by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Brian Schimian
It isn’t often that something I see, in regards to the Craft, makes me lose just a little faith in humanity. And I think that somewhere along the way, we missed the opportunity to make a difference. The other day, the moderator of a Facebook group for Masons made a post stating that posts of a “religious” nature would be taken down so as to not offend anyone that may feel excluded and that they considered the internet talk group the same as a Lodge room and thus the “religion & politics” doctrine pertains.
First of all, the internet is not a tyled lodge room so the same rules do not apply. This is the internet. Any attempt to compare the two is beyond outlandish.
Second of all, Masonry is, in fact, inclusive of all religions. To say that a religious post will be removed because it may offend someone simply because it is religious in nature tears the roots of Masonry as an inclusive, accepting and tolerant society out of the ground.
I do believe that if most (not all) of you actually take a second and bring yourself down on to the Level and read your GL doctrines, the Holy Bible is specifically referenced as the VSL (Volume of Sacred Law) that must be on the altar and any others that a Brother would like can join it on the altar. At least it is in my GL, as it is in many of the Grand Lodges in the United States.
Regardless, this was not exactly a correct post in the spirit of the Craft. In my humble opinion, anyway.
Then some other Brethren chimed in and a hearty discussion was had. Things like this make me proud to be part of this great organization:
“Personally if someone wanted to post a positive scripture quote that can edify a mason to be a better man, no matter what Holy book it comes from so be it. Our rituals and degrees have religious overtones all over. If one, or all Holy Scripts can be open on our alters, then a post of positivity (not for promotion of a particular religious sect) that can make a man better, help him, or enlighten him, the better he is for it."
"I have my faith, yet I love to learn from others, and their enlightenment from their faith. This is one of many rays of light we should seek and give an ear to. If we earnestly seek truth, light, and don't exclude any faith then what is wrong a quote of enlightenment.”
Then things went someplace that I never thought they could in this day and age…
A Brother of the Craft actually posted this:
“I can give you many versus from the holy bible that are used in blue lodge. If a candidate ever wanted to take his obligation on the Koran I would get up and leave the lodge never to return. Just my two cents.”
I was blown away, to say the very least.
Apparently I wasn't the only one because responses like this were bountiful:
“I have sat in Lodge when 4 sacred scriptures were placed on the Altar of Free Masonry due to the different faiths present. Please remember that your lodge opens on Old Testament passages only.
Masons do not practice religion, but require that members believe in deity which is described as the Supreme or Grand (depending on your Grand Lodge) Architect of the Universe.
Blue Lodge Masonry does not identify any religion by name in any ritual.
I have been honored to sit with Muslims in Lodge. They were good men, just and upright in their beliefs and manner."
"Sadly, I would rather be in their company than yours due to your posted statements in this site. They are definitely un-Masonic."
"I sincerely whisper this counsel into your ear: please go back and study your obligations in the three degrees. Some how you appear to have missed their meaning."
I will not share the names of the people making these comments or the Lodges that they say the hail from… I will say that the Brother that would rather walk away from Freemasonry because of the choice of VSL one would make does attend under my same GL jurisdiction. I am throughly disgusted that such an opinion exists within Masonry today. This just goes to show that religious extremism is alive and well in all sects of religion today. It is supposed to be Freemasonry that fosters the tolerance and acceptance of those that are different than us.
Saying that about a Brother that wants to take his obligations with a different VSL is so anti everything Masonry stands for.
There are Brethren in other Countries that have given more and risked their lives just to attend Lodge than anyone in America can understand. Just like in Germany during WWII when Brothers went "underground" and had to stop using the S&C as identification and opted to use the Forget Me Not flower instead.
I will close with this, we as Speculative Masons are charged with certain obligations. Among these are the application of the working tools of Operative Masons to the world we live in. I would challenge every Brother to reread his obligations and the lessons contained within the degrees of Blue Lodge. There are only very certain times, people and instances in which your obligations do not apply. And these obligations are not just to Brothers, sisters, mothers and so on… they are to extend to everyone as long as it is within your cabletow.
Use that trowel to spread the cement of brotherhood.
Be the example, be the Light for all others.
It is 2015, these are not new ideas by any means. Grow up and move on...or get out of the way.