This action taken by Shrine International was not made in a vacuum. You will remember that The Grand Master of Arkansas, as the result of a petty squabble, banned all Masons from being Shrine members.
“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.”– Theodore Corsones
In order to survive the two Shrine Temples in Arkansas had to take on additional members and they, by virtue of the Grand Master’s edict, could not be Masons. Now this ruling by the Shrine only applies to Arkansas, no other states, and is the direct result of the actions of a rogue Grand Lodge purging its jurisdiction from all who will not submit to tyrannical rule.
Previous articles about this subject on this website by the Beehive can be accessed HERE, HERE and HERE.
The following is a letter issued by Imperial Potentate Alan Madsen
Imperial representatives of Shriners International voted to make a change to its articles of incorporation regarding membership at the 139th Imperial Session. The prerequisite requiring that members of Shriners International are first members of Freemasonry (Masons) in good standing has been amended to exclude the requirement for the state of Arkansas.
This legislation was brought forth by the two Shrine temples in Arkansas following the Arkansas Grand Lodge edict last November that would no longer allow anyone to remain an Arkansas Mason AND an Arkansas Shriner. Shriners International has always had a Masonic prerequisite and regrets that the actions of the Arkansas Grand Lodge made the passage of this legislation necessary to preserve the existence of the two Shrine temples in Arkansas.
Shriners International is committed to maintaining open lines of communication with the Grand Lodge of Arkansas to encourage amicable relationships for current and future Masons and Shriners. This change does not affect other Shriners across the country, and the organization remains a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth. Shriners International’s primary focus continues to be its philanthropic mission to support Shriners Hospitals for Children, a world-renowned health care system with 22 facilities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Yours in the Faith,
Alan “Al” W. Madsen
A 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.”
General Counsel Emeritus of Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children.