As is typical, a few Burning Taper readers took offense at a recent article. No matter where I shine the Light of Inquiry in the wide world of Freemasonry, analyzing what's going on and then making a few comments or suggestions, someone associated with that particular area of Masonry gets offended.
It's kind of a sad commentary on Freemasonry that its members often get upset when someone asks a question. It's a variation on the theme of "The Emperor Wears No Clothes," but that's a topic best left for another time.
My article "A template for attracting Masons?" looked at a news release that announced a Massachusetts blue lodge's upcoming open house. The article really didn't give a reason to become a Mason. It simply paraded out the same old song-and-dance about how charitable we are, and played up the fact that many of the nation's founding fathers were Freemasons. I asked if that was all we as Masons have to offer.
A kind reader sent me a link to the video by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts that you can watch below.
I was fairly impressed. The video is well-written, edited and produced. It admittedly trots out many of the same things that the aforementioned news release did, namely, the founding fathers tie-in and a lot of "we do charity" stuff, but all in all, it paints a rosy picture of Freemasonry, and gives a reason why men might actually want to become Mason: Friendship, camaraderie, brotherly love.
They even mention trust (a bond I certainly don't share with very many local mainstream Masons).
These are all good reasons for a man to want to seek out and join with like-minded men. These are the reasons I wanted to become a Mason.
If Freemasonry in Massachusetts is actually the way it's presented in the video, then sign me up. It sounds great.
It absolutely does not reflect Freemasonry as I have found it to be in Georgia.
The on-screen narrator is black. That man would never have become a mainstream Mason had he been a Georgia resident, nor would his father, a famous NFL player. Even today, that man would not even be allowed to sit in a Georgia mainstream blue lodge, even if he presented his paid-up dues card from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts (a grand lodge recognized by the Grand Lodge of Georgia) and otherwise could pass the due examination of a visiting brother.
I've emailed, talked with, and even met and shared bread and wine with brothers from New England and other non-southern states (and even Canada), and I think each of these men are excellent examples of what a Freemason should be. I have no quarrel with the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, other than to suggest that they and other non-southern grand lodges should withhold recognition of still-racist southern Grand Lodges that refuse to accept black members or to recognize Prince Hall Masons.
I would welcome in my home and my lodge the black brother who narrates this video, and any other African-American Masonic brother. Bring your dues card and go to my lodge with me and let's see if they'll let you in. I don't think they would, but I'd love to be proved wrong.
Image: Pickens Star Lodge 50-year Masons receiving awards, Jan. 2005
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