Home > Culture, Freemasonry, masonry, prejudice > The pot calling the kettle black: Part 3

The pot calling the kettle black: Part 3

Note: This is the third of a three-part article from a brother who wishes to remain anonymous. The online discussions of the past few weeks prompted him to write about his experiences, and what he would do if it were in his power to promote changes.

I saw some of his writing elsewhere, and asked if I could use some of his ideas; he responded by filling in some details and presenting what you see here. While I don’t necessarily agree with him on all points, he does make an interesting case for why Grand Lodges should remove recognition from those states that do not practice what the membership believes to be the higher ideals of our society. I’m presenting this as some food for thought.

Part 1 is here
Part 2 is here

 

The chief argument that I have made in the preceding parts of this article is that racism and homophobia are not limited to the Grand Lodge of Georgia and Tennessee. Instead, I am of the opinion that racism and homophobia are present throughout the Craft and must be addressed with comprehensive and meaningful solutions provided by the various Grand Lodges.

This article originated due to the fact that there have been several posts on social media sites applauding the letters condemning the policies against homosexuals and African Americans in Georgia and Tennessee. While these letters represent a step in the right direction, they carry very little weight in terms of their ability to effect change within the fraternity. The position more or less taken by a few Grand Lodges largely amounts to, “While we condemn the actions of the Grand Lodge of Georgia and Tennessee, they are entitled to their opinion, but in our jurisdiction we welcome homosexual Brethren.”

To that I reply, “Awesome, but what about Brother Clark and his husband? They will not be permitted to visit your Lodges anytime soon because they were wrongly expelled from the fraternity.”

Furthermore, I would reply, “Tremendous! Surely, however, there is another homosexual Brother in Georgia or Tennessee who will have to conceal their life from a Brother for fear of prosecution and persecution. When they are charged and this whole process repeats itself in the eyes of the public how is the Craft going to look then? Are we going to have our spokesman Brother Chris Hodapp rush to our aid to grant more interviews in which he says, ‘Well, the decision is up to the Grand Lodge, but this type of behavior is considered repugnant by the vast majority of Freemasons?’”

Moreover, I would reply, “Excellent. Now, what exactly will happen when another Grand Lodge decides to follow the example of Georgia and Tennessee because they know that the only consequence is a stern letter from three Grand Lodges and the Scottish Rite? More stern letters?” If that happens, heaven forbid, then we are going to have a lot more to worry about than a black eye.

If you do not think the damage has been done in the fraternity, I can point to a 38 year old Past Master in Georgia who is demitting because of the action his Grand Lodge took. I can point to a number of worthy candidates who will never file a petition because our reputation has been tarnished. I can also point to a more recent situation where I visited a Lodge and an Entered Apprentice refused to go forward with his work because of what happened. Brethren, this is not a Georgia problem, this is not a Tennessee problem, this is a problem that will have ramifications across the Masonic world and the best that we have come up with is, “Well, the Grand Lodges have the authority to make those decisions, we cannot question that authority, but we can assure you that our Grand Lodge will not make a similar decision.”

Spare me. Spare us. Our fraternity is far better than that and we should expect more from it.

In fact, I am going to propose a far more meaningful and comprehensive response to what has occurred than what our Grand Lodges have offered. My response is one that makes it clear, in no uncertain terms, that there will be consequences if a Grand Lodge or any other Masonic body for that matter decides to engage in racism, prejudice, or homophobia. Brethren, the truth of the matter is that actions speak louder than words and the time has come to take action.

With that said, here is what I would have done if I were the Right Worshipful Grand Master of Pennsylvania.

  1. Issue an edict reforming the Masonic judicial process.

As I mentioned in the last part of this article , there are barriers that prevent Freemasons from being able to address the issue of unmasonic conduct. As the Right Worshipful Grand Master, I would eliminate those barriers in multiple ways.

