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

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

How Rev. Dr. Tracey Robinson-Harris Rededicates Herself To Waging Peace In 2007. . .

The following is an email string of all of my email correspondence with Rev. Dr. Tracey Robinson-Harris, Director of the Unitarian Universalist Association's department of Congregational Services, regarding my formal complaint against Rev. Victoria Weinstein that arises from the insulting and defamatory language, and other injurious unbecoming conduct, of Rev. Weinstein on her pseudonymous Peacebang blog. In order to properly understand this string U*Us, or anyone else who may be interested in learning about institutional stonewalling and denial, would do well to read it from the bottom up. . . I dare say that Rev. Tracey Robinson-Harris' obviously negligent, and effectively complicit, response to my complaint about Rev. Victoria Weinstein's obviously unbecoming conduct on her pseudonymous Peacebang blog does a serious disservice to not only historic New England Unitarian Universalist congregations, but all UUA congregations. This initial commentary will evolve a bit over the next day or two but what is below this point will not change.


Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2007 16:13:10 -0500 (EST)
From: "Robin Edgar"
Subject: RE: The UUA and MFC are acting in bad faith once again. . .
To: "Tracey Robinson-Harris" , bmiller@uua.org
CC: "Bill Sinkford" , "William Sinkford"

Woden's Day January 3rd, 2007

Dear Rev. Dr. Tracey Robinson-Harris,

I have been given absolutely minimal information about the basis for your decision which I can only assume represents the decision of not only the UUA's Department of Congregational Services, but also the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations as a whole. Your response is completely unsatisfactory, not only in terms of the negligent and effectively complicit refusal to hold Rev. Victoria Weinstein, of First Parish Unitarian Church of Norwell, in any way accountable for her unbecoming conduct that includes deeply insulting and outright defamatory libelous attacks on me and various other people on her Peacebang blog, but also in terms of your failure and refusal to answer my perfectly reasonable questions about that highly questionable decision.

My questions arose out of the fact that the information that you provided about the basis for that decision was absolutely minimal and didn't really say amything meaningful at all. I will not waste any more time with you as it is abundantly obvious that the UUA is intent on playing it's standard game of institutional stonewalling and denial with respect to clergy misconduct, to say nothing of other internal U*U injustices and abuses.

Since you are clearly not part of the solution you are part of the problem and your evidently negligent and effectively complicit response to my serious complaint about Rev. Victoria Weinstein's obviously unbecoming conduct will be dealt with accordingly. I read with interest UUA President Rev. William G. Sinkford's 2006 Holiday Message which called upon U*Us to "commit ourselves to the spiritual practice of waging peace—in our hearts, at home, in our congregations and communities, and in our world. . . Let us rededicate ourselves to waging peace."

http://www.uua.org/president/061213_holiday.html

It would appear that you, the UUA, and U*Us more generally, to say nothing of UUA President Rev. Bill Sinkford himself are not off to a very good start in that regard.

Sincerely,

Robin Edgar


Tracey Robinson-Harris wrote:
Dear Robin,

You have been informed of the decision regarding your complaint and given information about the basis for our decision.
I will not be providing any further information in this matter.
Tracey


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Robin Edgar [mailto:robinedgar59@yahoo.ca]
Sent: Tuesday, January 02, 2007 6:03 PM
To: Tracey Robinson-Harris; Beth Miller
Cc: William Sinkford ; wsinkford@uua.org; Leslie Staples
Subject: Re: The UUA and MFC are acting in bad faith once again. . .

Dear Tracey,

I would appreciate a timely response to the email that I sent you on December 20th by the end of this week. I expect you to provide truthful and accurate answers to all of the reasonable questions that I posed in it.

Thank you,

Robin Edgar


Robin Edgar wrote:

Dear Tracey,

Please forgive me for saying so but I believe that far from being "in faith" you are acting in considerable bad faith in response to my complaint against Rev. Victoria Weinstein. I expect you to provide direct answers to all of the direct and pertinent questions that I posed to you in my previous email dated Wednesday, December 13, 2006 2:49 PM.

Herewith my point-by-point response to your most recent email message -

: In a situation such as the one you describe, we would strongly recommend that the concerns be addressed by direct communication with the minister involved, as you have already done. I understand that you were disappointed in the response you received.

