Saturday, March 28, 2009

Will the GL of Minnesota Shun West Virginia Over PGM Haas?

News is slowly trickling out about the annual communications of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota yesterday and today. Both the Millenniel Mason blog's Twitter feed, as well as a posting by Philalethes Society editor Nelson King are implying that the GL of Minnesota is investigating the notion of withdrawing recognition of the Grand Lodge of West Virginia over WV's suspension of MWBro. Frank Haas, PGM, and its rescinding of the so-called Wheeling Reforms.

The civil case brought by Haas against the Grand Lodge of West Virginia has reportedly cost the GL on the order of $100,000 so far, which has included their hiring of a private investigator.

If all of this is new to you, here are previous entries:

West Virginia Past Grand Master Expelled

West Virginia: The Continuing Crisis

West Virginia: The Saga Continues

West Virginia: The Continuing Crisis II

New York, Meet West Virginia

New Twists in West Virginia


I honestly wish both sides would blink on this and get back to the work of making Freemasonry in West Virginia the very best it can be. Nothing good can come from this continued standoff.



UPDATE:

Nick at the Millennial Mason explains Minnesota's actions a little better:

I have looked at the different messages throughout the Internet, and I would like to clear up some miscommunications about the motion (which carried) concerning the Grand Lodge of West Virginia. The motion does not revoke recognition immediately nor even at the next Communication. The motion charges the External Relations committee to look into the regularity of the Masonic practices of the Grand Lodge of West Virginia and to report its findings to the Craft next year. At that time, it is possible that the Grand Lodge will vote on withdrawing recognition of the Grand Lodge of West Virginia.




The resolution reads:

Whereas the Grand Lodge of West Virginia has arbitarily and recklessly ignored the will of their brethren, expelling a Past Grand Master without trial or redress, violating the ancient customs and tenets of our Fraternity and bring shame and disrepute on all Masons and Freemasonry, and

Whereas they have been named in a civil suit further bringing the Craft into public disrepute and score,

Therefore be it resolved that the Grand Lodge of Minnesota expresses its concern over these actions and wil consider suspending recognition of the Grand Lodge of West Virginia upon the recommendation of our External Relations Committee at our next Annual Communication in 2010 if there is not correction of these actions and a renewed willingness by the Grand Lodge of West Virginia to enter into the modern fraternity of Freemasonry.

11 comments:

The Palmetto Bug said...

Something about "gasoline on a fire" keeps popping into my head.

Bo Cline said...

We're not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.

Mark Koltko-Rivera said...

Having followed many of your posts on this matter over the course of over a year, I am glad to see some Masonic jurisdiction taking some action here. The abuses in this case have been astonishing, and have cast a nasty pall over the reputation of Freemasonry. Perhaps this action by the GL MN will help further the principle that just because a GL possesses absolute power, that does not mean it should exercise that power like an absolute monarch.

Chris Hodapp said...

Here's my wish list:

• I wish the Grand Master of West Virginia would blink on this, reinstate Frank Haas (or at least give the man a Masonic trial, and promise to bring the Wheeling Reforms to a proper floor vote at last. Can a GM (at least in WV) wipe out a vote taken by the assembled GL with the stroke of his pen? Apparently, because it was done. Should he? What does that say about the worth of a Mason's vote in his own grand lodge? None of this is good—expulsions without trial, nullified votes, or civil lawsuits. And when the reforms that were passed under Haas by a vote of the grand lodge are looked at, eradicating them by edict just looks shabby. Or petty. Or worse.

• Sorry, but I wish Minnesota would stay out of this. Otherwise, they are open to the rest of the Masonic world poking into its business. They didn't like it when the northeast GLs ganged up on them over the Grand Lodge de France issue back in 2002, and they claimed their sovereignty was violated. A little sauce for your gander now?

• I wish Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky and Virginia GMs would whisper some "quiet" counsel in the ear of the GM of West Virginia, as concerned friends and neighbors, to bring this embarrassing matter to a close. It affects them, because it is their members who visit WV and vice versa. And your next door neighbor can say things to you that the guy across town probably shouldn't.

• I wish the brethren of West Virginia would respectfully let their GL officers that they would rather see their donated money spent on something more productive than $100,000 worth of legal fees and a private dick snooping around to discover who's been posting messages on the Masonic Central website. Isn't spending GL money to literally spy on members going over the top? And I would hate to be on the floor of GL the next time they ask for a per capita increase.

tim shea said...

You forgot to ask for world peace.

Chris Hodapp said...

Very well.
I wish for whirled peas.

Magus Masonica said...

A question that I have is doesn't PGM Haas have any friends? In all those years he spent in the system you think he would be able to take enough bodies with him to start something new.

It would be wonderful if they organized under the banner of Le Droit Humaine and practiced true equality. Or, even a "time immemorial" independent lodge.

What makes anyone think that if Haas where reinstated that plenty of bad blood and negative energy
would be filled to the brim?

West Virginia is one of the most economically depressed areas in all of North America let alone the USA. The fact that either side has spent a large sum of money given the state of Appalachia is repugnant.

S&F,
BC

Chris Hodapp said...

No, what would be wonderful would be if they solved the internal problem. Splintering into new, tiny groups is not the solution.

And the problem is larger than just reinstating Haas. The issue of the grand lodge vote being declared null and void is huge.

47th Problem of Euclid said...

As a relatively new mason, I struggle with how I can express my unhappiness with the situation in West Virginia without overstepping my authority and jurisdiction, and embarrassing my blue lodge and Grand Lodge.

I guess that's why I've never blogged about it even though it really upsets me. To a profane, the explicit ban on African-Americans becoming West Virginia masons is the most offensive part, but to a mason, the dismissing of a PGM without trial, the spying on other masons, and the incredible waste of money and antipathy offend my sensibilities as well. Any of those behaviors should elicit censure from masons, but it is important for me to stay within the bounds of my obligations, and that is what I struggle with.

Chris Hodapp said...

I knew I shouldn't have given Magus another chance in here. Two posts and the insults and name calling start again.

It won't happen again.

I.M. said...

Brother Hodapp,

Thank you for allowing free conversation on your blog about our situation in West Virginia.

Bug: Our Grand Lodge seems to have an infinite supply of gasoline.

Bo: There never was an idyllic "Kansas" for West Virginia Masons - not in recent memory.

Bro. Rivera: you hit the nail on the head.

Bro. Hodapp: Respectfully I say that Minn.'s action is welcome. I have heard from all over the world that Grand Lodges were nothing less than disgusted with the cumulative actions of the GL of WV. The closer GL's are a bit like family to us, sometimes it takes a distant friend to step in and straighten you out. Either way, it took a massive amount of courage and intestinal fortitude to do what our brothers in Minn. did. They realize that the events in West Virginia set a dangerous precedence for every Grand Lodge.

We have tried to save ourselves. We have no voice in the Grand Lodge- that much was proven several years ago with the Wheeling Reforms and the pattern continues. We can not speak out in support of the Reforms or suggest change lest we face the same fate as Bro. Richard Bosley or Justin Blankenship. NONE of this is going to change, we are not capable of changing it with a vote, we have tried. We have never asked for outside help, but I will tell you this, we need it.
[ ] /\ ..

I.M. Hiram