First and foremost, all black balls would be able to be appealed to a panel of three District Deputy Grand Masters anonymously if there were suspicions as to why they were cast. The appeal would require the showing of cause as to why an individual believed that a black ball was unfairly cast. Upon receiving the appeal, a District Deputy would inform the Worshipful Master of it and give them 30 days to make their case. Abstract explanations as to why a vote was cast will not be sufficient. Instead, there must be a valid reason such as a criminal record or other hard proof that the person is unfit to join the fraternity. The District Deputies would then investigate the claims and if well founded would uphold the vote and the petitioner would be rejected. If, on the other hand, there is no evidence to support the casting of a black ball, then the District Deputies would have the power and authority to overturn the vote of the Blue Lodge, expunge the record of the vote, and order that the petitioner be initiated by a simple majority vote of the three. Furthermore, the petitioner would be given the status of Candidate at Large and have the option of pursuing membership at another Lodge. If the candidate chose to do so, then the Blue Lodge that they petitioned would have to turn over the initiation fee to the petitioner’s Lodge of choice and it would be credited toward their initiation fee and dues.

Second, ANY member would be permitted to bring charges against ANY other Lodge or member anonymously on the basis of racial, prejudicial, or homophobic conduct. The charges would be filed with the District Deputy who may assign any member of his district to visit the Lodge and investigate the claims. If the claims are verified, then the District Deputy will either have the power to bring charges against the individual or the entire Lodge depending on the nature of the infraction. If racism, prejudice, or homophobia is found to be systemic within the Lodge and the Lodge is convicted, the District Deputy Grand Master under the authority of the Right Worshipful Grand Master would have the power to confiscate the Charter of the Lodge. Furthermore, every member that participated in such conduct would be subject to expulsion from the fraternity upon conviction.

Third, in terms of discovery, the District Deputy would have to produce the statements made by the anonymous Brother and his investigator. The Lodge and member would reserve the right to serve interrogatories through the District Deputy in order to confront their accuser. The accuser must respond to the interrogatories within 30 days and they must be served upon the Defendant.

Fourth, all decisions made by the District Deputies may be appealed to the Right Worshipful Grand Master.

  1. Grand Lodges that engage in homophobic or racist conduct will no longer have fraternal ties with the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania

As the Right Worshipful Grand Master of Pennsylvania, it is not enough for me to write a letter condemning racist, prejudicial, or homophobic conduct. Instead, I have a duty and a responsibility to lead by example within the Masonic world.

The first thing that I would do is issue an edict prohibiting Masons from the Grand Lodge of Georgia and the Grand Lodge of Tennessee from visiting Blue Lodges under my jurisdiction effective immediately based on the decisions made by their Lodges that reflect poorly on the Craft.

Next, I would propose that the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania sever fraternal ties with the Grand Lodge of Georgia and the Grand Lodge of Tennessee until the edicts are reversed, until they pass legislation that bringing charges of unmasonic conduct on the basis of race, religion, and sexual orientation are strictly prohibited, publicly disavow their current position, expunge and dismiss any and all cases that have been brought against any Brethren on the basis of race, sexual orientation, or religious belief, and reinstate the Brethren that have been expelled and grant them life membership.

  1. Proposing to bring back the Masonic Jurisdiction Thereunto Belonging and issuing an edict waiving residency requirements for Brethren who have been the victims of racial, homophobic, and religious policies, and declaring any and all decisions rendered against those Brethren by their respective Grand Lodges void and unenforceable within my jurisdiction.

One of the peculiarities of the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania is that the full title of the Grand Lodge is The Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons in Pennsylvania and Masonic Jurisdiction Thereunto Belonging. While the official title of the Grand Lodge is a mouthful, many people wonder what Masonic Jurisdiction Thereunto Belonging means.

Masonic Jurisdiction Thereunto Belonging means that Lodges affiliated with the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania extended beyond its borders at one point in history. In fact, the Grand Lodge had chartered Lodges in the Dominican Republic, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, South Carolina, and most notably for our present purposes Georgia. In fact, the website for the Grand Lodge of Georgia notes that a Lodge known as Hiram Lodge #42 was Chartered by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania on the basis that they disapproved of the work being done by Solomon’s Lodge #1 in Savannah.

Furthermore, one of the unique things about the Right Worshipful Grand Master of Pennsylvania is that he can unilaterally issue edicts without putting them to a vote and his edict is absolute. In a book titled The Exemplar, Right Worshipful Past Grand Master Carpenter states, “It may be of great interest for Pennsylvania Freemasons to know that the inherent powers of the Right Worshipful Grand Master are unequaled throughout the Masonic World. There is no appeal of the decisions or actions of the Right Worshipful Grand Master of Pennsylvania. It has been stated many times that his power is frightening.”

