by Kevin D. Annett
The nasty creep was named Phil Spencer, and his eyes shone with the same weird glow worn by the kid on our street in Winnipeg who used to take delight in smashing prairie dogs to death with a mop.
Phil was a fellow United Church minister.
It was June, 1995, and just months earlier, Phil had gleefully spearheaded my secret removal from my United Church pulpit in Port Alberni. With the same infantile bulliness, Phil now sauntered over to me to as I passed out leaflets about my illegal firing to other clergy at the Comox-Nanaimo Presbytery meeting in Parksville.
"Hi Kevin!" he exclaimed, thrusting his smirking, triumphant face close to mine.
Pulling back in disgust, I thought of my wife Anne's inconsolable tears and her nervous breakdown after I was summarily fired from my job, and of my two small daughters who had lost their home and friends – all because of Phil. A rage boiled up in me, a loathing for this man, and my fists started clenching.
"Hi Kevin!" he jabbered again, as he began to dance and jump excitedly in front of me.
Filled with disgust, I looked past the leering buffoon, and walked away from him.
I regretted my forebearance for weeks after that. As every new attack and lie rained down on me, and as my family and I were systematically ripped apart by the church, I imagined that at least I could have answered the bullshit by landing a well deserved blow to my tormenter's idiotic face.
But another truth came to me later that summer, when I received a heartening phone call from a woman who had been at the Presbytery meeting the day that Phil had goaded me.
"We're behind you, Kevin, even if we can't say so" said the woman, another minister from Vancouver island. "It's just sickening what they're doing to you".
"Thanks, but it's not over yet" I replied. "Phil Spencer sure has it in for me."
The woman laughed.
"He's doing you more good than you know. Every time he attacks you everybody sees he's just a crazy, angry guy. His drinking is out of control again. You just keep the high ground, Kevin".
The system always rewards its own, of course, starting with its sicko hatchet men. For the same year I was defrocked, Phil Spencer was appointed to head the Comox-Nanaimo Presbytery – presumably with the same intelligence and morality he displayed in front of me that day in June of 1995.
But the point is this: Phil Spencer was an unwitting ally of mine that day, and he and his kind have been ever since. For his attacks helped to launch me on my new calling, and his deceit gave rise to the truth movement that is bringing down his United Church of Canada and its legacy of child rape and murder.
I suppose I should thank him someday.
Like the gang of church officials everywhere who bury the truth, protect child rapists, and seek the ruin of truth speakers, those who seem to be our worst threat turn out, over time, to be the means for us to expose their entire, filthy arrangement.
I couldn't have known that in 1995. The assault on me and my children and all of my pain was too unrelenting for me to see the bigger purpose and panorama. But having endured that nightmare, I saw clearer. I eventually gained a strategic ability to manuever around the predictable methods that the church employed against me, and which the powerful always use to distract us from their crimes.
Soon, I grasped what the Chinese writer Sun Tzu describes in his Art of War, and that is that a larger enemy is always less flexible and more predictable than a smaller force, and the very size and strength of the powerful can be turned against them.
Some of you are caught up in a fearful panic these days by the extensive and quite vile misinformation being spread against me and our campaign on the internet by the latest government operatives.
The truth is that, like Phil Spencer, professional mud throwers like Greg Renouf are an excellent ally at this moment because of the opposite effect he is producing by the increasingly irrational and vitriolic tone of his hatred towards me – and because, unwittingly, Greg, like Phil, is a pawn in the hands of forces he cannot imagine.
Indeed, it's been well documented how any public smear campaign loses its effectiveness after a very short time because the perpetrator of the character assassination, relying on fabrications, has to overstate his case with provable lies and thereby he quickly loses credibility, while his target wins new sympathy because of the attacks.
This has certainly proven to be so with the recent assault on me and our work by Renouf, which has provoked dozens of new supporters to contact me and aid our campaign. Once again, my attacker has proven to be my best recruiting agent.
Of course, let's be clear: the latest smear effort has occured as part of a bigger necessity by church and state in Canada to publicly bury me once and for all before their "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" whitewash of the Canadian genocide winds down next spring. The TRC has stolen and exploited my research while doing its outmost to discredit me as its source.
In effect, the criminals have tried to steal my clothes and have found that, because they are so incriminating, the clothes don't fit. So now they have to resort to out and out violence against me and what I represent.
