NPR Radio: Tennessee Freemasons Oust Married Gay Couple

Discussion in 'Masonic Blogs' started by My Freemasonry, Feb 25, 2016.

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    I had the distinct honor to speak at the Conference of Grand Masters of North America yesterday in Madison, Wisconsin. It was a great opportunity to connect with so many grand line officers and friends old and new from around the country and the world, and especially to reconnect with those I have met over the years when visiting their own jurisdictions.

    Today while changing planes, I received a Google alert in my email box pointing me to a story that appeared this morning on the website of the local Memphis, Tennessee NPR station, WKNO about the recent expulsion of two gay Brethren in that town from the fraternity. (For the earlier background on the story, see the link here.) I am quoted briefly in the story, and I agreed to speak with them last week before I left for Madison.

    Read or listen to it here.: WKNO: "Tennessee Freemasons Oust Married Gay Couple, Threaten Supporters with Suspension"

    I spoke to the assembled Grand Masters during their business session, and in my remarks, I said the following:

    Just 10 years ago, no one would have even contemplated the Masonic complications of gay marriage, and suddenly, seemingly overnight, it’s the law of the land, and new, young Masons are shocked when they discover a few jurisdictions have rules discriminating against gay members. Our entire society has changed just that fast, in the blink of an eye, and we have to deal with it. Because if we are counting on these new men to join, become active, and save our fraternity from oblivion, we can’t just dismiss the issues THEY find to be vitally important as being trivial, or even worse, none of their business. We tell them, often right there on our webpages, that we teach tolerance. We can’t go back on that promise.
    We can no longer hide episodes we may find embarrassing anymore. No matter how tempting it might be, we cannot stop online discussions of our actions. Social media is too important in everyone’s life now. If something happens in just one isolated lodge or grand lodge, or even in a clandestine lodge, such as the recent arrest of several men masquerading as a Masonic police force in California, literally the rest of the world sees the story online or even on their phones the very next day, and brands the entire fraternity with it. That’s the dark side of the age in which we live now.

    I have already said my peace on this story in previous entries. It is not my intention to question the authority of any sovereign Masonic jurisdiction to make rules that suit their members. But several Grand Masters of American grand lodges spoke with me privately at the Conference and told me that already, because of the actions of the Grand Lodges of Tennessee and Georgia, their own members have been publicly protested against, and even dis-invited from public events like cornerstone ceremonies. And I can tell all of you, there are mutterings among some grand lodge bodies about seriously considering recognition issues. You can tell us Yankees - as several emails have referred to me tonight - to butt out of your state's business. But this issue goes beyond your own borders, and just like the racial issues in Georgia that arose several years ago hitting the New York Times, it will only get bigger.

    That affects all of us.

    I strongly urge the Brethren in Tennessee and Georgia to consider carefully how you proceed from here. What happens in Memphis or Atlanta puts all Freemasons, worldwide, in the spotlight. Fortunately, Brethren in Kentucky back in 2010 voted against proposed legislation in their Grand Lodge that would have banned gay members. At least in Tennessee next month, Masons have the opportunity to remove the existing discriminatory wording from their code. Unfortunately, the situation in Georgia can't be righted so quickly.

    Petitioners who are investigated, voted on, initiated, passed, and raised in a local lodge are just and upright Masons. No one stops you from refusing to sit in your lodge with a visitor you find objectionable, if that is your choice. But I continue to say that the sexual orientation of a Brother is none of our business, and I guarantee you have long been sitting in lodge next to gay Masons, probably since the night of your initiation.

    Each individual Mason has his own, private religious beliefs, and we all vary from one another in some way or interpretation - some more than others. That's why the very design of our fraternity is such a perfect blueprint for bringing together men in a world full of different faiths and political beliefs. But we cross a very dangerous line when we actually write our personal religious and political views into our Grand Lodge regulation books.

    I simply caution that the rest of the Masonic world is carefully watching what you do with deep concern.

    Continue reading...
     
    dfreybur likes this.
  2. tldubb

    tldubb Premium Member

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    I agree, it is nobody's business who you share your bed with or who you love...smdh!
     
    dfreybur likes this.
  3. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    Except that, many jurisdictions limit carnal intercourse with varying members of a Master Masons family (the other degrees apparently not being accorded this kindness). I've seen Freemasons in two different jurisdictions disciplined for adultery with a Master Mason's wife.
     
    Ressam likes this.
  4. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Well, this "leader in the craft" hopes NO jurisdictions have rules discriminating against guy members.. I've already said my piece on this here . If anyone has a FB page or contacts for the Bros concerned, I'd love their contacts.
     
  5. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Discussion on this is also here
     
  6. tldubb

    tldubb Premium Member

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    Yes, most even mine. But the question is not family members of brethren, but relationships between people of the same sex. In particular a married gay couple. Which is none of anybody's business who another persons sleeps with...mvho
     
  7. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    But if it is nobody's business who one sleeps with, then it is nobody's business if it is a brother's family. Either we're snooping, or we're not.
     
