Friday, April 02, 2010

Bro. Hodapp on Masonic racism

In the comments section to his own March 30 blog article "Grand Lodge of Arkansas Pulls Charter, Files Charges Over Website," Bro. Chris Hodapp posted the following words, which I found especially direct and meaningful. With his permission, I am reposting his comments as a guest article here.

I have stacks of emails from Masons in many states with stories about frankly appalling decisions, actions and behavior by grand lodge officers over the last dozen years. I'm sure Fred Milliken and Widow's Son have them as well. I have no desire to drag them across the internet — much of it is gossip, much of it is hearsay, much of it is hard to prove. But much of it is not.

What is fast becoming clear is that some grand lodges have recently become nervous about embarrassing statements and edicts being leaked to the public, and worse, being posted on the internet. Funny thing about this technology, the way it shines a bright light on things that don't look so good when they are all lit up.

There is no question that not every grand master is perfect. The level of imperfection varies wildly, but there is a certain type of person who believes he has absolute power to rule with an iron whim, exact revenge, and in short, behave in ways that absolutely fly in the face of everything our fraternity teaches us. Fortunately, such men with a misunderstanding of their position and duties don't often make it to the Grand East. Unfortunately, enough do that there are Masons who live in fear every day for their dues card, who fail to stand up for what is right and proper because it's hard to do if the choice is shut up or be expelled. But allowing politics, revenge, racism, criminal misconduct, and worse to enter into the highest levels of the fraternity is something no Mason should stand by and allow to happen without demanding better leadership.

Both of my folks are from Louisville, Kentucky, and I have lived part of my life in Virginia. My father lives in Georgia now. I've seen racism in the Deep South, and in the North. Ignorance knows know boundaries, and I learned long ago not to get fooled one way or the other by accent and diction. I don't see "South" and automatically think of banjo music and rotten teeth. But there is no dodging the fact that all of the states left in the US that do not recognize their Prince Hall counterparts are, with the exception of West Virginia, members of the Old Confederacy. There are states where lodge officers and grand lodge officers are trying hard to make changes. There are other states where an entrenched old guard would rather that Freemasonry die than let a man of a different race pass the Tyler's door. And the same is true on both the mainstream side and the Prince Hall side.

We've all heard the excuses, and it's embarrassing that they are the same ones trotted out back in the days of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. You'd have thought the least that could happen would be some new ones invented. The point is, it's not 1954 anymore. I had an Atlanta police officer (much younger than I was) who was a Mason literally poke me in the chest and tell me I was destroying Freemasonry by allowing black men to join my lodge, that black men could NOT be Masons because of the Ancient Landmarks, and that "down here we know how to treat 'em." I'm sorry, but that cop needs to be up on Masonic charges (and possibly before a civilian review panel, as well). The same goes for any grand lodge officer who shares those sentiments. There is no place for it in a fraternity that trots out the cardinal virtues and proclaims universal benevolence in one breath, and then proves they know nothing about the subjects in the next. And I have no illusion that there aren't Prince Hall Masons who would rather open a vein than let a white man in his lodge, as well.

Our petitions are color blind, and our fraternity should be too.

I'm not a big one for demanding that other grand lodges use the nuclear option and drop fraternal relations with the openly racist jurisdictions. It only hurts sojourning brethren, and it threatens the sovereignty of the grand lodge system. In the 1870s, New York accused Indiana of destroying the fraternity by prohibiting alcohol in lodge rooms, and threatened to withdraw recognition over it (They were probably right.). More recently, the imbroglio over the Grand Lodge of France and Minnesota brought down the wrath of Michigan, New York and other GLs, when clearly they had absolutely zero justification. One man's justifiable reason is another's personal grudge.

But the time HAS come for grand masters outside of the Confederacy to start making noise and whispering good council in the ears of their Southern brethren. Prince Hall recognition has been an issue since 1948. It's been 62 years, and for nearly 20% of the United States to still be having this argument is a disgrace. Young professional men don't find discrimination in their businesses, housing, transportation, or lunch counters. For it to exist in their fraternity is appalling.

