Monday, September 14, 2009

Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol'

Dan Brown's new novel, The Lost Symbol, hits bookstores tomorrow. Will the wait have been worth it?

He'll sell a zillion copies, probably the first day.

What will be the effect on Freemasonry? Will there be an upswing in people wanting to become Masons? Will there be a groundswell of opposition to Masonry by conspiracy theorists and fundamentalist Christians? What will be the effect on the world?

For fun, go take a look at the "leaked" notes by Dan Brown which our sister site posted over THREE YEARS ago, in anticipation of this book, whose working title, we all thought, was "The Solomon Key."

Tomorrow we'll know if it was all smoke and mirrors.

| | | | | |

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Homophobic Florida mega-church boots Pepsi

Who needs comedians when you have Christian mega-churches to make fun of?

Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Florida, is making news today after removing 10 Pepsi vending machines from its property.

Why did they do that?

"We would like to send them a message," said Terry Kemple, president of the Community Issues Council that is organizing a boycott of Pepsi products because he says it "advocates the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle."

But that doesn't mean the church will become un-caffeinated.

They've brought in Coca-Cola vending machines.

The Coca-Cola Company is as supportive of gay rights as Pepsi is, but apparently facts don't get in the way of a good publicity stunt masquerading as a protest against "diminishment of the ability of Christians to speak what the Bible says."

Thou shalt not drink Pepsi. Yeah, I read that in the Bible.

| | | | | |

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Jester Ronald Tills sentenced to 18 months, fined $25,000, for human trafficking

In a recent Huffington Post article about human trafficking, Robin Sax, a former district attorney, writes:
Trafficking happens right here at home, not just in poor places by "pimps." Surprisingly, it often involves people you would never expect. For example, just last week, Ronald H. Tills, 74, a retired US State Supreme Court Justice, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on a felony charge of transporting prostitutes across state lines.

In this case, Tills was trafficking a young illegal woman to serve as a prostitute at a convention he was attending. A human trafficking task force investigated the case. Its members included investigators from the FBI, U. S. Border Patrol, and U. S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as well as the Erie and Niagara County sheriff's offices. But this never really made the news — few people heard about it.

As I pondered the case, I couldn't help wondering why most of us hadn't heard about it. Perhaps there were other pressing news bits, but what is more pressing then protecting children and other victims of sexual assault? Is it more important to know whether Dr. Conrad Murray is going to be charged for manslaughter in Michael Jackson's death? Or is it more likely that human trafficking is a crime we simply don't understand — mostly because of a simple problem with semantics?
Former New York State Supreme Court Judge is also a Mason. He was convicted of violating the federal Mann Act by transporting a woman across state lines to have sex with his fellow Masons, all members of the Shrine subgroup the Royal Order of Jesters.

At one time, according to the Buffalo News (as posted by New York attorney Scott H. Greenfield on his blog Simple Justice, "Tills had the reputation as one of the toughest sentencing judges in Western New York during his ten years as a State Supreme Court judge." He was particular hard when sentencing... wait for it... prostitutes!

Former judge and former brother Tills was sentenced in August to 18 months in federal prison and a $25,000 fine. The woman he took with him to a Jester meeting, called a "book," was an illegal alien who could barely speak English.

Tills is a recovering alcoholic and suffers from heart disease. In his statement before Judge William Skretny, Tills talked about the "possible harm" he caused his victims.

"I pray for their help and recovery if there is any damage, and I pray for their forgiveness."

Tills had also once served as a State Assemblyman and head trustee of his church.

| | | | | |

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Georgia edict forbids negative references to race of petitioners

On August 19, 2009, the Grand Lodge of Georgia finally moved into the 20th century. (Yes, I know it's the 21st century now.)

Grand Master of Masons in Georgia J. Edward Jennings issued Edict 2009-1, which states, after the whereas stuff, "Be it resolved [t]hat no negative reference be made by any officer or member of any Lodge chartered under the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, Free and Accepted Masons, in reference to a petitioner’s race, color or national origin, who believe in a Supreme Being, during any Lodge Communication, conferral of degrees, proficiency practice or proficiency examination...."

Image: Grand Master of Masons in Georgia J. Edward Jennings

| | | | | |