Yes, I did directly communicate with Rev. Victoria Weinstein as per your recommendation and I was indeed disappointed by her response which is precisely why I brought Rev. Victoria Weinstein's unbecoming conduct to your attention. I expect the UUA and it's department of ministry to hold Rev. Victoria Weinstein accountable for her unbecoming conduct that includes, but is not limited to, injuriously defaming me on her Peacebang blog.

: It is the case that in this situation the minister’s blog is anonymous ( though you were able to identify the individual) and that she is free to express her opinions and to do so outside of her professional role as a minister serving a congregation.

I put it to you that the UUMA Guidelines clearly state that a U*U minister needs to be mindful of his or her words and actions that are "outside of their professional role as a minister serving a congregation" and deemed to be part of their "private life" thus, even if what you say above was true, Rev. Victoria Weinstein should face some form of accountability for her insulting and defamatory language towards me and other people. The fact of the matter however is that Rev. Victoria Weinstein clearly identifies herself as "a small town pastor serving an historic New England Unitarian Universalist congregation" in her blog profile which is posted at the top of every single blog post on her pseudonymous Peacebang blog.

That means that this post -

http://peacebang.blogspot.com/2006/03/state-senator-bill-napolis-fantasy.html

and other Peacebang blog posts that contain insulting and defamatory language, or otherwise display conduct unbecoming of a minister, are not in fact "outside of" Rev. Victoria Weinstein's "professional role as a minister" even though her real name and the U*U congregation that she is serving are not identified. I put it to you that, precisely because she hides behind the "mask" of anonymity or pseudonymity and does not identify which "historic New England Unitarian Universalist congregation" she is actually serving, Rev. Victoria Weinstein's insulting and defamatory blog posts reflect badly on ALL historic New England Unitarian Universalist congregations. . . N'est-ce pas Tracey?

: After a close review of your complaint and the rules which guide the Ministerial Fellowship Committee in their work, the decision was made that this complaint is not appropriate for the MFC to adjudicate.

Then I guess that means that MFC rules, as they are currently formulated and expressed, allow U*U ministers to insult and defame people on their blogs with complete impunity. No accountability whatsoever. How is it possible that it is "not appropriate" for the Ministerial Fellowship Committee to hold a U*U minister accountable for publicly spouting insulting and defamatory language directed at me and other people, including the clergy of other denominations and U.S. Senators, and other conduct that the vast majority of the American public would agree is quite unbecoming of a minister? Would you please be so kind as to send me a copy of these MFC rules or direct me to where they are posted to the internet so that I may examine them, point out the obvious flaws in these rules that allow U*U ministers to insult and defame people with complete impunity, and make recommendations for changes that would ensure that U*U ministers will in future face some genuine accountability for insulting and defaming people?

: The guidelines that you reference are those of the UU Ministers Association and not the Ministerial Fellowship Committee. These are separate bodies, each with their own procedures and rules.

Then it would appear that there is a glaring lack of harmony between the UUMA Guidelines and the rules of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee. How is this possible Tracey? Why is this so? Why has this situation not already been addressed and corrected? Please be so kind as to inform me how I may go about holding Rev. Victoria Weinstein accountable to both letter and the spirit of the UUMA Guidelines or the conduct of ministry which make it abundantly clear that her insulting and defamatory language towards me and other people is anything but becoming conduct of a U*U minister.

: I know that you wished for a different outcome in this matter.

Be assured that in the coming days, weeks, months, and possibly even years the UUA and the greater U*U religious community will wish that there had been a different outcome in this matter. . .

: Our original decision remains unchanged.

And just what is *our* original decision Tracey? I don't believe that that decision has been very clearly expressed yet. I expect you to detail exactly what that decision is and how it was arrived at. I also expect you to provide clear answers to each and every one of the very pertinent questions that I have asked in this email and in the previous emails that I have sent you that remain unanswered.

:There will be no further UUA review or action on this complaint.

If that is the position of the UUA I will consider the UUA to be acting in bad faith in response to legitimate grievances arising from insulting and defamatory language and other unbecoming conduct by a U*U minister. I will consider the UUA to not only be negligent in its response to my legitimate grievances but effectively complicit in the insulting and defamatory unbecoming conduct of U*U ministers that it abjectly fails and even obstinately refuses to hold accountable for their demeaning and abusive clergy misconduct. I will govern myself accordingly.

