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


Saturday, July 04, 2020

Why Freemasonry Still Matters

by Christopher Hodapp

The United States has been rocked over the past month with images and stories relating to massive protests, rioting and statue-removing furor set off by the death of George Floyd while being arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As the weeks passed, the toxic confluence of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, anger, widespread unemployment, summer heat, pent up frustration, a breathless media, and the echo chamber of the Internet have all worked their worst influences to bring out some of the most socially divisive traits, allegations and arguments among Americans in more than 50 years. 

Over the last couple of weeks, some enthusiastic or activist Masons have advocated for the fraternity to 'get on the right side of history' and support the Black Lives Matter movement. Some energetic Masonic keyboard artists have created graphics to combine the square and compass of Freemasonry with symbols of social activism, such as a clenched fist of BLM, confederate flags, the 'gay pride' rainbow,' or others. Such symbols have been making the rounds of the Internet, often with the exhortation to 'get on board' with one side or another, because, according to the bromide, 'silence is violence.'

With all due respects to my energetically demonstrative brethren, that's not the role of Freemasonry. It never has been, and it cannot be today. Its role is just the opposite.

Freemasons are human beings, and as individuals, we often take different sides in arguments. This is as it has always been throughout the history of the fraternity, sometimes violently so. When you examine the wars involving America and other Western nations in which Masons have fought in the last 300 years, you will find dedicated Freemasons on both sides of those conflicts. We tout the famous Masons who led the American Revolution, but there were plenty of loyalist Masons throughout the American colonies who fought and died to keep us British. (And, no, the Boston Tea Party was NOT a Masonic action, despite what you might have been told.)

Individual Freemasons may fight for the causes they support, but 'The Freemasons' do not take sides in social, political, cultural or religious conflicts.

Masons as a group cannot and will not support any political or social movement

That's why images like this one are not appropriate for any Freemason. This very moment in time is an excellent teaching moment for this lesson, and our youngest, newest members need to understand it. 

Freemasonry teaches men to behave properly, to treat each other fairly, to live by the cardinal virtues and follow our precepts. But it does not tell Masons what to think, how to vote, how to worship God, what protests to march in, what products to boycott, or what bumper stickers to put on our cars. The sanctuary of the lodge is absolutely shattered by any member who seeks to abuse its good offices by assigning political or religious motives to it that do not exist. 
Freemasonry is a force for good by espousing and teaching mannered toleration, reinforcing the cardinal virtues, and providing a sanctuary from the divisive nature of the profane world. If a Mason abuses the square and compass into a symbol that creates a deliberately divisive atmosphere within the Masonic community, to compel his brethren to also adopt his favored cause, or to erroneously create a false public perception of Masonry's motives -  that Mason has erred, not the fraternity.

James Anderson listed in the Constitutions of Masonry our responsibility to the civil authorities (second only to God):

A Mason is a peaceable Subject to the Civil Powers, wherever he resides or works, and is never to be concern’d in Plots and Conspiracies against the Peace and Welfare of the Nation, nor to behave himself undutiful to inferior Magistrates ; for as Masonry hath been always injured by War, Bloodshed, and Confusion, so ancient Kings and Princes have been much dispos’d to encourage the Craftsmen, be- cause of their Peaceableness and Loyalty, whereby they practically answer’d the Cavils of their Adversaries and promoted the Honour of the Fraternity, who ever flourish’d in Times of Peace. So that if a Brother should be a Rebel against the State, he is not to be countenanc’d in his Rebel- lion, however he may be pitied as an unhappy Man ; and if convicted of no other Crime, though the loyal Brotherhood must and ought to disown his Rebellion, and give no Umbrage or Ground of political Jealousy to the Government for the time being; they cannot expel him from the Lodge, and his Relation to it remains indefeasible.
Masons from the past who have been prominent leaders of revolutions (along with not-so-prominent ones who were on the losing sides of failed ones) never marched at the head of mobs wearing a giant square and compass on their chest or helmet, for good reason. Riots, revolts, revolutions, wars - these take place between nations or factions or masses or mobs of peoples. Freemasonry is practiced between individual human beings who seek to retain their individual honor and humanity, and to civilize and improve their town, their country, and the world by their own actions. Freemasonry is not a movement - it is a cultural institution that can only function if it is seen as a diverse, calm, civil, and evenhanded organization of a community's best leaders, regardless of their particular political affinities. 

