Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Racism and recognition

In my previous post (yes, I know, I am infrequent, but I promise to try harder!) I wrote about the vibrancy I have seen amongst our Brethren of the Prince Hall affiliation. At the time, the thought never crossed my mind that they would be considered irregular. After all, in my home jurisdiction of California, we have recognized Prince Hall Masons for a few years. I forgot that I now find myself south of the Mason-Dixon line, where wounds that are over 140 years old have not healed. Unfortunately, the Brethren here seem to be behind the times, and refuse to extend recognition to the mainstream Prince Hall Grand Lodge here.
Far be it from me, as an outsider, to tell southern Grand Lodges how to run their business, but this is a travesty, and a clear violation of Masonic principles. In fact, no matter what excuses they make for it, the only clear reason for this is racism. Prince Hall Masons adhere to the Ancient Landmarks and are every bit as Masonic, if not more so, than we are. Plain and simple, they deserve to be fully recognized and welcomed with open arms into the "mainstream" Masonic community. This is not to say that they should integrate or merge with their "mainstream" counterparts. Prince Hall Masons have a proud heritage and traditions, and have every right to exist as a separate entity, but it must be a fully recognized entity.
Southern Grand Lodges try to hide behind the doctrine of exclusive territorial jurisdiction. This argument is completely bunk, and a ridiculous American invention. American Grand Lodges should abandon this fallacy and take this issue one step further. Every Grand Lodge that recognizes their Prince Hall counterpart should extend full recognition to every other regular Prince Hall Grand Lodge, regardless of whether or not the mainstream Grand Lodge in that state recognizes them. This way pressure can be brought to bear upon racist unmasonic practices.
Freemasonry was once a progressive organization that attracted some of the finest minds of the times. Now sadly, it seems that we have fallen behind. It is time for our noble Craft to resume its position at the vanguard of society. It is only by banishing the ugly spectre of racism that can we begin to do this.
So mote it be.