Sincerely,

Robin Edgar


Tracey Robinson-Harris wrote:
Dear Robin,

In a situation such as the one you describe, we would strongly recommend that the concerns be addressed by direct communication with the minister involved, as you have already done. I understand that you were disappointed in the response you received.

It is the case that in this situation the minister’s blog is anonymous ( though you were able to identify the individual) and that she is free to express her opinions and to do so outside of her professional role as a minister serving a congregation.

After a close review of your complaint and the rules which guide the Ministerial Fellowship Committee in their work, the decision was made that this complaint is not appropriate for the MFC to adjudicate. The guidelines that you reference are those of the UU Ministers Association and not the Ministerial Fellowship Committee. These are separate bodies, each with their own procedures and rules.

I know that you wished for a different outcome in this matter. Our original decision remains unchanged. There will be no further UUA review or action on this complaint.

In faith,
Tracey Robinson-Harris


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Robin Edgar [mailto:robinedgar59@yahoo.ca]
Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2006 2:49 PM
To: Tracey Robinson-Harris
Subject: RE: Complaint Procedures For Unbecoming Conduct

Hi Tracey,

As I stated in my initial complaint, Rev. Victoria Weinstein's language, as exhibited on her Peacebang blog, is not only insulting and defamatory towards myself but insults and defames other people or is otherwise quite offensive. Her conduct on her blog would seem to violate several clauses of the UUMA Guidelines for the conduct of ministry. You might want to review them again -

http://uuma.org/documents/guidelines.html

Regardless of whether or not I or other people may be able to bring a civil suit against Rev. Weinstein for defamation or libel I would hope that the UUA would have procedures in place for disciplining ministers for such obviously unbecoming conduct. You seem to be suggesting that your "thorough review" of my complaint against Rev. Victoria Weinstein found no misconduct or "unbecoming conduct" worth acting upon and that you consider her behavior described in my complaint to be "within the guidelines" of the UUMA. Is this so or am I misinterpreting your response to my complaint?

I would like to know exactly what the conclusions of the "thorough review" of my complaints against Rev. Weinstein are.

What is your assessment of Rev. Weinstein's behaviour as described in my complaint?

Is it considered to be becoming of a U*U minister?

Is it within the letter and the spirit of the UUMA Guidelines for the conduct of ministry?

What documents or records, if any, arose out of my complaint?
Is there a written report of the "thorough review" that you can provide to me for scrutiny?

On what grounds do you claim that the issues that I raise in my complaint against Rev. Victoria Weinsten are not appropriate for the MFC to adjudicate?

Please provide clear and forthright answers to all of the above questions.

Thank you,

Robin Edgar

Tracey Robinson-Harris wrote:
Robin,
Given the rules of the MFC and the nature of the issues you raise, it is not appropriate for the MFC to adjudicate.
If you feel that you have been defamed or libeled and wish redress that would be a matter for civil court action.

Tracey


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Robin Edgar [mailto:robinedgar59@yahoo.ca]
Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2006 12:36 PM
To: Tracey Robinson-Harris
Subject: RE: Complaint Procedures For Unbecoming Conduct

Hi Tracey,

Could you please elaborate on what you mean here?

Can you please tell me what the conclusions of the thorough review of my complaint against Rev. Victoria Weinstein are?

Thank-you,

Robin Edgar

Tracey Robinson-Harris wrote:
Robin,

A thorough review of your complaint against the Rev. Victoria Weinstein has been completed. This complaint will not be forwarded to the Ministerial Fellowship Committee.

Tracey Robinson-Harris


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Robin Edgar [mailto:robinedgar59@yahoo.ca]
Sent: Monday, December 04, 2006 4:43 PM
To: Tracey Robinson-Harris
Subject: RE: Complaint Procedures For Unbecoming Conduct

Hi Tracey,

I would appreciate it if you could provide a brief progress report and let me know where things stand. I noticed that Rev. Weinstein has deleted some older problematic posts from her Peacebang blog although it appears that she has left others intact including those that I specifically pointed out.

Thank you,

Robin Edgar


Tracey Robinson-Harris wrote:
Robin,
I am currently out of the office and will not be back in Boston til Nov 20th. I will review your complaint and get back to you as soon as possible.

