Me Changing Me

In Insights and Thoughts by Mike Bishop

One of the fundamental practices of Freemasonry is that we do not discuss religion or politics in Lodge. Many carry this same principle outside into the world in an attempt to foster harmony. Others walk a fine line.

Recently, a Brother expressed support for a specific candidate for political office. On the surface, there is no problem with a Brother, or any citizen, choosing to support someone for office. The problem arises when a Mason, using a forum marked for Masonic purposes, advocates as a Mason, his support for a political candidate.

Some brothers have implied that what he has done is little different from placing a political sticker on a car that also has Masonic badges on it. The only reason for posting a political opinion on a Masonic blog, website or forum, ostensibly aimed at Masons, is to appeal to Masons as a Mason. We need to draw a clear line.

We should try to remember that Masonry not about me trying change others, it is about me changing me. It is not my concern whether a brother is wrapping himself in politics… but in doing so while representing himself as a Mason, he may be losing sight of that valuable instrument by which we are taught to circumscribe our passions and keep them within due bounds toward all mankind, particularly our brethren in Freemasonry.

Because politics are divisive by their very nature, we as Freemasons should be careful about how, and where we discuss such things. In the Lodge closing charge we are admonished to be diligent, temperate, prudent and discreet. Posting one’s political opinion directed toward Masons, some might say, is analogous to using the Lodge mailing list to send out political flyers on Lodge letterhead. This is never a good thing, and is only cause for dissension between brothers who do not agree with a candidate or position being advocated in the name of Masonry. I have seen this happen first-hand in the past. I am however en-heartened that I have not been witness to this happening in our jurisdiction.

Freemasonry is about improving ourselves, and anything that detracts from that lofty goal should be avoided. After all, there is a time and a place for religious observation, and a time and a place for politics. Lodge is not a place for either of them.

While many people, especially in this wearying and divisive Presidential election season, are focused on things that divide people, we as a group of men continue to remain focused on what we have in common and what binds us together. This is what makes us strong. Try to keep that in focus at all times. It is what allows me to stay focused on not changing others, but on me changing me.

— WB Mike Bishop, PM of Enlightenment Lodge 228