Friday, July 10, 2009

Time for Me to Say Something...

I have held back writing anything about the situation in Georgia as I had a wait-and-see attitude about what was happening down there. The main reason for this is that I was very angry and had a difficult time keeping my passions subdued. However, I have decided that now is the time to discuss the events after a cooling-off period.

Here is my blanket statement, racists have no place in Lodge. Masonry is universal and seeks to make good men better. There is no mention of white, black, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, rich or poor. We are a great band of brothers that only looks at a man by his zeal to do good for our Fraternity. The obligation that I took involved nothing based on race, religion or any other belief except a superior belief. I would say that the non-sectarian and non-racist sentiments displayed in Masonry are the reasons I joined.

I have witnessed scurrilous attacks upon people based on immutable qualities, like race or religion, and I am always appalled when it happens. I have friends that are of many faiths and many races but I did not become their friend because I wanted to look multicultural; I became friends with them because we share similar interests. In Masonry, I have always felt that meeting on the level is so important to our time in Lodge. We are all important, we all have something to give which leads me to quote three books that can be used on the altar as a VSL.

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." 1 Corinthians 13:11
Racism is a childish behavior, a behavior that one hears and sees on the playground of an elementary school. It is a behavior learned from parents and carried through to adulthood. For many years, racist comments were the norm. Now, racist beliefs are taboo. I think children have been better educated to be tolerant of others. Sadly, this was not the case for many years and those childish values remain transfixed in the mind of some in the older generations. Our society is beginning to grow up and enter adulthood. I am hopeful that some in our Fraternity will also put away childish things like racism.
"O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes, that you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous. Allah is Omniscient, Cognizant."

The Holy Qur'an 49:13


No differences should be made based on race. As each person comes from the same pair, we are to be valued as equals. The differences are only meant to serve as a way of recognition, of recognizing the great diversity of this world. Tolerance is an important value. We, each one of us, come from a different race or culture but we are all equals in the eyes of the GAOTU. We can contribute much to our global community no matter what our race, religion or culture is..

"In this world, hatred has never been defeated by hatred. Only love can overcome hatred. This is an ancient and eternal law.

Dhammapada 1:5

Brothers, hatred will continue to subside and go away in our gentle Craft only if we continue to open our hearts as long as we remember where we were first made a Mason. Continue to look forward, and continue to make us a progressive science. We may not be in the Post-Racial era but it is a good goal, perhaps the most important goal that the Craft can strive for in this decade. We will become a stronger source of light for the world, we just need to break out of old ways and old ideas.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Right on, brother.

Gingerman said...

Ya know, the most usetting thing in the situation to me was that the original Masonic charge was that raising this worthy brother was an "Immoral" act.

There have been old guys sitting around in lodges holding on to pre-1960s racism. Figuring that the lodge was a place to hide from reality for much too long.

J.Luis CastaƱeda said...

I couldn't agree more. I also believe that if it is true that in some lodges the brethren are predominantly racist they should make themselves known and leave the rest of us decide what course should be taken to bring the matter to a resolution that does not conflict with ourselves or the craft.

Frederic L. Milliken said...

I hear a lot of talk but nobody wants to do anything about it.

The Millennial Freemason said...

Fred,

You know as well as I do that to be a blogger is to talk about problems not necessarily take action. Frankly, you have just as much of an ability to do something about the situation as I do.

Second, I never said that I didn't want to do something about it, I am just not in a position to do anything.

We will know within 10 days from the "horse's mouth".

http://freemasonsfordummies.blogspot.com/2009/07/grand-master-of-georgia-responds.html

Nick

Gingerman said...

Actually, Fred did something about it. He joined PH Freemasonry. I was challenged by a PH brother to do the same, and found I was too chicken to do it.

Freemasonry doesn't reward boat rocking, however, and if you want to remain comfortable, doing something can be quite a challenge.

But, Bro. Fred, in some ways bringing the issue up to the level of a question, to make it a public debate, is doing something. In many areas, it's more than has been done in quite some time.

I hope this issue isn't to be solved just by waiting for the old guys to die, but that some moral leadership can be forthcoming without being killed aborning by the forces of reaction. (how's that for Marxist dialogue?)

James McNeely said...

Bro. Nick,

The following has always been one of my favorite quotes. It was first presented to me by my grandfather.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ~ MLK

Frederic L. Milliken said...

Bro Nick you took it personally when it was not meant to be that way. "I hear a lot of talk but nobody wants to do anything about it" is a general staement about everybody and not directed at you personally or any one person. If I was going to direct it at you I would say something like -'Have you thought of taking any action instead of just talking about it." But I didn't say that.

As I said in one blog post I have been writing about this problem for ten years. Isn't it time we had a little action?

And yes you could do something. Have you sent a letter or two to your Grand Lodge asking them to pull recognition? I have to my former GL of Massachusetts and to Mainstream Texas. The Grand Master of Massachustts actually sent me a reply.

Anonymous said...

And so, as the next Grand Lodge assembly approaches, I cannot help but wonder: Since the Grand Master of MN overturned the vote to withdraw recognition, what will he (we) do now? Anything?

Granted, the resolution was hasty and not well written. Granted, it probably should have been overturned by edict.

But what, then, will ever change? Will we still be suffering institutional racism in the ranks next year?

All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. (to paraphrase the quote)

Name Withheld By Request

Gingerman said...

It would be interesting to hear the obligation taken by members in the GLs that still codify racism. I have heard that in the past some GLs had as part of the OB that the would not sit in lodge with black men. I wonder if these had/have that provision and if some of the members believe they have to abide b this? I don't know. That could answer the "immoral" part.