The North Carolina Mason

May/June 2015

North Carolina Mason

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The BoTTom Line By Douglas L. Caudle Grand Master Religion and politics Nothing brings people together or tears them apart more than religion and politics. In 1723, Anderson's Constitutions was written and serves as the basis for Masonic Code in Eng- land and United States lodges. Even in that much simpler time, our Masonic forefathers saw the wisdom in forbidding discussion of these topics in a Masonic lodge. is includes all areas of the lodge not just during tyled meetings in the lodge room. Religion Freemasonry takes men of all religions by the right hand of fellowship. A belief in a supreme being is our only requirement to become and remain a Mason. While the majority of North Carolina Masons are Christian, we have members who are Mus- lim, Jewish, and Hindu as well. e several prayers in our Bahnson Manual are not of a particular religion or belief. When we offer up our devotion to deity in lodge or in other lodge settings such as before dinner, be mindful of the prayers used. I have noticed that many times Brothers offer Christian prayers during these times. While I believe that this is done mostly out of habit and not to offend, it is still improper. In instances where a Brother has been spoken to about offering a specific religion's prayer, many have been embarrassed that they may have made a Brother feel uncomfortable. However, in some instances, the Brother did not see "what the big deal was." I would be curious if he would feel the same way if a prayer from a religion other than Christianity was offered. Many men look to Freemasonry because our literature tells them that men of all religions are welcome. However, many be- come disenchanted because in practice this is not always the case. We must be mindful that just because a Brother may not openly espouse his religious beliefs that we must not assume he has the same beliefs as ours. By having specific religion prayers or con- versations we are alienating many of our members. In instances such as this, many just quit attending lodge functions instead of addressing the obvious conflict with our tenets. us, it becomes our loss for not having the fellowship of these Brothers who can only add to our understanding of cultures other than our own. I am certainly not asking anyone to apologize for their religion or their beliefs. However, we must look to our Masonic vocabulary when we pray to our God in a Masonic setting. Politics With the 24-hour news cycle, it is hard to escape the nonstop reporting of the various political dramas being played out. With local, state, and national elections being held next year, the politi- cal rhetoric will be at a fever pitch very soon. Again, our forefa- thers, in their wisdom, saw how discussion of politics would be inappropriate in a Masonic lodge. I have witnessed Brothers start a conversation around the din- ner table before lodge discussing a current event. en, in the course of a few minutes, the conversation turned into a shouting match due to a difference in political beliefs. Many Lodges are suffering with poor attendance and lack of new members. How can we improve our attendance if non-regu- larly attending members join us only to be subjected to a political discussion? What is it telling a potential candidate who may join us for dinner if groups of members are too busy to talk with this man because they are "holding court" around the dinner table? Even if every member of you lodge belongs to the same church and even if they all belong to the same political party, discussion of religion and politics in lodge is still inappropriate. e Masonic lodge is a "sacred place of friendship and virtue." Where better can we have a place of refuge from the political and religious turmoil in our world today? I am very firm in both my religious and political beliefs. How- ever, I have engaged Brothers of opposite beliefs and parties out- side of the lodge. What I have found is that we agree much more than we disagree. By talking with these Brothers, I have a much better understanding of their beliefs and hopefully they have the same about me. I encourage each of you to seek out a Brother who believes differently than you and discuss their beliefs. Not from the point of trying to change them to your beliefs, but to gain an understanding of theirs. Freemasonry has and will continue to survive only if we con- tinue to accept men of all faiths and political beliefs. I appreciate each of you and am honored to serve as grand master. see USS NC, page 4 see photos, page 7 The Mason NORTH CAROLINA Official Publication of e Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina Volume 140 Number 3 Oxford, North Carolina May/June 2015 Shipboard North Carolina degree By Ben Sorensen WILMINGTON — e USS North Caro- lina, was the lead ship of the North Carolina class of battleships. Built in 1937, it was the fourth warship to carry the name of the Old North State. When she was commissioned on April 9, 1941, the United States did not know it was heading toward involvement in the war raging in Europe. After all, America had her own Great Depression to pull out of; soup lines that extended for blocks were still not enough to ensure that families did not starve. e Dust Bowl's destruction of American crops was still affecting the domestic food supply. ings were slowly getting better from the Great Depres- sion, but America did not consider herself in any shape to pull Europe out of conflict. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, America was thrust into World War II. e USS North Carolina, finally having a chance to fulfill her purpose, sailed off for the Pacific eater. While at sea, the USS North Carolina participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific. She took torpedo hits, fought off kamikaze pilots, and lost ten men, with sixty-seven wounded. e Japanese reported her sunk at least seven times. She was decommissioned on June 27, 1947. She was struck from the Naval Register in 1960 and transferred to the state of North Carolina in 1961 after being bought by the school children of North Carolina with nickel and dime donations. By Larry ompson MOUNT GILEAD — Blackmer 127 hosted its Sec- ond Annual Uwharrie Mountain Rumble on April 11. More than 40 riders participated in a 75-mile scenic route through the Uwharrie Mountains region. ey enjoyed select stops including the historic Shiloh Church in Troy. e ride ended at the Ford Place Pub and Event Center in Mount Gilead where the riders were treated to a buffet dinner and music by e ree Degrees band. irty local businesses and individuals helped to spon- sor the Rumble, with all proceeds from the ride going to benefit the North Carolina Masonic charities. Next year's Rumble has been scheduled for April 16, 2016. Larry ompson is a member of Blackmer 127 and grand steward. Rumble on the mountain Adam Jennings photo Jessie Leigh Rober ts photo

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