Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Continuing Open Debate in Freemasonry Today

It is tempting at moments like this, with such unprecedented discussion and debate taking place in public forums, and we can imagine similar challenging discussions occurring behind closed doors,  to postulate that we could be experiencing a pivotal watershed in the history of contemporary Freemasonry, at least in the United States.

I should like to suggest that, in spite of being well aware that in periods of fluidity such as this, such predictions may come back to haunt an individual, precisely because I am essentially an optimist. I am however also a realist. And so, my reason for believing this to be a possible moment of change, does not rest upon which side of this ethical debate wins.

Of course, there are fears, and these are far from
unspoken, that a decision to remove all obstacles to the public admission of gay men to mainstream Freemasonry in the US will be the impetus to eventually cause the removal of barriers to women joining mainstream lodges. There are of course reasons why that may be arguably true, and also reasons one might argue one will not lead to the other.

However, as significant as any such decision may be, and I do not by any means intend to say that the outcome of this quite public debate will be insignificant in itself, I think the entire situation, as Brother Christopher Hodapp has noted, will ultimately have a big impact upon the rank and file well beyond this event.  I tend to feel that even if that causes the rank and file some momentary discomfort, it bodes well. It will force us all to look more closely at our own values and seek, to pluck the mote, not  as the biblical passage advises us, from our brother's eye but from our own.

What I see as being a watershed in this moment, is not so much what decision ultimately is made, but the realization by the leadership and (hopefully) the majority of the rank and file, that such choices play out in a far more public way with consequences for all, than we previously were content to believe. We must realize that we are a part of the larger society, and that to be a force of good in society we must engage society. That however, means we cannot afford to be too far out of step with it. The choices of each group will from now on, have implications for us all. As Bro. Hodapp notes, and I paraphrase him, time will tell.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

It is very interesting to me that any true Mason would refuse to sit in Lodge alongside any member of the human race who has proven themselves capable of knocking on the door of a Lodge of their own free will and accord. In the end, isn't that the only true standard by which to judge those who seek admittance?