I really think what the Shriners' goals are laudable. I know that there has been the New York Times article concerning some improper dealings in the Shrine and I really think that it has been adequately discussed at length at both the Freemasons for Dummies and the Burning Taper blogs. I would rather go another way, to describe what Shrine does to help people, specifically children. To explain where I am coming from, I am not a Shriner and do not plan on petition anytime soon. However, I really think what they do at the hospitals is very commendable.
(Ragan) plans to pursue membership with the Shriners fraternity.
According to the Shriners' Hospital website,
Shriners Hospitals for Children is a one-of-a-kind international health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing specialty pediatric care, innovative research and outstanding teaching programs.
Children up to the age of 18 with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate are eligible for admission and receive all care in a family-centered environment at no charge – regardless of financial need.
Unfortunately, in the hemisphere of Masonic Information on the Internet, Shriners seem to be attacked at many turns. Whether it be because they are too large, lack of oversight or the current bookkeeping problems, the message of the Shrine is being lost. Shrine was and is the reason why many become Masons. Some might have had a kid in the hospital or were in the hospital themselves. Remember, just because someone is a Shriner does not mean that they are in charge. Many Shriners just go about their business having fun and helping kids. With this endorsement, many more brothers may join the Lodge which is just fine by me as we still share the desire to help people.