I was hoping not to have to address this issue. I thought perhaps Masons finally got it, but they didn't. I see plastered all over the Masonic Internet the speech of Frank Hass before the annual national banquet of the Philalethes Society and also much ongoing talk about Prince Hall Recognition. But I don't see any solutions being advanced.
OK, we got a problem. HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!! Well that's half the battle, admitting that there really is a problem. So we won't waste time debating whether we actually do have concerns. But if we have concerns, er problems, don't we need to address them? Everybody I have listened to and read so far seems to think there is no solution. Most say it is the private problem of the Grand Lodges and their members.
So in regards to all American Grand Lodges demanding a belief in Deity how did all Grand Lodges come to the same conclusion? OK, pick a state, any state. We will call it state X. Now state X decides to change the requirement for a belief in Deity. It will now admit atheists. So will that change Grand Lodge X's relationship with the other 49 state GLs? All of them recognize Grand Lodge X now. What that GL does is its own private affair, right? And any correction is up to the members of that GL, right? So we in the rest of the 49 state GLs will continue to sit with state X's members?
Most of you say we won't. What will we do? Pull recognition from state X's GL? You're kidding! I thought all GLs were sovereign. We would actually mess with sovereignty? But that's just one extreme example you say?
So in regards to all American Grand Lodges excluding women how did all Grand Lodges come to the same conclusion? OK, pick a state, any state. We will call this state, state Y. Now the GL of state Y decides that it will now admit women. So will that change Grand Lodge Y's relationship with the other 49 state GLs? All of them recognize Grand Lodge Y now. What state Y's GL does is its own private affair, right? Who are we to criticize what they do? And any correction is up to the members of that GL. right? So we in the rest of the 49 states will continue to sit with state Y's members?
Most of you say we won't. What will we do? Pull recognition from state Y's GL? You're kidding. I thought all Grand Lodges were sovereign. We would actually mess with sovereignty?
So in regards to Prince Hall Recognition and Black men being admitted to Mainstream Masonry how did we all not come to the same conclusion? OK, pick a state, any state. We will call this state Z. Now the GL of state Z decides to exclude Black men. So will that change the Grand Lodge Z's relationship with the other states that do admit Black men? All of them recognize Grand Lodge Z now. What state Z does is its own private affair, right? Who are we to criticize what they do? And any correction is up to the members of that GL, right? So we in the rest of the states will continue to sit with state Z's members?
Most of you say we will. And that, my friends, tells me that you will discipline another Grand Lodge for violating a belief in Deity and for admitting women but for racism you will do nothing. And all the while you are cloaking your so called reasoned argument in the right of Grand Lodge sovereignty, sovereignty when it suits the argument and no sovereignty when it doesn't.
If a Grand Lodge or a Grand Master is in violation of the moral law, civil law, the by-laws and regulations of said Grand Lodge or the virtues, principles and landmarks of Freemasonry then the Grand Lodge or its representative has overstepped its sovereignty and has forfeited it on that particular issue or action.
To give a Grand Lodge or a Grand Master the power to be un-Masonic is treasonous and self defeating. So does a Grand Lodge have sovergnity? Yes, if it obeys the laws of God and man and the Institution and Principles of Freemasonry.
But to let a Grand Lodge or a Grand Master violate those laws and say that there is nothing that can be done because sovereignty cannot be limited or disciplined is just a foolish and radically unjust position to take and what will ultimately lead to the destruction of the Craft.
So you say again, well that is still a problem of the membership of that Grand Lodge and not mine? Frank Hass said before The Philalethes Society:
"We are one large fraternity divided into grand lodges. What happens to us reflects upon you. What happens to one group of your brothers affects the whole."
And it is not easy for members under the thumb of power to challenge that power and win.
Look at the world governments out there. Was it possible to overthrow Hitler? Has anybody been able to topple Castro? Would the people of Iraq have ever been able to oust Sadaam? We watch the citizens of some of these countries brought before firing squads and murdered. Mass graves hold thousands, even millions. And we sit by and do nothing because it is not proper for the USA to butt into the affairs of another nation? People point out that they are sovereign states and its up to the citizens of that government to correct any wrongs. It's not for an outsider to do. Would you have let the Holocaust go on without stepping in?
Was desegregation in the South accomplished without the use of external force? Did not the federal government send in troops? My God, that was 40 some years ago and we in Masonry will still not do the same. We will not step in with external force and make it right. We will allow Black men to be denied, we will allow good Masons to be expelled without charges and without a Masonic trial, we will allow prostitutes to run amuck in the Shrine, yet we refuse to take any action.
We must stop thinking about the sanctity of Institutions and start thinking about the treatment and rights of people. Tomorrow I would declare the states of WV, KY, TN, NC, SC, GA, FL, MS, AL, LA, AR irregular, clandestine and unrecognized. I would call for a national convention as we had in the Baltimore convention and they would draft up a national Masonic Constitution and Bill of Rights and anybody not signing them would be declared clandestine, that is if I was still in Mainstream Masonry.
We must stop sitting on protocol and find a solution or watch our beloved Fraternity disintegrate before our eyes.