As Brother Chris Hodapp has made public, the Grand Lodge of Georgia has reportedly dissolved the charges against a Master of a lodge for raising a black man. This knowledge can put us all at ease and we can sweep this issue under the rug and go on with business as usual, right?
This issue isn’t about the Grand Lodge of Georgia, any lodges in Georgia, or any Masons in Georgia.
It is about racism in Freemasonry. It is about denying a man admission into the fraternity because of the color of his skin or the way he votes in elections or by what name he calls God. That is why this issue is not resolved, because there is still bigotry, racism, and prejudice in Freemasonry.
When I informed my local Brethren about what was going on, they immediately noted that they weren’t certain if a black man could become a Mason in some lodges in South Dakota. Unfortunately, their concern is well founded. The truth is that it is impossible to remove every man with racist or bigoted views from Freemasonry. Some are undoubtedly smart enough to realize that those views are no longer tolerated in today’s world and keep them private. Some may even advocate equality and tolerance in public while secretly clinging to their ideals when they participate in a secret ballot.
But ridding the fraternity of institutionalized racism is not impossible.
I urge every Brother to take personal action to remove every shred of institutionalized racism and bigotry from the fraternity. This may mean striking a few out-dated codes from Grand Lodge constitutions. This may just mean making a clear public statement that a jurisdiction will not tolerate racism or bigotry and considers any acts motivated by such opinions unMasonic behavior.
Masons used to be leaders in society. Now we are behind the times. For those that say, “Its just a few of the old guard guys, this problem will soon pass,” you are wrong. Masons should have been leading the civil rights movement, but forty years after those events we still count racists and bigots among our members and allow them to form the opinions of our fraternity. There is one right side to this issue and there is no argument against it. The Associated Press has publicized the fact that this problem is present in our fraternity. Let’s stop turning a blind eye to the issue and fix it.
Let us convince the world that Masonry is a great institution. Let us convince the world of its good affects.
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