Thursday, November 12, 2015

GLofDC Issues Statement Concerning Eligibility For Masons

For Grand Lodges that have considered or already passed anti-gay legislation in their territories, or for those who may think that Masonry is for white Christians only, you might give a look to this letter that was issued on November 11th. The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, MWB Jeffrey D. Russell, has issued the following statement concerning eligibility of men seeking membership in Masonry in Washington, DC. (Click the image above to see it larger). 

In part, it reads:

In response to recent questions posed to this Grand Lodge on the qualifications and eligibility of men seeking membership in our constituent Lodges, we offer this statement of unwavering principles: Admission to membership in our Lodges is extended to men of faith based upon their personal merit and good character, without reference to race, creed, sexual orientation, specific religion or national origin.

(snip)

The universality of our practice is reflected in the broad range of backgrounds to be found here. Lodges here not only work in English, but in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Farsi, Turkish and Armenian. Our membership hails from every continent and represents every race and creed, as well as a broad range of national origins. Masonic visitors to this international city find unparalleled opportunities to visit a Lodge that reminds them of home - wherever that home may be.

However, the concept of universality is not only an international paradigm. It enjoys equal importance in our welcoming of men whose varied backgrounds and practices in their private and professional lives would normally keep them at a perpetual distance. The diversity of our membership, in terms of race, creed, sexual orientation, specific religion and national origin is thus seen as an asset, rather than a liability. Civility and kindness is the rule for all interaction, thus the discussion of politics, religion and business are prohibited in the Lodge room. In this way, we hold that men become brothers by leaving divisions at the door, and taking strength from a shared appreciation of the common aspirations of all men for their betterment, and for improving themselves through service as respected members of their communities, despite their outward differences.

Our dedication to diversity was not born in Washington, DC. Worldwide Masonic law and practice from the days of Anderson's Constitutions clearly disfavors the exclusion of men based upon modes of belief, backgrounds or lifestyles that enjoy legal protection in their societies. Therefore, today we say, "Any man can become a D.C. Freemason, but not every man can be one." And our tradition of over five hundred years of inclusion continues to patiently await those with imagination, will and energy to dedicate themselves to the elevation of the human race.


Many thanks to Brother Eric Diamond for passing this along.

11 comments:

  1. Now this is a refreshing statement to read in that it sticks to Masonic ideals, not personal bias...

    I have personally observed (and experienced) enough bigotry, racism and other negative behavior connected to American Freemasonry to last me more than a lifetime.

    ‪#‎walkthewalk‬

    Bro. Raymond Sean Walters

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  2. Well said Most Worshipful Brother!

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  3. The Grand Master's words here are a testament to the power of Masonic ideals. They should be written in letters of fire in the hearts of every Freemason. Brother Chris, thank you very much for bringing this to our attention.

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  4. It made me proud to read this statement from GLOFDC.

    WB Scott Zoeller
    PM, Sandy Springs Lodge 124

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  5. Just a thought.
    Without commenting as to whether I agree or disagree with the statement, I would be remiss if I did not express my concern with any Grand Lodge needing to make a statement of this nature.
    In the statement it is said that the DC Grand Lodge "is a society of men who use single-gendered camaraderie..." Based on this statement, I must ask, what does "single-gendered" mean?
    Would it exclude or include "trans-gendered" individuals? Would it exclude men whose self-identity is that of a woman? Would it exclude women whose self-identity is that of a man? Would it only apply to individuals that are genetically men? How would we determine if a man is a genetic man?
    Far too many questions come from statements such as that represented by the GLFODC.
    Becoming a Mason does not happen when an individual submits a petition. That is just the first step in the process. If a petitioner can get the requisite “sponsorship”, then the petition should move to the next phase. The next major phase in the process is the "secret" ballot.
    Each individual Master Mason is reminded to cast his "secret" ballot in the "best interests of Masonry". Since Masonry is nothing more than many local Lodges governed by a Grand Lodge, we could say that each individual Master Mason is charged with casting his ballot in the best interests of his local Lodge.
    This "secret" ballot should be cast using his own "best judgement" and "actuated by the purest of motives" and he should consider only the "moral qualifications of the petitioner".
    Perhaps we should be making statements about "petitioning" for membership and then leave it to the members of the local Lodges to cast their "secret" ballots.
    Statements such as the GLFODC message merely implies that the Master Mason should give up his sacred right by "voting for the election or rejection of a petitioner who seeks Masonic light” and follow something other than his conscience.
    Tim Clouser, PM
    Secretary, Austin Lodge No. 128, Indiana

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  6. Tim Clouser, PM (Austin Lodge No. 128, F. & A. M., Indiana)

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  7. Almost a month has passed since the exclusion of gays began attracting international attention to discrimination in American Freemasonry, and put the treatment of African-Americans again on the agenda with the new issue of excluding gays. Some are confusing recognition of Prince Hall lodges with willingness to consider for membership various ethnic groups. Recognition of Prince Hall is a different aspect from accepting a diverse membership, diversity so well put in the statement from the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. Recognition of Prince Hall is reminiscent of the separate but equal stance of Southern segregationists in the 1950s,

    During the month, the grand lodges and grand masters have been silent. The gay and lesbian community. seeing this as a challenge to hard won rights, will not understand the intricacies of our Masonic polity. All of us are being dragged into a social and political confrontation by the prejudice of the Southern grand lodges. Those grand lodges are irregular if regularity means anything. The remedy is a very strong stand immediately, which has to include suspension of recognition. As it now stands, Freemasonry is seen as reacting negatively to the rulings of the various courts, up to and including the Supreme Court. We are going to pay a terrible price unless leaders lead.

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  8. Bravo GLODC! Well said !

    Allan Sanders WM
    Pilgrim Lodge 702
    GL-AMF

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  9. What justification then, (in light of, and in accordance with this doctrine), other than any obvious legal malfeasance, would any brother, of any lodge have for denying a candidate for degrees the privilege of becoming a Mason?

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  10. This hits home for me. I was entered, passed and raised several years ago, and was active in my Lodge. I even served as Marshal, and greatly enjoyed participating in various capacities. When family matters dictated that I take time away from the Lodge, the brethren were emphatic - family comes first. That my spouse was a man was not an issue; that he needed me at home with our children was. I still miss Lodge, and will cheerfully return when circumstances permit - but it is still comforting to know that at least one group that claims "family first" actually means it.

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