The text of the letter reads:
January 25, 2010So many questions, thoughts and opinions race through my mind as I read and type this. Some of the issues have been discussed and debated in depth on The Burning Taper before.
Dear Brother Secretary:
I am sending this letter to your lodge in the hope of heading off a possible problem which has been caused by the State Revenue Department. It has been brought to my attention that the state has come out with a Freemason license plate. The best I can find out is this license plate originates from the Grand Lodge of Prince Hall Masons and part of the money derived from the sale of these license plates goes to a charity sponsored by the Prince Hall Grand Lodge.
After several calls to ascertain what the procedure was for obtaining these plates; [sic] I came to the conclusion that the method of screening individuals, to see if they were eligible to purchase the plates was not sufficient to ensure that our members could not purchase them. We have laws which strictly prohibit communication and Masonic intercourse with clandestine lodges and members of clandestine lodges. It is my opinion as your Grand Master that the purchase of these license plates would be in contradiction to our laws. Thus I am directing that no member of a subordinate lodge under the jurisdiction of the M. W. Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Arkansas purchase the license plates.
I am sending your lodge this letter to be read at your next stated communication. I am further directing that the Worshipful Master appoint a phone committee to contact every member of your lodge, who is an Arkansas resident; [sic] or that a letter be sent out to the same; [sic] informing them that they are not to purchase one of these license plates.
I appreciate your attention to this serious problem and will thank you in advance for your efforts to help ensure that our members are informed and do not inadvertently violate our Masonic law.
[signed] Ronald Hedge
The definition of "clandestine" is "hidden or unknown," not "unrecognized." Prince Hall lodges are hardly hidden or unknown, not even in Arkansas. How, in the 21st century, can G.M. Hedge cling to 18th century jargon and call Prince Hall lodges "clandestine"?
And has G.M. Hedge never spoken to a Prince Hall member on matters of Masonry? Maybe not... but if he has, did he commit the "crime" of conducting Masonic intercourse with a clandestine Mason?
How would purchasing a license plate from the state be an act of Masonic intercourse?
Masons take an obligation to abide by "edicts" of their grand lodge. Since when is an "opinion" by a grand master an edict? By tradition, an edict is proclaimed as an edict, and usually given an official name and number.
Is a grand master the presiding officer, judge and jury? By what right does a grand master claim this authority?
What do you think?
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