More Light On The Arkansas Shriner Purge

shrinersA big factor in this whole  Arkansas Shrine affair has been overlooked by many. Potentate Buffington who was expelled from the Grand Lodge of Arkansas was not also expelled from the Shrine BECAUSE HE WAS STILL A MASON. He had dual membership also being a member of the Grand Lodge of Iowa. AND THE GRAND LODGE OF IOWA REFUSED TO EXPEL HIM.

So what do all you legalists have to say now? If Buffington’s own Lodge found that he did nothing wrong, if the Shrine found that he did nothing wrong and if the Grand Master of Iowa found that he had done nothing wrong and refused to expel him, could it be that the Grand Lodge of Arkansas is wrong and out for a vendetta?

Such action or non action by the Grand Lodge of Iowa is setting a precedent. It follows the Grand Lodge of Ohio giving Past Grand Master Frank Haas sanctuary after being expelled from West Virginia. It looks as if Grand Lodges may not always rubber stamp support decisions by other Grand Lodges. The good old boys network is showing some cracks.

More light is shed by a letter from Theodore Corsones, General Counsel Emeritus of Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children and also a Past Grand Master.

“The fault lies with the Grand Lodge of Arkansas not with Shriners International. The Grand Master of Arkansas has adopted a “scorched earth” policy against the Shrine in his Grand jurisdiction because Shriners International will not allow him to decide who should be a Shriner in Arkansas. A summary of the facts are as follows.”

“Potentate Buffington was asked to run for a second term as potentate of Scimitar Shriners – which is lawful under Shrine law. The Grand Master did not want him to do so because he wanted another Noble to have the office.”

“Potentate Buffington left it to the members of the temple to decide and the temple members elected him for a second term.”

“Social Event. Buffington had a Christmas party at a country club. Other parties were occurring at the same time. One of the other parties had a DJ who was playing extremely amplified music. The DJ was asked to lower the volume. He complied. A member of the other party went to Buffington’s party and complained that they had no right to interfere with the other party. Words were exchanged. The country club looked into the matter and found no wrong doing by Buffington. (This was not pleasing to the Grand Master)”

“Masonic Lodge. A complaint was filed in Buffington’s Masonic lodge in Arkansas alleging that Buffington conducted himself improperly at the Christmas party. The lodge investigated the matter and dismissed the complaint alleging no wrong doing by Buffington. (This was not pleasing to the Grand Master).”

“Scimitar Shriners. Buffington’s temple was asked to look into the matter. The temple did, and found no wrong doing by Buffington. (This was not pleasing to the Grand Master.) “

“Grand Lodge of Arkansas. The Grand Master then, without a trial, summarily suspended Buffington from Masonry in Arkansas and told Buffington he could appeal if he wanted to. Buffington did appeal. The Grand Master then selected the three persons who were to decide whether he was right or wrong in suspending Buffington. Needless to say, his three appointees carried out the execution of Buffington as they were expected to do by their appointment. They found Buffington guilty.”

“Shriners International. Shriners International held a hearing at the 2012 annual session at Charlotte, NC as to whether or not Buffington should be expelled from the Shrine because of being expelled from Masonry in South Carolina. A hearing was held and it was determined that Buffington was a member in good standing in Masonry in the Grand Lodge of Iowa and, therefore, he was eligible to remain a Shriner. (This was not pleasing to the Grand Master of Arkansas.)”

“Grand Lodge of Iowa. The Grand Master then asked the Grand Lodge of Iowa to expel Buffington from Masonry because he, the Grand Master of Arkansas, had done so. The Grand Master of Iowa stated that he would investigate the matter. He did conduct an investigation. He then informed the Grand Master of Arkansas that Buffington had done nothing wrong so he would not suspend or expel Buffington from Masonry.”

“As a result of all of the foregoing the Grand Master adopted his “scorched earth” policy against Shriners in Arkansas by issuing an edict that anyone who remained a Shriner in Arkansas had to self-expel himself from Masonry by December 15, 2012 or he, without any trial, would expel them from Masonry. Further he would not allow any Masonic lodge to issue a demit from Masonry to any Shriner (rightly fearing that such Masons would join Masonic lodges in other states). This is Masonry as it is presently practiced in the Grand Lodge of Arkansas.”

