Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Anti-Gay, Fornication Edict Upheld by GL in Georgia

Well, Georgia did it. The Grand Lodge of Georgia met yesterday and the voting members upheld Grand Master Douglas McDonald's edict outlawing homosexuality, and throwing in fornication for good measure. After several impassioned speeches on the floor against the measure, it passed with a very close vote that probably should have been counted individually, but wasn't. The Grand Lodge now officially looks into a Freemason's private bedroom.

Thank God I live in Indiana where don't have such things, and we sure don't allow Past Masters the right to vote in Grand Lodge.

For background on this issue, CLICK HERE.

66 comments:

  1. They just keep making it harder for the youth groups . Today's parents are VERY liberal on this subject and this will apear as a bigoted move to parents of perspective DeMolay and Rainbow Girls. Thanks Georgia , SMH

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    1. I thought bigotry was fear and hatred that usually manifests in closed minded geriatrics.

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    2. Well there goes a few hundred years of tradition out the window. Does the lidge also refuse to recognize Prince Hall Lodges I suspect.

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  2. Idiocy! is a good word for it.

    Tony - GA F&AM

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  3. It's OBVIOUSLY political retribution. Conservatives are furious about a certain Supreme Court ruling. They can't change the ruling, so instead they're going to punish innocent people for it.

    What an absolute disgrace.

    Dave Brown
    Garden City Lodge, Newtonville, MA
    Boston University Lodge, Boston, MA
    Mount Lebanon Lodge, Boston, MA

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  4. I'm not a lawyer, but it sure sounds like a suspension or expulsion under this edict (or even a strong suggestion that someone ought to request a demit because of their sexual orientation) would be actionable as a civil rights case under Lawrence v. Texas.

    What concerns me is the larger picture. If the enforcement of this edict in Georgia goes to law and is overturned, expect unintended consequences to ripple through all of the other 50 US grand lodges. Shoot, there are already unintended consequences regardless. Georgia has, by extension, just made us all look like homophobes. We really don't need that kind of bad publicity.

    By the way, Bro. Brown, it happens that I'm a conservative. But I also believe that the law is the law. So I'd appreciate it if you do not tar us all with the same brush.

    Nathan Brindle, PM, PTPM
    Indianapolis

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    1. Lawrence v. Texas involved the criminalization by the state government (not private individuals or associations) of the act of "sodomy." This is different than "sexual orientation."

      Theoretically, there's no constitutional ban on excluding homosexuals from membership in private organizations.

      Of course, the Boy Scouts is a perfect example of what happens as a practical matter to those groups that do. With the Boy Scouts, all it took was a threat to withdraw corporate donations and schools and churches as meeting places for the national organization to fold on the issue.

      That being said, we're probably one SCOTUS Justice away from there being a new "right to assocation regardless of sexual orientation" emanating from the Constitution. Some of the lower courts are already heading that way in cases forcing small business owners to do business with homosexuals (particularly photography and wedding cakes for homosexual weddings).

      Even if this were a battle that Freemasons wanted to wage, it's probably been lost on the legal front. And, as a practical matter, anyone who has been Freemason for a period of time either knows openly homosexual brothers or the confirmed bachelors in the lodge who have chosen to remain in the closet.

      The next issue that's coming is the admission of the transgendered. If a biological woman shows up to petition a lodge while asserting a belief she is a man trapped in a woman's body, what's the Blue Lodge (and the GL) going to do? The "transgender" movement is arguably a threat to Freemasonry as we know it because it will force the coed issue back on the table after prior unsuccessful attempts by feminists to make traditional lodges coed.

      Fraternally,

      -Mike

      Michael E. Young, J.D., LL.M.
      Attorney & Counselor at Law
      Law Office of Michael E. Young PLLC
      Internet Business Legal Help
      http://MikeYoungLaw.com

      DISLAIMER: This comment is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader of its content.


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  5. The more I hear, the more I am glad I resigned from Masculine Masonry and affiliated with a local Co-Masonic Lodge.

    Fuzzy Cumdgeon, no the Masculine Lodges are a private group. Otherwise, you would have had to admit women years ago. You are right though, it makes all Mason look bad.

