Monday, May 29, 2006

Masonic Racism

Brother Tim Bonney, a Baptist minister and Freemason who is also an outspoken critic of the United Grand Lodge of America, has lately been beating his drum calling the UGLA's public stand against segregation and racism in American Freemasonry "...a smoke screen to cover the fact that they were expelled from Masonry for not following the laws, rules, and regulations of a lodge of Master Masons."

I'll let the UGLA defend themselves if they wish against Bro. Bonney's illogical suppositions and innuendos. No UGLA member was expelled; they were simply "whited out" (no pun intended) from the rolls of their Blue Lodges without so much as a hearing. Expulsion requires a Masonic Trial.

Bonney calls UGLA brothers whom he does not know "hot-heads who threw a temper tantrum when they could not get their way." Amusing how he keeps pointing out that UGLA Masons failed to follow Masonic rules while he himself violates the obligation against speaking ill of a Brother Mason.

I'm amused at Bro. Bonney's "I'm not a racist" claims. Like we saw in Bro. Williams' email in the previous post here on Burning Taper, Bonney trots out the "some of my best friends are black" defense.

But what really interests me is Bonney's inadvertent explanation of what is truly rotten in coventional American Freemasonry.

He worries that individual Masons will be denied visitation rights to their sons' raising, or some poor dead Mason won't be eligible for a Masonic burial, etc., should Grand Lodges that do recognize Prince Hall lodges withdraw recognition from Grand Lodges that do not recognize Prince Hall.

"In these cases those who were 'punished' likely knew nothing about disagreements between Grand jurisdictions," he writes.

Therein is the true rottenness of conventional American Freemasonry: Grand Lodges, period. Far too much power has been claimed by a small group of usually self-appointed, not elected, "career" Freemasons. The rank-and-file Mason indeed "knows nothing" about the politics and behind-the-scenes goings-on in Grand Lodges. In my experience, Average Joe Mason is content to show up once in a while at his Blue Lodge (usually only when someone he knows is being initiated), shake a few hands, listen to the minutes, and maybe help fry the fish for the yearly fundraiser. When the big issues arise, they look towards busy-body Past Masters to take care of them, and defer to "The Grand Lodge."

George Wallace (1919-1998), multi-term governor of Alabama and long-time Freemason, was perhaps America's most famous racist and segregationist. He left us with a few choice quotes teaching us about Masonic brotherly love:
  • "If any demonstrator ever lays down in front of my car, it'll be the last car he'll ever lay down in front of."

  • "I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."

  • "Sure, I look like a white man. But my heart is as black as anyone's here."

Image: Gov. George Wallace blocks the doorway to Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, June 11, 1963

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  1. I'm not ammused at your insulting claims. I never used such a defense as "some of my best friends...etc." You made that up whole cloth. What I did say is that my lodge admits men of all races, I have signed the petitions of men of different races, I have confered degrees on men of different races, and I have and do sit in lodge with men of different races and creeds. I fully support, and ahve always supported the recognition of Prince Hall.

    I am also an active part of a denomination Christians that is more than 40% African American.

    Simply because I don't agree with your take on the UGLA or how Freemasonry should move to full recognition you try to paint me as a racist. The comparisons to Wallace are more than insulting. You words border on libelous.

    UGLA has complained about the way GA and Alabama have treated them but, you find it perfectly o.k. to trash the name of regular Masons who disagree with you and your movement.

    How sad and how unmasonic.

    Tim Bonney

  2. Rev. Bonney,

    How self righteous you are., Your state of nearly 2 and half million people is only 2.5% black and according to the photos on your church web site I failed to see ANYONE of color (other than White) in any photo posted.

    You stated:
    "I fully support, and have always supported the recognition of Prince Hall."

    but yet you have also stated:
    "There are 51 Grand Lodges of mainstream Masons in the USA that each run their own affairs. My lodge is in the Grand Lodge of Iowa. Each jurisdiction is self-governed and has no authority above it. That is why if you see a Mason from another jurisdiction contend that all Grand Lodges do a certain thing, you can bet they are likely wrong."

    You use that as a cop-out. So practice what you say you preach.
    If you believe in Civil and Human rights stand up and condemn the states that refuse them.


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