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2008-06-01 GLoS Web Page on Black Freemasons [X] [Link_Here]

Scottish Freemasonry accused of racism!

"The principles of Freemasonry", said Cooper, "dictate that there can be no discrimination on the grounds of race".

These principles notwithstanding, for over two centuries in America, Freemasonry was segregated, and even today, the majority of Black Prince Hall Masons are still not Recognized by any of the predominantly White US Grand Lodges.

"More than 100 years before slavery was officially abolished black men were being admitted into the fraternity," explained Mark Tabbart, Curator of Fraternal Collections at the Museum of National Heritage in Lexington Massachusetts. "This is a story little known to non-Freemasons and it shows how egalitarian Freemasonry was and continues to be" said Tabbert.

Francis Cogliano. Lecturer in American history at the University of Edinburgh, said that inviting black men to join the Masons would have been a controversial move, given that British soldiers were figures of hate.

This story raises some unanswered questions. Why mention distant American history, slavery, British soldiers, and hate, when talking about the question of racism in Scottish Masonry today? Why not explain why 91% of the Regular Black Prince Hall Masons are still not Recognized by the Grand Lodge of Scotland?

One photograph of 10 Black Masons in Scotland contrasts against policies and practices that have excluded a million Regular Black Prince Hall Masons from recognition in the US and beyond.

The egalitarian nature of Freemasonry as extolled above, contrasts against the "right" of "mainstream" (formerly called White) Grand Lodges to prevent other mainstream Grand Lodges from recognizing Black Masons in "their" territory, i.e. the "American Doctrine of Exclusive Territorial Jurisdiction", which is still respected by all 51 US mainstream Grand Lodges today. As a result of this Doctrine, over half of the Prince Hall Masons are still not recognized by any US mainstream Grand Lodge.

This is so, despite the fact that 40 US mainstream Grand Lodges do recognize at least one Prince Hall Grand Lodge, and many recognize all those Prince Hall Grand Lodges that the "Doctrine" allows them to recognize. The 11 "territorially excluded" Prince Hall Grand Lodges "Down South" comprise the majority (90,000) of the 160,000 Prince Hall Masons.

The fact that Scottish Lodges admit only 9% of the Regular Black Prince Hall Masons is related to this American Doctrine of Exclusion, which, in effect, exports the "problem" (and official policy) from America to Scotland. Australian Lodges, by contrast, welcome 100% of the Regular Prince Hall Masons, because they do not value this doctrine above the principles of Freemasonry.

Scottish Freemasonry does have a reputation for being more egalitarian than some. It is indeed brave to address the question of racism in Freemasonry. While some leaders in North American Freemasonry have addressed the problem, those who acknowledge the problem may risk ostracism and expulsion.

In Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia we read: "In 1869 the Grand Orient of France resolved that neither color, race nor religion should disqualify a candidate. Although this conformed strictly to Masonic principles, it raised the racial question and so disturbed the Grand Lodges of the US that several ... severed relations with the Grand Orient."

In 1976, George Draffen, the Deputy Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Scotland, wrote: "the British Grand Lodges have never accepted the American doctrine of exclusive jurisdiction."

Scottish Freemasonry could truly help "blaze a trail in race relations in world Freemasonry" today, as some of Canadian Freemasonry and all of Australian Freemasonry have been doing.

As of June 1, 2008, the following 11 US Grand Lodges and 2 Canadian Grand Lodges do not yet Recognize any of the 160,000 Regular Black Prince Hall Masons in the 47 Prince Hall Affiliated Grand Lodges:

U.S.A.: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia.
Canada: Ontario, Newfoundland-Labrador (N.B.: The Scottish Lodges in Newfoundland-Labrador do have recognition!)

For over 200 years Prince Hall Masons have sought to be recognized as genuine, regular Masons. Denial of recognition to regular Masons can only harm the dignity, integrity, and esteem of the entire Masonic Order.

