Monday, July 27, 2009

Burning Taper gets racist Masonic hate mail

It's been way too long since The Burning Taper has received hate mail.

Finally, over the weekend, we got one, and it's from an old hater-mongering Mason from way back.... Bro. Robert Williams of Monroe, Louisiana.

We first heard from this Bubba-brother in May of 2006, when he emailed us in response to an article about Bro. Alex Harris's 1999 speech to the Alabama Grand Lodge about racism.

Back in '06, Bro. Williams announced IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, "That doesn't make us racists, we just like our lodges the way they are." (See his entire 2006 email here.)

I can only imagine how our "not a racist" Bro. Williams is feeling these days, with a black man in the White House, a black man the head of the Republican Party, and a black man having become a member of an Atlanta "mainstream" lodge.

Today, Bubba Williams sent us this (grammar and spelling are his):
You would bring a gorilla in the lodge if they would let me. To me, you should have joined a Prince Hall Lodge from the start and be just as clasdestined as the rest of them. Now I see you have some foolish/nosense website called the Burning Taper, what a Farce. Blacks don't need to be in any lodge, I have seen apes in zoos.
It's not clear which recent article on The Taper, if any, prompted our racist Louisiana brother to honor us with another email.

Feel free to write Bro. Williams. I'm sure he'd like to hear from you. His email address is

And we'd like to hear from you, our racist Masonic brethren.

How do you feel about a black man being raised a Mason at Gate City Lodge No. 2 in Atlanta?

How do you feel about the Grand Master of Kentucky having issued an edict in June ordering
[t]hat no negative reference is to be made by any officer or member of any lodge chartered under the constitution of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, F.&A.M. in reference to a petitioner’s faith, creed or race at any time in the conferral of the Degrees — i.e. lectures, obligation, by proficiency lecturers, etc. — or during any lodge Communication.
Is the South gonna rise a'gin, or is it going to join the 21st century?

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Freemasons arrested for sorcery

"Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?" Glinda asked Dorothy.

Apparently in Fiji, it doesn't matter what kind of witch you are... or even if you're a witch at all. Sorcery isn't allowed there, apparently.

Police arrested 14 Freemasons Tuesday night when their meeting was "interrupted by a banging on the door, and there were these village people and the police demanding to be let in."

Wands, compasses and a skull were also seized from the lodge

One Freemason, after spending a "wretched" night in jail, told reporters "dopey village people" were to blame for the raid.

Police director of operations Waisea Tabakau told Legend FM News in Fiji that the group was being investigated for "allegedly practicing sorcery," the Fiji Village website reported.

The Masons were released Wednesday morning, allegedly at the order of the Prime Minister.

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Cats don't go to Heaven!

This excellent essay was submitted by Bro. James C. Stewart of North Bay Lodge No. 617, in Canada. Thank you, Bro. James.

Cats Don't Go to Heaven!
by James C. Stewart

I was accused of being a Satanist today.

Let me pause to assure you, dear reader, I do not believe in, let alone worship the devil. Those that do are naive, pathetic, confused and/or criminally insane.

My own personal beliefs are pantheistic. I believe God and the Universe are one in the same, that there isn’t anything above or below that isn’t God. I think someone who is looking for proof of God is akin to someone trying to find the sun with a flashlight.

But that’s just me.

As for the devil... well, that’s an excuse. I don’t have time for ‘the devil made me do it.’

That’s a cop out.

You let you do it.

If you’ve transgressed, no one made you except your own dark urges. What some call ‘the devil’ I believe are the baser aspects of our humanity. To place the onus on an outside force or some sort of supernatural temptation is absurd. You are your own devil.

Besides, evil is a relative thing isn’t it? It is, more often than not, a matter of perspective. Consider the cat and the mouse. If a cat eats a mouse is the cat evil? The cat is merely following his instincts. But if we look at the cat from the mouse’s perspective, the cat is most certainly evil; and from our perspective what we see we call ‘nature.’

But I digress.

A Christian called me a Satanist today. Why did the Christian call me a Satanist? Because I made the mistake of telling him I was a Freemason.

The following are my opinions, not the opinions of any organization, group or society.

Now let’s discuss Christianity.

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” — Mahatma Gandhi

By my tenth year on this rock I was having issues with Christianity, and the various horrors that were and are being perpetrated in its name. My mother is an Anglican priest. While no longer a Christian, I myself was baptized, raised and confirmed in the church. And naturally my first brush with Christian intolerance was through the church. Watching my mother become a priest was a sketch... this was in the 1980’s. One can well imagine the interesting (and occasionally cruel) things said to and about a woman attempting to minister “The Word of Christ.” Now that I think of it, the most hurtful acts of intolerance I have witnessed have been committed by Christians. And if I look beyond that, the picture becomes quite grim indeed. One need only type ‘residential schools’ or ‘inquisition’ into Google to see what I mean.

