Recently I had the joy of instructing a class of our newly raised Master Masons.
Going over “what’s in the book” is vitally important and we did that. But equally important is to teach what is not in the book, what is not part of the curriculum per se.
For me that means teaching the new recruits that Freemasonry is a non judgmental, non confrontational, tolerant, peace loving fraternity. That doesn’t mean that we will accept evil, immorality or injustice. What it does mean is that as Masons we need to refrain from criticizing another lifestyle, another culture that is legitimate and acceptable in the eyes of God.
Every Lodge room is a haven of peace where harmony prevails and where no harm should come to any Brother. Nor should any be subjected to racism, slander, cussing, berating or other vulgarities.
As Masons we check our guns at the door. We also check our argumentative attitudes, the chip we may have on our shoulder, the cause du jour we may be promoting and the path of immortality we may believe is the one and only true way.
That does not make us a bland, superficial society, however. We stand firmly by the religion common to all faiths. Freemasonry is not a religion but it does promote and instill in its members those tenets of morality common to all religions without prescribing a particular path. It also stands foursquare for justice. Just looking at the Four Cardinal Virtues – Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice should give anybody an insight into the character of Freemasonry. For this reason we talk about the Universality of Freemasonry.
This is the ideal of Freemasonry. Ideals sometimes get sidetracked. Such has been my criticism of some Southern Mainstream Freemasonry that blackballs African Americans, non Christians and foreign speaking people. Freemasonry was never organized to be an all White, Christian only, Protestant only, English speaking only, born in America society. It is inclusive of all peoples of good character who profess a Faith.
Practiced as it should be, Freemasonry brings together Brothers of different races, religions, creeds, cultures, economic circumstances and political persuasions all under one roof. It brings them together in the pursuit of truth, peace, justice and brotherly love and affection. It’s not what divides us that is important, it’s what we have in common as children of God, a God, however interpreted, who wants us to recognize the fact that we are all one and that in His eyes we are all His children, that is of the utmost importance.
The lessons of the Craft are not complete until we have instilled in each and every Brother that the Lodge is an oasis of peace, that harmony and accord are its modes of operation resulting in a universal society where we are all one.