Sunday, May 24, 2009

Footloose: Christian school suspends student for attending public school prom

A few weeks ago Toldeo, Ohio's Heritage Christian School principal Tim England suspended 17-year old student Tyler Frost after Frost took his girlfriend Becca to the prom at her neighboring high school. England banned Frost from the Christian school, and would not let him participate in graduation ceremonies.

Frost was warned this would happen. Frost's family has threatened a lawsuit against the school and the principal.

England shared his bizarre reasoning with a television reporter in Toledo before the prom, but has refused to give more on-camera interviews since Tyler and Becca "disobeyed" him.
At a prom, there will be many young ladies who'll be dressed in the current styles, which will be low-cut dresses and things like that. There will be dancing.
Twenty-five years ago, Rev. Shaw Moore, played by John Lithgow, said pretty much the same thing in the film Footloose:
Even if this was not a law, which it is, I'm afraid I would have a lot of difficulty endorsing an enterprise which is as fraught with genuine peril as I believe this one to be. Besides the liquor and the drugs which always seem to accompany such an event the thing that distresses me even more, Ren, is the spiritual corruption that can be involved. These dances and this kind of music can be destructive, and, uh, Ren, I'm afraid you're going to find most of the people in our community are gonna agree with me on this.
Principal England told FoxToledo that Jesus wouldn't approve of Tyler going to the Findlay High School prom with his girlfriend, that Tyler should be more like Jesus.
Christianity is a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, and if you're gonna grow and be more like him, you gotta be obedient to what he says.
Didn't Jesus hang out with the "common people" and not with the pious? Didn't he thumb his nose at the "moral police" of his day, the Pharisees? Didn't he count among his closest confidantes a temple harlot?

Jesus never forbade dancing, best I can tell from my many readings of the Bible. In fact, Jesus's multi-great granddad King David, "wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets."

In Jeremiah 31:4, God Himself tells the nation of Israel to "take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful."

Principal England, with his Puritanical mindset, disgraces not only the educational system but also millions of rational Christians.

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Living with War: Memorial Day 2009

So we're now living in the Era of Change, are we? New president, new vice president, new name for the War in Iraq.

For the past three Memorial Days [2006, 2007, 2008], I've honored the memory of those who have died in the War in Iraq, now known as simply a part of the Overseas Contingency Operation. George Orwell would have been proud of the way the name of the War in Iraq has been changed to lessen the reminder that our young men and women are still dying for no obvious Cause.

Other than the name, has anything changed?

Yes. Its results are increasingly doubleplusungood.

The American death toll in Iraq has now reached 4,300. Since last Memorial Day, another 219 Americans soldiers have died in Iraq. Another 219 American families will never again see their sons and daughters, their fathers and mothers.

We can no longer blame the War in Iraq on George W. Bush's oil tycoon friends or on dastardly Dick Cheney's secret identity as Dr. Strangelove, or on the non-existent WMD's non-possessed by a now long-dead Saddam Hussein or even on our national need for revenge for 9/11 against a country that wasn't involved in those horrific attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.

The responsibility now firmly rests on Barack Obama, who has already waffled on his own timetable for troop withdrawals from Iraq.

As I've said before: Bring 'em home, now!

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'Freemasonry's use of hip hop to deceive and destroy souls'

I'm perplexed as to what the point is of this video (see below).

It seems to be something produced by your typical conspiratorial "Freemasons Rule the World" crowd, and accuses the Masonic/Illuminati cabal for creating urban hip-hop music to keep the black community in poverty.

I found the video linked on a website that proclaims itself "Your hip hop music culture and lifestyle portal." They're proud to say "We eat breathe & sleep hop hop."

The article containing the video is titled "Freemasonry's Use of Hip Hop to Deceive and Destroy Souls."

Frankly, the video is a nine-minute mishmash of interviews and music that isn't worth viewing, in my opinion. Don't bother watching it all unless you've got time to burn. It includes weird statements such as Bill Gates' father created Planned Parenthood to lead to the elimination of the black race. How'd that work out?


