Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November 17, 2009 - DEPUTY OF THE YEAR & "INJUSTICE"

I'm coming down to the end of my term as Worshipful Master, but I still have a lot on my plate before I say "sine die." In a way, I feel like I'm now sprinting for the finish line. I still have a final Festive board to conduct (featuring a roast of our District Deputies), one last fund raiser, a Past Master's Degree, our year end "Festivus" party, and our final Stated Communications where we will elect new officers for 2010.

This past Saturday, we held a special dinner at the Lodge honoring the Pinellas Country Sheriff's Department "Deputy of the Year." This is the fifth consecutive year we have made this presentation. For details, click HERE. At the end of the presentation, we gave a standing ovation to the Deputy and his immediate superiors who were in attendance. I think they appreciated this gesture more than any plaque or gift we could have presented. To them, it was nice to know their efforts were appreciated and they had the support of the community.

Next - Last night (Monday), we held our Stated Communications for the month. We're still very fortunate to have a steady stream of petitions coming into the Lodge, which will keep us busy well into 2010. Aside from this, I felt it was necessary to express to the Craft how I felt about injustice. Consequently, I delivered the following lecture as part of my opening comments:


There is trouble brewing in Arkansas where Nettleton Lodge No. 657 had its charter arrested for some seemingly strange reasons. I am told this has resulted in a lawsuit against the Grand Lodge of Arkansas. This means there is now litigation pending in West Virginia, Virginia, and now Arkansas. The litigation in Georgia was recently dropped after the Grand Lodge reinstated the charter of a Craft Lodge. All of this is indeed unfortunate and an embarrassment to the fraternity as we certainly do not want bad publicity. But these extreme measures are taken because an injustice has been committed and our fraternity cannot seem to find a way to correct it.

I am often asked about the litigation between Jud Hiscutt, our past Junior Warden, and Pearl of the West Lodge No. 146 and the Grand Lodge of Florida. As you know, he was suspended indefinitely last year by Pearl of the West, and his appeal was denied by the Jurisprudence Committee of the Grand Lodge of Florida. To my knowledge, his litigation against Pearl of the West and the Grand Lodge of Florida is still going forward and in all likelihood will turn into another ugly stain on our fraternity.

Having studied this case closely, I can sympathize with Jud's position and would probably do the same if I was in his shoes. In my opinion, an injustice was committed against a good man and Mason, a 50 year Mason and twice a Past Master, and this disturbs me greatly as many of you know.

There are those Brothers in our jurisdiction who believe I should let it go; to let bygones be bygones, and move forward. I'm sorry Brothers, but because I was so close to this issue, I cannot. An injustice was committed and I cannot let it go, for this could happen to any one of us sitting here in this room. and it must never happen again. This is like saying, let's forget about the murders committed by John Allen Muhammed of Virginia seven years ago. "Come on, let's move along." I'm sorry, I cannot. An injustice is an injustice, regardless of the scale.

But our culture suffers from a short attention span. We have no sense of history. We forget too easily and politicians count on this.

How can we have harmony with injustice in our midst? The answer is: we cannot.

As long as this injustice is applied to Jud Hiscutt, I for one, will not forget.

For the younger members present, here is one bit of Masonic Education for you: if there is any severe differences between two Brothers, such as members who are quarreling, one or both Brothers should excuse themselves from attending the Lodge meeting, as their differences should not interfere with the harmony of the Lodge.

As for me, I have no intention of setting foot at Pearl of the West until this matter is properly disposed of. My presence there, or their presence here would only disrupt the harmony of the Lodges.

Thank you.

Frankly, I do not know how this was received by the Craft, but I thought it was important they understood where I stand on certain issues.

Just five more events before I call it a day.

Stay tuned!

Until next time.

All the Best,
Dunedin Lodge No. 192 F.& A.M.
Dunedin, FL, USA
"For the Good of the Order"

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