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Masonic Prejudice
Posted: 23 November 2016 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I am a member of a southern lodge, and I am struggling with the idea of not allowing black men into our lodges. I have heard a brother specifically tell me that he would not let a black man join the lodge as long as he was there. I hate this, and my understanding is that Masonry is meant to be a brotherhood, and that we are meant to regard all men equally. I honestly have felt like leaving the craft over this issue, and if any of my brothers saw me speak of this, I could be suspended or expelled. What can I do?

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Posted: 23 November 2016 01:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I have no suggestion. I am a new Mason in CO, but born and raised (over 35 years) in Natchez, MS. I can certainly see where some of these problems do still exist. It sad to hear it is still spoken this way in lodge.

Just an opinion, I don’t see how your leaving the Craft would do anything to improve the situation.

I will pray for you, our fellow Brothers and the Craft in Mississippi.

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Golden City Lodge #1
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Posted: 23 November 2016 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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ChapterFour - 23 November 2016 12:43 PM

I am a member of a southern lodge, and I am struggling with the idea of not allowing black men into our lodges. I have heard a brother specifically tell me that he would not let a black man join the lodge as long as he was there. I hate this, and my understanding is that Masonry is meant to be a brotherhood, and that we are meant to regard all men equally. I honestly have felt like leaving the craft over this issue, and if any of my brothers saw me speak of this, I could be suspended or expelled. What can I do?

I’m troubled by your statement saying “I honestly have felt like leaving the craft over this issue, and if any of my brothers saw me speak of this, I could be suspended or expelled.” In my opinion, it would not be a masonic offence to speak up about this issue so you would not be in danger of suspension or expulsion by your Grand Lodge. The issue appears, from what you are saying, to be in your lodge. The Craft has been around a very long time and has seen most issues and has ways to navigate them. In a similar situation, I would be emailing my District Deputy Grand Master. This puts your issue on the record but, if you so request, keeps your name out of it in your lodge. The DDGM can then investigate the issue and come to some sort of conclusion.

In all honesty, though, you are bringing a knife to a gun fight. It would be a Masonic Offence to ask a man how he voted on a candidate or for a brother to reveal his vote. As a result, those who are poisoned with prejudice can continue their bigotry by simply keeping their mouths shut as they toss black balls into the voting box for no other reason than the color of a man’s skin. Unless and until either the bigots change their minds or pass on, there is little you could practically do.

On the other hand, time will heal this, too. As these bigoted men age and can no longer attend lodge you could be in the officer line gaining knowledge and experience for the time you sit in the East and can make the changes you want. Working within the Craft, all things are possible. You just need to develop the strength of character to stand when others would simply leave.

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John Ruggiero, 32°
Master, Ancient York Lodge, Lowell, MA.

God never sends us anything we can’t handle. Sometimes I wish He didn’t trust me so much. - Mother Teresa

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Posted: 23 November 2016 02:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Thank you for your response, I fear these prejudices may be the opinion of my Grand Lodge as well. I have spoken with several brothers on the level, including a PM, who have informed me that the issue would die out in Grand Lodge. I do not plan to leave, but I cannot sit by while these men disrupt the name of Masonry, and although it may not be legal to bring charges against me, they can certianly turn on me and insure I never sit a chair in the lodge.

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Posted: 24 November 2016 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Brother John - 23 November 2016 01:53 PM
ChapterFour - 23 November 2016 12:43 PM

... As a result, those who are poisoned with prejudice can continue their bigotry by simply keeping their mouths shut as they toss black balls into the voting box for no other reason than the color of a man’s skin…

Exactly, that is our dilemna. My personal opinion is that there needs to be a rule change. My suggestion is that IF there is no negative discussion from the brothers in the room prior to the vote then there should be NO negative votes. This voting without any sort of accountability is just crazy.

That being said…

I feel your pain, OP brother. I am a member about 45 minutes east of you in a neighboring state. Our lodge is about 85% for any good man and 15% against a man of color. But like this quoted poster said, the majority of those who are practicing bigots are the older generation and we just have to out last them or outnumber them in Grand Lodge. And yes, there are a few younger bigots but they are fewer and fewer. I look forward to the day that we ALL get past our petty differences and simply enjoy brotherhood.

