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Douglas G. Mack


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Gay Masons - Further Reflections

As I have written elsewhere in this web site, there is nothing in the Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry to prohibit a gay man from becoming a Mason.  And, there is nothing in the Methodical Digest (the laws of the Grand Lodge of Virginia) to prohibit it.

And yet, there are still those Brethren who question it.

With that in mind, I offer some “further reflections” on the question of Gay Masons.

Being a gay man is simply part of who I am.  I am "out" with my family and friends and at work and church.  I have never made any attempt to conceal the fact from my Brothers in our Fraternity.  And, in fact I have had conversations with Brothers regarding me being gay before and since I became a Mason.

Being gay or not does not determine what makes a Mason or what keeps Freemasonry alive.

What makes a Mason and keeps Freemasonry alive is the flesh and blood that lives Freemasonry day in and day out, both in the Lodge and out of the Lodge.

Whenever we practice the principle tenets of Freemasonry – Friendship, Morality, and Brotherly Love – we keep Freemasonry alive.  When we fail in our practice of these tenets, we contribute to the demise of Freemasonry.

And, judging others solely because they are different than the majority of people an individual knows is failing in our practice of these tenets.

In many Lodges today there are brethren who spend a great deal of time complaining of the lack of new members and complaining of the lack of involvement of our current members.  Very often they look to the way things were when they entered Masonry years ago and blame today’s society for situation we are in.

I suggest that rather than looking at our naturally changing society to find the cause that we instead turn inward and look at our own practice of Friendship, Morality, and Brotherly Love – both as Lodges and as individuals.

We will not attract anyone to Freemasonry or keep our existing brethren active if all that is seen is a bunch of men with aprons, jewels, and strange traditions.  We will simply be seen as a “good old boys” club with no relevance in today’s world.

But, if we consistently practice the principle tenets of Freemasonry – then, and only then, we will be seen as offering something for this troubled world of ours.

I would like to share with you some Masonic definitions of Friendship, Morality, and Brotherly Love that I came across recently.

Though we all know what the terms mean; like the peeling of an onion, we can always find additional layers of meaning.

Friendship:

“Friendship is traced through the circle of private connections to the grand system of universal benevolence, which no limits can circumscribe, as its influence extends to every branch of the human race.  On this general plan the universality of the system of Masonry is established.  . . . the true Mason is a citizen of the world, and his philanthropy extends to all the human race.” [Preston]

Morality:

“The morality of Masonry requires us to deal justly with others; not to defraud, cheat, or wrong them of their just dues or rights.  But it goes further; regarding all as the children of one great Father, it considers man as bound by piety, Masonic morality, and fraternal bonds, to minister to the wants of the destitute and afflicted; and that we may be enabled to fulfill this high behest of humanity, it strictly enjoins industry and frugality, that so our hands may ever be filled with the means of exercising that charity to which our hearts should ever dispose us.”  [Henkle]

Brotherly Love:

“[Brotherly Love] can be manifested in innumerable opportunities not only in the Lodge but also out of it.  . . . To exercise brotherly love, or to feel deeply interested in the welfare of others is a source of the greatest happiness in every situation in life.  . . . He who does not find his heart warmed with love towards all mankind should never strive to be made a Freemason, for he cannot exercise brotherly love.”  [Gadicke]

There is no room in these definitions for judging others solely based on differences from the majority – be it skin color, nationality, religion, wealth, sexual orientation, or anything else.

We may wear all the Masonic emblems we want – but, if we are not living the Friendship, Morality, and Brotherly Love defined above we are no more a Mason than a dry leaf on the ground waiting to be swept away.

 

 


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