Thursday, February 16, 2012

Special Order Issued by Shriners in Arkansas Battle

From Chris Hodapp's Freemasons For Dummies Website:

Michael G. Severe, Imperial Potentate of Shriners International, has issued a Special Order dated today concerning the situation in Arkansas:

Special Order No. 3
PO Box 31356
Tampa, FL 33631-3356
Series 2011-2012

January 17, 2012

To the Officers and Nobles of Sahara Shriners and Scimitar Shriners, Fraternal Greetings: 

The matter of the edict issued by the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas in his letter dated December 8, 2011 addressed to Shriners International, All Subordinate Lodges in Arkansas, All Master Masons of Arkansas, All Grand Jurisdictions and All Appendant Bodies in Arkansas, is well known by each of you. 

After careful review and consideration, and in consequence of the gravity of the effect of the aforesaid edict, I issue the following findings, conclusions and order. 

Findings And Conclusions 

Pertaining to the document titled A Response dated January 13, 2012 that I sent to the Grand Lodges of the Conference of Grand Masters for North America and to the subordinate temples of Shriners International and others. By reference thereto, I incorporate all of its provisions herein. 

Shriners International, with very few exceptions, has enjoyed a fraternal and harmonious relationship with all Grand Lodges since it came into existence in 1872. The very few exceptions that did occur were approached by Shriners International and the affected Grand Lodge with the utmost respect for each other and their charitable and fraternal missions. With an abundance of good will toward each other, every difference was resolved and we maintained the integrity of our existing relationship for the good of Freemasonry, the good of Shriners International, and for the greater good of humanity. 

The Conference of Grand Masters for North America consists of 65 or more diverse and distinctive Grand Lodges. Shriners International consists of one entity. Shriners International acknowledges that no Grand Lodge can cede its sovereignty, power and authority to another Grand Lodge. Each Grand Lodge has its own governance. When a divisive issue exists between two Grand Lodges, there is no claim of sovereignty of one over the other. Instead, with brotherhood, and an abundance of good will, the Grand Lodges resolve the divisive issue and continue operating their respective bodies independently yet in harmony and amity with each other. 

Likewise, while cherishing its Masonic background, Shriners International is an independent and distinctive fraternal organization. It cannot cede its sovereignty, power and authority to any other fraternal body - be it a Grand Lodge or otherwise. If it did, it would be governed, controlled and operated by 65 or more independent Grand Lodges - each with differing landmarks, constitutions, bylaws, rules and regulations. Shriners International would no longer exist as an independent fraternal organization as it has since 1872. 

It is abundantly evident that the action taken by the Grand Lodge of Arkansas in issuing its edict is designed to suppress or proscribe Shriners International, its members, and its two Shrine temples in the state of Arkansas. 

Shrine Law 
Articles of incorporation. 
§4.1 This nonprofit corporation, organized and existing under the laws of the state of Iowa, assuming all the powers and obligations granted to bodies corporate under such laws, is to exist perpetually, unless sooner dissolved in the manner provided by law, or as prescribed by the bylaws of this corporation. 

§5.1 The objects and purposes of this corporation, and business to be transacted by it are: 
(b) To be the irrevocable common agent, representative and supreme authority in all matters appertaining to the government of the system of the subordinate fraternal lodges or temples known in the aggregate as Shriners International, located in states around the world and, as such, shall have supreme and complete original jurisdiction and essential powers necessary to such control and government to: 
Enact and enforce bylaws and regulations for the government of itself and subordinate lodges or temples and members of the Order known in the aggregate as Shriners International, and to alter, amend and repeal the same at its pleasure. 

(10) Hear and decide all charges and complaints against any officer of Shriners International, or of any subordinate lodge or temple, and to inflict such punishment as may seem just and proper. 

(12) Exercise such power and control, and perform such acts, as may seem proper and necessary to carry out the full purpose and intent of this corporation. 

§202.4 The powers, objects and purposes of Shriners International are those set forth in the articles of incorporation, as amended from time to time. 

§207.8 Except as specifically provided by the articles of incorporation or bylaws of this corporation, or resolution of the board of directors, no temple, unit Shrine club, group or person: 
Has the authority, express or implied, to act as the agent of, to act on behalf of, or to bind Shriners International. 
(b) Can by its act or omission obligate or bind Shriners international. 


For all the foregoing reasons, and many more, and by the authority in me vested by virtue of §206.5(a)(5) and §323.8(d) of the international bylaws, I hereby CERTIFY that the Grand Lodge of Masons of Arkansas has taken action which is designed to suppress or proscribe Shriners International, its members and its two temples in the state of Arkansas (Sahara Shriners and Scimitar Shriners).

Now, for so long as such threat of suppression or proscription continues, Shriners International, its members, and its temples in the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas, retain all their rights, responsibilities and authority, notwithstanding any provision of the bylaws to the contrary.

This special order shall be read by the Recorders of Sahara Shriners and Scimitar Shriners in the presence of all of the Nobility at their next stated meetings and it shall be made a part of the permanent record and archives of the temples.

I am confident that the full import, significance and authority of this special order is self-evident and that it will be understood by the Nobles of Sahara Shriners and Scimitar Shriners, and such others as appropriate.

Michael G. Severe - Imperial Potentate

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