Tuesday, December 04, 2012

GM of Florida Expels Wiccans, Gnostics and Others

In a surprising and unprecedented move, the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons of the State of Florida, Jorge L. Aladro has effectively expelled from the Craft all Pagans, Wiccans, Gnostics, Agnostics and members of other non-Christian or pre-Christian religious belief systems. In his Ruling and Decision No. 3, dated November 26, 2012, the Grand Master issued an ultimatum to any member of the aforementioned groups: Resign from the Craft, or face trial and expulsion from Florida Freemasonry.

To read the Grand Master’s ruling and decision, click here.

55 comments:

GohfR said...

Am I the only one who is confused by the lack of confluence between the support for the argument and the conclusion? I actually do hope that I'm the only one reading too much into the MWGM's signature which I believe is signed with two crosses at the bottom, thus, possibly, making him an impartial judge of this subject. Respectfully, I disagree with the decision, and the repeated decision by several GL's not to recognize our PHA affiliated Brothers. It seems that the GL of FL risks less recognition than do, the "offending" groups. Too bad considering the growth of wonderful Brothers who have come to our Fraternities from rich and varied traditions.

Omar Flores, PM
Michigan

Lee Love said...

So, when visiting a Florida Lodge, they will unmasonically inquire of your religion? There is something highly questionable about these actions by the GM of Florida.

Mark Slayton said...

As a Pagan Mason, this issue hits close to home for me. But it also has me curious as to what his stance on other polytheistic faiths (such as Hinduism or Shinto) would be. I've sent an e-mail asking as much; we'll see if I hear anything back.

Mark Slayton
Iowa

Frederic L. Milliken said...

More Masonic Purging Flordia Style

http://www.freemasoninformation.com/2012/12/more-masonic-purging-florida-style/

Frederic L. Milliken
MWPHGLTX

Frank Kautz said...

One of the suspended brothers in question wrote about his experience here:

http://www.freemasoninformation.com/2012/12/more-masonic-purging-florida-style/

If this is truly what happened, I am deeply concerned. Our Fraternity has always been based on the fact that we do not question an individual brother's beliefs, as long as he can honestly say that he believes in one Deity. I would hope that the Grand Master would reconsider this particular action.

Fraternally,

Frank

Frank Kautz said...

I should add, that whether or not we realize it, we probably all know brethren that are not followers of one of the mainstream religions.

Fraternally,

Frank

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

That's an extremely poor example of an official decision. As WBro. Flores points out, his conclusion doesn't proceed from his argument. Indeed, and with all due respect to MW Aladro, I see no cogent argument supporting his decision at all.

One wonders what the point of this exercise really is, and why he would have promulgated a decision so opposed to 300 years of Masonic tradition.

Thomas Johnson said...

One of the major challenges of American Masonic Leadership is the ability to maintain the primarily Judeo-Christian heritage of our American Freemasonry in a country where all the world's major religions, and some minor ones, are allowed to be practiced. The Masonic Leader must have knowledge, wisdom, courage, good old fashioned wit and cunning (the kind a mother has) and most importantly, TOLERANCE. In India, we find many Hindu and Sikh Masonic brethren wearing their traditional religious head-dress in Lodge.

While visiting the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Japan, I personally observed a copy of the Holy Bible, Koran, Vedas, and Torah, all on the altar at the same time during a Lodge meeting! Wow, it would seem Brother Rudyard Kipling was mixing some truth with his fiction.-smile-

Pagans, Wiccans, Gnostics, and Others may approach the American Masonic Lodge Altar only on the condition they keep their personal opinions to themselves and follow the established ritual/protocol of the jurisdiction during Lodge. There can absolutely be no deviation from this fact. Any Wiccan, Gnostic, Pagan, or Others who has a problem with this fact bars himself from Freemasonry, and in this case, the mandate of the Florida Grand Master would be entirely justified. Masonic leaders must always remember to teach their candidates that Freemasonry is set up to change them, not the other way around. -smile-

Bro. Tom Johnson, P.E.C.
Ivanhoe Commandery#4, WA.

P,E.A.C.E. said...

Seems very unmasonic to me. He seems to be biased and violating ones right or entitlement for his privilege. Perhaps civil suits coming down the pipeline. L.V.Whitfield PM New York P.E.A.C.E.

