Friday, January 2, 2009

1st Ever Masonic Presidential Inauguration Ball


William R. Singleton-Hope-Lebanon Lodge #7 of the Free and Accepted Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia will be hosting a first ever Masonic Inaugural Ball in honor of soon-to-be President Barack Obama. The Ball will be held on Inauguration Day, January 20th, 2009 at 8:00 pm at Stars Bistro.
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The soon-to-be President was invited but will not be attending (I am sure he will be very busy that day).

Now, although there is a possibility that President-Elect Obama is a Mason and a Shriner (as evidenced by his campaign infomercial),

he is in fact not. That being said, I agree with what this Lodge is doing by throwing this Inauguration Ball. As Freemasons, we are taught to be peaceful subjects to our country. This invitation is an extension of our hand to the President as a gesture of peace and willingness to help this country.

Freemasons have had a long history of being in the White House but we have experienced a very long drought. To remain within the public eye, we must continue to offer our help to the leader of this country, no matter which political party he is affiliated. I wish the brothers of the Grand Lodge of DC and the especially the brothers planning this Ball all the best; it sounds like it will be very fun.


Still Justa Mason said...

Why on earth would a Masonic Lodge be seen to alligning itself with a political party? A "ball" isn't seen as "an extension of our hand." It's seen as a tacit Masonic endorsement of him and, by extention, his government's policies.

Any unpopular decision .. and no government decision ever pleases anyone .. opens the door wide-open for people to point fingers at the Masonic fraternity, saying "You endorsed him. You threw a party for him!"

It doesn't matter who is in office, a Masonic Lodge really should shy away from any hint it is connected with a government.


Millennial Freemason said...

I believe the separation that Masonry creates between itself and politics is only directed at partisan political discussions, those subjects that divide us. To completely separate ourselves from all politics is impossible. In fact, the fourteen Presidents that have been Masons speaks to the ideals that Freemasonry seeks to implement, namely public service.

It doesn't matter who is in office, a Masonic Lodge really should shy away from any hint it is connected with a government.

Whether a Mason is for or against a certain presidential candidate, he is to be a peaceable subject to the government, and, by extension, the leader of that country. In fact, I would have been supportive of a ball for President Bush's two Inaugurations hosted by the Masons. I am more surprised by the fact that it had never been done before. Many organizations have an inauguration ball, including George Washington University, for whomever is elected President. The most important thing to remember is to separate the man from his elected office; this is a ball for the office of the President.


Silence Dogood said...

This seems wrong to me. Why is this the first President? Will they continue this tradition every four years?

There are a hundred organization designed to be boosters for civics or a political party. Masonry is not one of them. While I am actually in favor of the discussion of political ideals in lodge, I just can't agree with this.

burntloafer said...

Sorry Nick, I cannot agree with your opinion on this one.

This is a patently partisan endorsement, and is not "an extension of our hand."

In fact, by making this a Masonic event, this Ball is an extension of MY hand by proxy, and I see it as either a racially or politically based pandering, done by a Lodge I do not know.

Frankly, I resent it.

I give you credit for venturing your opinion, I just disagree completely on this one.

My Friend, I will see you Tuesday!!

Brusoe said...

Hi Guys-

Some interesting thoughts going on here. I did want to talk about how this event came about, and that should clear up some of the concern (hopefully?). The inauguration is to DC what Mardi Gras is to New Orleans, the Mummer Parade to Philly, any town that hosts a major event. It's a giant social event and a chance for us to celebrate our working Democracy.

This is how it worked out:
I was looking through a series of inaugural balls finding one that was in my price range and supported a cause that I liked. What I quickly discovered was that the balls that looked interesting were sold out, the New York Balls that I wanted to go to went to causes I did not personally believe in, and still more were outrageously expensive. But I, like the other people in DC, want to go to a ball and have a good time. So I emailed our lodge list serve and asked if there was any interest.
The response was extremely positive.