— Bro. Chris Hodapp

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18 comments:

  1. "What is fast becoming clear is that some grand lodges have recently become nervous about embarrassing statements and edicts being leaked to the public, and worse, being posted on the internet. Funny thing about this technology, the way it shines a bright light on things that don't look so good when they are all lit up."

    That, in a nutshell, is the root cause of all the turmoil in AR. The disclaimers posted on the lodge websites where they stated their views did not necessarily agree with the directives of the GL put the GL officers in a very bad light and they certainly weren't going to put up with it.

    I'd be willing to wager the phone calls the MWGM of AR professed to have received were largely from irate non-Masons and Brethren from the Prince Hall jurisdictions. And, since somebody's neck had to be on the chopping block for putting the GL in a bad light, the officers were gonna be sure it wasn't one of theirs!

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  2. The following was published by Boone Lodge of Arkansas and has since been removed. I guess that the Grand Lodge of Arkansas might be embarrassed by the light of day shining on their statement. Does it smell of racism? Let the reader decide. "NOTICE: Grand Lodge of Arkansas has declared that no Arkansas Freemason is to purchase a Masonic Arkansas license plate. These are for Prince Hall Masons, which Arkansas considers to be clandestine lodges.
    This notice fulfills the requirement of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas for each subordinated Lodge to inform their members.
    The publishing of this notice does not necessarily reflect the views of Boone Lodge or its members."
    The Grand Lodge of Arkansas is one of ten lodges in the old south that comprised the Confederacy that refuses to recognize Prince Hall masonry as regular. Something that rest of the 41 Grand Lodges in the United States, including the District of Columbia, have done. When do we get beyond the bigotry and racism?

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  3. I feel very confident in saying that the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Arkansas, is probably the most corrupt Masonic institution in the world.

    I realize that things need improvement in many places, and they're downright shameful in others, but I've never seen anything that comes even close to the level of Masonic corruption that's frequently reported from Arkansas.

    I strongly suspect that all the stories can't be exaggerations or mischaracterizations, and I also strongly suspect that for every story that's been publicized, there are probably several others that are equally appalling, yet remain basically unknown. That's truly a sobering thought.

    Despite their obvious corruption -- and even obvious racism, however, I'd like to see an effective argument that Prince Hall Masonry should rightfully be recognized.

    Suppose that Prince Hall Masons were inwardly and outwardly indistinguishable from "regular" Masons. If everything else about the circumstances was exactly the same as it is today, would people everywhere still be up in arms?

    Again, I'm more than willing to stipulate that racism probably does play a part in many prevailing attitudes, but does the existence of racism necessarily invalidate the legal and technical arguments?

    Suppose a man who's a racist witnesses a murder. Furthermore, suppose that the person who committed the murder was a member of a minority race. Does the observer's racism negate or even mitigate the crime? Personally, I don't think so. It seems to me that the crime is what it is, regardless of how morally bankrupt a witness might be.


    More to the point, however, suppose that the Grand Lodge of Texas chartered a new blue lodge in Mexico. Would the new lodge be considered "regular" by existing Mexican lodges? I seriously doubt it.

    Unfortunately, that's basically what happened with Prince Hall Masonry. Prince Hall did receive a charter from the Grand Lodge of England (which incidentally, had no black lodges and no black members at the time), but Prince Hall wasn't *IN* England. He was in the United States of America, half a century after it became an independent nation.

    England had no more right or authority to charter a new lodge in the United States at that time, than a US Grand Lodge would have today to charter a new lodge in Mexico, or Canada, or anywhere else with an existing lodge system.

    The fact that Prince Hall Lodges have survived all these years (although not without periods of inactivity), is really irrelevant. If their original charter wasn't legitimate, then everything that follows is -- to borrow a legal phrase, "fruit of the poison tree."

