Sunday, June 27, 2010

Grand Lodge of Texas, Prince Hall, and Afghanistan

I know I have been neglectful of this blog, and there are a lot of things that I have wanted to write about, and receive feedback on. I am hoping that I can start that again with this post. The three topics above may not seem all interrelated, but for me they are, and I hope to explain myself with this post.

In early April of this year I received an e-mail from the Joint Chief of Staff Personnel directorate:

Gen McCrystal, AFGHAN CC, has submitted a by name request for Capt Vickery.

From there everything went downhill and fast, my wife was fit to be tied, my civilian career which was just getting back to normal was in shambles, and my abscene from the Craft was going to be extended. For the first time in my life I understood what it meant when they say “Service before self”. For a long time, especially in the Air Force it is almost seen as a tagline, or something you have to say, but now I know. I have a skill set that has become valuable for the commanders in Afghanistan, and because of that I was called back to serve for a minimum of a year, so here I sit on a break, writing this post in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In regards to the Craft (which is what this blog is about), I don’t have to be deprived of the work, but I am because of the Grand Lodge of Texas and their current recognition of Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas. For the longest time I was going to refrain from posting about the GLoTX and the Prince Hall issue, because honestly I didn’t want the headache. I know that most brothers who are reading this feel that the entire issue/blame is to be placed at the feet of the Grand Lodge of Texas that it is all on them to make everything right, not so fast. While the GLoTX did recognize the Grand Lodge of Prince Hall Texas, they put on the restriction that no Masonic communication is to happen between the two organizations in any manner. This was agreed to by our Prince Hall brothers, and so while GLoTX recognize their right to exist, neither party agreed on much else.

Now the reasons for this particular arrangement is that our Prince Hall brothers didn’t want communication, only recognition to be able to apply to the UGLE to be formally recognize, and while that can seem like the old excuses of segregation “they like it that way”, I don’t feel that blind racism is the culprit as others may have you think. You go into most lodges in south east Texas you will see Past Masters with names like Ramirez, Hernandez, and Garcia. We need to call the Masonic communication issue what it is for parties, xenophobia, period. It isn’t unreasonable that members of the GLoTX and the MWGLPHTX don’t want to delude their Masonic traditions with one another, hell I see this with lodges across town from one another, being highly critical in how the other performs the work, etc.

So what is my point? All this posturing, crusading and shrill arguments are fine for you back in the states, but the sad state of affairs is that while Prince Hall lodges operate in Afghanistan on military installations; myself and others are unfortunately precluded from taking part. I am regulated to read and pontificate on this blog about the work, instead of beholding the fellowship and enlightment it can bring a man in some of the most horrible places imaginable.

For some reason, I have a feeling that the Masonic year of 2010/2011 will be a very dark one for me.

-Bro Vick