The return of Masonic Central and the “Masonic Baptism”!

masonicbaptism

Masonic Baptism by Cliff Porter

After a long summer hiatus, Masonic Central is back and to recommit ourselves to our second year, this weeks show is highly appropriate.

Coming on the program is Brother Cliff Porter to talk with us about his new book Masonic Baptism – A Post Modern Ritual for an Ancient Craft.

For some background, Mackey says of the ritual that it is “… simply a lustration or purification by water, a ceremony which was common to all the ancient initiations”.

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In the present day, the ceremony and ritual are designed to be performed in lodges wishing to baptize children of Masonic families. The ceremony is not a religious function, nor does it compete with the baptisms of the different religions of the world. Rather it is a solemn act of fidelity and a pledge to the children of  Freemasons to signify that they are now a part of a broader community and that they will never be alone.  Br. Porter’s work has brought the ritual back into a modern parlance and reintroduces us to this past practice in a modern era.

Reconnect with Dean and Greg, and travel with them through their summer adventures and this appropriate topic of the Masonic Baptism on this special hour and a half long program on Masonic Central this Sunday, August 16th starting at 6pm PDT/9pm EDT. For your questions and comments to the guest live on the air call: (347) 677-0936 during the program.

Listen to the program live from our home at Masonic Central on Blog Talk Radio and join in with our live program chat, or from our player widget on our website at Freemason Information.

Its good to be back!

Angels and Airwaves co-opts the square and compass in the name of Love.

On a video posted on the Modlife website for the band Angels and Airwaves (AVA) if you pay close attention to the beginning of the video you can see their new square and compass logo, melded with other iconography of the fraternity, mixed with elements of the bands name.

Apparently, Angels and Airwaves is going Masonic.

I just stumbled across this and don’t have much info, but it leaves me wondering what the intent was of using the tools of Freemasonry in the bands brand logo.

Their Wikipedia post has been updated to talk about the new logo and asserts that it is linked to the bands new album “Love”, saying of the new logo mark: This new logo…contains the Latin words “et plumbum mundus per lumen” which translates to “and lead the world by light”.

The new album is due out in February of 2010.

On July 27, 2009, Tom Delong blogged via Modlife: “We’re in the beginning stages of getting the word out that we have a new record and a movie called LOVE that will be released 2/14/2010”

I wonder if while borrowing the square and compass, their borrowing the concept of brotherly love too.

I’ll see what else I can dig up.  In the Mean time, watch the Angels and Airwaves video with the log and tell me what you think.

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Secret Societies in the Social Media Age

The Secret Society, the Original Social Network.
The Secret Society, the Original Social Network.

If you’ve spent any time with a nose in the news, you know that the phenomenon of Social Media has become a staple of our way of life.  Just the fact that your reading this blog, means that you spend some time on the web delving into the edges of web 2.0 and the tip of the social media iceberg. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, and host of other blogs, e-groups, and outlets.  But as the social net grows, where does the aspect of a “secret society” stand when enveloped in so much transparency?

In its broader sense, social media is the loose assortment of websites, blogs, and forum that the reader can post, contribute, follow, and send to friends, in essence, taking a role in the development of the life of the content being generated. In sharing it, the participant is now involved in shaping its meaning by contributing their own thoughts to the discussion.

This is different from the past where web pages were static and filled with one dimensional information.  Now any reader can become a vibrant participant in a community of readers contributing their own input to the message.  It becomes empowering to be able to share in the dialog of something you feel passionate about.

Many will say that social media was/is a passing trend in internet usage, but very quickly it is becoming a mainstay of our daily existence.  To site a few examples, local news broadcasters have their own Twitter accounts, many agencies (governmental or non governmental) post updates and announcements on Twitter before they send press releases to the media, and businesses frequently utilize marketing guru’s to add and aggregate their content to their lists of thousands of followers.  In many ways, it is taking a leading role in marketing an idea before it falls into past traditional marketing processes.

Seeing this seems to set it counter current to the idea of the fraternal secret societies that have evolved their particular brand of “not a secret society, but a society with secrets” practice. Really, you could say that the fraternity concept is a model of pre-digital social networking bringing in individuals to meet, mingle and grow their base of friends and associates.  Just as in the contemporary social media set up, news is often shared and parsed for new ideas to grow and take shape.

This is exactly the practice takes place in the lodge rooms and social halls of Freemasonry.

