There's a dust-up going on over at the Burning Taper – again. It seems that blog owner Widow's Son posted a political endorsement of Dr. Ron Paul's presidential candidacy, which turned into a somewhat bewildering flurry of negative reactions from brother Masons. In the midst of all of the caterwaul, the sentiment seemed to be that such a blatant political statement had no place on a blog site that featured the square and compasses of Freemasonry on its masthead. In fact, any association with politics and the symbols of the fraternity are considered by some of the posters to be un-Masonic.
Masonic rules about politics are usually pretty uniform from one jurisdiction to the next. While a lodge meeting is open, no talking about religion and politics. Once the gavel falls, however, there is generally nothing to hinder the discussion among brothers of the issues of the day, over the festive board, over cards or while cleaning up the kitchen. Grand Lodges have rules, generally, that prevent Masons from using the square and compasses as part of their business or political advertising. But what of a Mason's car that sports a Masonic license plate and a political bumper sticker next to it? Does that imply an official Masonic endorsement of the candidate, or just that Mason's opinion?
Likewise, are Masons supposed to slip off their rings, belt buckles, watches and pins before having a political discussion, lest any non-Mason in the room think he's "speaking for Masonry?"
What about Masonic lodges that are used as polling places? What about lodge buildings that allow politicians to speak from their stages? And what of our Brother George Washington, who had the temerity to appear in public - as president mind you - togged up in all of his Masonic kit at a blatantly political event like the cornerstone ceremony for the Capitol? Was Wbro. Elisha Cullen Dick napping through the ceremony and to be posthumously castigated for not hauling George up on charges? Or are some of our modern brethren just looking for things to fret about when the fraternity faces far greater challenges than this non-issue?
Brother Widow's Son plainly states on his blog site that
This website is the personal site of a Master Mason. It is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or paid for by any particular lodge, grand lodge or other Masonic organization, nor do the opinions expressed on this site reflect the opinions of any Masonic organization.
I doubt anyone believes he's representing the site as anything but his own opinion.
Sorry, but until Brother Widow's Son starts hauling homeless winos to the polls in the Masonic Home bus or buying jello shots for the OES ladies who agree to pull the handle for "the right candidate", I don't think the fraternity is in any danger from him being Ron Paul's Sancho Panza.
And while we're at it, what of this item from the 1904 elections?