The view of Berkeley, from here, is downhill

Nobody can be loved by all. Certainly, I can irritate others and others irritate me; this is human nature. But I do insist on being treated with respect, and will challenge insulting behavior: in private where possible, in public where not.

UUA trustee Linda Laskowski: this is for you.

First, let me be plain that this isn’t a “I love her but for this one thing.” She and I have never met, spoken or corresponded. (If for no other reason than she has no contact information on her blog, and that’s my only point of intersection with her.)  And she did also come up with a dreadful analogy picturing the UUA board and staff as landlord and renter. (Which hardly maps, as the UUA president is also elected.)  The more I read her — and I have been reading her blog and her board materials for quite a while — the less I think we would agree on fundamental matters of governance or Unitarian Universalism. That’s OK.

What isn’t is OK is identifying an unnamed UUA board observer — though reasonably well known to be [removed to shake off Google spiders] — as having “single minded pursuit of justice” and then bottling up any comments that aren’t completely agreeable. Laskowski clearly has not been for years on the receiving end of his incessant and profane harassment. Nor has she been a personal target of his slanderous screeds. Nor has she had to wrestle with excluding someone so profoundly, which in our tradition this is the deepest and final — and necessary — punishment. At the very least, she owes the Unitarian Church of Montreal an apology. And yes, I do hold UUA board members to a very high standard.

No, her solution was another blog post, explaining that if she allowed comments (clearly, mine wasn’t the only one left and rejected) then she’d have to allow [removed]’s.  But she opened this can of worms. And then proceeds to use an imagination technique to empathize with [removed] — but evidently not his victims. And, of course, the comments that get through are irenic or thankful or harmless.

I understand the Pacific Central District — the one she represents — is in its annual meeting now. If you’re there, perhaps you can ask her why all of this happened the way it did.

I’ll stop commenting at her blog: fool me twice, shame on me. On the other hand, she’s welcome to comment here. ([removed] remains banned.) Oh, and others who left a comment dismissed or have been maligned by [removed] can say your peace here too. (I’ll respect anonymous comments provided there’s a real email address attached.)

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. Thank you once again, Scott. This is just another example — and one of the most egregious I’ve seen in my life as a UU — of a simpering, toothless “inclusivity” used to support, excuse, and enable destructive sickos. “Well gee, he’s not destructive around ME” is hardly a moral argument.

  2. Let’s put a quick recap on things:

    Robin Edgar is the only person banned for life from ALL UUA email lists.
    Robin Edgar is the only person banned for life from

    When Robin Edgar praises something I have said on My blog, or anywhere else online, I feel the need to then seek out ten other people I respect to ask them if I am truly insane.

  3. Laskowski is probably in for an education. Edgar has turned viciously on every one in the UUA electronic universe that ever made the mistake of lending him a sympathetic ear. Sooner or later they have all touched one of his infinate number of triggers and he makes it his buinsess to stalk them across the internet for life.

  4. I’ve noticed that some within the UU blogosphere attempt to rein him in: “Okay, Robin, if you follow these rules, I’ll let you comment on my blog.” And it doesn’t work. If he doesn’t use the rules to manipulate the conversation, he flagrantly disregards them and attacks the blogger for having “memory-holed” him.

    Frankly, I think we (UU bloggers and web denizens) should consider going a step further: Stop talking about him. Don’t even mention his name. At the very least, it would be interesting to see how he reacts when the only one left talking about Robin Edgar is … Robin Edgar.

  5. This is the reason I’ve decided to leave both my church and the UU movement.

    At my church, a “baddie” I’ll call “Axel” has a habit of upturning worship services with inappropriate behavior. Axel makes trouble before congregational meetings, and has drinks with any member who has a complaint so he can turn it into a conflict. This guy digs nothing so much as a good fight he can watch and take sides over. Every time an unsuspecting group of board officers moves to reign Axel in, he cries to his “network” so that the troops rally around him. Why? Because Axel “is such a sweet guy. Everyone likes Axel!”

    The worst thing about all of this is that my church has no obligation to Axel because he isn’t even a member.

    I know we’re supposed to be inclusive. But it’s like we aren’t allowed to tell kooks to hit the highway. Cool people who might do good stuff in our church come to services until Axel has a fit during church. Then they run away as fast as they can.

    I love UUism, but I can’t put up with UUs spineless “inclusiveness” one more year.

    There is such a thing as wrong and right, but God help the UU who says so in a UU church.

  6. @Bigfatfanny: Sorry to hear you’ve felt the need to leave your church over this.

    I’ve often said that the wisest embrace of diversity is: Welcome all people, but not all behaviors.

    It can be hard for some folks to see Axel’s behavior as disruptive, especially when they only allow themselves to see the “sweet guy” he manipulates into his “network”. Too bad the board of your church is trying so hard to please everyone that it is losing people like you.

    Then again, you still refer to this congregation as your church. If you still see hope, perhaps you can find a way to communicate with key leaders there, and find a constructive solution to this problem — even if it means losing a few people short-term so that more good folks stay long-term.

  7. We had a new ‘friend’ of our church physically intimidate our minister during office hours & send him threatening emails. We gave the police a heads up and followed their advice and took out a restraining order, It was an unfortunate situation, but as far as the board was concerned there was no room for wishy washyness on our part when physical harm was threatened. (this was prior to Tennessee)

  8. Scott – Linda may not have contact info on her personal blog, but she does have contact info on the UUA web page that lists all the UUA Board members:

    Here is Linda’s contact information as listed on the UUA web site:

    Linda Laskowski, Pacific Central (6/11)
    817 San Diego Road
    Berkeley, CA 94707
    Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, CA
    (510) 898-0909
    (Fax) (510) 898-0918

    Take care,

  9. I’m shaking my head in disbelief.

    All I can say is “she’ll find out.” There are many many people out there who have had this delusion and thought that something could be worked out. (me among them)

  10. I’ll add in to the analysis – (I was one of the group that worked through the process of the life ban from UUA lists and I was on his list for a very long time.)

    Teresa Nielsen Hayden has a long analysis about moderation here:

    One of the things Teresa says is “What I can do is refuse to respect bloggers and other site administrators who let it flourish on their own sites, or who provide cover for the anonymous vandals who post it.”

    That’s exactly what you are justifiably saying as are others here.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.