By What Standard Do Freemasons Determine Moral Behavior?
It is my understanding that Freemasons must be men of good moral character. What is the standard by which a Freemason's morality is evaluated? My religion (Christianity) teaches me that adultery, fornication, incest, homosexual conduct, and same sex marriage are immoral. I believe that orthodox Judaism shares these moral scruples, as does Islam. That being said, it is my understanding that Freemasonry is a fraternal organization and not a religious one, so the religious scruples noted previously would not be the determining factor about morality. So, by what standard(s) does Freemasonry assess a member or prospective member's moral character? I have read that some grand lodges forbid same sex marriage, while others have no issue with it. This gives me pause. I am a devout Christian gentleman and what first attracted me to Freemasonry and the possibility of joining was the Knights Templar, which are presented as being a strongly Christian organization within the York Rites and Blue Lodge (forgive my ignorance, I am a well intentioned if misinformed fellow). This is no passing interest for me. I have been reading and studying as best I can to make an informed decision. I have just recently purchased "Character Counts", by Michael Glenn Maness, in an effort to discover a balanced presentation to counter all the negative internet noise about the craft. I do long to belong to a fraternal organization with fellow Christian men, that have a mission to perform good works...not to earn heaven, but because they are the right thing to do and because they please God and because they relieve suffering for our fellow man. I have been doing my best to weigh my decisions with care. I would appreciate your considered response. Thank you.