Monday, January 19, 2015

Would This Pronouncement Still Be Acceptable Today?

Let me start by saying that I am not a Scottish Rite Mason. I've been interested in joining but I just have not found the time. However, I was fortunate to get my hands on a copy of the History of the Scottish Rite of Minnesota: 1856 to 2001, which can now be found on the Orient of Minnesota's website.

The History of the Scottish Rite of Minnesota has a lot of great information concerning not just Minnesota Scottish Rite but Minnesota Masonry. As I was reading the book, I arrived at this curious statement.

The Scottish Rite, between the two world wars, published the following policies of the Supreme Council (no longer in force).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.
Obviously, this list is out of date but I find this list to be curious in our modern context. From my perspective, the list shows a desire by an organization to affect public life in a positive way. I sometimes wonder if we need a better enumerated, more concrete explanation of what we want to see in the world.

My question for all the Scottish Rite Masons, do you agree with most or all of this list? Leave a comment below.


Nick Settich said...

The point of establishing a National University (bullet point #2), is the only point I find truly passé. The only other point that I would love to clarify is the instruction of students in English. Currently in Minneapolis (where I live), there are 70 different languages spoken in K-12 education. This variety puts a huge burden on the education system we have placed too many obligations on already. In entirety, I find this "pronouncement", to have too many political overtones (and countless undertones), to be part of any Masonic body agenda. At the time this was written all of America was segregated by the color of ones skin. Let's make sure we united all men, of any faith or color under the tenets of our Craft; and never soil our faithful journey with politics.

WB Tyler Anderson said...

I won't make sensationalist claims here that would divert from the question of the day. But let me generally say: I've done a decent amount of research on the relationships between Masonry and certain cultural trends and orgs of the 20s and 30s. It's not all good, and it's not all pretty; but there are also a lot of "success" stories mixed into the greater narrative.

The language of the list you reproduced, however, is absolutely textbook FOR THAT TIME. This is the dog-whistle language of the strongly anti-Catholic & Nativist trends that were powerfully present in Masonry overall, but seemingly most particularly in the Scottish Rite. Again: AT THAT TIME. Absolutely no claims made about AASR of today made here!

Jack R. said...

Although you state these policies are no longer in force, note that a sampling of SR petitions from across the country require to the petitioner to agree to least one of them. I looked at 10 petitions online and find that all include a version of #7, and several also add #5.

Togeika said...

I think the greatest gift Albert Pike gave Masonry is a forward thinking world view: an ability to grow and evolve and an aversion to fundamentalism.

As a Scottish Rite Mason, I would look at this 90 year old document and think about how we would express the same sentiments today.

Check this out. It is Albert Pike's response to the Anti-Masonic Humanum Genus, a papal encyclical promulgated on April 20, 1884, by Pope Leo XIII.

Pike called Humanum Genus:

"A war against constitutional government and freedom of conscience and Freemasonry, as their defender."

You can get the text version here:

Togeika said...

This is from the petition for degrees of my Valley:

The Supreme Council requires acceptance as fundamental principles the following:
“The inculcation of patriotism, respect for law and order, an undying loyalty to the principles of civil and religious liberty, and
the entire separation of church and state as set forth in the Constitution of the United States of America."

Anonymous said...

I see nothing in the list that I disagree with. Some may have issue with using English in the the schools and in the degrees.

I personally believe that it is easier to be equal participants in society when we can all use a common language. When used properly language can be something that brings us together, rather than something that keeps us separated.