Take Off Your Hat!

by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason, 33°
The Illustrious Brother Ernest Borgnine, 33° and Frank Sinatra fight in "From Here To Eternity" (1953)

We've all seen that scene in a movie. Some army sergeant challenges his superior officer by saying "if you weren't wearing that hat, I'd teach you a lesson." Of course, the captain takes off his hat, and the two wind up in a fist fight--just two equal men settling a quarrel between them. 

Symbols of rank and authority are respected because they represent something larger than just the one individual. They represent the values of the military or of the law enforcement agency in which those individuals wearing the symbols belong. Those individuals are still human beings, but while they wear the rank and insignia of their office, they represent everyone involved with that organization. They often have to suppress their personal feelings while they are representing the entire group. 

The same is true of Masonry. When we wear our hats, lapel pins, rings, or have that emblem on our bumper, we are out there in the world representing ourselves as Masons. We are still human beings, but when we make that choice to represent ourselves publicly as a Freemason, we need to act like one. We should work very hard to make sure we are demonstrating the core principles and values of the Fraternity that more than 6 million Freemasons belong to world-wide. 

The same is true on social media. I couldn't tell you the number of times I'm disappointed by the way Freemasons behave on social media. A couple weeks ago, I unfriended and blocked a number of Freemasons because I didn't want to be associated with the things they were posting, saying, and doing on social media. I'm not a prude, but I was embarrassed. I don't want our Fraternity tarnished by the poor judgement of a few of our Brothers that seem to lack the good sense to conduct themselves appropriately in a public setting. 

If you're wearing the red fez in your profile picture, then act like a Shriner--that fez represents us all and you should conduct yourself accordingly. And if you display the square and compass on your homepage, then don't get into ugly debates and call people names and generally act like an idiot--again, you represent us all. Part of being a Freemason is learning to subdue our passions and keep ourselves within due bounds. Likewise, if you see that behavior and say nothing to your Brothers that are involved in it, you're contributing to it yourself. When we see our brothers acting foolishly, we should gently try and correct their behavior because it reflects badly on us all. We are, after all, our Brother's keeper. Right? 

Now people will criticize me for saying this. That's a given. They'll say that just because they're a Mason doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to express an opinion, post what they want or get into a debate on social media if they feel like it. You're right. We live in a free society that values few things more than free speech. I'm just saying that if you're going to do that, and you can't keep the discussions civil, then do so as an individual, not as a member of an organization that holds in high regard values like tolerance, equality, and harmony. An organization of men from many ethnic, religious, political and educational backgrounds. If you can't represent the best values of the Fraternity, then do us all a favor and don't represent yourself as a Mason. 

In other words, take off your hat! 


Todd E. Creason, 33° is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and is a regular contributor.  He is the award winning author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. He is the author of the From Labor to Refreshment blog.  He is the Worshipful Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 and a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754.  He is a Past Sovereign Master of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees.  He is a Fellow at the Missouri Lodge of Research. (FMLR) and a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D.  You can contact him at: webmaster@toddcreason.org


  1. This needs to be broadcast on every medium available. Sharing this in every FB group I'm a member of.

    1. Thank you! Help yourself! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  2. As in society today, respect seems to have gone to the wayside in Masonry. It can only be restored by practicing it and not rewarding the actions of those who do not. Great pist, thank you.

    1. We could do a better job at policing ourselves and offering wise counsel.

  3. How does one offer wise counsel to those that refuse to hear? That is the sad part of the story...

    1. When people don't take council, be an example. You can't change others but you can change yourself.

    2. And if it's somebody you know, why not bring it up in your lodge. Issues you don't discuss don't get resolved.

  4. For instance, If you cover your car with Masonic symbols, don't drive like an idiot or worse, drive agressively.

  5. Bro. Creasn,

    I respect your position, but then comes the question of whose morality governs? Things that some brothers of an older generation might find to be a problem, those of a younger generation see no issues with. The same issues plagued previous generations. For example, today many see no issues with Masons appearing on FaceBook or other social media holding a glass of alcohol, yet a mere 100 ago that would have been anathema. Even 50 years ago, senior brethren would have been highly offended and thought it un-Masonic. It even went to the point that some Grand Lodges would not allow a man who sold alcohol to become a member. Now it is something that few think anything about.

    What happens when it is a question of the use of language? Or politics? What of those who, under the belief of self righteousness choose to damn members of Co-Masonry publicly and sometimes with physical force just because they are women who dare to practice Freemasonry or wear a Masonic symbol? When do we cross the line and is the line in different places for different people?

    We each have our own morality that we have to live up to, or down to as the case may be, according to what we believe. When you approach a brother, do so with caring, understanding, and ease, not condemnation. If you condemn, then you may very well lose him.




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