    Scott Trout
    Ashoka Lodge- Le Droit Humain
    Orient of Indiana

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    1. What lodge??? I won't see you as a Brother of mine.
      Tim Gehring
      Three Rivers Lodge #733
      Fort Wayne, Indiana

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    2. You've relinquished the title of Mason when you joined a co-masonic lodge.

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  6. So sad. There are no other words..

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  7. In the broad context of things, the GL of GA's actions is neither here nor there. What is of regard and issue is with respect to how precisely is the GL of GA going to go about enforcing this edict. How is the GL of GA going to determine if a person is homosexual or heterosexual? Voyeurism-by-consent? I think not.

    Bro. Larry Dittmer

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  8. Georgia: the Alabama of the South.

    A. Scott, MM PHA
    Paul Lawrence Dunbar #219, Jacksonville, FL
    Mount Moriah #46, Baltimore MD
    i/G\i

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  9. Nobody's been "tarred" except for those who support the edict. I'm afraid the fact that those who do support it identify as "conservative" is relevant, since as I pointed out the edict is obviously political retribution over a matter that has nothing to do with Masonry.

    If one wants to point out that not all conservatives support it, that is perfectly fine and certainly I won't dispute it. But I won't hide the truth, either. Perhaps it seems unfair, but it's no more unfair than members of the general public pointing out that "the Masons" have just launched a witch hunt against gays.

    Dave Brown

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  10. I think that GL of G . should be applauded..
    #salute 🙌💪👍👐👏👐👏👐👏

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  12. So why haven't GL's lost their Tax Exempt status because of not allowing women to join? Sex has been a protected class since the 70's. I think the fear is over blown.

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  13. I will be interested in seeing what other Grand Lodges do. Our G.L. has it's annual communication soon. Wonder if it will be a topic of discussion or action.
    It seems to me, and i am a conservative, that it is no business of any G.L. to rule on a man's private life, let alone rule against it. What year is this 1895?

    For all the crying about decreasing numbers of members, it seems Georgia wishes to have their numbers reduced even further. Shame on them!

    I am a past Master and Lodge Secretary and would have hard time staying in an organization that is discriminating against any group. Not very "fraternal" in my humble opinion.

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  14. Sigh. First it was the dust-up with W.Bro. Victor Marshall in Gate City #2, now our zealously Christian MWM is trying to leave his mark on the way out. Bad enough that he espouses the 'only true religion' while in open lodge, but now the rural vs. Atlanta wound has been re-opened thru an unenforceable edict.

    Honestly? Wife and I are waiting for kids to graduate HS, then are re-thinking this whole GA thing.

    Bryan Garner
    Palestine Lodge #486
    Atlanta, GA

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  15. Fool - A person who acts unwisely. Check out your Grand Lodge's official position on fools. Also, keep in mind Freemasonry is not meant for everybody. If today's kids are misled to act unwisely, then the problem is with the parents and schools. As far as Freemasonry goes, it only has meaning as long as it remains a moral institution.

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  16. For all of the non-Masons commenting on this or those with short memories... there is an oath taken by ALL Candidates to the effect "I will respect the chastity of a Brother's wife, Mother, sister or child (some areas refer to daughter)" and the punishment for any indiscretions is expulsion.

    Masonry is guided by the 25 Landmarks of Freemasonry, the 25th of these states "that no man OR body of men can change anything in Freemasonry". Period. If a member does not like this... he should not be a member.

    There was a question on my Petition that asked, "If you took part in any licentious sexual practices"... to which a yes answer would certainly not get by a ballot box (this has since been removed from the Petitions I see today).

    Also, atheists cannot be Masons... is that bigotry too?

    I would suggest the powers that be (namely the Conference of Grand Masters of North America) be petitioned to change the ritual to respect the chastity of all of a Brother's male relatives, including the Brother himself... don't think that will happen either (refer to the 25th Landmark mentioned earlier).

    Many other things preclude gays not the least of which is equality... I cannot (nor would even think of) bring my wife (partner) into Masonry but a gay should be able to? It must also be remembered that one of the very important factors of Freemasonry is Harmony... gays have divorces too and I can tell you from personal experience that they can get pretty ugly... there goes the Harmony of that Lodge.

    Although there are clandestine Lodges around, I am sure that they have tenets as well and although some allow women, I don't know if they allow lesbians or trans-genders... I never have been nor will I ever go to a clandestine Lodge because it is forbidden in the 25 Landmarks of Freemasonry too.