Given the power that I would have as Right Worshipful Grand Master and historic precedent, I would propose that we bring back the tradition of the Masonic Jurisdiction Thereunto Belonging. If the vote were approved at a meeting of the Grand Lodge, then I would immediately issue an edict stating that any Blue Lodge in Georgia or Tennessee that disagreed with the edicts of the Grand Lodge of Georgia or Tennessee could surrender their charter to me and would immediately be granted a new Charter under the jurisdiction of the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania provided that they adopted legislation that bringing charges of unmasonic conduct on the basis of race, religion, and sexual orientation are strictly prohibited, publicly disavow their current position, expunge and dismiss any and all cases that have been brought against any Brethren on the basis of race, sexual orientation, or religious belief and would be entitled to keep their ritual and customs which are distinct from those in Pennsylvania. Alternatively, if they did not wish to be affiliated with the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and wished to form an independent Grand Lodges, then their Grand Lodges would be immediately recognized by the Grand Lodge upon declaring their existence and would receive whatever aid was necessary from the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in order to form provided that similar legislation was passed at the inception of the new Grand Lodges.

Furthermore, I would use my power of making a Mason at Sight to admit any Brother who was a victim of racial, homophobic, or religious misconduct leading to their expulsion, their records would be immediately cleared, the residency requirement to join the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania would be waived, and they would be permitted to join effective immediately free of charge and until their Grand Lodges removed the obstacles to their membership and rescinded their policies.

Conclusion

As one can see, my policies are very broad and truly make a statement that racism, homophobia, and prejudice will not be tolerated by the Craft. On a local level, I provide the mechanisms necessary in order for investigations to occur, charges to be brought, and the barriers to be broken down that prevent unmasonic conduct from being reported. On the Grand Lodge level, I would use the power vested in me to give other Grand Lodges the courage to stand up to the policies of the Grand Lodge of Georgia and Tennessee while aiding and assisting Brethren who were victims of those policies.

Under my edicts, my Grand Lodge would not issue a letter simply condemning racism and prejudice. My Grand Lodge would begin the process of isolating Georgia and Tennessee from the rest of the Masonic world because of the inherently unmasonic decisions that they have rendered. When their Blue Lodges either joined my Grand Lodge or formed their own Grand Lodges that would receive immediate recognition, they would know that they had a true Masonic friend in Pennsylvania that upheld the virtues and principles of equality in the fraternity above all else.

Instead of the public seeing little action, they would see a precedent set that if you tarnish the reputation of the fraternity with racist or homophobic edicts, then there is a price to pay in the form of severe consequences. Those consequences would not only be severe enough to make every Mason within my jurisdiction think twice about engaging in racial, homophobic, or prejudicial conduct, but they would have a devastating impact on Grand Lodges who engaged in such conduct.

If other Grand Lodges followed my example, then Georgia and Tennessee would have no choice but to reverse their edicts and overturn the convictions that have been entered against Brethren on the basis of race, religion, and sexual orientation due to the sheer amount of pressure exerted on them. Moreover, we would not have to throw in the towel and say, “Well, there is not much we can do about it,” when we face the media. Additionally, no other jurisdiction would even consider enacting such policies by the time it was said and done because they know that my jurisdiction will act against it. If we responded with edicts and actions similar to the ones proposed, then the discussions that we are having about Georgia and Tennessee would not be concerned with how they are tarnishing the reputation of the fraternity. Instead, we would be enhancing the reputation of the fraternity by taking a firm stand that inequality does not have a place in a Blue Lodge or any Grand Lodge. Simply put, if we do not take action, then the public sees us as being just as much a part of the problem.

I have chosen to remain anonymous owing to the fact that I no longer live in Pennsylvania. Instead, I now live in one of the jurisdictions that have passed the edict against homosexuals. Although I am saddened by the fact that no Grand Lodge has chosen to act, I fully intend on joining a Lodge in this jurisdiction, making my way to the East, and gaining the ability to vote against the current policies of the Grand Lodge. I fear that if my identity is exposed that I will have problems joining a local Lodge with the hope of making positive change. I hope, however, that my series of articles will cause you to see the problem of inequality within the Craft, that you will demand that action be taken within your respective Grand Lodges, and become an active part of making a change within the fraternity that live up to our ideals of equality within our ranks.

