Joan Rivers and Universal Life Church Ordination

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by potpourri, Sep 5, 2014.

  1. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    Legal and within their rights...

    Isn't this how fundamentalist terrorists feel as their beheading an infidel?

    Perhaps not everything legal is ethical or moral!
  2. potpourri

    potpourri New Member

    You're absolutely correct 100%. We're talking about terrorism here and about the beheading of others. You're so articulate and well-spoken. I'm glad that you have been following the debate so well. You have a PhD, and keep it up, "Piled Higher and Deeper!"
  3. philosophy

    philosophy New Member

    Potpourri I really appreciate your vote of confidence. It was nice to have someone on my side, but I have been clearly wrong with my arguments and to have participated in this forum; let alone debate this kind of subject.

    None of the arguments that I made or what I stated made any sense. I presented them wrong and I am a total failure. The posters had the right to challenge me and I treated them unfairly. I am so sorry to all of you. I was uncivil, discourteous and down right rude. I hope that all who participated in the debate will accept my sincerest apology.

    To Dr. Bear and Dr. Levicoff, I don't know what I was thinking. You discussed this a long time ago and I had no right to participate in it. I know realize why you (Dr. Levicoff) found it thoroughly boring and it shouldn't have been re-hashed (Dr. Bear).

    To CalDog, and all the other posters your arguments were sound and none of my responses made any sense. I am a terrible writer and none of my messages made sense. I have no business participating in these forums; and my apologies for coming to DegreeInfo. I am not welcomed here, and I am so sorry for trespassing into your domain.

    Potpourri I know you will disagree with what I have had to say so this is what I leave you with for encouragement:

    "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~Theodore Roosevelt
  4. potpourri

    potpourri New Member

    In hindsight, I shouldn't have posted this topic. It was only after I had discussed it with my friends and to get some reaction. Boy did we ever!

    I felt philosophy that you were cordial and that you presented your case brilliantly. It was good to see someone take on the establishment.

    I agree that neither one of us anyone liked. We were the outcasts. I hope to see you on another forum where we hopefully will be warmly embraced.
  5. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    You're trying to debate people who aren't even in this thread. You're trying to debate issues that people aren't currently trying to debate. You're not going to get answers to an argument that is not there.
  6. sideman

    sideman Well Known Member

    If you read post #63 this may clarify for you what has just occurred. Looks like Philosophy is outta here...
  7. potpourri

    potpourri New Member

    Sideman it's nice that you're so welcoming to Philosophy. The people on here weren't nice to Philosophy. Philosophy won this debate as far as I'm concerned. It would have been nice of you and others could have encouraged Philosophy to stick around instead of being sarcastic and disrespectful.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2014
  8. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Maybe. And maybe it would be a nicer atmosphere if people thought of these threads as conversations to be shared rather than debates to be won.
  9. sideman

    sideman Well Known Member

    FWIW I was not being sarcastic or disrespectful. I was just stating a fact that was relayed by Philosophy in post #63. He intends to leave the forum and I would hope that he reconsider. Frankly I appreciated the debate for what it was. I think it's good to challenge opinions including your own opinions. A closed mind is a terrible thing as it seems the more "expert" one becomes, the more filters that are placed on others opinions. I can appreciate arguments from both sides in a debate and it was interesting to see how it unfolded. Boring? Hardly. But that's why the law holds such appeal to me. Regardless of your own opinion you zealously argue for the side you represent. That's what I saw in Philosophy's argument. Even if he didn't fully believe in his argument, he did an artful job in posing it.
  10. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I really don't care that Philosophy is upset that no one wanted to debate issues that weren't up for debate. He or she was arguing against imaginary stances. Philosophy was trying to create divisions where there weren't divisions. If anyone was being uncouth, it was PotPourri.
  11. philosophy

    philosophy New Member

    I really don't care what you think either Sanantone.
  12. philosophy

    philosophy New Member

    Thank you for the kind words Sideman. I think that Potpourri took the ending where you said something about me being outta here and you were merely meaning that you felt that I wouldn't be back with no ill intentions. I appreciate the encouragement. I said that I was sorry to illustrate a point. I'm glad you saw some merit in my points.

    This isn't about who wins or loses a debate. It's about having discussion. I'm glad that you didn't consider it boring, I didn't either. I merely wanted to show that we all have differences of opinion, and there's nothing wrong with challenging ideas. I also wanted to show that even when you do have a certain opinion that if you can also entertain other ideas, or argue other opinions it shows openness and a continued zest for learning.

