Saturday, July 4, 2009
There is much about Freemasonry that remains shrouded in mystery to the outside world. But a group of members in the US state of Georgia appear to have clarified one thing – the supreme being in which all Masons are required to believe is not likely to be black.
Freemasonry lodges in Georgia are at loggerheads over the admission of a “non-white” member to an organisation that was founded on the principles of the Enlightenment but which is apparently still struggling to catch up with the latter part of the 20th century.
Now the issue is headed for a Masonic trial and the state courts after some lodges in Georgia sought to revoke the charter of one in Atlanta for admitting Victor Marshall, a 26-year-old African-American army reservist, last autumn.
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The Atlanta lodge has fought back in the state courts by seeking to block the move on the grounds that is based on “racial animosity and hatred”.
The row blew up after Marshall attended a celebration in Savannah in February to mark the 275th anniversary of a lodge in the city. Although there are other Masons of colour in Georgia, including Asians and Hispanics, some members were disturbed to encounter a black man and laid a complaint that he did not belong.
“There were ill-informed brethren who were surprised that there was an African-American brother,” David Llewellyn, a Freemason and lawyer for the Atlanta lodge, told the New York Times, “and some of them were very upset”.
This article was posted: Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 4:15 am