Wayfaring Man said...

Mackey's Landmarks are hardly ancient, as they were written in 1858. The Florida "Landmarks" cited in the ruling appear to correspond with Mackey's Landmarks 19 & 20, and these depart sharply from the Old Charges.

Unknown said...

I agree that it is absolutely vital that a Mason have and profess a belief in a Supreme Being to whom all men are accountable. But it is just as vital that the name a Mason uses to refer to God and the manner of the Mason's worship of Him is a matter of the individual Mason's personal conscience, and none of Masonry's business. It is not for Masonry or any member of it to pass judgment on the validity or lack thereof of an individual Mason's or candidate's personal faith. Once Masonry starts passing judgment on the validity of individual religions, we set a precedent that will open a "Pandora's Box" of issues that will tear Masonry asunder. Wars have been and continue to be fought over such issues, and Masonry has always been and should always be the place where men of different faiths can meet and have fellowship without religious rancor.

We seem to have a rash lately of Masonic heads letting the fact that they are the ultimate Masonic authority in their juris diction overpower their judgment to the extent that their personal opinions and prejudices become Masonic law in their own minds, whether or not actual Masonic Law supports those opinions. We must find a way to guard ourselves against this, because it apparently did not occur to the brothers who passed Masonry down to us that there would ever be a danger of this happening. When you come to a position of power and then allow your personal opinions to supplant the rule of law, you become in effect a dictator. Dictatorial use/abuse of authority is not and should not be the hallmark of a Masonic leader at any level. Masonic leaders should strive to be living examples of Masonic principles, and certainly Grand Masters should strive to be paragons of Masonry. It's becoming apparent that even our fraternity is unfortunately not immune to the axiom that power corrupts, and absolute power absolutely corrupts.

Perhaps a national appellate board made up of past grand masters charged by the separate Grand Lodges have the authority and responsibility to overrule individual Grand Masters' edicts/decisions when appealed on a case-by-case basis might be a good idea. The only individual entity wise enough to be a single final authority answerable to no other is God.

Tom Lewis PM

Wayfaring Man said...

@ Thomas Johnson

"Pagans, Wiccans, Gnostics, and Others may approach the American Masonic Lodge Altar only on the condition they keep their personal opinions to themselves and follow the established ritual/protocol of the jurisdiction during Lodge. There can absolutely be no deviation from this fact. Any Wiccan, Gnostic, Pagan, or Others who has a problem with this fact bars himself from Freemasonry..."

Presumably your statement would apply to overtly Christian brethren as well, in the event they cannot keep their opinions to themselves?

John Mongiovi said...

Gnostics meet all the requirements of Masonic membership listed in the GM’s Ruling.

Gnostics believe in God. Gnostic dualism is not the opposite of monotheism; it refers instead to the notion that the Deity as utterly transcendent of and separate from the physical universe.

Gnostics believe in the immortality of the soul. In fact, early Gnosticism played a key role in integrating this belief into Christian doctrine. The goal of Gnostic striving is the reintegration of the human soul into its native realm of Light.

Gnostics use the Volume of Sacred Law in studies, prayers, teachings, and liturgy. In addition to Old and New Testament scriptures, Gnostics also recognize texts that were not adopted as part of the canon of Rome (such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi codices).

Gnostics obey moral law. Gnostic morality is generally to avoid contamination by the world. The ideal of universal Brotherhood also resonates deeply with Gnostics, based in the belief that there is an immortal “divine spark” in the soul of every being. Freemasonry’s concept of Fraternity originates in this Greek then Gnostic belief.

Gnosticism has a long and deeply intertwined history with Freemasonry. In 1118, when the first Templars took an oath under the Patriarch of Constantinople, Grand Master Hughes De Payens was said to have received from Theoclet the apostolic succession of Saint John. Thus, from the very beginning of the Templar Order, the Apostolic lineage of kabalistic Gnosticism (“Johannite” Christianity) was vested in its chiefs. Saint John is considered the Father of the Gnostics.

Jules Doinel, founder of the French Gnostic Church, was a Freemason of the Grand Oriënt de France. The Gnostic Church has long been referred to as the “Church of the Initiated” because it welcomed Masons and initiates of other secret orders to attend Mass and receive the sacraments at a time when other Catholic and Protestant Churches officially condemned Freemasons.

