For years, Bro. Chris Hodapp of Freemasons for Dummies fame and I have had an unofficial competition going on, even if he didn't know it, to see who could write first about unusual breaking Masonic news. Back in the heyday of The Burning Taper, sometimes I won, sometimes he did.
That was before I became a real Traveling Man. I'm on the road to somewhere, or coming back from somewhere, 10 to 14 hours a day for the past several months. No longer do I have the luxury of net-surfing my way through my day.
It's now nearly 1 a.m. Tuesday, and I just read a story about Michael Jackson's doctor having allegedly become a Freemason to enlarge his network of potential patients.
I wasn't terribly surprised to see that Bro. Chris had scooped me on that. Besides being offline as much as I am, I have purposefully avoided as much Michael Jackson "news" as has been humanly possible. Still, I was tugged into reading the story because of the headline saying his doctor, Conrad Murray, was not authorized to prescribe certain drugs in California.
Hodapp, 1. Widow's Son, 0. No biggie.
What I am ashamed of and, sadly, alarmed by, is that the entire Masonic blogging universe scooped me on the news from my own home state about the legal and Masonic wrangling regarding an Atlanta "mainstream" lodge raising a black man.
I'm still catching up on the published events about the brouhaha over Atlanta's Gate City Lodge No. 2 raising Victor Marshall to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason.
Coverage of this has been extensive, in the mainstream news [Associated Press, New York Times, even the Georgia Insider Advantage] as well as in the Masonic blogosphere and forums, since late June.
I missed it completely until yesterday.
Everything I've ever written about Georgia Masonry, and everything you've doubted about what I've written about Georgia Masonry, was leading up to this story...
And I missed it.
All that stuff I wrote above about scooping and being scooped is just good-natured fun. I don't really care who breaks what.
But I feel that not only have I let down you, the reader of The Taper, for not being on top of this story, but I have let down myself.
For years, I have been a sometimes solitary voice in Georgia, at least online, decrying the institutionalized racism and bigotry of Georgia Freemasonry. I've been in Georgia lodge after lodge and heard the same racist comments. I've called out every new Grand Master by name shortly after his "election," urging him to offer recognition to Prince Hall Masons.
But I have of late neglected all that, online and offline. I haven't participated in Georgia Masonry in a long time. I haven't darkened the door of my own lodge or any other lodge in so long, I doubt I can remember the due guard and sign. I probably cannot remember some of the names of one-time friends in the lodges I used to attend. While still a Mason in my heart, I have become a Mason in name only.
I'm exceedingly proud of my brothers at Gate City Lodge No. 2 for doing what is right. I had no idea a lodge as progressive as Gate City existed in Georgia.
And I'm exceedingly disgusted by those members of Metro Daylight Lodge No. 743 in Chamblee, and Philologia Lodge No. 178 in Conyers, who brought their complaints about Bro. Marshall's raising to the Grand Lodge. If ever charges of unmasonic conduct should be brought against brothers, this is the time. Questioning the legitimacy of a man lawfully and properly raised by a chartered lodge, and demanding that lodge's charter be revoked, is truly unmasonic. It defies what Freemasonry purportedly stands for: Universal Brotherhood.
I welcome Bro. Marshall to our brotherhood.
Image: Brother Victor Marshall, flanked by two brothers of Gate City Lodge No. 2, Atlanta
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