    Thanks again for the kind words, and I'm not going anywhere. I hope to discuss matters with you in the future.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2014
  13. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member


    Since you requested opinions, let me share mine. Like you, I do not "think that it is right or proper" to use either ordination or a doctorate from the ULC in any professional capacity. You basically answered your own question when you stated that your friends "purchased" these items from the ULC Minister Store. Among other items that can be purchased from the Minister Store are: Minister's Car Kit and Minister's Baseball Cap. The ethics of "purchasing" what is purported to be a degree or ministerial credential and using it in one's professional life is identical to the ethics of a neurological surgeon "purchasing" a license to practice brain surgery. He/She might deceive a few, but not everyone. And in time, the ticking time bomb will go KABOOM.
  14. JGD

    JGD New Member

    Hi Philosophy,

    I hope you don't mind me jumping on the bandwagon late, but I wanted to discuss a few of the points you made earlier.

    Before I do, I'll clarify for the record my own background and opinion on the wider subjects being discussed here: I was ordained by ULC a few years back in order to conduct my best friends wedding. I did a great job -- my dad is a Church of England minister, so I got a 'hands on' tutelage from him in how to conduct ceremonies. My buddy wanted me to do it as he's a pagan, and a non-denominational clergy-person was the best way to go about honouring what he believes in.

    I do not use the title rev. or druid or anything else (even though I presume I am legally allowed to do so) for obvious reasons: it was a one-time-thing facillitated by an internet ordination, and I am agnostic-leaning-towards-atheist myself. So, it would be stupid, in my case. I do, however, respect other people's religious freedom, and if for them a ULC ordination was an empowering religious signifier, I absolutely champion their right to use a fitting religious title. It is in the nature of religious experience to be subjective (James) so, provided a person does no harm to innocents, I don't interfere.

    In general, I support ULC to do what they do, as long as it's legal and relatively harmless.

    However, I want to take issue with your defence of ULC's degrees as anything other than a novelty item. It is clear that's all they are, nothing more, and that -- possibly -- they should be dis-allowed altogether. My argument in this case relies on interpreting the spirit of the law, as well as the letter.

    First, you claim that 'degree' has many uses, some of which are not academic. Of course, you are correct in this, but it is irrelevant to the discussion. You wish to use the definition of degree as follows:

    "a stage in a scale of rank or station; relative standing in society, business, etc."

    The problem is, this definition simply doesn't work in context. Directly beneath it, we see how the term is used in this definition:

    "His uncouth behavior showed him to be a man of low degree."

    There are plenty of other ways to use the word degree too, of course. But, what I'm trying to get at is the following: there is one, and ONLY ONE, use of the term 'degree' that can be intelligently inferred from the following sentence:

    "John has a bachelors degree"

    And that is the reading that John has obtained an academic (or equivalent -- religious, professional, etc.) degree, which fits into the established heirarchy of higher education. There is simply no way you can use the term degree in the context of a sentence like the one above (or even the simpler 'I have a degree') and mean ANYTHING OTHER THAN a degree based upon academic heirarchies, frameworks and understanding.

    So, you're right that the term 'degree' has other meanings, but completely wrong that any of them could possibly apply in these circumstances. We are clearly and emphatically discussing something that, if not actually pretending to be an academic degree, is doing it's damndest to dress like one.

    I have no problem with unaccredited religious degrees in general -- as you said, they serve religious purposes. Usually, this purpose is to establish and verify that Pastor X has the kind of intellectual training within a religious tradition to act as a leader not only of spirits, but of minds. That's fine, and religions should keep control of what is taught to qualify someone for that standing in their own organisations. I don't even really have a problem with some of the fishy places that do this uber-flippantly, like Andersonville, as long as everybody's clear what's happening and what it means.

    So, I contend that a religious degree is perfectly valid in the same way that an academic degree is --within the confines of the faith in which it is awarded -- and that it makes sense for religious institutions to control their own curriculum.

    The problem is, that usual religious use -- establishing intellectual proficiency within a religious tradition to demonstrate suitability for leadership -- isn't the case with ULC degrees. They require no actual learning. And no one who knew what it took to get one would consider it established intellectual proficiency suitable for religious leadership. So, what IS the religious use that you keep going on about which validates ULC degrees?