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Bro. David Howard
Jr Grand Deacon - GL of Alabama F & AM
Sr. Warden - Howard E. Palmes Lodge #917, Mobile, Alabama

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Posted: 24 November 2016 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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I know its slowly dying out, and I look forward to the day that southern masonry catches up with the rest of masonry. Many of my brothers are good men who do not have prejudice, one even has a mixed child, how this must affect him? I had a black man ask me for petition at work not long ago, I had to painfully tell him no, and couldnt offer any real reason as to why,because I knew he wouldnt pass investigation. Its embarrasing and outrageous.

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Posted: 24 November 2016 08:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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ChapterFour - 24 November 2016 10:27 AM

I know its slowly dying out, and I look forward to the day that southern masonry catches up with the rest of masonry. Many of my brothers are good men who do not have prejudice, one even has a mixed child, how this must affect him? I had a black man ask me for petition at work not long ago, I had to painfully tell him no, and couldnt offer any real reason as to why,because I knew he wouldnt pass investigation. Its embarrasing and outrageous.

If it had been me, I would have explained the embarrassing situation to him and given him a petition anyway. Let him make the decision whether or not to turn it in. I have told several in my home lodge that if a man turns in his petition and is turned away simply because of his skin color then that will be the day that I look for another lodge.

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Bro. David Howard
Jr Grand Deacon - GL of Alabama F & AM
Sr. Warden - Howard E. Palmes Lodge #917, Mobile, Alabama

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Posted: 24 November 2016 08:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Bro DHoward - 24 November 2016 08:32 PM
ChapterFour - 24 November 2016 10:27 AM

I know its slowly dying out, and I look forward to the day that southern masonry catches up with the rest of masonry. Many of my brothers are good men who do not have prejudice, one even has a mixed child, how this must affect him? I had a black man ask me for petition at work not long ago, I had to painfully tell him no, and couldnt offer any real reason as to why,because I knew he wouldnt pass investigation. Its embarrasing and outrageous.

If it had been me, I would have explained the embarrassing situation to him and given him a petition anyway. Let him make the decision whether or not to turn it in. I have told several in my home lodge that if a man turns in his petition and is turned away simply because of his skin color then that will be the day that I look for another lodge.

Im glad to hear that from a brother in the GL of Alabama. I grew up in Alabama, and my family still lives in Saraland, AL and am very proud to see that you feel the same as I do.

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Posted: 24 November 2016 09:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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I would like to ask, because I am not fimilar with all the masonic laws, is anything Ive said in this thread grounds for bringing charges against me? Although I am disappointed in the opinion of some brothers, they are still my brothers and I do not want to conduct myself unmasonically or risk speaking evil of them or my lodge. As I have repeatedly said, these are not the opinions of all of our brothers and I do mot want it to become the appearance of such.

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Posted: 24 November 2016 10:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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I think I was the one to use generalizations and terms like “bigotry” and “prejudice”, not you. After rereading this thread, you simply stated what you personally observed and what was actually said to you. Since I have no doubt of your veracity, I can’t see anything that would be grounds for unmasonic conduct on your part. You are looking for a way to work within the Craft for a solution to a problem that the vast majority of Masons would agree needs fixing.

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John Ruggiero, 32°
Master, Ancient York Lodge, Lowell, MA.

God never sends us anything we can’t handle. Sometimes I wish He didn’t trust me so much. - Mother Teresa

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Posted: 24 November 2016 10:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Brother John - 24 November 2016 10:10 PM

I think I was the one to use generalizations and terms like “bigotry” and “prejudice”, not you. After rereading this thread, you simply stated what you personally observed and what was actually said to you. Since I have no doubt of your veracity, I can’t see anything that would be grounds for unmasonic conduct on your part. You are looking for a way to work within the Craft for a solution to a problem that the vast majority of Masons would agree needs fixing.

Thank you, I made every attempt to remain anonymous for that reason, as to not bring uneccesary accusations against a brother or lodge. I realized that I forgot to remove my signature, which listed my name and lodge. I have since removed them and hope that no one from my state read it. If so, there is nothing I can do now,but this is an issue that concerns me.

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Posted: 24 November 2016 11:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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ChapterFour - 24 November 2016 09:10 PM

I would like to ask, because I am not fimilar with all the masonic laws, is anything Ive said in this thread grounds for bringing charges against me? Although I am disappointed in the opinion of some brothers, they are still my brothers and I do not want to conduct myself unmasonically or risk speaking evil of them or my lodge. As I have repeatedly said, these are not the opinions of all of our brothers and I do mot want it to become the appearance of such.