    It's only in this age of "political correctness" that attitudes about Prince Hall Lodges have changed, but I question whether the change is for the right reason. I think if we consider the facts objectively and truly forget the racial and political overtones, the issue becomes much more clear.

    Wouldn't granting recognition to an entirely different lodge system be basically like granting "recognition" to members of the Odd Fellows Lodge, or any other? Those guys may be fine gentlemen (and I know several who are), but it's a different lodge.

    Even in the best scenario, isn't "recognition" essentially just a modern-day endorsement of "separate but equal?"

    If separate was inherently unequal for school children some 60 years ago (and it was), what makes us think it's equitable and desirable for Masons today?

    Does anyone really like the idea of "separate but equal Grand Lodges?"

    WTF are we thinking?

    I don't believe "mutual recognition" is a step forward, I believe it's a step back!

    It seems to me that if we truly want to overcome racism and live as equal members of the human race, we need to find a way to do it in the same lodge.

    -- Diogenes

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  4. The concept of legitimacy through Warrants and Charters is entirely contrived. The original founding lodges of 1717 created a Grand Lodge out of thin air!

    The Masons at York formed their own competing Grand Lodge a few years later and the St. Johns Masons refused to recognize either group as legitimate.

    The present United Grand Lodge of England is the result of yet a further schism that began around 1755 and ended with the creation of the new UGLE in 1813. A few years ago York Masons declared independence from the UGLE and resurrected the Grand Lodge at York once again.

    In 1877 the Grand Orient of France broke ties with the UGLE over ideological differences, and the two remain divided.

    From the very beginning of Freemasonry Masons have not been able to agree or work together. It's sad but it's true.

    The best any Mason can hope for is to join a Grand Lodge/Orient that closely aligns with his own views.

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  5. Differences are a huge burden. I take the actions in Arkansas lately as one of forcing pains against a new brother of almost 3 years for the Grand Lodges issue though. This is the key problem needing to be dealt with. Retribution.

    It seems that ARGL sent out a "no electronic communication" notice the same time it sent a trial expulsion letter to the brother. Further the other lodges and members involved were verbally sanctioned...lodges and members doing the deeds prior to the new brother.

    The letter dictated spreading the word. If a young Mason follows the example of others why should he be held to the fire while the others get away with only smoke?

    A younger generation entering Masonry do not want to be seen as racist. Yes political correctness is a rampant issue and one can blame that for their desires. But many don't see the old divisions and don't want to be required to have NO RESPECT for Prince Hall Masons.

    I disagree entirely with the actions in Arkansas and other jurisdictions who seem to have the same viewpoint. Punishing someone for pushing for a better, stronger lodge system isn't necessary.

    If this were such a problem the Grand Master failed in his duties to pull the young brother aside and explain the differences in the system via schisms as described in the previous posts. The Grand Master further failed by giving the young brother a chance to correct the problem...especially since there were so many other lodges and brethren who have been doing the exact same thing much longer than that brother or his lodge.

    It seems to me that the issue was never schisms or what not. It seems that it stems from true racial disdain and discord. Or the Grand Lodge of Arkansas would have acted in a way that was for the good of Masonry and the fraternity rather than embarrassing our name even further.

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  6. Mr. Diogenes there are many inaccuracies in your comments. You said

    "More to the point, however, suppose that the Grand Lodge of Texas chartered a new blue lodge in Mexico. Would the new lodge be considered "regular" by existing Mexican lodges?"

