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Grand Irony Redux: can, will, or should the Grand Master define and refine?

May 19, 2010
If allegations made by convicted felon James Anderson “Jimmy” Foster are true, The Grand Master of Florida has failed Master Masons in good standing all across the globe. 
 
Foster withheld a lengthy criminal history, failed to disclose it for over a decade, and denied it when confronted with the four page Florida Department of Law Enforcement rap sheet in September, 2009. 

https://felonfreemasonry.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/criminal-history-of-hillsborough-lodge-no-25-2008-master-james-anderson-foster/ 

He claims that in a private meeting prior to his May 1, 2010 Masonic trial, the Grand Master allowed him to assign himself a five year suspension in which at least two years must be served (pending restoration of civil rights, of which he does not have) with re-entry devoid of re-petitioning and re-balloting. 

Foster spoke freely of this prior to his trial. 

But here arises the Grand Master’s conversation with Kentucky’s Grand Master, L. Todd Eastham, who said in January, 2010 (as noted on page 2 of the below link): 

http://www.grandlodgeofkentucky.org/publications/MHJ-PDF/MHJJAN2010WEB.pdf 

“We are currently taking a hard look at a mandatory background check on any potential candidate that may petition our Lodges. This idea was garnered from the Grand Lodge of Florida, who has had great success with it. The Grand Master of Florida told me personally that this program has identified several sex offenders, felons, and others who through lies attempted to gain admission into our Order. Sometimes local law enforcement does not have the resources needed to assist or legally give out personal information about a candidate, especially if they have moved in from another state. Again, Masonry is not a right, it is a privilege.”

Did the Grand Master fail to enforce in Florida a claim made in Kentucky? 

Would he agree that if so, the Craft is due an explanation?  

If the felon’s story is true, the Grand Master has seemingly circumvented specific rules and regulations set forth by the Grand Lodge of the state of Florida per felons in Freemasonry (as noted on page 9 of the following link): 

http://www.glflamason.org/documents/Mod2StudyGuide.pdf 

31.03 A lodge may not receive a petition for the Degrees of Freemasonry from any person who has been convicted of a felony and has not been restored to full civil rights.  

Interestingly, legislation pending review during the upcoming 181st Annual Grand Communication asks that “full civil rights” as referenced above be amended to “civil rights” (the former includes gun ownership, the latter does not).  

Proposed legislation per Restoration of Full Civil Rights, pages 8-9: 

http://www.glflamason.org/documents/2010%20Proposed%20Legislation.pdf 

Foster’s lack of ANY civil rights restoration is verified via entry of the following information provided by the Florida Department of Corrections into the below link: 

https://fpcweb.fpc.state.fl.us/default.aspx 

Name: James Anderson Foster 

Date of Birth: 12/17/1960

Florida Department of Corrections Identification Number: 0144204

Herein lies the Grand Master’s opportunity to recover this unfathomable felonious fumble and set precedence.

In respect of  the 30 day period in which the Grand Master may finalize a post-trial punishment, Felon-free Masonry respectfully offers alternative solutions befitting felon Foster’s offenses:  

  • Expulsion.  Or as many say, “the obvious choice.” 
  • An indefinite suspension to be lifted only with restoration of full civil rights and offering no re-entry without re-petitioning and re-balloting.  
  • Maintain the five year definite suspension and begin the petitioning process anew.   As Foster appears cocksure of the Craft’s acceptance, submittal to a paid background check, attachment of his Florida Department of Corrections rap sheet to the petition, and re-balloting by an informed Craft pending a positive investigation outcome should pose no threat.  

Grand Master, kindly consider these words and the meaning behind them: the members of the fraternity twice robbed of voice and informed choice;  first by the felon’s heinous actions and secondly, in what appears to be your failure to properly uphold Masonic law.  

They deserve more than mockery and the messy aftermath of a felonious interloper’s decade of deceit.  

Would you not agree? 
 

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