Cinosam – March 2010

Thanks, M.W.B. Tom

This months Cinosam is dedicated to Grand Master Thomas McCarthy of Minnesota. This is his last week in office. This year he has stressed the importance of Tolerance in our Lodges and our lives. Here are some examples of tolerance throughout history that might hold a Masonic meaning for us:

A letter from Moses Seixas to President George Washington and his Response

To the President of the United States of America.

Sir:

Permit the children of the stock of Abraham to approach you with the most cordial affection and esteem for your person and merits – and to join with our fellow citizens in welcoming you to Newport.

With pleasure we reflect on those days – those days of difficulty, and danger, when the God of Israel, who delivered David from the peril of the sword, – shielded Your head in the day of battle: – and we rejoice to think, that the same Spirit, who rested in the Bosom of the greatly beloved Daniel enabling him to preside over the Provinces of the Babylonish Empire, rests and ever will rest, upon you, enabling you to discharge the arduous duties of Chief Magistrate in these States.

Deprived as we heretofore have been of the invaluable rights of free Citizens, we now with a deep sense of gratitude to the Almighty disposer of all events behold a Government, erected by the Majesty of the People – a Government, which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance – but generously affording to all Liberty of conscience, and immunities of Citizenship: – deeming every one, of whatever Nation, tongue, or language equal parts of the great governmental Machine: – This so ample and extensive Federal Union whose basis is Philanthropy, Mutual confidence and Public Virtue, we cannot but acknowledge to be the work of the Great God, who ruleth in the Armies of Heaven, and among the Inhabitants of the Earth, doing whatever seemeth him good.

For all these Blessings of civil and religious liberty which we enjoy under an equal benign administration, we desire to send up our thanks to the Ancient of Days, the great preserver of Men – beseeching him, that the Angel who conducted our forefathers through the wilderness into the promised Land, may graciously conduct you through all the difficulties and dangers of this mortal life: – And, when, like Joshua full of days and full of honor, you are gathered to your Fathers, may you be admitted into the Heavenly Paradise to partake of the water of life, and the tree of immortality.

Done and Signed by order of the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island August 17th 1790.

Moses Seixas, Warden

The letter from George Washington in response to Moses Seixas To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport Rhode Island.

Gentlemen,

While I receive, with much satisfaction, your Address replete with expressions of affection and esteem; I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you, that I shall always retain a grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced in my visit to Newport, from all classes of Citizens.

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet, from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security. If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good Government, to become a great and happy people.

The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent national gifts. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my Administration, and fervent wishes for my felicity. May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.

G. Washington

The Mother Lodge

Here is a poem by Rudyard Kipling 91865-1936). It describes the diversity and brotherly love of his Lodge in India.

The Mother Lodge

THERE was Rundle, Station Master,
An’ Beazeley of the Rail,
An’ ‘Ackman, Commissariat,
An’ Donkin’ o’ the Jail;
An’ Blake, Conductor-Sergeant,
Our Master twice was ‘e,
With im that kept the Europe-shop,
Old Framjee Edu1jee.

Outside – ” Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!
Inside – ‘Brother,” an’ it doesn’t do no ‘arm.
We met upon the Level an’ we parted on the Square,
An’ I was junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!

We’d Bola Nath, Accountant,
An’ Saul the Aden Jew,
An’ Din Mohammed, draughtsman
Of the Survey Office too;
There was Babu Chuckerbutty,
An’ Amir Singh the Sikh,
An’ Castro from the fittin’-sheds,
The Roman Catholick!

We ‘adn’t good regalia,
An’ our Lodge was old an’ bare,
But we knew the Ancient Landmarks,
An’ we kep’ ’em to a hair;
An’ lookin’ on it backwards
It often strikes me thus,
There ain’t such things as infidels,
Excep’, per’aps, it’s us.

For monthly, after Labour,
We’d all sit down and smoke
(We dursn’t give no banquets,
Lest a Brother’s caete were broke),
An’ man on man got talkin’
Religion an’ the rest,
An’ every man comparin’
Of the God ‘c knew the best.

So man on man got talkin’,
An’ not a Brother stirred
Till mornin’ waked the parrots
An’ that dam’ brain-fever-bird.
We’d say ’twas ‘ighly curious,
An’ we’d all ride ‘ome to bed,
With Mo’ammed, God, an’ Shiva
Changin’ pickets in our ‘ead.

Full oft on Guv’ment service
This rovin’ foot ‘ath pressed,
An’ bore fraternal greetin’s
To the Lodges east an’ west,
Accordin’ as commanded.
From Kohat to Singapore,
But I wish that I might see them
In my Mother-Lodge once more!

I wish that I might see them,
My Brethren black an’ brown,
With the trichies smellin’ pleasant
An’ the hog-darn passin’ down;
An’ the old khansamah snorin’
On the bottle-khana floor,
Like a Master in good standing
With my Mother-Lodge once more.

Outside – Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!’
Inside- Brother,” an’ it doesn’t do no ‘arm.
We met upon the Level an’ we parted on the Square,
An’ I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!

The Dead Sea Scrolls

On March 11th my wife and I had the privilege of attending the opening night of the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Minnesota Science Museum. It was a thrill to see and learn. In the words of Hamdy El Sawaf, an educator and co-founder of the Islamic University of Minnesota, “These scrolls don’t belong to any one religion. They bring us much closer to each other and lead the way to mutual understanding. In these times of conflict, they give us hope that we can go in the direction of reconciliation, peace and tolerance.”                                                                       … neil

Quote of the Month

“The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.”

Ralph W. Sockman

The Middle-East is the home of three of the world’s greatest religions. Isn’t it wonderful is that in many parts of it the only way for a Jew, a Christian, and a Muslim to safely talk about their differences, is in a Masonic Lodge.   …………………..

Sincerely,

Neil Neddermeyer
Cinosam