    I believe it is just another "stunt" by the very demonstrative gays to intrude upon another institution and although I am sure there are many that have "slipped through the cracks" and as long as they don't step over the acceptable lines, will be good members.

    Again for the non-members or those with short memories... Freemasonry accepts good men and makes them better... no criminal convictions, clear their debts promptly, have a belief in a Supreme Being and a belief in eternal life... there are other organizations to join that accept less... join one of them.

    Bro. Francis Dryden

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    1. Masonry is guided by the 25 Landmarks of Freemasonry, the 25th of these states "that no man OR body of men can change anything in Freemasonry".

      So many thing wrong with your statement.
      1: not every GL accepts the list of 25 landmarks.

      2: perhaps you should do some research on the history of the phrases you're spouting?


      The original wording is:
      "That it is not in the power of any person, or body of men, to make any alterations, or
      innovation in the body of Masonry without the consent first obtained in the Annual Grand Lodge."
      This was adopted at a meeting of the Grand Lodge of England on 24th June 1723.

      Subsequently, in 1738, this resolution was incorporated into the Book of Constitutions as
      one of the new Regulations and it has since been accepted as one of the basic rules of the Craft, with the modification that the words "without the consent first obtained in the Annual Grand Lodge" having been dropped, which is, therefore, an innovation.

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    2. Obviously Brother Dryden you have never met, spoke, or have listened to the Grand Master of GA. He is extremely sincere in his beliefs to the detriment to the craft. I can promise you he is not using this to further the "Gay" agenda.

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  17. As someone pointed out somewhere, earlier (sorry for the vagueness), most non-Masons don't understand the distinction between Grand Lodges, or appendant bodies, and just think "Freemasons". Most people will see this story and think, "Freemasons don't like gays". This does nothing but disservice to the entire fraternity.

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  18. The Masonic Service Association states, "Its [Freemasonry's] moral teachings are acceptable to all religions." This may no longer be true here in Georgia given the events of yesterday, as a number of Christian denominations/churches now proclaim that marriage between members of the same sex is acceptable to Deity and perform such. [I offer no personal opinion in that regard; I merely observe the fact. One of those denominations is the one to which I belong; and even in it the issue is not without controversy.] That is the problem when we adopt statutes about issues that are morally controversial and on which well-meaning, sincere brethren vehemently disagree. Rather than leave a decision about a morally controversial issue to the mature opinion of each brother, we attempt to force our personal beliefs on each other. Freemasonry then becomes ruled by "the tyranny of the majority." The brethren no longer "dwell together in unity." I have seen this more than once. [The old prohibition on alcohol sales by Georgia brethren was an example. Some religions and churches drink, others abhor it. Another was the dispute in Georgia last year over raffles - some churches embrace them others condemn them.] Alas, when we do this it seems to me we depart from our own unique heritage of toleration and inclusiveness. We look more like certain religious institutions that despise us and that wish to force their peculiar views on all, rather than like the enlightened men we proclaim ourselves to be. In the long run dislike, disdain, and/or hatred of others' views will destroy us. As society changes and we go backwards, what broad minded young man will join us? What large company will tolerate their employees' belonging to us? Will the Army allow its members to join when its Secretary is openly gay or will we be viewed as a "hate group"? Why cannot we see this clearly? P.S. I am Past Master of East Point Lodge No. 2 and am Secretary of Gate City Lodge No. 2 here in Georgia.

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  19. The GL voted to uphold their GM edict. The GM edict was based off their Code. That is to say, the GM told "follow the rules" and they agreed, "we need to follow the rules".

    Good/Bad/Otherwise, that's all standard and the only legal outcome.

    The real question - was there any legislation put forth to change their Code?

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  20. I am also extremely conservative but I am not a racist or bigot . Knowing Ga I bet many vote democrat as my parents did who were born in the 20s . I don't see it as political I see it as living in the old days . They also don't accept PHA . Unfortunately there are extremist on both sides but when it comes to old southern people it seems to be more about hate and ignorance from their raising than a political stance .

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  21. Such a sad day for the face of Masonry. Sometimes, it seems as if we are telling young people to stay away. Terrible move for all of Masonry, not just the Grand Lodge of Georgia because of the message it potentially sends.

