Grand Master of Florida Bans Certain Religions

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Frater Cliff Porter, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    One could argue that Trinitarian Christians worship multiple deities, though they would respond that the Trinity are merely "aspects" of one god.

    And that is what a pagan pantheon entails; aspects of Deity, almost always capped by a Father or Mother figure that is Supreme. The Roman pantheon has Jupiter as its "supreme" being, the Greeks have Zeus. For the Norse it is Odin, and Dagda for the Celtic followers.

    Too many people get wrapped up in what they think religion should be and don't remember that the point of our rules is Faith. Does the Candidate believe in something greater than himself? Does he have Faith in a higher power, in a life beyond this life? Does he follow a moral code? That is the crucial requirement, not some petty argument over what brand of religion he subscribes to.
     
  2. 4thGenMason

    4thGenMason Registered User

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    I certainly agree with your perspective. I always keep an open mind, and strive to be as enlightened as possible. I was fairly unhappy that such a good person was kept from the fraternity simply because his religion wasn't understood. I still have some mixed feelings about it, but you have most certainly shed some much needed light on the subject.

    I have a question for you trysquare, during the EA when the candidate is asked in whom he places his trust, how would someone from such a religion respond? As previously mentioned, I don't know much of anything about the less well known religions. For example someone who followed Greek religion, aren't each of the gods a separate entity ruled by one. But each one worshipped?

    Any further insight is much welcomed.
     
  3. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    If I had responded "YHVH" would I have been removed from Lodge without being Initiated? What of a traditional believer whose faith forbids speaking the name of Deity in any form? How would he answer that question? And in either case, would it make the person less worthy of receiving Light?
     
  4. 4thGenMason

    4thGenMason Registered User

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    The Jews are more than welcome in all lodges I've attended. As for the second point, most certainly not (I would hope) the reason I asked is because I would like to know more on this subject so I'm assured that I never make an uneducated decision and make a terrible mistake.
     
  5. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    First things first - The secrecy of the ballot is sacrosanct. No one may report how he voted or why. To do so is a chargeable offense that can get you put on a Masonic trial. No one may ask how any member voted or why. Same issue. As firm as I am about religious freedom and tolerance as a make or break issue I am equally firm on ballot secrecy. Anyone who admitted how or why he voted violated Masonic principles every bit as much as balloting in opposition to our principles of religious freedom and tolerance. There is no way any of that should have come out.

    The monotheism requirement was dropped in the 1700s. None alive today lived in a time when that requirement existed. The path to deal with ignorance is education. The requirement since at least as far back as the unification of the Antients and Moderns in 1813 is "Believe in the existence of a supreme being".

    With Buddhist Masons it can be interesting to discuss how they address the word "existence" in that requirement as not all sects of Buddhism address deity.

    With polytheist Masons it can be interesting to discuss how they address the word "supreme" in that requirement. Some pantheons has a deity like Jupiter or Zeus who is clearly in charge. Other pantheons are not as clear on who is in charge. It can take quite some pondering to resolve. But none of that matters. What matters is our candidate reached a point where he is comfortable answering "yes" to the question and an investigation into his character shows that he has a reputation for honesty.

    I just tried to download the Arkansas petition. The site http://www.argrandlodge.org/ is a park page listed as for sale. It's sad that a discussion of ignorance of Masonic principles points to a jurisdiction that's off-line at the moment.
     
  6. 4thGenMason

    4thGenMason Registered User

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    I never said who or how many voted yay or nay. Simply that at least 1 person black balled him. The discussion was long before the vote, and no one actually came out and said they were going to vote negatively.

    I appreciate the information you offered, and it's very helpful. Can you offer a citation for that so I can read and learn more?
     
  7. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    As long as the response translates to "In the divine" then the response works. I'd been through the weeks of pondering what "supreme" means and I had resolved the issue for myself. I had learned that sectarian religion is not to be discussed in lodge. Rather than a lengthy discussion of how and why I'd reached the point and who I had decided was in charge I thought about the prohibition of sectarian religion. So I answered "In God" and did not specify which name of which deity I meant. For some the answer is easy and natural. For others the answer is a result of a lot of thought and effort of how to not introduce sectarian religion into lodge so it ends up being a two word abbreviation of a lot.

    That's not relevant. You are over thinking this. The question is a yes or no one. Masonry does not specify what religion a brother should belong to. Masonry does not care if you belong to a faith that requires exclusivity or a faith that does not require exclusivity. Masonry cares that you are a man of faith full stop. Whether deity is one of many does not change being a man of faith.
     