How do we blend the physical and the digital?  How does the society that defines its teachings as secret awaken to find itself in the modern age of digital correspondence, international friends groups and interested participants?  And this only addresses those in the know, what about those outside the circle of knowledge about the fraternity, what about engaging those beyond the fold to raise awareness that the organization exists?

Social media will not be a silver bullet of marketing, but instead will be another tool in in the arsenal of ideas and mediums to communicate with.  Doubtful will the secrets of generations be communicated or passed online rather than in person, but this boom of Gen Y culture will absolutely dictate how the Secret Society makes itself accessible.  Maybe evening some respects cause it to stop and reflect on what exactly the secrets are and what they mean in an age when secrecy as such is little regarded.

Somewhere in the digital either is a happy medium of the knowledge that was once communicated mouth to ear but now very accessible to even the youngest of neophytes.  Besides the scheduling of events and posts of meeting goings on is the next step in educating those of interest to know more.  And it is in that space, between secret society and social media, that the real transformation of Masonic light will shine forth.

In the mean time, what do you think about the intersection of social media and secret societies?  Where do they cross?

Enough is to much in the Virginia Shrine…

This story slipped under the radar.  The burning taper posted on it, but sadly, someone found it distasteful and gave it a thumbs down on King Solomon’s agrigator.

But really, this raises SO many red flags and questions that it is really impossible to ignore.  My questions is how, at his first arrest was he allowed to remain on the roles, and second, how is it he is still on them today?

What does this story make you question?

The story (now in archive): Former leader of Hampton Roads Shriners arrested on child porn charges

The tag:  A Shriner – known for his charitable work with children – is now accused of having a thousand graphic images and video of child porn.

Seriously, is this Freemasonry???

This came to me on Facebook, that I thought important to add…

“I did not catch the word “conviction”. I think they said the investigation started in 2007 but it sounds like it has not been to trial. I think he was probably arrested, bonded but not convicted (yet).

He violated the terms of his bond so was was arrested again (the arrest would probably have been for violation of the conditions of bond) for a bond violation.

I am sure they (the GL of Va) are waiting on a conviction for the child porn. Knowing the GM like I do he will be gone as sure as old faithful will blow again as soon as the conviction is handed down & GL gets a certified copy of the conviction in hand.”

The Grand Lodge of California

grand lodge of california

The Grand Lodge of Grand Lodge of California is the next stop on the tour of American Grand Lodges.

  • Grand Lodge of California Masonic membership:
  • 68,714  – 2006
  • 66,127  – 2007
  • gain/loss  –  -2,587
  • Data from MSANA

State population: 36,756,666 as of 2008 (estimated)

About the Grand Lodge
During the Gold Rush of 1849, thousands of settlers came to California in search of fortune. Those who were Masons brought their rich traditions with them, soon establishing some of California’s first Masonic lodges in the mining towns of the Gold Country. In 1850 — the same year that California became a state — the Grand Lodge of California was established in Sacramento.

The Grand Lodge of California does not have a listing on Wikipedia.

The site includes a brief history of Freemasonry’s origin there, and includes a fun interactive time line of Freemasonry in California.

Some of what I found on my excursion there:

The Grand Lodge of California website
The Grand Lodge of California website

The Grand Lodge site has a very strong URL (freemason.org) which gives it high presence in search engine placement for the term Freemason.  Upon a simple search of the term Freemason, the California Grand Lodge ranks as the #3 for that search term.

Visually, the site it very clean and crisp with an immediate appeals to the eye.  Both bright and interactive it has a strong professional presence.  At the first load of the page is an attention grabber flash image of George Washington laying a corner stone that makes a quick transition from black and white to color introducing a number of interactive boxes for the visitor to explore.  In those boxes are several of the elements that Freemasonry promotes including Tolerance, Personal Growth, Family, Philanthropy, Ethics, and Freedom.  Each of the images are click able to display an image and an aphorism to the virtue and a member that exemplifies it.

Overall the layout is straight forward and in the places where it needs to delve deep with pull down menus with links to additional pages.

Visually, the site does not link overtly to the state of California in that the graphics could easily be extended to any other state with a quick change of the name California.  Using the image of Washington in such a prominent position distracts from the prominence being on the state instead emphasizing a small part of Masonic history.

