The inspiration for the OCRT came from the evening news during the spring of
1995. It seemed that every broadcast revealed some further atrocity from Bosnia Herzegovina in the former Yugoslavia. One of us felt the media was in error. The
disturbances in that country were not fundamentally ethnic in origin, as was
being reported. A main root cause was religious intolerance. Yugoslavia is
located between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox spheres of influence. It
also straddles those countries where the main religion is Islam and the main religion is Christianity.
So, although the people of the country were of one ethnic origin, they followed
three different faith groups: Islam, Roman Catholicism and Serbian Orthodox Christianity. The
resulting religious friction was fueled by the nationalist aims of various
political leaders. And so, the world watched atrocious attempts at
religiously motivated genocide. We felt that more should be done to promote
At the time that our web site went online, the Internet was in its infancy. There were only about 15 thousand web sites online. 1 We searched the Web for entries on religious tolerance and found very little:
one sermon by a Baptist minister, two essays by members of the Baha'i
Faith, and one essay on religious tolerance in ancient Egypt. It seemed
strange that the Internet would be so lacking in information on religious
tolerance -- particularly since intolerance has historically been such a common cause of civil disturbance, oppression,
imprisonment, murder, and war. Religious intolerance -- either between religions or within religions -- was at the time a main contributing factor to
conflicts in Bosnia, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Middle East, Northern
Ireland, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tibet, etc.
A small group of four volunteers was organized to create a Web site that
promoted religious tolerance. We first went online during 1995-APR. At the
time, the percentage of the world's population who had access to the Internet was under 1%! As of
the end of 2014, there were over 1 billion domain names on the World Wide Web, a number that continues to grow. Currently, about 40% of the world's population had Internet access. Times have changed!
Site growth during its first decade:
Site traffic continually grew. Some figures during our first decade:
Essays on Site
Rating by Hitbox.com **
Starting in 2004, we switched to the traffic ranking web site www.ranking.com:
Essays on Site
Traffic ranking from Ranking.com ^
* Million hits per week.
** In Hitbox.com's listing of top 1,000 religious web sites. We
discontinued this service in late 2003.
*** Distinct hosts served per week.
^ Ranking.com ranks the busiest 1 million web sites on the Internet.
We are the 20,138th busiest, in terms of traffic, web site in the world. There were then approximately 1.0 billion web sites in the world, so ours is in the top 0.002%.
They have counted 253,391 links to our site from other web sites.
They placed us in the category: "Society / Religion & spirituality / Faiths and practices." Our site is ranked #1 in that category.
On the other hand, Alexa.com ranks our site as being the 57,058th busiest web site in the world, and 13,215th in Canada. We prefer Ranking.com's rating.
Other OCRTs in the world:
Here, "OCRT"refers to the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, an
agency that promotes the freedom of individuals to follow the religious path of
their choosing, and to change their religion, without discrimination or oppression.
There are 456,976 four
letter acronyms possible in the English alphabet. It turns out that "OCRT" is an acronym that is
shared by quite a number of other groups:
We have been accused of being underground Baptists, Jehovah's
Witnesses, Muslims, Satanists,
and even Scientologists. None of these guesses are true. The
person who accused us of being members of the Church of Scientology
noted that we used the same unusual date notation as did L. Ron Hubbard.
Actually date notations in year-month-day order (such as 2016-MAR-12) are fairly common outside of the
U.S.; they are clear and unambiguous, and easy for computers to sort.
We really are a group of 5 volunteers: two Unitarian
Universalists (one Agnostic and one
Atheist), one Wiccan one
progressive but unaffiliated Christian, and a Zen Buddhist. Three of us are female; two male. All are
heterosexual. All are married. We range in age from early 30s to late 70s. We have very
The coordinator and main author, Bruce Robinson, is a retired Electronics Engineer
and an Agnostic. He was born in
the mid 1930's and graduated in 1959 from the University of Toronto with a BaSc degree in Engineering
Physics. He worked as an instrument development engineer and computer science
professional, both in supervisory and technical capacities for 38 years at a large multi-national chemical/textile fibers
company. A significant part of his work was to write technical manuals. He has been a volunteer technical staff person for the National
Model Railroad Association, and a vice coordinator for a local
distress (suicide prevention) agency called TALK (Telephone Aid Line Kingston).
The office manager is a retired Registered Nurse and an Atheist, who has worked in a
variety of fields: executive director of a shelter for abused women,
head nurse in a hospital, and field worker for the Government of
Ontario working in a disability support program.
One of our researchers is a Christian with a PhD in urban planning, and
worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Sustainable Development Research
Institute in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She is now a professor at
Ryerson University in Toronto.
Another researcher is a Zen Buddhist, was a IT system manager, and is
now specializing in Internet promotion.
Our other researcher is a waitress, in Florida, and a Wiccan.