Sunday, July 26, 2009

Grand Master of Kentucky Issues Edict on Race

Over the last couple of months with the controversy over Gate City Lodge No. 2 in Atlanta going on, many of us in the Masonic community have lamented the lack of a strong statement concerning the position of the Grand Lodge of Georgia on the subject of race. Interestingly, just such a statement was recently made by MWBro. Herman M. Forrester, Grand Master of Kentucky F&AM in June. I have had several brethren send me messages to that effect, but until today had not seen the actual text. GM Forrester didn't just send it to lodges for the benefit of those attending meetings. It has been published in the GL of Kentucky's magazine, the August 2009 issue of The Masonic Home Journal so there's little chance of any Kentucky brethren claiming they never heard it.

Any grand lodge groping for how to word such a pronouncement need only look to the Grand Master of Kentucky's strong leadership for guidance.

EDICT ISSUED BY GRAND MASTER
The following Edict has been issued by Grand Master, Herman M. Forrester;

EDICT
HERMAN M. FORRESTER, GRANDMASTER
June 23, 2009

To all constituent lodges under the Constitution of theGrand Lodge of Kentucky, Free & Accepted Masons:

Whereas Freemasonry is universal in scope, and professes to be a Brotherhood of man under the Fatherhood of God, and;

Whereas the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, Free & Accepted Masons is a full member of this worldwide Brotherhood, and;

Whereas our Ancient and Honorable Fraternity welcomes to its doors and admits to its privileges worthy men of all faiths, creeds and of every racewho believe in a Supreme Being, as stated in our Degrees and lectures, and;

Whereas there is no reference to the exclusion of any petitioner with regard to race, creed, and/or faith in any of the accepted Rituals and/or Monitors authorized for use within the constituent lodges chartered by the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, F.&A.M., and;

Whereas it is incumbent upon the Brotherhood to abide by the Laws, Rules, Regulations, and Edicts of the Grand Lodge of
Kentucky, F,&A.M. and be what they profess to be;

Therefore be it resolved:

That no negative reference is to bemade by any officer or member of any lodge chartered under the constitution of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, F.&A.M. in reference to a petitioner’s faith, creed or race at any time in the conferral of the Degrees—i.e. lectures, obligation, by proficiency lecturers, etc.—or during any lodge Communication.

Further, it is the responsibility of the Master of each lodge constituted under the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, F.&A.M. to insure strict compliance with this edict, and, further, have it read by the lodge Secretary at the following three Stated Communication of the lodge following its reception.

Any lodge found in violation of this edict will be subject to Masonic discipline accordingly.

Given under my hand, as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, F.&A.M., this 23 day of June, 2009.

Herman M. Forrester
Grand Master

Attest: Joseph R. Conway, P.G.M.
Grand Secretary

16 comments:

Michael said...

That is just excellent.

Terence said...

Congratulations to Kentucky on taking the lead on this issue and their progressive thinking. I can only hope that the Grand Lodge of South Dakota soon takes this type of action, as well.

saintscrewtape said...

Hopefully the GM of GA will issue a similarly forceful statement.

Jay Simser said...

Now if they would just recognize and exchange fraternal representation with their Prince Hall Brethren they could join the rest of us in this century.

The Plumbline said...

Agreed on Prince Hall recognition. Also, the edict should have used "ensure" rather than "insure." I hope we don't get into the insurance business!

Richard E Kauffman said...

Standing Ovation from northern Michigan.

Rolf said...

Great News, indeed! Anythingg new from the GLof GA, so far?

Scout32 said...

During the preparation and celebration of the 200th Anniversary of Vincennes Lodge, I had the opportunity to work and become acquainted with MWBro. Forrester. He is a very kind and thoughtful man with down to earth beliefs and values. Should the Grand Lodge of Kentucky choose to move on this issue, I can see Bro. Forrester backing it.

drapetomaniac said...

This should be an easy statement for any Grand Lodge to make without controversy.

The K.N.O. said...

This is great! I likewise hope the GL of GA issues a similar statement.

Widow's Son said...

That's a welcome statement from the GM of KY. One would hope that the GL of GA would follow suit, and soon. But I'm not holding my breath.

Whatever happened with the GL of KY's disfavor with the NY/KY dual member Bro. Martin who visited an "unrecognized" lodge overseas? Was the brother expelled by KY, did KY drop the issue, or did it all get swept under the rug? I haven't seen any follow-up on that in quite a while. Did I miss it?

Widow's Son
BurningTaper.com

Mark Koltko-Rivera said...

Wow. Just--wow.

May this be the beginning of a wave of such proclamations, throughout the Old South.

Jay Simser said...

I believe that Brother Martin was suspended for a year and has now been reinstated. He is back in the Afghanistan/Iraq area.

Justa Mason said...

Chris, I've seen a few Masons use virtually the same wording as the proclamation as the reason why Prince Hall shouldn't be recognised. Their logic is "We accept everyone, so another Grand Lodge isn't needed in our state."

Justa

The K.N.O. said...

It is certain that the GL of GA issuing a similar statement has never happened before. It had never happened before in dozens of other states where it has happened. More GLs have moved toward eliminating racism than have not. if GA does issue such a statement it will not be a rare occasion.

stoic said...

This is the appropriate moral choice and it represents the tenets of the Craft. The GM of the GL of KY should be commended. The real test will be if there is any actual enforcement of the edict and prosecutions for racist and bigoted behavior.