"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Illinois Attacks on Masonic Halls Part of Growing Anti-Masonic Vandalism

by Christopher Hodapp

Police in Springfield, Illinois are asking the public for leads and information in connection with recent multiple attacks on Illinois Masonic properties. (Click the image above to enlarge.) The Grand Lodge of Illinois office, the Springfield Masonic Center and the Ansar Shriners all had their glass entry doors smashed last week, and similar damage occurred at the Masonic temple in Decatur, Illinois last year.

Police are seeking a person of interest in the attacks who was seen on security camera footage from the Shrine. A member at the temple identified the suspect as Howard Lovelady, who is possibly from Decatur, Illinois. The suspect is a black male, short to medium length hair, with a a goatee/beard. He was driving a 2000's silver or gray Pontiac Grand Prix. 

There seems to have been an increase in deliberate vandalism against Masonic sites as of late. 

Meanwhile, a notorious, headline-seeking preacher in Tennessee named Pastor Gary Locke regularly urges his audiences to "destroy everything Masonic," and has unfortunately gotten increased airplay online in the last few weeks. Most recently, Locke held a highly publicized book burning event in Florida, consigning Harry Potter and Twilight books to the flames (along with, by the way, Fahrenheit 451, with absolutely no sense of irony whatsoever). Declaring Freemasonry to be Satanic ("Paging Mister Taxil. Mister Leo Taxil, please pick up a white courtesy phone."), his anti-Masonic rant from that event has been endlessly forwarded around Tweetbook, Snaptwit and Facespace.  Any attempt to block his more incendiary anti-Masonic diatribes from social media simply becomes more fodder to be shoveled by Locke to his followers as "proof" that us cloven-hooved Satanic Masons have superpowers that must be vanquished. 

Unfortunately, too many Masons online have failed to remember the very first charge given to the new Entered Apprentice in most jurisdictions:

"In your outward demeanor, be particularly careful to avoid censure or reproach. Let no interest, favor or prejudice, bias your integrity, or influence you to be guilty of a dishonorable action. . . [N]either are you to suffer your zeal for the institution to lead you into argument with those who, through ignorance, may ridicule it."

Anti-social media brings out the very worst in everyone it seems, and there are entirely too many Masons who are hurling insults and decidedly un-Masonic language at Locke and his followers. That type of public language and online behavior is exactly why grand lodges around the world have been adopting codes of online conduct for their members.


  1. Interesting - the charge cited above is NOT given in California. Not arguing for or against, just noting with interest.

    1. Odd, as it appears in both Preston and Webb's texts, as well as Sickels' Ahiman Rezon' in the mid-1800s. Don't know why California would have eliminated it. Is it in California's Monitor possibly?

  2. The best way to handle this is to ignore it and to be extra vigilant about our Masonic internet sites.

  3. As an example of what ius out there, thius morning at thde Unitarian Church in Duxbury, Massachusetts:

    To First Parish Church Members and Friends,
    I would like to address the obscene disruption that occurred during worship today. For those of you who have not heard, a naked man appeared on screen where he was visible on Zoom and in the sanctuary. The image was graphic and extremely disturbing.

    After worship, Michael Gardner and I reported the incident to the Duxbury police. I expect to talk to a detective sometime this week. In the meantime we will be checking to see what identifying details can be gathered from the Zoom recording. I have also been in touch with the UUA for their assistance.

    I will work with our Worship/Music and Safe Congregations committees to assure that an incident like this never happens again.

    If you have any questions or would like to discuss this, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

    Jim Hamilton
    Governing Board President


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