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Monday, March 14, 2016

The GM of GA Responds To Other GL's Actions

The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, MW F. Andrew Lane, Jr.,, has issued a response to the actions of the GLs of California, the District of Columbia, and the regular Grand lodge of Belgium, who all withdrew amity with Georgia last week in response to their recently adopted rule that prohibited  Masons from engaging in homosexual activity and from co-habitating without benefit of marriage.

In short, Georgia is not withdrawing recognition of anyone, regardless of the action taken against them. And as to the rule, according to his statement, "The provision, lawfully adopted by the Grand lodge of Georgia, stands."

I fear the battle lines have been drawn.

Click the image above to enlarge.

47 comments:

  1. Good for him, kudos for not being bullied.

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    1. Bullied? Bullied by Brethren who wish to show solidarity with Brethren who've been excluded on account of their sexuality? I think you're not quite right in the head.

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    2. Recalling the recent protest of the GL in California. Have those GL sir come to outside forces that are not Masonic.

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  2. While we may or may not agree with The Grand Lodge of Georgia,or with the other Grand Lodges that suspended fraternal relations, I believe this to be a reasonable response. Please note The Grand Lodge of Georgia has not suspended fraternal relations with the other Grand Lodges. Instead they have proclaimed their sovereignty over their jurisdiction. Sovereignty that every Grand Lodge proclaims.

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  3. I am embarrassed by this.
    This is not why I became a Freemason.

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  4. I wonder if he were to have the same sanguine attitude if say, the Grand Lodge of DC were to recognize the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia.

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  5. This means that applicants for the Shrine, Star, Scottish Rite in Georgia must not only be white but sign to being heterosexual.

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    1. To be fair, I do not see how anything the GL of GA has done affects the Eastern Star.

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  6. Unless the obligations are now to be taken selectively, Masons in the state of Georgia undertake at the altar to not have relationships other than those that would ensue if and when they marry, a ban including any after divorce or death of a partner.

    The leaders of the Scottish Rite. Shrine,Star in the state, who depend on petitions from the "regular" grand lodge, are made a party to all of this.

    TheScottish Rite could work the first three degrees, which it cedes to grand lodges, and thus accept applicants cohabiting out of holy wedlock or who are gay.

    it appears Georgia now will selectively use the solemn obligations -in other words impose the cohabitation edict (now law) but only enforce the anti gay statutes.

    Then of course there is the continuing racial segregation.

    Do any of us want to be part of all of this - a simple solution for the moment is to recognize Prince Hall in the southern states.

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    1. Paul, don't be too quick to promote the idea of recognizing PHA in Georgia (or Tennessee) over the mainstream GL. I have no idea what the PHA GLs put in their state codes concerning private conduct, and you are just as liable to find a "Christians only" atmosphere in their lodges and among their leadership. That has been my, albeit limited, experience elsewhere, including "up North."

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    2. I don't say recognize the 9 southern PHA GLs instead of the mainstream ones, I say recognize them in addition.

      Those that incorrectly ascribe immorality, absent any other actions, to merely being homoswxuality, have applauded the latest action by Georgia as standing up to being bullied....but if, say DC were to recognize the PHA GL of GA, the mainstream GL of GA would not have such a positive reaction to it.

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    3. Well, if other grand lodges start suspending relations and withdrawing recognition at their Annual Communication, and if the UGLE at some point withdraws recognition. Then there would be nothing to prevent those PHA grand lodges in either state to get recognition from the UGLE. The UGLE has declared PHA grand lodges regular. That is a lot of ifs but once this avalanche starts, there will be consequences.

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    4. I wish someone would do a little research before running off on tangents...the only thing new in that code section is the ban on homosedual activity. The rest has been in place for years! Talk about Dummies...

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    5. I'll ignore the "dummies" remark in a message that has a whopping spelling error, and simply point out that no one here has said that anything else had recently been added to Georgia's code. The conversation simply drifted to a different consideration.

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  7. Its a good point, as often their officers are clergy and serve for many years, not rotating.

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  8. Just wonder how many Georgia Masons are true to the marriage vows? And if not what would happen?

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  9. Sad very sad indeed. While I agree that the GL of Georgia can do as they please..so too can other GLs. I feel sorry for the Gay BROTHERS in the state and the BROTHERS that disagree with this ruling. They are the ones losing out.

    A BROTHER is a BROTHER...PERIOD.

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    1. That is not a correct statement brother, grand lodges cannot do as they please and remain regular and recognized. They must adhere to the tenets and Landmarks of Freemasonry and this is non negotiable.

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    2. mrcontinental wrote "grand lodges cannot do as they please and remain regular and recognized. They must adhere to the tenets and Landmarks of Freemasonry and this is non negotiable."

      Please explain what tenets and Landmarks are being violated by not making a Brother's sexual orientation cause for expulsion. I have never seen anything that justifies discrimination against an otherwise good Brother just because of his sexual orientation. If you have, put up or shut up.

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  10. Just so everyone knows, NOT all of us Masons in Ga, agree with such a narrow minded few

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    1. I think that's very well understood, Gary. The backchannel discussions have been fierce.