The material between roughly 5:45 minutes and 7:00 minutes is kind of intriguing, but not necessarily from a conspiratorial point of view.

Apparently at least one hip-hopper, KRS-ONE, has taken his cue from the same idea that led to the book and movie The Secret. Here is a line from his rap:
When someone says the rich get richer
Visualize wealth and put yourself in the picture.
If you're not familiar with The Secret, it is simply this idea: "Your thoughts create your reality." It's a simple philosophy, and it's true, as I've found in my own life. When I focus on the negative, more negative comes along. When I focus on positive, happy things, then positive, happy things and events appear in my life.

It's a secret I personally too often forget, but thankfully, usually I catch myself before I've created too much negativity and can turn things around by changing my perspective and beliefs and thoughts.

The conspiracy-minded video producer doesn't see anything positive about thinking positive. KRS-ONE's rap is followed on their video by these words:
Here KRS is pushing the "New Age Agenda," that says you are poor because of your thoughts (Translation: BLAME THE VICTIM!)

It is a way of thinking that leads to a lack of care and/or empathy for others who are suffering, because you are rationalizing it as, "Oh... it's their fault they are poor, or starving, or homeless, or raped, etc... due to their thoughts...."
One the one hand, the video-maker is saying that there is poverty in society because the Grand Cabal keeps it that way, and on the other hand is saying that to encourage those in poverty to think their way out of that poverty creates a "lack of care and/or empathy."

Confused? Me too.

Which is solid proof the Discordians must be the real Men Behind the Curtain.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Doing the dog

The sadness in Robert John Ward's eyes in this photo reminds me of the look on the face of alleged Mason and alleged murderer Leroy Tellgren, shown in the previous article on The Burning Taper.

Perhaps the lives of both of these elderly gentlemen could have been redirected into less destructive channels had they been invited to become members of the Royal Order of Jesters (search "Jesters" on The Burning Taper), where they could have played out their sexual fantasies behind closed doors.

Ward, 66, has been charged with sexually abusing his family dog.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Texas Mason charged with murder of younger woman

An "alleged" Texas Mason has been charged with murder in the disappearance of his female friend.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Coppell (Texas) Police Department need the public's help. If anyone saw {Leroy] Tellgren, [Kathleen] Garza or Tellgren's vehicle along the Texas/Oklahoma border or in the state of Oklahoma around April 16th, please call the OSBI hotline at 800-522-8017.

Tellgren's vehicle is a dark green 1997 Chevy S-10 extended cab pickup with a Texas license plate of 46XWC5. A Masonic Lodge insignia is on the driver's side back of the truck.
Leroy Tellgren, 74, and Kathleen Garza, 49, had for the past five years been buddies from work in the local school district. Tellgren was a school bus monitor; until last May, Garza was a middle school business and computer skills teacher.

They met for coffee-to-go just before 9 a.m. on April 16th, video surveillance cameras at a grocery store coffee shop show. An indoor camera shows them together at the counter; an outside camera shows them walking toward and then getting into Tellgren's pick-up truck.

That's the last time anyone saw Kathleen Garza.

Police have charged Tellgren with her murder, though her body has not been found.

Garza's husband said that his wife looked up to Tellgren as a "father figure." An employee at the coffee shop where they were last seen says Garza and Tellgren were regulars there, and had been seen on occasion holding hands and acting "romantic," something Garza's husband Raul strongly denies.

Tellgren was taken into custody by police who were at his home talking with his wife when he returned late that night. He gave police permission to search his truck. They found that the passenger seatbelt, along with patches of material from the passenger seat, had been cut out. Blood was present on areas that had not been removed. A large bloodstain was found on the shirt Tellgren was wearing.

A few hours later, police found bloody seatcover material and a bloody seatbelt inside a trash bag in a dumpster less than a mile from Tellgren's home.

Two rings and a watch that have been identified as belonging to Garza were found in his pocket.

