raised. This was sufficient for the CUC to hire its first executive director, a full-time position, to add to its administrator, then Thelma Peters.

This double dipping, as Bert Christensen, one-time CUC President and later UUA Board member called it, was, as Bob Hope’s theme song went, "swell while it lasted." In 1987 the party ended. The Veatch Fund stopped giving annual matching grants. Instead, it gave the UUA U.S. $20 million outright to complement its annual fund raising. In addition, the UUA broke the trust of the Liberal Religious Charitable Society, so that it could spend its income in the United States if it wanted to. The UUA income outside its own fund raising remained as before. The free ride in the UUA for the Canadian congregations, however, was over. The UUA wanted CUC payment for services rendered to Canadian congregations.

end quote

As you can now probably see quite clearly the much vaunted new "independence" of the CUC from the UUA is in reality more of an unwanted and un-asked-for "loss" and "risk" than an actively sought after "opportunity". I'm afraid that it really does not say very much about Rev. Charles Eddis' bold assertion that UUism is an "ethical religion" in CUC pamphlets to see him so shamelessly talking about what one outside observer quite justifiably refers to as, "A fairly extraordinary and shameless example of manipulation of trusts there!" This obvious manipulation of restricted UUA charitable trusts is certainly quite unethical at best but I even wonder if it might not be quite illegal under Canadian laws and/or US laws regulating charities and/or religions. Yes, this CUC collusive "party" of financial "double dipping" that unethically diverted funds from restricted UUA trusts away from the charitable purposes that they were originally intended for back to the UUA may have been "swell while it lasted" but it was also remarkably shameful while it lasted in my opinion.

Regards,

Robin Edgar
--
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More about one of the primary real reasons that the UUA and CUC split, i.e. money. . . may be read in this address to the Unitarian Universalist Historical Society made by Rev. Charles Eddis, minister emeritus of the Unitarian Church of Montreal and a "founding father" of the Canadian Unitarian Council aka CUC aka CU*UC, during the UUA GA at Quebec City in 2002 -

Two years later, the UUA expressed its dissatisfaction with the seventh Accord. At the May 1997 annual meetings in Thunder Bay, Ontario, UUA President John Buehrens, stating that Canada was costing too much, informally offered three officials of the CUC one million dollars for the Canadians to go on their own. [25] After negotiations, in 1998 this Accord it was dissolved by mutual agreement of the CUC and the UUA. Wrote Kim Turner, CUC President from 1999 to 2001,

At the beginning, we had a hard time convincing the UUA that in fact we did not have an agenda to separate - and that we needed the congregations to tell us what they wanted.

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