The Elitism of the United Grand Lodge of America by Bro. Jeff Peace
I've been reading in the Internet forums about how the United Grand Lodge of America is elitist because it promotes both Masonic and University education. Ironically the same brothers who whine about education as being elitist turn around and bemoan how there isn’t any Masonic education in their lodges. I just had to laugh at such circular reasoning. They want to “restore” the Craft back to the days when men like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin sat in their lodges, and to a time when learned men such as Albert Pike and Albert Mackey wrote volumes of Masonic history and philosophy, but yet they seem oblivious to the fact that all of these men were well educated.
The present Grand Lodges along with the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite have declared war on intellectualism and labeled the educated brethren as “elitists.” Forming “Traditional Observance” lodges is at best a painful process beleaguered with anti-intellectual sentiments from condescending blue collar controlled Grand Lodges. Yet these same “leaders” continue to give orations about the need for “guarding the west gate,” “the need for more young men in Masonry,” and “the importance of Masonic education.” It seems only reasonable to ask a few questions. Who will provide education if no one is educated enough to teach? Will education be relegated to re-reading the old scholarship of Pike and Mackey over and over again? Who will provide new scholarship based on recently discovered materials? Who will read the Latin manuscripts of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries? Why would men like Washington and Franklin join a fraternity of the blind leading the blind? Step back for a moment and think about what you are saying and its implications.
The fear that Freemasonry will become the domain of intellectuals only is unfounded. The fraternity has a long history of intellectuals meeting on the Level with men of varying degrees of education and helping to educate them in areas where they would otherwise have been left entirely in the dark. Freemasonry is about brotherhood and brothers helping brothers. A Freemasonry that fears intellectualism is a Freemasonry that fears one of the many things that led to its past greatness and the many benefits it has bestowed upon humanity.
In grammar and high school didn’t you expect that your teachers were themselves educated enough to teach you? How would anyone become educated if there were not any teachers? If you want to demand more Masonic education then perhaps you should ask: “from where will it come?”
Another point worthy of consideration when you talk about elitism is racism. The two are separated by the thinnest of lines. The United Grand Lodge of America is open to men of all races and creeds. Many state Grand Lodges discriminate based on race while others pretend to be color-blind by recognizing their Prince Hall counterparts while not allowing visitation. Others pat themselves on the back for being recognizing their Prince Hall counterparts and opening their doors to visitation while continuing to recognize other Grand Lodges that openly practice racial segregation. They excuse themselves by saying that they have no control of what another jurisdiction does. This is a lie. When the Grand Lodge of Minnesota recognized the Grand Lodge of France a few years ago they were de-recognized by many state Grand Lodges in order to apply pressure to them to withdraw recognition from the Grand Lodge of France. Don’t buy the baloney that they “have no control of what another jurisdiction does.”
Freemasonry belongs to the Freemasons, not the Grand Lodges. This fraternity can be what you want it to be if you are willing to stand up for your rights as a Mason. If you don’t stand up who will? The United Grand Lodge of America is leading the way to a kinder and more gentle Freemasonry where men from all walks of life can feel comfortable meeting on the Level. We are tearing down the walls of racial inequality and restoring the time honored Masonic principle of religious tolerance. We are doing what everyone else is merely talking about doing because the best way to lead is by example.
— Bro. Jeff Peace
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