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.
John, I know you mean well but you really need to update yourself on what’s going on in places like Arkansas. If he’s in a jurisdiction like that, yeah, he’d be suspended or expelled just for even bringing it up. The racism is coming from the top down in some jurisdictions and anybody who speaks out is punished.
And please stop saying things will change when the racists die off. Masons have been saying that for decades and it doesn’t appear to be any closer to coming true.