Prominent on the page at the top is a link to news and events which with a quick click hover over opens a list of items to select from (though disappointedly not events).  In the list are several choices of interest to many, including past issues of the California Freemason magazine, press information, and the Grand Masters itinerary.  What I did not find was a calendar of events, at least listed as such, as upcoming activities were listed under “news”.  In the news section I did find an article on the websites award of excellence for its design and content. (Congratulations!)

The site itself is very flexible as it is a custom build with a great deal of development potential.  In many respects the site has been developed out to the extent that it needs to be, as it covers most of what the Grand Lodge needs to communicate including contact info of the Grand Lodge, its leadership, its charitable endeavors and scholarships, public events, and member information.

Informational Content:

The Ca GL site definitely gives you your times worth of material to look at.  What makes the content work is that the various sections are short and to the point for what they communicate.  In some instances, it leaves the reader wanting more (as in the history), but in most it gives just enough to encourage the reader to take the next step, such as the How to become a mason | information section.  It also transitions well from talking about California Masonry and how to become one to a link for “more info”, which takes you to a detailed and smart form for the user to fill in.  Interestingly, it does not put as the priority the request to become a member, rather weaving it into it in to the offering of choices making it less about the conversion and more an informed reader’s choice.

One feature that I do like is that each page carries the navigation to the other pages and makes ones visit there easy to get around.  This is a function of the sites navigation (both the top and the side) that one can jump from page to page as they explore the site.  It also uses the right side to feature ad blocks of relevant items for the visitor to click, such as the upcoming 150th Grand Lodge communication and opportunities to charitably give.  Again, this is a very smart way to entice the visitor (both mason and non) to explore and find out more information.

Something I did not find were a variety of external links to sites not immediately tied to the grand Lodge.  This is good in that it keeps the traffic on the site, but bad in that it does not illustrate partnerships or even California lodge sites.  My guess is that it functions to keep an unbiased position for one site or another and keeps the specter of bias away from any particular site.  This is good and bad in that it keeps bias out (good) but fails to illustrate the breadth of the fraternity in the state, country, or world.  Under the related organizations tab there is a list of many Appendant national bodies and links to their websites.

Generally, the informational content is very good, being both enticing and informative setting the tone that Freemasonry in California is a strong and vibrant institution with lot of history and goings on, always giving enough information to make the viewer want to find out more.

Look and Feel.
As I mentioned above, the site is very crisp and clean, with a smart and professional look, while not being overly conservative or “institutional”.  The use of warm colors (deep reds, warm grays, with spot photos) definitely makes the pages inviting to the eye.  Even the mix of serif and san serif fonts is effective at differentiating between the artistic branding and the content.  There is definitely some thought that has been put into the site, which is very evident in its details.

Overall:
From a first time visitor’s point of view, I think that the Grand Lodge site would be very well received and make a very valuable impression on them as to the organization.  It is clear, warm, and full of information.  It does not try to overtly convert the reader into becoming a member, but rather seems to take the viewer on a journey into the site and its wealth of information.  And, on every page is a constant link on how to join, which is a suitable conversion point amidst all of the sites content.

The flip side of that equation is the returning visitor or the member’s visit, which is just as meaningful and interesting.  Because there is a frequently updated news section, there is something to continue to come back to regularly and often so as to stay up-to-date on the goings on around the state.  With so much content going in, what seems to be missing is a way to subscribe to the news, which could be easily remedied with an RSS feed from it or a newsletter sign up form, which seems just a step away from connecting the site to its membership.  Because it necessitates the frequent return trip to pick up the news, it runs the risk of not reaching all the members who may come across the site because the updated news is buried three links in on the news & events section.  Moving the news (via a feed or site dynamics) to the front page would easily transform the site from a single destination to a frequent communicator to the membership AND public showcasing all of the activities that they can participate in.  Another alternative is a means to subscribe to the news that visitors can opt into.  Much like receiving a mailer at home, frequent updates would keep the GL in mind as news rolls out.

Overall I think the site handles its conversion well in that in the information it presents, it portrays the fraternity in a very positive, professional, and meaningful way.  It does have a bit of a disconnect from the state in that its use of art seems more a convention of east coast Masonry (Washington and the cornerstone) but once you dig into the site, it loops back in enough of the goings on to illustrate the membership of the state.

