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


Chris Hodapp said...

Brother Vick,

Your point is well taken. Prince hall Freemasons have embraced military lodges, and in many cases, servicemen who are not Masons first encounter Freemasonry in active duty overseas through first contact with Prince Hall Masons. Mainstream grand lodges, with a few odd exceptions, have rejected military lodges since WWI. So, there's no chance to become a Mason, as many early Americans did, in a military lodge, unless it is in a Prince Hall one. Then those same servicemen go home and are told, after their years of service, and their interest in their new fraternity, "Yikes! You're CLANDESTINE!"

So, why can't mainstream GLs come to an agreement, to either sponsor military lodges, or to recognize PHA GLs across the board, so that our servicemen can at least enjoy the diversion of Masonic fellowship and ceremony in an inhospitable place far from home?

Be well and safe, my friend. Simply put, I wish you weren't over there. Keep your big, tall head down and come back soon.

Fraser said...

Bro Vick,

I must say I feel for you. To have access to the craft whilst on service would at least to some extent make your life of service must more bearable. The benefit of masonic lecture or ritual work in an overseas lodge would give your time overseas much more meaning (in a masonic manner of speaking). I wholeheartedly respect your service and support it 100%. I am also a member of the reserve forces within Australia, and whilst I am yet to receive the dignity of prolonged deployment overseas. I am quite capable of feeling your intense disappointment at being unable to particulate in masonic activity due to the stance of your Grand Lodge.

Bro. Vick, may I commend you on your blog. To add context to my commendation I must say that I have throughly enjoyed every post you have made. I first found your blog after completing my first. The insight and perspective I managed to gleam from your blog was invaluable. As such I have been an avid supporter and visitor to your page. Whilst this may be my first comment, there has been many occasion where I have had plenty to offer almost entirely to convey my thanks to yourself.

You my friend, and brother are an example to all Freemasons within the armed forces. I do hope you do not become disillusioned by your lack of contact with your home masonic community. I will eagerly await your post regarding reintegration again, once you return from your service.

Bro. Vick, may the GAOTU keep you safe and watch over you in your service.


Bro. Robertson

milad said...

hi sir
i live in Iran
i want to sign in freemasonry but here Iran and freemasonry is hidden
i can,t going to USA
please help me?
can i joint ?
please answer me

Nasty Noble said...

I was Raised in Verne E Jenkins ML #161 PHA F&AM Babenhausen Germany in 1998. I have been back in the states since 1999 and not one day have I felt Clandestine. I am Proud to be a Prince Hall Mason. I know where our Charter the Grand Charter from the Grand Lodge of England is... Put the truth out and stop trying to put blame on PHA F&AM. It is getting old.. Stop saying something nice one second then doing as usual the next second just putting us down more and more.. I am truly sorry that you are overseas and you are in my prayers.. Talk to a PHA F&AM.. We won't bite your head off.. U will actually find out we have Love for all Brothers.... Bro Rodriguez

Frederic L. Milliken said...

"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"

Of course that was the BIG LIE, none of which is true. But when you only listen to one side of the story and that one side is lying, you only get one side of the story.

FD2L said...

Fred - Besides your slander against the Grand Lodge of Texas, I haven't heard any thing from the PHA. Except that Prince Hall at their Grand Lodge meeting asked for inter-visitation, and it was formally submitted and approved, today 6 December 2014, by our Grand Lodge of Texas.

So where is your bogeyman of racism now? My question is now that the two Grand Lodges both recognize and have inter-vistation and your well documented hatred of The Grand Lodge of Texas A.F, & A.M. will you demit from the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas? Simply to avoid ever having to sit in a tyled meeting with a Grand Lodge of Texas mason?

Keep on fueling the hate, Fred, the rest of are looking to move forward.

-Bro Vick