Why? C.A.U.S.E. That’s Why

Arkansas is Imploding

Awhile back the Mainstream Grand Master of Arkansas visited the Grand Session of Arizona.  However, he refused to attend any of the ceremonies or meetings of the Grand Session because there were Black PHA Masons present in a tyled Lodge.  He only attended the Grand Session dinner because it was not a tyled session.

I passed on this story when it came out because I had just released the Derek Gordon story not long before and I didn’t want to just sit back and constantly nitpick by taking pot shots at Arkansas every other week.  However further developments in the whole Arkansas approach to Freemasonry compels me to once again comment on the situation in that state. At the same time nobody seems to care or think it applicable to their Freemasonry.  Consequently Arkansas Mainstream keeps on imploding while the rest of us in Freemasonry have no comment nor take any action. So once again The Beehive will report what is happening in hopes that someday, someone will think it important enough to do something.

The Arizona story was published by that fine Masonic blogger “The Burning Taper” in his piece “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?” and here is what he had to say on the subject.

It seems many rank-and-file Masons, in many locales, are becoming more and more fed up with the actions of Grand Lodge leaders.

This short article was sent to The Burning Taper recently. The author wishes to remain anonymous, for fear of retribution for reporting events and expressing his opinion.

Arizona Grand Lodge Annual Communication began with the Royal Banquet on Wednesday evening, June 2, 2010 prior to the official opening of proceedings on Thursday morning.

The Head Table consisted of Arizona Grand Lodge officers and their wives. Seated near them were the visiting dignitaries representing various Masonic grand lodge jurisdictions. There were 13 listed on the list handed out to all attending members. Most were “line” officers representing their State or jurisdiction with two currently sitting grand masters.

The two grand masters attending the Banquet were Most Worshipful Martin E. Warren, Grand Master of Masons from the Grand Lodge, F&AM of Arkansas, and Most Worshipful Lewis R. Brent, Grand Master of Masons from the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Arizona. They were not seated at the same table.

When the Grand Lodge opened in Due Form in the 3rd Degree on Thursday morning the MW Lewis R. Brent from Prince Hall was present, but the MW Martin E. Warren was conspicuously absent. He was not seen in any of the subsequent tiled lodge meetings all day Friday or on Saturday.

It is the custom of the Grand Lodge that, when a pedestal officer (Grand Master, Senior Warden and Junior Warden) leave their stations during the proceedings that they place the Jewel of their office on one of the brothers in the room.

Several times during the proceedings on both days, the Senior Grand Warden Brook Cunningbrook chose a highly decorated Phoenix policeman, who is a member of one of the Arizona F&AM lodges and had been shot in the line of duty, to sit high on the chair located on a pedestal in the West to replace him temporarily. He is black.

There were two other black members of Arizona F&AM lodges present and the Senior Grand Warden had them also replace him in the West. It is quite an honor to do this.

In this case, in my opinion anyway, it was kind of an “in your face” type of gesture to some of the members of the Arizona jurisdiction who have moved to Arizona from one of the 10 states that do not recognize Prince Hall and have complained about having to sit in a lodge with a black man. Whether it was directed towards the Grand Master of Arkansas, I can only speculate.

What’s interesting about this is that the Grand Master of Arkansas spent the money to fly to Arizona only to have dinner. Since it is customary for Grand Lodges to pay for the travel expenses of their grand masters, I wonder if the brethren of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas got their monies worth. Since he did not attend any of the business meetings by sitting in a tiled lodge with a black man but only attended the social functions, it seems to me that he spent a lot of money just for a free dinner and drinks, even if the cost came out of his own pocket.

This obviously was an example of the kind of “Imperial Leadership” prevalent in many jurisdictions and is not restricted to Arkansas alone.

More recently another source, who will remain nameless to protect him from expulsion, alleges that Van Buren Lodge of Mainstream Arkansas planned a visit to view The Oklahoma Native American Indian Degree Team perform in Heavener, Oklahoma. When the Worshipful Master of Van Buren Lodge found out that Black Masons would be present he canceled the trip. Furthermore it is alleged that Arkansas Mainstream Masons present at this decision repeated an Arkansas Grand Lodge directive that prohibits any Masons from the Grand Lodge of Arkansas attending any Masonic functions where Black Masons are present.

This source also contends that the Mainstream Grand Lodge of Arkansas is lying to its membership. He points out that the Grand Lodge Grand Session Minutes of 2010 show lawsuits being won by the GL when if you look for those lawsuits using legal aides, you can see that ARGL lost. Its reminiscent to me of of Orwell’s 1984.

This continuous bloodletting by Mainstream Arkansas has led to the spawning of a support group for suspended and expelled Arkansas Masons.  Its name is C.A.U.S.E.

Concerned
A
bout
U
nlawful
S
uspensions
E
xpulsions

This group meets in secret as any current members of the Grand Lodge would be expelled.  It also is a service only  available to unjustly suspended and expelled Arkansas Masons and specifically excludes any so dropped for moral turpitude.

