Tuesday, December 07, 2010

NO discussion of military Freemasonry.

The masonic society, closed down a discussion I started about getting Masonry underway in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(material removed at request of author)

I am sorry that you have seen fit to close this topic. I will NEVER give up, trying to get a mainstream, F&AM, USA Grand Lodge sponsored, Masonic lodge in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.

If you think there is a regular, F&AM, USA Grand Lodge sponsored, working masonic lodge in south-west Asia, (OTHER THAN Prince Hall or Canadian), you are wrong. Why do you think there are regular lodges operating in SWA? If there is one (other than Prince Hall or Canadian), please let me know. I get emails every day, asking me if there a lodge here.



end quote.

I agree. I have done no such thing. I have made no request to any lodge, to change anything in any lodge. I cannot go to a USA lodge, I am in Afghanistan. This admonition is meaningless.

I belong to three (3) Grand Lodges. Kentucky, New York, and Massachusetts. I have not made a request to GLKY to charter a lodge here.

The Grand Lodge of New York, came to me, and asked me to take over the lodge project. Even though I was not a member of the GLNY at that time, I was delighted, and agreed. I later joined a NY lodge, so that I could contribute more directly, and also serve as an officer in LSA#1.

The only direct request I ever made of a USA Grand Lodge, to set up a lodge in Iraq, was to the Grand Lodge of Nebraska. The GL Neb, has a program called "swisher kits", where they provide a complete "lodge-in-a-box" to ANY mason, (provided the requesting mason is a member of a GL in communications with Nebraska). The GL Neb ignored my request. I have found out, that no swisher kit, has ever been issued. I also found out, that no USA Grand Lodge will agree to accept any of the degree work, performed in any of these temporary lodges.

Other than this one(1) request, I have NEVER made a direct request to any USA Grand Lodge, to charter a lodge in SWA.

I did make a request from the United American-Canadian Grand Lodge of Germany, which charters lodges in Germany, and other countries (including Saudi Arabia). The UACGL charters lodges on USA/Canadian military bases in Germany (and elsewhere). They also charter lodges in Saudi, for the oil workers. The UACGL told me, they were not interested, and suggested that I try my home Grand Lodges. (When I lived in Saudi in 1991, I was a member of Arabian Lodge, Dharhan Saudi Arabia, chatered by the UACGL). The lodge uses Minnesota ritual.

Masons from other jurisdictions, often work with other Grand Lodges, to get lodges underway. A group of Masons in Huntsville ALA, requested the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, to charter a lodge in Huntsville. (This was back in the early part of the 19th century, there was no Grand Lodge of Alabama). Huntsville Ala lodge #1, was chartered by GL of KY, until the GL of Alabama was formed later.

A group of Masons in Hawaii, requested the GL of Calif, to sponsor a lodge in Hawaii. The early lodges in Hawaii were sponsored by the GL of California, until Hawaii got their own Grand Lodge in 1989.

Freemasonry was formally established in Hawaii by Joseph Marie Le Tellier, Captain of the French whaling barque "Ajax" when he warranted Lodge Le Progres de l'Oceanie No. 124, of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of the Supreme Council of France on April 8, 1843, in Honolulu. This was a French lodge, operating in a Pacific island kingdom, which would later be an American territory, and then a US state. No one seemed to lose any sleep over jurisdictional lines.

The first operating lodges in the American Colonies, were British military traveling lodges. During the revolutionary war, lodges operated on American military camps. Military traveling lodges have operated on military camps both in the USA, and overseas. Land, Sea, and Air lodge #1 (new York) operated in WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. It could operate anytime, if the GL of NY would issue a new operating charter. The charter now hangs in a museum in New York City.



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WHERE? Where are these lodges? I have been working in Iraq and Afghanistan since February 2004. I serviced computers at every base in Anbar province (Iraq), and I worked in Baghdad and Kabul. I have installed video cameras at every base in Khost province (Afghanistan). I have met masons all over these two countries, and I have made hundreds of inquiries. In six (6) years, I have never found an operating regular lodge anywhere in SWA. I have lived in Kabul and Baghdad. I have flown about 130 missions to different bases all over SWA. I have never found an operating lodge, anywhere, other than Prince Hall or Canadian.

Why do you, who live in the USA, think there are regular lodges operating here, when I, who have been to about seventy different bases, in the past six years, tell you there are not?



end quote.

This happens all the time. Masons who were living in Alabama, from many different jurisdictions, got the GL of KY, to charter a lodge in Huntsville ALA. A French Mason set up a lodge in Hawaii, and later the Grand Lodge of California chartered lodges in Hawaii, until Hawaii got their own Grand Lodge in 1989, thirty years after Hawaii became a state.