    Garison Carrell - A Mason, who just also happens to be gay

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  22. Cowans, eavesdroppers...really?

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  23. When you take an oath, where is your right hand? I am unaware of any viable research indicating homosexuality is anything but a mental disorder. This means that those individuals who consider themselves homosexual must be "Mad" right? At any rate male homosexuals consider themselves women at least in the bedroom. I cannot "knowingly" allow those individuals to become Masons in my lodge. If you really consider the plain honest truth of it, neither can you. That being said we, as Masons and men of morals do uphold standards that many in this day and age consider antiquated to put it mildly. We expect moral behavior of ourselves and associates to include but not limited to such as; speaking truthfully, being respectful to ourselves and towards others. We uphold ideas such as honor, integrity, loyalty, in high esteem. These are all to a great deal frowned upon and consider jokes in the mainstream of the youthful socialites. Yet we do not turn away from these truths to pacify a younger generation. So why should we do so on a subject such as homosexuality? I realise the controversy but I too realise what my rule and guide has to say on the subject.

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    1. Homosexuality was removed after the DSM III which was two full editions ago. It is not a mental disorder of any kind. Between 8% and 10% of humans are identifiable as pudding mates of the same gender.

      Omar Flores, PM
      Grand Rapids Lodge, No. 34, MI

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    2. Richard, as a Mason I am obliged to give you wise counsel: for the love of God please do yourself a favor and stop talking.

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  24. I do not agree with the legal analysis provided. As a private organization we discriminate on the basis of religion and sex, as do churches. When you look at private associations who have felt compelled to change their exclusions, I would be interested in an example not based upon liquor licenses or local law.

    Having discussed the Haas matter with an attorney in that case, I do not see it as applicable regarding discrimination or government regulatory action. It is applicable for the principle that an organization must follow its own rules. It would be useful to review what the jury awarded as damages for those who think there is great liability involved.

    I see the better argument as that of changing the GL rules once membership has be granted; one party unilaterally changing the contract to the detriment of the other party.

    I would also question why we are quite happy to recognize GLs which limit membership to Christians, but find limitations on sexual activity offensive.

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  25. The ruling means that in Georgia the York Rite, Scottish Rite, Eastern Star and other bodies also reject gays because they rely on the blue lodge for members.

    Of course in a number of states those bodies also are de facto segregated because of the exclusion of blacks.

    If a Mason from a jurisdiction that accepts gays moves to Georgia, he is excluded. So would visitors, who if asked if they were gay or "exposed" by their perfectly legal marriage would denied entry.

    For a very substantial number of people, we are now the enemy. We can expect the exclusion of Jews from some grand lodges and collateral bodies, the wholesale exclusion of women, the exclusion of people of color, and now the exclusion of gays, regardless of the arguments about grand lodge autonomy, Prince Hall, Templar exceptionalism, etc.will combine in a public perception of us which is a total disaster.

    All of us, all of us, are damaged by this. The leaders of grand lodges must show some leadership, starting with suspension of recognition. We can't let racists and bigots kidnap the Craft as they have in Georgia.

    Nobody in 2015 is going to accept the idea that a movement that is so exclusionary is worthwhile, no matter how much we talk about
    George Washington.

    Paul Rich
    St. Johns Lodge, Boston
    works.bepress.com/paulrich/

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    1. Good comment, Paul. The only thing you said that I disagree with is that Grand Lodges should "[start] with suspension of recognition." I believe they should start by issuing public statements condemning this modern day witch hunt and persecution of innocent people over private matters that are of no consequence to the fraternity. If those condemnations fall on deaf ears, then suspension of recognition should be considered as a last resort.

      I am aware that for half a century, southern Grand Lodges like Georgia and Tennessee bullied the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts (and others) by threatening to suspend recognition of any Grand Lodge that recognized its Prince Hall counterpart. In light of that, I would be disappointed if my Grand Lodge was unwilling to consider such a drastic measure in this case, as there is no question this attack on gay Masons is a grave injustice. But I also believe in "progressive discipline." If an individual Mason behaved in an un-Masonic manner, I would hope he would be reprimanded and given an opportunity to correct his actions before being suspended or expelled (depending on the nature of his offense, of course). We should treat Grand Lodges the same way, by reprimanding them and giving them opportunity to correct their actions before withdrawing recognition.

