Thoughts on Fraternization

Discussion in 'Freemasons in the Military' started by WheatBarley, Aug 14, 2020.

  1. WheatBarley

    WheatBarley Registered User

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    I've seen the subject of fraternization among Masons who are in the military mentioned here a few times, and I wanted to give some input based on my own experiences.

    My background: Military officer (Air Force Captain), not a Mason (yet).

    I've been involved in several church ministries, either affiliated with the military, or off-base. In both cases, I've interacted with enlisted military members, some who work for me, and some who I only know through church.

    The general protocol I follow is this: when in a church setting, the uniforms come off (metaphorically). I call the enlisted personnel by their first names, and they call me by mine. Enlisted personnel who don't work for me are welcome to come to cook-outs at my house, etc. as long as they're a somewhat official event where everyone from the Bible study group/Sunday school/etc is invited.

    For enlisted personnel who work for me, I talk with them privately and express that it would be better for both of us if they don't come to events at my house, but that I'm happy to see them at church events either on church premises, or hosted by another member of the church/ministry/etc. We also set the expectation that we will keep appropriate professional distance while at work, and although neither of us will lie about belonging to the same church/Bible study/etc., we won't broadcast the fact. The main thing is to strenuously avoid any impression of favoritism while at work, and to avoid discussing any church business/events/gossip while we're both in uniform.

    Seems to me that if you replace the word "church" with "lodge", this policy would work well in a Masonic setting also. You could also replace "church" with "ultimate frisbee team", "chess club", or "PTA", and it would work equally well. I welcome your thoughts on the subject, fellow military forum members.
     
  2. TheThumbPuppy

    TheThumbPuppy Registered User

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    Army Captain here, on unlimited leave now, I served in my twenty's.

    I gather that you're leaning towards being cautious, but I thought this part was rather strict.

    "For enlisted personnel who work for me, I talk with them privately and express that it would be better for both of us if they don't come to events at my house"

    Within the context of a Lodge, I'm not sure whether you could/should do that. If I understand correctly, you would like to bar some brothers from an event at your place, for instance a barbecue, and I don't think you would be allowed to do that. In fact, I'm not sure you would want to bar any brothers from joining an event. It seems to go against what I think Freemasonry is all about. But I could be wrong.
     
  3. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    Noting that the AF was, in my time, more liberal on fraternization issues (and Marines most severe), it was my experience that in both church and lodge we used Brother Cook, not first names. We never had problems with being invited to a superior’s house.
     
  4. Matt L

    Matt L Site Benefactor

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    Spent many nights in Semper Fidelis Lodge and New River Lodge with Flag Officers to PFC's. Brother inside the Lodge, Brother outside the Lodge if not in Military Company. Sir or SSgt at work.
     
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  5. Thomas Stright

    Thomas Stright Premium Member

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    Marine back in the 80's here....
    All I'll say is I would not have been a fit for being a Mason back then.
    And those that were invited to a superior’s home were not the ones we hung out with.
     
  6. jermy Bell

    jermy Bell Registered User

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    I'm not sure where the original post is going ?
     
  7. WheatBarley

    WheatBarley Registered User

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    Well, I tried to be explicit about it when I said "I've seen the subject of fraternization among Masons who are in the military mentioned here a few times, and I wanted to give some input based on my own experiences."

    I'm not a Mason (though I hope to become one), but since I had seen fraternization discussed a few times, I wanted to share my take on how I deal with this as a military officer who interacts with enlisted members in a variety of non-work contexts. I'm not convinced I'm right, but this approach to fraternization has worked well for me over five years and three different assignments.
     
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