Monday, May 12, 2014

Response to Bro. Fahim Knight -El

In a blog post entitled, John G. Jones; Regular versus Irregular, Part 2, by Bro. Fahim A. Knight-El, which can be found here, please refer to the comments as well to read my comments:
Bro. Fahim's blog post
I was named in his post based on my opinion regarding the topic. Due to the inability to respond at length, I have placed my response here. I will leave his post in black and my response in read. Bro. Fahim began his last post:

Peace: Brother Hairston this is the point that you are losing in this discussion, it's really not about my position on John G. Jones, but I am advocating ways to solidify black Masonic unity. 

Bro. Fahim, I don't think I am missing the point at all. What I do believe is that you're missing the point that Black Unity doesn't need Freemasonry to be achieved. You're not the first sympathizer to cite a need for unity among "black masons". This tells me that you have also missed the point of Freemasonry period. Freemasonry wasn't established to JUST unify black people, but to unify mankind. Your position on JGJ is quite secondary to the first flaw in your concept of unifying "black masons", and that is a faulty concept of Freemasonry itself.
There is NO place in Freemasonry for Black nationalism. Black nationalism operates contrary to the universality of Freemasonry.

I applaud your fight for unity among black people, more unity is definitely needed. but to ask Freemasonry to compromise its ancient usages and customs in the name of "black unity" isn't truly unity at all, because it doesn't allow for the unity to be based on the principles of Freemasonry and its established rules and practices.
Unity among those outside the regularity of Freemasonry and those within is possible and an option that rest with its doors wide open, and that is for those who are members of clandestine groups to petition regular Lodges. This is the proper protocol and method to gain entry into the circle of regularity, without the breakdown of the fabric of the Craft which is vested in the legal charter and lineage. If regularity didn't matter to you, then you would have joined a clandestine group, but instead you made sure you aligned yourself to a true and traceable lineage. Now what is the problem with asking those who have done otherwise to come in through the door you came in?
There are other areas of Society and places to express unity among our people without endangering the traditions and customs of the Order. There are the arenas of politics, education, economy, social, etc.
Question, why doesn't your UNITY include all people, because this is the true object of Freemasonry?
Black nationalism limits the scope of freemasonry and taints its purpose.
So, I am well aware of your point, I just don't agree with the platform, nor the proposed method. You continued:

I think you should know that I am fully aware of some of the charges and accusations that were made against Brother John G. Jones and some of them no doubt were inexcusable. But this brother has been deceased for very long time; yet, his Ancient Free and Accepted Masonic Order is still functioning and it appears that they are not going anywhere. 

Yes, I know that you are aware of SOME OF THE CHARGES AND ACCUSATIONS, which was precisely my point. I appreciate you being honest about that. But, you should actually become acquainted with the full picture, and then you will recognize the full damage perpetrated by JGJ. And, if you believe that some of those were inexcusable then you can understand why the work he did after being expelled from Illinois can not be accepted among regular lodges and jurisdictions. I mean you said "INEXCUSABLE".
So, if we can agree on the inexcusable nature of his crimes then we should be able to agree on the inexcusable nature of the fruit of the same. John G. Jones is indeed dead, but his clandestine work still exists. That has to be corrected by the proper masonic methods. If you are in tune with the Masonic world today, then you know that clandestine Freemasonry is losing many of their members based on the Truth being dispensed. Those who are awakening to the great error of JGJ, and the error in the practices of their organization are choosing to leave that group and be healed over into regular Freemasonry according to the established usages and customs. There is no complaints on their part. They understand that this is the protocol to be followed, they aren't asking for shortcuts.
The fact that JGJ groups do exist is a testimony that they are not aware that true unity is based on truth and right. Alliances for the sake of having a group is pointless, as the alliance is loose and chaotic.
I mean does your proposed unity mean that they keep their illegal charters and continue in the erroneous practices that they have been handed?
What does the unity look like realistically? We can't just believe that it just takes all black people to wake up and 'abracadabra' we have black unity in Masonry...Your proposal must have reasonable and rational methods of achievement or else it is nothing more than an utopian idea, with no real substance. You continued:
I am very familiar with the Prince Hall site Commission on Bogus Freemasonry in which Brother Ezekiel Bey and his staff has complied a list of Bogus Grand Lodges. I respect my friend Ralph McNeal, Brother Emanuel Stanley and Brother Ezekiel Bey (and perhaps all of them would disagree with me on this issue, but I consider myself a trailblazer and a fighter for change). 

I believe an update is needed. There is a new administration in the Phylaxis Commission on Bogus Masonry and Practices. I cannot speak to what any one Brother would agree to or not, but I can assure you that those Brother regard regularity of a high priority. I believe that you do too, hence your choice of organizations. You continued:

And there are others inside of Prince Hall Masonry that has written critiques of John G. Jones and I applaud their essays and commentaries as well. But that does not curtail me from pursuing a course of black Masonic unity—sorry good Brother, I am just very passionate about creating a Black United Front and we should not allow our social or political status to hinder this clarion call for unity in spite of our differences . 

