The North Carolina Mason

January/February 2021

North Carolina Mason

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January/February 2021 The North Carolina Mason Page 5 From the Grand master oughts, words, deeds matter By R. David Wicker Jr. Grand Master A s 2020 ended and the new year began, I was putting together my thoughts with regard to my next article in the NC Mason. To be honest, drafting these articles is somewhat of a chore. Yes, lawyers have to be writers. But the briefs and memoranda I have written over the years have come much easier. As a lawyer, the facts and the law are given to me; I don't create them myself. I just have to put pen to paper and present to the court my argument as to how the law should be applied to the facts that are presented in my case. But having to sit down and create an article from nothing, whether it proves to be inter- esting or not, is something at which I am much less skilled. My article was in draft form, needing only to be edited. As I was finishing up, to my shock, horror and disbelief, I had to stop and witness the violence that unfolded in our nation's Capitol. I had to tell myself repeatedly that this does not happen in the United States of America. Surely, we were witnessing something that was occurring in some third-world country. It can't be happening here, because we are the bastion for freedom. We are the light that others only dream to live by. We are the gold standard for the world. I set aside my draft. Although analyzing the current events through the application of our Masonic teachings would result in an entire treatise on the subject, I felt that, that as Grand Master, it was important for me to address these events through my simple thoughts as a Freemason. My discussion focuses only on the events that occurred on Jan. 6. Matters occurring during the term of office of other Grand Masters were addressed by those Grand Masters. I fully supported the actions of my Grand Master as he went through and struggled with the issues that were presented before him. My discussion herein is not intended to be political. Nor is it my intention to lecture anyone with regard to how they should think or what they should believe, so long as it is not contrary to or inconsistent with the duties and obligations of a Freemason. Other than that, how one chooses to think, feel or believe is not for me to say. ere is a reason politics and religion are not debated within our lodges. ese topics cause passions to run high. Some are certain their position regarding politics and religion is the only morally correct position. No amount of discussion or information to the contrary will sway them. Others may have an opposite view. History has often shown us that during times of war, the combatants praying to the same God are absolutely certain that God is on their side. Both combatants believe that theirs is the morally correct position. It is more likely that God is not on either side as, in my humble opinion, God abhors the wars that kill his children. It is my humble opinion that what happened in Washington on Jan. 6 was not a matter of patriotism nor love of country. It was not right vs. left, liberal vs. conservative or Republican vs. Democrat. What happened was a matter of right vs. wrong. I speak out against the wrong. at wrong is anger, hatred, violence. I do not speak in support of any political ideology over another, but to denounce the use of anger, hatred, and violence, by anyone to attempt to force their ideology upon another. I speak out not to blame one side or the other. Neither side has a monopoly on these vices. I speak out to acknowledge the wrong so that dialogue can begin as to how to address it and how to correct this wrong. We do not need to place blame on one side or the other for the civil unrest we have for too long experienced. We need to learn to subdue our passions, listen to one another and work together to fix the problem. If we fix the problem, then there is no blame to place. So, I ask, if Freemasonry is relevant today, what can we communicate to our nation? When I was installed as the Master of my lodge, certain regulations of Free and Accepted Masons were explained to me. ese regula- tions were intended to point out to me the duties, not only of the Master, but of the duties and obligations of every Freemason. Before being installed, I was required to publicly agree to support these principles. Since that time, I have installed the officers of various lodges. In doing so, I have required the Master to publicly agree to support those same obligations. Reflecting on these principles and obligations, I believe that the application of our Masonic teachings is needed as much today, if not more so, than it has ever been before. It is the duty of every Freemason to be a good man and to strictly obey the moral law. We are to be peaceable subjects, and to cheer- fully conform to the laws of our country. e United States Consti- tution guarantees that the government will not inter- fere with its citizens' rights of free speech and to peace- ably assemble. However, those rights are not unlim- ited. (Note: e U.S. Consti- tution and Anderson's Constitutions of Free Masons of 1723 have many similarities that will not be addressed in this article. However, I would recommend that discussion as a topic of Masonic education for your Lodge.) For example, you have no right to yell fire in a crowded movie theatre. at is an example of speech that endangers the rights and safety of others and is not constitutionally protected. Peaceably assembling to protest any grievance is permitted. But pushing aside barricades, smashing windows and violently occupying both chambers of Congress to prevent them from their work are not examples of being a peaceably subject and cheerfully conforming to the laws of our country. It is the duty of every Freemason to avoid plots and conspiracies against government, but patiently to submit to the decisions of the supreme legislature. Further, we agree to pay proper respect to the civil magistrate. Brethren, in part, the duties and preroga- tives that the CODE gives the Grand Master are the authority to make determinations and interpretations regarding Masonic questions and issues. My interpretation of this duty is that as Freemasons, we are to live within the laws and decisions of the supreme legislature; that being the laws enacted by our local, state and federal governments. If we do not like or agree with a certain law, we work within our system of government to ■ see WICKER, page 7 So, I ask, if Freemasonry is relevant today, what can we communicate to our nation?

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