The Western world is currently caught up in a moment that measures diversity only by the hue of skin color - literally the one human trait that cannot be altered, controlled or changed, and therefore the very least important one - and not by diversity of thought, belief, achievement, or aspiration. That is how Freemasonry seeks to differ from the outside world. If we're doing it right, we welcome diversity among men in all its intellectual, theological, economic and vocational forms. But I have never in my 20 years as a Mason seen a petition for the degrees of Freemasonry that asked a man's race. 

It is why, for instance, the meetings of lodges under the Grand Lodge of Israel are attended by Masons who are Jewish, Muslim and Christian, from all races, and from political persuasions that are diametrically (sometimes militantly) opposed to each other in that turbulent part of the world. Even the seal of their grand lodge reflects its uniquely Masonic diversity. It is the true meaning of meeting 'on the level.'

We say that Masonry becomes the 'center of union' because it conciliates true friendship among men who would for any other reasons have remained at a perpetual distance. Living through a tumultuous moment in time with heated passions on all sides doesn't imbue any of us with the ability to decide who is 'on the right side of history.' That's the nature of mass conflict and social unrest and upheaval. Only the lapse of time and history itself can make that judgement. 

The famed 'Friend To Friend' statue at the top of this post, erected at Gettysburg by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, is a parable in bronze that demonstrates the unbreakable mystic tie between two Masons on opposing sides of a deadly conflict.  Union General Winfield Scott Hancock and Confederate General Lewis Addison Armistead were personal friends and both were Freemasons. Secession wasn't a Masonic cause, and neither was preserving the Union. These two men had served and fought side by side in the US Army before the Civil War broke out. But Armistead said he could never raise his sword against his fellow Southerners and joined the Confederate Army in 1861. 

Armistead led his men against Hancock’s troops in the ill-fated Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, but was mortally wounded in the battle - by the irony of fate, Hancock was also wounded during the same battle. The statue depicts Union Captain Henry Bingham, also a Freemason and staff assistant to General Hancock, rendering aid to the fallen Confederate General. It was a bloody day - Henry Bingham himself had been wounded in the fighting, but he knelt by Armistead's side as he died. General Armistead is shown handing his watch and personal effects to be delivered to his friend and Brother, Union General Hancock. A final act of friendship among men who would for any other reasons have remained at a perpetual distance.

It's one of those lessons people can learn if statues aren't toppled by mobs. 

UPDATE: JULY 7, 2020

This post generated an unprecedented amount of discussion, pro and con, in numerous Facebook groups and elsewhere over the last several days. 

Brother James R. Morgan III is a Prince Hall Mason in Washington, D.C. and a volunteer coordinator at that city's African-American Civil War Museum. He is an author and historian, and recently published the outstanding book, The Lost Empire: Black Freemasonry in the Old West (1867-1906)

On Sunday, James was motivated to pen a thoughtful response to my essay above, entitled 'What to the Prince Hall Freemason is the Fourth of July? - Why Black Masonic Memory Matters' (his title is a deliberate play upon a famed abolitionist speech by Frederick Douglass in 1852, commonly known as 'What to the slave is the Fourth of July?'). In it, he rhetorically points out numerous incidents and issues I did not discuss in my original post, and seems to be critical less of what I said than of what I did not say. 
Please read it and decide for yourself. I don't regard either of us as being on opposite sides of things, merely looking at it from both sides of a picket fence that sometimes blocks as much as it admits. 




  1. The entire purpose of the Black Lives Matter movement is to say "stop killing us, stop the police from murdering black people in the street".