Reynolds said...

Pagans, Wiccans, Gnostics, and Others may approach the American Masonic Lodge Altar only on the condition they keep their personal opinions to themselves and follow the established ritual/protocol of the jurisdiction during Lodge.

The same is true, Brother, for Christians, Muslims, and Jews.

Ben said...

Brother Johnson,
Pagans, Wiccans, and Gnostics would have no problem adhering to the rituals and protocols. There are many Pagans, Wiccans, Gnostics, etc., involved in Masonry. None of these people would have any qualms about the teachings in the Bible, nor would they have any feelings of prejudice towards Christian brethren and they would keep their beliefs to themselves as much as any Christian member would do the same. I wonder what will be the reaction of other grand lodges... perhaps Florida will become unrecognized in many jurisdictions?
Ben Sorensen
St. John's No. 1, NC

Eric C. Friedman said...

Freemasonry in every jurisdiction has been governed by Codes & Digest written with deliberate broad strokes and generalities. Although the religious requirements of Florida are a bit more specific than others I've seen, key phrases of the "Landmarks" & Laws cited by MW Bro. Aladro are open - and SHOULD be open - to a lot of interpretation.

"(a) A belief in the existence of one ever living and true God.
"(b) A belief in the immortality of the human soul and a resurrection thereof to a Future Life."
[The requirement for the VSL open upon the lodge's altar, I don't really understand as applying here]

Even the reference to "Divine Revelation" as accepted in Masonry (which I've had to explain to curious Brethren regarding the 3 Movable Jewels of American ritual) is not at all a fixed idea.

So what this comes down to is one Grand Master taking his own personal interpretations of these phrases and judging the religion of others according to his own specifics rather than the Masonic generalities that are so necessary to provide an environment "whereby Masonry becomes the Center of Union, and the Means of conciliating true Friendship among Persons that must have remain'd at a perpetual Distance".

Eric C. Friedman said...

One other point; last night I found the following in the Florida Digest of Masonic Law (Ch 33 - Petitions for the Degrees and Proceedings Thereof). Now, I'm not a Florida Mason, but the Talmudist in me knows a glaring inconsistency when I see one:

"33.11 The Lodge is the judge of eligibility of a petitioner for the Degrees and of an applicant for affiliation, and the Secretary of the Lodge shall accept for presentation to the Lodge each, every and all properly completed petitions for the Degrees, and each, every and all properly completed applications for affiliation without regard to the Secretary's opinion as to eligibility of the petitioner or applicant."

In simpler terms, ONLY the individual lodge has the authority to judge the eligibility of a petitioner for the degrees, not the Grand Master. Even if the Secretary of the lodge has cause to doubt the eligibility of the petitioner, it is NOT his decision, and he must present the petition to the lodge for action. That means that NO officer of the lodge can interfere with, undermine, or overturn the regular action of the lodge. All the more so, NO officer from OUTSIDE the lodge has any right or power to interfere.

However, if they want to try & bring Charges against a Mason for religious reasons, that's another issue. The really troubling part of the Grand Master's ruling is the empirical statement that the outcome of the Trial Commission is pre-ordained. That's REALLY wrong.

Florida Digest Of Masonic Law: Ch 33 - Petitions for the Degrees and Proceedings Thereof

Terraqueo said...

I firmly believe that our MWGM message constituted in itself a violation of the Masonic Law. If the beliefs present in any religion promotes the well being of the subject, and emulates brotherly love and charity to all humanity, what is the difference between the vehicle that delivers such altruism? Does the stage in which the wood presents itself; as a raw tree or as two beams in the cross; indicates the hardness of the material or the character of the faith? To present such document, is to diminish the Floridian Freemason reputation among the world craft. A further elaboration is needed in this matter.

May the Great Architect of the Universe bless you all.

Fraternally,

Igor Thorstensen Orlando Lodge #69

Jim Goltz said...

My prediction is that nothing will happen to the GM of Florida or his jurisdiction. Quite the contrary -- I think we'll see other jurisdictions (probably also in the South) make similar pronouncements, in an attempt to placate fundamentalist and evangelical Christians and to move Masonry toward the perceived mainstream.

Frederic L. Milliken said...

