Proposed Racism Resolution

Discussion in 'Masonic Jurisprudence' started by Bill Lins, Mar 21, 2010.

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  1. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    so mote it be.
     
  2. Bryan

    Bryan Registered User

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    "That no negative reference is to be made nor any negative action taken by any officer or member of any Lodge in regard to a petitioner’s or member’s faith, creed or race at any time.

    My only question is.. if you are going to go this far why not go ahead and include "sexual orientation".

    Personally I don't think you can legislate morality, especially in this day in time, because everyones views are so widely varied. I seriously doubt that you could find 3 people in any one lodge that would come up with the exact same definition of what is moral and what is not. I do agree that racism should have no place in masonry.
    Obviously racism is not specifically included as a masonic violation in current Texas Masonic Law or this resolution would not be proposed. I do believe that racism certainly fits under the broad canopy of "un-masonic conduct" I don't see why someone could not be charged with and prosecuted for un-masonic conduct for racism under current Texas Law.

    I certainly don't have all the answers and I really don't know much about Texas Masonic Law. My knowledge is limited to Louisiana Masonic Law only so I certainly reserve the right to be wrong. I'm just sharing my thoughts on the matter for what ever thats worth. :)
     
  3. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Bryan et al.

    I'm no expert on GLoTX rules either, but I agree with your point that it is difficult and not always desirable to try to incorporate detailed definitions and prescriptions into a rule-book.

    An alternative approach which might be easier, based on your argument above, might be for GL to consider a resolution about interpretation of existing rules rather than a change of rules. For example, a resolution "That this Grand Lodge deems any racist remark or racist behaviour by any Brother whilst acting in his capacity as a freemason to be unmasonic conduct within the meaning of its Constitutions, and mandates its Officers and any other members responsible for the conduct and determination of its disciplinary proceedings to take due notice hereof and govern themselves accordingly". Obviously that might not be quite the right wording for the TX rules, but I would imagine that something of this sort ought to have the effect of making it clear that racism is a masonic offence without changing the existing rules.

    It might be easier to get it through by this sort of approach.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  4. Bryan

    Bryan Registered User

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    I agree 100%. Very well said!
     
  5. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Precisely because of what you stated in re: morality. We've all heard the arguments regarding homosexuality, i.e. "they're born that way", "it's in their wiring", and so on. I do not pretend to know the truth of the matter & will leave it to those far wiser than me to resolve.

    I DO know that there is NO question regarding morality when it comes to the color of a man's skin.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  6. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    All good points- thanks!
     
  7. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Ok, y'all- here's the final version to be submitted to Grand Lodge. My thanks to all of you for your input & help.

    "Whereas Freemasonry is universal in scope, and professes to be a Brotherhood of man under the Fatherhood of God, and;

    Whereas our Ancient and Honorable Fraternity welcomes to its doors and admits to its privileges worthy men of all faiths, creeds and races who believe in a Supreme Being, as stated in our Degrees and lectures, and;

    Whereas our Ritual and teachings SPECIFICALLY state that a decision on the admission of a petitioner to our Fraternity is NOT to be based upon his external qualifications;

    Therefore be it resolved that Title V, Article 505 of the Laws of the Grand Lodge of Texas, A.F. & A.M. be amended by the addition of the following language:

    37. Make any negative reference or take any negative action in regard to a petitioner’s or member’s faith, creed or race at any time."


    Respectfully submitted,


    William A. (Bill) Lins
    PM- Wharton #621
    PM- El Campo #918
     
  8. C_Cabra

    C_Cabra Registered User

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    Good Stuff Brother Bill! Sad that it is needed but it is.
     
  9. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    so mote it be.
     
  10. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Awesome work Bro. Bill! Thank you!
     
  11. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Sorry Bill, I'd have to vote NO to this if I were a GLoTX member, and in fact would actively campaign against it rather than passively opposing.

    If it just said "race", then I'd vote yes. But you've still ignored the difficulties, which I pointed out earlier, about needing to check that a Brother is religiously eligible for membership: race is not a legitimate consideration for membership, but religion is a legitimate (and indeed essential) consideration. If a petitioner professed atheism, or satanism, or membership of some polytheistic religion with no Supreme Being, or some other incompatible religious position, then of course I'd vote NO to his petition ... yet that would be a "negative action" in regard to his faith or creed and therefore contrary to this proposed rule.