    Ressam likes this.
  8. Manderthal

    Manderthal Registered User

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    I don't think it's about snooping at all. It's about offending a Brother.
    Having sex with a Brother's family member is off limits. Period.
    This issue is about a Brother having gay sex with a (presumed) stranger.
    Personally I don't care... unless it's with another Brother's family member. That makes it a violation.
     
  9. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    So, we intrude into the bedroom if it is a family member only? That's still intrusion. The argument was that we don't belong in bedrooms and clearly we think we do belong.

    The laws of these GLs as I understand them are not based upon it being a stranger. To the contrary. The trial ruling on TN used the marital status as evidence of a violation.

    A hypothetical: what do we do about carnal intercourse with a Master Mason's husband by another Mason? The obs with which I am familiar reference a wife, not a spouse. We now allow same sex adultery but not hetero adultery? That is not far fetched. We had married Brothers in my jurisdiction (one resigned to join a clandestine lodge when he was not elected to the east). I had to deal with another situation in which a brother was jilted by another brother, and the jiltee actually had to be barred from the lodge due to his jealous behavior.
     
    Ressam likes this.
  10. Manderthal

    Manderthal Registered User

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    "... or any member of his home."
    Again, try to get past intrusion and into the mindset of offense. We don't offend a Brother by having relations with his family members. That makes certain people off limits. One of the things a brother should always trust is that his family is safe from violation with another brother.
    I'd like to date your wife/daughter but I won't because she's your family. If a man doesn't have the respect to know that on his own at least his obligation teaches him that.
     
  11. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    But the argument was that we don't intrude into the bedroom. Full stop. Clearly we do. I'm not saying the limitation isn't justified. That wasn't the argument.

    Actually, I'm unaware of any jurisdiction which would forbid a Master Mason dating my daughter.
     
    Ressam likes this.
  12. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

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    Yeah exactly. People are looking at this wrong. The OB is talking about unwanted sex, except the wife. The gay thing is about morals. Do i care if someone is gay?....No, i have a few gay friends. If i joined a lodge amd there was a gay brother Id have to be ok with it. However our teachings talk of being an upright man and mason to S***** our P*******. To me being gay is immorral....obviously the TN GL also felt that way. Do i think it warrents expulsion? Not my call.
     
  13. Manderthal

    Manderthal Registered User

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    That surprises me because clearly my oath prevents it "illegally", which I assume means without your permission.
    I'm reluctant to say more since this is not tyled.
     
  14. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    In UT it is "illicit" carnal intercourse with certain named family members.
    In many English rituals we "respect the honour (sometimes rendered chastity)" of certain named members.
     
    Ressam likes this.
  15. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    Depends on the jurisdiction. Utah bars illicit carnal intercourse, which includes adultery. We have a PGM who is suspended for this reason. There is a prominent Scottish Mason suspended for this reason.
     
    Ressam likes this.
  16. tldubb

    tldubb Premium Member

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    How does the O&Ob of MM have to do with two men sleeping in the same bed. I will never violate the chastity of a brothers female family members or male. Especially Males considering I'm a raging lesbian..lol

    So, I don't care who anyone shares there bed with(as long as it does not violate the O&Ob I took as a MM). Keep out women beaters and child porn/abusers!...So, a man marries another man, what does that have to do with me? Only God can judge!

    So please stop trying to compare what the O&Ob of a MM with two men having sex, sleeping in the same bed..smdh
     
  17. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    Why do you feel that it is immoral? Doesn't the idea that being gay is immoral come from religion? Is it proper to use the rules of your specific religion to govern Freemasonry?
     
  18. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    The morality of gay marriage is subjective, based on personal views and ones own brand of belief-system. Making it the business of the lodge (or Grand Lodge) is akin to saying only married men can be Masons, or only bachelors can be Masons, or only men married to women from Masonic families can be Masons...
    My Ob specifically stated "illicit carnal intercourse," and even if it had included brother, son, and father, consensual sex with anyone in said family would not be "illicit" in any of my jurisdictions.*
    *Barring legalities such as age or marital status (which could still happened in a mutually polyamorous relationship).
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
  19. The Undertaker

    The Undertaker Premium Member

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    Brother JC makes the subject very clear, succint. Pointwithinacircle2 hits the mark as well, as does Bro. TL Wilson. We either LEAD or we FOLLOW; I think Freemasonry is, by far, stronger than a fracture over this matter. When in tyled lodges, we are equal, are we not?
     
    Brother JC and tldubb like this.
  20. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

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    Exactly why i said to me being gay is immoral.that is my belief. as BRO TLDUBB states the obligation has nothing to do with this. its about a moral standpoint. Would i vote to expel a gay brother strictly based on him being gay,,,,absolutley not. However I dont think you can be an upright man and mason if you are gay. Being gay doesnt make you a bad person. The rules of the GL say you cant be gay....end of story
     

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