Saturday, November 04, 2006

Masons struggle with racial separation - Yahoo! News

Masons struggle with racial separation - Yahoo! News

Klintron has linked to this over on Technoccult. This is an issue near and dear to my heart. The Dragon's secret identity is a brother, raised in 1999, attained the 32nd degree in Scottish Rite in 1999, and made a Knight Templar, completing the York Rite in 2000 in the same Chapter that Albert Pike was member of nearly 150 years before as he was writing Morals and Dogma and codifying the Scottish Rite. Flawed and antiquated as it is, I love Masonry, I've found a lot of Light, acceptance, and friendship there. But being a radical conservative, traditionalist liberal, I found a lot of distasteful hippocracy in the split of Black and White lodges. There is a lot of concern among Masons that Masonry is dying, that young men do not see it as relevant to their lives, or even worse, that those who do see it only as a means of networking and professional advancement. I personally believe a lot of that has to do with the fact that many young men who might otherwise be drawn to an organization whose goal is the fraternal, collective pursuit of refining personal morality, are turned off by racial segregation. What is so moral about enforcing and maintaining racial segregation? Especially in an organization which claims to be egalatarian, and encourages men of all faiths, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu to come together as brothers?

"Only the states of the old Confederacy, minus Virginia and plus West Virginia, don't have mutual recognition," said Paul Bessel, a Maryland Mason who wrote a book on the topic. "There are, I'm sorry to say, some Masons who are racists. But the vast majority don't feel that way."
Grand Lodges and Prince Hall groups coexist with few problems and officially recognize each other in 38 states and the District of Columbia, with members free to mingle and attend each other's meetings. Frank Chandler, a leader of the black Masonic group in Delaware, was happy to see mutual recognition granted in his state last month.
"The importance of it to me is that this is 2006. If we as black folks and they as white folks can't live together, we're got real problems," said Chandler, a retired Delaware state trooper.
But Bessel said the separation in the Deep South is entrenched and remains in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.
It also extends to Shriners, the men who wear funny red hats and operate a network of 22 charity hospitals for children. Shriners draw all their members from Masonry, and many of their policies are based on Masonic rules, Bessel said.

I will leave you, especially any brother who might come upon this rant, with some poesy from one of the Craft's most accomplished Bards, Rudyard Kipling, which I think best illustrates the spirit of fraternity.


There was Rundle, Station Master,

An' Beazeley of the Rail,
An' 'Ackman, Commissariat,
An' Donkin' o' the Jail;
An' Blake, Conductor-Sargent,
Our Master twice was 'e,
With 'im that kept the Europe-shop,
Old Framjee Eduljee.

Outside -- "Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!"
Inside -- "Brother", an' it doesn't do no 'arm.
We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,
An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!

We'd Bola Nath, Accountant,
An' Saul the Aden Jew,
An' Din Mohammed, draughtsman
Of the Survey Office too;
There was Babu Chuckerbutty,
An' Amir Singh the Sikh,
An' Castro from the fittin'-sheds,
The Roman Catholick!

We 'adn't good regalia,
An' our Lodge was old an' bare,
But we knew the Ancient Landmarks,
An' we kep' 'em to a hair;
An' lookin' on it backwards
It often strikes me thus,
There ain't such things as infidels,
Excep', per'aps, it's us.

For monthly, after Labour,
We'd all sit down and smoke
(We dursn't give no banquits,
Lest a Brother's caste were broke),
An' man on man got talkin'
Religion an' the rest,
An' every man comparin'
Of the God 'e knew the best.

So man on man got talkin',
An' not a Brother stirred
Till mornin' waked the parrots
An' that dam' brain-fever-bird;
We'd say 'twas 'ighly curious,
An' we'd all ride 'ome to bed,
With Mo'ammed, God, an' Shiva
Changin' pickets in our 'ead.

Full oft on Guv'ment service
This rovin' foot 'ath pressed,
An' bore fraternal greetin's
To the Lodges east an' west,
Accordin' as commanded
From Kohat to Singapore,
But I wish that I might see them
In my Mother-Lodge once more!

I wish that I might see them,
My Brethren black an' brown,
With the trichies smellin' pleasant
An' the ~hog-darn~ passin' down;
An' the old khansamah snorin'
On the bottle-khana floor,
Like a Master in good standing
With my Mother-Lodge once more!

Outside -- "Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!"
Inside -- "Brother", an' it doesn't do no 'arm.
We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,
An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!

Or as someone else once said, "Behold! How good and how pleasant it is for brethern to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments."

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