      Dave Brown
      Garden City Lodge, Newtonville, MA
      Boston University Lodge, Boston, MA
      Mount Lebanon Lodge, Boston, MA

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    2. Br. Brown: GLMA will not likely do anything more than whispering good counsel, no matter whether or not GA reverses this.

      GLMA, and most other GLs have never gotten around to doing anything substantial to push the lack of PHA recognition in the south, after all, and, as far as I know, only Indiana threatened de-recognition of Florida over their religious issue a few years back.

      No, one GL cannot tell another whom to recognize; however, neither is one GL beholden to continue recognizing those it deems are acting in manners inconsistent with brotherly love, such as racial prejudice.

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  26. There were several posts about legal: the Grand Lodges are not held by the SCOTUS ruling in Lawrence or this year's marriage case. Both pertain purely to state and federal law: GL is neither of those groups. So long as a GL acts within the rules and bylaws that are approved by the organization (so long as those rules do not violate state law...and there isn't a state law in the union that GA's new Masonic law violates) then it is perfectly legal within the group's purview. A civil case could come if someone were to be expelled without proper jurisprudence being followed by the GL.

    @David Thompson: Freemasonry continues to be "moral" everywhere but Georgia - there a particular religious belief is being given superiority over another as my religion teaches marriage equality and that homosexuality is not immoral.

    @Frank Swopes: Bigotry: intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself. - Not entirely certain what that has to be with being ill. Nor what illness has to do with the conversation.

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  27. Hmm. Whenever something like this comes up, I am grateful that the U.S. state Grand Lodges have never merged into a single national Grand Lodge.

    I am unsure about one point. Is it really the case that GLGA added fornication to the prohibition in the statute? Because if this is true, I would be interested in seeing how two matters develop, going forward:

    1. Is the leadership of GLGA going to make the prohibition on fornication part of the information they make clear to candidates before initiation? There are three possible outcomes here:

    ...a. If they do not do so--but do make the prohibition on homosexual behavior clear to candidates beforehand--then they are nothing but contemptible hypocrites, from start to finish.

    ...b. If they do make both the fornication and homosexuality prohibitions clear, then at least they will be consistent--but I hope that they are prepared to lose, oh, upwards of 60% of their single male potential candidates.

    ...c. If they do not make either prohibition clear to candidates beforehand, then they are essentially guilty of fraud by omission.

    2. If the GLGA is truly committed to the new position described in this latest edict, then of course the next logical step would be for them to bar homosexual Masons of other jurisdictions from visitation at Georgia Lodges. If they do that, I wonder if they are ready for the massive firestorm--up to and including threats about withdrawing recognition-- that will then surely descend upon them?

    As a private organization, GLGA is certainly immune from federal or state statutes regarding equal rights across sexual/gender orientations. However, I do not agree that the issue of potentially withdrawing mutual recognition is "going too far"; in the past, some Grand Lodges have been distinctly unable to "straighten things out on their own," and have had to be nudged into doing the right thing by other Grand Lodges. (I am thinking in particular of a Western state Grand Lodge that barred members of a certain religion from membership or visitation, until, it seems, they were faced with the threat of having their recognition withdrawn.)

    On the one hand, we "live in interesting times." On the other hands, that phrase is taken from what is reputed to be an ancient curse.

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  28. It certainly seems as though this innovation causes more damage to the peace and harmony of the craft than it purported to promote!

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  29. There is an obligation to inform possible candidates in states which accept blacks and gays that the ritual statements about being able to travel do not apply to some parts of the United States. A brother says its like selling a laptop that works in California but not in Georgia .

    Paul Rich
    St. John's Lodge.Boston

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  31. Scott, I think you mean "attracting".

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  32. I'm a dual GA and AL member, I'll be dropping my GA Lodge shortly.

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  33. Ignorance and intolerance are the enemies of masonry. It's sad to see them proclaimed and embraced by a Grand Lodge. This was not a good day for the craft.

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  34. Imagine that, not everyone is OK with the left wing agenda. Calling people with differing morals than yourself bigots. Oh the irony.

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  35. I think the GWM has confused Freemasonry with the Knights of Columbus. The former is about individual Conscience, Liberty, and Brotherhood; the later is about Brotherhood and defending Religious Doctrine. It is bad because it also sends a signal to gay Masons everywhere that in the Blue Lodge in GA, they are persona non grata!

