‘Freemasonry in Cuba’
3 hours ago
To make honor and duty the steady beacon-lights that shall guide your life-vessel over the stormy seas of time; to do that which it is right to do, not because it will ensure you success, or bring with it a reward, or gain the applause of men, or be “the best policy,” more prudent or more advisable; but because it is right, and therefore ought to be done; to war incessantly against error, intolerance, ignorance, and vice, and yet to pity those who err, to be tolerant even of intolerance, to teach the ignorant, and to labor to reclaim the vicious—these are some of the duties of a Mason.
The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons for the State of GeorgiaSome will complain that this edict is insufficient because it does not specifically address the Gate City situation and redress the wrongs done to that lodge. I would argue that a public edict of the Grand Master would not be the proper venue for that. This edict addresses the very issue that precipitated the Gate City controversy, and it does so in clear and unambiguous terminology. I commend the Grand Master of Georgia for issuing the only public response any true Mason could give on the issue of race and membership in Masonry: that when it comes to the color of a man's skin, the lodge, its members, and officers are to be colorblind, and no man should ever be judged unworthy of membership based on his race.
EDICT No. 2009-1
TO ALL CONSTITUTENT LODGES UNDER THE CONSTITUTION OF THE GRAND LODGE OF GEORGIA, FREE & ACCEPTED MASONS:
WHEREAS: Freemasonry has existed in Georgia since it founding in 1734 and is the oldest Fraternal organization in the State, and;
WHEREAS: Freemasonry is universal in scope, being a Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God, and;
WHEREAS: the Grand Lodge of Georgia, Free & Accepted Masons, holds membership in this worldwide Brotherhood, and;
WHEREAS: our Ancient and Honorable Fraternity welcomes to its doors and offers its privileges to men of all races, colors and national origins who believe in a Supreme Being, as stated in our Degrees and Lectures, and;
WHEREAS: no reference is made to exclude any petitioner with regard to race, color or national origin in any of the Rituals or Masonic Code authorized for use in the Constituent Lodges chartered by the Grand Lodge of Georgia, Free and Accepted Masons, and;
WHEREAS: it is incumbent on all members of our Brotherhood to abide by the Rules, Regulations, Laws and Edicts of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, Free and Accepted Masons;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:
That no negative reference be made by any officer or member of any Lodge chartered under the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, Free and Accepted Masons, in reference to a petitioner's race, color or national origin, who believe in a Supreme Being, during any Lodge Communication, conferral of degrees, proficiency practice or proficiency examination;
Further, be it resolved, that it is the responsibility of the Worshipful Master of each Lodge constituted under the Constitution of he Grand Lodge of Georgia, Free and Accepted Masons, to insure and enforce strict compliance with this EDICT, and, further, to have it read at the next two communications of the Lodge after receipt by the Lodge.
Any Lodge reported in violation of this Edict will be disciplined.
Given under my hand as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, Free and Accepted Masons, this 19th day of August, 2009.
J. Edward Jennings, Jr.
Donald I. DeKalb
Knowledge is convertible into power, and axioms into rules of unity and duty. But knowledge itself is not Power. Wisdom is Power; and her Prime Minister is Justice, which is the perfected law of Truth. The purpose, therefore, of Education and Science is to make a man wise. If knowledge does not make him so, it is wasted, like water poured on the sands. To know the formulas of Masonry, is of as little value, by itself, as to know so many words and sentences in some barbarous African or Australasian dialect. To know even the meaning of the symbols, is but little, unless that adds to our wisdom, and also to our charity, which is to justice like one hemisphere of the brain to the other.
Do not lose sight, then, of the true object of your studies in Masonry. It is to add to your estate of wisdom, and not merely to your knowledge. A man may spend a lifetime in studying a single specialty of knowledge,--botany, conchology, or entomology, for instance,--in committing to memory names derived from the Greek, and classifying and reclassifying; and yet be no wiser than when he began. It is the great truths as to all that most concerns a man, as to his rights, interest, and duties, that Masonry seeks to teach her Initiates.
Truths are the springs from which duties flow; and it is but a few hundred years since a new Truth began to be distinctly seen; that MAN IS SUPREME OVER INSTITUTIONS, AND NOT THEY OVER HIM. Man has natural empire over all institutions. They are for him, according to his development; not he for them. This seems to us a very simple statement, one to which all men, everywhere, ought to assent. But once it was a great new Truth,--not revealed until governments ahad been in existence for at least five thousand years. Once revealed, it imposed new duties on men. Man owed it to himself to be free. He owed it to his country to seek or give her freedom, or maintain her in that possession. It made Tyranny and Usurpation the enemies of the Human Race. it created a general outlawry of Despots and Despotisms, temporal and spiritual. The sphere of Duty was immensely enlarged. Patriotism had, henceforth, a new and wider meaning: Free Government, Free Thought, Free Conscience, Free Speech! All these came to be inalienable rights, which those who had parted with them or been robbed of them, or whose ancestors had lost them, had the right summarily to retake.
The wiser a man becomes, the less will he be inclined to submit tamely to the imposition of fetters or a yoke, on his conscience or his person. For, by increase of wisdom he not only better knows his rights, but the more highly values them, and is more conscious of his worth and dignity. His pride then urges him to assert his independence. He becomes better able to assert it also; and better able to assist others or his country, when they or she stake all, even existence, upon the same assertion.
What a day. Up at 3:30 am. Coffee and the paper. Shave and shower. Get ready and leave for Greenville by 6:00 am in order to be at the Scottish Rite Center by 7:00 am. I got there about 6:50 am and it was still pitch dark. No cars in the huge parking lot, so I just stood there in the dark. About 7:00 a Lincoln Town Car pulls into the lot and parks right beside me. An older Brother gets out wearing the white hat of a 33d Mason. He greets me and I shake his hand and introduce myself.That Brother's name was Charles "Charlie" Saylors. I learned yesterday that Brother Saylors passed away on Sunday. I regret not getting to know him better, but I have fond memories of him giving impromptu lectures at the most inopportune times (as far as the Degree Teams were concerned) all during the presentation of the Degrees at the Reunion. It was easy to see then that Brother Charlie commanded the respect and admiration of his fellow Masons, and I'm quite sure he will be missed by one and all.
"Where is everybody?" I asked.
"C'mon," he replied, "we gotta go in around back."
Now keep in mind this is a large parking lot and I'd parked toward the front of the center. We start a rather long walk down the hill to the back of the center and as we round the corner I see several cars in the back. I was immediately struck by how kind and gracious this elder Brother had been to me. He could have just pulled up, rolled his window down, and said "You need to park around back." But he didn't. He saw me standing there "stranded" and parked beside me in order to walk me to the back where everyone was--and him probably at least 25 years my senior. What a memorable way to start me off in the Scottish Rite.