Survey Says? Part II
by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB. Robert. H. Johnson
Not long ago, I published the first in a series of articles I planned on writing involving Masonic data. I asked a simple question about the Scottish Rite and you can read about it and see the crazy results of that survey here.
This time around, I wanted to gauge whether or not we as a fraternity really understand what and who we are, that is--Do we know that we are a fraternity of men who are a total mix of different religions and whats more, that we are not tied to any one faith?
We had over 300 responses to the initial open-ended question:
So without bias, and for your edification, here are the results.
67.9% said there was no particular background.
13% said that Masonry is a Christian fraternity who accepts others.
19.1% said that Masonry was a Deist order who accepts others.
The results are what I expected. An overwhelming number of respondents believe what I do, and that is we are indeed, "The Brotherhood of man, under the Fatherhood of God." The other results are somewhat concerning to me. nearly 33% feel that there is some kind of religious category we fit into.
I'll leave you all with these results and to do with them as you will. Perhaps this is an opportunity for us to make those changes or to whisper some council in an erring brother's ear. Overwhelmingly, this boils down to a tolerance issue. And as far as tolerance is concerned, if you look it up in a dictionary, there should be a picture of the Square and Compasses.
Bro. Robert Johnson, 32° is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the First North-East District of Illinois. He is the Master of Waukegan Lodge No. 78 and Education officer for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. He is also a member of the York Rite bodies Royal Arch, Cryptic Council, Knights Templar, AMD, The Illinois Lodge of Research and a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago as well as a charter member of the Society of King Solomon, a charity organization run by the Grand Lodge of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatre which focus on topics relating to Freemasonry. In addition, he produces video shorts focusing on driving interest in the Fraternity and writes original Masonic papers from time to time. He is also a cohost of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. 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 currently working on a book of Masonic essays.
I do not see this as a tolerance issue. All of the answers are inherently tolerant -- they all accept "the other" and reflect a fair, objective and permissive attitude toward opinions, beliefs and practices different than ones own.ReplyDelete
I voted the "correct" answer because I know my ritual, but, looking around my lodge, the only reason it is not factually correct to say it is an organization of Christian men is that we have one Jewish member (who moved and never comes anymore). So, I would assume that the newly raised mason next to me who says "masonry is an organization of Christian men who also accept others of different faiths" to be speaking not from intolerance, but instead to be speaking from the parochialism of our local lodge. In fact, what "best describes" the factual, demographic situation of my lodge IS the answer of "Christian men".
Intolerance is a very ugly word, usually used to silence discussion by shaming the opposing party at the outset. In this article, you assigned the motive of "intolerance" to 32.1% of your brethren. As you are a WM, an education officer, and a whole list of other titles, I struggle to believe it was your intention to assign such motives, but that is functionally what happened.
When Orville and Wilbur Wright had disagreements, they would often agree to switch sides in the argument. This assured each that the other completely understood the basis of their own argument, and taught respect and understanding to each regarding the other's views. I would urge that, before offering blanket motives for opposing views, an effort be made to understand the opposition.
Daniel Tice, PM Unity Lodge #48
Bro. I appreciate your response. I see it as a tolerance issue because to me, the only reason to label anything is to create a difference. If your lodge is Christian, the members proclaim this and the act of doing so is inherently stating "don't come here if your not." But, that's just my two cents.ReplyDelete
Meh, the Christian bit doesn't surprise me. Look to our ritual, then look at the applications for some jurisdictions... pretty easy for someone to believe that based on those two things.ReplyDelete
I also believe in a difference between "tolerance" and welcoming.ReplyDelete
Is your lodge religiously intolerant? I know some that are - no Muslims would ever gain membership.
Is your lodge "tolerant"? Many lodges which would self-lable as tolerant overtly project as Christian (perhaps not intentionally) ie: dinner prayers are always Christo-centric.
Is your lodge welcoming? If your GL allows more than one VSL, place at least the "big 3" displayed on your alter. Train the chaplain to craft prayers that leave room for all Brothers beliefs.
Can we claim to know the true religious beliefs of an long time lodge Brother, or know when a visiting brother will knock on the door? It can't be about the demographics of our own mother lodge. "Welcoming" is a worthwhile extension to being truly tolerant.
Brothers we have work to do, there is a temple to build. All hands on deck! :-)