Chains of Bigotry

Lessons and Charges

From the Odd Fellows Companion, 1867, page 78-83

Updated language and syntax. Edited.

  1. Odd Fellow…go forth as a leader in the cause of the oppressed. Under such a cause, you may attack– with power and effect– the high, thick walls of Prejudice which shuts us away from our fellow humans; you may protect them from the enemies which would enslave and crush them…
  2. The messenger of peace, goodwill, promise, and hope, has a destiny more valuable than many! (…) Odd Fellow! Do not become weary in your progress. Go forward forever in the cause of Friendship—carrying the olive branch of Peace to the oppressed. (Remember that in your capacity as an Odd Fellow your job is to relieve, educate, bury, and visit. Not to lead violent rebellions. However, if you aren’t working as an Odd Fellow, your situation could be different –Conductor)
  3. But while you should be harmless as the dove, you should also be wise as the serpent. Allow no one—even if they claim to be an Odd Fellow—to cheat or fool you by lying. All are not Odd Fellows who take the name. All are not co-laborers who claim to be so. A person that is selfish or greedy or uncharitable is not your friend. Reform them if you can, but do not tell them your secrets. Do your own work—but do not make them a partner in it.

Page 82, paragraph four;

(…) To develop a generous spirit of kindness is one of the best things a person can do for themselves.

Anyone that would prevent a person from being kind cannot have learned the lessons of Friendship or Love. Anyone who is bound up in the iron chains of bigotry or, who is shackled to the influence of selfish human beliefs or, whose head is filled with self-conceit—has a heart that is cold and uncaring, and will not bandage the wounds of a stranger, or give shelter to an outcast, unless they are forced to do it.



3 thoughts on “Chains of Bigotry

  1. Interesting that this was published after the civil war. Tell me your thoughts on no.5 when it comes to the order’s exclusionary practices of that time and up until 1971


    1. Discrimination is a sad chapter in the past of all fraternal orders. The fact that it took until well past the legal end of Jim Crow to desegregate the Odd Fellows (Freemasons are a whole other can of beans on this issue) also cannot be over looked.

      What I find worse, is that lodges and jurisdictions (mostly in the South) are still notorious for being all white by design and would not welcome Brother of Color, women, anyone from the LGBT community. The most vibrant Lodges in the US also have the most diversity as well. I don’t believe that is a coincidence. -Ainslie


    2. Our lodges must do better to recruit more minorities. This is clearly one of the issues our Order must face. We have a diverse society, and refusing to embrace it, or refusing to stand against those who won’t embrace it is detrimental to the Order’s survival. We’ve seen the damage this can do in a current discriminatory issue facing the order.

      The charges above were edited and I also updated some of the language. The goal is to bring basic ideas from older forms of Odd Fellowship into a newer perspective. Here is the full quote “Under such guidance you may smite with power and effect the high thick wall of prejudice which shut man away from his fellow; you may protect him from the enemies which would enslave and crush him, by teaching him to follow the example and practice the precepts which the Jewish leader exhibited and inculcated.”

      My goal here is to take sections of these older works and through editing, bring them up to date, thereby preserving a block of older teachings which can still be used today. I also didn’t want to use, in the original post, a reference to religion. Hope this helps!


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