[Square & Compasses]

Letter of the month: March 2003

Message-ID: <3E7B9FEA.9070100@odn.de>
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2003 00:27:38 +0100
From: ph <ph@odn.de>
To: masonry-ask@mit.edu
Subject: Masonry Question

dear mr dryfoos,

first to introduce myselve: i live in germany and i am interested very much about masonry.

i do know that freemasonry in the whole does not involve herself into political discussions. but the masons have the possibilty to express their personal political meaning in puplic. and the masons have the goal to create the temple of salomon. that means to create a better world with love and respect among all people.

if i see the actual politics and if i hear the speaches of president george w. bush and his team, than i get the impression, that this is totally against this vision of masons.

so i am very interestet, if there are any efforts by masons in the us, to stop president bush disregarding the international law, spitting to the united nations and bringing all the arab world (that he obviosly does not know very good) into more radicalism.

in my opinion, this is a theme, masons should think about and act against this behavior.

maybe you do not agree with me, but i would be glad about an answer.

thank you very much

yours sincerly peter zumach

Dear Mr. Zumach,

Thank you for writing.

First of all, just to be clear, George Bush is not a Mason, so his own politics and policies have nothing to do with this.

Next, I can tell you that everywhere in Masonry, and even among my own Masonic friends and acquaintances:

  • SOME are definitely against the war, and would agree with you in all or most of your points that war and the unravelling of alliances will have harmful effects around the world for years to come;
  • BUT others are very strongly in favor of the war, because they believe that the current government of Iraq is dangerous to its own people, to the US, and to the world at large. They believe that it would be more dangerous to do nothing than to proceed with the war.

And believe me, both of these points of view are held with tremendous belief and passion.

So you can see that if our lodges were to begin discussing this issue, there would be terrible discord and anger, and the lodges would be permanently ruined as a home for friendship and harmony. There are people who would never speak to each other again. That is why Masons never discuss these matters of politics in lodge.

I can assure you that many Masons, as private individuals not as members of a lodge are speaking out and demonstrating for peace all over the country. Others Masons, however, are speaking in support of the war and many Masons are members of our armed forces. But you should not expect to hear a "Masonic" opinion either way. There never will be one.

Masonry teaches that every man must examine his own conscience and act rightly. This can mean different things to different people, and we do not have a dogma. But Masonry teaches that all men are entitled to their own religious and political beliefs -- so in countries where free political or religious thought is prohibited, Masonry is always outlawed. For instance, Masonry is suppressed and perhaps non-existent in Iraq today. Many Masons believe that we should follow a peaceful path, but others believe that a different Iraq, where men and women have freedom of conscience, belief, and speech is a goal that should be fought for.

Is war or force ever justified? That reflects a very ancient human dichotomy that we have not learned to bridge. Great pacifists and great military leaders have been Masons. It is a terrible and difficult question.

Masonry could never solve the problem by discussing these issues in lodge, but Masonry itself could be destroyed if we attempted to do so. Each of us makes the special effort to leave our politics, our particular religious differences, and our social and economic class differences outside the door of the lodge room. In times like this, that takes a special effort, but it is one that we have to make. The best we can hope is that our own efforts to live in harmony can be an example to the rest of the world.

I hope you understand.

| Gary L. Dryfoos <dryfoo@mit.edu>| Ocean Lodge AF&AM, Saugus, MA (PM)
| P.O.Box 425400, Camb, MA 02142  | Mt. Scopus Lodge AF&AM, Malden, MA (PM)
| w: 617.253-0184 f: 617.258-6875 | Richard C. Maclaurin Lodge, MIT, MA
|  "A Page About Freemasonry"     | Internet Lodge #9659, E. Lancs UGLE   
|  http://mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/ | 32~; MPS; B'hood o/t Blue Forget-Me-Not 
|                                 | RWG Rep.GL Russia near GL Massachusetts 
| "...one sacred band, or society of Friends and Brothers, among
|  whom no contention should ever exist, save that noble contention,
|  or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree."

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