 

 

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  1. Gary Grunau
    March 25, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    If a person has sexual desires for children (Pedophilia), animals (bestiality), or others of their same sex (homosexuality) There is no problem as long as the urge is not acted upon. It is when the act is carried out, the infraction occurs. Just because a bunch of immoral legislators pass a law that legalized such activity, it does not legalize it in the eyes of the the ultimate law giver. A bunch of immoral politicians or even State Grand Masters can legislate tolerance for immorality. But it will not legalize nor prevent consequences for the breaking of the divine law. Just because some man has been voted Grand Master, he has no authority, in spite of the claims in his rituals, to nullify moral law Malum Ense.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Author
    March 26, 2016 at 9:27 am

    I appreciate your opinion, however, I respectfully disagree with your logic.

    From a secular viewpoint, one simply cannot equate homosexuality with pedophilia or bestiality. Homosexuality is a consensual sexual act between two adults of the same gender. An animal or a child is incapable of consent. As a result, from a purely secular viewpoint I disagree with your argument.

    I would agree that the divine law has its place in Freemasonry as well. The divine law, however, is supposed to guide the individual in his personal life and in his dealings with others. While one may not agree with a Brother’s choice of faith or his particular views of what constitutes moral or divine law, he is still charged to treat him with respect. Allow me to provide you with an example.

    I have made it abundantly clear that I am Jewish. In the tradition of the Mosaic Law which Jews follow, there are 613 commandments that Jews should follow. Of the 613 commandments, 39 of them deal with the Sabbath. These 39 laws include prohibitions on writing, erasing, building, demolition, extinguishing fire, igniting fire, finishing a creation, and carrying things from place to place. The prohibition on igniting fire means that one is not permitted to drive a car because a spark must be generated in order to start an internal combustion engine. Now, with that in mind, would it be fair or correct for me to hold you to the same standard that some Jews hold themselves to on the Sabbath and prevent you from driving your car to Church so you do not violate one of the 10 commandments (Keeping the Sabbath Holy)?

    I think not.

    Would it be appropriate for me to keep the laws of the Sabbath according to the Mosaic Law?

    Absolutely.

    Another example. Let’s suppose that I went to Lodge that met in the morning and they had a pancake breakfast with eggs, sausage, and bacon. Consuming sausage and bacon is clearly prohibited in the book of Exodus and there are many Jews that observe this prohibition. Would it be proper for me to demand that the Lodge strictly observe the Laws of Kashrut or would it be more appropriate for me to let the Brethren who do not observe the Jewish tradition enjoy their meal? After all eating pig and engaging in homosexual activity are both abominations to the Lord.

    It seems to me that a segment of the Brethren prefer to engage in selective interpretation of the Volume of the Sacred Law to advance their own beliefs but when it comes to the beliefs of others they are quick to condemn or expel them from the Fraternity.

    The bottom line is that the divine law is the guide by which we must observe in our individual lives at all times. There is no single universal interpretation of the Bible or the concept of a Supreme Being as is evident by the sheer number of religions, religious sects, or varying doctrines or dogma that they set forth. Consequently, Freemasons should be respectful of the religious differences of others and not impose their specific beliefs on others because no two individuals will interpret the divine law in the same manner. Doing so elevates our Fraternity because observance of the Golden Rule is universally appreciated.

    Like

    • Gary Grunau
      March 28, 2016 at 8:06 am

      Dear brother Author 🙂

      This would be so much easier face to face:-) Since color will won’t post , I’ll respond with separate paragraphs,

      I appreciate your opinion, however, I respectfully disagree with your logic.
      From a secular viewpoint, one simply cannot equate homosexuality with pedophilia or bestiality. Homosexuality is a consensual sexual act between two adults of the same gender. An animal or a child is incapable of consent. As a result, from a purely secular viewpoint I disagree with your argument.

      “two consenting adults may agree to one sacrificing the other, but would it negate the crime of taking another persons life? Two people’s consent can not negate crime. Any agreement, oath , or contract, which incorporates anything illegal (including non disclosure) vitiates the entire covenant making it null and void under the rule of law.”

