Sunday, May 30, 2010

Living with War: Memorial Day 2010

For the past four Memorial Days [2006, 2007, 2008, 2009], I've honored the memory of those who have died in the War in Iraq, or whatever we're calling that quagmire this year, when we talk about it at all.

Since last Memorial Day, the number of American soldiers who have lost their lives in Iraq has grown from 4,300 to 4,400. Another 100 men and women have died; another 100 families will never see their loved ones again. Officially, 32,000 have been wounded, and God knows how many more are emotionally scarred from the insanity they have lived through.

For what? For nothing I can see.

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad, I'm thankful, and I'm proud there are American men and women in the U.S. armed services protecting us.

I just don't see how their sacrifices in Iraq are at all protecting America's shores or America's interests. People in the Middle East have been warring amongst themselves for thousands of years. That hasn't changed in the seven years American troops have been there. 4,400 American deaths haven't changed that.

Weapons of mass destruction were never shown to exist in Iraq, and the terrorists who hijacked the planes in 2001 weren't from Iraq.

The Iraq War has never been properly explained or justified.

As I've said for the past five years: Bring 'em home, now!

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Is Freemasonry 'just as good' as Christianity?

The Burning Taper received the following email a few days ago. Anyone like to take a shot at answering this woman's questions?
sir, as a Christian I've always been troubled with the mason being "yoked"as it would seem to non believers, which (to me) would give the non believer the inference that his religion is just as good as Christianity. The "all roads lead to the top" line would sorta fit in that category also would it not?.. Unless Jesus lied, His way is the only way to heaven, so why would the Craft allow the impression that there's more than one way? As such, how could a Christian remain in the bond with non believers without abandoning his stance on wittnessing,contending for the faith etc.?? curious.Appreciate any response. Because late in life my uncles ,for instance, finally had great difficulty remaining in the lodge ,especially, after their dedication to the church/knowledge increased.
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

'One battle over, but the war continues,' by Bro. Derek Gordon

The following is reprinted from the website of Bro. Derek Gordon.

One Battle Is Over, But The War Is Not

A great man and Mason, who was overshadowed by the three-term Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, stated: “Carry the battle to them. Don’t let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don’t ever apologize for anything.” Harry S. Truman, a native of Missouri, was not from a political elite family. In fact, this pivotal man came from a farming family. He achieved an end to World War II after approving the use of two nuclear weapons on the Rising Sun of the Empire of Japan.

Many of us don’t realize how much power we have by defying the status quo and standing up for what’s right in life. We come from all sorts of families; I grew up in a blue-collar household. Certainly, we don’t grow up thinking we can drop a figurative nuclear weapon. But, there are times when each one of us must stand strong to shine that bright spotlight on those harming what we all stand for.

However, when we are leading a resistance, it is futile to continue a long battle that will continue to degrade into a slanderous quagmire. There would be nothing to gain from doing so. And, it would hinder one’s own desire to introduce change of disgusting policies designed to destroy those who defy the corrupt leaders; and it would bring about a notion that the fight isn’t as righteous as it truly is.

I stood down against the Arkansas Oligarchy in an effort to allow change to foster. Unfortunately for the time being, the reaction from the leadership is to portray me as a liar, a cheat, and a scoundrel. Some will believe their shallow attempts, but many will see the holes in the points they make. Every comment I made I offered proof. Each comment their cronies made have been backed up with more libelous statements.

A post below discussed that I resigned and did not expel myself. Accusations are rampant that I hid information. I would appreciate it if the oligarchy would provide the documentation. Further, I requested written documentation from the U.S.P.S. that there were not attempted deliveries between April 14th, 2010 and May 3rd, 2010. A phone call confirmed this; however, I feel such documentation added atop my continually-growing pile would be a wonderful addition.

The war against the evil lurking at 700 Scott St. in Little Rock will continue as the deep-rooted unprofessional ideologies are perpetuated by the leadership. There are many more abused Arkansas Masons who are just realizing how important it is to speak out. Once again, I point to the article detailing my life as a Mason in Arkansas and the provided phone logs. I’ve tried civil and professional means and have continually offered to let the issue end. I tell you, Grand Lodge, you still are playing a game that you miscalculate and under appreciate the importance of. I challenge those in charge to meet on neutral ground to end the matter professionally, orderly, and most important, as Masons “meeting on the level” would expect.

