Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The handshake of expulsion

The following is by Bro. Derek Gordon, a young Freemason from Arkansas. The Grand Lodge of Arkansas has charged him with unmasonic conduct. If "convicted," he will be expelled from Masonry.

The Handshake of Expulsion: The true story about “un-Masonic conduct*” of a respectful brother

by Brother Derek Gordon Last updated on: April 5, 2010

After much reflection, I have concluded that the true crime for which the Grand Master wishes to accuse me has come to light. And it is a violation that I take no shame in committing.

As my brethren around the world have now seen, I did not provide secret information on the Sebastian Lodge website but used information from other Arkansas lodges and as well as the Grand Lodge itself. The Grand Master’s claim has been defeated by the massive trove of evidence gathered by many Masonic brethren in support of me.

As I was denied my right to due process, I am left to my own devices to determine why on this great earth and in this great country I would considered for expulsion. And then it occurred to me…what my violation will be. In a conversation with Grand Master Warren Martin I spoke of attending lodges in the presence of Black Masons. I openly shared my reflection of the warm conversations we had. The lodges were not in Arkansas but rather in two other states as well as overseas. All were mainstream lodges. I have not been invited to a Prince Hall Lodge; however, because of this process I can say that I would be honored to do so.

I realize now that I overlooked one of the most obvious arguments. I gave the Masonic handshake (and another common sign of brotherly affection) to well over twenty Black Masons. I have sat in lodge with at least thirty Black Masons. I have spoken with a Prior Grand Master of a Prince Hall jurisdiction. I have long-running Masonic relations with several Black Masons who served with me in the United States Air Force. They are some of my dearest friends and brothers.

The sole accusation poised is based upon entry 4.0.61 in the digest. That states: "The... use of cipher rituals of the three Symbolic Degrees of Masonry is forbidden; and ANY Mason who shall hereafter... use anything purporting to be a cipher ritual or written, printed or otherwise delineated ritual or exposition of Masonry shall be expelled from Masonry."

There is only one possible way to accuse me of violating the above quote from my Notice of Trial letter. Simply put, I would have to be accused of knowingly sitting in a lodge, mainstream aside, with Black Masons. And, being that the brothers were Black Masons, it is reasonable in the eyes of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas to assume those men must be Prince Hall. I must humbly point out to the Arkansas leadership that Black men can be Mainstream or Prince Hall; Arkansas tends to frown upon certain races, religions, or origins, yet this does not mean that all other Mainstream jurisdictions must act as a unified bigot.

These United States have stood in solidarity against tyranny for greater than nearly 250 years. The Civil War and great Abraham Lincoln brought emancipation to all nearly 150 years ago. Just over 50 years ago, Arkansas was at the epicenter of the death of segregation when “The Little Rock 9” entered a high school for white students supported by the 101st Airborne Division. How can it be that Arkansas is one of the three states that still forces segregation of the brotherhood? Why is this tolerated? Who will stand up to such hatred?

Let your voices be heard along with mine. Tell Grand Master Martin Warren and Grand Secretary James Weatherall what is truly “for the good of the Masonry**.” As the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., called out, “Let freedom ring,” and this time let it be from the capital of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Whether the Grand Master still believes that my expulsion is “for the good of the Masonry” is for him to determine. In my heart and with a clear conscience, I can say that I will always hold the values of the Free Masons... the truly “free” Masons.

* I stand accused of “un-Masonic conduct” for reasons that the Grand Lodge of Arkansas refused to delineate. The Grand Inquisitor (Chairmen, Grand Lodge Trial Commission), John Penrod, was kind enough to inform me that I must determine the causes of action the Grand Lodge of Arkansas has against me. And, the Inquisitor refused to provide materials that might shed light on such issues.

** The Grand Master assured the Worshipful Master and other brethren of Sebastian Lodge that revoking its charter, and my expulsion, was "for the good of Masonry." I would disagree with that statement; but, I'm unworthy in their eyes of being a Mason.

Added note: The phone call discussing Prince Hall Masonry with the Grand Master of Arkansas took place on Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 at 8:23P.M. CST.

— Bro. Derek Gordon

Images: Bro. Derek Gordon

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  1. There does appear to be movements in "southern states" to return to the "old" ways. See this article in the Christian Science Monitor:

  2. How can we as Masons continue to abide by being associated with this type of behavior?

  3. Bro. Castaneda,

    I think the reason many, perhaps most, Masons continue to accept this sort of behavior from racist grand lodges is that they are afraid to make waves, afraid to make their true feelings known, because of either a misguided understanding of their true obligations, or out of a very real fear of becoming a target of their grand lodge themselves.

    — W.S.

  4. Bro. W.S., there is much truth to what you say about the reason for the brethren seemingly standing idly by while another Master Mason is sent to the slaughter.

    I have heard many encouraging words from others regarding how one had been unjustly wronged by the GL of AR and how they should all stand together to put a stop to the actions of the officers. But, when it comes down to real action, they fall back to their safe places on the sidelines and shake their heads and cluck their tongues at the spectacle before them.

    A good, though small, few went so far as to circulate and sign a petition in support of an accused Brother, but I never saw it go any further. An even smaller number went so far as to throw their dues cards down in disgust, vowing never to set foot again in a place that condones the actions of the GL officers.

    By and large, though, most of the good brothers are in fear for not only their memberships and position in the Fraternity, but in fear also of their lodge having its charter arrested and the assets of the lodge seized by the GL, a very real possibility in the state of AR as well as other locales. Just look at what Halcyon Lodge in Ohio has gone through these past years.

    The loss of the property so long held by the many Brothers of the community wherein their lodge resides and the possibility of there never again being a place to meet upon the square frightens them to the core.

  5. Yes, look at what Halcyon lodge went through.
    racism, cronyism, threats, slander and character assasination. We stood tall in the saddle and took on the Grand Lodge and their superiority complex and and were found innocent by a neutral court of Law.

    All it does take is a few good men to stand up to tyranny, believe in themselves and the Revolutionary Spirit of the 1700's Freemasonry that concieved America may be revived again here on American soil. This Oligation "knife to throat" mentality is what makes slaves, not Free thinking men!

  6. Stand up and tell the GL of Arkansas that they can have their charter, it's worthless anyway.

    None of these GL's own a damned thing. The sooner that is realized the better.

  7. We support your effort bro. Gordon. We as Masons must embrace "EVENLIFE"

  8. 2 gases were mixed together in a container. When some lime water was added to the container and it was shaken, the lime water turned milky. A slow-burning taper burst into flame when placed into the container. Which 2 gases do you think were mixed together in the container, and why?

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