Tellgren has been uncooperative. He remains in custody with bail set at one million dollars.

Police and the OSBI are asking anyone who may have seen Tellgren, Garza or his truck on April 16th to call them with any information.

Google the news stories.
Read the OSBI statement.
Read the Coppell Police arrest warrant.

Image #1: Leroy Tellgren
Image #2: Kathleen Garza

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Jester Michael Stebick avoids jail time for role in prostitution scandal

Here's more television footage from Buffalo's WIVB on the Royal Order of Jesters scandal. This one is about former law clerk and prosecutor Michael Stebick's sentencing.

If you prefer to read the news story rather than view it, click here.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

TV footage of Jester's court appearance

Here's a video news report about Royal Order of Jesters' members Ronald Tills, John Trowbridge and Michael Stibeck, from WIVB-TV, Channel 4 in Buffalo, NY.

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Trends in Masonic blogging

Our blogging brother at The North Eastern Corner wrote the other day about how the face of Masonic blogging has changed over time. He notes three trends: centralization, blog fatigue, and extraction.

He points out that the trend towards centralization tends to sublimate the personality of the individual bloggers, and I agree. Part of the pleasure of surfing Masonic blogs is in noting the design, graphics and layout of a particular brother's blog, as well as seeing which links he chose to put on his blog, and what, if any, advertising he showed. All these things, together with his writing, created the individual blogger's online identity and "personality." The centralizing of blogs, such as has been done recently at Bro. Greg Stewart's Freemason Information, lessens the appeal of reading Masonic-theme blogs, for me anyway. I'm not knocking the trend; I'm just adding to the discussion of it on The North Eastern Corner.

Personally I've been suffering blog fatigue for while. Regularly pumping out interesting stories is hard work. My dwindling interest in local Masonic events coupled with my growing knowledge of "improprieties" related to Shriner and Jester activities simply led me to abandon my keyboard for a while.

The North Eastern Corner article points out a third trend in Masonic blogging: extraction, or Masonic blogs going dark or totally disappearing from the web. We've seen a lot of that. For a while there were many newly raised younger Masons who eagerly jumped into blogging with an impressive enthusiasm. Most of these blogs didn't last long; there's only so much a new Mason can say about "next Tuesday I'm returning my Fellowcraft catechism."

The most notable "extraction" in the past year was the unexpected death of well-known Masonic know-it-all Bro. Theron Dunn. Next Wednesday will mark one year since he moved on to the Celestial Lodge.

Bro. Dunn and I seldom agreed on anything.

And I liked that. I found him pompous and self-righteous and often unmovable in his opinions and stance. In that, he was a lot like me.

Debating and arguing with him kept me on my toes. Publicly disagreeing with him helped me hone my writing and my logic skills and often made me think long and hard about an issue. Our "confrontations" strengthened us both, and made us both better Masons. Masons don't have to like each other — we never did — but Masons should ultimately respect each other and treat each other as brothers.

And that we did, even if sometimes it was begrudgingly.

The world of Masonic blogging, like all of life, is constantly changing. I'm glad I'm still here to enjoy it.

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Retired police captain sentenced in Jester-prostitute probe

One of the three Masons who pleaded guilty to transporting prostitutes across state lines to service brothers at Royal Order of Jesters' weekend "Books" has been sentenced to two years probation for his crimes, the Buffalo News reported today.

Former Lockport, NY police captain John Trowbridge said he was sorry.

"The more I thought about it, the more I didn't like it," Trowbridge told U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny. "They [the illegal alien women] come here with great expectations.... These people are way too often overlooked. They're victims."

"When confronted with the ugliness of his actions, [Trowbridge] did the right thing," U.S. Attorney Robert Moscati said.

One of Trowbridge's partners in crime, former law clerk Michael Stebick, was sentenced in December, 2008 to four months of home confinement, 250 hours of community service, and a $5,000 fine. I hope he didn't spend those 250 hours standing at an intersection wearing a fez.

