A Scottish Rite Mason ought to be a unifier. Any 32nd Degree Mason that truly follows our order understands this. The core values of the Scottish Rite, NMJ are Reverence for God, Integrity, Justice, Toleration, Devotion to Country, and Service to Humanity. These are all unifying qualities that can help bridge the gap we see amongst our friends and family. I will explain these values in terms of unity.
Reverence for God: We need to understand we are all children of the same Heavenly Father. How can we revere God if we hate his children? Let us stop putting each other into camps and start humanizing each other. Conversations will be gentler, kinder, and more productive.
Integrity: To be in unity with someone, you must trust them. Being a person of integrity will allow others to be open to you, listen to your ideas, and share their most vulnerable thoughts. A person without integrity cannot lead people who agree with them, let alone trying to unify people of differing opinions.
Justice: Scottish Rite Freemasons must always seek justice. To find justice, we must rely on a core principle of a Freemason, truth. Truth and justice can be slow, deliberate, and boring. As a unifier, we need to be slow to pass judgment but quick to call for truth and justice even if it's painful and time-consuming.
Toleration: To tolerate the opposition, we must listen to understand and not just to reply. We must respect their perspective and only argue their idea, not attack their character. Tolerating someone is more than just getting along. It is about finding common ground and presenting the best ideas from all sides.
Devotion to County: You cannot be devoted to this country if you are okay with a division that is so deep that neither side can come to the table to achieve anything. We cannot continue to speak in echo chambers and dismiss anyone who disagrees with us. Diversity of thought is a strength. It will take unifiers working together to ensure we do not shut out the opposing side.
Service to Humanity: Are you more of service to humanity volunteering at the local food pantry or arguing politics on Facebook? How much time do we waste trying to prove we are right instead of helping the needy? How many networking opportunities are lost because we delete each other or because we refuse to associate with the other side?
Freemasonry is local. This is where we need to start. We start with our Facebook friends, our neighbors, our colleagues, our lodges, and our city councils. The next time you are about to write a divisive comment to prove your point, ask yourself if there is a more productive way to discuss your thoughts through the lens of a Scottish Rite Mason.
To quote the Scottish Rite Creed of the Southern Jurisdiction:“Human progress is our cause,
liberty of thought our supreme wish,
freedom of conscience our mission,
and the guarantee of equal rights to all people everywhere our ultimate goal.”
WB Christopher J. Hathaway was raised in Catlin Masonic Lodge #285 and is the current Worshipful Master of Bloomington Masonic Lodge #43. He belongs to the Valley of Danville, AASR where he is the Most Wise Master of the George E. Burow Chapter of Rose Croix and Membership Chairman. Other appendant bodies include the Gao Grotto, Mohammed Shriners, and the Illinois Lodge of Research. Outside of the lodge, he enjoys spending time with his wife Taylor and cheering on the Fighting Illini and Chicago Cubs.