Wor. Bro Kevin Homan is a member of Olive Branch Lodge #114, AF&AM in Leesburg, VA. He was Raised in 2007, served as Master in 2011 and 2012, Secretary in 2013-14 and is currently the District Educational Officer of Masonic District 2 of the Grand Lodge of Virginia.
Who Do We Want to Be?
Wor. Bro. Kevin Homan
Olive Branch Lodge No. 114
Freemasonry as we know it began in a London bar in the early 18th century, for an organization of its time we were rather progressive, allowing men of ALL faiths to join our ranks. While we have certainly had our issues where we found ourselves on the wrong side of history (the split with Prince Hall Masonry), Masonry at its core has been an organization that has accepted all good men, regardless of faith or creed. Recently however, several actions have taken place that threaten the very foundation of Freemasonry’s existence; I am talking about the Grand Lodge of Tennessee preferring Masonic Charges against one of their own members, and the Grand Lodge of Georgia issuing an Edict declaring homosexuality an official Masonic Offense.
This past summer, the United States Supreme Court handed down a ruling in favor of same-sex marriages. Shortly thereafter Wor Bro Jon Ruark, and Bro Jason Richards, both of the Masonic Roundtable contributed a guest contribution to The Midnight Freemasons blog. Please read it if you haven’t, it is an excellently written piece. In the case of the Brother from Tennessee, I will direct you to Bro Chris Hodapp’s blog. The Brother in this particular case is a long serving member of the Craft, Past Master of his Lodge and members of many of our Appendant Bodies, including several invitational only bodies. Suffice it to say, he is an exemplary Brother based on those memberships.
I will hit the main points, and leave it to you to read through Bro Hodapp’s post, as well as the Brother in questions letter that has been distributed to many bodies, but the initiating event of this was this Brother’s (legal) marriage to his partner. The Brother in question has only been given vague responses via the Grand Lodge as to what his offense was, but it is related to the GLoTN code section 4.2105, stating
To engage in lewd conduct. To promote of engage in homosexual activity. To cohabitate immorally in a situation without the benefit of marriage.
To go a little further here, the Grand Lodge, Grand Master, or both is pursuing charges on its own, after this Brother’s own Mother Lodge refused to Prefer Charges at the Grand Masters urging. How was this Brother discovered? From pictures of his wedding posted to his Facebook page. Granted, this Grand Lodge code is on the books in Tennessee, however it is a code that is in direct opposition with previous laws in this Country now considered unconstitutional by our Supreme Court. I am also a little concerned that the GLoTN feels they have the authority to govern my personal life. When I graduated from college in 2004 and moved to Northern Virginia (one of the most expensive areas in the nation) my girlfriend (now my wife) bought a house together. We were committed, and serious about our relationship, but according to this I could have been expelled from the Fraternity because we lived together but weren’t married, and even though both our parents were on board with this. The only thing we were really guilty of? Trying to manage our costs in an expensive world. Are these the kinds of “issues” our Grand Lodges should be concerning themselves with?
It is important to point out here that we only have one side of the story so far as we don’t have a response from the GLoTN.
We live in a time where social media rules the World, and attention spans are even shorter. Mob mentality because of this is at its peak. We are lucky that these events have only been picked up on Masonic blogs and sub-Reddits, but eventually, one of them will hit mainstream news, and the results will be likely worse than the results of the Morgan Affair. In the social media world and the era of the 24 hour news cycle, Freemasony will be indicted and charged guilty in the minds of public opinion. Nobody will talk about the good we do, they will only focus on these isolated incidents. These two Grand Lodges will indict ALL Grand Lodges, because people will not do their research to know that there are 48 other independent Grand Jurisdictions in this country, and many others around the World.
Freemasonry is at a crossroads my Brethren. We made it through the Civil Rights era unscathed, but we won’t when one of these events hits the news and social media. We claim to be an organization who looks beyond the external in men and only at the internal, but events like these throw that in doubt. Our Grand Lodges have been losing members for years, if this breaks it will only drive a further wedge between us, and the public at large. A great deal of introspection and soul searching is required here my Brethren, who do we want to be? Do we want to be the progressive organization who is accepting of all who believe in the Grand Artificer? Or do we want to fade away and just be a memory in books and online archives? I know my answer, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the organization I love so much fade into oblivion.
Thank you Wor. Bro. Kevin Homan for you contribution this week!
If you would like to be the next contributor to From The Mentor’s Mouth, send me an email. I hope you will.