Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap by A Concerned Freemason

The society of Freemasons was founded three hundred years ago in London, England. Since that time it has become a global society composed of men and women from around the world. Time, however, has not been kind to the society of Freemasons in America. It has devolved from a society of enlightened thinkers and artists into a run of the mill social club administered by the surviving veterans of World War II. Plagued by racism, financial scandals, and immoral behavior the once honorable society has dwindled in numbers since 1963.

Recent articles from the Associated Press reveal many disturbing facts about American Freemasonry. In places throughout the country it is divided along strict racial lines, with African Americans being left out of the main body of the group, and forced to form their own lodges. That this type of human behavior is still taking place in the United States of America will be a shocking revelation to many.

The problems, however, go beyond just racism. Independent journalist Sandy Frost has revealed a multitude of financial issues that include both fraud and theft. To become a Freemason in the United States is quite easy, according to the Grand Lodge of Ohio. A man can become a Master Mason over the course of a day for as little as one hundred and fifty dollars. According to Frost and the Orlando Sentinel the real cost of Freemasonry is not to the Masons, but to the public. Many of the charities organized by the Masons barely meet the legal guidelines regulating charitable organizations. According to the Orlando Sentinel only about twenty-five percent of the monies collected from the public actually go to help anyone. The largest amounts go to support private golf courses and liquor purchases for the Masonic Shrine organization.

According to one Internet blog site, The Burning Taper [http://burningtaper.com], Freemasons were expelled in Georgia for their opposition to both the racism and fraud within the organization. This may be a sign of growing unrest within the organization as new leaders begin to replace the aging group that has controlled the society for the past fifty years.

The House of the Temple of the Scottish Rite, the national headquarters of American Freemasonry, admitted in a recent interview that the society had fallen into hard times and was suffering significant membership losses. When questioned about the racial and financial issues they had no comment.

— A Concerned Freemason

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  1. The issues in this story have deep Washington, D.C. roots and suggests how Alabama and other deep south states might respond positively to the dilemma of segregated organizations that benefit from local and federal tax laws or reflect unfavorablly on public servants who should always consider the sensibilities of all backgrounds among their constituents.

    Fred Kleinknecht, the former Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite Masons, Southern Jurisdiction, had initiated efforts in the District of Columbia, beginning as early as 1975 to bring together his organization and the Prince Hall Masons, the black Lodge. In June 2006, now retired, he testified before the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission on legislation to establish a memorial to the more than 5,000 black soldiers of the Revolutionary war, including Prince Hall and his son Primus. Mr. Kleinknecht thought this history could bring together the two Masonic groups across the country for a common purpose that honors the nation's birth. He is now a member of the Board of National Mall Liberty Fund D.C., (www.libertyfunddc.org) the organization I chair to build the memorial. See his statement at -- http://www.libertyfunddc.org/FRED_Kleinknecht_TESTIMONY_NCMAC_FINAL_JUNE_25_06.pdf

    Primus Hall knew General Washington, and his father was one of several free blacks (already in the Army) who protested Washington's initial order to bar blacks from the Continental Army. Washington is feted as the most famous Mason, and he clearly understood the role blacks played under him in winning the Revolution. Fred thought that history could heal wounds and bring Masons, white and black, together -- as well as the nation.

    Legislation to build the memorial, the National Liberty Memorial Act, S. 2495, was introduced by Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut and, among others, Senator Charles H. Grassley of Iowa, who is a member of the Scottish Rite Masons. Senator Grassley has been a strong supporter of this concept for over 20 years. See his statement at http://www.libertyfunddc.org/Sen_Grassley_press_release_introduction.pdf. The key committee where our bill (National Parks Subcommittee of the Senate Energy Committee) is pending is chaired by Senator Craig Thomas of Wyoming. Senator Thomas is also a member of the Scottish Rite Masons.

    Fred arranged a meeting with Senator Thomas in October of 2005. Mr. Kleinknecht told him how significant this legislation was to the prospect of future unity between the black and white Masonic orders. We are persuaded that Senator Thomas will eventually support our bill and understands its national ramifications for racial unity. We hope that the bill will be approved in the lame duck session. Certainly, had it been approved months ago, it could have diffused some of the controversy inherent in the AP story coming out of Alabama. Perhaps that Scottish Rite Lodge would have accepted the call to help build this national memorial that would go on the Mall at Constitution Gardens, near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and World War II Memorial. They would be standing up for those who helped create the U.S. and the freedoms they enjoy -- black soldiers and patriots, some of whom were also Masons and some of whom sired Prince Hall Masons.

    In 1975, the District of Columbia City Council (see transcription of the Washington Star article attached) under chairman Marion Barry and Dave Clarke conducted a hearing that involved the Scottish Rite Masons, Daughters of the American Revolution, the Society of the Cincinnati and other exclusive organizations not known at the time to have black members. The Council was considering removing the real estate tax exemption from organizations that did not reflect the multiracial make up of the District. Mr. Kleinknecht was a witness there and described what he was doing to work with the black Masonic group to find unity. Two years later my aunt Lena Santos Ferguson was rejected for membership in the DAR. Only after a four year battle did she finally gain membership. Today, thanks to her, perhaps as many as 30 black women have joined the organization.

    Maurice Barboza

  2. Don't trust him! Widow's Son is capable of anything.

  3. Scottish Rite propaganda through and through.


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