Wayfaring Man said...
@ Thomas Johnson

"Pagans, Wiccans, Gnostics, and Others may approach the American Masonic Lodge Altar only on the condition they keep their personal opinions to themselves and follow the established ritual/protocol of the jurisdiction during Lodge. There can absolutely be no deviation from this fact. Any Wiccan, Gnostic, Pagan, or Others who has a problem with this fact bars himself from Freemasonry..."

Presumably your statement would apply to overtly Christian brethren as well, in the event they cannot keep their opinions to themselves?

December 04, 2012 11:18 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So does that go for the big mouth of the Grand Master?

Frederic L Milliken
MWPHGLTX

Mark Koltko-Rivera said...

@Thomas Johnson:
With all respect due to a fellow brother in the Craft, you are incorrect from the very first sentence of what you wrote.

When we celebrate American Masonic heritage, we make it a point to celebrate George Washington and Benjamin Franklin--Deists both, not what would be recognized as Christian in 2012. There is thus no Christian-centric Masonic heritage to celebrate in America.

Rather, what we should be celebrating in America is the Masonic tradition of religious tolerance, which long predates the foundation of the United States.

Mark Koltko-Rivera said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Accuosti said...

One of the major challenges of American Masonic Leadership is the ability to maintain the primarily Judeo-Christian heritage of our American Freemasonry in a country where all the world's major religions, and some minor ones, are allowed to be practiced.


Considering that those old "Founding Father" guys that we love to trot out to impress people professed to be Deists, I'm wondering just what you think we have to preserve.

Wayfaring Man said...

Bros. Mark and Tom,

Well said!

BoxerOld said...

As a Florida Mason I must hang my head in shame at this kind of ruling from our Grand Master. I respectfully disagree with its entire content and intent.

To me this kind of thinking goes against everything that this fraternity means to me. For various reasons I waited all my adult life to join, and when I did several years ago my two grown sons were raised with me. I could not be more proud of that day and the fact that this fraternity turned out everything I wanted and hoped it would be.

Now, unfortunately I have to re-think if I personally want to stay as a mason. I know many good men who want to be better men, and not I nor anyone else should judge them based on our personal likes or dislikes. Especially if they profess their personal beliefs and they meet: Article XIII – LANDMARKS AND CERTAIN LAWS OF FREEMASONRY.

Fraternally,

RJD

12-7-12

Will Linden said...

Brother Kipling would not be pleased.

Robert Shealtiel said...

Dear RJD,

The current GM has six months to go. Hang on until then. Like mutations, rogue GMs appear on occasion in various jurisdictions. We will survive this one too.

Frederic L. Milliken said...

2 Down, 19,998 to go: FL Grand Master Quantifies the Purge

http://www.freemasoninformation.com/2012/12/2-down-19998-to-go-fl-grand-master-quantifies-the-purge/

Frederic L. Milliken
MWPHGLTX

Greg said...

I am still disgusted by both the ruling of this Grand Master and by the utter lack of knowledge of American Masons about our own origins.

The Craft is not exclusively Judeo-Christian. Period.

Brethren in certain jurisdictions can try all they want to turn the Craft into an extension of their church - but such brethren only delude themselves and bring shame upon the Craft. (Bro. Johnson's comments appear to be of this school.) If any Brother in any Lodge to which I belong made such a statement in Lodge, I would file Masonic charges. If you want to only associate with Christian Masons, fine. Keep it in the Commandery where you are free to commemorate your "interpretation" of the Templars.
The great Masonic writers to whom we turn for education and guidance (Wilmshurst, Pike, Mackey, Newton, etc.) would be shocked to see such an edict, then would be waiting for the punchline. Sadly, the joke is on the Craft in Florida.

We seem to forget: the Grand Lodges exist for the purposes of administration. The Craft lives and breathes in the Lodges.

I am going on 26 years as a Master Mason. I have sat as an officer in Europe and in the US. I have seen my share of asinine edicts. This one, however, violates the very core of the Craft and seeks to disenfranchise worthy Brethren based on a determination this GM is woefully unqualified to make: what great effort of research or study has he conducted to make these claims? Is he a theologian? An expert in Masonic jurisprudence? A renown author, writing on Masonic history and philosophy?

