Sunday, July 4, 2021

‘A confederacy of moral republics’

Magpie file photo
George Washington’s ‘Sun’ chair inside Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

Without anything original or profound to say on the occasion of Independence Day, I instead will reproduce a snippet of history recently reported by the Masonic Society. The following few sentences move me simply because we don’t hear oratory like this from the Craft’s leaders anymore, and one cannot help but wonder about that when looking at the state of American life today.

Masonic Lodges are a confederacy of moral republics—her temples, centers of law and order, citadels of stability—for aside from its spiritual, altruistic significance, a Masonic Temple has its utility side. It is as practical as a soldier’s ration. It has to do with government and with the home. It is an auxiliary in the State house, to the church, to legislation, and an active partner to any institution or cause whose aim is the uplift and betterment of man. This Temple will be a college of manhood, a university where Americanization will be fostered, a home of brotherhood and fellowship, and a sanctuary of friendship and a school of patriotism and liberty. It is the reserve line in every battle for free government, good citizenship, civic virtue, and education. It has enemies, as all have who aggressively fight ignorance, bigotry, and wrong. They affect our purposes no more than winds against granite rock, and to those enemies Freemasonry sends its challenge:

“Hammer away,
ye hostile hands,
Your hammers break,
God’s anvil stands.”

When completed, there will be built within this Temple an altar; upon the altar, a Bible; draping both, an American flag. Upon their knees, with hands upon these symbols of faith, every Mason must pledge his loyalty to God, country, home, and his fellow man. In Masonic temples, creed is optional, loyalty to country and God imperative. All in all, Masonry is organized righteousness—mobilized patriotism.

Those words were spoken by Bro. Alva Adams in 1921 at the cornerstone ceremony for the Rocky Mountain Consistory. Adams had served three non-consecutive terms as governor of Colorado, and also was prominent in Freemasonry there, having been Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge, and the Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite at that time. The couplet comes from the poem “Hammer and Anvil” by Samuel Valentine Cole, which I recommend to you.

If your lodge is reducing Independence Day to a cookout and maybe participation in a local parade, remember Adams’ clarion for a moral republic and a college of manhood.

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