Friday, June 6, 2008

When The Pursuit of Truth Is Influenced By A Conflict of Interest

The Masonic Blog "From Darkness To Light" reports that expelled Grand
Master Frank Haas of West Virginia is suing in civil court The Grand
Master of West Virginia and others. This is a sad day in Mainstream
Masonry.

It is a sad day because none of the other Mainstream Grand Lodges in
the USA came to the aid of Frank Haas. They persisted in that
unwritten code of never saying ill about another Grand Lodge no matter
what it does. So wrong gets to be right because a blind eye is turned.

The significance of this event is emphasized here because this is one
of the reasons that The True Masonic Society discussion group came into existence. While
others who purported to be in the pursuit of research and truth aligned
themselves with the Grand Masters of North America, we at The True
Masonic Society held fast to our belief that truth cannot be found in
an alliance with politicians governing the Craft. Much criticism of
our position was heard and we were castigated many times for our
failure to see the worthiness of pursuing truth within the guidlines of
what Mainstream Grand Lodges and their Grand Masters declared truth was.

So here is the rub. Take a look at a portion of the court filing
compliments of "From Darkness To Light" and make your own judgement.
Were we out of line to insist on complete freedom of speech uninfluenced
by anybody?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

14. As a result of and in recognition of Plaintiff Haas' membership and
dedicated and
outstanding service in the concordant Scottish Rite Body, Plaintiff
Haas was coronated a 33rd degree
Mason in October 2005, which honor is given only to a limited number of
Masons with outstanding
service and accomplishments.
15. During his Masonic career and as Grand Master, Plaintiff Haas
supported various
progressive reforms in Masonry reflecting the will of the majority of
the members of Defendant
Grand Lodge which reforms were consistent with and promoted rules and
regulations designed to
respect and protect the constitutional and other rights of all Masons
and prospective Masons. The
proposed changes and reforms were not only morally right but were
consistent with and designed
to bring Masonic laws and attitudes into conformity with the
substantial public policy of the State
of West Virginia and the United States of America.
16. Plaintiff Haas' goal was to make Masonry more tolerant, friendly,
decent and
accepting of everyone regardless of nationality, race, religion or
disability.
17. Plaintiff Haas shared his beliefs and proposals with the members of
Defendant Grand
Lodge during his service as Grand Master and prior to the October 2006
meeting of Defendant Grand
Lodge when these proposals were presented to and voted on by the
membership.
18. During the 2006 Annual Meeting, the members of Defendant Grand
Lodge voted
approval of various reforms proposed by Plaintiff Haas that were in his
opinion designed to make
Masonry more tolerant, friendly, decent and accepting of all Masons and
prospective Masons. These
reforms and proposals were intended to rid Masonry in West Virginia of
the Orwellian, repressive,
regressive and unconstitutional practices that were and are clearly
unconstitutional and against the
substantial public policy of this State.
19. The proposed reforms and changes were designed to:
a. Encourage all Masons to do what is morally and legally right and
wipe away
lingering racism that is tolerated and enforced by telling the Masters
of all
local lodges that they must maintain the peace and harmony of their
lodges;
b. Eliminate discriminatory practices against the handicapped;
c. Eliminate discriminatory practices against youth organizations and
young
adults participating in related Masonic organizations and those young
adults
desiring to become a Mason;
d. Allow debate and free speech regarding Masonic issues and possible
reforms
without fear of reprisal; and
e. Support other substantial public policy issues that are morally
right and
would promote genuine equality throughout Masonry.
20. Plaintiff Haas' progressive proposals to eliminate various Masonic
practices that are
discriminatory and against the substantial public policy of this State
were voted on and approved by
Defendant Grand Lodge during the 2006 Annual Meeting. Unfortunately,
Plaintiff Haas ' laudatory
efforts were met with resistance by a few Masons determined to
