Of Brotherhood . . .

  by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Sir Knight Robert Johnson

The brotherhood of man has long been known, but only for a short time been realized. And yet is still not practiced by everyone. What do I mean? Let us consider slavery, classes and bigotry. Certainly you would not let your brother be indentured into slavery, for he is your equal. Classes push fourth the idea that those of us with an excess of monetary funds (although not in all cases) will be of a better stock or more inclined to rule or govern other men. There is no doubt this has started to break down with the decline of monarchies but it is still alive and well within the political world. This paper being of a Masonic nature, we will leave it at that. Because politics is something that separates all men. Finally we come to bigotry.  Bigotry is the great divider of men. Not only does it tell us of colors and races, it lets us who are outside of bigotry's reach, know who is essentially unintelligent. Because if you believe races determine anything other than geographical evolutionary traits, you are, in fact, unintelligent.

In our qualifications required for admittance into a lodge of Masons, it is asked Are you "freeborn"? We also take an oath to be level and upright and to obey the laws of our country. So naturally in the days of our rituals writings it would have been a violation of our masonic oaths to let (what was then considered) someone's "property" to be an equal. However this is where we have made progress in leaps and bounds. Slavery is no longer in practice in the United Staes of America, but nonetheless this is still within our ritual. It does seem from the earliest times of Freemasonry we have supported the not always popular idea of equality among all men and this being so, I believe it is the reason for the progress the world has made in equality of all men.

When I speak of equality between men, I am not writing of socialism or anything of that political nature. I speak of equality of a man's rights in this world both physical and spiritual. I speak of his DNA. An African American man's DNA is of the same as an Anglo's etc. We are the same species. We are tame beasts of this planet who search, live and build together. Our blood runs through the same heart. Whether an English gentleman or a "savage" from an unknown island who has never seen another man of color, we are the same. I am sure that the human race will persevere through the eons. I am equally as sure that our fraternity will survive as well, although there may be rough spots with low membership. One day there will be a time when two people meet in a cafe or office somewhere, and they will ask "Whence came you?",  and the answer will for the first time be two fold. The first answer, you know, and the second answer will be "Earth".

~Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson is a regular contributor to The Midnight Freemason.  He belongs to Waukegan Lodge No. 78. He is also a member of the York Rite bodies Royal Arch, Cryptic Council and Knights Templar. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts a weekly Podcast (internet radio program) Whence Came You? which focuses on topics relating to Freemasonry. In addition, produces video shorts focusing on driving interest in the Fraternity and writes original Masonic papers from time to time. He is a husband and father of three. He works full time in the safety industry and is also a photographer on the side as well as an avid home brewer. He is also working on two books, one is of a Masonic nature.



  1. While I agree with your comments on the Brotherhood of men and have personally labored for full inclusion of all in our great fraternity I will take issue with your interpretation of the term "free-born" as if it were referring to slaves. In the times of the cathedral builders serfs were bound to the land and were not free to travel from place to place. The Masons who build these magnificent buildings were "Free"masons who could travel from place to place and "earn Master's wages" Thus to become a Mason you had to be Free-born and not bound to the land unable to travel. I believe that is the reason that the question is asked.

    1. Brother, I would agree in whole! I wrote this from the standpoint that when I had visited some southern states, African-Americans were still not allowed to join and the above referencing was to them, the reason! I also would say that if you were born indentured to the land, then you would be a "slave" in my opinion. Great points Brother and I hope to have many more conversations and topics that we can meet "on the level" about. Thanks again for your excellent points!

  2. I totally understand the point you are coming from. However the reference to free-born still means not being free to travel. The southern states you refer to have perverted the meaning to suit their own wrong-headed thinking. They even go so far as to tell their Lodge members who live in Iowa not to attend an Iowa Lodge because Iowa has full recognition of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge. I do not think the original writers of the ritual interpreted in any other way. And yes those who were indentured to the land were little better than slaves and that is why they were not free-born. Good Conversation

    1. Wow I knew it was bad, but not that bad. I had no idea they are telling brothers not to attend certain lodges. What gets me is that Prince Hall has the only real charter in the US. So actually we are lucky thy recognize us. Pretty audacious of those southern lodges if you ask me.


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