    If it's inappropriate for Masons to come out against injustice, how do I know that my brother Masons who are not black have my back? How do I know that should I be in that position, they wouldn't think "Oh, he deserved it?" even if I didn't? It's been shown that compliance with the police doesn't always guarantee our safety....

    My dignity as a human being, and my very life, why are they political? Why is it inappropriate for my Brother Masons to support those two things?

    1. Why would you question that Brother Masons who are not black have your back, when we are all obligated to each other? And since you question that, if a predominantly white grand lodge were to issue a blanket statement tomorrow proclaiming support of BLM (or a Prince Hall grand lodge, for that matter), what would make you believe that they spoke for all Masons in its jurisdiction?

      Freemasonry is a cultural institution made up of the most diverse group of men you will find almost anywhere - all very different individuals. You cannot speak for all Masons, all Masons in your grand lodge, or even all the Masons you had dinner with last week. But that is the absolute message implied by mixing the square and compass with the BLM symbol. Even if you and I don't see it that way knowing what we do about our own internal rules and customs, the outside world takes such images very differently. They see such mixed messages as 'The Freemasons' making what many consider a militant position. They don't see a single Mason expressing solidarity with an organization of the best of motives. That's what makes it inappropriate.

    2. J.D. Walker does have a good point. We can say we are a very diverse group, we can slap each other on the backs while talking about how we meet on the level, but that is not how the general public views us. The news articles you post here point that out quite frankly. In the UK, Freemasonry is seen as a American-style college fraternity, where the right handshake means criminals avoid prosecution and incompetents gain important jobs. In the USA, it is seen as a good-old-boys club that bans women and is very selective of who is allowed to join along wealth and ethnic lines. Although your website has mostly ignored religious extremists who despise Freemasonry for supporting religious freedom and religious diversity. There have been articles about Grand Lodges in the south not recognizing Prince Hall Freemasonry, and the Grand Lodge of Georgia bringing brothers up on charges for raising someone who was Black. And articles from Tennessee, where brothers were brought up on charges for being gay. How many fellow gay or bisexual brothers keep that hidden from their Lodges before or after being raised? I know of at least one EA who quietly disappeared from Lodge because the Lodge officers gave his boyfriend a very cold welcome.

      We can't speak for all of Freemasonry, but Freemasonry is quite fractured along state lines and regional and national borders. The Grand Lodge of New Mexico has given us plenty of reminders that we cannot speak for the Grand Lodge or for Freemasonry as a whole. The only official voices for Freemasonry have been the Grand Lodges, and they have mostly advocated for status quo. Where are the voices for diversity? I do not mean people saying "we are a diverse group", but actual meaningful advocacy for diversity and displays of true diversity?

      If Freemasonry is as diverse and welcoming as we claim, then we need to be open in supporting and advocating. We are indeed individuals, and we should be able to speak individually without fear of reprisals for saying things that might offend the more socially conservative brothers. We cannot treat the Square and Compass as Disney treats the Mickey Mouse Ears, with threats and punishments for people who use them outside of sanctioned activities and events. The Square and Compass and what they mean belongs as much to me as it belongs to brothers in other Lodges, other states, and other nations. We have to be able to go outside and say "I am a Mason, and I support BLM" or "I am a Mason, and I support LGBT rights". Otherwise, people will continue to see Lodges as being collectives of socially conservative Anglos who do not want outsiders. Without actions and advocacy, the claims of treating all men as equals become empty platitudes.

    3. If you are blind to the fact that we have brethren within the craft who are known bigots and racist do you honestly believe they have the "backs" of Non-christian whites?

      Please stop.

    4. So you admit that it isn't simply the modification of the S&C, but THIS PARTICULAR modification that has your hackles raised, and this is why you're trying to get the Brother who created this sanctioned by his GL?

  2. Brother Walker, well said. As for the sculptures, we need to make a distinction between those who contributed to the country despite their faults, and those who sought and fought to divide the country.