Bonus

The henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum
The henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum

A feather in the cap of the GL of CA is the Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum which frequently hosts a selection of shows and material of great interest to masonry.  With out going into great detail on the collection they do have a fantastic new website that beautifully illustrates its collection and goings on, which presents it as a must see destination of San Francisco art and history collections.   You can see the Henry Wilson Coil Museum and Collection live atop Nob Hill in San Francisco.

Coming up next – The Grand Lodge of Colorado

Sex and Rockets – The Occult World of Jack Parsons – A Review

Sex and Rockets – The Occult World of Jack Parsons
Sex and Rockets – The Occult World of Jack Parsons

The occult, in the early part of the 20th century, set the stage for how it has come to be perceived in the 21st Century.  Never has the explanation of the third way come into a mainstream light (except in works of fiction books and film) where it has been readily played up with bright flashes of scintillating energy and half mad megalomaniacs bent on short cutting their way to the realms of the Gods.  Few have gone so far as to suggest the connection between space and the realm of the divine powers except in some of the more bizarre Lovecraftian tales of horror and suspense.  (See The Best of H. P. Lovecraft).  But the ground work of this 20th century occult, while shaped in one part by Manly P. hall was

also shaped in character that was formed by the man Marvel “Jack” “John” Parsons. And this tale, as told in the book “Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons” by John Carter is every bit science fact of rocket to the moon as it is Aleister Crowley‘s failure in inspiring his new aeon and Babylon working to manifest in his Thelemic following in Los Angles circa 1946.  In Jack Parsons, hubris and vanity were very much a part of his wonder at the idea of sending rockets into space.  But even in his explosive demise, Parson’s legacy on earth has crowned him a father of modern Rocketry with a crater dedicated to him on the dark side of the moon.

Jack Parsons
Jack Parsons

First published in 2004, Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons is the biography of Jack Parsons.  A self taught scientist and rocketer, Parsons started his career path as a hobby of sorts, fueled in the exhaust of creating rockets to soar into the high earth atmosphere.  This was in the age of fiction and rockets were only the dreams of explorers and fiction writers.  Like all men of vision, however, Parsons worked endlessly to create sufficient thrust to make the rocket work.  In this early life he also found and embraced the works of Aleister Crowley which became his faith, of sorts, by his practice of Thelema.  His devotion grew over time in that he became the head of the Agape Lodge of the OTO in the mid 1940’s which met and practiced in his Bohemian home in Pasadena.  In this period, Parsons regularly corresponded with Crowley, whose agents locally praised him as the successor of Crowley’s New Aeon and great work.

The book spends a considerable amount of time on Parsons life, but also included some interesting details on the Ordo Templi Orientis order that Parsons was at first so devoted to.  As it reads Carter spends considerable time in developing the history of the OTO from 1895 through Crowley’s taking over and the credibility collapse of its founders Kellner, Reuss, Mathers, and Westcott.  The history, as encapsulated in the book, is an interesting read especially as it contextualizes their history with Crowley, but also with their connections in Los Angeles in the early incubation of the occult today.  Unlike Manly P. Hall (the author of The Secret Teachings of All Ages), Crowley sent Wilfred Smith (himself a student of the OTO and Crowley) with the purpose of opening an OTO lodge, which was incorporated in 1934 and met for the first time in 1935.

left to right: Rudolph Schott, Apollo Milton Olin Smith, future JPL Director Frank Malina (white shirt, dark pants), Ed Forman and Jack Parsons (right, foreground). Nov. 15, 1936. Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech
left to right: Rudolph Schott, Apollo Milton Olin Smith, future JPL Director Frank Malina (white shirt, dark pants), Ed Forman and Jack Parsons (right, foreground). Nov. 15, 1936. Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech

It was in this era that Jack Parson’s variously worked at the predecessor of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a variety of explosives companies, Electric companies, and gas stations (notably, even rocket scientists needing to work).  In this mix of engineering academia and occult practice, Parson’s path merged in a John Dee/Edward Kelly fashion with the infamous L.Ron Hubbard (before his Scientology fame).  In this time, Hubbard variously played scribe, confidant, and polyamerious love interest to Parson’s spouse Betty who, Carter writes, Hubbard absconded with along with the start up capitol that he and Parson’s had used to start a business. Crowley even going so far to say of Hubbard: “Suspect Ron playing confidence trick–Jack Parsons weak fool–obvious victim prowling swindlers.” In a letter a few days later he said, “It seems to me on the information of our brethren in California that Parsons has got an illumination in which he lost all his personal independence. From our brother’s account he has given away both his girl and his money. Apparently it is the ordinary confidence trick.”.  Included in the book are the notes Hubbard took while acting as scribe in Parsons ritual workings.