    Scott Trout
    Ashoka Lodge
    Orient of Indianapolis

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  36. Of course I just realized something, fornication is in there too, which means any male living with his girlfriend is considered unworthy. My mentor in the masculine lodge when I was elevated lived with his girl friend. He would have been considered unworthy! Wow, GWM of GA, way to split the brotherhood by imposing your own since of morality. I am sure this will help Masonry grow.

    Scott
    Ashoka Lodge
    Orient of Indiana

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  37. What troubles me about this is that it invokes a moral provision which is distinctive (though perhaps not exclusively) to conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians. There are many faiths, including moderate and liberal versions of Christianity, which regard same-sex relationships as an appropriate expression of human love. This edict and the GL of Georgia's affirmation of it are therefore un-masonic, because they have legitimized one version of religion and invalidated others. They have legitimized one version of Christianity declared all others to be invalid.

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  38. Better to be name calling, than a tyrant forcing false morals and self-righteous laws on everyone. (And the anti-gay agenda is a false moral; at least in my church.)

    And it's not the "left wing agenda" - human rights are the march of freedom and liberty both of which continue to grow toward the common good.

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  40. Many denominations ordain and offer pulpits to gays, and increasingly to gay partners as team ministries. The Episcopal, Congregational (United Church of Christ), Unitarian, Reformed Jewish, Ethical Culture, and other religions that have given the
    Craft a number of leaders and chaplains are examples. Gay clergy seem to have an empathy and ability to relate to congregations, which is part of the reason for their success.

    Moreover, the gay friendly religions are often supportive of Masonry in terms of lending facilities and hosting lodge visitations.

    In terms of Biblical sanctions which some brethren have invoked, one problem is the wide variety of King James versions and editions used, and the many other translations which are now adopted by various churches, extending even to the inclusion or exclusion of certain chapters. There is no single universally accepted version so the discussion gets very convoluted. It is questionable whether Masonry should get entangled in terms of interpolation, theology, translation and other religious controversy.

    Some denominations think gay relationships are a very healthy support of family and structure and some don't.
    Surely a Masonic principle is to avoid these divisive matters rather than enforce one or another creedal doctrine such as the gash bashers are doing.

    We now refuse Jews entry to some grand lodges and Scottish Rite jurisdictions, refuse all women, have segregationist grand lodges, and are adding anti gay pontifications to our heavy load.

    Paul Rich
    St. John's Lodge, Boston

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  41. I would note Cash Arehart, that plenty of geriatrics these days are far more liberal than young people. Stupidity knows no age limit.

    Eoghan

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  42. On the issue of fornication, I also want to know whether the leadership of the GL of Georgia is willing to be scrutinized by private investigation to see if they are all as individuals free from any "clandestine" relationships over the years. I am more than willing to wager that a few of them would not pass muster if all were known.

    Ultimately, the problem is that when we begin to place ourselves in judgement over others things get complicated fast. As one wise soul once said, "Let the sinless man among you be the first to throw a stone."

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  43. For a list of the major denominations and their teaching on same sex marriage, go here: http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_chur2.htm

    It is clear that many Christian churches, whose adherents would qualify for membership in the lodge, do affirm same gender relationships. So in essence, the Grandmaster of Georgia now requires all Masons to follow his church's teaching. I thought we were not supposed to do that sort of thing.

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  44. The GL of Georgia proves once again that passion have always been deaf! The number one thing they should have ruled out is intolerance. Is this the beginning of a Masonic Inquisition?

    Reuben Rivera

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  45. Brother Stanley makes eminent sense. Numbers belong to religions that have gay clergy and sacraments of marriage for gay couples and teach the idea that gay affection is as much blessed as heterosexuality and has a constructive social role. Their faiths endorse gay adoption. And in many cases their faiths do not rely on a particular edition or version of the King Jame's Bibles in their various renderings as an ultimate guide, but look to other books and revelations.

    Surely as Brother Stanley says Masonry is not into doctrinal religion. But <asons are being told no matter how long theyhave been in the Craft that the teaching of their churches and fellowships are immoral as are the sacraments in their denominations of gay marriage.