The History (and Future) of Prince Hall Recognition in Canada (in Context) (UD)

2008-05-31 Masonic Research -- a GLoS Perspective [X]

The Grand Lodge of Scotland web site shows an interesting perspective on Masonic Research, which appears as an item under "Masonic Subjects". This view leaves little room for a Research Society, such as the TSMR, the Philalethes, the Phylaxis, and the new "Masonic Society", etc. Given the opening of Masonic research in the past decade on one hand, and the orthodoxification efforts embraced by some research societies on the other, this classification makes for interesting contemplation.

2008-05-31 The Masonic Society [X]

On May 1st, 2008, a new organization was announced, the "Masonic Society". Included were the names of the original 49 Founding Fellows. Key phrases from the announcement include:

A significant group of passionate Masons
new and exciting organization
vibrant, active community within the fraternity
the premiere North American research society in Freemasonry
the forefront of charting a path for the future of Freemasonry
Our name ... alludes to the Royal Society ... at the forefront of the Age of Enlightenment
our new Society will be at the forefront of a new age of Freemasonry

Others have described it variously:

Freemasons for Dummies Announcement
The Masonic Society - Channeling Masonic Thought
The Masonic Society - Epilogue
This organization aims to support and conduct research, education, and other activities to promote Freemasonry.

2008-05-31 Templum Fidelis Lodge has Web Site [X]

This informative web site speaks for itself.

2008-05-06 IMMINENT: Spotlight on the History of Prince Hall Recognition in Canada [X]

Factual information about Prince Hall recognition in Canada might be useful to those who wish to make informed decisions, to formulate policy, or to consider resolutions

2008-04-07 April 19 Toronto Education Workshop [X] [ON-Ed-Workshop]

(Click on the link for the poster -- 600k PDF)

Possible topics for Salon-style discussion

1. Is Freemasonry's mission the intellectual, spiritual and social advancement of humanity?
a. If no then what is its mission, guiding principles and how does it achieve its aims?
b. If yes how what are its guiding principles and how does it achieve its aims?

2. What are the most pressing issues in society at present and what relationship does Freemasonry have to these issues?

3. Read the "I am Regular" paper by Karen Kidd who won the UGLE Internet Lodge Short Paper Competition in 2007 and then discuss.

4. What is and should be the role of the Grand Lodge in the future of Freemasonry in Ontario?

2008-03-10 Centre for Research into Freemasonry welcomes new director. [X] [X]

The lecture will be given on Thursday 13 March 2008 by Doctor Andreas Önnerfors. ...

The lecture, which is entitled `Press between the private and the public: Freemasonry as a topic in 18th Century journals´, will explore how various European journals from the 1700s covered the secret and public images of freemasonry and how they reflected European thoughts of the time. ...

Dr Önnerfors is a widely-published expert on freemasonry and joined the Centre as the new director earlier this year. Originally from Germany, he has also conducted research into Swedish cultural identity, as well taught courses on European Studies.

2008-03-08 Prince Hall Delegation at 2008 CGMNA [X] [X]

The 2008 Conference of Grand Masters in North America (CGMNA) was held in Louisville, Kentucky, Feb. 17-19.

"This year history was made when the conference invited and received a delegation from the Prince Hall Conference of Grand Masters, lead by its president, MWGM Shelton D. Redden of the MWPHGL of Maryland.

GM Redden accompanied by several past and present Grand Masters and two Past Masters attended the conference and were graciously received."

2008-03-07 9th World Conference of Masonic Grand Lodges [X] [WorldConference]

List of Topics

Standing Up to Darkness

Ethics: cultivating ethical behavior in a civil society

Brotherhood of Man: countering fanaticism, intolerance, and tyranny

Masonic Integrity

Guarding Against Manipulation: countering forces trying to infiltrate lodges for their own objectives

Maintaining Grand Lodge Integrity: preventing schisms

Global Fraternal Networking

Strengthening civil society: assisting civic groups to establish worldwide partnerships for the betterment of humanity

Developing and promoting cultural and academic exchanges among Masons worldwide

Are there similarities with the topics of [X] ?

