Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tolerance is the answer not Hate

On Wednesday June 11th in Washington D.C. Security Guard Stephen Tyrone Johns opened the door to the Holocaust Museum for another elderly visitor who needed assistance to get inside.
Mr. James Von Brunn stepped into the lobby, raised his rifle and shot Officer Johns at close range. Johns was shot in the chest and died of his wounds a few hours later in a local hospital.
Two armed security guards returned fire and wounded Von Brunn in the face. The lobby was filled with tourists and groups of school children, who dropped to the floor or ran for cover.
Suspect James Von Brunn has a long history of using the web to post his hate-filled views on Neo Nazis and White Supremacy web sites. He is also the author of a 200 page book denying that the Holocaust occurred and praising Adolph Hitler, and that the FreeMasons control the government. The book is called “Kill the Best Gentiles.
He was reported to also be a Conspiracy theorist who waged a personal war upon the U.S. Government.
Von Brunn was convicted in 1983 on criminal charges of attempting to kidnap the members of the Federal Reserve Board. He was armed with a .38 handgun, sawed off shotgun, and a hunting knife. He was convicted and he served six years in a Federal Prison.
As I was sitting with my father having a cup of coffee watching the news report, I thought that James Von Brunn was a man filled with hate and anger towards Blacks and Jews, and that he was committed to this final act of hate. To fulfill his lifelong dream of killing an innocent Black Man in a place that teaches people about the dangers of unchecked hatred and promotes human dignity.
It appears to me that in recent weeks hate crimes have been on the increase. I think that this is a good time for us Masons to review our Masonic teaching of Tolerance.
Here are some of the thoughts that I plan on sharing on whatever the occasion may arise:-Tolerance is vital to Freemasonry’s existence.- Acceptance of another’s spiritual feelings and traditions without being required to share them is a cornerstone of the fraternity.- We are taught in Freemasonry that each Brother is different but equal.
The Freemasons embrace tolerance firmly and practice it.
Who embraces intolerance? To name a few: Hitler, Stalin, Ku Klux Clan, Nazis, and radical Islamic Militants.
A few years ago Past Grand Master of Minnesota Neil Neddermeyer ( a great Mason and a man I admire) passed out little pins of the For-Get-Me-Not flower. He told us that in 1934 when Adolph Hitler first came into power, one of the first things that he did was to consolidate his power. He then detained and killed many prominent Freemasons.
The For-Get-Me-Not flower became an outward method for one Mason to recognize another. The simple flower was worn by brave Masons who refused to let the Masonic light be extinguished, even as the Nazis confiscated lodges and sent Masons to concentration camps.
“For us the forget-me-not is not only a symbol of remembrance. It is also to remind us of the danger of allowing intolerance into our lives and society, as well as the need to incorporate tolerance into our hearts and minds.
We, as Freemasons, should then share our views with the world.
I have provided this link to an excellent paper on the importance of practicing tolerance. It is written by W.B. Clive Herron of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. I found it to be very thought provoking. I encourage you to read it and share its message.
Security Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns died heroically in the line of duty protecting the visitors and employees of the Holocaust Museum. Our thought and prayers go out to his family with this message.
We mourn his death but we celebrate his life………………..
In Valor there is hope.

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