Christians are capable of extremely warped thinking. Anyone who has watched the Oscar-winning documentary Jesus Camp can tell you that. William S. Burroughs put it best when he said, “Christianity is like the inevitable course of some unsightly disease: criminal ignorance, brutish stupidity, self-righteous bigotry and paranoid fear of outsiders.” A former Roman Catholic priest turned Freemason crystallized it for me when I asked him why he’d left the church. “Well,” he said, “it occurred to me I was on the wrong path when I considered the outcry there’d be from Rome if the planes that were dropping napalm on villages at that time were dropping condoms instead.”

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.” That’s Christ in Matthew 22:37-39. Note he didn’t say, “Unless they’re non-Christian, or homosexual, or something else you personally don’t agree with.”

It’s part of what I like to call the Build Your Own Christianity Syndrome... given the various inconsistencies, vagrancies and outlandish assertions in the New Testament, Christians are forced to pick and choose exactly what it is they believe. Some agree with this part or that, others not so much. A sect of Christians may even decide another sect of Christians is heathen, even though both sects fully believe they have the Way and the Truth. The result is often very bloody. We see this play out in history with schisms within the church, quickly becoming schisms within the churches. Once you pick one piece of scripture over another, anything becomes possible. Just ask the family of an abortion doctor who’s been shot dead by the Pro-Life Movement.

Christianity is a control system. It seeks, first and foremost, to control your mind. It does this by controlling your beliefs with rigid and inflexible rules which in turn control your body, your speech, your ideas, your afterlife and even your sex. Allow me a single example (though there are many) for each:

Your body: the Pro-Life Movement and other like-minded Christians seek to control the female body. Simple. You are not allowed to abort. Therefore, you have no control over your womb. Therefore you have no control over your body.

Your speech: A short quote from a spam email I received. It was the most legible of the bunch, “...Please boycott of the children’s movie “The Golden Compass” and books. Also, pass information along to everyone you know (including church leaders). This will educate parents, so they know the agenda of the movie. I am sending this to those of you who have kids or friends with kids, grandkids or have influence with kids. So many today are darkness concealed in what appears to be innocence....”

Your ideas: Christianity has always opposed new ideas. Think of poor Galileo, confined to house arrest for contemplating that maybe... just maybe... the Earth revolved around the Sun. In the natural sciences, all discoveries and new theories not supported by the Bible were opposed. Sciences that flourished in Antiquity, ground to a halt in the early centuries AD. The church historian Lactantius (ca 250–320 AD) called the natural sciences utter nonsense, and church scholar Ambrosius called natural sciences an attack on God’s magnificence. To this day the concept of Evolution is under constant harassment by Christians.

Your afterlife: if you are a Christian, and you contravene the rules, you are going to hell... a place of unimaginable suffering and pain for all of Eternity.

This brings me to... your sex.

“Christianity: The doctrine that there is an absolutely powerful, infinitely knowledgeable, universe spanning entity that is deeply and personally concerned about my sex life.” — Andrew Lias

I have a desire, a genuine desire, to sit down with one of these Christians and ask them, “Why do you care? What is it about what the rest of us are doing in the bedroom that interests you people so much?”

Christian control in this area starts at pre-marital sex and it doesn’t really end. They refuse to teach their children (and would prefer you didn’t teach yours) about birth control, instead opting for abstinence, then they wonder why teenage pregnancy rates spike. As AIDS ravages Africa, they’d prefer the rest of us not give out condoms. And I seriously believe there is something insanely malicious at the heart of the Christian beliefs regarding homosexuality. I had my first inkling of it in 1987 when I saw a group of Christians outside a hospital having a rally against homosexuality based upon their understanding of the AIDS virus. There, screaming alongside her parents was this girl, maybe eleven or twelve years old, her pretty face twisted with hate and wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan, “Thank God for AIDS... God hates Fags.”

Since then I’ve seen families divided, teenagers forced off to bizarre camps to become ‘straight,’ and in one case a man badly beaten because a group of Christians thought he might be gay (he was, in fact, heterosexual).

Christians are quick to say, or perhaps fanatically shriek, “It’s in the Bible!”

I guess. But your Jesus never said it. Not once.

The symbol of Christianity is the cross... a symbol of execution, a symbol of death. How many blood-soaked battlefields has this flag flown over? I wonder... if Christ had been executed in the 1950’s would Christians be wearing little electric chairs around their necks today?

My guess? Absolutely.

“Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd, and bloody religion that has ever infected the world.” — Voltaire

Christianity seems focused on a man who may have claimed he was God, rather than focused on God. Yet Christianity asserts it’s monotheistic. I debate this. I say Christians have not one, but rather three gods: Jesus Christ, God the Father, and for good measure, The Holy Spirit. The so-called triune god. Now, to be fair, Christians claim the three make one, but you must have faith in all three to be saved. You must believe in three separate entities which mystically make up a single god.

No matter how hard I try, I cannot wrap my mind around God separating Himself from Himself to incarnate as a human being for thirty-three some-odd years. And for God to then concentrate on our dour little rock in a lonely galaxy in a far corner of space?

The Universe is a Big Place.

