Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Florida Overturns GM's Edict Re: Gnostics, Pagans and Wiccans

I'm back from a week in France. While I was gone, Florida's Grand Master Jorge L. Aladro's Edict expelling pagans, gnostics and Wiccans was overturned by Florida's Grand Lodge on May 28th, putting this episode behind everyone for now.


The passed resolution reverses the Ruling in its entirety, and concludes by affirming “that Florida Masonry hereby declares its eternal devotion to the religious toleration that is one of the immovable and Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry, never to be changed by any man or group of men.”

The Jurisprudence Committee had recommended rejection.

32 comments:

Jim Goltz said...

In December I commented on the original post that I did not think anything would happen and that the GM's edict would stand. I am very happy to be proven quite wrong, and I appear to have underestimated the sanity and reasonableness of Florida Masons.

gotham77 said...

I am very proud of my brethren in Florida for defending religious tolerance and having the courage to undo a mistake that did damage to our fraternity. A man's personal religious beliefs are a matter of his own conscience and should not be of any concern to the craft. Not only did the edict presume to question the beliefs of Masons that practice certain minority religions, it promised that they would be put on trial with a predetermined outcome...essentially declaring that the accusation is proof of guilt. This is not how Masons treat each other!

Dave Brown
Brighton, MA

Harry Bishop said...

Well done, Florida.

W.Bro. Harry Bishop

Kirk Bergeron said...

Is there anyway that I can get a copy of the document, seems I may or may not be going to trail soon for this very thing here in the State of Louisiana, so any help from my Florida bretheren would be greatly appreciated.

Bro. Kirk Bergeron
Patterson, LA

John Halter said...

Here is a link to the blog for Bro. Mark Koltko-Rivera who is a member of my lodge and is one of the authors of the resolution to revoke Ruling & Decision #3.
http://themasonicblog.blogspot.com/2012/12/resolution-to-revoke-floridas-ruling.html
Sadly, the vote to pass the resolution was very, very close. It was a hand vote and could have been called either way.

Robert G said...

You can find the resolution which was passed here at the author's website:

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

MP said...

This is what saddens me:
The Jurisprudence Committee had recommended rejection.

The people who are supposed to be the experts on Masonic Law recommended leaving R&D#3 in place.

This indicates they saw nothing wrong with that bigotry.

Thomas Johnson said...

As Freemasonry becomes more academic, scholarly, and philosophical, there seems to be a tendency to focus on the relevance of it's Ancient Landmarks in today's society and what direction Regular Freemasonry should pursue as a progressive science.

Partly due to misinformation, lack of education/experience, and the challenges of the present information age (for example, the Internet) some of our Masonic leadership is making a few bad decisions. I ask that the general Masonic membership continue to exercise charity, goodwill, and restraint towards the leadership while corrections are being made.

The topic of Christianity seems to be very popular these days among Masons and secular society. Some Masons (with great passion) claim Freemasonry is not a Christian organization, and they may be correct. Many men (who may be potential Masonic candidates) of secular society claim that America is soley a Christian nation. They may be incorrect.

Of interest to this topic is the following extract from a article I found in the March 2013 issue of the SQUARE magazine. It reads in part, "Before the union of the Ancient and Modern Constitutions in 1813, Freemasonry was predominantly Christian. For example, Lodges were opened'...in the name of G-d and holy Saint John'. Also, the Bible was accepted as true in every respect and Freemasonry was known to have derived from at least the period of King Solomon, if not the Creation. After the Union, the Duke of Sussex became the first Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge, and because he had strong Jewish interests and believed that Freemasonry should be open to all faiths, he authorised the removal of the Christian references from the ritual."



Devyn Christopher Gillette said...

Blessed Be.

Unknown said...

@Tom Jonson, The old Charges of 1723 tell us about Religion: "A Mason is oblig'd by his Tenure, to obey the moral Law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist nor an irreligious Libertine. But though in ancient Times Masons were charg'd in every Country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet 'tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is, to be good Men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguish'd; 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." So yes, of course the founders of our rituals were christian, and christendom was their frame of reference. However, the text of the old charges give us a hint, that they might have had a broader view.

Thomas Johnson said...

@Unknown, you made a good point. I sometimes wear the really cool Masonic T-Shirt designed by Bro. Andrew Horn of Mastersjewel.com which has a portion of the Ancient Charges you quoted printed on it. :)

Per Börjel said...

This is sad news to read. Religious tolerance is one thing. Accepting the occult is another. No good will come from this decision which will make it even more difficult for christian masons to get acceptance of their masonry amongst their fellow christians.

Less of a problem though for us scandinavians working in the Swedish Rite which still does not admit non-christians. The rite has not been changed since the early years of the 19th century which to me indicates that back then masonry was christian.

Per Börjel
Stockholm,Sweden

Devyn Christopher Gillette said...

