"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Tuesday, March 08, 2016

GL of DC Suspends Relations With GA and TN

I have just been forwarded documents from the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia concerning the actions against homosexual members in the Grand Lodges of Georgia and Tennessee. These are official decisions of Grand Master Kenneth D. Fuller, and letters to the GMs of those two states. 

The pertinant upshot is that the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia has suspended fraternal relations with the Grand Lodges of Georgia and Tennessee, and no official deputation of those Grand Lodges or their constituent Lodges shall be received by any Masonic body meeting in the District of Columbia.

It is unclear from the documents I have received if this means that individual Masons from the GLofDC traveling in those states are still allowed to visit their lodges. If you are a GLofDC Mason, I recommend contacting your Grand Secretary for clarification. 

To quote in part from MWBro. Fuller's letter to Georgia:

"Our ritual, obligations, and ancient traditions demand that we recognize the universality of Freemasonry, and its attendant principles. Among these are to regard the whole human race as one family, acknowledging the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man; and that no man's religion or politics takes precedence over another's. Actions taken by the Grand Lodges of Tennessee and Georgia to make sexual orientation a criterion for membership injects one religious or political interpretation of morality into our fraternity. 
"The concept of prohibiting membership, or expelling brothers, on the basis of sexual orientation or for possessing certain immutable traits unrelated to the independent moral character of an individual is incompatible with our precepts. 
"The suggestion that a certain religious order's dislike or disagreement with the lawful conduct of brothers or individuals should be the basis of Masonic law is to fundamentally misunderstand and misapply the foundational philosophy of Freemasonry. This unfounded break with Masonic law places the Grand Lodges of Tennessee and  Georgia in a state of disharmony that threatens our entire Masonic family.
"On a personal note, as an ordained Christian minister who holds deep religious convictions, I find the actions of these Grand Lodges all the more troublesome. Many faiths, including my own denomination of Christianity, are divided on several social and moral issues, yet it is our duty as Masons to ensure these disagreements do not spill over into our fraternity and sow disharmony.
"In closing, let me reiterate the words of my predecessor and approved by our entire Grand Lodge: we are open to all men of faith based upon their personal merit and good character, without reference to race, creed, sexual orientation, specific religion or national origin.
"I hope, pray, and trust that the hand of providence and the light of wisdom will guide our fraternity to a swift resolution to this unfortunate matter."

 Copies of the Official Decisions with details are as follows (click images to enlarge):

UPDATE 3/11/16: The Grand Master of the District of Columbia has added a similarly worded public letter about the subject to the Grand Lodge website. CLICK HERE.


  1. These proclamations apply to the Scottish Rite and Eastern Star in the District, which of course are subordinate because of being in DC to the Grand Lodge despite their wider geographic catchment, and take effect immediately.

    Bro. Paul Rich

  2. I wonder how this resolution remained unpublished by any source I can find for exactly a month, or if the date is supposed to be March instead of February.

    Just thinking out loud. Hopefully this resolves itself sooner rather than later.

    - Brian M. Tatro
    Junior Warden
    Natoma Lodge #64, F. & A. M. of CA

  3. Feb 7th ? Are you sure these documents are real?

    1. I noticed that, too. I suspect an error in the Grand Secretary's office. They were all issued yesterday, with was March 7th.

    2. I believe they had more than the date wrong.

  4. So if these are real and effective more than a month ago, does that mean the GM of DC was in violation of his own edict. Or do they not have calendars in DC?

  5. Let he who without a typo cast the first blue pen

  6. There is a somewhat classic format for guiding brothers in this situation, as used in past cases such as when Minnesota was shunned:

    "No Mason who holds membership in a Lodge chartered under said Grand Lodge, including those who hold dual membership in a Michigan Lodge, may participate in any function of any Lodge chartered under the Grand Lodge F&AM of Michigan, and no member of said Grand Lodge may hold membership in, or participate in any way, in any activity, of any Appendant, Affiliated, or Concordant body of Freemasonry operating within the Territorial Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Michigan, including but not limited to: the Ancient Arabic Order, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine; the Order of the Eastern Star; York Rite Bodies; Scottish Rite Bodies; Amaranth; Hi-12; Tall Cedars of Lebanon; DeMolay; Job's Daughters; or Rainbow. In like manner, no member of any Lodge chartered under the Grand Lodge of Michigan may participate in any way in any activity of any Lodge chartered under the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Minnesota, or any of its Appendant, Affiliated, or Concordant bodies."

    In the case of the District of Columbia where the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction and Eastern Star General Grand Chapter have their sees, so to speak, they have always deferred to the Grand Lodge in protocol and there is no reason to think they would break with that. in fact the present Sovereign Grand Commander has been scrupulous in acknowledging grand lodge primacy. Of course the local District of Columbia valley and chapters are also subject to the Grand Lodge ruling.

    The boards of the George Washington National Memorial, Masonic Service Committee, et al could avoid confrontation by not meeting, although that is not a longterm solution.

    Bro. Paul Rich

  7. And so the first domino topples, excellent. Good for them. As a bi Mason, the thing that angered me about the decisions of Tennessee and Georgia wasn't the targeting of gay brothers, which I'm pretty much numb to at this point, but the blatant disrespect of masonic principles regarding universal brotherhood and Masonry's neutral religious character.

    Bro. R Quinn

  8. The key to both those documents is the word "official deputation". That means that an individual brother visiting a DC lodge from Lodge XYZ of East Timbuktu GA, or Lodge ABC of West Timbuktu TN is okay (as long as he's not representing the Grand Lodge or has 'Grand' in his title).

    What's not okay is an official delegation from Lodge XYZ, headed by their Worshipful Master, or a delegation of any size from the two Grand Lodges in question.

  9. It is being somewhat overlooked that Brother Kenneth Clark, the grand master of the District of Columbia who has issued the withdrawal of recognition documents, had a long pastoral ministry in the important Cleveland Park United Church of Christ in Washington, served or serves on numerous United Church of Christ committees and commissions, including their retirement home, and is known in the United Church of Christ for his spirituality and Bible knowledge - among other attributes. His sermons have inspired many. If one was looking for someone who has lived his religion, he certainly qualifies.

  10. I remember what happened in Florida DeMolay. We New Yorkers were incensed. Int'l HQ, sitting in MO, was embarrassed and had to act.


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