“Now, you have the basic facts.”

“I am proud to inform you that Shriners International is blessed to have Alan W. Madsen as its Imperial Potentate during this unprecedented time. He is standing tall for what is right and proper. He will not allow Shriners International nor Shriners Hospitals for Children to be destroyed by the unconscionable acts of those that have lost all common sense and no longer practice fraternal love and amity.”

“If you have any questions, do not hesitate to communicate with me.”

 

Theodore Corsones

General Counsel Emeritus of Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Deputy General Counsel

M.W. Past Grand Master

 

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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. ronald chasteen says:

    HMMMMM–I GUESS BY NOW EVERONE KNOWS==THE GRAND LODGE OF ARKANSAS===WILL NOT STOP OR DO THE RIGHT THING FOR MASONRY==IF WE==THE MASONS OF ARKANSAS DONT STOP THEM OR THE GRAND LODGES OF OTHER STATES DONT==MASONRY WILL TAKE YEARS TO RECOVER FROM THIS–IF IT DOES

  2. Does the Beehive continues to air dirty laundry. Most of us already know what that some Grand Lodges have become the directing agency for their subordinate lodges instead of the support and continuity of the state. Pray tell me what good it does to continue to bring it to the forefront. The Smart move would be to bring the solution the every mason in the state of These Grand Lodged and explain what each individual brother needs to do to do his part to restore masonry in their state. Yet ,I do understand that bad news sells papers and apparently that is what the “Beehive” is about. Bring the sensational news out and everyone reads it. No body reads good news. So I guess we are doomed to constantly be bombarded with all the badness in Masonry.

  3. ronald chasteen says:

    again brother blake your talking about doing something that a mason can do—but—not a mason that has been expelled without a trial—-where am i going to to correct this—-a masonic lodge—-sorry—-im not allowed there—the g.l. of arkansas has told no telling what on me—-what avenue do i have but air my complaints here or in a paper—grand lodge of ark. wont even talk to me—i tryed before jasper 21 made up liues on me—-this could of been settled a long time ago—-you dont even have what it takes to answer me—so quit trying to blame beehive—if you want to try doing something—try doing right not worrying about hiding the truth—sorry if im sounding mean—but–gosh—if folks dont do something —this will be like the morgan afair—-how long did that ruin masonry?

  4. Sending on a public letter from the General Counsel of the Shriners is airing dirty laundry?

    Come now Ole Blake, you know me better than to initiate ad hominem attacks against me.

    The good it does to write such stories is to galvanize the good part of American Freemasonry into disciplining the bad part of American Freemasonry.

    But you would have us be like the Catholic Church used to be and learned the hard way that it is worse than coming clean – hide the pedophiles and make believe it never happened.

    Where is your moral outrage?

    I think I have heard this tired old slogan once too many times – the members of that Grand Lodge need to vote to correct any wrongs. Sure that is as easy as Syrians or North Koreans trying to reform their government. Theory is nice but reality is what we folks in the trenches have to deal with.

    No, The Beehive is not trying to “sell papers.” The Beehive is trying to get you off your butt and into helping to right wrongs. If that is so terrible then bury your head in the sand and make believe I don’t exist, that there are no problems in Freemasonry and if there are we are unmasonic if we try to correct them

  5. I don’t share the perception that The Beehive is trying to “air dirty laundry” with a malicious intent. I have followed this website for about a year and a half and I love the idea (conceptually).