    Absolute Exclusive Territorial Jurisdiction is mostly an American thing. If the first regular Grand Lodge in a territory decides to recognize the second regular Grand Lodge it can do so. The United Grand Lodge of England says so. At the UGLE Pro Grand Masters Address at the European Grand Masters Meeting in 2007 this was said regarding the basic principles of recognition

    http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/phpnews/show_news.php?uid=84

    "For more than 250 years the Home Grand Lodges have shared territory all round the world and continue to do so today. Indeed, in some areas we share territory with a local Grand Lodge formed since the Home Grand Lodges introduced Freemasonry into their territory. In the United States – where exclusive territorial jurisdiction was a principle for regularity – they have had to vary their views, as in many States the State Grand Lodge now shares its territory with a Prince Hall Grand Lodge, as the Home Grand Lodges do in the Bahamas, Caribbean and West Indies.

    The common factor in all these examples of shared territory is that the sharing is by mutual consent, and that is surely the key. If two or more Grand Lodges wish to share territory, why should we impose an arbitrary impediment on them doing so?"


    Mr. Diogenes you also you said

    "Prince Hall did receive a charter from the Grand Lodge of England (which incidentally, had no black lodges and no black members at the time), but Prince Hall wasn't *IN* England. He was in the United States of America, half a century after it became an independent nation."

    The USA declared independence in 1776 correct? African #459 was chartered in 1784. So that is only a 8 year difference. Masonic rules and laws and regulation were not in 1784 what they are today. What proof do you have that Exclusive Territorial Jurisdiction rules were in effect in 1784?

    Mr. Diogenes you said

    "The fact that Prince Hall Lodges have survived all these years (although not without periods of inactivity), is really irrelevant."

    The African Lodge #459 which later became part of the today's Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has never been inactive. I don't believe there has ever been a time since 1784 there wasn't an active Prince Hall Grand Lodge in the United States.

    Finally Mr. Diogenes you said

    "If separate was inherently unequal for school children some 60 years ago (and it was), what makes us think it's equitable and desirable for Masons today? ... It seems to me that if we truly want to overcome racism and live as equal members of the human race, we need to find a way to do it in the same lodge."

    It sounds like you want us to merge the mainstream and Prince Hall Grand Lodges as equals. If you are going to compare integration school systems, they did not close down the existing Black schools. It was INTEGRATION not a TAKEOVER.

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  7. "acooley357" said:

    "The USA declared independence in 1776 ... African #459 was chartered in 1784. So that is only a [sic] 8 year difference. Masonic rules and laws and regulation were not in 1784 what they are today. What proof do you have that Exclusive Territorial Jurisdiction rules were in effect in 1784?"

    General Joseph Warren, a prominent physician and close friend of General George Washington, was Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts Colony. Unfortunately, he was killed by the British at the first Battle of Bunker Hill, in 1775.

    Since Grand Master Warren was killed by the British, the brothers of his jurisdiction were understandably disinterested in consulting the people who killed him for a replacement. Instead, Grand Master Warren's martyrdom and the independent selection of his replacement, marked the beginning of the independent Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, as well as the American system of territorial exclusivity.

    I'm aware of no similar situation in which a Grand Master was killed by the opposing army of his mother lodge, but the system of territorial exclusivity established by those circumstances, has been a landmark of American Masonry ever since.

    [cont.]

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  8. "acooley357" said:

    "The African Lodge #459 which later became part of the today's Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has never been inactive. I don't believe there has ever been a time since 1784 there wasn't an active Prince Hall Grand Lodge in the United States."

    I won't presume to influence what you believe, or don't believe, but noted Masonic scholar and historian, Albert G. Mackey, writes on page 702 of his "Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Volume II":

    "The history of [Prince Hall Masonry] was thoroughly investigated, many years ago, by Brother Philip S. Tucker, of Vermont, and Brother Charles W. Moore, of Massachusetts, and the result is here given, with the addition of certain facts derived from a statement made by the officers of the [Prince Hall] Lodge in 1827.