Tracey


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Robin Edgar
Sent: Fri 11/10/2006 3:58 PM
To: Tracey Robinson-Harris
Subject: RE: Complaint Procedures For Unbecoming Conduct
November 10, 2006

Dear Rev. Tracey Robinson-Harris,

I read the document that you provided as an attachment and it seems to me that, at least initially, email communications will be sufficient. Please notify me if at any time you require hard copy sent to you by registered mail. I may send you a letter by registered mail in any case but for now I will initiate the complaint process using email communications.

The minister that I am bringing the complaint against is Rev. Victoria Weinstein of First Parish Church (Unitarian) in Norwell , Massachusetts . My complaint against her arises from what I consider to be unbecoming conduct in terms of written material that she has posted to her pseudonymous Peacebang blog. Some of that material constituted an insulting and defamatory attack on me, based purely on hearsay, that I only became aware of about six months after she first posted it. I am however also concerned with other posts on her Peacebang blog that insult and defame other people in a manner that I believe most people would consider to be unbecoming any minister U*U or otherwise.

It should be understood that although Rev. Victoria Weinstein's Peacebang blog is pseudonymous she none-the-less describes herself with these words in her personal profile that appears at the top of each page -

PeaceBang is the much sassier and brassier alter ego of a perfectly well-behaved, gracious and affectionate small-town pastor of a lovely New England Unitarian congregation.

It is thus clear that Rev. Victoria Weinstein represents herself as a Unitarian minister in a small town somewhere in New England . Various posts on her blog make it clear that she is in the Boston area. From my perspective any insulting and defamatory language, or otherwise unbecoming conduct, exhibited on her Peacebang blog thus tarnishes the image of Unitarian*Universalism over a broad area since few people know exactly which U*U minister Peacebang is.

Perhaps the most egregious example of unbecoming conduct that I have seen on her Peacebang blog is a post that attacks a U.S. Senator who no doubt deserved some strong criticism but Rev. Victoria Weinstein's strident insulting and defamatory attack on the senator in question does not reflect well on her, the profession of ministry U*U or otherwise, or the U*U community as a whole.

You may read that insulting and defamatory attack on a senator here -

http://peacebang.blogspot.com/2006/03/state-senator-bill-napolis-fantasy.html

Here are some pertinent excerpts:

"First of all, you crazy asshat, how does sodomy fit into your scenario about unwanted pregnancy?"

"Here's my sodomy fantasy: South Dakota State Senator Bill Napoli anally impaled on the Statue of Liberty's torch."

It seems that in a follow-up comment to the original post Rev. Victoria Weinstein even incites telephone harassment of the senator by providing his home phone number and suggesting that people call him up -

Sen. William Napoli, Republican, Rapid City ,
businessman, 341-2370 (home), 348-7373 (work).

CALL HIM UP!

Most recently Rev. Victoria Weinstein stridently attacked Catholics over the issue of clergy sexual misconduct without making the slightest mention of the fact that the U*U religious community has its own serious problems with clergy sexual misconduct. When I posted comments that pointed out her own "community denial" she deleted almost all of them in what I consider to be acts of church censorship and suppression of legitimate criticism and dissent. Only after I challenged her did she make any mention whatsoever of U*U clergy sexual misconduct in follow-up comments.

http://peacebang.blogspot.com/2006/10/violating-privacy-of-mind-and-body.html

Rev. Victoria Weinstein's hyped up attack on Catholics came at a time when one of her own parishioners was just convicted of raping a neighbour's daughter and his own daughter. I thus consider Rev. Weinstein's strident scapegoating of Catholics over the issue of sexual abuse to be remarkably hypocritical unbecoming conduct. If she wanted to discuss sexual abuse, including the rape of minors, without referring to the situation in her own parish she could have and should have used previous instances of U*U clergy sexual abuse that much more closely resembled the situation in her own church, most notably the Rev. Mack Mitchell rape case that much more closely resembles what happened in her own parish than the alleged fondling of Mark Foley by a Catholic priest.

