Monday, January 9, 2012

A Glimpse of Reality

On Holy Ground: A History of The Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry by Bro. Karen Kidd

What a gripping tale is told in this book, Karen Kidd's newest Masonic title from The Masonic Publishing Company! It is replete with diehard anarchists, Wobblies (members of IWW), native Breton speakers from Uhelgoad (Hoelgoat in French and English), atheistic French Freemasons and Theosophists. It is also a book filled with history guaranteed to make quite a few American Freemasons squirm. Not only does it deal with the development and expansion of Co-Masonry throughout the world, and especially in the United States, but it focuses a strong and unerring light upon the policies and practices of Male Craft Masonry in this country both in the final years of the 19th Century and today in these unflattering terms:

"These mostly white and native U.S. Grand Lodges also developed what they called — and claimed the right to enforce — "extraterritorial jurisdiction;" which meant, so far as they were concerned, no other Grand Lodge could operate within their own self-declared borders. The right and authority to devise and enforce such a provision has never been rationally explained but, none the less, it remains theoretically in force to this day.

Despite that, the rules of this provision have never been observed in practice. Prince Hall Grand Lodges, with the bulk of membership traditionally among the country's African American population, were — and are — active and thriving in almost all U.S. states. Other foreign Obediences struggled, with varying success, to gain a toehold. In the face of this obvious challenge to their claimed extraterritorial jurisdiction, the largely white, native born Grand Lodges simply pretended these obediences did not exist; or that those Freemasons weren't really Brothers. In this way, they claimed their extraterritorial jurisdiction had not been breached.

Reality aside, what all this meant to the millions of immigrants, including those from France, is they had arrived in their new country only to find existing lodges largely closed to them and they had no lodges of their own."

Of course, what Brother Karen is pointing out is that such attitudes and policies are as unmasonic today as they were over a hundred years ago.

Blessed Be, Brother Karen!

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