Masons work across jurisdictional lines, all the time, for the benefit of Masonry. The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts charters Stability/Concorde Lodge number 19/42 in Paris France. The lodge meets in the building of the National Grand Lodge of France. The lodge uses the California ritual. If masons did not work together, across jurisdictional lines, there would be no American lodge operating in Paris France. ( I was a member of this lodge, when I lived in Paris, France).

Please listen to me, and you can take this to the bank: I will NEVER give up trying to establish a working lodge in South-West Asia. I was stationed at Al-Asad Iraq, and a mason there was killed by a roadside bomb. He was torn in half from the crotch to the neck. We wanted to have a lodge of sorrow, but because our charter was hanging in a museum in New York City, we could not.

I will continue to work with Masons both here in SWA, and in the USA, and in other countries, to establish a working military traveling lodge. I will work with any Mason, anywhere, from any jurisdiction, who is willing to extend the Gentle Craft, to our soldiers and civilians here.

The soil of Iraq and Afghanistan, is red with the blood of Masons, who have died here in the war on terror.

Traveling military lodges have existed on military camps and bases, almost since the beginning of Masonry. People attack me, like I am starting some radical new idea, that is contrary to the landmarks of Masonry. All I want to do, is to continue in our splendid tradition.

I even dare to dream, that Masonry could take root in Iraq and Afghanistan, and remain here, and thrive, once the military action is completed. The establishment of working lodges on the bases here, even though local nationals are forbidden entrance to the bases, and cannot participate in the lodges, might help in the future, for masonry to have a permanent presence here.

I am sad, that the forum has chosen to stifle discussion, on this important topic. No matter. I will continue to work to establish a masonic lodge in SWA, with anyone who cares to assist. I am continually astounded, that the Grand Lodges in the USA, choose to let Prince Hall and the Grand Lodge of Ontario, take the lead.

You must realize, that not all Masons here in SWA, belong to Grand Lodges, that have fraternal relations, with Prince Hall masonry. If a mason (like myself) even goes to a masonic dinner, and does not attend a tyled meeting, he is in danger of being brought up on Masonic charges, and could get suspended or expelled from Masonry. If a KY mason attends a tyled meeting, he will be permanently expelled from Masonry. If a man takes the degrees here at a PH lodge, when he returns to the USA, he might not be able to join a non-PH lodge.

Some have suggested that I request my own Grand Lodge, to get a charter. Well, I can tell you, that ain't gonna happen. I once set up a Square and Compasses club, just to have fellowship. The word got back to some Masons in my home state, and they were furious. I got word back, that I was going to be brought up on Masonic charges. If you think that the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, would consider setting up a lodge in SWA, you are in fantasy-land.

The Grand Lodge of New York, asked me to work with them to continue with their lodge in Iraq. Then they asked me to send the charter back, to be displayed in a museum in New York City. I sent it back in December 2005. The charter is still in the museum. I asked for a replacement, but it will never come.

I have never requested a charter from the GL of Massachusetts. Maybe I should.

So, in closing, I will continue to work, to establish Masonry here in SWA. (Outside of Prince Hall and Canadian). I believe that the USA Masons here, military and civilian, have the right to enjoy Masonic labor and fellowship. Of course, we can have our Square and Compasses clubs, and our cigar clubs, but it is not the same, as a working, chartered, degree-granting lodge.

I have met several men of good will, both here, and on other forums, who have given me some good counsel and advice and assistance. I was once disciplined, just for making a phone call to a New Jersey Mason, to get some advice. I was accused of using the Grand Lodge of New jersey , to solicit money. The charge was ludicrous, but I got "spanked" anyway.

Masonry will come to the troops and civilians here. If I can help, I will. Trust me on one thing, I will never give up. When my time is concluded here, I will continue to work with anyone, who wants to bring mainstream USA masonry to the heroes and civilians here.

I have been pushing to get Mainstream, USA Masonry, to set up a lodge for our heroes, for almost six years. I have found some support and encouragement. Mostly I have met with indifference, discouragement, criticism, and outright hatred. Some even claim that I have "set back" the cause. These men never get specific.

"Never Give up. Never, never, never, give up". Winston Churchill, Freemason

"The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference". Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, Nobel Prize winner.

"If you do nothing, you get nothing" Aung San Suu Kyi. Nobel Peace Prize winner. (20 years under house arrest).

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." Samuel Adams, revolutionary.

DO not ask me to give up. Do not ask me to be indifferent, Do not ask me to do nothing. Do not ask me to stop setting brush fires.

Respectfully Submitted,

Charles E. Martin
Kandahar, Afghanistan.