Felony Record

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by bwcornett50, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. bwcornett50

    bwcornett50 Registered User

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    If someone has a felony from 13 years ago, and has sincerely changed his life, changed his views, and has accepted Christ in his life, can he become a mason in Texas?
     
  2. California Master

    California Master Registered User

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    My vote is no. Masonry takes "Good Men" into our fraternity. We are not a rehab facility. Unfortunately, the person made decisions that affected his entire life. I'm happy that he has repented and has accepted Christ. But, I don't think that we compromise our fraternity.... ever. Masons have always been men of outstanding character. How would you feel if you allowed this person to join your lodge and then he commits another felony?

    A couple of years ago, at the California annual communications, a lodge had petitioned Grand Lodge to allow an expelled member back into the fraternity. It came out that the reason for the initial explusion was due to selling drugs to school children. The lodge members contended that he would come to lodge breakfasts and work in the kitchen etc.. Let me tell you, it was voted down 99%.
     
  3. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

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    It should be noted that Masonry is not an entitlement. It is not something everyone who has made a positive change is entitled to.

    I would vote no on convicted felons. Although that same man would have my love and support in his community, I might hire him to do work, etc. But there are consequences in life and sometimes that consequences are life long. No felons in the Fraternity for me.
     
  4. cutter2001

    cutter2001 Premium Member

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  5. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

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    You have to draw the line somewhere.
     
  6. Spring TX MM

    Spring TX MM Premium Member

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    Pursuant to Article 393, as read, the answer would be no. It doesn't elaborate much. Just states the candidate shall be deemed disqualified if a felony conviction exists. Pm me and I will happily send you a full copy of the Article in the Laws.

    S&F,
    Kyle
     
  7. M.Prejean

    M.Prejean Registered User

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    We had this discussion in Lodge recently. A brother who is an attorney brought up a felony dealing with handicapped parking tags (I assumed that was a state concern, but he knows more than me). Apparently if a mason who's vehicle has those tags lends his vehicle to his grandson who is pulled over, both are guilty of a felony.

    As I said, I don't know anything about that law, but surely there are many other scenarios where a felony is committed without marring a man's character.

    Shoot, while I'm on this train of thought, what about our revolutionary fathers? What high crimes and treason did they commit? Should we deny them as brothers too?
     
  8. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

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    I have heard a lot of what if scenarios. But a felony is a big deal, not a little one.

    If someone can not make it their whole life without a felony offense, even a little itty bitty when...well then they can't be a Mason in my book. They might be my friend, they might go to my church, they might a lot of things...but they will never get through the door of my lodge.
     
    LCWebb and James Ziggy Striplin like this.
  9. calee

    calee Registered User

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    I have to agree with Brother Porter. Well said.
     
  10. Spring TX MM

    Spring TX MM Premium Member

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    The GLoT petition asks specifically if a candidate has been CHARGED(not even convinced but just CHARGED) with a felony or misdemeanor INVOLVING moral turpitude.

    Moral Turpitude - A phrase used in Criminal Law to describe conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty, or good morals.

    Crimes involving moral turpitude have an inherent quality of baseness, vileness, or depravity with respect to a person's duty to another or to society in general. Examples include rape, forgery, Robbery, and solicitation by prostitutes.

    Many jurisdictions impose penalties, such as deportation of Aliens and disbarment of attorneys, following convictions of crimes involving moral turpitude. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/_/dict.aspx?word=moral+turpitude

    Now, to add to the above, this isn't meant for a Brother, after being made a Mason, the Laws states other to cover that as in the reference about the Brother who loaned his car to his grandson. This is different.

    S&F,
    Kyle
     
  11. cog41

    cog41 Premium Member

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    No.

    Avoid the what ifs and which felony is worse than the other. How long ago it was etc. etc..
    I agree some attention should be given to arrest versus conviction, but that could be determined by a thorough investigation of the candidate.

    No.

