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postscript

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  • Birthday 13/09/2009

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  1. When the Deacons are out getting the candidate, we usually have a short break so that the Private Godfreys can 'be excused' . . .
  2. Well, he played Rudyard Kipling in 'The Man who would be King' and Wellington in 'Waterloo', so those are two real freemasons (albeit Wellington was initiated and never went back, I think). He played Sherlock Holmes in 'Murder by Decree', based on the anti-masonic conspiracy theory about Jack the Ripper, and Holmes was invented by freemason Arthur Conan Doyle (though not that story obviously). OK, I give up, who was the made-up freemason he played?
  3. One other thing. It was a bit naughty of the programme makers to show an excerpt from Ankerberg's anti-masonic exposure on US TV. And the black and white footage of a supposed initiation was taken, I think, from a Nazi propaganda film made in occupied France.
  4. I've just watched it, and it wasn't too bad. Of course, the ill-disposed will take the wrong things from it - the suggestion that Burns and Watt gained success by their masonic connections for example (I laughed at the academic who pondered how many James Watts were out there who didn't have that advantage!). I wasn't too keen that the three times three after a toast was shown. And as for the student prospective candidate who said his grandfather was a Mason, I bet grandad was telling him to take his ruddy cap off! But, all in all, I think it gave a positive picture of freemasonry, and Scottish freemasonry in particular, and if I wasn't already in the Craft, it would have made me interested in joining.
  5. Again you're replying to a statement I didn't make. I did not say Freemasonry in Georgia had no colour bar. As for obfuscation, it was you who brought the race question into the discussion and I merely answered your point.
  6. bod (13/11/2015)Ppphhttt - would you defend racial discrimination in similar terms? After all that was considered a moral issue by many until the 1980's too - even to this day by someIt's plain and simple ignorance and bigotry based on an old man's interpretation of the Old Testament - it does masonry as a whole a grave dis-service and should be roundly criticised"Ppphhttt" is a very rational response! I was not actually defending anything, merely suggesting that criticism should be tempered by the realisation that this man's "bigotry" was the view of every western society for centuries until within the memory of most of us. What happened to "admonish with friendship and reprehend with mercy"? Is that another outmoded principle to be thrown out by fickle fashion? Anyway, to answer your question, racial discrimination has a quite different history, both in society as a whole and in freemasonry. There was never a universal colour bar in the Craft, not even in the 18th and 19th centuries. Prince Hall and other black men were initiated by an Irish travelling lodge in the 1770s. In the 19th century some British lodges in India were mixed and some weren't. There is a well-known photo of touring black vaudeville performers initiated in Scotland. Interestingly, however, the change in attitudes to homosexuality has come with a move to see it no longer as a behaviour but, like race, as an inherent characteristic and identity.
  7. Mike Martin (11/11/2015)I don't usually like to comment too much on foreign Grand Lodges except when it has an actual impact on my Grand Lodge BUTI find the attitude of the outgoing Grand Master of Georgia to be quite peculiar and seemingly stuck in the ancient past (Old Testament). I just hope that his successor repeals this ridiculous edict before it causes lasting damage to that Grand Lodge and its standing.If I had any influence in the world of Freemasonry I would be suggesting that the Home Grand Lodges should look carefully at the GL of Georgia's apparent attitude toward non-whites, non-Christians and now non-straight and/or un-married men and question whether it is conducive to the purpose of Freemasonry according to the Antient Charges to be "the centre of union between good men and true and the happy means of conciliating friendship amongst those who must otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance"Not exactly "stuck in the ancient past" - it is worth remembering that homosexual acts between males were illegal in England and Wales until 1967, in Scotland until 1981, Northern Ireland till 1982, and the Republic of Ireland till 1993. Georgia had a statute which criminalised "sodomy" (defined to include anal and oral intercourse whatever the sex of the participants) and which was only deemed unconstitutional in 1998. So, presumably, any Mason in these constitutions would have been liable in effect to be disciplined for homosexual conduct if they received a criminal conviction for it. I express no opinion on whether the Georgia GM is right or wrong (I'm not sure what my opinion is), but when society as a whole has turned such a swift and sharp moral U-turn within such a short time, many people are apt to feel a bit giddy. And it ill behoves us to be too critical, especially when you remember that as Freemasons we are meant to follow eternal moral teachings handed down from the "ancient past (Old Testament)" too!
