Monday, December 17, 2007

Politics and Freemasons


Get that guy up on charges!

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?

15 comments:

Michael said...

Then again, when Past Grand Master and current President Harry Truman appeared at the Imperial Council session of the Shrine in Chicago in 1949, he was asked why he didn't wear a fez. "I appeared here as the President of the United States, not a Shriner," he said.

Masonic history is a lot of fun, isn't it?

Chris Hodapp said...

Truman.
33° Mason.
33rd president.
COINCIDENCE?!

Michael said...

Definitions of "Coincidence": (1) A miracle where God chooses to remain anonymous. (2) A state of affairs that gives lunatics a reason to exist.

Scott from resurrexion.com said...

Thank you Bro. Hodapp for injecting some common sense into this situation - it is quite saddening to see the repeated flame wars over at the burning taper, especially for a Fellowcraft like myself making his way through the degrees. Where is the Masonic brotherly love and charity I've heard so much about? I've certainly experienced it in my own Lodge, but we are not painting a good picture of ourselves for any prospective member who happens to come across this while searching for information.

-Scott
resurrexion.com

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Scott said...

^^^ I suppose I could if I tried harder... I do see your point but is there anything wrong with being proud of something I work hard on and spend my free time doing? Now that I think of it, "anonymous", dude, could you be any less obvious?

-Scott
resurrexion.com

Chris Hodapp said...

Scott,
Snarky anonymous comment gone.
Don't care for cowans around these parts.

Widow's Son said...

Bro. Scott,

You're right. The repeated eruptions between Masonic factions in the comments section of the Burning Taper don't paint a pretty picture of Masonry... but it does reflect Masonry as it is today.

We all as men have opinions, some strongly held. How we express ourselves, politely or like monkeys, is up to each of us.

I like to post articles that arouse interest, thought and passion... and then sit back to observe how people -- mostly Masons -- respond. Are they gentlemanly or savage? Honorable or crude? Erudite or banal? Masonic or profane?


— W.S.

Tom Accuosti said...

Sorry, but until Brother Widow's Son starts hauling homeless winos to the polls

Right. It's not like he's from Chicago.


The repeated eruptions between Masonic factions in the comments section of the Burning Taper don't paint a pretty picture of Masonry... but it does reflect Masonry as it is today.

WS, I think it would be more correct to say instead that it reflects some Masons as they are today. Which, IMO, probably ain't much different than they were a century ago; it's just that teh intertubez allows them to be more vocal about it.

Royce Myers said...

Bro Chris
Sorry, but until Brother Widow's Son starts hauling homeless winos to the polls

Bro Tom
Right. It's not like he's from Chicago.


Excuse me? In Chicago the homeless winos are not forced to go to the polls -- they are considerately left alone and their votes conveniently made for them, by proxy.

Scott Arnold said...

Thank you Bro. Hodapp for deleting that comment; if I was in the wrong in any way you have my sincere apologies.

Bro. WS,

I agree with you completely - all men are opinionated and when people get passionate about something, disagreements are bound to occur. What a boring life this would be in the absence of passion!

That being said, there is a way to politely disagree without resulting to ad hominem character attacks and outright defamation like what has been pointed in your direction. I for one thoroughly enjoy your blog.

Bro. Accuosti,
Everyone's a lot more bold behind a keyboard, that's for sure!

-Scott

Tom Accuosti said...

In Chicago the homeless winos are not forced to go to the polls -- they are considerately left alone and their votes conveniently made for them, by proxy.

I stand corrected.

Chris Hodapp said...

Michelle Obama will be speaking today at the Mount Pleasant Masonic Lodge in Iowa about her husband's campaign.

Just in case anybody wanted to start something again.

Widow's Son said...

Bro. Chris,

I didn't see anything in the news about Mrs. Obama's speech at the Masonic lodge in Iowa. Any updates?

— W.S.

Chris Hodapp said...

Some things just aren't news.