undermine any proposed reforms
regardless ofhow outdated, discriminatory or offensive the policies
were to individual constitutional
rights and the substantial public policy of this State.
21. During the 2006 Annual Meeting, Defendants Montgomery and Coleman
and the
John Doe Defendants individually and collectively tried to undermine
and defeat the efforts of
Plaintiff Haas and to render the actions of a majority ofthe members of
the Defendant Grand Lodge
null and void.
22. At the conclusion of the October 2006 Annual Meeting, Defendant
Coleman
succeeded Plaintiff Haas as Grand Master of Defendant Grand Lodge.
Rather than accepting the
majority vote ofthe membership of Defendant Grand Lodge and doing what
was ethically, morally
and legally right, Defendant Coleman almost immediately unilaterally
entered various Edicts
rendering the progressive proposals voted on and adopted by a majority
of Defendant Grand Lodge
null and void. As a result, Defendant Coleman reinstated the
unconstitutional and discriminatory
practices that are without question against the substantial public
policy of this State.
23. Defendant Coleman went to great length to try and justify why the
vote of the
Defendant Grand Lodge should and would be set aside citing various
procedural errors all of which
were a subterfuge. No one has been sanctioned for those alleged
procedural errors that Coleman
claimed were dishonest and in violation ofthe Masonic laws. The fact
that the alleged procedural
errors were a pretext is further evidenced by the fact that Defendants
have never allowed the
members of Defendant Grand Lodge to vote on any of the proposals since
they were set aside by
Edict.
24. During the remainder of2006 and continuing through the 2007 Annual
Meeting, at
which time Defendant Montgomery became Grand Master of Defendant Grand
Lodge, Plaintiff Haas
continued to speak out about the ethical, moral and legal obligation of
Masons to promote changes
that would eliminate those discriminatory practices set forth herein
that are unconstitutional and
against the substantial public policy of West Virginia, most of which a
majority of Defend ant Grand
Lodge had previously voted to change.
25. Plaintiff Haas ' continued efforts angered Defendants Montgomery
and Coleman and
the John Doe Defendants, and they collectively conspired and colluded
to punish Plaintiff Haas and
others for exercising their constitutional right to debate these issues
and their right of free speech.
26. Defendants' efforts to punish Plaintiff Haas and others who
disagreed with their
Orwellian attitudes culminated on November 19, 2007, when Defendant
Montgomery, through
misrepresentation, deceit and bad faith induced Plaintiff Haas to
attend a meeting at Wellsburg
Lodge #2 by telling him the meeting was for the purpose of discussing
the visit of the Grand Master
of Ohio at a previous meeting. Defendant Coleman and John Doe members
of Defendant Grand
27. Having lured Plaintiff Haas to the meeting under false pretenses,
Defendant
Montgomery directed the Master of Wellsburg Lodge #2 to step aside,
took charge of the meeting
and summarily, arbitrarily and unlawfully expelled Plaintiff Haas and
another individual from
Masonry after lecturing, berating and belittling them in front of
family and numerous members of
Plaintiff Haas' home lodge. Defendant Montgomery's rantings and
outlandish attack on Plaintiff
Haas were based on trumped up allegations that were false and untrue
and were fully protected by
Plaintiff Haas' constitutional rights.
28. As part ofthe Edict expelling Plaintiff Haas from Masonry,
Defendant Montgomery
directed the Edict be read in all lodges throughout West Virginia and
directed all Masons to refrain
from communicating with Plaintiff Haas about Masonic matters.
29. In summarily expelling Plaintiff Haas from Masonry, Defendant
Montgomery denied
Plaintiff Haas a fair hearing by failing to comply with The Masonic
Code of Trials and the
fundamental fairness afforded all individuals who are members of
fraternal organizations.
30. Plaintiff Haas was given absolutely no notice of Defendants' true
intentions at the
November 19,2007, meeting, was not provided with a statement of charges
nor given any of the
other procedural safeguards set forth in the Code of Trials thereby
effectively denying Plaintiff Haas
his right to resist expulsion. Further, Plaintiff Haas was offered no
opportunity to appeal from
Defendants' illegal and wrongful conduct.