    For the overwhelming majority of years in the United States, Freemasonry has been segregated. For just a relatively short period of time (ten percent of the time?) that has changed in many but not all Masonic bodies.

    Today in those adamantly segregated Masonic states, an African-American is excluded not only from blue lodges but de facto from many of the collateral bodies by virtue of not having been raised in what is considered a regular lodge. We are the last large organization to practice as we do in parts segregation. Those grand lodges that have made things right by admitting people of color are still guilty in recognizing those grand lodges which do not. The proudly democratic grand lodges that have said a very great deal about being for all despite color need to examine this. Members who are silent about this need to reflect on their part. It is time for those grand lodges that are serious about human dignity, as you suggest, to withdraw recognition of segregated grand lodges and invite the formation of grand lodges that take Masonry seriously. Who can take us seriously as things now stand?

    1. The decision that determines who is initiated into a lodge is, to the best of my knowledge, determined by the white ball and the black cube. I have never seen a document in the State of Georgia that excludes anyone who meets the requirements on the petition. I do not believe anyone in the state, under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge Of Georgia, has ever been tried for raising a Black Man as there are Black Masons in Georgia as well as Homosexuals. If I'm wrong, please cite the case.

    2. Brother Anderson, how many African Americans are currently in the grand line,in district office, or masters of lodges in Georgia? Georgia has the second largest black population of any state, at 3,200,000: it's just after Texas. And I note that no Georgian mason has been tried for raising a unicorn.

    3. I'm not even from Georgia and I know that your information is sadly out of date. Gate City #2 raised a black man, and it was a controversy for years, to include Masonic trials.

    4. Brother Walker is absolutely right, and the case he mentions led to media attention around the world -- see the British newspaper the Guardian at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/jul/03/atlanta-georgia-freemasons-race ...and the Grand Master of Georgia convened a court despite the fact that the initiate was a US Army member of good character ...but black.

      Brother Anderson needs to look at the Georgia membership. I had dinner with a grand line officer in Georgia who said, "They kicked us out of the libraries and schools but those n....will never sit in our lodges."

      Grand lodges that recognize the segregated grand lodges should withdraw recognition and so should collateral bodies.

      The Memorial in Alexandria should drop the segregationist grand lodges with sponsorship and invite Prince Hall grand lodges. Grand lodges that do practice Freemasonry should withdraw financial support until the Memorial actually does represent American values rather than hypocrisy.

    5. Bother Anderson, you are in error on another count because as for gays, your Georgia grand lodge a few years ago passed a strict edict excluding them from Masonry -- see https://www.ajc.com/blog/politics/georgia-freemasonry-outlaws-homosexuality-its-ranks/wSPDGEWaSNtIrH7Wh6p92O/.

      A further reason then that recognition of grand lodges who do not practice Freemasonry need to be excluded from regular Freemasonry. Moreover, since the Shrine bases its membership on leadership and membership from regular grand lodges, it is time the general public and medical world knew that the Shrine itself in recognizing segregationist and homophobic grand lodges is a partially segregated institution. Brother de Flup's remark is right on.

      In our rituals we have a moment when the Chair of Solomon is approached by craftsmen wearing white gloves and aprons. When our actions soil our apparel, metaphorically, we repudiate our claims to be an institution teaching morality and ethics. That has been the case too long.

    6. It always rubs me the wrong way when people start talking about "our ritual". There are diffrences between rituals so to say that your ritual is the same as mine is incorrect.

  3. Brother Chris, I remember you being supportive of the recognition of Prince Hall. Have you changed your mind that all US jurisdictions should do so? If not, how is that different than Masonic support of black lives matter? If your answer is “its political,” isn’t the Masonic concept of equality political? And isn’t that why Freemasonry has been persecuted by tyrants around the world?