    Beehive, I encourage you to continue reporting masonic news (good and bad) as they happen. But I can see why there are some who would *perceive* it as “airing dirty laundry”. There are many parallels with this blog and every news media outlet and paper our country has (so it’s not just you). The focus in our largest news outlets (Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, Washington Post, etc.) isn’t so much on informing the reader about *WHAT* the news is. The focus is on telling them **WHAT TO THINK OF THE NEWS THAT IS OUT THERE**. (For example, up until the late 90’s I used to love watching CNN headline news. That is, until they stopped frequently showing…headlines. They hired on folks like Glen Beck and Nancy Grace. Although there were times I agreed very much with some of the things they said, I couldn’t escape the fact that they weren’t focusing on telling me *what the news was*. They were focused on telling me *what to think of the news*. It can be difficult as a writer or reporter to separate these two thing but by your own admission in the previous post you are attempting to be persuasive. Thus, you run into the same problem that other political preachers have. I could turn my radio to Rush Limbaugh and listen for an hour and agree with vast amounts of things he says. And you know what, I still feel like I wasted an hour. I didn’t learn a great deal about the news by listening to him. I learned a great deal about what *he wants me to think* about the news. (I’m not picking on Rush, this would be true for a political preacher of any political persuasion). “To persuade” and “To inform” are two entirely separate things. And yes, you can try to do both at the same time, but you lose any credibility you could have when it comes to objectivity (which is why I can see why there are some who perceive you to be airing dirty laundry). Another problem associated with you trying to tell people *what to think about the news* is that the perceptions and opinions are largely yours alone. So if you miss something or fail to consider all angles (which would happen to any political preacher if he talks long enough) then many of your readers will do the same. And judging by some of your more recent articles you can have a tendency to assign blame to (what I perceive as) the wrong person/cause. I personally don’t place the bulk of the blame on the Grand Masters that are acting like idiots. I place the bulk of the blame on the brethren that keep electing the idiots and allow the Grand Lodge to do whatever they please (as you pointed out, this is part of a lengthy pattern of absurd behavior). I also personally find fault that for brethren that are apathetic when it comes to Grand Lodge policies (and the brethren under my GL are equally guilty of this). But whether or not you agree with my opinions, the fact is that there is always more to the story than just your perspective. And if you choose to be a political preacher then I (the reader) have to treat this blog the same way I treat the media outlets in our country. I have to watch them all. Every one of them. I can’t get the full picture if I just watch one person who desires to tell me what to think about the news. I don’t think your persuasive writing style is done with a malicious intent but because by your own admission it is persuasive instead of focusing on being informative (and letting the reader come to his own conclusion)it can lead to the perception that it is a biased attempt to air the dirty laundry with an agenda in mind. Beehive, you’re a talented writer and I have followed this blog for some time (even subscribe to your RSS feed). But try to be aware that there are legitimate reasons as to why your blog can be perceived in such a manner. I tend to agree with much of what you say. Your articles and beliefs are certainly not without merit. But as they are written now, they can lead even an experienced reader to conclude that bias and agenda are written into each article with little attempt to understand the root cause of the problem.

  6. ronald chasteen says:

    and that folks is why i dont watch===tv

  7. I appreciate what you have to say, Jason, and thank you for being such a gentleman.

    Let me reply by saying a Blog by nature is opinion. Whether its food, politics, religion, gardening, travel, you name it, a blog is commentary. It is precisely a vehicle for what you think about a subject.

    Now a scholarly paper or a non fiction book is different. It might have an opinion but it will be filled with footnotes and a long bibliography and it will inform more than debate or try to convince.

    I think objectivity is impossible and it is not something I want to get involved in. I don’t want to present the other guy’s point of view – I have no passion for it nor would I present it in the best of lights.

    Far better is for those who read Blogs is to recognize then for what they are and to search around to find a number of different Blogs with different points of view. Then from that one takes from each what one wants to own.

    For myself it may seem that I am the loud muckraker beating the drums of reform but that is not always so. I pick and choose what causes I want to represent. They must not be petty but something fairly “earth shaking.”

    And the rest of the blog is more human interest stories or interesting papers that present some unique information not generally found. It might seem I am up on my soap box for an extended period but when you look at all the articles written you can see controversy is not the every day diet of The Beehive.

