LA puts Prince Hall recognition on the next GL agenda

Discussion in 'Prince Hall Freemasonry' started by drapetomaniac, Jan 8, 2010.

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  1. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

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  2. Bryan

    Bryan Registered User

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    I have no problem sitting with masons of any color.

    I will, however, never vote to recognize PH based strictly on the principal that I do not believe PH to be regular.

    There are actually quite a few jurisdictions throughout Europe and other places in the world that we do not recognize based on irregularity. Its not as if PH is the only masonic organization that we do not choose to recognize.

    Racist can be found in every lodge in every grand jurisdiction around the world and I suspect that even in some of the jurisdictions that do recognize PH masons have a few racist that remain.. and I also suspect that there are probably quite a few racist in the PH organizations as well. Racism comes in all sizes, shapes and colors just like people do.

    I would also say that some of the comments in this thread verge on the border of being disrespectful towards the GL of Louisiana. I trust that the brethren who participate in this thread will continue to choose their words carefully.

    The Grand Lodge of Louisiana has full fraternal relations with all 50 Grand Jurisdictions in the United States and also with our ultimate mother lodge the UGLE. The GL of Louisiana will, in 2012, celebrate 200 years of masonry and I think whether or not you agree or disagree with the way we do things in the Grand Lodge of Louisiana it deserves your utmost respect.
     
  3. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Rich.

    I can't recall any GL outside the US putting racism into their constitutions. So the situation has never arisen, so far as I know, except in the case of US GLs.

    Well, obviously I'll agree with you that racism is abhorrent to masonic principles. However, it is obviously possible for a group of men who happen to be of the same race (let's suppose for a moment that that's just a coincidence, or that they live in a place where pretty much everyone is the same race) to practice regular masonry together. But it is not possible for a group to practice regular masonry at all without a VSL, nor if the group includes women or atheists. In that sense, therefore, these other issues are more fundamental to masonry than race.

    Nonsense. There are other ways of expressing disapproval than pulling recognition. In UGLE our disapproval of racism has always been unmistakeable, both by our racially-integrated example and by what we have said. Most other non-US GLs have done the same as we have.

    If we outside the US had behaved the way you seem to want us to have behaved, we would probably never have recognised any US GL at all until the last few decades. And bear in mind that, in that case, the US would have counted as "vacant territory" for regular masonry, so UGLE and the other non-US GLs would all have been free to go around setting up their own Lodges in the US for a couple of centuries ... and we would have done so. But heck, no, we thought Americans wanted independence after that fuss you kicked up in 1776, so we withdrew and agreed to accept the US GLs as independent jurisdictions. But by accepting the US GLs as ever being legitimate at all, we automatically put up with them being racist jurisdictions, because they were racist from the moment they were erected - remember that PHA was created precisely because the brand new GLoMA were racists who wouldn't admit African Lodge in Boston - and of course the racists who set up GLoMA were the same Lodges who kicked off your War of Independence by organising that Tea Party in Boston. So in terms of its effect on masonry, the American War of Independence might just as well have been called the "War for the Right to Practice Racism in Masonry". Obviously in the real world there were a lot of other issues involved, but those other issues weren't relevant to masonry.

    So I don't see why you persist in trying to shift the blame for racism in American masonry to us outside the US. You did it yourselves, and you've got to fix it yourselves, it's not our fault. You wanted independence, you got independence, and independence meant racism. So what are you saying here, Rich? Are you saying that we should never have recognised GLoTX in the past, until you abolished overt racism from your rules not so very long ago? Or since GLoTX is still very largely white, are you still asking us to withdraw recognition from GLoTX even now, until you have a more demonstrably non-racist mix of members? I'd rather we didn't do that, I'd rather remain in amity with the many good Brethren in Texas and the other States, regardless of the fact that there are also racists in the same jurisdictions ... and therefore I'm glad that my GL chose to express disapproval through all these decades by diplomatic means rather than by pulling recognition.

    It can be done, yes, of course in theory we could have pulled recognition of GLoTX and all of the other (many!) US jurisdictions which used to have racist rules. Have you thought through the consequences if we'd done that? It's often an unfortunate necessity in the real world to make uncomfortable compromises, and masonry is not immune to such compromises or it'd be nearly impossible to recognise any other GL anywhere, there's always some disagreement about something. I agree that we made a larger moral compromise in the case of the US than any other in masonic history, in order to have anyone at all in the US to recognise. We haven't done the same elsewhere, and it wasn't a comfortable compromise to make and to stick to for two centuries, but racism used to be so deeply ingrained in American culture that non-racist masonry simply wasn't going to happen until recently. What would you have done in our position?

