Inter-Visitation, Politics and Racism in Texas

Discussion in 'Prince Hall Freemasonry' started by Blake Bowden, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    A couple of years ago, a handful of Brethren on this site were pushing hard for inter-visitation between Prince Hall and "Mainstream" Lodges. Since then, there have been a handful of members on this forum who no longer visit, not to mention the hate mail I received in supporting such action. I'm pretty thick skinned, so I could care less about those guys who proudly wear their plastic name badges, S&C on their lapels and bumper stickers, yet fail to adhere to their obligations and the basic teachings of Freemasonry.

    Apparently contact was made between our respective Grand Lodges and I was told that several concerns were expressed. One was cross membership, not just visitation. Some Prince Hall Brethren were concerned that many would move to mainstream due to the lower dues fees. Another issue was racism on BOTH sides. Would a predominately African-American Lodge welcome outsiders? Would a predominately White Lodge welcome a Prince Hall Brother with an outstretched hand of Brotherly love?

    For me, they are valid concerns. Are we, as regular Masons, strong enough to keep the channels of communication open and to call out racism on both sides? Are we willing to stand up and put pressure on those Lodges who continue to allow bigotry?

    What will the state of Masonry be if a "Mainstream" Lodge refuses to allow a "Black" into the Lodge? What then? Will the Master of the Lodge take charge? Will the Grand Master step in and threaten to pull the Charter? What if a "White" Mason wanted to visit a Prince Hall Lodge and was told he wasn't welcome? These are worse case scenarios, but chances are they will occur if we extend visitation.

    I don't represent any Masonic body, but I have a feeling those who support inter-visitation have support from many of our Grand Lodge officers. Extending relations won't be easy. We have inherited centuries of division and racism, so we'd be naive to think everything will go smoothly. In 2007 we signed an historic compact, especially for a "Southern State". If we allow inter-visitation in Texas, it will reverberate throughout the nation, especially the Southern region. I can tell you right now, there are other Jurisdictions, including both Prince Hall and Mainstream, who are watching closely.

    Before I wrap up things, I would never support merging our Masonic bodies. One is not better than the other. You cannot gain more Light going Prince Hall or vice versa. Both are wonderful Masonic Bodies; I'd just like to shake the hand of a Prince Hall Worshipful Master and see him set his Craft to labor with good and wholesome instruction.
     
  2. Bro_Vick

    Bro_Vick Moderator Premium Member

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    Thank you for writing this, but you are right there is a lot on both sides, and the simplistic belief that once can snap their fingers and everything be better is delusional about best. Work and forgiveness is a major part of it, and we all have to buy in otherwise it might all be in vain.

    I find this funny as our European brothers find the fact that two regular and constituted lodges from the UGLE are in the same jurisdiction as a complete farce. Regularly this is brought up when ever I talk to them, and deal with their slings and arrows. :)

    S&F,
    -Bro Vick
     
  3. PHA TRAVELER

    PHA TRAVELER Registered User

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    Spoken like a true Mason Bro Bowden! So Mote it Be
     
  4. LukeD

    LukeD Registered User

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    We need to follow in the footsteps of the previous GLs who allowed visitation. It would be a bumpy ride, but well worth it. Visitation is all many Brothers want, not to merge or take members away from their lodges. Some members will be mad, some members may even leave the fraternity, and some bridges will be burned, but as I tell my coworkers, let the bridges I burn light the way. In the end, it will benefit the craft as a whole.
     
  5. barryguitar

    barryguitar Registered User

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    Let me say firstly that I look forward, very much, to the day when I can sit in lodge with my Prince Hall brothers. As I live on the Southside of Dallas, I have many of them, and I consider them friends and brothers. But I find it concerning that so many brothers are willing to accept the providence of multiple Grand Masters in a single jurisdiction. I disagree with you, Blake, on this, the most important part of this conversation. We should begin now to figure out an equitable solution to the problem of multiple Grand Lodges, and how to merge them into one cohesive fraternity. If we begin this now we may well see it in our lifetime.
     
  6. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    The problem with the merger that I forsee is nothing close to racial. You are going to have to deal with several "Grand Lines" merging into one body. Who is going to step out of line... Not going to happen. The easier solution is the retention of the masonic variances within the bodies, and simply allow inter-visitation.
     
  7. PHA TRAVELER

    PHA TRAVELER Registered User

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    I think bother Barry, power hungry have alot to do with that u referring to!
     