Being elected to the Grand East does not equate to being declared an Adept. I have seen GM's who can't even open or close a Lodge, whose knowledge of Masonic history and philosophy would not fully occupy a discussion during a morning coffee break, or that view the ritual as just some old-fashioned words that are an impediment in getting men into the Shrine. Men whose egos take center stage and whose minds are corrupted by the vainglory and hubris that results when the unworthy are thrust center stage and surrounded by sycophants. Bureaucrats in gold-trimmed aprons. Men whose legacies will pass either unremembered into history or will leave a residual stench of infamy.
(continued)

Chris Hodapp said...

(continued from first post)
I have also known GM's that are models of Masonic virtue, distinguished men with brilliant minds in possession of a ravenous desire for wisdom and learning; men who stand in humble awe of the great responsibility placed on their shoulders and who have never forgotten the true dignity of being a Mason first and foremost. These men would be respected and welcomed in any sanctuary of the Mysteries, regardless of the period in history. True Masons, true laborers in the quarries. The embodiment of Solomon. Brilliant lights whose term of office brings Light and Knowledge to their Brethren and whose legacies are worthy of being enshrined in marble and praised across the ages.

The standard is whether or not the Candidate believes in a Supreme Being. A binary question, requiring a Yes or No answer. The actions of this GM is beyond foul and just another example of why we must guard the West Gate and we must stop pandering to those who condemn us, consider us to be "spooky", or in any other way try to insert themselves into our business. This GM's decision is no different than if he decreed only registered Republicans could be members.

Is the AASR still allowed in FL? Why? Its rituals are rife with paganism, gnosticism, and other beliefs not in keeping with what appears to be a Fundamentalist view of what faiths are acceptable. If this GM is a member, he had better resign immediately.

But there is hope, Brethren. The Craft has survived the Inquisition, the Morgan Affair, the Death Camps, Stalin, Franco, and other petty tyrants - I am sure the Craft will survive this one as well. There is an old prayer: "May G-d grant those to whom he has given a little power the wisdom to use it."

If you must condemn another's faith, then yours is weak.

WB R. Gregory Starr
Colorado

QuarryWorker said...

The true Mason is not creed-bound. He realizes with the divine illumination of his lodge that as a Mason his religion must be universal: Christ, Buddha or Mohammed, the name means little, for he recognizes only the light and not the bearer. He worships at every shrine, bows before every altar, whether in temple, mosque or cathedral, realizing with his truer understanding the oneness of all spiritual truth. All true Masons know that they only are heathen who, having great ideals, do not live up to them. They know that all religions are but one story told in divers ways for peoples whose ideals differ but whose great purpose is in harmony with Masonic ideals. North, east, south and west stretch the diversities of human thought, and while the ideals of man apparently differ, when all is said and the crystallization of form with its false concepts is swept away, one basic truth remains: all existing things are Temple Builders, laboring for a single end. No true Mason can be narrow, for his Lodge is the divine expression of all broadness. There is no place for little minds in a great work.”

― Manly P. Hall

AK said...

Ironically, GM Jorge Aladro is from Cuba - a completely secular state and no particular friend to any religious establishment (yes recently the Pope has visited, but this is a new relationship the state has built). Furthermore, it's silly to list the five religions he has singled out...this is far from exhaustive. This was a hasty decision on his part. As many of you have rightfully pointed out, what about Deists? Through personal correspondence with the GM within the last few months, I know that he values American History, but am guessing he does not know of these patriots' Deistic beliefs. Lastly, I also know that he has a personal interest in Cuba's Masonic heroes (Marti, Gomez, etc). Marti, for one, had a very rich interpretation of God which one could argue borrowed from other-than-Christian schools of thought. I think that Grand Lodges around the world should revoke their recognition of the GL of FL until this injustice is undone. All Brothers present should be writing their Grand Lodge and sharing their sentiments.

Robert Shealtiel said...

I agree with AK that other masonic jurisdictions should suspend recognition of the Florida GL until this edict is revoked. I am a Florida mason and I'm so disgusted. I am even a perpetual member. I feel betrayed. I'm angry and wish I could affiliate elsewhere now and dimit from Florida. It would be great if the United GL of England were to suspend us. What a statement that would make! Maybe it would wake up GM Aladro to the great harm he has inflicted on his own fraternity.

E C Ballard ஃ said...