  8. Torrentius (01/04/2010)Here`s a small puzzle to think about which I stumbled across recently. It`s a bit of a wild card and if there is a simple explanation, apologies and please post it here.If you look at a good dictionary you will find that the word Burns uses is not a specifically Scots word but standard English, usually now spelt "bausond". It does indeed derive from Old French bausant, meaning black and white spotted, and there are similar words in Italian and mediaeval Latin. The old English word for a badger, bauson, comes from the same source and refers to the badger's black and white face. As for the Templars, surely their banner got its name from the then current French word for black and white, not vice versa. The fact that Burns used a word ultimately derived from the same original source does not mean there was any Templar connection, any more than calling a Lodge Room carpet chequered implies a connection to Formula One!
  9. Vintagemalt (16/12/2009) Far from being a den of sedition and treason, Freemasonry was highly visible during this period, processing and laying foundation stones and engaging in various other civil activities, and hiring out Freemasons' Hall for public events such as concerts and dinners; it was not until WWII, according to Diane Clements, Director of the Library and Museum of Freemasonry, and the Nazi persecution of Freemasons, that English Masons became more circumspect, a habit which stuck for a generation. I've read this latter point a few times and I think I heard John Hamill make it on a TV documentary too, but I'm curious to know what evidence there is for it, or is it just a recent assumption? Are there Grand Lodge documents indicating a change of policy? Or individual testimony from Masons of that generation that they became more circumspect because of what happened on the Continent? It strikes me as a convenient theory but one which does not ring entirely true. The war was won, Naziism utterly defeated, the Craft had in its upper echelons such pillars of the state as the King and the Archbishop of Canterbury, and there was an upsurge in new members, often ex-servicemen. Were these really the people to be looking over their shoulders anxiously at Nazi attitudes to the Craft? I suspect changing post-war social attitudes and tastes were more to blame, particularly as the fifties gave way to the sixties, but I look forward to having my theory shot to pieces!
  10. My late father was a Mason and although he never told me I should join, he spoke about Masonry quite a bit and it was quite obvious it meant a lot to him. When I was about ten he gave me a copy of his lodge's history which really fired my imagination, and about the same time took me to see inside the lodge room and its historic artefacts one afternoon. Unfortunately in my early teens my interest caused me to read Stephen Knight's book "The Brotherhood" which rather put me off, particularly the suggestion that Freemasonry was incompatible with Christianity. I am not overly religious, but the thought there might be some occultist elements was worrying. Going into the Church of Scotland bookshop in Edinburgh in 1991 and buying Walton Hannah's "Darkness Visible" and the Kirk's own report on Freemasonry did nothing to encourage me. Yet my interest remained. Four years ago I picked up a copy of Lomas's "Turning the Hiram Key" and although it soon strayed into the fanciful, it did give a rather appealing picture of Masonry which prompted me to enquire further. Thankfully there was now the internet and through it I heard of Christopher Haffner's "Workman Unashamed". This was a long overdue, utterly sincere and compelling Christian refutal of the allegations of Hannah and others. After that I read more and more and began to think that I would really like to become a member. Two years ago I heard a series of programmes about Masonry on Radio Scotland by Billy Kay (now available on CD from the Grand Lodge of Scotland website) and was even more convinced I should join. By pure coincidence the next night I was in conversation with a man who had known my father in his lodge and asked it I'd ever joined. No, I said, but it was something I was interested in. This resulted in my initiation a couple of months ago. Since then I have been passed and raised and gone visiting a couple of times, and apart from an initial uneasy feeling of "what have I let myself in for?" which lasted no more than a day or two, I feel I have joined something really special.
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