    Prince Hall and thirteen other Negroes were made Freemasons in a Military Lodge in the British Army then at Boston, on March 6, 1775. When the Army was withdrawn these Negroes applied to the Grand Lodge of England for a Charter and on the 20th of September, 1784, a Charter for a Master's Lodge was granted, although not received until 1787, to Prince Hall and others, all colored men, under the authority of the Grand Lodge of England. The Lodge bore the name of 'African Lodge, No. 429,' and was situated in the city of Boston. This Lodge ceased its connection with the Grand Lodge of England for many years, and about the beginning of the nineteenth century its registration was stricken from the rolls of the United Grand Lodge of England, when new lists were made, as were many other Lodges in distant parts of the world, its legal existence, in the meantime, never having been recognized by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, to which body it had always refused to acknowledge allegiance.

    After the death of Hall and his colleagues, to whom the Charter had been granted, the Lodge, for want of someone to conduct its affairs, fell into abeyance, or, to use the technical phrase, became dormant. After some years it was revived, but by whom, or under what process of Masonic law, is not stated, and information of the revival given to the Grand Lodge of England, but no reply or recognition was received from that body. After some hesitation as to what would be the proper course to pursue, they came to the conclusion, as they have themselves stated, 'that, with what knowledge they possessed of Masonry, and as people of color by themselves, they were, and ought by rights to be, free and independent of other Lodges.' Accordingly, on June 18, 1827, they issued a protocol in which they said: 'We publicly declare ourselves free and independent of any Lodge from this day, and we will not be tributary or governed by any Lodge but that of our own.' They soon after assumed the name of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge, and issued Charters for the constitution of subordinates, and from it have proceeded Lodges of colored persons now existing in the United States.

    Admitting even the legality of the English Charter of 1784 -- it will be seen that there was already a Masonic authority in Massachusetts upon whose prerogatives of jurisdiction such Charter was an invasion -- it cannot be denied that the unrecognized self revival of 1827, and the subsequent assumption of Grand Lodge powers, were illegal, and rendered both the Prince Hall Grand Lodge and all the Lodges which emanate from it, clandestine."

    [cont.]

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  9. Therefore, several facts seem relatively clear:

    (1) "African Lodge # 429," chartered under the authority of the Grand Lodge of England, was active from 1787, until the early 1800s. It became inactive after the death of its founders.

    (2) The "Prince Hall Grand Lodge" was first organized in 1827, approximately 20 years after the death of Prince Hall, by a group of men who apparently had tenuous (if any) connection to the original members of African Lodge # 429.

    (3) Despite their attempt to gain recognition, the Prince Hall Grand Lodge never received a charter from the Grand Lodge of England, or anyone else.

    (4) Since no official recognition was granted, the Prince Hall Grand Lodge declared themselves to be a "free and independent" Masonic body, "not tributary or governed by any Lodge but that of [their] own."

    (5) Prince Hall lodges that exist today are chartered under authority of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge that was founded in 1827, not African Lodge # 429, which was a subordinate lodge chartered by the Grand Lodge of England, some 40 years earlier.


    "acooley357" said:

    "If you are going to compare integration [sic] school systems, they did not close down the existing Black schools. It was INTEGRATION not a TAKEOVER."

    I'm not sure where your "history" originates, but you might want to check your facts.

    When American schools were desegregated, colored schools were closed by the thousands, and the former students of those were integrated into formerly white schools (thus, the term "integration").

    Ironically, many schools that were exclusively white, are today exclusively black. I suppose the point could be argued whether that amounted to a "takeover," but despite the billions of dollars spent reworking the American education system, many schools are no more effectively "integrated" now than they were 100 years ago.


    "acooley357" said:

    "It sounds like you want us to merge the mainstream and Prince Hall Grand Lodges as equals."

    In a "free" society, I think people should have the freedom to choose their associates as they see fit, and as long as that freedom exists, who am I to condemn their choice?

    But are you suggesting that "mainstream" and Prince Hall lodges shouldn't be "equals?"

    Why not?

    Can you show me a "charter" obtained by either group from God, or any authority higher than other men?

