Monday, January 30, 2017

Scottish Rite Tensions Come to a Head Over Social Inequality

Saint Louis, MO - In the recent wake of widespread dissatisfaction arising out of the increasing disparity in social status at Scottish Rite Valleys across both jurisdictions, two activist movements have taken shape to call for better treatment for the "hardest working men in Masonry."
The Black Caps Matter movement--BCM for short--originated in Missouri by Bro. Joe Snow, 32˚, of the Scottish Rite Valley of St. Louis, who spoke to The Past Bastard about his organization's push toward AASR equality: "For years, 32˚ Masons--black caps, as we call them--have been relegated to the worst duties in all of the Scottish Rite functions. We're back in the kitchen doing the dishes with the Eastern Star ladies while the white caps walk around shaking hands and mingling with the VIPs. We never get any of the best degree parts at reunions, and being a part of the 'Knights of St. Andrews' is a pretty poor consolation prize. Black Caps Matter was formed to raise awareness for the social inequality that has arisen out of this socially accepted practice of white cap privilege. Black caps are the hardest working men in Masonry, and we should be respected as such!"

A reactionary movement hot on the heels of BCM is seeking to call attention to Scottish Rite social inequality wherever it arises. Labeled All Caps Matter, the movement reportedly originated in Washington, DC to take a "measured approach" to combating social inequality. Illustrious Bro. Albert Lance of the Scottish Rite Valley of Washington, DC, who helped organize ACM, discussed his feelings on both organizations: "I have a tremendous amount of respect for the brethren of Black Caps Matter. Social inequality in the Scottish Rite is real, and 32nd degree Masons all over the country have suffered; but the BCM movement's aims are simply too narrowly focused. The fact of the matter is that KCCH's and 33rd degree Masons suffer as well. We're at events well before the 32nd degrees show up, and we're often the very last to leave. We're held to a much higher standard for behavior, and we always have to put on a show. One misstep and we're the brunt of all the jokes at the next Knights of St. Andrews meeting. It takes a serious mental toll. The fact of the matter is that we're all culpable. Social inequality is something we can more effectively combat on a united front by telling the world that all caps matter!"

While this writer for The Past Bastard is sympathetic to the need for social equality among Freemasons, one has to wonder about the effect that this fraternal discord will have on the blue lodges of Masonry. After all, the perception that the Scottish Rite is ripping Masons away from their Blue Lodge obligations has given rise in recent weeks to the Thin Blue Lodge movement, which has no doubt been set on an inevitable collision course with Black Caps Matter and All Caps Matter. Sure,  caps matter. But they should matter just as much as your Blue Lodge 3rd Degree Master Mason. As far as titles are concerned, the highest title one should ever receive in this fraternity should be that of "brother."

- SK Bro. Mason Burhmaster


  1. with a brother like that I should look into the elks.

  2. moose. you gotta try the moose mile