We found an AMAZING restaurant, and decided to do it. We are neither endorsing, nor are we disagreeing with the policies of the Obama administration, we simply have no opinion. What we do know is we want to get together as brothers, we want to have a good time, we want to support an amazing charity, and we're going to do it. In the same way some lodges have New Years parties. Some lodges have Christmas Parties, some lodges have St. Patrick's Day Parties. Please, I wouldn't read anything political into this. It's simply not there.

In four years will we do another one again? That's up to the lodge and depends a lot on how this year's go. If I'm still in DC and haven't returned full time to NY I would love to help plan it.

Singleton Mason said...

As one of the Masons who supported our brother-who had a great idea-I want to specifically note that I hope we conduct this event EVERY four years, regardless of the Administration.

What you are seeing is the result of very active brethren who are looking for ways to interact with the community the live in, which should be applauded.

In fact, if you visit our website you will see we are a lodge made up of vast ethnic, political and religious backgrounds. Thus, this event ISN'T about politics, it is about engaging the comunity we are apart of and sharing our fraternal ties outside of the lodge atmosphere.

Thank you for your discussion of our event, and we hope this sheds further light.

burntloafer said...

I think that the whole point of keeping politics out of the Lodge was to avoid something like this.

It has all the appearances of impropriety, and now we are asked to believe that it is not political because someone says it is not political?

Sorry, it is a poorly thought out excuse, and Masonry is being painted with a broad brush because of it.

Brusoe said...

I'm not quite sure what "excuse" you're referring to. I have offered none, just merely how the events transpired. If you want I would be more than happy to give you access to my email records and my phone records.

I would agree with you that this event would be improper if the money was going to a partisan cause. It's not. it's going to a Masonic Foundation that supports community programs. It would be partisan if it was limited to brothers of one party, it's not, it's open to all.

And yes, you are asked to accept a brother at his word that this is not a political event, it's a social event around a huge social event in our city, celebrating our Democracy.

Singleton Mason said...

I would just like to note the text from the announcement on our website below and be permitted to comment on "Steve's" message.

William R. Singleton Hope Lebanon Lodge #7, is pleased to host the 1st Masonic Inaugural Ball on January 20th, 2009.

This first-ever event will be held at 8:00 pm:

Stars Bistro
2120 P Street, NW
Washington, DC

While other inauguration balls are costing $125-$500 or more per ticket, we’ve arranged for an evening with some amazing food, a great DJ, and brotherhood, all for $65 per ticket, we’ve also included an incentive to help pay the baby sitter, couples may go for just $120 a piece.

All proceeds from this event will be donated to the Masonic Foundation of the District of Columbia.

Don’t miss out, purchase your tickets below!


I do not note ANY political support nor comments related to political affiliation in the text that is posted on the website. As a former "political" I am very aware of the ethics values of language that are used in text to either support/not support individuals on a political basis...I do believe it is unfortunate that this conversation has leveraged accusations against members of a lodge who want to have a night of brotherhood related to an event that is a cornerstone within our District.

Just one point of clarification for those that wish to further comment on this event, the individual who proposed the event and ALL of the individuals who supported this event are in fact, NOT of the incoming political party. I might be able to be understand confusion based on previous dialogue, but based on the fact that members of an opposing political party are willing to celebrate an incoming President, not on politics, but because we are obligated to be good public servants, should show that this event is not political in nature, nor was ever intended to be.

I hope that this helps to educate others further about the intent of the event and why it is being held.

I do want to note that as Masons we are encouraged to ask questions of our brethren first in order to avoid accusing other Masons of improper conduct without first knowing or understanding the full context in which something appears.

Thank you for the opportunity to further shed the "light" on our event that is intended to focus on brotherhood and fraternity in the city where we live.

burntloafer said...

Brothers all;

It is past time for me to practice the tolerance I preach, even though I disagree.

My wife sometimes tells me that I was wrong, but I know it was only once, and it was many many years ago... ;^)

I sincerely hope that you all have a great time at this party.