This last weekend the London-based newspaper The Telegraph published a feature story entitled “Millennials and Vegans welcome: Have the Freemasons gone woke?”. Needless to say, discussions on various Masonic groups on social media went into overdrive.
In this piece, I am giving the author the benefit of the doubt that he was just trying to give the story a headline that would gather the most link clicks or readers. My jaundiced eye on many things in life, (Especially on the media’s coverage of Freemasonry in the United Kingdom), thinks it was a veiled way to take a swipe at the Fraternity. They did this knowing it would cause many of the elder Brethren in England to ruin their appetite for their Sunday roast dinners and cause negative posts on the web, making us look like fools. If that was objective. Mission accomplished.
I will be completely honest with you and tell you I did not read the story that was published. It was placed behind a paywall and, to be honest, I have read enough of these types of stories over the years so I am pretty much convinced how it was slanted. If I am wrong I will totally apologize to the author of the piece Joe Schute. Honestly, none of this is why I am decided to write about this today.
One of the biggest pet peeves I have discovered since I started writing is people on social media who will just read the headline of a piece, maybe look at the attached photo and form an opinion and begin to comment in the post, having no idea what they are talking about, not only making themselves look like fools but their ignorance usually ends up causing a flame-fest instead of an educated dialogue. This topic was no different.
The Brethren on our various social channels went insane with crazy comments and kneejerk reactions. Not to mention a few snippets of ritual some brethren have memorized when they want to prove their point. All of this because of a silly made-up word. “Woke”
I do my best not to express my political beliefs when I am writing on any Masonic topic. I say this because I want no one trying to twist my words saying I am advocating, either way for Freemasonry and some political or cultural agenda. If you know me personally you know my feelings and so I am sure you know I am not advocating for anything of any kind. The thing that gets me this whole thing is much to do about nothing. I will explain why.
What many of these young people are calling “being woke” here in the last few years. We collectively have been calling it “Freemasonry.
We are told we are not to judge people by the color of their skin or their national origins. We as Freemasons believe that our Fraternity is inclusive. We judge no man by his color or from whence he came. All we ask is that he be a law-abiding citizen and be willing to join us and comply with our rules and keep our secrets. We are the originators of the concept of “All men are created equal” and being upon the square.
These young people believe in conducting “Days of giving” and Days of service”. Needless to say, Freemasonry has been trying to make a better world for almost three centuries. (Don’t make me pull out the old cliche about how we donate two million dollars a day to charities).
Freemasons have always been at the forefront of social justice too. (Sadly, sometimes individual members have been on the wrong side of it too). Many Brethren fought wars or marched in protest of injustice and tyranny. I truly hope and pray we will continue to do so.
These are just examples. Yes, I know there is someone out there just itching to point out how there have been Freemasons who have been also on the wrong side of things. That is true, as we all have our opinion and free will. Those men will have to answer to the Supreme Architect of the Universe for their transgressions. I just like to believe that there are more Brethren out in the world working for good than for evil. If that is not the case then what I write here makes no difference. My point still stands. For centuries Freemasons have been “woke”. It’s now the rest of the world that has been in darkness is finally beginning to catch up with us.
In the end, it really does not matter what color a man's skin is, his nationality, or his heritage. Nor does his socio-economic status, his sexuality, or his diet. Rich, poor, gay, straight, vegan, it doesn't matter! If he has circled that altar as you have, he is your Brother and you need to treat him as such. I want to leave you with this last thing. It might be the most important part of this whole essay. Guard your writings.
If you go back and read the comments on this story on social media or any story like this you will see what I am saying. I hate to say it but some of the comments on these posts are hateful! Racial slurs, comments on people’s sexual choices, profanity. Not to mention name-calling. I hope most of them are trolls, but I must believe some of these posters have sat in a Masonic lodge. How can a man who professed to love his Masonic Brother and assist him in his times of distress call him vile and vicious names? Apparently, that man has not learned anything from our teachings. Posting in the public comments of a story or on Facebook…etc. whether anonymous or not still reflects an image of us in the profane world. It is almost the equivalent of being drunk in public while wearing a Masonic T-shirt. You are making the rest of us and you look bad.
Like I said at the beginning of this piece. I have no idea or not whether this journalist created that headline for clicks or to get ignorant and vile kneejerk comments to make us look bad to the world. If that was his intention you fell right into his trap and gave him what he wanted.
Well played Brethren.
WB Bill Hosler was made a Master Mason in 2002 in Three Rivers Lodge #733 in Indiana. He served as Worshipful Master in 2007 and became a member of the internet committee for Indiana's Grand Lodge. Bill is currently a member of Roff Lodge No. 169 in Roff Oklahoma and Lebanon Lodge No. 837 in Frisco, Texas. Bill is also a member of the Valley of Fort Wayne Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in Indiana. A typical active Freemason, Bill also served as the High Priest of Fort Wayne's Chapter of the York Rite No. 19 and was commander of the Fort Wayne Commandery No. 4 of the Knight Templar. During all this, he also served as the webmaster and magazine editor for the Mizpah Shrine in Fort Wayne Indiana.
Dear Bill, I am the Communications and Marketing Director for UGLE and I helped organise the article. You are right that the newspaper will always you a controversial heading (and pictures) to suck people into the article. Also the journalist rarely picks the heading - that is chosen by the editor and sub editor. Joe was actually very fair in his article and conducted a lot of research.ReplyDelete
The feature itself is actually very positive and within it the CEO David Staples comments: "We are at our core the antithesis of woke."
The article is behind a pay wall - which is very common in the UK - but you can sign up for free for a month. I have also posted screen grabs of the article on social media for members to read and am more than happy to send you the full article.