    Of course we were aware of what they were doing, and of course we knew it was a violation of masonic principles. They always knew we didn't like it, but they didn't care, and obviously some US GLs still don't care what "outsiders" think. But remember that we're not just talking about a couple of aberrant GLs in the South, we're talking about what used to be the agreed and determined position of almost every US GL. If we hadn't put up with things we didn't like, we'd pretty nearly have had to take the position "there is no masonry at all in the US". Is that really what you'd have wanted us to do? Surely that would have been absurd.

    Yes. And that's always been a problem caused by US GLs and US Brethren, and has always been a problem which can only be fixed by US GLs and US Brethren dealing with it. So long as all the US GLs stood together in defence of blatant racism, no progress was possible. Quit blaming those of us who don't even live there!

    So tell me, Rich: which GLs do you want de-recognised? There's a classic "elephant in the room" problem here: no-one is naming names. Which specific Grand Masters are you accusing of being covert racists, which specific GLs do you believe are racist? You're right there in the US, you're much closer to the situation than people like me over here.

    From where I'm sitting, it's hard for me to be sure what the difference may be between your own GLoTX and some of your neighbouring GLs. You've abolished the explicitly racist rules, but so have they. You've "recognised" your local PHA, but only in a very limited sense which doesn't include visiting and the other privileges of normal recognition, and you haven't recognised the rest of PHA at all, so really your compact with PHAoTX doesn't make much difference. So if you want us to pull recognition from some of your neighbours, don't you think we should pull recognition from you as well? Are you telling me that you yourself are actually a member of an irregular organisation which is only masquerading as a regular GL? Should I stop calling you "Brother", then? Or if GLoTX is fundamentally different from some other GLs which remain racist, then I'm glad to hear it, but please explain how outsiders are supposed to be able to tell which is which.

    You quote MLK as saying ...
    Perhaps it's sometimes so, especially when you're the one doing the jail time whilst your sympathisers in the chattering classes at the other end of the country are enjoying another fine dinner party with all their oh-so-well-meaning friends who've never seen the wrong end of the Man's baseball bat. But even so, note that Rev. King was talking about feelings of frustration, not suggesting that people of ill will were actually preferable to people of good will.

    Does it occur to you that I might find it rather frustrating that you seem to be exhibiting a "shallow understanding" of the complexities of international masonic relations and the difficult position of overseas GLs? These things cut both ways.

    Really? I'm getting the impression that you don't know who your friends are, give no credit for centuries of diplomatic effort, blame everyone outside the US for not miraculously fixing your problems for you, and are only interested in the sort of support which would have involved permanently splitting the Craft instead of working towards healing and reconciliation.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
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  4. Traveling Man

    Traveling Man Premium Member

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    Hello Bryan,

    Can you explain on what grounds that your Grand Lodge deems Prince Hall Masonry to be irregular? Is it by LA definitions that the statement is supported?

    While this subject is quite a "hot button issue" I don't think your Grand Lodge is being attacked. The issue does however needs a rather gentle approach in this discussion. As I have traveled all over the world our recognition of PHA, or lack of it is viewed as a rather strange anomaly and a throw back in time that needs to be dealt with.

    Sincerely & Fraternally

    Traveling Man
     
  5. Bryan

    Bryan Registered User

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  6. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Bryan.

    As I've pointed out in my debate with Rich elsewhere in this thread, I agree that there can be respectable masonic reasons for not welcoming PHA recognition, as was the case in Ontario for a while.

    However, in what sense do you not believe PH to be regular? The American doctrine of exclusive territorial jurisdiction, as set out in the GLoLA rule-book, is not a legitimate argument because that doctrine has never been a fundamental principle of masonry and indeed is merely an innovation for the purpose of defining anyone you don't like within your territory as automatically irregular. Thus relying on that would amount to saying "I believe them to be irregular because we have arbitrarily declared them to be irregular", which is a circular argument, not a reason at all.

    I do agree that it's legitimately possible to argue against the regularity of origin of PH (and indeed that was the problem UGLE had with PH for a long time) ... but the trouble with that argument is that by modern standards of regularity of origin, a lot of the State GLs are also pretty questionable. If you go for a strict origin argument, you might even find that you'll have to de-recognise yourself. Perhaps there was something especially irregular about the formation of PHAoLA in particular, which might make them a different case from most others, in which case I'd like to hear about it ... but so far as I'm aware, they were founded in a fairly ordinary way by Lodges chartered from PHAoOH.