The word "occult" properly means "hidden, only available to the initiate, pertaining to supernatural or divine phenomena." Broadly speaking, it could be argued that any mystic or initiatory spiritual path (certainly including Freemasonry) might arguably be understood as "occult." Consider also Opus Dei among our Catholic friends, or the study of the Kabalah among our Jewish friends.

Many contemporary Pagans are deists, hermeticists, gnostics, pantheists, henotheists, and more. Certainly, it could be understandably tiresome for many in the fraternity whose lives have been committed to monotheist interpretations of the Supreme Being when those embracing variant approaches toward the Divine find an interest in the fraternity... but doesn't Freemasonry also accept and embrace Hindu brethren (who are arguably not monotheistic) as well?

MP said...

No good will come from this decision which will make it even more difficult for christian masons to get acceptance of their masonry amongst their fellow christians.

Ah, something from the Swedish Rite - I was hoping to hear that.

I'll point that Anders Behring Breivik practiced the Swedish Rite.

As for getting acceptance of Masonry amongst their fellow Christians, the Christian groups which don't accept Masonry will never accept it, no matter what the Christian Masons do to distance themselves from the so-called occult.

As for Masonry being "Christian only" in the 19th century, that may be true in the Scandinavian countries, however, in the birthplace of Free and Accepted Masonry, Jews were being made Masons in the late 18th century ...

Thomas Johnson said...

@Borjel, thanks for your comment. I have respect for Sweden and admiration for your unique system of Christian Freemasonry. One or several bad members does not negate the Sacredness, Solemnity, or Beauty of your Rite. All long-standing Masonic jurisdictions around the world have had their fair share of bad/crazy members.

@Gillette, Culturally, America is one of the most Religious Nations in the world because most of the world's major and minor religious traditions are practiced here in some form. And the religious disagreements/arguments between the many Christian denominations can also be "tiresome." There are plenty of Hindu Masonic brethren and they are Arguably Monotheistic.
If you can, check out a copy of the book, "A Bridge to Light", by Dr. Rex R. Hutchens. Go to the General Index and look up Hindu. You will find much "Light" on the subject.

You are correct, Bro. MP. There are some Christian groups (mostly their Christian leadership is at fault) who will never accept Christian Masons or Freemasonry in general. Some of these groups/individuals are out right malevolent and malicious in their attitude towards the Craft and will only be satisfied if we no longer exist. Many years ago, a group of Prince Hall Masons asked me to defend the Masonic membership of one of their brothers
against a Christian anti-mason who had convinced their Masonic brother to remove the wearing of his Masonic ring in shame.

Me and the Christian anti-mason sat at a table facing each other with all the Masons and shamed brother present. The Christian anti-Mason used the Satanic Verses of Albert Pike argument against me. Big mistake, he lost. When I finished with him the shamed Masonic Prince Hall Brother was no longer ashamed of being a Freemason, and to the satisfaction of his Masonic brethren, he put his Masonic ring back on, with pride.

MP said...

Br. Johnson, it's one thing to praise how wonderful the Swedish Rite is for them ...

It's another to hold it up, as Br. Borjel, as the exemplar of how things should be, which he did by pointing out that those working the Swedish Rite will never have to worry about such a sad decision, as he put it:

This is sad news to read. Religious tolerance is one thing. Accepting the occult is another. No good will come from this decision which will make it even more difficult for christian masons to get acceptance of their masonry amongst their fellow christians.

It's disturbing to me and others of my faith that one of our Brother Masons thinks us being allowed to be Masons is sad, and then blames that decision for why Christian Masons will have a hard time getting acceptance amongst their fellow Christians.

At what point do we need to get their acceptance? When the Christian groups which oppose Freemasonry will resort to bearing false witness against us, and claim that any refutation we make to their claims is all part of the conspiracy (See DeHoyos' and Morris' Is it True What They Say About Freemasonry?

And then, those of us who aren't Christian get subjected to the same sort of arguments, only this time, from our well meaning Brethren ...

gotham77 said...

How ironic, to see a Freemason denouncing religions that he doesn't understand as "the occult." How many times have we heard this charge leveled against the craft from people who speak out of ignorance?

Don't worry, I promise that this Jew will never attempt to visit your lodge so you won't be forced to hide your disgust and pretend to "tolerate" me.

Dave
Brighton, MA

Per Börjel said...

@Devyn Yes "occult" means hidden and but refers to traditions that claim to have access to knowledge hidden to the rest of the world. But this does not apply to the craft as the masonic wisdom can be found in the holy scriptures and traditions of the all the main religions. What is hidden is the way we teach this wisdom.

@Dave I did not call all other religion occult. I did refer to pagans, wicca and gnostics. When our masonic fathers opened up masonry to non Christians(well not here in Sweden but we where anyhow a totally mono cultural society up to very recently so it did not make any difference) we can be quite sure that they had jews, muslims and other monotheists (including hindus as mentioned above)in mind and nothing else.

Devyn Christopher Gillette said...

