About this web site: Ontario Consultants on
Religious Tolerance (OCRT):
Part 4 of 5 parts:
Who are the people in the group? (Cont'd).
Criticisms of our group composition.
Our qualifications. Funding sources.
This topic is a continuation from Part 3
None of us has any formal education in theology. We share over 6,000 religious reference books, including an truly
impressive array of religious hate literature. We are fortunate enough to
live in a city with two universities and one community college. Among
them, they have one theology department and multiple libraries.
All of us are motivated
by a concern about threats to religious freedom, and about religious
hatred, misinformation, and discrimination. We have no underground, secret
Our office is in Kingston, ON, Canada. This city is about two to three hours north of Syracuse NY, east of Toronto
ON, west of Montreal, Quebec, and south of Ottawa ON. It is located on the
shore of Lake Ontario where the lake funnels into the St. Lawrence River, across the lake from Rochester, NY.
The web hosting service that we use is Liquid Web, located in
Because of our expected audience, we try to write in "American"
rather than "English". But the occasional "colour, favour, centre",
etc. has been known to creep through accidentally.
Our web site is designed for a North American audience. We hope that people
elsewhere in the world can also benefit from it.
Criticisms of our group
Some have criticized our lack of religious conservatives on staff. We have
searched for but have never found such a person willing to help us. This
situation is not unusual. We note that sites and organizations promoting
religious tolerance and freedom appear to be almost exclusively staffed by
religious, social, and/or political liberals.
Some have criticized us for having an Agnostic, Atheist and Wiccan on staff
because our group makeup does not include the main religions of North
America. We feel that these three staff have a lot to offer because they
represent religious belief systems that are probably the most mistrusted and hated in North
America, and subject to the greatest degree of oppression. One indication of
this are surveys about presidential candidates. Among the groups that Americans are less likely to vote
(female, Jewish, LGBT candidate or an Atheist, they are most prejudiced against an Atheist.
We also feel that having an Agnostic as a main author is an advantage,
because Agnostics have no strong conviction that God either exists or does not
exist. They have the potential of exhibiting greater objectivity and less bias
when dealing with diverse religions.
What are our
Three of our four staff members are
professionals from a variety of fields: engineering, medicine,
urban planning. None of us have a formal theological background. We
feel that this
is actually an advantage to us when working on this web site.
We are not at all like the vast majority of religious web sites on the
Internet. We do not promote a specific theological belief system; we do not
teach a single view of deity, humanity and the rest of the universe to the
exclusion of other views.
We create very few innovative ideas and concepts on
our web page. We merely explain what people from
various sides of each issue believe and do. We are theological and ethical reporters,
not innovators or promoters. Our main role is to
perform research, and to explain all points of view with balance, clarity
A formal theological degree would be
counter-productive. It would tend to bias our understanding of
religious matters, and thus our writing, in a specific theological direction.
If we attended a Bible school, then we would probably graduate with a
permanent bias in favor of conservative Protestantism. If we went to a
liberal theological seminary then we would probably graduate with a
permanent bias in favor of mainline / progressive Christianity. As things now stand, our
undergraduate and postgraduate degrees have trained us in analytical
and research skills, and given us the proficiency to perform our task well.
We originally received no outside funding from any source. The web site was
operated as a hobby by our coordinator. But then our
numbers of hits spiraled upwards, and our Internet Service Provider started to
charge excess throughput penalties. So we sought sources of funding. They
currently are (sorted in decreasing amounts):
Our staff is mostly composed of volunteers who work without pay. Our office space and utilities
are donated without cost. So, we are able to do a great deal with a very small budget.
However, the OCRT was, overall, a money-losing proposition from its startup in
1995 until 1998 inclusive. In 1999, we made sufficient profit to pay off our previous years' debt. Long term trends appear encouraging, largely because religious intolerance is gradually increasing in intensity worldwide as measured in the number of innocent lives lost and religious property destroyed.
For income tax purposes, we are registered as a "partnership" We have a
- Ontario Government business number.
- Ontario Government Retail Tax Permit (once needed to sell CD's to Ontario
- Government of Canada business number.
- Government of Canada export number.
We have a Canadian post office box. For the
mailing convenience of our U.S. web site visitors, we maintain
a post office box in the U.S. as well.
We may reorganize as a
non-profit agency eventually, and to obtain charitable status with Revenue Canada. The
latter would enable us to issue income tax receipts to Canadian donors.
Charitable status was impossible for us to obtain in Canada originally, because the Federal
government's rules are largely based on British common law. A group first has to
fit within one of the acceptable categories. Fortunately, "Religion" is one such
classification. However, an
organization can only qualify if it teaches belief in a specific deity, faith, or
religion. That would be an impossible requirement for us to meet, since we
describe and promote tolerance for the full range of faith groups. More details.
How you may have arrived here
Copyright © 1996 to 2016 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2016-MAR-11
Author: B.A. Robinson