Falsely claiming masonic membership?

Discussion in 'Masonic Jurisprudence' started by JMartinez, Oct 31, 2013.

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  1. JMartinez

    JMartinez Registered User

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    Brethren, I was wondering if it is illegal to falsely claim masonic membership? In a way it is similar to walking around with a veteran's hat and never served, or wearing a class ring and never attended school. These examples are not extremely similar but I found them to be close enough to prove my point.
     
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  2. masonicdove

    masonicdove Registered User

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    I'm just a FC and still learning. I await to see what some of the seasoned brothers will say. However, that goes beyond being a mason it comes down to personal integrity and what values you stand for. As a member of a historically black Greek organization, I have heard stories of how we and other orgs have dealt with impersonators/imposters.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  3. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

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    It is not really illegal to misrepresent yourself sadly. Not much legal recourse. Though if you were to forcibly try to take a falsely worn item, you might be looking at charges. :p


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  4. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Unless one intentionally misrepresents oneself in order to obtain financial benefits to which one would otherwise not be entitled, such as a pension or the like, no law has been broken. :sad:
     
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  5. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    It is not illegal to wear a veteran's hat and never served, nor is it illegal to wear a class ring and never attended that school--not in the USA, at least. If one uses such appearances to commit fraud as defined by law--and merely lying is not fraud, then the fraud is illegal. Thus, it is not illegal to claim to be a Freemason without Lodge membership. In any case, there is no legal definition of Freemason in the USA. You can legally start your own "Grand Lodge", no matter how bogus it is.
     
  6. tomasball

    tomasball Premium Member

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    Just to add information here, there was a law making it illegal to wear a military award like the Medal of Honor if you hadn't received it legitimately. That law was found unconstitutional.
     
  7. Thegentlesoldier

    Thegentlesoldier Registered User

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    I know of a case where 2 brothers demited without privileges and continued to do fundraisers for the lodge and keep the money for themselves and have went to funerals and wore their aprons even after being called out for not being members refused to take off their aprons and sit in the chairs. The Grandlodge has contacted them and are working with them to either be a Moson or not be a Mason, but quit misrepresenting themselves and if they do not decide within a certain timeframe they will have a lifetime bar in the state as well as potential fraud charges.


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  8. bupton52

    bupton52 Moderator Premium Member

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    There is legislation in some states that make it unlawful for a non-mason to wear the emblems.
     
  9. tomasball

    tomasball Premium Member

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    I'm not sure what is meant by "demitted without privileges". In the GLoT, it is ok for demitted masons to participate in funerals, or sit in lodge. The fundraising business, however, sounds like grounds for a lawsuit.
     
  10. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    The word is cowan. Someone who claims to be a Mason but is not. There are Masonic rules against making such a claim but Masonic rules do not apply to non-Masons. Of course cowans ignore such rules.
     
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  11. MarkR

    MarkR Premium Member

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    And given the fact that the Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act as an unconstitutional infringement on speech, such state laws would likely be struck down if challenged.

     
  12. BroBook

    BroBook Premium Member

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    Bad thought what if after detecting the impostor you endowed him or them with something that
    Would make them even more apparent !!! No violence please !!!


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  13. laruewhite

    laruewhite Registered User

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    Does that apply to starting a AF&am lodge?(clandestine)

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  14. CStevenson

    CStevenson Registered User

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    I know this is not the OP's main point but I have a thought.

    Not everyone who wears a Veteran's hat or a Mason's symbol is trying to pose as such. I have worn many professional football team jerseys around with out the intention of deceiving people that I am a professional athlete. My father is a Vietnam vet and many times I wore many of his service items to school with pride. Again, I was not trying to fool anyone into thinking I was a vet myself. I am a fan, plain and simple. Would we want to keep fans of Freemasonry from publicly showing their support? Now if one attempts to deceive others to gain access to information which they should not have, well that should be protected by a properly tiled lodge room and well educated brothers. The worst situation is one who poses as a Mason and attempts to give Freemasonry a bad name. I am no lawyer but I do believe that is slander and can be prosecuted. Just my 2 cents on the matter.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
  15. ThorsTrowel

    ThorsTrowel Registered User

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    You are never JUST a Fellowcraft...but it understand your comment.
     
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  16. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Many clandestine GLs are registered as non-profit corporations in their state of origin. As such they are legal according to state laws.

    We also use the term "laws" referring to our own constitutions and bylaws. They are not legal in this Masonic sense.

    Asking if it's "legal" is ambiguous for this reason. It's legal to form a non-profit corporation as long as the words are not trademarked in that state. Many states have declared our words long since public domain. It's not legal as far as our constitutions and bylaws are concerned, which is why these organizations are clandestine.
     
  17. laruewhite

    laruewhite Registered User

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    I am torn apart inside. if I go somewhere else will everything I have achieved be thrown away?

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  18. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Which states? I'd love to read those statutes directly.
     
  19. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    It's very simple. There are only two legitimate Masonic organizations in the USA: PHA and the "mainstream" Grand Lodges (with all that appends from these two).
     
  20. laruewhite

    laruewhite Registered User

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    That doesn't answers my question.

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