    1. Tim, you will find no bigger proponent of Prince Hall recognition than myself. That has been true since the month I was raised as a Master Mason and attended my first joint Masonic meeting with the MWPHGL of Indiana. I've posted scores of articles here over the years, written PHA history articles, worked locally at PHA events, and am currently working on a museum exhibit about it. But you cannot compare Prince Hall Masonry with what has become the BLM phenomenon. BLM is now a full-throated political movement, the BLM organization itself is posting on its website direct wording from Marxist revolutionary literature, and the rapid injection of tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars in a matter of weeks into its coffers from mega corporations buying indulgences (and using BLM donations as cheap advertising ploys) has transformed it into a new political party. Some very bad actors have hijacked BLM and are seizing upon it as a political opportunity. It is now about political power and money, and an uncritical press is gleefully participating in it instead of doing actual reporting. And THAT'S why we as an organized fraternity cannot go plastering "We Support Black Lives Matter" messages on our websites or circulating the square and compass intertwined with the BLM fist logo. And I would have said exactly the same thing if someone tried to circulate a S&C with a Tea Party logo six years ago. Just as I would have scorned the 'Let's Elect A Masonic President' poster in the 1920s.

      As for PHA recognition today? I'll tell you what has changed in my head. I now wish like hell that in 1989 the Grand Lodge of Connecticut and the MWPHGL of Connecticut had merged instead of staying as separate entities sharing their jurisdiction. In our rush of sensitivity to protect the long and proud heritage of Prince Hall Freemasonry (talk about white saviorism), all we did was reinforce the segregation of Masonry for another 30 years and for the foreseeable future. As long as Prince Hall Freemasonry stands apart as its own entity, the self-segregation of Masonry will continue indefinitely.

      PHA recognition in all but the last handful of southern states has not resulted in an appreciable change in the complexions of lodges on either side after three decades. And like it or not, I have encountered countless Prince Hall grand masters over the last 20 years who openly declared that they have no desire for the 'white' grand lodges to 'steal their members.' It is why PHA GLs discourage casual intervisitation, why they don't permit dual memberships as a rule, why many won't issue demits for their members seeking to transfer to a mainstream lodge, and other forms of protectionism to prevent black Masons from leaving them. It's a creepy sense of ownership, and I've known many disaffected PH Masons who walked away from them because of it.

      So if this was 1989 all over again and if I was a Mason at that time, I would have screamed my head off for everyone to do the hard work and make the harder choice to merge instead of remaining two 'separate but equal' groups. Segregation is a natural artifact of human interaction - people are going to voluntarily socialize with people they feel most comfortable around, or are most like them in outlook, education and affability. You can issue edicts and pass laws and erect signs, but people are going to stay with people they like. So if mainstream and PH GLs had merged, the lodges themselves would have largely remained self-segregating, the way most churches do. But the difference is that there wouldn't still be this vestige of Jim Crowism hanging over the fraternity.

      But that ain't ever gonna happen.

  4. With that logic, which has lots of sense, the outside world can clearly get the impression in those states where the Craft is segregated that we practice segregation.

    1. It is incomprehensible and un-masonic that segregated lodges
      are still considered to be regular

  5. Chris makes a good point that the public doesn't understand the administrative structure of Masonry, and hence for example will associate symbolism using the compasses with a clenched black fist as being a universal view. But as I note, that logic applies to the impression created by the segregated grand lodges.

    For years Chris has taken a moderate position and endorsed patience, but we have now got to the point where the reputation of Freemasonry is involved more than ever with segregation.

    As for the sculpture at Gettysburg, possibly as an alternative it could have been based on compassion from one Union soldier towards another Union soldier without taking away the idea of universal friendship, and thus avoiding being associated with a Confederate whose reputation rested partly on his involvement with the massacre of the Mojave Indians. It is historically incorrect as Armistead suffered a flesh wound and after being captured died unexpectedly in a Union hospital, not on the battlefield. It got placement by being accompanied by the offer of a much needed parking lot. The Armistead family were slave owners and the surname has attached to several lines of their African American descendants. I doubt that discussion of all of this was the purpose of the sculpture.