      I would agree that the divine law has its place in Freemasonry as well. The divine law, however, is supposed to guide the individual in his personal life and in his dealings with others. While one may not agree with a Brother’s choice of faith or his particular views of what constitutes moral or divine law, he is still charged to treat him with respect. Allow me to provide you with an example.
      I have made it abundantly clear that I am Jewish. In the tradition of the Mosaic Law which Jews follow, there are 613 commandments that Jews should follow. Of the 613 commandments, 39 of them deal with the Sabbath. These 39 laws include prohibitions on writing, erasing, building, demolition, extinguishing fire, igniting fire, finishing a creation, and carrying things from place to place. The prohibition on igniting fire means that one is not permitted to drive a car because a spark must be generated in order to start an internal combustion engine. Now, with that in mind, would it be fair or correct for me to hold you to the same standard that some Jews hold themselves to on the Sabbath and prevent you from driving your car to Church so you do not violate one of the 10 commandments (Keeping the Sabbath Holy)?

      “Divine law, like the constitution is not interpreted and enforced by anyone who picks up the document and embraces it. If I see a person denying another his constitutional rights, can I punish the perpetrator? Do I have the authority to interpret and then enforce it? The same principle exists with divine law, We have 50 State Grand lodges which in itself presents confusion in that there is no one authority presiding over the 50 to enforce conformity. As it stands Masonry is a house of confusion without a ultimate grand master to consult. Without such we can merely submit our opinions about what is divine and moral laws.

      The feud between the grand lodges can be likened to the various popes in the early christian churches excommunicating each other over disagreements”
      .
      I think not.
      Would it be appropriate for me to keep the laws of the Sabbath according to the Mosaic Law?

      “I don’t mean to get picky or argumentative but to fix a problem, we have to first identify that there is a problem..Mosaic Law? Technically only a bloodline levite had the legal authority to officiate Mosaic Law, and since I’m not a pure blood line Levite, (incidentally
      John the baptist was), and I assume you are not either? So you and I can only submit our individual opinions for discussion. Too often, people use the word LAW as a trump card in a conversation. Even the supreme court only gives its opinion.

      Absolutely.
      Another example. Let’s suppose that I went to Lodge that met in the morning and they had a pancake breakfast with eggs, sausage, and bacon. Consuming sausage and bacon is clearly prohibited in the book of Exodus and there are many Jews that observe this prohibition. Would it be proper for me to demand that the Lodge strictly observe the Laws of Kashrut or would it be more appropriate for me to let the Brethren who do not observe the Jewish tradition enjoy their meal? After all eating pig and engaging in homosexual activity are both abominations to the Lord.

      “And if we see a brother in error are we not to take him aside and in brotherly love admonish him of his error to help him, as you and I are doing in this discussion, respectfully engaging each other”

      It seems to me that a segment of the Brethren prefer to engage in selective interpretation of the Volume of the Sacred Law to advance their own beliefs but when it comes to the beliefs of others they are quick to condemn or expel them from the Fraternity.
      The bottom line is that the divine law is the guide by which we must observe in our individual lives at all times. There is no single universal interpretation

      “ nor do all people have the same spiritual security clearance or callings to make one part of the law universal over all aspects”

      of the Bible or the concept of a Supreme Being as is evident by the sheer number of religions, religious sects, or varying doctrines or dogma that they set forth. Consequently, Freemasons should be respectful of the religious differences of others and not impose their specific beliefs on others because no two individuals will interpret the divine law in the same manner. Doing so elevates our Fraternity because observance of the Golden Rule is universally appreciated.

      “ I could sit here for hours and put forth my 2 cents, but what can we do to get change?”

      Your brother,

      Gary

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      • March 28, 2016 at 11:04 am

        I would submit the post here: http://freemasonsfordummies.blogspot.com/2016/03/another-perspective.html?sm_au=iVVr6jVPV16rtV3f – I hope that shows up as a link.
        Essentially: Your interpretation of biblical law only applies to you and those of your religion. There are Christian denominations that support marriage equality and all that comes with that. Therefore calling it immoral is purely from -your- religious viewpoint and has no standing beyond the borders of your religion and therefore have no place in Freemasonry for to do that would place one religion above the others.

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      • Author
        March 28, 2016 at 9:37 pm

        I apologize for the delay in response to your reply.