Its purposes and objectives are:

1)   Support group
2)   Networking
3)   Legal Aid
4)   Education
5)   Repatriation
6)   To get men out of Masonry thinking about Masonry again

C.A.U.S.E. is open to suspended & expelled Arkansas Masons as well as current members who wish to aid such men. While its membership and place and time of meetings cannot be shared with non members, the group will soon have a website.

This group has a start up membership of about 50 men. Currently C.A.U.S.E. leaders are helping the membership with trying to become members in other jurisdictions, lawsuits against Grand Lodge and esoteric discussions and speakers. It must be remembered in the case of civil action it has been alleged that the Grand Lodge of Arkansas has pulled the charter from some wealthy Lodges and closed them down in order to add that wealth to the Grand Lodge coffers.

Remember that when a Mason is unjustly expelled in one jurisdiction the wrong cannot be corrected in another jurisdiction (although C.A.U.S.E. is trying). All Masonic jurisdictions will mutually support one another in their suspensions or expulsions – no matter the reason. Frank Haas has been the only Mason in modern times to crash this barrier and that was just recently.

If you look at how many men are in C.A.U.S.E., which is only weeks old, and then add in former Masons in the same position from other states, you have a rather large group of disaffected Masons nationwide. These are for the most part good, honest men who have been wronged, and who sometimes seem overly angry and bitter.  They are ripe for being picked up by another Obedience, many who are classified as irregular and clandestine by Mainstream Masonry.

These are men who certain Masonic societies and forums will drop from their membership rolls once they have been suspended or expelled.  To be wronged and then to be shunted, ostracized and damned is something that only fuels the fire of bitterness and hatred.

Yet those in power who do wrong are never chastised by their peers.  They are never held accountable for their actions. There is no recourse to correct a run away, rogue Grand Lodge.

The righteous minded, ass kissing, bean counters left in Mainstream Masonry will pontificate that if there are problems in a Grand Lodge then it is only the business of that Grand Lodge and nobody else’s and all that is needed to correct matters is for the Brethren as a whole to vote to change things.

They haven’t met the Arkansas Grand Master who is alleged to have forcibly removed and expelled an 80 year old member from Grand Lodge Session who made a motion that displeased him who is the same Grand Master who is accused of having committing an immoral act that sacks every brother who attempts to bring him up on charges by expelling them without trial.

Where were all these holier than thou Masons when the Grand Master of Arkansas banned Masonic E-Mail? Where were they when Past Grand Master Frank Haas was snookered into coming to a meeting so that the Grand Master could embarrass him by expelling him in front of his father and friends without prior notice?

The other mantra used by those on the inside is, wait awhile, when all the old guys die off, things will change.  In the meantime – don’t rock the boat.  Very bad advice, indeed. There is no reforming Grand Lodges which function as bastions of the KKK who remake themselves anew with each new generation. When any thought, word or deed, and attempt at making things right is met with instant expulsion without a trial then you have a rogue Grand Lodge out of control that is governing its membership as the North Korean government governs its citizens. The only thing that is going to stop a Grand Lodge like this is action from the outside.

C.A.U.S.E. is not standing around and waiting for somebody else to do something.  It is going ahead to first take care of the hearts and souls of those men who have been so unjustly wronged, and then to mitigate some of the damage being done by a Grand Lodge who only thinks of itself and amassing more and more power.

Perhaps this movement will catch on in West Virginia and elsewhere.

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About Fred Milliken

Fred is a Past Master of Plymouth Lodge, Plymouth Massachusetts, and Past Master of Paul Revere Lodge, Brockton, Massachusetts. Presently, he is a member of Pride of Mt. Pisgah No. 135, Prince Hall Texas, where is he is also a Prince Hall Knight Templar . Fred is a Fellow of the Phylaxis Society and former Executive Director of the Phoenix Masonry website and museum.

Comments

  1. Expelled 2004. Following the Masonic laws does not pay in Arkansas. I am a past Master 3 times in 2 states, ( Ar & Ok)

  2. I just read your story “Arkansas is Imploding” and found it to be very interesting, especially as it related to the new C.A.U.S.E. movement. The article made many fine points that I will comment upon, and Iwill also correct a couple of small inaccuracries.

    I am the person who began the support group C.A.U.S.E. However, we do not meet in secret. We meet in different locations each month but they are always annnounced one week in advance to everyone on the membership e-mail list—and anyone can get on that mailing list, as long as they request it and do not do it with an e-mail address that cannot be identified. We do advocate on behalf of all Masons who have been illegally suspended or expelled without a valid Masonic trial. Many of our members were first suspended or expelled, then provided with a bogus trial, while others were simply expelled and never given a trial at all. We do not publish or share the C.A.U.S.E. membership list. To do so would only aid and assist corrupt GL officials who are seeking the next person to illegally suspend or expel. Neither do we post the total number of our membership. While it has grown every month that the group has been in existence, the total number will always be small when compared to the overall number of Masons in the U.S., as well it should be. Thank goodness most Grand Lodges are not committing the illegal actions that are being committed in Arkansas. Your last paragraph in your article is totally accurate, “C.A.U.S.E. is not standing around and waiting for somebody else to do something. It is going ahead to first take care of the hearts and souls of those men who have been so unjustly wronged, and then to mitigate some of the damage being done by a Grand Lodge who only thinks of itself and amassing more and more power”. Thank you very much for printing the story.