    1. Please, Brother Rich, where are these "segregated grand lodges" to which you refer? It's a serious question. Name them, so that if I'm ever in their jurisdiction I can avoid sitting in one of their lodges, since I don't espouse segregation. I'm anxious to see that list of "segregated grand lodges". I belong to a hobbyist club that doesn't have any Canadian members. That, of course, doesn't mean by any stretch that the club by-laws forbid Canadians from membership. Can you see the difference?
      I've been a Mason in Georgia for 46 years. I've had dinner with several Georgia Grand Lodge officers, none of whom said anything derogatory toward ANY African-American, or even hinted at negative racial views. I did hear one say that he got his daughter a unicorn doll for her birthday. Of course, I've heard individual Masons use racist language, but not just in the South. I've heard that in northern states also. Also in Italy, Thailand, Ireland, Vietnam, China and Switzerland.
      Now if a subordinate lodge wants to sue a Grand Lodge over the actions of another subordinate lodge, so be it. But that's in a different universe than a Grand Lodge supporting or mandating a segrationist viewpoint. And that in a nutshell is what happened one time in Georgia. Can you see the difference?
      But more to the point: Why would you want our great, time-tested Masonic Fraternity to be associated with ANY political movement, much less a radical extremist one? One that is neo-Marxist in political philosophy and which wants to control the apportionment of capital, promotes dismantling the state and local structures of law enforcement, and seeks an end to democratic processes, and all of this by way of the use of violence. Why would you want this great fraternity to be associated in ANY WAY with that? Why? Surely not because the name of the organization in question signals virtue? Surely, surely, surely not.
      Be safe from this terrible virus, Brother.

    2. Brother Phil, The grand lodges not recognizing Prince Hall
      Origin grand lodges are Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina and West Virginia. None of the Prince Hall Affiliation grand lodes despite discussion are recognized by any American grand lodges.

      An excelent scholarly article on segregation in Georgis freemssonry is at https://bluelitepha.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/freemasonry_segregation_in_georgia.pdf

    3. When I hear people denouncing movements for justice, I wonder if they forgot the EA lecture. The tenets and perfect points of entrance mean nothing to people outside of our fraternity, but they should be guiding us Masons. How can we claim to believe in brotherly love if we ignore racism and segregation and bigotry within Freemasonry? How can we claim to believe in justice if we turn a blind eye to injustice outside of Freemasonry? There are Grand Lodges in the south that officially refuse to recognize Prince Hall Masonry, and the events involving Gate City Lodge #2 show that there are unofficial bans on non-white brothers. Being a Mason and protecting oppressed minorities should naturally go hand in hand.

    4. Brother Rich, thanks for that article. By "segregated grand lodges", I and others took that to mean that you thought that African-American, or others "of color", were denied membership by certain Grand Lodges in the USA, which of course is not the case. You were referring to recognition, or amity, among and between PHA Grand Lodges and so-called mainstream Grand Lodges. I must take friendly exception to your statement that "None of the Prince Hall Affiliation grand lodes [sic] despite discussion are recognized by any American grand lodges." That, of course, is simply not true, Brother Rich. I'm sure that must have just been a mental typo on your part. And while many mainstream Grand Lodges "recognize" the PHA Grand Lodges in their states and elsewhere, and most permit intervisitation, dual membership, if it exists at all, is rare. That circumstance is most often at the request of the respective PHA Grand Lodges.
      There is no denying that some Deep South mainstream Grand Lodges have still not agreed to full recognition of PHA. But we're in a marathon, Brother Rich, not a sprint. Picking a scab will not help it heal. As you know, social and cultural norms are often slow to change. But I am confident that change will take place.
      Accurate communication will contribute to that change.
      Stay Safe, Brother Rich.


    5. There are two groups of Prince Hall grand lodges. Prince Hall Origin and Prince Hall Affiliation. PHO grand lodges have been recognized except for the grand lodges that I have listed. None of the Prince Hall Affiliation or National Compact grand lodges have been recognized by any caucasian grand lodges. There are of course other grand lodges - St.John Grand Lodges and Hiram Grand Lodges for example.