@Per Borjel: While I won't even begin to claim that I'm an expert on Masonic history (especially among the fine folks here), and meaning no disresepct to your faith or convictions, I'll note that William Preston argued that some of the influential bedrock of the fraternity could be found from the (Pagan) ancient Druids. Also, American patriot Thomas Paine (as well as American historian Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan) have argued that Freemasonry has its share of roots in (Pagan) ancient Egypt. One might think those workers around Solomon's Temple learned their skills from somewhere. Just sayin.

MP said...

When our masonic fathers opened up masonry to non Christians(well not here in Sweden but we where anyhow a totally mono cultural society up to very recently so it did not make any difference) we can be quite sure that they had jews, muslims and other monotheists (including hindus as mentioned above)in mind and nothing else.

We can also be quite sure that many of those same men supported slavery, oppression of women, and other things which we now consider outrageous.

Devyn Christopher Gillette said...

@Thomas: Thank you for the reference; I'll look for it.

gotham77 said...

"And other monotheists." So just like the Grand Master of Florida, you are presuming to tell other people what they believe. You have declared that they are not monotheistic, and you're not willing to consider the possibility that you are wrong.

"We can be sure" what other people intended? So it's up to you to assume that only a select group of religions are acceptable and then exclude the rest based only on your assumption? Where is it written that only Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Hindus are acceptable religions?

We admit those who can answer affirmative to the question, "do you believe in the Supreme Being?" That is the extent of our religious requirements. It's not your place to set further requirements beyond that, and to tell others what they do and do not believe in.

You have demonstrated precisely what was wrong with the edict in the first place. But what's tragic is that you don't even realize it.

Dave
Brighton, MA

Robert G said...

The comments on this blog demonstrate the reason our landmarks prohibit discussion of religion. The former GM of Florida has done us all a major disservice by violating this prohibition. What a shame. We are all Brothers. Our personal religious beliefs are best respected by maintaining a respectful silence about them among ourselves.

Thomas Johnson said...

@ Robert G, you make a good point. But what you say applies more to a Lodge meeting. Outside of Lodge, there is no prohibition against Masonic brothers engaging in appropriate reasoned religious or political debate which they deem important to the future of the Craft if they choose to do so.

As Masons, we do hope all debates will be civil, respectful, and with the goal of helping a Masonic brother to see his other brother's point of view. Hopefully, this will be a learning process for all involved.

MP said...

Unfortunately, while we are having this discussion, over on facebook, whomever is responsible for maintaining the official FB page of the GL of Washington State ids making sweeping statements that declare the reason for requiring the Holy Bible on the altars, and calling it such, as opposed to VSL (which Massachusetts allows) is because "the United States is a Christian nation" ... Perhaps they should get a better educated official spokesman, one with greater appreciation for American history, and a better understanding of religious freedom in America?

Devyn Christopher Gillette said...

"Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by the difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be depreciated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society." - George Washington

Archangel said...

I believe that the moral and religious schizophrenia that lies at the heart of freemasonry will forever haunt the minds of those looking to preserve its future. Freemasonry was always a Christian organization; that does not give it any moral superiority (I am a gnostic Christian and am happy to study the wisdom of any belief system) but it should be remembered nevertheless that anyone disagreeing with Judeo/Christian mores is free to huddle elsewhere. 1813 the Duke of Sussex attempted to shift freemasonry's focus to a more Jewish outlook largely to appease his Jewish commercial interests. Judaism being a rather disjointed faith with a greater focus on family tradition rather than temple orthodoxy has wrongly conveyed the impression that freemasonry is pan-religious: it is not. The ban on religious discourse is not there to welcome other faiths but is the remnant of an effort to preserve freemasonry from the splintering that threatened freemasonry in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I am not prepared to support a ban on entering brethren of any background but it is they who must examine their own consciences as to whether it is appropriate for them to worship another God to theirs.

Rick Parkes
Forest Lodge UK

Robert G said...

Really? "Worship another God to theirs." Here's a quote from the United Grand Lodge of England's website: "Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations." Notice the word: non-religious. We don't worship any particular God in Freemasonry. We honor the deity as we understand it.

CityPlanner said...

It's ironic that pre-xpian Sweden was home to Odinism, a very enlightened and advanced understanding of human beings' relationship to each other, the universe and matters of spirituality. It's sad that his dogma has interfered with any chance of understanding the wisdom tradition, which is Freemasonry.

sheene Ellis said...

So can a pagan become a freemason I belive in God's and goddesses but I also believe in jesus of Nazareth would I be able to become a mason I believe in a supreme being I belive I'm many supreme brings

sheene Ellis said...

I belive in God's and goddesses spirits and demons I also believe in the bible and jesus of Nazareth can I become a freemason I was raised a Catholic but also belive in the ancient Egyptian and summerian flood story's I belive in osiris and set I am no set religion I identify myself as pagan because I believe in religion before the bible

sheene Ellis said...

Can I become a mason if this is my beliefs