L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard

From his start, it seemed Parsons was destined for something great (magickly or otherwise), but ultimately met his demise in a fiery explosion in his garage turned laboratory/workshop.  Sensing his end, perhaps, Carter reports that the last words spoken by Parsons were “I wasn’t done…“.  This final utterance is cryptic in that his professional life had blurred the line with his occult life leaving us to wonder which work he saw unfinished.  Carter suggests that Parson’s was a man drawn by an over arched Oedipious complex and a life long search for a father figure, both in Smith and in Crowley himself.  At his end, it would seem he found it in neither.

The ruins of Parsons lab 1952
The ruins of Parsons lab 1952

Carter does an ample job in giving life to Parson’s beyond his mundane occupation of jet propulsion and established him as one of the patriarchs of the occult in Los Angeles.  As notable as he is in the scientific community, few know his name in the occult community.  What his tangible contribution is will be up to those who follow in his footsteps, but his early dalliances and their display in the public sphere ushered in the modern perception of the occult and quite possibly the era of the baby boomers and their unknown working of the Thelemic philosophy that Parsons hoped would take hold.  Parson’s, despite his end, explored the paths he wanted to physically and spiritually.  His unfinished work being his legacy, left for us to continue to explore.

I recommend the book Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons by John Carter, which is available at Amazon.

After the shock and awe…

It’s been a few days, and most of the e-Masons on the web have looked at, read, shared, cursed, praised, or generally grumbled about the despicable story unfolding in Georgia.   Upon reading the story, it made me question my own connection to the craft.

No matter which way you try to approach this it has some pretty serious ramifications and leaves open some serious questions.  Questions that are just to challenging to answer.

Shock and awe.

Truly, I doubt anyone thought that the immediate knee jerk response of “dropping recognition” would accomplish anything.   Did we find any press release or Grand Lodge communication saying that Georgia was now a no fly zone?  For very good reasons:

  1. They just can’t react that fast
  2. The SHOUDLDN’T react that fast, and
  3. It would be foolish to jump the gun on rumor and lots (and lots) of speculation.

Like us, the institutions wait and debate internally.

As hard as it may seem, the charges brought were brought by brothers, and it is still our duty to give them good counsel that racism, bigotry, and segregation are a thing of the past, and not acceptable in open, or closed, society.

Even as enlightened as that may seem, many will still debate it otherwise.

But we must wait and not let our passions dictate.  History has shown us that pitchforks, torches, and blood are quick solutions but that wisdom, enlightenment, and change are not.  It is our duty, as citizens, as Masons, and as the children of the Great Architect to ensure the right learning of the craft, and that right learning does not include bigotry, and its hard to teach the ignorant when you back them into a corner.

So, as the shock and awe start to subside, take action and do your part and show others what Masonry truly is.  Teach, enlighten, and effect enlightenment.

My Brother’s Keeper – Open Racism in Georgia Freemasonry

Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

Genesis 4: 8-12 N.I.V.

Georgia Flag

The Grand Lodge of Georgia has openly documented its policy of racial exclusion of “non-white men”.

In a court filing to the Superior Court of Dekalb county – civil action 09CV7552-8, are documents (attached below) which include the charges brought against the Worshipful Master of Gate City Lodge No. 2.

The charges as filled were quantified as a Violation of the Moral Law.

Specification 1 in this – That said worshipful master xx xx did in fact raise or allow to be raised in and about February 2009 in the lodge that he is the Worshipful Master, a non-white man, xx xx.

Specification 2 – This said worshipful master xx xx did commit overt act or acts against moral laws of Free and Accepted Masons and the moral duties as the Worshipful Master of Gate City lodge no 2 as follows:

  • Violation of moral law from word of mouth
  • Violation of moral obligation to the ancient landmarks, ancient customs, ancient traditions, ancient usages, constitution, laws and edicts working under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Georgia.
  • Violation of moral official obligation was taken at the time of installation of officers.
  • Violation of moral obligations of not upholding the charter of Gate City Lodge #2
  • Violation of moral obligation of keeping peace and harmony in the craft by allowing the operation of a Cabal in Gate City Lodge #2
  • Violation of moral obligation as pursuant to Masonic Code 1-104 without having obtained the sanction of the grand Lodge are hereby declared spurious and clandestine and of no Masonic authority whatsoever.