      Of course the debate over the National Compact grand lodges descent still goes on.

    6. Brother Rich, you are repeating your previous erroneous statement with reference to recognition of PHA Masons by what you refer to as "causcasian grand lodges". Perhaps you've heard of the Masonic Service Association. They have a sterling reputation for honesty and objectivity. If you continue to post messages with blatantly false information, dialogue becomes monologue and there is no sense in continuing.

      Contrary to your reasoning, the fact that any particular Grand Lodge does not have an African-American in the line does not make it a segregated Grand Lodge. Similarly, the inclusion of one African-American in a Grand Line does not make that Grand Lodge "integrated".
      Where/what are "caucasian grand lodges"? That's the first time I've heard that expression used by anyone.
      What is your intention in repeating false statements? Is doing so in the best interests of peace and harmony? Do you seek to heal, or to divide?
      I wish you well, Brother, and extend to you the hand of Friendship.

    7. The MSA site is saying exactly what I have been saying. As for what to call the group of lodges that are in the conference of grand masters of the largely white grand lodges, and which include Georgia -- as George Washington lodges for example, that presents a problem because in calling them regular lodges one is inferring agreement that other grand lodges are unrecognized or irregular. I suppose we end the exchange without agreeing. Georgia freemasonry is discriminatory of blacks and gays, which I think is a contradiction of what freemasonry is about.

    8. Well, my Brother, this will be my last post on the matter. Your refusal to admit errors in your posts, despite leaving the door open for you to do so, makes further comments useless.
      In an above post by you, Brother Rich, you stated - and I'm quoting now - "None of the Prince Hall Affiliation grand lodes [sic] despite discussion are recognized by any American grand lodges." Notice the word "None". That statement is false, and I pointed you to an MSA article:
      that clearly dispels that allegation. It lists 44 states in this great United States of America that DO recognize Prince Hall Masons. Ergo, contrary to your statement, there are numerous states that recognize Prince Hall Affiliation Grand Lodges. Perhaps, like a former President of the United States, there is..."confusion"... as to what "is" is. Or in this case what the word "None" is that you used in context.
      Fiat Lux

    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    10. Brother Rich, I largely agree with your argument. But I thought it was PHA that is recognized, while PHO/Compact is not. The lack of recognition for PHO is due to PHO creating a National Grand Lodge, which PHA (and "regular" GLs) consider to be an irregular practice, as in the US each state GL is sovereign in its jurisdiction. So the issue of recognition by "regular" GLs is complicated by the fact that PHA does not recognize PHO and never has.

    11. [I deleted my previous comment because I had my information backwards and I was unable to edit that comment]

      Brother Phil, I think you may be misunderstanding what Brother Rich is saying. He's saying that "regular" GLs only recognize one of the PH GLs but not the other type of PH GL. I could of course be wrong, but the link provided doesn't seem to address the issue one way or the other.

  6. Freemasonry is fine as an institution. It's truth, it's position, is simply stated for all the world to see. But it could be argued that those who practice segregation are in fact not real Masons but are masquerading as such. It is not necessary for Freemasonry to catch up with the world, but it is necessary for the world to catch up with us.

    Prince Hall Freemasonry has been of immense value around the world and for the black community in particular. It is the burden of Grand Masters to ultimately regulate, determine and decide what causes the Craft will champion within their respective jurisdictions. This regulation also includes the use of the Square and Compasses. Remember, in some states the Square and Compasses are registered, and also in certain jurisdictions overseas. And there are organizations using the Square and Compasses which have nothing to do with regular Freemasonry.

    "Individual Freemasons may fight for the causes they support, but 'The Freemasons' do not take sides in social, political, cultural, or religious conflicts."

    To further clarify the statement above it might be helpful to remind ourselves what regular Freemasonry is, and what it is not.