2008-01-28 Can Freemasonry be Secular? [X] [X] [X]

"The Grand Orient de France's Freemasons in UK invite you to a conference

Saturday 2nd February, 10am to 12pm

Can Freemasonry be Secular?

Free entry

"Priest-wrought and law-protected"? Approaches to the History of Secularism and Laicite in Great Britain
Dr Andrew Prescott

History of Belgium's Freemasonry Progress and Secularism
Jeffrey Tyssens

The social impact of French Freemasonry over three centuries: a global approach
Pierre Mollier ...

Central axis of French Freemasonry

... Today, [the Grand Orient de France] is the only large traditional Order to maintain friendly relations with all the other Orders [in France], including mixed and feminine orders, to which it recognizes full Masonic legitimacy.

The freedom of conscience

During the eighteenth century, the Grand Lodges throughout the world decided to recruit not only among Christians, but also to open lodges to men of all religions. During the nineteenth century, the Grand Orient de France went even farther by proposing the Masonic initiation to all men, provided that they respect the "Moral Law" as stated in the Anderson Constitutions. In 1877, to remain "the centre of the union between people who would otherwise remain total strangers," the Grand Orient abolished the requirement by which its members had to acknowledge the existence of God and the immortality of the soul. This was the beginning of a Freemasonry that accepted believers and non-believers, and left members completely free to pursue their own conscience and personal research. The Grand Orient considers metaphysical concepts are entirely personal. The lodges of the Grand Orient de France therefore work according to their own orientation, either under the invocation of Universal Freemasonry, or to the glory of the Great Architect of the Universe. They pursue a balanced humanistic approach between a reflection on the society and the initiatory work."

In 1723, Modern Free-Masonry declared: [X]

"only to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree" ...
"that is, to be good Men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty" ...

"whereby Masonry becomes the Center of Union, and the Means of conciliating
true Friendship among Persons that must have remain'd at a perpetual Distance."

On Religion and State: [X] [X] [X] [X]

2008-01-16 "Hermetic Code" On CBC TV News This Sunday [X] [X] [X] [X] [X] [X] [X]

Morley Walker, Winnipeg Free Press, 16 January, 2008:

"Word reaches us that CBC News: Sunday will feature a 10-minute piece on scholar Frank Albo's groundbreaking research into the history of the Manitoba Legislative Building.

Albo and his discovery of the building's Freemasonic symbolism were the subjects of last year's Winnipeg Free Press-published non-fiction book The Hermetic Code, co-penned by Buzz Currie and Carolin Vesely. ...

Albo said by e-mail the piece is slated to run this Sunday. The hour-long program, with hosts Evan Solomon and Carole MacNeil, airs twice, at 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.

But a CBC official said Tuesday that an air date has not been confirmed. A former Winnipegger, Albo is based at Cambridge University in England, though he retains a research fellowship at the University of Winnipeg."

According to the CBC Sunday News web site, the program also airs on CBC Newsworld, at 09:00, 21:00, and 00:00 (Monday).

Since it's a news program, the interview may or may not be aired, depending on whatever newsworthy event may pre-empt it. So, it may be in the morning slot, the evening slot, both, or neither.

[The story was titled "Winnipeg's Secret Code". It was aired in the morning, but not in the evening. Be sure to watch the video (link above). Also, read the comments on the CBC page (link above).]

2008-01-07 Grand Orient of France votes Against Considering Admitting Women [X] [X]

In March 2007 the Grand Oriend of France held a conference on the question of Mixed Freemasonry in the 21st Century.

On 2007-09-04 the 1200 delegates at the Annual Convent voted 60% against considering the question of allowing the individual lodges the choice to admit women as members.

On 2007-10-01 an Internet Domain was registered for the "Grand Orient Mixte De France".

What proportion of Grand Lodge delegates in the U.S. would vote for such a motion? Probably not even 1%. After all, U.S. Freemasons must swear not be be present at the initiation of a woman, which almost all of them interpret to mean that there can be no such thing as a woman Freemason. Reading some of the more than 100 comments on the Burning Taper story reveals some of the attitudes common among U.S. Freemasons.


Copyright 2008 TSMR