Es una vergüenza para nosotros que tenemos fuertes relaciones con Cuba. He is a big embarrassment for those of us with close ties to Cuba.

He is however affording one of the best arguments I've heard coming from within Mainstream Masonry in favor of Liberal Adogmatic masonry. Interestingly, Bro. Corey remarked that he actually seems to have recommended that he check out the so-called dreaded "irregular" masonry. The melt down gets more interesting.

gotham77 said...

If this happened in my own jurisdiction, I would demit the same day.

Dave

Garden City Lodge, Newtonville
Mt. Lebanon Lodge, Boston
Boston University Lodge, Boston
Boston-Lafayette Lodge of Perfection, Scottish Rite Valley of Boston

gotham77 said...

I'm sorry for multiple posts, but the more I think about this the more it upsets me.

What is the next step? Will he declare that gays violate "the moral law" and expel them, too? As with the wording of this edict, he could deny them any kind of defense because that clause of "the moral law" would allow him to hide behind the Ancient Charges. Perhaps he'll make a similar edict about anybody who votes Democrat, declaring that Democrats' pro-choice platform violated "the moral law?" Likewise, could we see a sitting Grand Master make a similar edict about anybody who votes Republican, because of equally-subjective opinions about their party platform? Will he declare that the Jews violate "moral law" because he believes they rejected God's savior for them?

We're on the slippery slope already. The only question is if we go down it.

Dave

Garden City Lodge, Newtonville, MA
Mt. Lebanon Lodge, Boston, MA
Boston University Lodge, Boston, MA
Boston-Lafayette Lodge of Perfection, Scottish Rite Valley of Boston

Robert Shealtiel said...

From the point-of-view of a Florida Mason:
Will we have to ask visitors from other jurisdictions what religion they follow? If Pagans are disqualified from being masons in this jurisdiction, then it follows that we can't have them sitting in our lodges even if they're from other jurisdictions, doesn't it? Oh, and then if we visit a lodge in another jurisdiction we will have to know the religion of everyone sitting in that lodge and if there are any Pagans we'd have to withdraw.

Just wondering where all this leads to....

scott said...

In the state of Utah the Grand Lodge did not allow Mormons to be Masons until 1984. Funny that in this state that had a predominately L.D.S. population this was allowed to happen. People make mistakes. It's usually individuals that are wrong in their actions not an organization. This GM should be called to the carpet by the brothers in his juristiction.

ReluctantChickenFarmer said...

Personally, I would DEMAND the trial and let the Grand Master try and explain to me why my version of the GAOTU is not good enough.

Kevin Whary, PM
NJ

Matt Parthasarthy said...

I am also curious what the GL's stance is on polytheistic faiths. However, to set the record straight, and contrary to Western popular opinion, Hinduism fundamentally is a monotheistic faith.

Mark Koltko-Rivera said...

(Chris, please pardon the cross-blog reference.)

On my blog, I present a Resolution to revoke Ruling and Decision No. 3 (link below). If you are a Florida Mason, please read this; if you _know_ a Florida Mason, please pass the link along.

Time is short to show support for this Resolution; potential co-signers must put their signature in mail from the Post Office by noon Monday.

Let's stand up and do something productive about this.

http://themasonicblog.blogspot.com/2012/12/resolution-to-revoke-floridas-ruling.html

jamming said...

I'm a member of the FL GL and don't get it on our petition and supplemental all we ask is if u believe in an ever living and true God. We don't ask what ur religion is and ur not required to tell us. So I don't know how he would figure out who these people are. It's rediculous

Robert G said...

Something no one has mentioned: R&D3 is an ex post facto (or retroactive) law. These brothers have already been admitted to the fraternity. In the United States, the Congress and states are prohibited from passing ex post facto laws by Article 1, Sections 9 and 10 of the Constitution, presumably due to the inherent egregious injustice of such laws.

Frank Kautz said...

Bro. Robert,

While I agree with you regarding the nature of such laws (which never seem to apply to taxes, mind you), the Grand Lodge of Florida and the Grand Master thereof, not being Congress, are not bound by this Constitutional restriction. I mention this because too many people believe that if it is in the Constitution we have to abide by it. Much of what is in the Constitution only prohibits the government from doing things, individuals and/or other groups can pretty much ignore it when they choose to do so. For example, Bro. Hodapp has graciously allowed us to post here. However, do not mistake that for Freedom of speech. Bro. Hodapp can censor any post he wishes, up to and including deleting said post and banning the author from ever posting again. Bro. Hodapp can do this because he is not bound by the First Amendment's freedom of speech, only the government is so bound.