The Master of gate City Lodge, proclaiming his innocence, was then charged in the following manner.

Violation of the Laws of Masonry

Specification 1 In This: That said Worshipful Master xx xx did in fact embrace a formed Cabal to secretly unite to bring about and overturn with usurpation of the constitution, laws, ancient landmarks, customs and traditions of Free and Accepted Masons working under the jurisdiction of ancient landmarks, customs and traditions of Free & Accepted Masons working under the jurisdiction of the grand Lodge of the state of Georgia, when he was elected Worshipful Master in December 2008.

Specification 2 in this – The worshipful master xx xx knowingly and willfully did in fact allow a raising of a non-white man in February 2009, which has never been done working under the jurisdiction of Grand Lodge of the state of Georgia. According to the old customs of the Grand Lodge of the state of Georgia which has existed continuously since February 21, 1734. After the fact, xx xx did allow parading xx xx to other Masonic Lodges, presenting him as a Master Mason accompanied by a letter dated February 25, 2008 on gate city Lodge#2 letterhead with the typed from xx xx xx, Grand Master.

Specification 3 In this: That the said worshipful Master xx xx did commit act or acts of destroying peace and harmony throughout the craft of Masonry in the state of Georgia.

Specification 4 in this: that said worshipful master xx xx of Gate City Lodge #2 did in fact knowingly and willfully commit this act or acts which is in conflict with the ancient landmarks and Masonic code sections 71-101, 4-101#6, 1-101, 1-201, 1-202, 1-205. Worshipful Master xx xx committed act or acts knowingly and willfully that conflicts with the ancient customs and traditions which are the immemorial usages and fundamentals of the craft which have existed from time immemorial and are unchangeable.

Specification 5 in this: That said worshipful Master xx xx of gate city lodge #2 must be tried by a trial of present and or past masters pursuant to Masonic code 83-401 and when found guilty of this charge of violation of the laws of Masonry as he would be under no less penalty than that established by Masonic code 21.106 and 21.107.

Masonic Law speak, the charges are based on committing act or acts of destroying peace and harmony, but involving the moral law as to the cabal behind the making of an “non-white” man a Mason. The disharmony seems to have stemmed from the “parading” of an African American Georgia Freemason, which is apparently now, a violation of their moral law. Never mind that the brother was made and recognized by the state, and never mind that he was acknowledged in a tiled lodge as such

Some speculation suggests that rather than drop the proceedings, the Grand Master will hold the trial to quell the misconception of racism and set the record straight, but this remains to be seen.

In the mean time, a civil filing by the Worshipful Master turned Plaintiff suggests that the Grand Lodge is in violation of its Non-Profit Status as it is now openly admitting that it discriminates based on race, which is against the public policy of the State. In the filing, it is also points out in several sections where the Grand Lodge is …an enemy of bigotry or intolerance… and also states the the Grand Lodge in leveling the charges is in violation of its contract with the member(s) when facing revocation of charters and membership privileges as members have a value property investment (contract) from their dues. Interesting to point out, the filing also says openly that “Upon information and belief, Plaintiffs show that there are currently in Georgia active, regular Master Masons of at least the following extractions in whole or in part: American Indians, East Indian, Arab/Lebanese/Egyptian, Persian/Iranian, Vietnamese, Chinese, non white Mexican/Hispanic, African-American, and Filipino, in addition to those of white/Caucasian ancestry.” So, now there seems to be a provision of the fraternity being not strictly white, which seems to countermand the white only exclusion.

The long and short of this convoluted tale comes squarely to rest on the odious claim that a “non-white man” can not be a Freemason.

I affirm, that racism is not tolerable, and bigotry, open or otherwise, is not included in our Moral Law. The brothers of Georgia are sorely mistaken in this assertion.

As I AM my brother’s keeper my “…brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground“. To let this go will put the fraternity under a curse that will send us “…driven from the ground”.

If not addressed this open proclamation could destroy the fraternity.

This is not Freemasonry in the 21st Century. This is not tolerable, on a personal level or from a Grand Lodge level, especially our Grand Lodges are an electable body from the craft lodge. Recognition of Georgian Freemasonry must be held in questioned especially if they are so ignorant to hold these ideas to be Moral Laws.  If in fact they do then Recognition must be terminated.