“It is important to fight, and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay, though never quite eradicated.” — Albus Dumbledore; J.K. Rowling, The Half-blood Prince

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Follow the travelling man across the USA

This is a message from Bro. Darrell Waddell.

One of our Louisville, Kentucky brothers has embarked on a tremendous journey across the United States! Iraq War Veteran Troy Yocum, who is an Entered Apprentice Mason with Jeffersontown Lodge #774, F&AM is hiking 7,000 miles across America, banging his drum and sounding the call for $5 million to help military families in need. With "Emmie the Super Dog" by his side, he took the first step of his 16-month quest on April 17, 2010. Tonight he is near Pittsboro, Indiana.

Here is the link to follow his travels. I'm sure he could use some Masonic encouragement. He's definitely a man on a mission.

Darrell G. Waddell
Daylight Lodge #760 F&AM
Kosair Shrine Temple A.A.O.N.M.S.
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Monday, May 10, 2010

Not your grandfather's Freemasonry

Bro. Fred Milliken has written an excellent piece titled "I Resign."

Though the information presented about Bro. Derek Gordon's ordeal with the Grand Lodge of Arkansas is interesting and enlightening, the real meat to the article is Bro. Fred's summary:
  1. This is no longer your Grandfather’s Chevrolet... er, Grand Lodge. Freemasonry must stop living in the past as West Virginia and Arkansas are doing. Instead it needs to adapt to the mores of present day society.

  2. Running a closed society that allows no freedom of expression and muzzles its members is antithetical to Freemasonry of the Enlightenment.

  3. Operating a society with laws, rules and regulations that conflict with civil law and civil rights is not only not in the spirit of Freemasonry but also blatantly immoral.

  4. An organization in this day and age, especially a nonprofit volunteer one, cannot realistically force a person against his will to remain a member. It should be the option of any Freemason to simply resign from any Grand Lodge.

  5. Making up silly and vindictive rules such as prohibiting members from using the Internet or any electronic means to discuss Freemasonry is unbecoming and un-Masonic.

  6. It’s been almost 50 years since Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement transformed America. It is past time that Grand Lodges reflected that change.

  7. It is painfully evident that Grand Lodges can no longer operate as they have done in the past. This is the 21st century with new ways of looking at different lifestyles and morality. Grand Lodges are now in a public-private partnership yet they refuse to recognize their duty to civil law and their new commitments. Failure of Freemasonry to operate within the framework of present day moral, societal and political civil practice could be very costly to the Craft.
Bro. Fred makes some excellent points. Read the entire article.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Arkansas Grand Lodge resignations confirmed

Below is a recent email from Doug Simmons, Past Deputy Grand Lecturer and Past District Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas, published with his permission:
Your post referencing the resignations of the Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer of the Arkansas Grand Lodge has all the trappings of the best of the "Tabloids," taken completely out of context, and devoid of any facts researched before publication...

Grand Secretary James Weatherall has been carefully planning his retirement for the last 4 years, due to culminate in the Spring of this year;

Grand Treasurer Garry Jones has been urged by his doctors to permanently curtail his activities due to on-going and increasing health problems. Knowing he would not want his medical history discussed with strangers, I will not elaborate.

I have known both of these honorable gentlemen for over 20 years, and have spent many, many hours in pleasant conversations with both of them, on personal and Masonic levels. Their resignations have nothing whatever to do with any current dealings of the Grand Lodge or any of its officers.

Doug Simmons
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Monday, May 03, 2010

Arkansas Grand Lodge officers said to have resigned

Update, May 5: The resignations of Bros. Weatherall and Jones have been confirmed by an officer of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas. I am awaiting his permission to publish his email on The Taper.

The Masonic backchannels are buzzing with unconfirmed reports that the Grand Secretary James Weatherall and Grand Treasurer Gary Jones of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas, F&AM, both tendered their resignations on Saturday, effective June 1. Both men have served in their respective capacities since the early 1990s, my sources say.

If true, this is a most interesting development in light of the recent brouhaha over the Prince Hall license plates, the upcoming trial of Bro. Derek Gordon, and the many stories over the years that have alleged a general sense of vindictiveness and overt racism in the Grand Lodge.

If you have more information or official documentation, please post it in the comments section, or contact The Burning Taper via email. Your identity will not be disclosed.

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