Georgia News, Georgia Blues

Late breaking news from the Georgia situation proves that this controversy will not be quietly fading into oblivion.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution has picked up the story and it’s only a matter of time before other papers and media also latch onto it.

In a show of solidarity Mt. Rushmore Lodge #220 of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota has issued a public statement of support urging their Grand Lodge to do likewise.

Racial controversy spurs Atlanta affiliate to sue state Masons

By Péralte C. Paul
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Monday, June 29, 2009

“An Atlanta chapter of the Masons and its senior officer are suing the state body and two high-ranking members of other Georgia chapters, saying leaders are trying to disband them because they accepted a black man as a member.”

“Gate City Lodge No. 2 and its head, Michael J. Bjelajac, filed the complaint in DeKalb County Superior Court. It names the Grand Lodge of Georgia Free & Accepted Masons, the state level of an international fraternal organization; Douglas Hubert Ethridge of Atlanta; Starling A. “Sonny” Hicks of Stockbridge, and W. Franklin Aspinwall Jr. of Kingsland as defendants.”

“Aspinwall, a Georgia attorney, is named in the suit because he was appointed to chair the internal “trial” the group plans to have.”

“Bjelajac and Gate City claim when they accepted 26-year-old Victor Marshall into membership last fall, Hicks and Ethridge wrote letters to the state organization, saying allowing a nonwhite man into the group violated the association’s moral and Masonic laws.”

“Hicks and Ethridge are high-ranking in their respective chapters.”

Monday, June 29, 2009

Upholding the Masonic Ideals of Equality and Tolerance

“Mt. Rushmore Lodge No. 220 took the following action at their regularly stated communication on the 25th of June:”

“In light of the events occurring within the Grand Lodge of Georgia and their possible implications for the Universal Brotherhood, the members of Mt. Rushmore Lodge No. 220 present at the regularly stated communication on June 25th have decided to take action by unanimously passing a resolution to request the following of the Grand Master of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons in South Dakota:”

1)”That the Grand Lodge of South Dakota will issue a formal, public statement that it will not accept racial or religious intolerance, prejudice, or bigotry in any of its subordinate lodges.”

2)”That the statement will clearly state that the Grand Lodge of South Dakota believes in upholding the Masonic ideals of equality and tolerance”

3)”That the statement will be issued to all Masonic lodges under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota and in the Grand Lodge of South Dakota’s publications including The Masonic Messenger and Grand Lodge website.”

“The Brethren of Mt. Rushmore Lodge No. 220 believe that these recommendations will help the Grand Lodge of South Dakota to become a leader in making Freemasonry a 21st Century fraternity.”

Posted in The Bee Hive.

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 Executive Director of the Phoenix Masonry website and museum.


  1. I can’t believe Starling Hicks and Douglas Ethridge put that in writing! Perhaps they were referring to a violation of Moronic Law and not Masonic Law.

  2. Is it me, or did Mt. Rushmore lodge jump the gun on this? I mean, at the moment, all we have is a Masonic trial and a civil court hearing. I still haven’t seen any facts come out, yet.

  3. Tom,
    They didn’t condemn Georgia at all in their statements. That being said, I believe the facts of expressed racism against raising a Black mason are already known – but again, unaddressed in Rushmore’s statement. So they are not even accusing someone of the known facts.

    All they did was speak out against racism and asked others to do the same.

    All that consists of is talking the talk. Which is a good start. It’s also an excellent way to send a message within their jurisdiction. From the stories told even by those who are now asking everyone to be patient, there is a need to express an intolerance for racism in lodges. Assuming the intolerance is indeed there.

    Their message was very tactful and focused internally (only *vaguely* mentioning a subject now widely available for all to know).

  4. “Tom Accuosti says:

    Is it me, or did Mt. Rushmore lodge jump the gun on this? I mean, at the moment, all we have is a Masonic trial and a civil court hearing. I still haven’t seen any facts come out, yet.”

    Unless we have a case of forged signatures, I don’t see how much more proof you will need Brother Accusti that these men filing the charges are acting unmasonically. This tit for tat about waiting for facts is just another stall technique in hopes the rhetoric dies down so it can be swept under the rug, or carried out in a small room behind closed doors in this case. Same basic tactic used by Iran but the difference here is the media cannot be controlled and the Brothers are fed up with racism existing in our midst.

    “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson

  5. And the story continues to spread state by state:

    The Masons are bigots. This whole disgrace is the fault of a few very old, very bigoted men who should not be Masons. I continue to insist that recognition should be pulled from the Grand Lodge of Georgia. The fact that these charges were not only allowed to stand but that a hearing was scheduled is a farce. Those bringing the charges should have been told by the Grand Lodge to go to Hell. And then charges of un-Masonic conduct should have been filed against them with the aim of their expulsion from Masonry.

    That should be no great loss for them as I hear that the Klann is always looking for hateful old bigots.

  6. As well as the Associated Press which is making the story available to every media organization, print, radio, television, internationally:

    But this can still just be an internal issue resolved quietly, and without fuss, ending in brotherhood?

    Just to be clear, we should all have our explanation for our friends when, after seeing and hearing this story, on Fox, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Washington Post, about why we would belong to such an organization.

    I am disgusted.

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