For one thing, you never mentioned anyone’s name; so no one could point a finger without incriminating themselves. But no, unless a brother told you something expressly in confidence and you don’t mention his name then you have done nothing wrong or unmasonic, in my book. So I wouldn’t worry about it.

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Bro. David Howard
Jr Grand Deacon - GL of Alabama F & AM
Sr. Warden - Howard E. Palmes Lodge #917, Mobile, Alabama

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Posted: 24 November 2016 11:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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ChapterFour - 24 November 2016 08:41 PM

Im glad to hear that from a brother in the GL of Alabama. I grew up in Alabama, and my family still lives in Saraland, AL and am very proud to see that you feel the same as I do.

I can tell you that the GL’s official stance on the matter is that IF it is found out that a man is turned away because of his ethnicity then they will take measures to withdraw the offending lodge’s charter. However, we both know that votes are secret and it is actually a masonic offense to disclose the reason for the vote. So it is highly unlikely that the GL would find out the reason. And since it only takes 1 negative vote in our jurisdiction then it is a simple matter for a prejudiced man to block a petitioner.

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Bro. David Howard
Jr Grand Deacon - GL of Alabama F & AM
Sr. Warden - Howard E. Palmes Lodge #917, Mobile, Alabama

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Posted: 24 November 2016 11:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Bro DHoward - 24 November 2016 11:16 PM
ChapterFour - 24 November 2016 08:41 PM

Im glad to hear that from a brother in the GL of Alabama. I grew up in Alabama, and my family still lives in Saraland, AL and am very proud to see that you feel the same as I do.

I can tell you that the GL’s official stance on the matter is that IF it is found out that a man is turned away because of his ethnicity then they will take measures to withdraw the offending lodge’s charter. However, we both know that votes are secret and it is actually a masonic offense to disclose the reason for the vote. So it is highly unlikely that the GL would find out the reason. And since it only takes 1 negative vote in our jurisdiction then it is a simple matter for a prejudiced man to block a petitioner.

I understand, it is the same in ours. I honestly feel if were a majority vote then this issue would die out.

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Posted: 29 November 2016 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Somebody once said the morality is perfect because it comes of God, but religion is imperfect because it comes of man. In other words, we mortals have an incredible knack for taking something good and messing it up. Even divine wisdom and guidance is perverted and misunderstood and misused by we mortals. Using two of the better-known religions as an example, I find it hard to believe that Mohammed would have approved of car bombs in crowded marketplaces or that Jesus would have approved of witch-burning. We are handed good and, with the best of intent, rarely live up to its potential.

Freemasonry contains a set of ideals and a way to improve oneself morally but it is composed of human beings, with all the failings, weaknesses and problems inherent in that. That some Masons retain bad ideas is sad, but to me that means that we have not yet achieved our potential. In any case, we say that we exist to make good men better. Perfection is hardly on the cards.

As society improves, so will all elements of it.

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Zetland Lodge No. 83
Calgary, AB

Initiated 1 March 1979
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Raised 18 October 1979

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Posted: 12 December 2016 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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ChapterFour - 24 November 2016 10:27 AM

I know its slowly dying out, and I look forward to the day that southern masonry catches up with the rest of masonry. Many of my brothers are good men who do not have prejudice, one even has a mixed child, how this must affect him? I had a black man ask me for petition at work not long ago, I had to painfully tell him no, and couldnt offer any real reason as to why,because I knew he wouldnt pass investigation. Its embarrasing and outrageous.

It’s not dying out at all. Guys have been saying “we just need a few more Masonic funerals” for DECADES and nothing ever changes.

I’m seriously considering quitting the craft, too. Our fraternity is a cesspool of bigotry of hatred and I really don’t think I want to be a Freemason any more. I’m sick of the excuses and I’m sick of the lies.

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Dave

Master-Elect, Garden City Lodge A.F. & A.M., Newtonville, MA—Entered: 4/12/01; Passed: 5/10/01; Raised: 6/14/01
Treasurer, Boston University Lodge A.F. & A.M, Boston, MA
Mount Lebanon Lodge A.F. & A.M., Boston, MA
Boston-Lafayette Lodge of Perfection, Scottish Rite Valley of Boston
Aleppo Shrine, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Wilmington, MA

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