Once again, I only mention this because too many people get caught up in what they *think* are their rights, without actually *knowing* what their rights are. We voluntarily joined this organization, therefore we accept what it dishes out if we wish to remain members.

Fraternally,

Frank

Robert G said...

Bro. Frank, of course you are right. I only wrote the post about ex post facto laws to point out the underlying injustice embedded in the GM's edict.

DarksomeKnight said...

Dearest Brother;
I have only been made aware of the dreaded “Decision 3” by the Florida Grand Lodge just this week. I am a follower of Wicca, which as you know is a Neo-Pagan religion that was targeted specifically in this horrible edict. I have been a proud freemason for 13 years now, and I have seen a steady decline in philosophical ethics for a few years now. Although I am not a Florida freemason, I fear this is the first shot in yet another Christian war that will herald a literal witch hunt within the hallowed walls of freemasonry. I fear that this hateful edict will spread to other Grand Lodges and jurisdictions and have admonished myself to demit from The Craft immediately. I spoke with the Grand Secretary of the GL within my state that is just as appalled as I and assured me this would not happen he whilst he yet drew breath.
But that is not enough.
I have seen a pro-Christian anti-pagan egregore developing with The Craft for some time now. I believe it started around the time George W. took office with his pseudo-Christian rhetoric that even they themselves now recognize as false. I bore witness to the “white-washing” of the treasured Scottish Rite degrees sanitizing most if not all of its mystical contents to accommodate the beliefs of the fundamentalists who were among our ranks. Teachings, lessons and ritual which have stood the test of time for hundreds of years now are like watching Sunday school worship. All the “mystery” and wonder have been surgically removed, so-to-speak. I have long felt the hostility of Christianity but never thought in my wildest dreams that my beliefs would be so assaulted within such hallowed ground. I therefore have made the decision to demit from my lodge and from all of freemasonry, never to return. I plan on getting my dad out too, whose entire first degree monitorial and “secret” lecture were both delivered by me, his proud son. The decision made by this Grand Master in Florida redefines everything I have come to understand as reprehensible. And I fear that the tendrils of fear and ignorance will undoubtedly spread to other GL jurisdictions. The “Burning Times” are upon us yet again, albeit philosophically speaking.
I am done with appeasing the ignorant few. In the spirit of “who can most work and most agree” other masons will stand idly by and let this happen so as not to cause waves. They are accomplices in this crime against liberty and free-thought.
Evil only wins when good men do nothing.
I applaud your decision to leave when you did, and although as I have stated this ruling does not affect me in my state it is still sounding a trumpet for yet another Christian Crusade, of which I will have no part nor can I bear to witness. It perplexes me when the “True Christian” wonders with earnest “why does everybody hate us so?” in their feeble attempts to define the backlash of secular wrath so rampant in today’s society.
They never were really good at looking in the mirror.

phoenixmason said...

Most Worshipful Grand Master:

With all due personal and Masonic respect, in the spirit of Masonic “due and timely notice,” I feel compelled to address your Ruling and Decision No. 3, of 2012. While your ruling is unique to the Florida Jurisdiction, it has stirred a major controversy; adverse to the peace and harmony amongst regular Freemasons, beyond your Jurisdiction.

As a particular case in point, it was thoroughly, passionately and constructively discussed at my most recent Lodge meeting. It is also currently scheduled to be discussed in at least one other Lodge in the Seattle area, which I’m aware of. None present at my Lodge’s most recent meeting indicated any magnitude of agreement with your position, as expressed in your Ruling and Decision No. 3. However, one of the points of the discussion was whether or not it was appropriate to advocate that the Washington Grand Lodge remove its recognition of the Florida Grand Lodge.

In the spirit of Freemasonry, and in hope of contributing to the healing of any controversy surrounding your Ruling and Decision No. 3, I respectfully request that you seriously consider the following viewpoints:

1.Your ruling clearly cites the “Landmarks” submitted by Dr. Albert Mackey; which, in their entirety, did not actively serve Freemasonry when they were written. Nor have these “Landmarks” been at all widely accepted, to any appreciable degree, by Freemasons as the basis for Masonic Jurisprudence; unique Masonic Code coincidence excepted.