31. Defendants deliberately and intentionally refused to follow the
internal procedures
of Defend ant Grand Lodge designed to provide all Masons the
fundamental fairness they are entitled
to when confronted with allegations that could lead to discipline or
expulsion.
32. The record of the November 19, 2007, meeting wherein Plaintiff Haas
was
summarily, oppressively and without notice given the Masonic death
sentence will clearly show that
Plaintiff Haas was ambushed by Defendants.
33. Defendants' plan, conceived and put together in secrecy, to
deliberately and
intentionally berate and degrade Plaintiff Haas in front of his father
and other members of his lodge
and then summarily expel him from Masonry, was demeaning, repulsive and
outrageous--an act of
bad faith by these officers. Defendants' true character and unsavory
intentions and conduct
regarding Plaintiff Haas were obvious due to the fact Defendants had
the edict expelling Plaintiff
Haas prepared in advance and invited various members of Defendant Grand
Lodge to witness this
unlawful, illegal and outrageous conduct.
34. Defendants' deceitful conduct in secretly scheming, planning,
preparing for and
carrying out Plaintiff Haas' wrongful expulsion from Masonry was
nothing more than an
underhanded and blindsided attack on Plaintiff Haas' reputation and
good character which denied
Plaintiff Haas the fundamental fairness to which he was entitled.
35. Defendants' underhanded and deceitful conduct and their true reason
for getting
Plaintiff Haas to attend the November 19,2007, meeting became painfully
obvious to Plaintiff Haas
and the members of his lodge when Defendant Montgomery pulled out a
previously prepared Edict
which was read aloud, expelling Plaintiff Haas.
36. Even though there are no Masonic laws, rules and regulations, or
procedural
guidelines regarding an appeal from being summarily expelled from
Masonry by a Grand Master,
Plaintiff Haas complied with the Code of Trials as ifhe had been given
a fair hearing and timely filed
a written appeal to Defendant Grand Lodge. Plaintiff Haas' appeal has
been totally ignored by
Defendants making his request for relief on appeal futile and leaving
Plaintiff Haas no recourse for
this denial of justice other than :filing this civil action to
vindicate his reputation and good name and
to protect his constitutional and other rights.
37. There can be no dispute that Plaintiff Haas was denied a fair and
regular hearing in
accordance with designated procedures and that Defendants' conduct is
tainted by fraud, bad faith
and arbitrary conduct.
38. Fundamental fairness dictates that even a member of a voluntary
fraternal
organization charged with such an apparently serious offense as to
warrant his expulsion from
Masonry should be given notice ofthe charges and a reasonable
opportunity to defend himselfbefore
a tribunal appointed to try him.
39. As a result of Plaintiff Haas' unlawful expulsion from Masonry, he
has been, and
continues to be, denied his property, contract and other rights and
privileges to which he was entitled
due to his Masonic membership as well as his valuable personal
relationship with his Masonic
Lodge, the Grand Lodge and all other Masons and Masonic lodges
throughout West Virginia and
in other jurisdictions.

2 comments:

Traveling Man said...

I believe you are doing and apples-to-oranges comparison Brother.

The issue in West Virginia appears to be the reversal by one Grand Master of another's reforms. Your case against TMS seems to be that the GM's will dictate what can and cannot be published.

Again, I see nothing wrong in a group of Masons deciding to form a research society and drawing up their own rules as to how it is to be governed. If anything, you are playing the part of dictator by trying to tell them how to go about their business.

I see you have formed your own Yahoo group, and I say "bully for you"! If you have a better way of going about things, surely this will be proven as time passes.

Be Well,

Traveling Man

Squire Bentley said...

Oh I don't question their right to do any bloody thing they want to do. I just think it does more harm than good to do it in the manner in which it was formed. And for the good of the Fraternity I am making those points vociferously.

I am doing the same thing on the Presidential race, writing and apeaking out that one of the choices would do more harm than good for America.

Both are just my opinion and you are most welcome and free to disagree.