Download and read the Nebraska Mason.
Addressing the continuing issue of who’s Grand Master now, Past Grand Master and Jurisprudence Committee member Dean Skokan writes for the membership in the quarterly Nebraska Mason newsletter. He reports that “These are dark days for Nebraska Masonry…” a sentiment that he is expressing over the illegitimate installation of E. David Watts who is still under the specter of both criminal and Masonic Charges.
Skokan holds no punches and clearly is writing from the position of the Jurisprudence Committee and the lawful installed (and less issue encumbered) Grand Master John Parsons. Rightfully so, he calls it as he sees it to the membership declaring the situation a mess but then spells out the undisputed facts and the letter of the law, Masonic law at least.
The issue still comes down to the ability to serve while an issue of moral turpitude hangs over the incumbents head. The “official” charge is that Watts promised to resign to the Grand Lodge Advancing Line Officers should he be charged with felonies after his preliminary hearing. A month later he was charged, and then didn’t resign but not before internal Masonic charges were filed against him. With charges pending against him, Watts went ahead and was installed in a ‘secret’ installation days before the ‘official’ Grand Lodge installation.
Locks were changed, financials redrafted, and staff were instructed to avoid contact and conversation. Watts became Masona non grata, and face charges with three outcomes: acquittal, suspension, or expulsion, with additional charges pending for the illegal installation.
My favorite line in the 2 page break down is the commentary at the end where Skokan says of Watts “There will likely be some brief period of time when E. David Watts may pretend to be Grand Master, but it will not be long.” And speaking about whose well meaning brothers who support Watts “…Watts’ attempt to be installed in an unannounced “ceremony” is not more legitimate than his claim. In doing so, he has crossed the lin between legitimate arguments and sleaze. No Mason should support that decision.”
He concludes his update with the observation saying Watts “walked away from that process [his assertion to the position]. He may have walked away from the Fraternity in doing so.”
I have to say, I applaud the Grand Lodge of Nebraska for their frank openness of this situation and their willingness to address the Schism of Grand Masters in a transparent manner. Without a doubt Watts has his hands full in the coming months, and the move to attempt to usurp the leadership amidst the turmoil was a gross over assumption of authority. The sooner this is resolved, the better for the fraternity.
Now the Thorns.
Not surprising, especially given the comments that are still coming in on the fraternity’s willingness to even allow gays amongst its rank. It’s hard to say for sure if the comments on the issue are real since they have such a cartoonish tone to them, but when you place them side by side with the issue standing before Past Master Wright makes them impossible to refute them.
In this story, Wright was the focal point of Grand Lodge legislation that failed to make Freemasonry in that state a singularly heterosexual male fraternity. Following the failure of the legislation change, charges were brought against Wright for a sundry of charges including spousal abandonment, Openly forsaken his belief in God, refusal to obey the Moral Laws by his declaration of his homosexuality (citing the moral law as it being an abomination to the law of God).
So, as progressive as was the defeat of the marriage provision to the Grand Lodge body, the allowance of the Grand Lodge to allow these charges to go through is still a travesty for all involved. As passions are so elevated about the issue there is for sure to be causalities on both sides of any final decision on the charges. No one wins in this, and without taking on the dialog about it, it’s really a moot point.
If Wright wins and the charges are found to be bogus, you lose the support of those who may hold similar sentiment as the moralists (of whom there are no doubt many).
If the anti-gay advocates win because of their interpretation of a Moral Law, then Masonry loses and puts another nail in the coffin of social obscurity.
The latest development along the road to the April 8th trial is the letter that the trial is a closed door event that only Masons with dues cards will be allowed to attend.
It’s a difficult road to travel, but I think most would agree that the Grand Lodge of Kentucky could do more to address the issue and take a stand on the issue. They were strong to announce the failure of the resolution to change their Masonic Law, but unfortunately very silent on this moral witch-hunt.