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  11. What does the Prince Hall lodges have to do with this discussion?

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  12. There are two groups of Prince Hall grand lodge,one of which has achieved general recognition outside the south and other African American grand lodges such as the Hiram, National Compact connected, and Sons of Light. They are discussed as an alternative to the exiting southern anti gay and segregated lodges, but there are difficulties with their administration and possible religiosity. Possibly a case by case approach would work. Other among several discussed alternatives have been the grand lodge of DC providing facilities to masons leaving the segregated lodges,or for the Scottish Rite to assert its right to work the first three degrees since taking candidates from anti gay and segregated lodges will be very difficult.

    Some action might head off looming challenges with civic groups and save privileges such as school interaction. The notion that recognition of the anti gay and segregated bodies is not a fatal problem because the recognizing grand lodge is not itself anti gay or segregated is not tenable.

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    1. There are not two sets of Prince Hall Grand Lodges. There is only one Prince Hall Grand Lodge per state and in Florida the name is "M.W. Union Grand Lodge" and in Mississippi it is "M.W. Stringer Grand Lodge." Just because these other groups are predominately black doesn't mean they have any connection to us.

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    2. There is only one Prince Hall Grand Lodge per state. Just because these groups may be predominately black doesn't mean they have anything to do with us.

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    3. Dave, depending on the state, there are PHO/Natl. Compact grand lodges to deal with. Sure, they are much smaller than PHA, but they are there, and they loudly proclaim their own version of heredity to African #459.

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    4. That doesn't make it factual. If that's the case then every clandestine/spurious masonic organization that claims whatever they claim, is factual.

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    5. I don't disagree, Aaron, but in each case where such claims are made, the claim must be investigated by any GL wanting to settle the issue in their state. The recognition of PHA by the GL of California, which was very open to the issue, eventually took 4-5 years to settle everything.

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  13. So it is ok, that CA Grand Lodge rejects another Grand Lodge (GA) over their sticking to a Moral clause (Religiosity) in their obligation, but you might not want to accept a PH Lodge because there might be "difficulties" with their administration and possible "religiosity"; but that is not equally Discriminating? I can see CA. banishing you right now, just for thinking about it and violating CA.'s safe-space zone of inclusion. Where does this all stop?

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    1. The "administration issue" that I have heard of in my travels, stems from the way the different bodies do their degree work. And because of this major issue, neither side wishes to give ground and accept the PHM into the Grand Lodge of each of the segregated states. I'll try to explain: Grand Lodge has laws and edicts that each degree is done a certain way. The reason they don't recognize the PHM, is that, they were not given these degrees as per edicts. To combine, means every PHM would have to go through the degrees proper before they would be allowed to KEEP the "rank" they have achieved correct? The administration issue would be: Do they keep their original date they went through PHM, which might have been 20 years ago... or the new date which they went through in the proper way? OR what is considered proper. That issue, is why it is not as simple as you may think. From BOTH sides of the fence.

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    2. Which is complete rubbish. The three oldest Grand Lodges in Freemasonry have recognized the regularity of PH Freemasonry. This "administration issue" is just a convenient excuse to stay segregated. Anyone that has witnessed PH ritual work would never question it's origins or regularity.

      S&F

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    3. I assume the person posted anonymously because they didn't really know what they were talking about. Where have they been the past 20 years?

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    4. Yeah, I don't really follow what he's talking about myself.

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  14. I'll tell you where it all stops. It stops when people (and I mean people, not just brethren) pull their heads out of their asses and stop considering immutable characteristics to be immoral.

    Homosexuality is NOT immoral. Being black is NOT immoral. As Masons, we are supposed to accept ALL religions. The only requirement is to believe in a Supreme Being, but we do not, cannot, and should not dictate how that belief is practiced.

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  15. It has been my experience that the PHA lodges have a very heavy dose of religion as well. This region is called the bible belt for a reason.

    Perhaps it came from all of the talk of devil worship in the past. All I know is that it needs to be purged or Freemasonry in the South will die. It is on it's last legs already.

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    1. I question your estimation of Masonry being on its last legs in the South, as they still make up a substantial portion of the total US Masonic population. And on the PHA side, the majority of PHA Masons in the US are in the Southern states, by far.

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  16. Hmmm, on it's last legs?
    Using only the so called "Southern States" of ALABAMA ARKANSAS FLORIDA GEORGIA KENTUCKY LOUISIANA MISSISSIPPI MISSOURI NORTH CAROLINA SOUTH CAROLINA
    TENNESSEE TEXAS VIRGINIA and WEST VIRGINIA: These 14 States account for a little over 40% of Masons in the US.
    See: http://www.msana.com/msastats.asp#us
    Oh, and keep in mind most Southern States count only MMs where as many others counts EAs, therefore the actual percentage could be much higher.

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    1. The Last Leg statement refers to the possibility of all of these segregated GL losing recognition as being regular. I don't care if there are 6 millions current MM in this region - if it is no longer recognized as practicing regular Freemasonry by the world fraternity then it would effectively become zero MM. And yes this is entirely within the realm of possibility and would shake the very foundation of Freemasonry in the USA.