        First and foremost, murder is a crime and homosexuality is not so there is nothing illegal with two homosexual men consenting to be in an intimate relationship with one another.

        Second, if someone denies an individual their constitutional rights, then the person who has been denied their rights can sue sue the other party. Trust me on this point, I work in the legal profession. Furthermore, I understand the argument that you are making that from a spiritual standpoint only God can judge you. There is nothing wrong with that viewpoint and the vast majority, if not everyone, in our Fraternity would agree with you. If that is indeed the argument you are making, would it not be better to allow God to judge homosexuals rather than man since according to your argument we do not have the spiritual authority to render judgment?

        As for the moral law in Freemasonry, there is only one law that can govern all Freemasons and that is the law of the State and Nation because it applies to us all equally. On the other hand, different religions often contain different laws that govern morality. To force one member to abide by the rules of another religion, which may run counter to his own, would prevent members from worshiping God according to their own conscience, which goes against the principles of the Fraternity as the founders of it intended it to be open to men of all faiths with the common denominator being a belief in a Supreme Being.

        Next, when the Supreme Court gives an opinion it has the force of law. If not, then why did the nation all of a sudden have to legalize gay marriage? Freemasonry is a man made institution with man made laws. It is no different than any nation whose laws are created by its inhabitants. The precedent within Freemasonry for centuries has been that there is no issue with a homosexual man joining the Lodge. Even the Grand Lodge of Tennessee itself has admitted that the ban against homosexuality is only thirty years old. When 99.9% of all the Masonic law ever written has no reference to homosexuality and 0.01% does wouldn’t you agree that the law against homosexuals in GA and TN is an anomaly?

        Furthermore, I would never admonish a Brother over his religious beliefs just as he should never admonish me over mine. The fact that there are members in our Fraternity that sincerely believe that homosexuality is a sin is not the issue. The issue is that there are certain religious sects within the Fraternity that no longer believe homosexuality is a sin and there is a group of people trying to impose their religious beliefs concerning homosexuality upon them. It is an issue of saying that one groups spiritual beliefs are superior to the others. For example, the Presbyterian Church will ordain homosexuals as ministers. Should we expel Presbyterians from the Craft on the basis that they do not share the same opinion as their more evangelical counterparts? Should we kick out Jews and Muslims because their spiritual beliefs are divergent from those found in the New Testament?

        Finally, you wrote, “Nor do all people have the same spiritual security clearance or callings to make one part of the law universal over all aspects.” When you wrote that you actually made my point for me. I think it is safe to say that regardless of what faith one practices it is universally agreeable that every man is flawed and commits sins against God or wrongs other human beings at some point in their lives. What has occurred is that one law out of the vast number of laws in the Bible has been singled out in particular in GA and TN. We are not kicking out members who have violated other Biblical laws. For instance, I know of many members with tattoos are we going out of our way to kick them out for violating the prohibition against marking one’s skin? As I mentioned previously, are we going out of our way to kick out members for eating pork? Are we going out of our way to kick out men who are not circumcised? Are we going out of our way to kick out members that have more than one type of flower planted in their gardens? Are we going out of our way to kick out members that do not shave? In the case of Christians, are we going out of our way to kick out members that talk in Church? The answer is no to all of the above, but when it comes to homosexuality we will go out of our way to expel that member. As a result, making one part of the law universal over all the other aspects is exactly what has occurred.

        Change is simple. We can begin by not using religious law as the basis for why one should be expelled from the Craft.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Author
        March 28, 2016 at 9:44 pm

        Correction: I meant to say members who shave rather than ones who do not shave.

        Like

  3. April 23, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    To paraphrase – Give me power and I will use it for good. I will fight discrimination by being Progressive, and I will expel the bad-thinkers. You should have stopped at part 2.

    You are a would-be tyrant and a SJW. I hope your Brethren never entrust you with that gavel. In California, all Masters agree that it is not in the power of one man to make innovations in Masonry. It does not include exceptions for “social justice.” The secrecy of the ballot box should remain inviolate. https://masonicreaction.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/a-not-a-on-ballot-secrecy-schoolmarms-and-exclusion/

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    • Author
      May 2, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Do you think the Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Scottish Rite was wrong when he interfered with the balloting process by clearing the ballot and permitting an African American to join because the Valley of Atlanta blackballed him on multiple occasions for the color of his skin? Was he a tyrant? Was he an SJW?