Rev. Weinstein's insulting and defamatory attack on me of late July 2005 almost pales in comparison to her attack on Senator Napoli but it is serious enough in its own right, especially since it further circulated and reinforced previous slanderous rumours about me spread by U*Us, including that of Rev. Ray Drennan of the Unitarian Church of Montreal who suggested that I was suffering from a serious mentally illness, specifically psychosis, in November of 1996. Quite regrettably the UUA and its Ministerial Fellowship Committee badly mishandled my formal complaint against Rev. Ray Drennan by effectively condoning his injurious and untrue attack on me and my religious beliefs and practices. Had the MFC done its job properly Rev. Victoria Weinstein might never have defamed me on her blog.

In December of 2005 I discovered that in a follow-up comment to one of her blog posts Rev. Victoria Weinstein had characterized me as a "hostile" and "crazy" person who she did not have a "crucifix big enough to ward off" thus suggesting that I was some kind of evil vampire. When I quite reasonably and politely confronted her about this online libel she initially refused to do anything about it at all. I suggested that the best thing that she could do to set a good example was to leave the libelous comment intact on her blog but post a retraction and formal written apology that clearly acknowledged the wrongfulness and harmfulness of her libelous attack on me as a follow-up comment in the same thread. Rev. Victoria Weinstein refused to do the right thing, as suggested by me, and instead simply deleted the offending post against my own express wishes that it remain visible as an object lesson with an appropriate retraction and apology attached. The thread may be viewed here -

http://peacebang.blogspot.com/2005/07/obesity-steakhouse.html

As far as I am concerned Rev. Victoria Weinstein's self-censorship of her libelous personal attack on me was motivated more out of a desire to protect herself from any accountability by hiding the evidence of her online libel than an attempt to reduce any harm done to me as a result of her insulting and defamatory language. Had Rev. Weinstein desired to reduce the damage that she had done to me by spreading libelous malicious gossip about me on her Peacebang blog she could have and would have posted the retraction and apology that I had requested from her. To date she has obstinately refused to apologize to me even in private communications. I do believe that a public apology posted on her blog is in order in terms of her libelous personal attack on me. As far as any other unbecoming conduct that does not directly affect me goes I leave it up to you to browse through her blog and determine for yourself what posts may be considered to be unbecoming a minister.

I will leave this matter in your hands and those of other UUA officials who may have a role to play in responsibly dealing with this complaint about unbecoming conduct on the part of Rev. Victoria Weinstein. I look forward to receiving some genuine restorative justice in response to my serious complaint. Likewise I expect the UUA to deal responsibly with Rev. Victoria Weinstein's unbecoming conduct that does not directly affect me. I stand ready to answer any questions that you or anyone else from the UUA may have.

I look forward to seeing how the Unitarian Universalist Association currently handles complaints about non-sexual clergy misconduct that involve slanderous and libelous personal attacks on people by U*U ministers because, in the not so distant past, the UUA and its Ministerial Fellowship Committee have abjectly failed to responsibly handle such unbecoming conduct complaints. In fact the UUA and MFC have even effectively condoned and endorsed such insulting and defamatory personal attacks perpetrated by U*U clergy by claiming that they are "within the appropriate guidelines of ministerial leadership." I hope that things have significantly improved since then.

Sincerely,

Robin Edgar


Tracey Robinson-Harris wrote:
Robin,
The attached document outlines the process. PLease take a look at this information and then let me know if you have questions.

Tracey


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Robin Edgar
Sent: Tue 11/7/2006 3:29 PM
To: trobinson@uua.org
Subject: Complaint Procedures For Unbecoming Conduct
Dear

Beth Miller has informed me that you are the correct UUA official to contact about filing a clergy misconduct complaint against a U*U minister.

It is my intention to bring a complaint for unethical conduct unbecoming a minister against a U*U minster in the coming days.

I would appreciate it if you could inform me of what the current procedures are for bringing such a complaint against a U*U minister are.

Is it possible for all written communications to be conducted using email or will it be necessary to send a hard copy letter by conventional mail in the form of a registered letter?

Thank you,

Robin Edgar

2 Comments:

Anonymous Minivan Mom said...

Hi Robin - my name is Tracey Robinson and I am a UU, but I am not the famous Dr. Tracey Robinson-Harris in question. :)

Sunday, June 17, 2007 11:36:00 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

I kind of figured that out from your blog profile. ;-)

Thanks for your comment Tracey.

Monday, June 18, 2007 2:23:00 am  

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