Tidings from the West

February 29, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

This evening, the news began to spread around the Masonic internet haunts about the message from M. David Perry, Grand Master of Masons in California. I received several from brothers who were proud, excited, and who wanted to make sure the message went out.

From the GM of CA today

Dear Brethren:

You might have read about recent events in some US states including Georgia and Tennessee where Masonic grand lodges have adopted new rules or have enforced existing rules that discipline Masons because of their sexual orientation. Such rules and actions do not coincide with the principles of Freemasonry as practiced by the Grand Lodge of California and do not support what we understand as the great aim of our fraternity.

Freemasonry is a universal system which uses the tools and techniques of the old stonemasons’ guilds to illustrate simple moral and ethical principles. To this it adds a philosophical and spiritual framework for personal improvement. Freemasonry encourages its members to be better by improving their relationships with others, by practicing a life of tolerance, compassion, honesty, and the pursuit of justice. Freemasonry instructs its members to uphold and respect the laws of their government and not to undermine those laws. It attempts to make the world a better place by making its members better citizens of the communities in which they live.

Freemasonry may be found worldwide, in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Freemasonry works through local lodges. In California and elsewhere, some lodges are comprised of men only, some of women only and some of both men and women. Each lodge typically operates under a grand lodge, and there are a number of these grand lodges operating in California. Each grand lodge is independent and operates under its own set of rules as its members may decide.

With more than 50,000 members statewide, those lodges under the Grand Lodge of California are open to men of good character and faith, regardless of their race, color, religious beliefs, political views, economic station, sexual orientation, physical ability, citizenship or national origin. Our lodges currently work in English, Spanish, French, and Armenian.

Through this universal brotherhood, California Masons learn to be better husbands, better fathers, better friends, and better citizens. By appreciating our differences, we learn to focus on what unites us. Thus, the discussion of religion, politics, and business is not permitted in our lodges. In this way we live up to the centuries-old aim of our fraternity – to unite men of every country, sect, and opinion and cause true friendship among those who otherwise would have remained at a distance.

It has been a week now since the news of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee and their expulsion of two seemingly well liked and active brothers who were accepted by the members of their lodge, but who were not accepted by other members of the fraternity in the state.

The discussions have continued on Facebook groups and other Web forums since then, with the overwhelming majority of Freemasons sympathetic toward Brothers Clark and Henderson; and ranging from irate to incredulous at the Grand Lodge of Tennessee.

Unfortunately, the opinions of the several thousands of Freemasons will probably have little impact, since most of the support for the brothers has been from members who aren’t from Tennessee. This may have something to do with the recent directive in Tennessee that forbids members from discussing the matter in public; indeed, rumors have circulated that the GL officers have noted some of the brothers who have spoken out on social media. So far, reports that those members have been disciplined have gone unsubstantiated.

Fortunately, however, it seems that the conversations have not gone unnoticed elsewhere. California is the first to release a public statement to the effect that the Grand Lodge does not condone or support the discriminatory actions of several other states. Hopefully others will follow shortly, before the Grand Lodge of Tennessee convenes at the end of March.

= = = = =

Edit: Chris Hodapp has posted the text from the Grand Lodge of Utah, and the Grand Lodge of DC, both of which came out several days ago.

  1. February 29, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    So f*cking mote it be.


  2. February 29, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    I AM simply outdone that GL of Tennessee has time or manpower to stalk their members on social media

    [This may have something to do with the recent directive in Tennessee that forbids members from discussing the matter in public; indeed, rumors have circulated that the GL officers have noted some of the brothers who have spoken out on social media.]


  3. March 1, 2016 at 12:24 am

    What needs to be done here as with West Virginia, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, is for those Grand Lodges that practice “real Masonry” to pull recognition from those Rogue Grand Lodges who do not.


    • The Widows Son
      March 1, 2016 at 5:03 pm

      We don’t need recognition from a liberal Grand Lodge like California, so pull it!


  4. March 1, 2016 at 2:32 am

    Grand Lodges of Utah and the District of Columbia have, as well.

