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About this web site: Ontario Consultants on
Religious Tolerance

Part 4 of 5 parts:
Who are the people in the group? (Cont'd).
Criticisms of our group composition.
Our qualifications. Funding sources.
Government registration.

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This topic is a continuation from Part 3

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Who are the people in the group? (Continued):

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 agenda.

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 Michigan.

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.

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Criticisms of our group composition:

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.

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What are our qualifications?

Three of our four staff members are professionals from a variety of fields: engineering, medicine, computers, and 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 and thoroughness.

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.  More details

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Our funding sources:

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. During 2018, they are:

As of late 2018, our average profit is about U.S. $1,200 a month. Considering that the webmaster works about 350 hours a month, this amount is equivalent to under U.S. $3.00 an hour, which is significantly less than minimum wage where he lives (U.S. $10.50). For this reason, he regards the web site as non-commercial.

We attempted to register the organization as a non-profit group with the Canadian Federal Government. However, the only category under which it could be listed is "religious." The government defines a religious organization as one that teaches that one or more specific deities exist. We do not do that. Thus we had to register as a for-profit group. We monitor the government requirements in case they change their definition.

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.

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Government registration:

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 residents).
  • 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.

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This topic is continued in the next essay

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Copyright 1996 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2018-NOV-30
Author: B.A. Robinson

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