    -- Diogenes

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  10. Diogenes you said :

    "Instead, Grand Master Warren's martyrdom and the independent selection of his replacement, marked the beginning of the independent Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, as well as the American system of territorial exclusivity."

    OK you still didn't give a reference of proof that this was in the GL of Mass' constitution or even declared somewhere.

    Diogenes you said :

    "I won't presume to influence what you believe, or don't believe, but noted Masonic scholar and historian, Albert G. Mackey, writes on page 702 of his "Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Volume II":"

    You need to get updated references. Please don't use something written over 100 years ago. New information and research have been discovered. What Mackey's wrote in regards to Prince Hall History is incorrect. Check out books such as "Prince Hall: Life and Legacy" or "Black Square and Compass: 200 Years of Prince Hall Masonry". African #459 did not become dormant. Even if did African #459 become dormant, it became a mother Grand Lodge (just like other Grand Lodges in the USA) and there were already lodges in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island and other states before 1827. So my statement that I don't believe there has ever been a time since 1784 there wasn't an active Prince Hall Grand Lodge in the United States is still correct. But like you said earlier that is irrelevant.

    The United Grand Lodge of England has declared the MWPHGL of Massachusetts regular and legitimate over 15 years ago and also explained why. Why wasn't African #459 invited to join the GL of Massachusetts? If a lodge that was trying to do the right thing has been shut out what else can it do? Is this Justice? You know that those Black men had no choice but to do what it did.

    I have shown you that according to the UGLE the American Exclusive Territorial Jurisdiction isn't something that necessarily make a lodge clandestine. Unrecognized isn't the same thing as clandestine.

    Diogenes you said :

    "When American schools were desegregated, colored schools were closed by the thousands, and the former students of those were integrated into formerly white schools (thus, the term "integration"). "

    You are right many were closed down but many did not. There are many schools there were predominately black before the 60s that are still predominately black.

    Diogenes you said :

    "But are you suggesting that "mainstream" and Prince Hall lodges shouldn't be "equals?" "

    The "mainstream" and "Prince Hall" Grand Lodges should be equals. I am saying PHGLs should not be dissolved and then her subordinate lodges come under the mainstream Grand Lodge. If we are going to be one, then we should merge as equals and new Grand Lodges created to govern our existing subordinate lodges. If that is your goal than I'm fine with that. I'm also fine if the two Grand Lodges in each state co-exist in harmony if they choose to do so.

    But I think you need to review up to date references and books and consult with today's Masonic researchers about the legitimacy and regularity of Prince Hall Masonry.

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  11. acooley357: Since you want to make sure references are current and accurate, here is the entirety of the UGLE Pro Grand Master’s address from November 2007. Notice the use of the word “irregularity.”

    Source: The United Grand Lodge of England, Speech by the MW The Pro Grand Master The Most Hon. the Marquess of Northampton, DL at the European Grand Master's Meeting on 5th & 6th November 2007. http://www.ugle.org.uk/news/european-speech.htm (Accessed January 19, 2009)

    I understand that at the Forum in Prague at the end of April there was a suggestion that there should be an addition to the Basic Principles for Grand Lodge Recognition – that of territorial exclusivity, in other words that there should only be one Grand Lodge per territory or country. That suggestion carried the implication that a Grand Lodge was not sovereign unless it had sole control of the Craft in its territory or country. We do not see sovereignty in terms of territory; to us sovereignty is a Grand Lodge having sole authority over its constituent Lodges and members, wherever they might be situated, and not sharing that authority with any other power such as a Supreme Council.

    For historical and practical reasons, the Home Grand Lodges and others could not regard exclusive territorial jurisdiction as a basic principle for recognition. For more than 250 years the Home Grand Lodges have shared territory all round the world and continue to do so today. Indeed, in some areas we share territory with a local Grand Lodge formed since the Home Grand Lodges introduced Freemasonry into their territory. In the United States – where exclusive territorial jurisdiction was a principle for regularity – they have had to vary their views, as in many States the State Grand Lodge now shares its territory with a Prince Hall Grand Lodge, as the Home Grand Lodges do in the Bahamas, Caribbean and West Indies.