    I know of at least two grand lodge jurisdictions so far that have been dis-invited from participating in public cornerstone ceremonies because of Georgia and Tennessee’s actions. And now, Mississippi has an initiative coming up for a vote in their GL session this month to add prohibition of homosexuals to their code.

    Privately, grand masters are discussing among themselves the best way to proceed, as it is clearly not going away.


  5. Allen
    March 1, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    The two men in question KNEW the bylaws of the Tennessee Grand Lodge. They chose to join and proceed, no one forced them. Remember “free will”?
    Also the WGM of Tennessee is doing the job he “most solomely and sincerely promised to do” Don’t blame him, blame that Grand Lodges Constitution. Regardless of personal conviction he swore to perform a job and he is fulfilling that duty. What needs to happen is thoughtful dialog among the voting members of that Grand Lodge. Other states need to let the process that has been in place since time immortal take place. Remember your obligations and control your tounge brothers. Regardless of what another Mason may do you are accountable to yourself and your Supreme Master.


  6. March 1, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    I doubt they knew the code of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee when they joined. No one is generally allowed to read our codes unless they are members, and even then, how many of us have read ours cover to cover? Generally, the only time they are looked at is when it is required by one’s duties as a Worshipful Master. I doubt anyone in their lodge knew the restriction was there until someone decided to make it an issue and researched it.


    • Allen
      March 1, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      Provided ALL articles I have read are true, they knew. I studied the by laws of my State before I became a WM so I would know. Nothing was done or said until the two of them made the decision. Trust me, they knew what was gonna happen to them and they knew the firestorm it would cause.


      • denclark2016
        March 1, 2016 at 10:30 pm

        Worshipful Brother Allen: Actually, no. It never occurred to me that two law-abiding citizens, obeying the laws of the land, standing in a public space, getting married and harming no one would cause a state wide criminal trial. I can’t think of any reasonable person who would jump to that conclusion. It would have been far easier and less arbitrary for Grand Master Hastings to pursue masons who get drunk, gamble, don’t pay their child support, cuss, and sleep with women without the benefit of marriage, if only because the sheer numbers are staggering. If you will pardon the expression, that would have been the low hanging fruit. While the gag order “might” apply in Tennessee (and I’m not sure that it does), it certainly does not apply to men of enlightened reason outside the state who want to openly discuss the ontology of the human condition or how (or if) a man’s immutable qualities can somehow determine his moral fiber. As you might know if you are one, a Tennessee Freemason gets his Lodge’s bylaws at his raising but not the TN constitution. As W’ful Bro. Hodapp points out, hardly anyone has read their state constitution from cover to cover but I commend you for doing so prior to taking your seat in the East.


  7. TProsser
    March 8, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    If a man wants to have a sexual relationship with another man, he is no longer considered to be a man, which is a requirement for joining a Masonic Lodge! Freemasonry has no place for this perversion, masons have historically been menY of character and morals and to now embrace this perversion would be an insult to all true brethren who have gone this way before!


    • March 9, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      How exactly is a homosexual, or bisexual man not a man, again? Is this fact, or just your narrow-minded opinion?


    • March 9, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      TProsser: I would simply say that you have probably been sitting in lodge with gay members for as long as you have been a Mason, and there have been gay Freemasons since the beginning of the fraternity. They don’t come with a warning tattoo or identifying birthmark. Regardless of your own personal faith or convictions, homosexual men are indeed men and Freemasons, and they are every bit as moral and upstanding as you regard yourself to be.


      • March 9, 2016 at 10:08 pm

        I regret that Tom won’t let me “Like” some of the better posts.

        Liked by 1 person

      • March 10, 2016 at 3:17 am

        This is an older WordPress theme. I can Like comments on the mobile app, but they don’t show up online.

        I guess it’s time to think about an upgrade.


      • March 10, 2016 at 9:51 am

        Ah ha – it wasn’t the theme, it was a feature that needed to be enabled. I probably missed it when I switched to this theme a while ago.


      • March 10, 2016 at 1:09 pm

        WP Rocks! 🙂


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