The Grand Lodge of Liberia Rejoinder to the Daily Observer Newspaper
The Masonic Craft of the Republic of Liberia read with concern and disgust, an article which appeared in the March 28, 2018 Edition of the Daily Observer newspaper under the caption: “Is the Presidency Outsourced? Dillon Reacts to Charles Bright’s New Role”.
The article, which is filled with deliberate falsehoods and intentional misrepresentations, is an obvious and deliberate attempt to invoke and perpetuate the sentiments of the age old and historic Settler-Indigenous divide which in the past have brought and which still continue to bring unnecessary and destructive national division in our Country. This has prohibited true and genuine national reconciliation in Liberia which are obvious and essential ingredients for our long term national political and economic development as a People and Nation.
The Masonic Craft is an international fraternal organization which was established by the United Grand Lodge of England in 1717. In fact the 300th Anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England was celebrated in London last October. Past Archbishops of Canterbury have also been members. It may be of interest to the Daily Observer that sixteen former presidents of the United States of America were also members of the Masonic Craft. Numerous prominent and successful business, political and religious figures throughout the world are proud of their membership in the Craft.
The tenets of our Organization are based on the universal principles of Brotherly Love and Charity. The aims and objectives of the Masonic Craft are public documents and the fact that the Daily Observer refused to do conduct any research is proof that the newspaper had no interest or desire in publishing the truth about the Masonic Craft.
In implementing its mandate to dispense charity to the needy, during our Ebola crisis, Bro. Charles Bright, a member of the Masonic Craft, headed our Ebola Committee and he was instrumental, along with medical doctors, who are also members, in organizing and providing relief items to many communities costing thousands of United States Dollars. The Grand Lodge thereafter had an honoring program at the Grand Masonic Temple where Honorable Mary Broh, GSA Director General, Clara Doe Mvogo, then Mayor of the City of Monrovia, Honorable Saah Joseph, District 13 Representative and Tolbert Nyenswah, then Deputy Minister of Health, were publicly honored for their services, as were also members of the Craft who were medical doctors who risked their lives to bring the disease under control. All this information was readily available to the Daily Observer had the newspaper taken the time to conduct a minimum of research.
The Daily Observer article also politicizes Bro. Charles Bright’s recent political appointment by President George Manneh Weah. This is an obvious and deliberate attempt by the publication to create disharmony within President Weah’s Government by challenging the President’s right to appoint who in his opinion is the best person to work in the interest of the Liberian people. We believe that the appointment of Bro. Bright has absolutely nothing to do with his affiliation with any fraternal organization but is based on his competence and the trust which he enjoys from President Weah. The age old principles of the Masonic Craft strictly prohibit the Craft from endorsing or supporting any of its members for political offices. And had the Daily Observer conducted the minimal amount of research it would have confirmed this information which is readily available in the public domain.
One of the many outright lies in the Daily Observer article is that during the Ebola crisis “…….hundreds of the U.S. troops serving with the emergency force were initiated into the Masonic Craft in Liberia.” It is not necessary to comment on this ridiculous allegation because of its obvious falsity. As we all know, during the Ebola epidemic large gatherings were discouraged to prevent the spread of the disease. Who in their right mind would have participated in a mass initiation of several hundred persons during the height of the Ebola crisis?. It may also interest the Daily Observer to know that the Masonic Craft was the first to suspend all activities as a mean of curtailing the spread of the disease. And this was even before the Government decided to do so.
Another of the many false statements contained in the article is that the late Bishop George Brown of the Episcopal Church characterized the Masonic Craft as “UNCHRISTIAN”. Once again had the Daily Observer conducted the minimal amount of research, which is required of any responsible publication, it would have readily discovered the utter falsity of this statement, especially as in this instance when several of the top Management of the Daily Observer are prominent Episcopalians. The obvious falsity of this allegation is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the present Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Liberia and Archbishop of the Internal Province of West Africa is a Past Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge. Countless priests of the Episcopal Church were and some are still members of the Masonic Craft. Just to name a few, they include the late Rev. Emmanuel Johnson, former Dean of Trinity Cathedral and former President of Cuttington University, and Rev. Michael Sie, the present Rector of St. Thomas Church and the late Canon Burgess Carr, who incidentally was the brother of Kenneth Best, the former Managing Director of Daily Observer. The late Rev. S. R. E. Dixon of the United Methodist Church and the late J. J. Mends-Cole, Presiding Elder of the Liberian Presbyterian Church were also members of the Masonic Craft.
A recent article appeared in the London based Guardian newspaper under the heading: “INTEGRITY OR INFLUENCE? INSIDE THE WORLD OF MODERN FREEMASON”. The article accused the United Grand Lodge of England of operating secret Lodges in the Houses of Parliament in which lobby journalists were peddling influence in political circles. The article was the subject of a public complaint by the United Grand Lodge of England and an investigation by the Guardian editors, after which the article was amended to remove the misleading impression which the heading of the article had conveyed.
Accepted and established journalistic ethics and principles require a newspaper to conduct some measure of due diligence to confirm and ascertain the facts before proceeding to publish defamatory statements. Although the Daily Observer claims to be the premier newspaper in the country, it is therefore surprising that the newspaper failed to adhere to these basic and elementary journalistic standards.
The Grand Lodge of Liberia calls on the Management of the Daily Observer in future publications to desist from promoting ethnic hatred in Liberia and creating disharmony in President George Weah’s Government. The Masonic Craft also calls on the Management of the Daily Observer to issue the appropriate retratrix in respect of the numerous lies and deliberate misinformation portrayed in the article. Common decency requires nothing less. To avoid future publication of misinformation and other defamatory material about the Masonic Craft, the Grand Lodge informs the Daily Observer that its officers always remain available to provide any information which may be requested about the aims, objectives and activities of the Masonic Craft.
By orders of the Grand Master of Masons of Liberia, Most Worshipful Brother James E. Pierre, 330
Right Worshipful Brother N. Oswald Tweh, 330
GRAND LODGE OF MASONS, R. L.