Proposed Racism Resolution

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

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  1. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Brethren,

    Here, as promised, is a proposal for a resolution to be considered at the 2010 Grand Communication. I couldn't find the original thread to add this to so I started a new one. Please review and give me any thoughts & suggestions you may have regarding it.

    TIA, Bill

    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 the following language be inserted in an appropriate location within Title V of the Laws of the Grand Lodge of Texas, A.F. & A.M.:

    "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.

    Any failure to abide by this resolution shall constitute a Masonic disciplinary violation."


    William A. (Bill) Lins
    PM- Wharton #621, El Campo #918
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2010
  2. Bigmel

    Bigmel Premium Member Premium Member

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    Very good Bro. Lins
     
  3. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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    that'll clear a few folks out...
     
  4. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    Brother Ebeling we agree on something here. I agree this Law and a majority of laws we have would not be needed if every member that had a dues card were a Mason at heart. Problem is there are some that are not.

    Being able to witness this act first hand I think it is needed to show our stand on this issue and distance ourself from liablility.

    It shocks me that the "elders" of Grand Lodge are scared of hosting Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts or any other organization because of liability but the liability of not having something like this on our books is crazy to me. This would eliminate any liability from any Law suit much like the one happening in GA right now. Why is it we protect ourselves on one issue but not another?

    Bill, I support this and I know many votes here that do as well.
     
  5. Jamesb

    Jamesb Registered User

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    You want to know what I find sad? The fact that this is necessary and having to be put to a vote.
     
  6. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    I agree with this 100%! If we loose a few members so be it, Id rather have a few less members a lot more Masons!
     
  7. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Agreed.

    BTW, I forgot the disclaimer in my original post, so here it is: "The above post is presented for constructive criticism ONLY and is in no way to be construed as "circularizing" as described in Art. 505 of the Laws of the Grand Lodge of Texas, A.F. & A.M."
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  8. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Excellent work Bro. Lins. Thank you!
     
  9. JEbeling

    JEbeling Guest

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    Well Blake you made my point... ! if someone doesn't see the problem or the fix in the same light as others .. ! just remove them.. ! now everyones happy little campers.. ?
     
  10. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Just because you choose to ignore the issue, doesn't mean others will. I'm thankful that Brothers such as Bill Lins are willing to tackle the issues instead of sitting on the sidelines complaining or pretending the issue doesn't exist.
     
  11. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    How do you "Just remove them" when our GL Law protects them when this happens. So we are to accept this? This behavior does not belong in this fraternity and we need something to prevent it. Do you know how many men of great quality we are missing out on because of the fact we don't have something like this? This is probably the hardest issue I have to explain when a well educated man is being investigated. This would eliminate doubt instead of having to let a guy know "Oh it does happen but that's not what we teach," when they ask if we have racism.

    I think with the internet age you are going to see people of all races, religions, and backgrounds look at Masonry. We need to be more proactive on issues like this not reactive. It troubles me that we have to have an issue to get a result. We will have to wait until a law suit in order for this to be recommended. Bad thing is there are already law suits happening and they are going after the tax-exemption statuses. But since it is not happening in Texas I say we put the blinders on and buy a bigger rug to sweep all of our problems under.
     
  12. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Not only does this cover race, but religious intolerance as well. Awesome! One thing I want to stress is that racism is not a widespread problem within Texas Masonic Lodges. As with any institution, there are a few bad apples. That being said, we need the tools necessary to combat this issue if/when it arises. I also believe that it's important to pass legislation such as this before extendingl masonic relations with our Prince Hall Brethren.

    Kudos again to you Bro. Lins! It's Brothers like you who inspire us "younger" guys to bring about change for the betterment of the Craft. Keep up the good fight!
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  13. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    That is a great point Blake. I want to apologize if I made it seem like every Lodge has this issue. Fact is a most do not and this is an individual act not a Masonic act.
     
  14. Casey

    Casey Mandalorian Premium Member

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    I strongly feel that you will find men of questionable character among EVERY race. I also strongly believe you will find good men, moral men, whom I would gladly take by the hand as a brother; among EVERY race.
     
  15. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Bill and all.

    I'm in UGLE rather than GLoTX, and I've never read your rulebook, but I'd like to comment on this from the perspective of the universally-accepted Landmarks of regularity.

