Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Masonic E-mail List Etiquette

If you want proof of how corrosive religion and politics can be to lodge interactions, you probably don't have to look much further than your inbox. I wound up on the mass e-mail list of a Brother for whom I have a lot of respect, and with each toxic right-wing viral email he forwards to me that respect diminishes just a little bit.

It's not because I don't happen to agree with most of the bile being spewed in these screeds. People are entitled to their beliefs, and however different your views may be from mine I respect your right to those beliefs and opinions. What really bothers me is that invariably the tone of these messages assumes my complicity in the hate, disrespect, distortions, and intolerance that they preach.

They're sent with the assumption that of course I agree that this is a Christian nation that should have legally mandated and legally protected Christian prayers in school, and display the Ten Commandments in courthouses, and that Barack Obama is arrogant, and evil, and elitist, and probably not even a real citizen, and turning Amurrca into a socialist country, and I-wonder-how-those-pinko-liberals-like-their-change-NOW. They're so strongly worded that I don't dare respond with a polite "Please don't send me any more political e-mails" message for fear I'll get dragged into an argument I want no part of, which can't be won in the face of such anger and bitterness, and that has the potential to taint more relationships in my predominantly conservative lodge.


Tom Accuosti said...

I get those, too. Every once in a while I respond to them, though, which causes a few people to drop me from their mailing list.

I highly recommend this :-)

Chris said...

As I am the Secretary of my Lodge and a Past Master, if I were to be constantly getting this sort of mail, then I would simply bring the matter up at one of our Past Masters meetings. If these senior brethren were in accord, then at the next meeting I would raise the issue through the WM and couch my comments in such a way as not to offend or single out any individual. However, I would make it quite clear that this sort of communication is not acceptable under any circumstances. There is an excellent lecture called 'The Badge of a Mason' by Judge C. Clyde Myers. Written in 1950 and still relevent today. It speaks of tolerance. Something that seems to be sadly lacking in the Brother that you allude to.