    The common factor in all these examples of shared territory is that the sharing is by mutual consent, and that is surely the key. If two or more Grand Lodges wish to share territory, why should we impose an arbitrary impediment on them doing so?

    A Grand Lodge invading the territory of another Grand Lodge is a completely different matter. Such an action would be intolerable, contrary to all the principles of international Masonic relations, and lay the invading Grand Lodge open to charges of irregularity and the inevitability of having its recognition withdrawn.

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  12. Palmetto Bug you said:

    "Notice the use of the word “irregularity.”"

    I am asking what is your point about that quote in the context of this discussion? I saw that as I even posted the link for any reader to read it for themselves.

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  13. "The Palmetto Bug" quoted the UGLE Pro Grand Master as saying:

    "A Grand Lodge invading the territory of another Grand Lodge is a completely different matter. Such an action would be intolerable, contrary to all the principles of international Masonic relations, and lay the invading Grand Lodge open to charges of irregularity and the inevitability of having its recognition withdrawn.”

    To which "acooley357" replied:

    "I am asking what is your point about that quote in the context of this discussion?"

    I believe that Mr. Bug's "point" was that even in the 2007 speech you referenced, the UGLE Pro Grand Master expressed his opinion that: "A Grand Lodge invading the territory of another Grand Lodge ... would be intolerable, contrary to all the principles of international Masonic relations, and lay the invading Grand Lodge open to charges of irregularity and the inevitability of having its recognition withdrawn."

    It's an established fact that the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts existed before African Lodge # 429 was chartered by the Grand Lodge of England. Even supposing that it was acceptable at the time for Grand Lodges to charter subordinate lodges in the territorial jurisdiction of other Grand Lodges, African Lodge # 429 was just that -- a subordinate lodge, not a Grand Lodge.

    When the Prince Hall Grand Lodge was organized in 1827, it formed within the territorial jurisdiction of the established Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Clearly, that was an "invasion" of the territory of another Grand Lodge, which the UGLE Pro Grand Master flatly stated: "would be intolerable, ... and lay the invading Grand Lodge open to charges of irregularity."

    Established Grand Lodges choosing to coexist within certain territories, and new Grand Lodges forming within -- or moving into the territories of established Grand Lodges without consent, are two very different things. It surprises me that you're apparently having difficulty understanding that point.

    [cont.]

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  14. acooley357 writes:

    "PHGLs should not be dissolved and then her subordinate lodges come under the mainstream Grand Lodge. If we are going to be one, then we should merge as equals and new Grand Lodges created to govern our existing subordinate lodges. If that is your goal than I'm fine with that."

    I'm fine with that, too, and I think it's the only fair way to go.



    acooley357 writes:

    "I'm also fine if the two Grand Lodges in each state co-exist in harmony if they choose to do so."

    I'm much less fine with that.

    My vision for American Masonry in the future includes lodges (and Grand Lodges) with memberships that accurately reflect the human population of their areas. Indeed, I believe one of the best aspects of Masonry is that it gives men something in common, who otherwise have little. It unites rich with poor, labor with management, etc., so why shouldn't it just as effectively unite blacks and whites?

    I'd prefer not to see a reversion to the failed and inequitable system of "separate but equal," or as is too often the case, a system in which the African American community seems to believe "equality" means: "What's yours is ours, and what's ours is ours."

    If Americans of all colors are ever to overcome racial prejudice, it seems to me that we're going to have to acknowledge the fact that the exclusively black organizations are just as divisive as exclusively white ones.

    It's an understatement to say that blacks have been significantly disadvantaged throughout much of American history. Today, however, it's impossible to name a single achievement that black people have failed to accomplish. Even the President of the United States is black, so the situations that existed in history up to this point, clearly have changed.

