The Richmond Free Press reports that the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Virginia has settled a lawsuit with the Virginia Prince Hall Shrine. The Shrine in the Prince Hall system has run afoul of Grand Lodges in recent years. The issues across Prince Hall nation revolve around not recognizing the Grand Master as having ultimate supreme authority, the Shrine admitting expelled Masons and non Masons and other examples of the Shrine going its own way.
Associated Press/Claus Bjoern Larsen, PolfotoThe Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Virginia has agreed to settle three separate multimillion-dollar lawsuits involving another Masonic group called the Prince Hall Shrine, which is based in Tennessee.Under the agreement, the Virginia organization would:• Pay the Memphis group $300,000; and
• Re-instate Masons and Order of the Eastern Star members who previously were suspended for belonging to state affiliates of the Memphis-headquartered Shrine or its women’s auxiliary, the Daughters of Isis.The settlement was the result of court-ordered mediation between the two groups. It is to become final once it receives expected approval from the court.
The litigation began in 2009 after Larry D. Christian of Williamsburg, then most worshipful grand master or president of the 5,000-member Grand Lodge, issued what some consider a loyalty order. The order barred Shrine members from participating in Masonic rituals and also banned them from entering Masonic lodges, including the ones to which they belonged.
The larger issues are:
- Is Freemasonry going to continue to do battle in civil courts?
- Is Mainstream Freemasonry going to face the same split?
- Are Grand Lodges on a losing streak in civil courts?