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  17. JD Walker states..."As Masons, we are supposed to accept ALL religions. The only requirement is to believe in a Supreme Being, but we do not, cannot, and should not dictate how that belief is practiced". Isn't that exactly what the CA grand lodge is doing? EXCLUDING Ga Masons, (who believe in a Supreme being , but also believe Homosexuality is a deviant behavior to the Moral code as the believe their religion (and all others for centuries) has dictated?

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    1. I am a member of the Presbyterian Church, USA. Which is one of the largest denominations in the US. We do not believe homosexuality is a sin, and ordain and marry homosexuals.

      What the GM is saying in Georgia is that as far as Masonry is concerned, his religion trumps mine; that is against the landmarks of the craft. California is not saying my religion trumps his, they are saying no religion should be supreme.

      In both of these cases openly gay men joined a lodge, they were interviewed, reviewed and discussed and voted upon by the lodge. Only a single brother had to say that this candidate is immoral, none did. It was the Grand Lodges decision to push the issue.

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    2. Talk about a leap! No, they are saying that what is going on has to much of a religious overtone and therefore should not be in a masonic lodge. It is called personal faith for a reason and should never be brought into a masonic lodge. What next only pro-life republicans because your beliefs forbid abortion? Then only native english speakers? Where will it end?

      CA, D.C. and Belgium (more pending I'm sure) says that you need to keep it out of a masonic lodge and that it never should have been there in the first place. The great thing about the internet is that masons worldwide are getting a glimpse into the thought process and what is really going on in the Southern USA with all of the bigoted and homophobic comments appearing on many of these boards and forums. Tennessee seeks to avoid the embarrassment by banning it's member from commenting online and exposing the stink for all to see, but those coming to their defense are exposing more to the international fraternity at large than anyone could ever ask for.

      The actions in TN and GA are un-masonic and there is no defending them before Freemasonry.

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    3. To be in amity with the UGLE, a Grand Lodge, and their subordinate Lodges, should uphold the Old Charges and the Constitution, as set forth in 1723. It states that religion nor politics should be brought within the door of the Lodge, and that every Mason should leave their particular religious opinions to themselves.

      Concerning God and Religion:

      "....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 honor and honesty, by whatever denominations or persuasions they may be distinguished, whereby Masonry becomes the center of union, and the means of conciliating true friendship among persons that must have remained at a perpetual distance.

      After Lodge:

      "Therefore, no private piques or quarrels must be brought within the door of the Lodge, far less any quarrels about religion, or nations, or state policy..."

      Thus, if anyone disliked one who was a homosexual, which is religious in nature, then they should have never brought it into the Lodge, they should have kept their religious opinions to themselves, and the matter should never be discussed. Ga. and Tn. had better hope that the UGLE does not drop their recognition, as those Lodges are no longer upholding the Constitution and Old Charges of the UGLE.

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  18. Without reading all of these crazy comments. Someone said Freemasonry in the south has all but died out. How can this be when the southern Grand Lodges boast some of the highest numbers of membership in the country.

    I again ask, what (at all) does the OP have to do with Prince Hall???

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    1. From an international perspective Freemasonry down south is a mess. Along with the segregated lodges who continue to embarrass the fraternity you have a cornucopia of clandestine black lodges screaming that they are the true originators of black freemasonry. It is difficult to keep track and eventually for the good of the order drastic measure will be needed.

      The lack of a national grand lodge is of course the biggest problem and have allowed the distortions that you see all over down here. I as a traveling brother under the GLoS avoid all contact with any masons I encounter down here because you never know what you are going to get - clandestine, religious zealot, or hardcore racist and bigot. It should not be this way and I don't care how many members you have if you are not practicing true regular freemasonry your numbers are irrelevant.

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  19. Chris, PHO is NOT Prince Hall.

    They also did not have a continuous existence.

    They could loudly, argue whatever they wish, but the documents have proven thier claims to be false.

    Unless you've done your own research on Prince Hall and the Compact, I don't recommend using the few books that have been written to support the Compact's argument as the reason behind logic.

    There plenty of new edvidence as well that's only surfaced in the past year or two that even refutes author Bro. Alton Roundtree's argument on the legitimacy of PHO.

    It's ridiculous to even consider the NGL to be Prince Hall since all of the Grand Lodges that originated during the NGL era 1847-1878 are all now under the PHA banner.


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    1. I know, I've seen the evidence that John Hairston has unearthed recently, and recommend anyone interested in this subject to check out his blog,
      http://quillandsword357.blogspot.com/

      (And yes, before the PHO guys all come after me, I have also read Brother Alton Roundtree's books, as well as Christopher Belcher's rebuttals to Bro. Hairston.)

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  20. Bro. Hairston has put an amazing amount of analysis into the reproductions of minutes. We really need a hunt for individual lodge records, which might with luck have survived in local historical societies or attics. We also need much more attention to the Duke of Suffolk, who while taking a dour view of projects like additional degrees in England seems to have been willing to charter African American groups, or at least that is the claim. And given the irregularities that appear so often in the genealogy of regular masonry, pace the period during the American Revolution, we have to ask if PHO as opposed to Prince Hall is precluded permanently from being at the table.

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