  8. barryguitar

    barryguitar Registered User

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    And so the conversation begins, right here on this forum, for all the fraternities eyes to see. Just as the generation that faced a conflict between the Ancients and Moderns, we must be the generation that brings about a Union among the Craft. It is an issue that is no great concern to the currently elected officers of the Grand Lodges but rather to the young men of the fraternity who will, in the near future, be beginning to occupy the chairs. They are the ones who will need to sacrifice their personal ambition on the alter of unity. There are only a few obstacles along this course and great they are, though simple to overcome. First Problem: our obligation. Whereby we swore to live by the Constitutions, resolutions, and edicts of the G.L. Which G.L.? Are we bound to different rules? Possible solution; A committee must be formed of representatives from each G.L.,comprised of junior officers, those officers who will be called on to make the sacrifice mentioned by bro. Stewart and PHA traveler. There is not so much Masonic Law that resolution can not be made between the two documents. The simple solution is that one or the other G.L. adopt the others constitution, but it would be most likely a simple compromise on only a few issues, easily adoptable. At that point, all being under the same law, there will no longer be any barrier to visitation. In fact visitation becomes necessary in order to rectify the differences between the ritual, which could be done by a committee comprised of the members of the committee on work from each G.L., being careful to preserve the differences in order to celebrate the diversity and retain each individual lodges history and the descent of their legitimate charter. We must first, each and every one of us, prepare our hearts for unity and dedicate ourselves to allowing friendship and brotherly love to prevail.
     
    Brian Marts likes this.
  9. Bro. David F. Hill

    Bro. David F. Hill David F. Hill Premium Member

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    Though I can not say for certain, there should not be much difference between the rituals and since we are talking visitation, it should not matter. The visitor just needs to sit and watch as he will not be sitting in one of the chairs and follow what the rest of the craft is doing. As for the constitution, you are subject to the Constitutions, resolutions, and edicts of the G.L that you are visiting but again we are only talking about visitation not merging.
     
  10. kosei

    kosei Premium Member

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    I feel as tho we should start with supporting each other's events and fellowship with each other first. If a lodge is hosting something were the public is invited such as a car show, bbq, bowling etc we should invite each other. People that are not masons only see that G, square & compass and don't see the difference between GLoTX & MWPHGLoTX so why can't we as masons dwell in unity? Their are not to many differences between the ritual, their is no difference in the practice of the craft. Prince Hall Masonry is not a craft, it just emplements the history and importance of Prince Hall. There is a reason why PHA has been deemed regular by the UGLE, United Grand Lodge of Ireland, and United Grand Lodge of Scotland. I truly believe that if we take this step for visitation in Texas, the other 9 Grand lodges in the 9 southern states whom don't recognize PHA will follow suit. Just my opinion.
     
  11. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    The problem I see, is that we have a hard enough time getting Brothers to attended our own Lodge functions, much less supporting a Prince Hall one and I'm sure it goes both ways. Add to the fact there are Brethren on both sides who are more than content keeping the division between our Most Worshipful Masonic Bodies.

    What irritates me is that I've been told discussions have been held, but there was not a mention during our Grand Lodge meeting. For those who don't know, a little over a year ago, the M.W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas OFFICIALLY requested visitation with the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas. I'd like some transparency! What's going on? Why do both Grand Lodges feel the need to isolate it's members and mediate behind closed doors? What's wrong with a simple update?
     
  12. kyfreemason357

    kyfreemason357 Registered User

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    Here in KY we voted last year to recognize the PHA of KY and only to communicate at this point. We was informed this was only in KY and that it was the wishes of PHA for it to be only to communicate.
     
  13. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Why? I think we both know why but just don't want to say.
     
  14. CTx Mason

    CTx Mason Registered User

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    As Masons, we should be above the politics, and remember that we are all Good Men FIRST and this should be foremost in our minds and hearts.
    Having said that, when a rule or a law does not keep pace with the evolution of society, and no longer prevents harm, but does more harm the it needs to be abolished.
    I feel a loss that we have a separation between men of good character, and I wonder how much we can gain from each other WHEN we do come together.
     
  15. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    I suspect the same things we learned from each other in integrated schools, sports teams, military service, and working next to each other five days a week.

    Silly things like sharing the fears of supporting our families, who will win the World Series and the Super Bowl, belief in our maker, love for our country; good food, fellowship, and concern for the future. Fears of personal failure, making ends meet, and The Theory of Everything.

    Gentlemen, can we be so much alike after all! :eek:hmy:
     
  16. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    Pretty much says it for me.
     
  17. dreamer

    dreamer Registered User

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    A Brother is a Brother, regardless.
     
  18. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Works for me!
     
  19. waylonivie

    waylonivie Premium Member

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    A brother just recently asked my opinion on this subject and had an interesting idea. Would it be a violation to sit with a brother in the other jurisdiction during the fellowship/meal hour before Lodge, as long as you didn't go into Lodge? I know it's not the same, but maybe a start. I wouldn't think that its technically crossing a line, or is it?
     
  20. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    To the best of my knowlege, that would not be in violation of any agreement. Sounds like an awesome beginning!
     

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