      My position is not one where I am seeking to promote a socially progressive agenda, it is not religiously charged, nor is it politically charged. It is one that is based on centuries of Masonic jurisprudence and philosophy without regard to religion or political affiliation.

      Personally, I do not care about whether someone believes that homosexuality is a sin or not. I am fully aware that there are a great deal of Brethren that go to Churches that will condemn homosexual activity and there are others who are involved in religions that are neutral on the topic. Where there is a divergence of religious thought, the law and philosophy of the Fraternity is crystal clear. The concept is that Masonic legislation should not advance a particular religion nor should it inhibit a particular religion. Instead, the only legislation that should be passed that is religious in character should be of the kind to which all men agree. For instance, all men in Freemasonry would agree that murdering a Brother is wrong. We can enact legislation prohibiting murder. Not all religions agree on how God should be worshiped, so it would be incorrect to require a Lodge to recite a Muslim Dua or a specific prayer from the Jewish or Christian liturgy. Instead, early Freemasons dutifully referred to the Deity as the Great Architect of the Universe so that Freemasons could direct their prayers to their individual deity while praying in unison with their Brethren. As far as I am concerned,where there are differing religious views they should be left to the individual and not proselytized or imposed upon the whole Craft. That is not a far left idea, that is not a social justice idea, that is a Masonic idea and that is where I believe Georgia and Tennessee have gone wrong and why I take issue with their position.

      In my mind, an African American joining a “Mainstream” Grand Lodge or Appendant Body is something that should not be an issue. Ridiculing a Brother for his differing religious beliefs is not something that we should tolerate. Why should it be any different for two homosexuals that are very active in their Church as is the case with Brothers Clark and Henderson when it is clear that their religious sect feels differently about homosexuality than a Southern Baptist Church? Why do they take great pains in banning them from the Fraternity while a heterosexual male handed out flyers admitting to cohabitation under the same offense but the Grand Lodge has mysteriously decided to take no disciplinary action has been taken against him?

      Furthermore, if the secrecy of the ballot is such a sacred idea owing to the fact that you should be able to vote your own conscience, then should the right to vote your own conscience be equally sacred? If so, then why did a Grand Senior Warden get voted out from office on the basis of opposing the policy against homosexuals in Tennessee? Should random Brethren who support including homosexuals in the Fraternity be subject to threatening phone calls by Grand Lodge officers for voting their conscience? That, my Brother, is tyranny and is what is happening in Georgia and Tennessee.

      The most troubling aspect of it is that there is no law prohibiting homosexuals from joining the Craft in Georgia or Tennessee. In fact, a homosexual can join and so long as they do not engage in “homosexual activity” or “promote homosexuality” then no offense has been committed. Meanwhile, a heterosexual man can get married under the laws of the State and bring his wife to Lodge and there is no Masonic offense. If you do the same thing as a homosexual, then you get expelled. What the law says, therefore, is that a heterosexual Mason is entitled to get married, take pictures of his wedding, introduce his wife, and share them with his friends on Facebook without risk of expulsion but the minute a homosexual Master Mason does the same thing with his husband it is grounds for expulsion. That is the antithesis of equal protection of the law.

      Now that you hopefully better understand my position, let me explain it to you. The idea I am advancing is not one of keep the “good thinkers” and expel the “bad thinkers”. Instead, it is one designed to promote free thought. As I said previously, what an individual believes on the basis of their religion is of no concern to me in Freemasonry nor should it be other than the fact that they believe in a Supreme Being. They are entitled to worship as they see fit. That freedom to worship and believe as they see fit even if it runs counter to my own personal beliefs is not “bad thought”. On the other hand, those that believe the same things that I believe do not have “better thoughts.” Instead, they all fall under the category of “individual thought”. The two categories that do exist in my mind are far more simplistic. Those who follow the law and those who break the law. With that said, when Georgia and Tennessee enact laws that create an inequality in application for homosexuals, religious views, or on the basis of race, then that defeats the purpose of the law and runs counter to its purpose. On the flip side of it, if there is a Mason that sincerely believes that homosexuality is a sin, practices their belief in their personal life, and does not attempt to inject their belief into the business or legislation of the Lodge, then no action should be taken against them because they are following the law.

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