Key to the Sacred Pattern

17 December 2007

The Family Life Church versus the Compasses and Square

The Burning Taper reported this week that the Family Life Church in Eglin, IL destroyed a Masonic compasses and square and the cornerstone of a former Masonic Temple the group recently purchased. I must admit that upon hearing the news I was more than a little miffed. Thought of: “How could they?”, “What were they thinking?”,” What do they hate Freemasons so much as to destroy a compasses and square?”, all flooded thought my mind.

I decided that I was in the same trap I rail against at times. Emotion was taking the place of rational thought. A good night’s sleep and a cup of coffee the next morning generally will cure my ruffled feathers. True to form, the day break and caffeine gave me some perspective on the events in Illinois.

The fact of the matter is that the building legally belongs to the Family Life Church. As much as I shutter at the fact the organization would deface a historic building and smash a Masonic Symbol, it is their right to do so. Just as I have the right to set up a pink elephant in my back yard with garden gnomes dancing around it; they have the right to dispose of their property to their satisfaction.

A better solution would have been to have given a local Lodge or the Grand Lodge of Illinois the chance to recover the cornerstone and compasses and square. This solution could have benefited both parties. However, it is obvious that the Family Life Church’s beliefs hold something against Freemasonry. (I’ve attempted to log on to their web site this weekend to view their statements of faith and it’s either down or non-responsive.) The Church’s actions must have been purely symbolic, for whatever motive they have.

What does bother me about their actions is that even if they take issue with Freemasonry, I never believe it’s a good idea to destroy a symbol of the past. That’s their right too. The members of the Family Life Church have every right in the world to believe what they wish. If they choose to believe that the tenants of Freemasonry are opposed to their faith, I’m fine with that.

The question is how wise is it to destroy any symbol on a building that has a historical significance? I would never consider tearing down Auschwitz or an American Civil War Confederate monument. It is not because I hold the tenants of either group in esteem. Quite the contrary, I feel that these symbols should remind us of the atrocities and folly committed by those that have gone before us. These things should never be too far out of sight, or we will never be reminded of the guideposts our ancestors placed for us.

I know there are those that say that the sight of symbols that fall into this category are offensive. I would agree. There is nothing more offensive that thinking about the horrors heaped on Jews in Austria by the Nazis or how seceding from the Union almost cost this country it’s identity. The goal of these places should be to offend. I would rather these places be so offensive to those who look at them, that simply thinking of theminsures their history is never repeated.

The worst I can fault the Family Life Church for destroying something I feel is of architectural and historical import. While I don’t agree with their actions, it was their right to do so. What does it really matter if there is one less compasses and square in the world? As a Mason, the lessons of the symbols are more important to me than any of their physical representations.

1 comment:

flashbna said...

While I appreciate the freedom to do what you wish within the laws, it seems a tad rash to destroy something historical. Even if you have issues with the group, realize there are others out there that might have wanted to save this symbol. Seems like a waste to me and sad that a Christian based group couldn’t turn the other cheek so to speak.