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.