DURING THE Scottish referendum, at least six mainstream media journalists directly asked Stuart Campbell, editor of Wings Over Scotland, if he was a true Reverend. All of them remained none the wiser upon asking and were given “evasive” and “sketchy” replies in return. Today AhDinnaeKen can exclusively reveal the source of the Wings man’s alleged ordainment:
By Longshanker aka @ergasiophobe
“CHURCH LEADER” and man of the cloth Stuart Campbell of Wings Over Scotland is a ‘Reverend’ of the Universal Life Church, an American based internet organisation, it has been revealed.
According to Rat Fascal, a casual internet acquaintance of Campbell’s, they both became Reverend’s of the Universal Life Church circa 2002.
The church is better known for instant ordination, legally dodgy marriages and its variable tax status.
Ordination into the church consists of filling in an online form which requires only your first, middle and last names, your email, country, state and a password. Submitting your details results in instant ordination.
The ease with which people can be ordained into the Universal Life Church has led to thousands of domestic pets such as hamsters, cats, dogs and rats becoming reverends – able to legally perform marriage in select American states.
As Fascal explained, everyone from the various videogame forums of the time was becoming a reverend online because it appealed to their sense of fun.
He said: “It was a craze in the early 2000’s. I’m also a reverend of that church.
“He’s (Campbell) the Rev of early noughties memes that he saw someone else do first.”
When asked how much such ordination cost, Fascal said: “It’s no money at all.”
In a Financial Times feature on Campbell’s role in the referendum, John Murray Brown said: “As for the religious title, the 46-year-old claims he was once trained for church orders but is sketchy about the details, saying he does not want to bring religion into the independence debate.”
The Universal Life Church has no formal or legal recognition in the United Kingdom. Persons wishing to obtain official recognition are encouraged by the ‘Church’ to: “Acquire a building and hold regular services. Petition the government for recognition. It won’t happen overnight.”
Campbell’s use of ‘Reverend’ has no worthwhile legal status in the UK other than to denote he’s capable of filling in an internet form.
Such deception may have been a joke on Campbell’s part to begin with, but it could have serious consequences for readers of the Independent and Daily Mirror, amongst others, who might have taken the title in good faith and contributed to an Indiegogo fundraiser, set up by Campbell, because of it.
Both papers ran stories on the case of a convicted thief who received a court fine for stealing Mars bars from a shop.
The hapless newspapers referred to Campbell as a “Reverend” and a “church leader” and linked to the fundraiser page initiated to pay the shoplifter’s court fine as well as to self-promote Campbell’s alleged benevolence, altruism and philanthropy.
Given the undeclared backgrounds of both the thief and the ‘reverend’, any disgruntled reader/donors may feel entitled to an apology from the newspapers and a refund on their charitable donations.
The reverend question is just one of several unanswered questions surrounding Campbell’s questionable status and modus operandi pre-referendum and now.
Other evasions and “sketchy” actions needing cleaned up include benefit claim irregularities, electoral commission investigations into irregular expense returns, criminal defamation, business status and intellectual property theft, amongst others.
Perhaps the Mirror and the Independent should see fit to further investigate.
Their reputations are at stake after all.
AhDinnaeKen asked Independent journalist Caroline Mortimer and Mirror journalist Laura Elvin, the author’s of the stories, if they had verified Stuart Campbell’s ‘reverend’ status. To date we await a reply.