  8. 4thGenMason

    4thGenMason Registered User

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    Thank you for that explanation. Your perspective is a very informative one. I've been an MM for a mere 3 years, and as such still have much to learn. This is why I'm asking questions and trying to get as much input as possible. If something I say or ask strikes you the wrong way, please understand that I'm simply searching for better understanding, and might not have chosen the best words to convey my meaning.

    Again, thank you for giving more insight in the topic. It wasn't explained to me very well, so the only way for me to know how it is truly intended is to ask more veteran Masons. I don't have any issues with a man's chosen religion, I just wasn't sure what the actual requirements were in this regard.
     
  9. naparuno

    naparuno Registered User

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    In Florida, and suspect many Grand Lodges, has a specific monotheism requirement, at least that is the way I read it. Here's a link: http://www.glflamason.org/documents/GL601a.pdf

    It says, "Do you believe in the existence of one ever-living and true God?"
     
  10. Brother_Steve

    Brother_Steve Premium Member

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    Not to split hairs but lets say for arguments sake my religion says there are 5 supreme beings.

    The wording of that question is amigiuos enough to say yes without lying.

    The question has to be worded as such to specify one god only IMHO.

    "Do you believe in the existence of *only* one ever-living and true God?"
     
  11. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Look up within the Florida Digest, "the only religious requirement", when you get an opportunity. It conflicts with the wording upon the petition.
     
  12. naparuno

    naparuno Registered User

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    I agree, all is to interpretation, and I could easily see many pagans, and others for that matter, easily and honestly be able to to say yes to this. But the real question is how the MM voting interprets this question since they are the final judgement regarding their fate to initiation.

    I looked around a few more GL (via the Internet of course) and NC has this same similar wording, and I am sure there are a few more.
     
  13. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

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    "Paganism", per se, is not a religion. There are many religions that may lumped together under the term "pagan", but they often have no more in common than, say, Buddhism and Judaism.
    As for the candidate's rejection, it was unjust and clearly based on fear and ignorance. By your description of the candidate, that lodge is the poorer for it. Hardly the first time such a thing has happened and certainly it will not be the last.
     
  14. naparuno

    naparuno Registered User

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    In regard to the Florida digest, I've observed that as well.
     
  15. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

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    Precisely.
    Why would you want to do that? So that you could have an excuse for excluding those whose religions differ too much from yours?
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  16. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

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    If the nature of a candidate's religion has been injected into the process, you're doing it wrong.
     
  17. LittleHunter

    LittleHunter Registered User

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    The FL issue was resolved in May. In FL, as elsewhere, a candidate may be of ANY religion as long as he believes in a Supreme Being. We are all children of the same Creator even though we may address Him by different names.


    Freemason Connect HD
     
  18. LittleHunter

    LittleHunter Registered User

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    The FL issue was resolved in May. In FL, as elsewhere, a candidate may be of ANY religion as long as he believes in a Supreme Being. We are all children of the same Creator even though we may address Him by different names.


    Freemason Connect HD
     
  19. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    On the Florida vote in May - The brothers at the grand secretary's office might not even realize that the vote changed any pre-existing policy about monotheism. Would any brother in Florida be interested in pointing that out to them? Their petition form really should be changed now that they have had a formal vote to bring themselves into the 19th century with regard to the topic of religious requirements.

    On the Florida web site - It has the expected wording that is inclusive of candidates who see deity as one or many.

    On the New York petition - I once down loaded the New York petition and it had wording something like "One single true and ever living God". I would have read that on the petition, shredded it and never gone back. That's unambiguously contrary to the standard set by the UGLE at least since its unification in 1813. This weekend I went to the GLofNY web site and I couldn't find a downloadable petition form. I've tried to find jurisdictions with words like "single" or "only" on their petitions to see how many actually do require monotheism. So far I've only found NYS to explicitly diverge from the world wide standard.

    On the Florida petition - The wording is ambiguous. That makes it very easy to decide for yourself one way or the other. But remember - If you ask the candidate's religion you're doing it wrong. All that should ever get asked is for a yes or a no. Someone who reads up on Masonic history as I did and checks world wide Masonry as I did could well decide they follow the worldwide standard and they just have odd old fashioned wording on their form. I see how it could get ugly with another deciding it the other way. And sure enough it did get ugly -

    Masonry and religious affiliation. The original "don't ask don't tell" policy.
     
  20. LittleHunter

    LittleHunter Registered User

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    No we're not interested in pointing anything out to the Grand Sec of FL. The bottom line is that senior Brothers should be trained not pry into the specific beliefs of candidates/new brothers and they should avoid getting into religious pissing contests with them. Masonry is a place for religious tolerance, not religious activism


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