    Most lodges have a pledge of allegiance with the phrase "for all".. .. not just for Christian Scientists or Lutherans or Cumberland Prebyterians or Seventh Day Adventists or American or Southern Baptists or Reconstructionist or Reformed Jews or Theosophists or United Methodists or Christadelphians, but for all. That inclusiveness should apply not only to being Americans but to Freemasonry. it is indeed a reason for Freemasonry.

    An additional point is that the Supreme Architect as a concept from 18th century Freemasonry is the philosophical idea of order out of chaos, as one hears in the Ancient and Accepted Right. The letter G obviously does not exist as a sign of deity in many languages and was popularized when the Craft was being attacked in Britain for suspected disloyalty, and of course the G showed loyalty to the Hanoverian Crown and the several King Georges that occupied the Throne. Like many of our symbols that have acquired multiple meanings it also conveys the ideas of geometry and deity. But the Enlightenment philosophy of order embodied in the term Supreme Architect is very removed from the theological ideas that some brethren in this conversation are using to justify Georgia's actions.

    We have to get our house in order with regards to acceptance of African-Americans and Latinos, gays and
    Jews, and the other groups that in various jurisdictions are excluded in a way that mainstream America finds unacceptable.
    Order out of chaos.

    Paul Rich
    St. John's Lodge, Boston

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  46. Brother Paul thank you for your kind words. I would like to reinforce the additional point you make regarding all the marginalized peoples of our nation. In order to survive, the Lodge must bring in more young people. This is just a matter of logic. A man who is raised at age 20 will give 3x as many years of membership as a man raised at age 60. The major barrier to getting more young men in is the simple perception by young men that we are a club for old men. We do not help that perception when we approach societal issues the way the GI generation used to. Today, young men live in a world where race and sexual orientation do not matter.

    If we do not change the perception of being a club for older men, the Lodge will dwindle and probably, in many cases die out completely. Georgia's decision about "homosexuality" does not help. Neither does it help that our way of relating to people of color comes right out of the 1950's: separate but the same. People who talk about brotherhood can't get away with that. If we say to PHA masons (and they say to us) "Sure we're brothers. You brothers be over there, and we'll be over here," it's not racism, but history. Young men recognize that as the older generation's way of handling racial issues. They can't see the Lodge as something that they can embrace. They stay away.

    Are all men brothers or not? Are all created by God or not? As a Christian mason, I do not need to give up my convictions that Jesus is the savior of the world. I must, however, acknowledge that men of differing faiths and convictions can be people of good will, and thus, my brother. People in same-gender relationships also can be people of good will, and should not be automatically barred from the Lodge. There is nothing to be gained from this, and everything to lose.

    Charles Stanley, PM



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  47. Just for clarification, there is a difference between not recognizing the Prince Hall Lodges and excluding African Americans from membership.

    While I am sure there are lodges that exclude them, I don't believe any of the Southern Grand Lodges are endorsing that. There is enough misinformation about Masonry on the web, not need to add to it.

    Br. Rich Pratt
    Junior Warden
    Golden Ark 595
    Taylor, Michigan

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  48. Why can't Past Masters vote in grand lodge in Indianna?

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  49. @George Coombs: Only a representative of a Lodge may vote at Grand Lodge. Past Masters may vote only if they are representing their Lodge; they do not retain the right to vote after their term as Master. (I think Indiana is 2 votes per Lodge at Grand Lodge, but don't quote me on that.)

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  50. As far as I know, they've never been allowed to vote at GL in Indiana. Only GL officers, and current, sitting Masters, or their designated proxies, get a vote. PMs have no official position in lodges or GL after their year in the East. I think that is a very wise decision. PMs only perpetuate the "we've always done it that way" mindset in GL law, which creates a moribund organization. It also avoids the ability of one group to stack the deck in voting on legislation. As a PM of two lodges, I am very glad we don't allow such a thing. If I want to have influence on a vote, I can show up at the Stated Meeting every year when the GL legislation info packet arrives and the Secretary makes it available to the membership, and make my personal position known to the Master before he votes. It's bad enough when Masters don't attend GL and let their long-serving Secretaries to vote for them (for those who subscribe to the "Secretaries really run the Lodge" philosophy).

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  51. No, Luke. It's only one vote per Lodge in Indiana.

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