2.If “Mackey’s Landmarks” (25) are to be the basis for strict modern Masonic jurisprudence, it is academic that they must be considered in their entirety. Such would be unacceptable, just by virtue of their assertion that any Grandmaster is entitled to make “Masons at site.”

3.If followed, “Mackey’s Landmarks” – and your Ruling and Decision No. 3 - regarding religion, would by extension, imply the necessary exclusion of those, amongst others, of the Jewish faith; while accepting those of the Islamic following – with a predictable accompanying furor, however irrational such may be. Certainly, the expense and monetary consequences of potential civil litigation need to be considered; add the predictable PR damage to the Masonic fraternity.

4.If continued, your Ruling and Decision No. 3 is clearly and logically destined to force a ‘comparative review’ of the Christian religion, in general; with potentially damaging viewpoints and associated consequences – to ultimately be associated with not only “Freemasonry,” but your personal legacy as a Grandmaster. Just within the confines of Freemasonry, any such exchanges are overwhelmingly unconscionable, particularly having been instigated by a Masonic Grandmaster, inadvertently or otherwise.

5.Additionally, your Ruling and Decision No. 3 sends the clearly implied message that the Masonic doors and Lodge rooms are open to liars; while punishing members of integrity and honesty. Worse, fearing an unpredictable ‘purge, a significant percentage of members of any Florida Lodge would find it instantly compelling to resort to dishonesty; as the easiest resolution to a clearly distasteful ruling – with a consequent and enduring distrust of the Florida Grand Lodge, per se.

6.I would also encourage you to consider the potential for your Ruling and Decision No. 3 also being locally viewed and noted as a personal violation of the Florida Jurisdiction’s Master Masons’ Obligation, prohibiting any act which would wrong either a Lodge or an individual Master Mason; regardless of whether or not Masonic charges are asserted.

Accordingly, in the interest of Masonic peace and harmony, I implore you to withdraw your Ruling and Decision No. 3.

Fraternally and Respectfully,
Ralph W. Omholt P.M.

Jason Cowart said...

As of today, May 28 2013 the Craft at the 184 Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Florida voted to repeal this ruling and decision

Jason Cowart said...

As of today, May 28 2013 the Craft at the 184 Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Florida voted to repeal this ruling and decision

Jason Cowart said...

As of today, May 28 2013 the Craft at the 184 Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Florida voted to repeal this ruling and decision

Jason Cowart said...

I did not sign my post
W Jason C Cowart
Barnett 187
Jacksonville Fl

Robert G said...

R&D3 was revoked today by Vote of the Craft at the Florida Grand Lodge.

Joel Rivera said...

this was overturned yesterday.

S.G Singh said...

...and what of the Brethren who were turned out? Were they readmitted with PROFUSE apologies from the GL & GM of Florida?

M.T. Jones
Alabama

Devyn Christopher Gillette said...

I am new to Freemasonry. As of this date, I'm still a candidate to a lodge in Ontario, expecting that I'll be earning my EA this autumn.

But I am not new to the Pagan spiritual community. For the last 30 or so years, I've served that community, and its appreciation of Spirit, in many ways and through many venues.

I'd like to share with you gentlemen that the bulk of responses to this post bring me a great deal of reassurance and joy. Out of respect for Masonic landmarks and heritage, I've been somewhat apprehensive as to whether or not a fellow like myself would be completely welcomed among my-soon-to-be-brothers in my own pursuit of Light.

As was once quoted in a wonderful film, I may be "a heathen, conceivably, but not, I hope, an unenlightened one," and it means a great deal to me that the voice of tolerance, shared appreciation of the many faces of the Divine, and ecumenicism that exists in the fraternity is spoken and heard.

I wish I had pursued Brotherhood with you and yours long sooner. On behald of myself and others like me, thank you, gentlemen, for standing up for these principles, and for being the outstanding people that you are. I will remember your voices when I take my own obligations soon, and have no doubt that I will, for the rest of my life, endeavor to be of good service to my soon-to-be lodge and the good men that I find there, of any denomination our course toward loving the Architect and His/Her/Its works.