    Darrell Pickney

  3. Br. Darrell, If a brother were interested, how could they go about getting on that email list?

  4. I would not have expected anything less than disgusting from Arkansas.

  5. ronald chasteen says:

    MY NAME IS RONALD CHASTEEN——–IM A MEMBER OF C.A.U.S.E.—–AND PROUD TO BE SO——I WAS A MEMBER OF JASPER NO. 21-OF JASPER ARK—–TILL THE OFFICERS OF JASPER LODGE—THE D.D.—–OF 2008—-AND A NONE MEMBER—DECIDED—-TO MAKE UP LIES ON ME AND HAVE ME THROWN OUT OF MASONRY–BY THE MOST UNMASONIC TRIAL IN THE STATE OF ARK..—WORSE YET—–GRAND LODGE KNOWS THIS—–YEP—-GRAND LODGE DECIDED TO EXPELL ME FOR LIFE——–YOU GUESSED IT—–WITH OUT A TRIAL—–I TOLD GENE WARREN AND I WILL STAND BY THIS——–JASPER 21 AND GRAND LODGE HAVE SLURED MY NAME—TOOK MY PERPETUAL MONEY-REFUSED TO GIVE ME A FAIR TRIAL–KNOWINGLY——AND I WILL FIGHT THIS TO MY LAST BREATH…….RON CHASTEEN.

  6. I am so sorry Brother Chasteen that you have been subjected to such abuse. You are the reason I write what I do even though I get accused of Grand Lodge bashing.
    I, personally, have found a loving Masonic home in Prince Hall. Look around. There are other doors to open.

  7. Anyone interested in C. A. U. S. E. can contact myself, Darrell Pickney at ddpickney@yahoo.com

  8. Marvelous! I wish you luck. I was suspended for one year, for attending a PH dinner , in Iraq. I was never asked to show a dues card, never tried, never given an apron. I guess I should consider myself lucky, that I was not expelled permanently.

    I have been pushing for a “Bill of Rights” in Masonry. Every time I mention it, on a Masonic BBS, the topic gets shut down, and I get kicked off the board. Seems that nearly everyone in Masonry is convinced that everything is just fine.

    We gotta figure out a way, to cease the abuses of Grand Masters on our brothers.

  9. Joshua Jones says:

    I am a Mason from Arkansas. This post is misleading as it makes Masonry in my state look racist. If you would gather all of your facts instead of thinking, “oh hillbillies, that must mean they dont like black people since PHA isn’t recognized.” That is not the case. PHA isn’t recognized because each state is supposed to have only one Grand Lodge. We have extended our hand multiple times and even hold events like dinners that PHA can attend but they simply don’t want to lose their positions of their Grand Lodge in Pinebluff. Since they have no desire to join mainstream, things are at a stalemate until this new generation takes care of things. We may not recognize each other as Masons but that doesn’t stop either side from stoping on the side of the road if they see the square and compass and a distressed individual. Masonry is no different in Arkansas than in your state as far as what it takes to become a brother. Just give Arkansas time and investigate the facts. It will happen one day.

  10. So would you say that your Grand Master declaring the PHA made generic Masonic auto license clandestine an ecumenical move? A license clandestine? Come on!

    I have been to Arkansas. Have you read the Derek Gordon story? Do you know what the GL of Arkansas tried to do to Derek Gordon? Are you buried out in the “sticks” with your head in the sand? Your Grand Lodge is staffed with many KKK. Wake up!

  11. Joshua Jones says:

    Honestly I think not being able to have a liquor licence here is strange. Yes I did hear about poor Bro. Gordon. I was about to become webmaster of my lodge but I have to call GL to make sure no terms are violated. The thing you have to understand is that Masonry in Arkansas is mostly old folk. That generation will pass on to meet the Great Architect soon enough and one day us youngsters will help to bring light to places like my state. From what I am told, the reason a distinction in license plates occurred is because the proceeds for the masonic vanity plates go to the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge. As a F&AM in Arkansas, Prince Hall isn’t recognized (sadly) by us so therefore we can’t purchase them. I look forward to the day I can call a PHA my brother. I can tell you one thing though… F&AM purposed recognition to PHA and they declined. It isn’t just KKK old white geezers in the south… blacks down here are full of just as much hate, if you can even say it has anything to do with race. Some of the older brothers have spoken to me about this subject too and believe me when I say that there isn’t a doubt in my mind that brotherly love will extend to all masons recognized by the UGLE in America. By the way, I live in Little Rock… not quite the sticks ;)

  12. The Mainstream Grand Lodge of Arkansas has never offered recognition to Prince Hall Arkansas. Somebody is feeding you a bunch of baloney. If they ever did Prince Hall would accept.

    If the other Grand Lodge is not clandestine nor irregular what is the harm in buying something it produces?

    Are you part of the GL apparatus there in Little Rock, Brother Jones?

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