The Grand Master requested that I contact you and request permission to publish a blog. I have been publishing an occasional blog for a couple of months. I did not even think about requesting permission. The Grand Master already has said he would sign off on it. Is this something that I will need to get renew with every new GM?
Blogging on Masonic topics is becoming increasingly popular as the tools to do so become easier to work with. I congratulate you on your enthusiasm for Freemasonry and your willingness to share your thoughts and idea. The Corporate Board of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota has adopted an Internet policy that includes, among many other items, a section on Blogs, It is excerpted below.
The entire policy statement is on our website at http://www.mn-masons.org/lodge-resources/computer-internet-policy.
So with the Grand Master already having approved of your blog, you will be in full compliance if you simply add the disclaimer, “Any views, opinions, or thoughts articulated in postings and/or comments from any contributors to this weblog do not in any way represent the views of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, its constituent lodges, officers, or employees.”
The policy statement is not meant to inhibit your discussion of Masonic topics, but rather to just make it clear that everyone can have their own opinions on things Masonic and if they choose to express them that they are speaking for themselves and not for their lodge or for Freemasonry at large.
Once approved of, as your blog is as soon as you can add the disclaimer, you are approved indefinitely; you need not get reapproved once each year when we elect new Grand Lodge officers. I say indefinitely because should any Minnesota Mason fall out of compliance the Grand Lodge would have the right to rescind the approval and require the blogger to stop publication of his blog. I don’t mean to sound heavy handed but this is not unlike a lodge publishing a newsletter. Should the publisher of such a newsletter decide to start including political rants or other things prohibited by our rules then the Grand Lodge also has the right to demand that the publication of such a newsletter in the name of the lodge be stopped.
Please just shoot me a note when you have updated your blog with the disclaimer and I will note the approval in our records for you and you will be all set.
Weblogs, Blogging, Texting, Twitter and Other Forms of Electronic Communication
Section 2.01 The following policies regarding various forms of communication, electronic and otherwise are established in the Jurisdiction of Minnesota:
- (a) Under no circumstances should the use of computers in any form including cell phones be allowed in the Lodge room during a tyled meeting with the possible exception of the Lodge Secretary and Treasurer and/or the use of a computer to present a slide show or video then only with the permission of the Master.
- (b) Members who are required to be on call such as, but not limited to law enforcement, fire or medical professionals, cell phones or other types of communication instruments will be allowed but must be muted or in silent mode during a tyled lodge meeting. If a call comes in for the member, he should excuse himself from the meeting and take the call outside the Lodge room so as not to disturb the meeting.
- (c) The disclaimer statement below must be included on every blog/forum hosted by a member of Minnesota Freemasonry that will discuss subjects related to the Grand Lodge of Minnesota or its constituent Lodges.
- (d) Permission from the Grand Lodge of Minnesota must be obtained before matters of policy can be placed on or discussed on blog sites or communicated in any other form of communication.
- (e) Despite disagreement, respect must always be shown to the Fraternity, its members and families.
- (f) Blogging activity or any other form of communication must in no way be contrary to the obligations of Freemasonry. This includes, but is not limited to the prohibition on certain discussions about balloting or other matters that the Master would expect to be kept confidential.
- (g) All the provisions of the “Computer Use Policy” which apply to the promoting of information over the internet also apply here.
- (h) Masons are encouraged to follow the “Bloggers Code of Ethics” below.
(a) Any blog created by any member of Freemason under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota that will discuss any Masonic topic of any kind must include the following disclaimer.
(i) “Any views, opinions, or thoughts articulated in postings and/or comments from any contributors to this weblog do not in any way represent the views of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, its constituent lodges, officers, or employees.”
Section 2.03 Blogger Code of Ethics
(a) I will tell the truth.
(b) I will write deliberately and with accuracy.
(c) I will acknowledge and correct mistakes promptly.
(d) I will preserve the original post, using notations to show where I have made changes so as to maintain the integrity of my publishing.
(e) I will never delete a post.
(f) I will not delete comments unless they are spam or off-topic.
(g) I will reply to emails and comments when appropriate, and do so promptly.
(h) I will strive for high quality with every post – including basic spellchecking.
(i) I will stay on topic.
(j) I will disagree with other opinions respectfully.
(k) I will link to online references and original source materials directly.
(l) I will disclose conflicts of interest.
(m) I will keep private issues and topics private.