    Proverbs 17:14 "The beginning of strife is like releasing water: Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts."
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  12. dhouseholder

    dhouseholder Registered User

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    Here is my honest and unpopular opinion. It would depend on the Felony for me. If it involved moral turpitude, then absolutely not. If it does not involve (my definition) of moral turpitude then I'd consider it.

    Here is my reasoning....

    1) The Grand Lodge of Texas uses the nebulous term "moral turpitude" when talking about felons and crime, but does not define it.
    2) The State of Texas does not define it either, from a purely legal stand-point.
    3) THUS, it is at the lodge's, and by extension each brother's discretion.

    That being said, I could imagine a few instances in which I would put a white ball in a box for a man that was convicted of a felony but it would by on a case-by-case scenario. We live in a litigious and sometimes unfair society. Justice and be blind and innocent people get convicted sometimes. I know plenty of good Masons who, if at certain times in their lives, the law showed up a moments, they'd be banned from the fraternity. I'd be willing to bet every brother here knows another brother like that as well.

    However, our laws state in Art. 393, that "if a candidate has been finally convicted of a felony offense, he shall be deemed disqualified to receive the degrees.", and his petition would be void upon delivery. I don't agree with this article, but I will honor it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  13. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    Did Grand Lodge not vote at the last session regarding this issue? I couldn't attend, so I could be completely making this up, but I could have swore that there was a resolution proposed that would bar felons from entering the fraternity, no matter what the felony was or how long ago it was committed and how clean their record has been since then.

    Can anyone clarify this? Am I going crazy?
     
  14. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    Missed this when I glanced through the thread. I suppose it answers my question. :)
     
  15. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Yes, that issue was presented and voted upon at Grand Lodge last year. It is now part of Art. 393 as quoted above. All that being said, I cannot speak as to your mental state. :lol:
     
  16. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

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    Regarding the minor felonies - if a man hires an attorney and they are a first offender then the chances of them getting off with a misdemeanor are extremely high. Trust me, I know - I used to race motorcycles illegally back in the service and got into a bit of hot water after finally gettin caught runnin from the cops. When I say I was a wild kid, it is an understatement.

    But I had sense enough to get an attorney and to never stand in a court accused again in my life. Attorney fees for most of these borderline misdemeanor/felony cases are very low, the attorney shows up to court, it is reduced, bam. It is the snap to go take care of it the proper way and to never cross the line again so that they never appear in court accused as anything but a first offender. Even at 19 I understood the difference that makes on those borderline crimes.
     
  17. jvarnell

    jvarnell Premium Member

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    This Thread is driving me crazy. I think it needs to be looked at on a case by case bases. If the US founding fathers had not prevailed they would have been Felons. If any place makes a statment that no felons allowed without doing due diligence are not helping the high standards and want to just blame a rule book for that. There are fedral felony for such things as "vandalism of parks" which has been deamed such things as cutting low hanging limb over a pickanic table and others. With tree hugers and people like that in this countery we can never tell what a felony will be.


    CRIMES INVOLVING MORAL TURPITUDE
    http://www.shusterman.com/pdf/cmt04.pdf
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2012
  18. Spring TX MM

    Spring TX MM Premium Member

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    I understand what you are saying, Brother. I believe the OP was seeking guidance as to whether it is legal or not. You make some valid points. The only problem is, our current Laws state that its disqualifying to have been convicted of a felony. This doesn't change whether the person is a good person or not. Sorry if this was too redundant.

    S&F,
    Kyle
     
  19. jvarnell

    jvarnell Premium Member

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    I guess I need not respond to this thread. I thought even if it is the rule of today, the question was ask to gain understanding and maybe change it or not. But to gain knowledge from others.
     
  20. Spring TX MM

    Spring TX MM Premium Member

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    Well, maybe I misinterpreted the OP intent. Its possible but if not for posts of Brethren like yourself and others, if the intent was to gain understanding and opinions, the resulting argument might be one sided. This is a discussion forum and thus, your opinions and insight count, at least to me they do. I'm sure to others as well.

    S&F,
    Kyle
     

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