    Of course I agree with your intentions, and I agree that you've made a good start on the wording, but I reckon it's not good enough yet. Your GL Jurisprudence Committee is likely to throw this resolution out as inadmissible. Let me try to explain why ...

    As it stands, this resolution could cause irregularity if any Brother ever lost his faith and became an atheist. To many atheists, their atheism is their "creed", and the law courts might conceivably sustain that interpretation. However, a regular GL must ask a Brother who becomes atheist to leave at once. So if he becomes an atheist, and you ask him to leave, he'd have a playable case to sue you for discrimination under this proposed rule. And if one atheist ever won reinstatement by court order, then the whole of GLoTX would instantly and automatically be an irregular jurisdiction, because no regular GL can contain atheists.

    It is also not the case that the religious requirement as agreed between regular GLs is merely belief in a Supreme Being: it is belief in a Supreme Being and His revealed will. The latter part is necessary in order that there is some VSL which applies to the Candidate for him to take his Obligations - if his religion doesn't have any sort of VSL, then he's not eligible because he can't be Obligated in due form (even if his faith does have a Supreme Being). Thus any actual scriptural religion is acceptable, but (for example) some of the vague and woolly 'New Age' beliefs are not. A petitioner who says "Er, like, hey dude, I believe there's some kinda Universal Spirit, yeah man, but I don't believe in any of that Bible or any of them other Books, like, loosen up, man, I jes' feel it all around me" is not eligible for regular freemasonry. And you do need to be able to check on this and say no if it appears necessary.

    Furthermore, and we once had a case of this in England (where we had to tell someone to go away): what are you going to do about Satanists? I'm religiously tolerant, but not so tolerant that I want a Satanist in my Lodge, and I expect you wouldn't want a Satanist in GLoTX either. Yet they believe in a Supreme Being (although they're against Him), and they even have their own Book! There's an additional unwritten condition (unwritten because the Brethren who agreed the principles probably didn't think of it!) that a petitioner must not only believe in a Supreme Being but also be on His side.

    So for various reasons, probably including some scenarios of which I haven't thought, you mustn't restrict members from having a certain amount of discretion to ask and if necessary act negatively about religion, to allow for some of the non-standard situations which can occasionally arise. I don't think there's a way to legislate for this in enough detail to take care of every weird possibility, so I reckon you've just got to leave it to the Brethren and trust them to act sensibly.

    Therefore I recommend that you shouldn't try to bolt on the much more complicated issue of religious discrimination. Instead, I suggest that you should delete all of the faith and creed references from this resolution, and just stick to the simpler issue of race discrimination (which I assume is actually the main point of what you're trying to achieve). That way it'll be much more difficult for anyone to think of a reason why it couldn't be admissible for debate, and it'll also cut down the number of excuses for voting against it.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  16. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    All good points to consider (although I seriously doubt a Satanist would attempt to darken our doors). Thank you for your input. Please understand that I am under no misconception that a law will change whatever is in a Brother's heart- all it can do is to let the Brother know that a bigoted attitude is not condoned by the majority of the Brethren. It won't keep one from blackballing another, but it probably will keep him from bragging about it & recruiting others to follow suit. SMIB.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2010
  17. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Bill.

    We doubted it too ... until it actually happened! Obviously we told the guy to go away. But since it happened to us a few years ago, it might one day happen to you, too.

    The point is that when you're writing rules, you've got to allow for what to do when something unexpected happens.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  18. dhouseholder

    dhouseholder Registered User

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    Philosophically speaking, they do not believe that in a Supreme Being, thus they cannot be made a Mason. Our requirements are thorough enough to keep out the more obvious rabble, we (the Craft) do the rest.



    But not to hijack a good thread, academically I disagree with an anti-racism resolution because we are Masons, we have many better requirements than the color of the skin. Practically, i agree with a resolution because it further codifies what we practice, thus reinforcing our righteous culture.
     
  19. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Does this mean that we won't have to let other "well intended" brethren steer folks to Prince Hall lodges. You know, the folks with recognition from the Grand Lodge of England much older than ours.

    Just asking ... and maybe a little praying as well.
     
  20. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    That's the plan.
     
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