Most Worshipful Grand Master:
With all due personal and Masonic respect, in the spirit of Masonic “due and timely notice,” I feel compelled to address your Ruling and Decision No. 3, of 2012. While your ruling is unique to the Florida Jurisdiction, it has stirred a major controversy; adverse to the peace and harmony amongst regular Freemasons, beyond your Jurisdiction.
As a particular case in point, it was thoroughly, passionately and constructively discussed at my most recent Lodge meeting. It is also currently scheduled to be discussed in at least one other Lodge in the Seattle area, which I’m aware of. None present at my Lodge’s most recent meeting indicated any magnitude of agreement with your position, as expressed in your Ruling and Decision No. 3. However, one of the points of the discussion was whether or not it was appropriate to advocate that the Washington Grand Lodge remove its recognition of the Florida Grand Lodge.
In the spirit of Freemasonry, and in hope of contributing to the healing of any controversy surrounding your Ruling and Decision No. 3, I respectfully request that you seriously consider the following viewpoints:
1.Your ruling clearly cites the “Landmarks” submitted by Dr. Albert Mackey; which, in their entirety, did not actively serve Freemasonry when they were written. Nor have these “Landmarks” been at all widely accepted, to any appreciable degree, by Freemasons as the basis for Masonic Jurisprudence; unique Masonic Code coincidence excepted.
2.If “Mackey’s Landmarks” (25) are to be the basis for strict modern Masonic jurisprudence, it is academic that they must be considered in their entirety. Such would be unacceptable, just by virtue of their assertion that any Grandmaster is entitled to make “Masons at site.”
3.If followed, “Mackey’s Landmarks” – and your Ruling and Decision No. 3 – regarding religion, would by extension, imply the necessary exclusion of those, amongst others, of the Jewish faith; while accepting those of the Islamic following – with a predictable accompanying furor, however irrational such may be. Certainly, the expense and monetary consequences of potential civil litigation need to be considered; add the predictable PR damage to the Masonic fraternity.
4.If continued, your Ruling and Decision No. 3 is clearly and logically destined to force a ‘comparative review’ of the Christian religion, in general; with potentially damaging viewpoints and associated consequences – to ultimately be associated with not only “Freemasonry,” but your personal legacy as a Grandmaster. Just within the confines of Freemasonry, any such exchanges are overwhelmingly unconscionable, particularly having been instigated by a Masonic Grandmaster, inadvertently or otherwise.
5.Additionally, your Ruling and Decision No. 3 sends the clearly implied message that the Masonic doors and Lodge rooms are open to liars; while punishing members of integrity and honesty. Worse, fearing an unpredictable ‘purge, a significant percentage of members of any Florida Lodge would find it instantly compelling to resort to dishonesty; as the easiest resolution to a clearly distasteful ruling – with a consequent and enduring distrust of the Florida Grand Lodge, per se.
6.I would also encourage you to consider the potential for your Ruling and Decision No. 3 also being locally viewed and noted as a personal violation of the Florida Jurisdiction’s Master Masons’ Obligation, prohibiting any act which would wrong either a Lodge or an individual Master Mason; regardless of whether or not Masonic charges are asserted.
Accordingly, in the interest of Masonic peace and harmony, I implore you to withdraw your Ruling and Decision No. 3.
Fraternally and Respectfully,
Ralph W. Omholt P.M.