Monday, February 8, 2021

South Carolina expels 3/4 of its membership for online fraternizing

Spartanburg, SC -- The Grand Master of South Carolina was compelled to expel just over three quarters of their active members because of a twist in one of his own edicts from earlier in the year. 

In May of 2020, Most Worshipful Grand Master Walter Disher decreed that all Masonic meetings in South Carolina were to be suspended "until further notice." However, using that same reasoning, MW Disher then expelled a Past Grand Master for holding several informal meetings over Zoom. The meetings were not tiled, merely online get-togethers to check on friends and brothers. Nevertheless, MW Disher declared such online meetings violated the spirit of the decree, and ruled MW Michael Smith in violation. 

On February 2, he doubled down on his earlier edict by declaring that  "...any Freemason under the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina is subject to expulsion for using Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facetime, or WhatsApp for the purposes of communication with other Freemasons under the same jurisdiction." Over the next several days, reports of other online get-togethers (often called "Happy Hours") were reported to the Grand Master, who began expelling the brothers who participated in those, as well. 

Anonymous reports have been filtering out of South Carolina via several Facebook groups. "At first, brothers with grudges were turning each other in, and then it just snowballed," wrote one user in Freemasonry Circled. Another user in The Whiney Stairs wrote, "Literally every brother with cell phone has been expelled simply because they have the potential to Facetime with somebody from their lodge."

Not everyone has been upset by this, however. 

"The almost overnight reduction in membership numbers has made the Grand Secretary's job a lot easier," wrote another user in a message on Twitter. 

No word yet if MW Disher will be attending the upcoming virtual meetings to be held by COGMNA later this month. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

GL of Massachusetts develops new promotional campaign

Springfield, MA --  Following the online uproar over The View host Whoopi Goldberg wearing a PHA masonic sweater on the show, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts is capitalizing on the incident to create yet another marketing and publicity campaign.

"We had a bunch of Eastern Star ladies combing the local thrift shops for sweaters, golf shirts, jackets, and even hats," said RWB Clark Stanley, Public Relations Director for the Grand Lodge during an interview with The Past Bastard this week.  "We've got dozens of items that we're going to be sending out to all of the women regularly on network television. If just we can get just one or two of them a week to wear something, it will raise Freemasonry awareness to unprecedented levels."

PHA Freemason Whoopi Goldberg shows off
her lodge sweater during a recent broadcast.

Ms Goldberg, a former Star Trek actress, wore a sweater with a square and compasses and the letters PHA for Prince Hall Affiliate on the front. This led to an uproar on various Masonic oriented Facebook and other web spaces as to whether a woman has the right to wear such emblems. The arguments spilled over into other groups, which sparked an uptick in questions from non-Freemasons, who wondered what the fuss was about.

"Our plan now is to send some of these items to women in media who would be most likely to be watched by viewers. So far, we've sent items out to Katie Couric, Megyn Kelly, Brooke Baldwin, Maria Bartiromo, Susan Li, Tamron Hal, Rachel Acenas, and Anderson Cooper."

The Past Bastard asked Stanley if he wasn't worried about the potential arguments over such a campaign.

"There's no such thing as bad publicity," he told us. "Besides, after the tens of thousands of dollars we've thrown away on TV and radio spots, billboards, and YouTube videos, this approach is amazingly cheap and simple," he said .