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Ancient and Acceptable?

January 19, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

My blogging counterpart in the colder hinterlands had a post on the policies of the Scottish Rite that generated some discussion on various forums. To save you a little bit of button clicking, let me reprint the part that I found interesting:

The Scottish Rite, between the two world wars, published the following policies of the Supreme Council (no longer in force). These were reprinted in the Oct. 1927 Scottish Rite Sun.

The Supreme Council has always favored free public education, the use of English as the language of instruction, the separation of church and state and the inculcation of patriotism in the schools. Additionally the Supreme Council favors:

  1. A federal department of education with a secretary in the President’s cabinet.
  2. A national university at Washington, supported by the government.
  3. The compulsory use of English as the language of instruction in the grammar grades.
  4. Adequate provision for the education of the alien population, not only in cultural and vocational subjects, but especially in the principles of American institutions and popular sovereignty.
  5. The entire separation of church and state and opposition to every attempt to appropriate public moneys, directly or indirectly, for the support of sectarian institutions.
  6. The American public school, non-partisan, non-sectarian, efficient, democratic, for all the children of all the people; equal educational opportunities for all.
  7. The inculcation of patriotism, love of the flag, respect for law and order and underlying loyalty to constitutional government.

Before I joined, I remember several people telling me that Masons were for things like public education, or the separation of church and state. Having spent some time in the Blue Lodge, and more recently, having gone through the York Rite degrees, I hadn’t run across any position papers to that effect, so now I can at least see where the conceptions came from.

And what of these ideals? Considering that this was written almost a century ago, it certainly seems on point, doesn’t it? Every national election cycle seems to see several of these points discussed very publicly.

  • English-only instruction? Check.
  • Educating immigrants into the American way of life? Check.
  • Patriotism and rule of law? Check.
  • Separation of church and state? Check.

These are all worthy of discussion, and indeed, I certainly can’t see anything wrong with having a group lobby to keep such standards in the minds of our elected politicians, who often seem to pander to any group that offers to support them with money and votes. I think that perhaps our Scottish Rite brothers were either prescient, or at least, rational and conservative thinkers who deserve some credit for their efforts into introducing some direction into American politics. It’s no wonder that they are so often lauded as the “College of Freemasonry.”

Now, could somebody please explain why we love the Scottish Rite, but complain that French Freemasonry is “irregular” in part because they too often dabble in politics?

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  1. Gerald A. Edgar
    January 19, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    The difference between some French G.L.’s & America’s is that we encourage individual mbrs to be active citizens (& thus have many mbrs active in politics) whereas at least one French G.L.has involves itself directly into partisan politics. To favor a democratic form of government with a well educated and involved populace is far different than a G.L., Valley or Commandery advocating for GOP vs. Democrats, etc. Sometimes there is a grey area but generally American Masonry is devoid of partisan politics IN the Lodge room. Thus we number among most prominent members such diverse politicians as Bro. Goldwater & Bro. McGovern; Bro. Glenn & Bro. Grassley; Bro. FDR & Bro. Ford. To paraphrase: we take good men & make them better irrespective of their race, creed or color, political or religious persuasion. We do encourage involvement in public life but whether liberal or conservative, libertarian or socialist, Union or Mgt, to each his won.
    NOTE: DeMolay advocates for public education re: schoolbooks on the altar and a statement that “public schools are the foundation of our country’s greatness”.

    Like

  1. January 20, 2015 at 4:30 pm
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