Both the local Scottish Rite and the Shrine are planning to move their offices and facilities from Toledo, Ohio, to smaller quarters in outlying townships, the Toledo Blade reported on June 14.
The mayor of Toledo is angry over this, and today, the Toledo Blade posted an editorial accusing "the Masons" of having killed live theater and culture in Toledo nearly 40 years ago by moving from downtown to a suburb, and now accuses Freemasonry of "abandoning" Toledo "by yet another decision that reaffirms a history and a pattern of resistance to the welfare of a community which has supported for so long their humanitarian efforts."
A Masonic spokesman has assured the mayor and the press that even if the Masons do leave the south Toledo Masonic Complex, the adjoining Stranahan Theater will not be affected. The theater is not under Masonic management, nor is the building owned by the Masons. The Masons own the property on which the theater and Masonic buildings sit.
(A look at the Stranahan's calendar for the rest of 2007 doesn't show a lot of culture going on. Three days of "Riverdance," a five-day run of the jukebox musical "Movin' Out," based on Billy Joel songs, and a redneck comedy tour are about all that's on slate for the rest of the year.)
The editorial presumes that Masons "owe" something to the city of Toledo. Is being concerned with whether a city has a live theater venue a legitimate obligation of Freemasons? Is it the Masons' responsibility to provide a cultural climate in a dying downtown? Or is this just a liberal newspaper pushing a "have vs. have-not" corporate welfare agenda, claiming Masonry has a civic duty it no longer wishes to perform?
Image: A performance of "Riverdance"
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