    Author, Jamie Paul Lamb, wrote: "Freemasonry is not a diner's club, it is neither a social order, nor is it a service order. Freemasonry is an ancient and exclusive initiatory system, teaching sublime truths by symbol and allegory woven into a suite of transformational initiatory rituals-that's what we have that is our own; everything else can be found in the profane, quotidian world or in other Fraternal orders, which share neither our antiquity nor our priceless heritage of ageless Wisdom, Strength and Beauty."

  7. Last night I had a quiet and socially distant (well, relatively) 4th of July in a Brother Mason's backyard. We enjoyed a few spirits and fine smokes while the fireworks exploded overhead, he noted, the United States is Freemasonry's greatest experiment, to which I added, one who's ideals remain just above the reach of it's general citizens.
    I understand the point of Masonic "neutrality", and with it a certain amount of stoicism, but the reality is another thing entirely. At it's best, the Craft displays a higher ideal not for what's said, but what is seen and heard. When, as Masons you espouse one thing but act on another, you exemplify inauthenticity. As long as there is a need to point out that any lives matter, as long as we as a body do not act, walk, and otherwise conduct ourselves according to the oath we took, we dishonor it.
    So, Brother Chris, I charge every Brother to either live up to their oath, or don't! But don't pretend that the square and compass gives absolution, for it never has...

  8. Dear Brother Hodapp,
    It is about time to start such discussion. Since the target is perfection and it is a process , which will be never stop. I am asking permeation to use your publication like a base to try to explain What is really is going on to my brothers in our Grand Lodge in Bulgaria. Some of them have a pictures with statue of Albert Paik, and such a treatment needs some explanation.
    I am ready to add pictures also
    Plamen Mateev MWIPGM of GL AF&AM of Bulgaria

    1. Brother Mateev,
      Thanks for asking. Everything I have posted on this blog site over the last 15 years may be quoted and circulated by any Mason. You're welcome to print anything you find useful. All I ask is that you cite me as the source.

    2. Thahks a lot Brother Hodapp. I shall follow exactly your requierments. It should be on Bulgarian ofcourse including some national examples (Monument in Ruse
      At the end of August 1877, Russian troops fiercely attacked the Turkish neighborhood in Ruse, which almost collapsed to the ground. This is what the Turkish rulers decided to exterminate the entire Bulgarian population in Ruse – all were taken to the field at Vladikova Bahcha (now Youth Park),where they spent several days. Ivan Veder ( father of freemasonry in Bulgaria) manages to get out of his surrounded house, paying for a bag of gold. He stopped by the Italian consul Enrique de Gubbarnatis- with whom the influential Turkish Hadji Mehmet Aaliyah was invited to take them up to LeventaHill - to lobby for Delaver Pasha,the commander of Egyptian troops stationed around the city.
      When they enter the grazing, all three make a Masonic sign with their hands. Realizing that he was speaking to a higher-ranking Masonic brother, he promised Ivan brotherly assistance. When he returned from Leventa, the delegation found the population of the city surrounded by Egyptian troops, who guarded it from non-regular (Bashibozuks and Cherkez) troops companion Turkish regular army and. As a result, 4,000 citizens of Rousse and buildings in the city were saved from the blaze)
      . I shall coppy to you with mentioned you like a source

  9. Segregation should not have a place in Freemasonry. It is shameful and go to prove that Humans remain Human.
    How can such Lodges that practice segregation be recognized? When it is clear that They are acting contrary to the constitution of Freemasonry.

  10. I think a lot of the replies, which are valid arguments, are still missing the point of the article. When I came into the lodge one thing I was taught was to leave politics at the door. We don’t schuck, jive, hop, or shimmy.( no offense) We educate, we practice good faith, we’re charitable, we are pillars of our OWN communities. But as an organization we DO NOT pick sides. We are individuals that make up a collective and if fellow brethren are like minded as you it is possible to do something away from the fraternity. There are groups and organizations already purposed for fighting for human rights and if that’s where your heart is help them out and volunteer with your brothers by your side and show the community y’all care.


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