Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mason Ring 2

A paper for Sequoia Council No. 288 (AMD)
by RmOlano
SC#228 (AMD)


The prohibition of the adaptation and commercial use of the Square and Compass by non-Masonic entities was successfully upheld in a Court of Law. Although not copyrighted, this particular symbol so enriched with meaning as we learned from our Brethren was historically known as the most popular and recognizable Masonic icon. The Court ruled in favor to the Fraternity thus preventing its use for economic advantage and exploitation by members and non-members alike. This ruling however does not apply to the peddling of Masonic trinkets to "authorized" buyers or consumers.

The never-ending discussion of who can and cannot wear a ring with Square and Compass comes with equally unending assertion of the moral and legal right to display other paraphernalia such as car decals, shirt, ball cap, etc.. adorned with Masonic symbols. Though some Brethren informed this writer that there is a California law that prohibits wearing of insignias by non members, these laws is obviously applicable only to a specific State and not worldwide. Given that the enforcement is another matter, generally there are no practical legal ways to prohibit consumption of Masonic things by anybody hence; claiming to be the only rightful users of a medium available in public domain is a bridge too far. An interesting phenomenon that drew interest is the passion of many Masons to "protect" this illusion that only certain beings have the God-given right to own and display non-copyrighted symbol. Reactions vary from dismay to out right hostility. Many "rightful" owners professed their pride of belonging by displaying the logo of the Fraternity as if such act would make any difference to humanity. A world, which seems to be minding its own business oblivious to announcement of self proclaimed importance.

It was said over and over again, ring, decals, ball caps or dues card does not make anyone a Mason. It is the internal not the external. It is the unlocking of the key, understanding the meaning of what's behind the veiled allegories and symbols and practice of learned lessons makes one a Mason. As Bro Jose Tamaray of Kalilayan Lodge No. 37 in Lucena City, Philippines eloquently pointed out "Only then my brother can we say that the masonic ring which symbolizes all the beautify and splendor of Masonry, is a ring worthy to be worn by you and me." If I may be allowed to add, Mason ring true worth is not from the eyes of beholder rather its from the number of spots on one's lambskin apron when the hourglass finally runs out of sand.


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