I believe that you believe that because I honor regularity, that I don't honor unity among African American people. Far from the case. I am not willing to compromise or put at risk the fabric of the Craft just to have a band of loosely allianced Grand Lodges. How is that working out in Houston Texas among AFAM groups?
No, a united Black front doesn't need Freemasonry, the united black front needs educated people to commit themselves to that unity with or without title. that means if you have to give up your Grand master title to come amongst, you have to be willing to do that. You continued:

Many of us so-called African Americans truly do not know or understand often our own church history and the internal historical frictions that brought many of these denominations into existences. It is a history of splits, divisions, renegades, betrayal and sometime it has included monetary theft, sexual improprieties, Deacons plotting to get the pastor ousted and host of other conducts that do not reflect what Christianity stands for (yet when the smoke clears and time passes—there becomes a time for forgiveness and we let ‘bygones be bygones’. 

That may be the case, but Church is under a very different structure than Freemasonry, and just as the church has its methods of operation, so does Freemasonry. Freemasonry doesn't ask society to abandon its principles and established structure to appease our existence. Freemasonry operates within the framework of the laws of the land. Black unity among Freemasons and clandestine groups is possible, but it must be done within the context and framework of Freemasonry. There is no such thing as Affirmative action Freemasonry. It works the same across the board. You continued:

Also, many of these renegade pastors were often forced out of the church governing body and associations because of unbecoming conduct—some would receive lifetime expulsions, suspensions, excommunication reprimands and/or other sanctions for violating church codes of conduct. I have personally witness renegade minister take half of the original church parishioners with them in some of these disputes. 

Interesting, sounds like the start of the John G. Jones groups and other clandestine organizations. The means of correcting the error is for the members of these groups to do what JGJ didn't, and that is to go back to the doors of a regular lodge and knock. 

Thus, as long as there exist the human factor and element, it will always play out in the realm of human imperfection. 

I agree, and if you were to compromise the customs to appease a loose federation of lodges, you still breed imperfection as well.

These comments that you are making are shrouded in an Ego driven assessment and lack a true rational approach to how do we resolve this John G. Jones conflict and move forward in a progressive way? The problem as you stated has been well defined, but we are short on meaningful, real and tangible solutions.

I had to chuckle a bit here, as I have stated a solution to the problem MULTIPLE TIMES, I think you just don't accept the solution, because you're more into the controversy of the argument than truly seeing these brothers join and operate in regular lodges. Again, rather than toss around assumptions, come talk to me, REAL MEN HAVE CONVERSATIONS, then if they find the evidence unsatisfactory choose to debate the topic. I appreciate your zeal, I just disagree with your concepts.

WB John L. Hairston, Editor
The Quill and The Sword

1 comment:

  1. Peace: Brother Hairston, I did read your rebuttal on your Quill and Sword Blog site. I appreciate you giving me a complete response, but your dissecting of my words left a lot to be desired. Let me first bring this much to your attention relative to the role race has played in American Freemasonry. I agree with this much of your commentary Freemasonry was founded on the universal principles of brotherhood regardless of race, color, creed and/or ones religious affiliations. But may be you unintentionally overlooked the fact that Prince Hall, the founder of Black Freemasonry who established Lodge # 459 and African Lodge # 1 was established because white Masons denied him and other Masons of African descent the right to petition and join white American style Scottish Rite Lodges within the United States of America. This forced the abolitionist and freedom fighter Hall to establish an all Black Masonic Order that functioned sovereign and independent of their white Masonic counterparts (this represented black pride and stood as a symbol of Black Nationalism). It actually could be looked at as one of the earliest Black separatist movement in America prior to Paul Cuffee, Martin Delaney, Marcus Garvey, Bishop Henry McNeal Turner, etc. White racism and white supremacy had little to no respect for the universal tenets and principles in which Freemasonry was supposed to rest upon—morality, friendship and brotherly love. There were a number of legal court battles where white Masons sued and took Prince Hall Masons to court for daring to have the audacity to wear Masonic regalia and publically display the Masonic Square and Compass in venues. Moreover, Prince Hall's white Masonic brethren said Black Masons had no right to legally display any Masonic symbols because Prince Hall Masons were considered clandestine and irregular Masons and this so-called status compromised their right to exist under the banner of a Freemasonry organization and entity (just take a moment and read the history of the Shriners Jubilee Day) . So it was White Nationalism that drove this divisiveness (Jim Crow was initiated with the 1896 Supreme Court decision of Plessy vs. Ferguson where the high court ruled that it was legal to practice segregation and discrimination and it was not until 1954 with Brown vs. Board of Education decision overturned the Plessy decision and declared separate but equal as being unconstitutional). The white Masons ignored the social consciousness of our jurisprudence system as it was litigated in the U.S. Supreme Court and continued for decades to practice institutionalized racism against so-called African American Masons. But you are accusing me of injecting race into the Freemasonic equation and you are conveniently overlooking the fact that for over 200 years Black Masons and White Masons could not have interchangeable lodge visitations because white Grand Lodges in the United States did not officially recognize Prince Hall Masonry. Now, this is not to say, that there have not been over the years some integrated Masonic Lodges in the United States of America where black and white Masons co-existed; these instances prior to 20 years ago were more of the exception rather than the rule. For example, in my Masonic Jurisdiction of North Carolina, it was just 6 years ago that after 138 years of racist segregation that North Carolina white Masons finally passed a decree recognizing Prince Hall Masonry as a regular body of Masons. So, my brother race has always played a very high and prominent role in American Freemasonry. I believe that there are still 9 states that still will not allow a black Mason to enter their Blue Lodges, Shrine Temples, consistory, etc. My position on Black Masonic unity has plenty of merit.

    Stay Awake Until We Meet Again,
    Fahim A. Knight-El