    I think, unless a religious use that applies to them can be pinned down properly, an impartial observer would have to conclude that ULC is using a loophole -- that religious institutions are quite rightly allowed to issue their own degrees, for which they set their own curriculum -- to issue degrees whose only utility is deception and ego-inflation.

    If that's the case, they are following the LETTER of the law, but not the SPIRIT of the law, which gave birth to it. And an appropriate response would be to make the letter of the law more reflective of its spirit, and thereby restrict the use of degree titles to institutions that, at least, required something in order to get a degree.

  15. JGD

    JGD New Member

    This is the text from the Doctor of Divinity page on ULC's website:

    "Doctor of Divinity

    This is the same type of degree you would receive, from any other church in America. This degree allows you to put the D. D. behind your name, and it will open many doors for you.

    Thousands and thousands of people from all over the world have already received this degree. The Fundamentalist type, the Metaphysical type, and the New Age type.

    This degree does not give you any authority, such as marrying people, or anything else having to do with the state. It is strictly a religious degree. However, it does allow you to use the title of ‘Doctor’.

    If you have a Ministers Wallet Card with the Universal Life Church, then this will give you even more power in the church. If you do not have a Ministers Wallet Card, and would like to have one, you may want to order one here.

    Many thousands of people from the Baptist church, the Catholic church, and the Pentecostal type churches, from around the country, have this degree.

    We do not require a test for this degree. We belive that your life experince, and spirtual quests, qualify you, just as well as any other degree of divinity..

    This Doctor of Divinity Degree has been our most supportive, in order to keep the church operating. It is the first degree the church has offered.

    The Federal Court case that we had, where the state said that we could not give this degree, we appealed it in Federal Court. Judge Battin’s decision in the Federal Court said that we have a right to give this Doctor of Divinity degree. I will assure you, that any state or people will not deny a Federal Court decision.

    We are a group of people with an unincorporated charter, organized to help people. Our Doctrine is this – we believe only in that which is right, and that everybody has the right to determine what is right for themselves

    OUR GOAL – “A Fuller Life For Everyone”

    OUR OBJECTIVE – “Eternal Progression”

    OUR SLOGAN – “Do The Right Thing”
    We have many other things you might want. We have a ministers card that you place in your car windshield when visiting hospitals and rest homes, or when you are parking in town, that states you are on official business.

    If you have a press card, and you want to write a story, or just get some news, just place the card in your car window. If you get stopped by a cop and are going to fast, tell him you are on your way to a meeting to get a news story. Chances are, 9 out of 10 times, he will let you go.

    The Doctorate of Divinity, Ministers Card, and Press Pass or Wallet Press Pass, are all available from the ULC catalog."

    People can read the whole thing for themselves -- right down to the last line -- and decide for themselves what the motivating factors for purchasing this peice of paper might be, whether the ULC is aware of those things, and whether or not this should be considered ethical.
  16. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    One can add D.D. to their name or use the title "Doctor?"

    Is there also the accompanying rigorous academic program that precludes the use of a doctoral title?
  17. thomaskolter

    thomaskolter New Member

    As an Atheist I find the ULC ideal bullcrap for me to get ordained just so I can picket and street preach right in front of churches in my area promoting Atheism and attacking the faith in question. My formal titles I hold include Cleric, Prophet, Philosopher and Litterarum Doctor (as a religious title properly paid for it not a degree title and therefore 100% legal to use anywhere) my ID's cover all of these depending on how I want to tick off the clergy or not. When they call the cops on me I just flash my clerical ID and claim religious freedom as an ordained member of a church its so much fun after all I am ordained and street preaching is a clerical activity.
  18. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    First, whether you're ordained by a church or not has nothing to do with whether your speech is legal.

    Second, as an atheist, why would you bother trying to change the minds of religious people? You're incredibly unlikely to succeed, and since you believe that this life is all you get, why would you want to squander it on something pointless?
  19. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    I'm sure you have noticed that atheists can be grouped into to two major categories.

    1) I don't believe in God.

    2) I'm smarter than you are, hahahahahaha. What do you believe? Don't care- YOU'RE WRONG! Sky fairies and magic, lol. Church is child abuse.
  20. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    Apart from being properly paid for, was anything else (e.g., a specific preparatory program of academics; an ecclesiastical regimen of study/preparation; an internship of some type served under the supervision of a qualified mentor; etc.) invested to obtain the formal titles you hold?

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