  8. ronald chasteen says:

    I WOULD JUST LIKE TO SAY—-WE ARE GROWN MEN—MASONS—I THINK WE ALL KNOW WHATS TAKING PLACE IN MASONRY—–I FOR ONE WANT TO KNOW WHATS HAPPENING AND I DONT WANT TO ARGUE ABOUT IT—WOULD LIKE TO SEE SOMETHING DONE ABOUT IT—BUT—LIKE AN OLD BARBER TOLD ME ONE NIGHT SETTING IN LODGE—HE SAID RONNIE IF 10 MEN TRIED TO BUILD A PUBLIC CRAPHOUSE HERE THEY WOULD GET INTO AN ARGUMENT AND TEAR IT DOWN HALF WAY BUILDING IT—HE IS ABOUT RIGHT—-BASICLY IF YOU STOP THE WRONG DOING OF GRAND LODGES—-YOU STOP THE DIRTY LAUNDRY—-I THINK WE ALL KNOW THIS—-AS FOR ME—I DONT WRITE MY THOUGHTS SO I MAY GET BACK INTO MASONRY SOMEDAY—BUT THE GRAND LODGE IS GOING TO RIGHT THE WRONG THEY HAVE DONE MY FAMILY NAME—IM AN HONEST HARD WORKING PERSON-WORKED 30 YEARS AS A STONEMASON AND I HAVE NO INTENTION OF LETTING LAZY POLITICANS TELL GARBAGE ON ME AND GET AWAY WITH IT

  9. I just ran across this article and I am very sad to see the same corruption that is happening here in Indiana with its Grand Lodge is also happening around the country. My home Lodge, Leo 224 had an officer put up for Masonic trial for committing sexual battery against another Mason’s wife. Mike Emberton, the officer, is popular almost the brothers and the accuser was a member of another local Lodge. Although our WM tried to run a fair trial, he let the Mason’s wife testify in the lodge room, and be cross examined by all of the accused brother’s friends. Even after admitting that he had kissed and fondled the Mason’s wife, and punched another Mason in the face when being confronted with it, the members voted 33-7 not guilty of Masonic misconduct. Before the accused had a chance to appeal to the Grand Lodge, our Mizpah Shrine Potentate Owen Stiles (best friends with Mike Emberton) worked with Indiana Grand Master George A. Ingles and Grand Secretary Richard J. Elman to make sure the appeal was not going to be heard. When I joined the fraternity some 25 years ago, I was proud to know that my Masonic brothers would stand up for the principles of the craft, no matter how embarrassing this incident could be if it was put out for public outcry. I have since learned the accusing brother was expelled at his own Masonic trial with recorded testimony from Mike Emberton’s ex-wife, who just happened to remember an incident from a previous year. I am truely embarrassed to be a part of the fraternity right now. Who can help us clean this up?

  10. D M ROBERTS says:

    EVERY TIME I READ ABOUT THIS, THE OFFENDING BROTHER/POTENTATE’S OFFENSE IS DESCRIBED DIFFERENTLY. FIRST, I HEARD THAT HE WORKED IN OR OWNED A LIQUOR STORE (NOT ALLOWED IN ARKANSAS) THEN SEVERAL OTHER OFFENSES. I HAVE KNOWN SEVERAL GRAND MASTERS OF ARKANSAS PERSONALLY AND RESPECTED AND ADMIRED THEM ALL FOR THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND ETHICS…UNLESS SOME MIGHTY BIG CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE IN THE 12 YRS SINCE I MOVED AWAY, I DOUBT ANY GRAND MASTER WOULD ACT IN A VIDICTIVE MANNER ON ANY SUBJECT. ONE JUST DOESN’T GET TO BE GRAND MASTER IN ARKANSAS IF THAT KIND OF MAN.
    ONE FINAL POINT; ARKANSAS GRAND MASTERS ARE SOVEREIGN DURING THE YEAR THEY SERVE BUT AT THE NEXT GRAND SESSION ALL THEIR ACTIONS ARE ENUMERATED AND VOTED ON FOR APPROVAL OR NOT.
    OBVIOUSLY THIS ACTION WAS APPROVED OF. IN ADDITION, NO SUBSEQUENT GRAND MASTER HAS RECINDED IT.
    THAT ARKANSAS AND IOWA ARE STILL IN AMITY IS AMAZING TO ME AT THIS POINT.

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