In response to our latest blog post, we received a copy of this letter. The authors had asked the Unitarian Church of Montreal to forward this to Robin Edgar in December of 2009; whether or not the church did so, we cannot say. Suffice it to say, Robin Edgar continues to compare his “victimhood” to those who have been tragically used and abused by others. As the letter’s authors have requested, we are publishing its contents in full.
TO: Mr. Robin Edgar
CC: Rev. Diane Rollert, Unitarian Church of Montreal; Rev. Peter Morales, Unitarian Universalist Association; Ms. Jennifer Dickson, Canadian Unitarian Council
We are a group of survivors of sexual misconduct by Unitarian Universalist clergy and other leaders. Some of us are still involved in UU groups at different levels, others have left. We do not claim to speak for all survivors, but we believe ourselves to be a representative group.
We have taken the time to read your blog and comments on other sites, and the comments of other UU bloggers. Having maintained personal connections with one another, we have come together out of mutual concern to share our own impressions and observations. We do appreciate your support in raising awareness of the issue of sexual misconduct by UU religious leaders, and how UU organizations and leaders have responded to complaints and concerns. We also empathize with how you have been mistreated by some within UU circles.
That is what makes this letter so difficult, for the evidence we have seen tells us that you are far from blameless yourself. Whatever abuses have been directed your way, we cannot see how they justify the level of abuse which you have heaped on others. Whatever shortcomings UUs may have, they do not deserve the level of rancor which you have been directing at them over the years.
You demand moral perfection from UU ministers, leaders and writers – a level of perfection which you yourself have fallen far short of in your words and deeds, frequently lashing out at others, often for no reason than just being UU. Worse yet, when this is brought to your attention, not only do you admit to being rude and insulting, but you respond with a level of self-justification which reminds us all too painfully of the same rationalizations our abusers gave for their acts against us.
You claim to speak for all who have been abused by unethical UU leaders. Whenever you speak of such, you always bring it back to your experience, your victimhood, and your grievances. Whether you intend to or not, you have made us feel that our concerns are merely a tool for your own personal agenda – another painful reminder of how those who sexually and emotionally manipulate and abuse try to make it seem like they are the ones being used and excluded.
We and other survivors have worked long and hard to improve the situation within UU organizations. We are not in full agreement as to the level of progress, but we do believe that some progress has been made. Some of us maintain contacts with UU leaders to continue this work – and we have found ourselves torn between appreciating your support and experience, and having to distance ourselves from so many of the things you say and do.
We believe that you do not intend to hurt us, that you share our sense of indignation and desire for justice. But even a noble sentiment can get twisted into something hurtful, and unfortunately we have come to see that in your case. One example of this is your pattern of tracking down those who doubt or disagree with your methods, and lashing out at them to the point of harassment – this is the main reason why we have declined to put our names to this letter.
We are respectfully asking that you no longer speak on our behalf, and consider how painful your actions have become. We say this to you with out of empathy and compassion. We know all too well how pain can lead to rage, how the desire to set things right can become distorted into a lust for personal retribution. But we have also come to know the joy and peace of healing, of letting go and moving on. We can only hope that you will begin that process yourself.
Our message to the letter’s authors: Thank you, and our own wishes for healing and happiness.