    If you're aware of anything irregular in the operation of PHAoLA, then that'd be a strong argument - but what irregularity might that be? Are they working without a VSL? Are they admitting atheists or women? Are they permitting partisan religion or politics within the Lodge? Are they deviating from the Landmarks in any other identifiable way? So far as we've been able to find out from over here, PHA practice is very similar to what State GL masons do, and indeed UGLE eventually concluded that current PH practice appears to be "of exemplary regularity".

    Perhaps, being there on the spot, you've found out something which the rest of us ought to know. But in that case, please tell us.

    Sure. There are hundreds of irregular jurisdictions all over the world. In fact, you have nine (!) other jurisdictions in Louisiana alone, in addition to yourselves and PHAoLA. But in most cases, it's clear what the objection is, and readily justifiable. The difference about PHA is that it's not nearly so obvious that there's a justification for withholding recognition.

    Agreed. Of course that's bound to be true.

    However, the presence of a few people with private prejudices is not at all the same thing as a whole GL behaving in a systematically racist manner. I can't show that any GL anywhere is doing that ... but there are some obvious cases where it's understandable to wonder about it.

    Well, yes, I agree that people ought to behave decently and politely. But so should GLs. If someone has some reason for suspecting misbehaviour by a GL, it'd be unacceptable for the GL to hide behind protocols of respectfulness to prevent a complaint from being brought. I agree that this forum isn't the place for formal complaints procedures ... but is it your position that if someone knew that GLoLA had done something wrong, then he should conceal what he knew?

    For the avoidance of doubt, I've no knowledge of anything improper by GLoLA, I'm merely discussing the principle.

    "Ye shall know them by their fruits" (Matt. 7:16).

    T & F,

    Huw
     
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  7. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Bryan.

    I was already writing my previous post when you posted your latest, so I didn't see it until afterwards.

    I've already pointed out why that can't be a reason for considering them irregular (although of course it can be a reason for considering them unrecognisable). However ...

    Aha! Now that's an objection I can understand a lot better, breach of Landmarks is the essence of irregularity. Can you enlighten us about the way in which PHAoLA fails to conform?

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  8. Bryan

    Bryan Registered User

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    I would invite you to direct this question to MW: Bro. Roy Tuck, PGM and Grand Secretary or to MW: Bro. Woody D. Bilyeu, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana as they are much more informed on this subject than I.

    To be fair I can only speak as to what I know.

    I wonder sometimes.. if the Grand Lodge of Louisiana extended recognition to PH of Louisiana if it would silence the critics when the PH of Louisiana rejects the extended recognition. Recognition is a two way street and to this point neither GL of La nor PH GL of LA have to my knowledge made any attempts at seeking mutual recognition and fraternal relations.

    I would also ask.. why is it that the PH GL of Louisiana does not want to be recognized by the GL of LA? Could it be that they are racist? After all that seems to be the main factor that everyone agrees on as to the reason that we don't recognize them? All I'm saying is.. why is it that the same questions being asked of the GL of LA aren't being asked of the PH GL of LA?

    I haven't seen any resolutions posted on here or anywhere else for that matter that were submitted at the PH Gl of LA to seek fraternal relations with the GL of LA. It seems to me that even though the above resolution was a failed attempt.. it seems that the only attempt so far.. is on the GL of La's side.

    By the way.. I like the way you argue your points! I would hate to know I had to debate you. :001_smile: A lot of people just simply go on the attack with no sound reasoning.
     
  9. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Bryan.

    If Bros. Roy or Woody come on here, I can talk to them. I can't contact them directly, because protocol would require communications via my own GSec.

    But protocol would require the newer GL to apply to the older for recognition. However, you could get around that by publicly asking PHAoLA if they'd like to apply.

    It'd be an interesting experiment, I agree.

    Certainly it works both ways. If PHAoLA members were here on this forum, then I'd hope that they'd join this thread and say their piece. However, I've not noticed anyone on this forum or any other forum who identifies himself as PHAoLA. No doubt the PHAoLA members do hang out online somewhere, but I don't know where. If I knew one, I'd ask one, since I'd like to hear what they'd say.

    Fair point. We don't hear so much news from the PHA, I'm often not sure what's happening there.

    In general, the PHA seems rather quiet on the Web, a lot of their GLs don't even have websites and I've only met a small number of PHA members online. I wonder if maybe some of the PHGLs have a policy like the State GLoAR, banning members from using the web for any discussion of masonry at all? Or maybe there's just more of a habit of secretiveness in PHA.

    :2::laugh:

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  10. Bryan

    Bryan Registered User

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    This is good respectful debate and does not debase the dignity of any ones grand jurisdiction. Very good points!
     
  11. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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    The horse is dead and the legs have fallen off the table. If you feel that any particular part/any one of the numerous tangents needs to be illuminated further, feel free start a new thread.

    Closed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010
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