Thursday, September 03, 2009

Georgia edict forbids negative references to race of petitioners

On August 19, 2009, the Grand Lodge of Georgia finally moved into the 20th century. (Yes, I know it's the 21st century now.)

Grand Master of Masons in Georgia J. Edward Jennings issued Edict 2009-1, which states, after the whereas stuff, "Be it resolved [t]hat no negative reference be made by any officer or member of any Lodge chartered under the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, Free and Accepted Masons, in reference to a petitioner’s race, color or national origin, who believe in a Supreme Being, during any Lodge Communication, conferral of degrees, proficiency practice or proficiency examination...."

Image: Grand Master of Masons in Georgia J. Edward Jennings

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4 comments:

  1. This is good news to hear. I am sure that there will be more positive developments to come regarding the situation in Georgia and the South. The writing is on the wall.

    Peter Yancey
    Lodge New Isis
    Los Angeles, CA
    George Washington Union of Freemasons

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  2. It's a shame such a thing should even be necessary.

    But, Mr. Taper. Having a law is one thing. Enforcing it is quite another.

    Justa

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  3. I'm left with a few burning questions.....

    Quote: "Be it resolved [t]hat no negative reference be made by any officer or member of any Lodge chartered under the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, Free and Accepted Masons, in reference to a petitioner's race, color or national origin, who believe in a Supreme Being, during any Lodge Communication, conferral of degrees, proficiency practice or proficiency examination...."


    First, the "edict" isn't written as an edict, it's written as a "resolution," so is it an "edict" -- an "order" of the Grand Master, or simply a "resolution" -- a "proposal," if you will, which ultimately must be approved by the Grand Lodge before taking effect?

    Next, if the "petitioner" doesn't believe in a "Supreme Being," does that mean it's acceptable to make "negative references" to his race?

    Perhaps more to the point, however, what does the Grand Master's statement really mean, and what would constitute a "violation" of it?

    Under what conditions would a "petitioner's race" be discussed during a conferral of degrees, a proficiency examination, or the practice for a proficiency examination? For example, if a lodge was holding a Master's Degree (or a proficiency examination, etc.) for John Doe, why would the subject of petitioner Jim Smith's race be a topic of conversation?

    Finally, what exactly would be a "negative reference" to a petitioner's race? Presumably, that might include referring to a person of African descent as a "nigger," etc., but what if someone simply noted that the petitioner is "black," or "African American?" As the same effective meaning would be conveyed in a lodge setting (that the person is a member of a race that usually joins Prince Hall Lodges, rather than "mainstream" lodges -- especially in the South), wouldn't ANY reference to a petitioner's race -- especially if he's black -- effectively be a "negative reference?"

    To me, the "edict" seems like a hollow gesture to appease reformists, without making any real effort to change the status quo.

    Am I missing something?

    Diogenes

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  4. Diogenes,

    Yes - there would probably be an extensive discussion of the petitioner race in most of the GLofGAF&AM lodges IF the petitioner was black - definitely in the lodge I'm a member of. Very sad and unfortunately very true.

    The good thing is, regardless of whether or not this document is an edict or a resolution, this is a GIGANTIC step forward for the state of Georgia. It's from the Grand Master and it was published on the website with a link from the home page for everyone to see and read. We have a very long way to go, but this is starting to turn us toward the direction of universal brotherhood.

    This is the most significant portion of the document in my opinion:

    "WHEREAS: no reference is made to exclude any petitioner with regard to race, color or national origin in any of the Rituals or Masonic Code."

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