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AIBU to not know how to feel about UGLE's advert? (Freemasonry)

(1 Post)
notoneoftheboys Mon 12-Feb-18 17:35:42

From the advert taken out by UGLE:

"As an organisation we welcome individuals from all walks of life, of any faith, age, class or political persuasion. Throughout our 300 year history, when people have suffered discrimination Freemasonry has embraced them into our lodges as equals.

The United Grand Lodge of England believes that the ongoing gross misrepresentation of its 200,000 plus members is discrimination. Pure and simple."

From UGLE's website:

"Any man over the age of 21 may join regardless of ethnic group, political views, economic standing or religion although he is expected to have a faith."

"Freemasonry has always been about making good men better."

"Whilst UGLE, following the example of medieval stonemasons, is, and has always been, restricted to men, women Freemasons have two separate Grand Lodges, which are restricted to women."

"All Freemasons are expected to have a religious belief, but Freemasonry does not seek to replace a Mason’s religion or provide a substitute for it. It deals in a man’s relationship with his fellow man not in a man’s relationship with his God."

"Freemasonry, as a body, will never express a view on politics or state policy. The discussion of politics at Masonic meetings has always been prohibited."

Based solely on their own publicity materials, it seems to me that UGLE is only for men over 21 who believe in some kind of religion. There's nothing to suggest that they don't stay politically neutral and to suggest that they don't give lots of money to charities, but it still reads like a club for boys.

Is it OK that a club for boys exists?

I mean, often we want female-only safe spaces. Shouldn't the men get to have their own safe space?

I'm trying to get my head around whether I think this is OK or abhorrent. I guess without being able to observe what goes on in this giant boy's club, I can't verify whether it's just a bunch of boys doing harmless boy things together, or secretly plotting to cut the women out of business deals etc. I think that may be what makes me uneasy - as a female atheist, I just don't know if they're discriminating against me, and I'll never be able to know.

I know that a lot of people make valuable connections at church, and whilst I would never go, I've always been actively welcomed. I think many congregations would welcome non-believers (it's just I'm half-convinced I would burst into flames if I set foot in a religious place, so my issue, not their lack of welcoming). That to me makes networking at church OK - yes, it's a bunch of religious people doing nice things for each other, but they don't set out to exclude the non-religious. The non-religious self-exclude.

Not being goady, but I've name changed in case that awful tabloid the Daily Fail pick this up (hopefully with this paragraph explaining what a terrible gutter rag they are, they won't). I saw some posts on my LinkedIn from some of my 'less valuable' male connections defending freemasonry - it's very obvious from their responses that they are freemasons. I never knew. I wonder if this why we haven't done more work together and this is what has got me reflecting.

It's all very confusing not knowing if I should feel angry or not...

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