It is being reported on Bro. Darren Simpson's blog that ten Masons and Masonic friends attended the anti-racism protest rally at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center before and during a Scottish Rite meeting called the Feast of Tishri in Birmingham, Ala., on Wed., Oct. 11.
Ironically, the Feast of Tishri derives from the Jewish festival of Sukkoth, a Thanksgiving ritual celebrating "universal brotherhood."
Rabbi Julius Nodel, 32°, in a Feast of Tishri address to the St. Louis Scottish Rite Bodies some years ago, said: "Among the symbols of Succoth are four species of plants — the citron, the branch of the palm tree, the myrtle leaves, and the willow leaves. The citron plant produces both fruit and fragrance. The palm produces fruit but no fragrance. The myrtle produces fragrance but no fruit, and the willow produces neither fruit nor fragrance. This teaches us that there are also four kinds of people. There are those that have knowledge and good deeds — they correspond to the citron. There are those who live a life of good deeds, but have no knowledge — they are like the palm. There are those who have knowledge, but perform no good deeds — they are like the myrtle, and there are those who have neither knowledge nor good deeds — they are like the willow. Yet, on Succoth, all of these different species of plants are placed together and bound as one, thus teaching us that though there are different kinds of people on Earth, with their own interests and desires, accomplishments and failures, they must still be bound together in one universal brotherhood."
According to Bro. David Cooksey, who organized the event designed to call attention to perceived racism within Antient Freemasonry in Alabama, protesters carried signs saying "End Scottish Rite racism," No Blacks in Scottish Rite? Why?" and "Gov. Riley must resign his all-white fraternity, end racism."
He reports that several marked police cruisers continually circled the area, and three unmarked police vehicles parked in the Center's parking lot about an hour after the protest began.
Bro. Cooksey says that one Scottish Rite Mason, who arrived at the meeting around 5:30 pm, heckled the protesters for several minutes before going inside, but that otherwise, the protest was peaceful.
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