    When exclusively white organizations are considered "racist," and virtually no organizations prohibit blacks, why should exclusively black organizations (such as the United Negro College Fund, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Miss Black America Contest, Black Entertainment Television, etc.) continue to be tolerated?

    -- Diogenes

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  15. Racism in Freemasonry is crap,on that I think we can all agree. What dumbfounds me is that sexism is not only tolerated, but religiously defended.

    Masonic lodges should represent the community at large. This includes the other 50% of the population.

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  16. "I'd like to see an effective argument that Prince Hall Masonry should rightfully be recognized."

    How about because the majority of the recognized Grand Lodges of the World accepts them? How about because Prince Hall Masonry was a side effect of the injustices of American Masonry in not putting all brothers on the Level?

    This is not just "Political Correctness", Freemasonry goes beyond such fads. But Brother Prince Hall and others attempted to join a "just and legally constituted lodge" and was rejected. This split was of our own making.

    This is about Freemasons doing the right thing; always. When our Grand Lodge is wrong, we fight for what is right; that is our obligation. We end up with these "injustices" when we do not hold each other to our obligations and our system then become quick to corrupt and then we have to go and clean up our own mess; that is what this is.

    This is not about justifying Prince Hall Masonry; this is about accepting all our brethren because that is our obligation. This is about doing what is right regardless of the rules; Freemasonry has 400 years history and a 4000 year heritage of breaking rules just because they were wrong; Breaking rules and fighting injustices is not only a birthright, it is our mandate. Let’s not get wrapped up in legal wrangling here; we are a continuously passive revolution working on behalf of God and mankind! Listen to your lessons and obligations.

    We are the most law-abiding citizens that any government can ever have and we agree to abide by the laws of the land, but the fact is that we are known to break the rules because we know them to be wrong; period!

    Every Grand Lodge should make it its mandate to meet the needs of its members and not to stifle their potential. No Grand Lodge should ever stand against the will of the brethren and should never have to wield the Death-by-Edict nor destroy any of its members through “attrition of available materials” that they have scratched up just because they do not like what one of their members represent; if you have to look for that much material, then you are trying too hard. To remove available due process or to use due process as a weapon of getting one’s way is tyranny of the heart and this is the true enemy of all Freemasons.

    Freemasons that abuse power and authority fail to understand the greatest Masonic lesson of all! It is that same Masonic lesson that we at Fredericksburg taught Brother George Washington as a very young man when we brought him into the mysterious of Freemasonry, and we continue to teach this lesson. It was a lesson that he both lived by and lived up to when he first handed his sword over to Congress and next when he stepped down as President after his second term.

    Power is a tool to be used to build and not to destroy. If the Craft fails to hold its own members up to Masonic standards and obligation by all means available to them, then what chance does our gentle fraternity have of defending itself against such a tool in the hands of a man who is a Master Mason by trade, but a Cowan within his own heart?

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  17. As for Prince Hall Masonry, it should be allowed to remain as is.

    In Fredericksburg, Virginia, Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4 has a great relationship with our brethren of Prince Hall Lodge No 61 and have regular fraternal visits with one another. I enjoy the fact that almost 85-90 percent of the ritual is the same as ours after 243 years of isolation. They even allowed me to briefly sit as Junior Warden during one of their district degree work and I took great honor in this.

    They in fact practice true devotion to Masonic principles and ritual and I consider their differences to be just "another flavor of Masonry", much like York Rite Masonry, Scottish Rite Masonry and French Rite Masonry.

    We in fact have sent potential petitioners to them and they to us just so that each of these individual has options available to them. Both our Grand Lodges have a wonderful relationship together and this relationship grows. We don't need to merge with them or them us we just need to be mindful of one another and embrace our similarities and learn from our differences.

    On another note, I am a little confused by Frater Raum Sariel's remarks on sexism and why it was brought up; did I miss something else here?

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