    Furthermore, as I also said before, I'd expect your Commission on Jurisprudence (or whatever the equivalent committee is called in GLoTX) to rule it out of even being discussed on the floor of GL at all, on the ground that it would be a resolution to abandon your status as a regular GL by preventing essential religious checks which are a Landmark of the Craft.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  12. jonesvilletexas

    jonesvilletexas Premium Member

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    You cannot legislate morality.
     
  13. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

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    No - but you can make bigots wildly uncomfortable.

    One of my biggest problems with what happened in Georgia (filing moral charges for admitting a Black man) wasn't the opposition to the Black man itself - it's that several people felt comfortable enough to file formal charges which would be heard by other masons. Which meant they expected their backward, un-masonic charges to be taken seriously if not to win.

    If racism was directly addressed, either in a sterile one liner in the bylaws, to whenever it reared it's head - these men would have known their views were out of the mainstream and not a part of masonry. If they are comfortable, that means it's prospering and possibly proliferating.

    Yes, it means making it politically incorrect for them to be open bigots.
     
  14. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Rich.

    Yes. Good!

    Very well put! Spot on.

    I'm right with you on this one, Rich.

    Nevertheless, I wish Bill would take out the faith and creed references from his draft resolution, because I think it'll fail on the faith and creed issues and thereby the condemnation of racism will get thrown out as well because it's all in the same resolution.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  15. jonesvilletexas

    jonesvilletexas Premium Member

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    When you think you are in control of a man’s words, at what point do you try to control his thoughts and actions?
     
  16. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Of course no-one can be in control of someone else's thoughts, and thank goodness for that.

    Actions, though, yes. It is an achievable aim to make it clear that displaying bigotry in either word or action is shameful. That might have little effect on what people think, but at least it can help improve what people do. This reduces the harm that our sins cause to others even though it doesn't cleanse sin from our own hearts.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  17. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    I think this would have helped me in a Lodge I sat in when several members found out there was to be a ballot for a black candidate. When members showed up just to "vote on the n-word" as they put it. That is a black eye for Masonry and it is not needed. When we pursued avenues with GL we were told there was nothing they could do because there were no Laws against that behavior. I cannot control a man's thoughts but as Bro. Huw points out we can control their actions.

    We sit here all day long and talk about how "they" are allowed in our Fraternity and how "they" are members of some Lodges but the point is until we take a stand against discrimination and just out right hateful behavior that is out dated we as a fraternity is not practicing what we preach. It is time our Past Masters move us forward by voting for a proposition such as this that will open doors to so many open minded people that don't join us because of the past stances our Fraternity has taken with these issues. I for one can say we have taken huge steps and knocked down several walls in the past 2 years almost to the point to where this is no longer an issue but there are still Lodges that need this.

    SIDE NOTE:
    I would like to make a predition that this fails miserably. Just seeing what I have seen in my short of time I don't believe we (our PMs) are ready to take such a big step in this direction. Like I said we all want to act like nothing is wrong and just keep sweeping items like this under the carpet and by passing this every issue will be documented. The liability on GL is too great and I just don't think it will pass even though it is the right thing to do.
     
  18. Jamesb

    Jamesb Registered User

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    What about at the individual lodge level? IE...adding a one liner in the by-laws to subvert this kind of behavior. You might never be able to do something at the GL level, but you are a member of a lodge that could.
     
  19. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Owls.

    Until you put forward a motion which can't be opposed on non-racist grounds, you'll never know how much support you might have.

    I've already said that if I were in GLoTX, then I'd have to vote no to the current draft because of other parts of the wording, and therefore I'd be voting the same way as racists even though I've no time for racism. The same must surely apply to many who actually are in GLoTX. This draft seems to me to have failure built in, and to that extent it's actually a hindrance to efforts to leave bigotry behind.

    Since it's probably inevitable that various amendments will be moved, why not get in first with an amendment to fix the flaws in the draft by deleting the second "whereas" clause in toto and deleting the words "faith, creed or" from the final resolution clause.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  20. JEbeling

    JEbeling Guest

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    Well I have heard these stories about being black balled because you were black... ! and in most cases when GL chased them down to find out who was black balled and who was voting... ! you find it realy didn't happen that way...? lot of this is urban stories about somebody who heard it from somebody..? I know when at Grand Lodge last year there were a lot of blacks walking around with aprons on...? and also brothern have the right to drop the black ball for any reason they feal is good for masonary.. !
     
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