No, what it seems has happened is they’ve made God into a man. I’m not going too deep into it here, but there are many fascinating books regarding the formation of the early church, the Roman emperor Constantine and his questionable interpretation of the New Testament. In the final analysis, Christians have turned a man into God... it’s only on their faith Christ becomes divine. Frankly, it’s an idea older than Christianity. But again, there are many well-researched and wonderful books devoted to the topic of Christianity as a form of theological-plagiarism.

“What is Freemasonry? A beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.” — A Mason

It has been said no man needs a priest to find God, and nowhere is this truer than within The Craft. And perhaps this is truly what lies at the heart of Christian hatred toward it. My grandfather was a Mason, as is my father. I became a Mason after realizing Freemasonry was the most reasonable, if not most fascinating, institution I’d come across. Just a couple of points I’d like clear up:

Freemasonry is not Satanic. In fact, all discussion of religion and politics is forbidden within a Masonic Lodge.

Freemasonry is not a religion, nor has it ever claimed the prerogatives of religion, yet Freemasonry’s detractors continue to believe since Freemasonry doesn't define God, it cannot be their God. Freemasonry believes that men of all faiths can dwell together in peace. Freemasonry requires its members to believe in God but will not dictate those beliefs.

One of the more insidious falsehoods I’ve heard regarding Freemasonry holds it responsible for, or directly involved with, the Third Reich. For Masons who are veterans of World War II, including my grandfather, I can’t imagine a larger slap in the face. I’ve seen this lie repeated on various anti-Masonic and Christian websites. Incidentally, on fundamentalist Islamic websites, I’ve seen Freemasonry referred to as Jewish-Zionist front. Amusing when you consider I have witnessed Christian, Islamic and Jewish brethren sitting side-by-side within the Lodge.

In fact, on Hitler’s rise to power, the ten Grand Lodges of Germany were dissolved. Many among the prominent dignitaries and members of the Order were sent to concentration camps. The Gestapo seized the membership lists of the Grand Lodges and looted their libraries and collections of Masonic objects. Much of this loot was then exhibited in an “Anti-Masonic Exposition” inaugurated in 1937 by Herr Dr. Joseph Goebbels in Munich.

Hitler’s hatred of Freemasonry is clearly documented. In 1931 Nazi party officials were given a “Guide and Instructional Letter” that stated, “The natural hostility of the peasant against the Jews, and his hostility against the Freemason as a servant of the Jew, must be worked up to a frenzy.”

To say Freemasonry was behind the Third Reich is tantamount to saying Judaism was behind the Third Reich.

What a hateful and offensive piece of stupidity.

“If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” — Benjamin Franklin, writer, humorist, ambassador, inventor and Freemason

The following is a short list of famous Freemasons for your perusal:
  • Sir John A. MacDonald
  • George Washington
  • Giovanni Giacomo Casanova
  • Sir Richard Burton
  • Tommy Douglas
  • Harry Houdini
  • Mark Twain
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Voltaire
  • Mozart
  • Robert Service
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Sir Alexander Fleming
  • Salvador Allende
  • John Glenn
  • Harry S. Truman
  • Peter Sellers
And so many, many more....

The following is a short list of groups and people opposed to Freemasonry:
  • Pope Benedict the XVI and the Roman Catholic Church
  • Pat Robertson and the Christian Coalition of America
  • Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich
  • Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority
  • The Palestinian Islamist Movement Hamas
  • Ted Haggard and the National Association of Evangelicals
Interesting. Compare and contrast. I showed these same lists to a Christian once. He looked it over, looked at me, and declared, “Well, I’m on the list with the Lord.... I’m on the list for paradise!”

Christians say my cat can’t go to heaven. He has no soul therefore he cannot find salvation through Christ. It’s an idea I chose for the title because I find it indicative of the entire faith. It reminds me of something I read once, and maybe it’s the most appropriate way to close…

“No heaven will Heaven ever be,
If my cats are not there to welcome me.” — Epitaph in a pet cemetery

© James Stewart 2009

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monkey burglarizes Texas gardening store

This just in to our All-Monkey News Network news desk:

Owners of a Richardson, Texas gardening store were burglarized by a monkey, surveillance video shows.

"You can see the back legs, the front arms and the white head, co-owner Jerry Duncan said while pointing the monkey out in the dimly-lit video.

About 40 plants were missing, and pieces of concrete were shattered in the parking lot, according to primate-pun-riddled news reports.

"They need to train him better," Duncan said. "Especially if he is going to do the big jobs."

Image: The alleged monkey in his getaway car.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

'For the children': Shriner Potentate arrested on child porn charges

Shriner and former Potentate Ray Highsmith, of Khedive Shrine Temple in Hampton Roads, Virginia, is in federal custody after agents discovered over 1,000 images on his computer of child pornography, some of it showing acts of sadomasochism, NewsChannel 3 has reported.

Highsmith admitted to having not one, but two memberships to an online child porn site.

Highsmith, 68, was first arrested in 2007, and was ordered by a judge to keep away from the Internet and from anyone under the age of 18. Apparently he couldn't keep his fingers off his keyboard. When he didn't show up for a court hearing, he was re-arrested, and investigators found his new stash of kiddie porn on his computer.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Masonic racism in Georgia

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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