Former New York Supreme Court Justice Ronald H. Tills, the Moe to Stebick and Trowbridge's Larry and Curly (those rascally imps!) returned to court today for his slap on the wrist.

U.S District Judge William M. Skretny called the crime a "very serious matter," but went easy on the former police officer because he cooperated in the Jesters probe.

"It's not a matter to be taken lightly," Skretny said of the crimes. "It involved the dehumanization of victims of human trafficking.... What you did was a disgrace to you, an insult to your wife and a disgrace to your profession."

Human trafficking is the politically correct term for slavery. This "very serious matter" is apparently punishable by four months' of having to stay home and a bit of community service, or at most, occasionally reporting in to your probation officer who is probably already a friend.

Of passing interest: The March 2008 press release by the FBI announcing Trowbridge's guilty plea

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

You can't have a light without a dark to stick it in

Last weekend I was driving home from the grocery store. As I approached an intersection, I noticed a fez-wearing Shriner standing in the road, shaking his paint-bucket at drivers as they crawled past him.

Arm after arm appeared from a car or truck, each dropping coins or bills into his bucket.

"It's for the children," I'm sure most of the brains attached to those arms rationalized to themselves, as they blew their own kids' lunch money in an attempt to feel charitable.

"Brother, don't you know where most of that cash is going?" I wanted to cry out.

"Somewhere between two and twenty-five percent of what you collect might make it to 'the children.' The rest is for the parties, for the booze, for the hookers... and you, good brother, probably won't even be invited!"

Yeah, I'm still jaded. Ignorance is bliss, and I'm no longer ignorant about some of the "secrets" of Freemasonry.

The financial misappropriations and the sexual improprieties in the Shrine and in their subgroup the Royal Order of Jesters are no longer secrets. Investigative reporter Sandy Frost, as well as the New York Times and the Buffalo News have splashed their findings across their front pages.

Three Masons/Shriners/Jesters — a judge, a former police captain, and an attorney — have pleaded guilty in upstate New York to transporting prostitutes across state lines to service "brothers" at Jester parties. Gary N. Martin, the head of the Jester organization, claims the group knows nothing about such activities, and says that the actions of these men were "extremely isolated events."

While the ROJ leadership denies everything, more and more Jesters and former Jesters have been spilling the secrets about what goes on at a "Book": humiliating hazings including having to walk around naked all weekend carrying a brick tied to a string tied to your penis, fellatio contests, rampant alcohol and drug use, and more.

Is it true? I can't say; I can only report what I've read and what I've been personally told by brothers who were members of the ROJ.

According to an article in the May 4 Buffalo News:
Retired State Supreme Court Justice Ronald Tills; his former law clerk, Michael R. Stebick of Orchard Park; and retired Lockport police Capt. John Trowbridge all pleaded guilty to transporting prostitutes across state lines. Trowbridge is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in Buffalo’s federal court, and Tills is scheduled for a pre-sentencing conference Thursday.
The FBI is still investigating a "human sex slave" network that involves a "massage parlor" where prostitutes who are said to have been at Jester functions "worked."

And Brazilian authorities have now brought charges against an American who allegedly organized "fishing trips" for Jesters which were really alcohol-drug-sex party cruises with underage Brazilian girls.

Why bring this up again, and why now?, you might be asking. Didn't I write months ago that I was done talking about the problems within Freemasonry, and that I would only write about "good stuff"?

Apparently, no news has been "good news," because I haven't written very much on this blog since I said that in early March.

In hindsight, though, I realize that despite my disgust, The Burning Taper exists and always has existed as a Point of Light in the Masonic World, a Light that has for nearly four years shined on the good and the bad within Freemasonry.

For most of its existence, The Burning Taper had one or the other, sometimes both, of these quotations as its masthead:
  • You can't have a light without a dark to stick it in. — Arlo Guthrie

  • And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. — John 1:5
It's time these powerful statements were placed back into their positions of prominence, and time for The Burning Taper to return to its mission of shining the Light of Freemasonry upon Freemasonry.

Be Seeing You.


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