A few days ago I wrote about the United Grand Lodge of England donating over $10,000 to the building fund of a church a thousand miles away from them.
Some readers said that Masonic support for a specific religious institution was appropriate; others think that it is unmasonic for a Masonic body to show favoritism to a particular sect.
Masonic rules in general only say that the discussion of politics and sectarian religion is forbidden in a tyled lodge meeting. Individual Masons are certainly free to have their own opinions about religion and politics.
Let's explore for a moment the political side of things.
Once, I was chided here on the Taper for a mere reference to the war in Iraq. I don't remember the details, but someone took offense that I would even mention it, as if admitting that it's even going on is a violation of some Masonic obligation, and a jab at President Bush.
This is simply a blog written by a Mason. I don't speak for Freemasonry, Inc. No one man does.
But officers do speak for their lodges, and grand officers speak for the grand lodges.
So what does it say about a lodge that invites a sitting Congressman to show up for a "flag ceremony," and then let him pontificate and campaign on the steps of the lodge?
Is it no big deal, or is it terribly inappropriate?
U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones, a North Carolina Republican, spent a while hanging out with Freemasons, Cub Scouts and townspeople at Greenville Masonic Temple No. 284, giving the lodge a flag that had flown recently over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
The Daily Reflector, a Cox newspaper, reported that Jones talked in great detail about the war in Iraq, bragged about his "record," talked about his same-party opponent (though the next Congressional election is still 15 months away), promised to build a new Vietnam War Memorial in D.C., and discussed various issues of state and local interest, like farm bills and the importation of fresh seafood.
Question: Is a Masonic temple, being used by Masons (and not being rented out to a third party), an appropriate venue for an incumbent politician to be making stump speeches?
Image: Cub scouts at Greenvile, NC, Masonic Lodge No. 284, raising an American flag that once flew over the U.S. Capitol
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