We are our brother’s keepers and only have the Great Architect to answer to. How will we respond when he asks us how we addressed this?

More on the Gate City Lodge.

The Road – a review

The Road
The Road

Some time back I fell prey to an episode of Oprah that had an interview with Cormick McCarthy, who is the author of several books, most recently the novel The Road.  In the interview, the awkwardness between them was pronounced, but informative, especially as the guest talked about his new book and some of its over arching themes.  At the time, I made a mental note to read it and filed it away in my head.  Some months later, I ran across it in a bookstore and it ended up on my Christmas list.  Now, having just finished reading it, I’m glad I did and thought that it would make for an interesting “off-topic” review, but soon realized that it was very much on subject to post here.

The story in the book (and soon to be released movie) is about the existential survival of a father and son in a post apoplectic world where daily subsistence consists of finding safe tins of food to eat in the ash and wastes, all the while dodging and fighting off cannibals, The Road agents, and starvation.  But that is the overt story.  Beneath the long passages of subsistence living is the message that the father constantly works to instill to his son, that they ware the “good guys” and that the reason for their going on was to continue carrying the fire (light) of humanity.

Now this sounds like a lofty exclamation of the lone ranger against the heathens of the wasteland and in some instances that seems to spill into the fore, but the real message comes as a gradual realization that the only thing they can do is continue on, to strive day after day to do right rather than succumb to the evil and terror or simply commit suicide from the futility of the future.

A pivotal point comes late in the text when the father and son, despite their own misgivings, give the act of charity to a lone traveler on The Road. The interaction could just as easily be a decoy for some malfeasance or another plot to take their meager rations and end their existence.  During the exchange a dialog takes place over the existence of God, doing the right thing despite god’s existence (or not) and the very act of charity being their reason enough for existence.  Ultimately, it is not a preachy message of “we do it because god said to”, but rather a “we did it because we did”.  It was the act of being good versus the reason to be.

At its close the story has a Hemingway-esque ending like For Whom the Bell Tolls but in this instance, it was less the introspective why and more the “now I understand” discovery.  As a Freemason, it resonated with my sympathies of why we do what we do and why those things are important more specifically.  That we carry the fire, each one of us, and its in that light that we do good.  And that in that charity we are at some level showing our love.

I highly recommend The Road, and even in its fictional nature, it paints a modern parable for our existence in a pre-apocalyptic world.

Toxic to Democracy

Toxic to Democracy
Toxic to Democracy

I happened onto this story on my way home from the grocery store tonight.  It was on the NPR program Fresh Air and was an interview with Chip Berlet who is the senior analyst at Political Research Associates, at PublicEye.org.

The story was on a paper just released by PRA and Berlet on the damage wrought by conspiracy theories, demonizing rhetoric, and scapegoating, especially prominent in today’s media.  The topic is not a new one as both the left and the right have blasted one another for years, but in the interview, Berlet went into some considerable depth in talking about the extent of present day conspiracy theories and their radicalization especially as it pertains to the arena of white supremacy and neo nazi movements here in the US.

At first the program seemed to be just another conspiracy talk, but it soon delved into how the white supremacy movements (including the recent murder at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC) are beginning to take on an ultra radical stance that has, so far this year, been the root of 9 murders.  In the radical development of the conspiracy theories at their root is a black/Jewish cabal that embraces anti-semitism and racism hearkening to the slave south being taken over by the Rothschild banking family.  Going even deeper, in James von Brunn’s writings, he indited the Illuminati and Freemasonry as being manipulated by the “crafty Jews” to take control of America.

It sounds like a bad conspiracy film, but in the interview, Berlet details how these theories have developed and what their evolution has been.  Additionally, he details the Illuminati and Freemasonry for the host, portraying the fraternity into a very favorable light even acknowledging the fraternities link to the enlightenment and natural philosophy.

Interestingly, Berlet talks about the ideas of collectivism and socialism and their challenges when they radicalize and start to shape policy (you’ll remember the series from the Banks of the Euphrates a short time back).  This is a good example of this social collectivism gone awry in Nazi Germany into totalitarian.

I highly recommend you give the program a listen.  Also, if you have some room in your reading schedule, give the Toxic to Democracy paper a read.  I just printed out a copy and at quick glance it looks like a very good read.

I recommend listening to the NPR interview.
And i recommend reading the paper Toxic to Democracy.