When people start calling us horrible names or inciting violence against us, as Greg Renouf and his ilk are doing, it means they are desperate, for they have nothing intelligent to say and no way to stop our impact except by such thuggery. And to quote Martin Luther King, at that point – when your opponent can only club you – you know you've won.
That wonderful old radical Saul Alinsky once said that the powerful, properly goaded, can be our best allies, and become their own downfall. The churches, the feds, and their corporate partners in crime have far more to lose than we do, and they know it.
For instance, the main concern of the church leaders has always been to safeguard their personal assets from lawsuits and the claims of their victims. I, on the contrary, have no financial assets, and nothing to lose but my life. As a disgruntled puppet Indian politician commented about me in 2008, "What's the point of suing Annett? He's broke! We couldn't make a dime off him!"
So who's more vulnerable?
It's actually quite easy to goad and manipulate the powerful, for they are essentially frightened individuals hiding behind fictional institutions and their lawyers. The only defense of popes, queens and politicians is a psychological one, deriving from the fact that the rest of us assume they have a power they don't actually possess.
In reality, the "rulers" of church and state keep revealing by their responses to us where they are the most vulnerable, and how even a small group of us can trigger their downfall.
One case in point: the day that fifty of us briefly occupied Holy Rosary catholic cathedral in Vancouver during a Sunday mass in early 2007.
We carried a banner that day that declared "All the children need a proper burial". The pew crowd were respectful and curious. The priests, however, went quite ballistic: one of them lost his saintly guise altogether and tried putting me into an arm lock and wrestling me out of the place. And small wonder: for by entering their church and confronting their crime, we threatened not only the public image of catholicism that Sunday, but, more specifically, the cash in their collection plates.
Sure enough, within a few weeks of that catholic church occupation and after we publicly announced that similar occupations would continue, the Canadian government declared that an apology for the Indian residential schools was forthcoming, along wth an "official inquiry".
Loose cannon tactics? Confrontational methods? So be it. They work! And they sure scared the shit out of the catholic archdiocese in Vancouver, whose lawyer called me up afterwards and literally pleaded with me not to lead any more occupations of the cathedral.
The fifty of us who invaded Holy Rosary church were mostly poor, homeless native men and women. We had nothing going for us except our own resolve. But our tiny group was nevertheless able to do the impossible, and use the very weight of the wealthiest and most "powerful" corporation in history, the roman catholic church, against itself, and force a change.
Frankly, the problem doesn't lie in such methods, as some claim, but rather with the inconsistency with which we rely on such direct action. Still today, few people are willing to challenge the church like the fifty of us did, even when its crimes have been exposed and the mass graves of its victims located. Too many of us, in truth, are still captive to the illusion that the powerful are unassailable.
The reality is that our campaign to bring down criminal church and government bodies has now reached such a level of successful, critical mass that the criminals in our crosshairs are acting ever more desperately, and are trying to strike at us with the only way they know how: with lies and confusion. Yet by so doing, they are exposing their real nature more quickly to wider numbers of people, many of whom are abandoning the catholic church in droves.
Put simply, the mask of church and state is slipping, and the illusions that have allowed their crimes to continue for centuries are evaporating daily. And it's up to us now to take full advantage of that golden historic opportunity.
Despite what Christian sunday school may have taught you, light and darkness are not opposites but rather co-dependent forces that work together for a third and higher purpose, unknown to either. Our enemies, and all that they inflict on us, are the means by which we not only learn endurance, courage and clarity, but have opened to us the real purpose of what we have struggled and suffered through.
I began this journey twenty years ago, and only now am I aware of what it's really all about.
A religion and a culture that could so systematically kill off generations of children and then hide the evidence and continue to maim the innocent is an abomination that must be gotten rid of. The more seasoned and far seeing of us know this already, and have given up our naive hope that church and state can be "held accountable" for doing the atrocities which come naturally to them. Instead, we are committed to abolishing those murderous institutions altogether, as international law and the safety of children demands.
We have pledged our lives to the fundamental shakeup of our society. And our looming common law court of justice is the first stage in that shakeup.
Yesterday, I was accosted on the streets of Vancouver by a young man who grabbed my hand and exclaimed,
"You're Kevin Annett! Man, I love you!"
I must have looked self-conscious or something, for the guy smiled and continued,
"With all that shit they say about you, fuck man, I knew you were the real thing!"