I have sometimes heard some wonder aloud if they could wear Masonic symbols without being Masons. I also somewhat had the thought before I became a Mason.
Of course, each symbol or emblem in Masonry does have a certain significance for Masons.
The symbols that Masons wear on their rings (or their baseball caps, or their belt buckles, or their tattoos, or on their car decals, and so on), however, are one of the ways that we express to each other and to the world that we are trying to be better people.
It also represents for us to each other the obligations that we have taken to be better people and to serve others.
That is a sacred concept for many; not necessarily in a religious sense (especially since Freemasonry is neither a religion nor a substitute for one), but rather in the same secular sense that patriotic pride, military funerals, and civic duty are sacred.
Masonic etiquette dictates that one not wear any Masonic symbols until he has proven his proficiency in the Master Mason degree and therefore become a full member of his Lodge.
That stated, expectations may vary from grand lodge jurisdiction to grand lodge jurisdiction.
There are very few reasons common to non-Masons who might want to wear the Masonic symbol.
A deceased loved one might have been a Mason. One may be planning to become a Mason and might not know the Masonic etiquette.
I happen to know somebody who is not a Mason who bought and uses a Masonic ring as his wedding ring, simply because he liked the design (he thought that it had to do with the Assassin’s Creed video games).
Whoopi Goldberg recently bought and wore a jacket with a Masonic symbol on it simply because she liked the design.
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Quite a few Masons created a backlash against Goldberg for wearing the Masonic symbol just earlier this year.
The behavior from those Masons was a very embarrassing moment for the Fraternity. How was she to know?
This goes to show that Freemasons certainly are not perfect; we are just as fallible as the next guy, and we do not always represent the Craft in the best light.
Now, some Masons did comment politely on the video where she wore the jacket explaining why they felt that it was in poor taste. That I do not consider shameful (although, for all that they might have known, she could have been a member of a co-ed grand lodge or a female-only grand lodge).
Some grand lodge jurisdictions, for whatever reasons, state that one cannot wear the Masonic symbol without being a Mason; at least, that is the understanding that I have gained from online discussions with other Masons.
However, non-Masons are not under the same obligations, constitutions, or legislations that we Masons are.
It is completely illogical for us to judge and/or treat them as if they were.
We are taught by the exercise of Brotherly Love to regard the whole human species as one family. Let us treat our family members better than this.
I certainly have no intention nor desire to demand that my friend stop wearing his wedding ring simply because it has a Masonic symbol on it.
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Symbols are finite and ambiguous; there is no one symbol that, in and of itself, is limited to a sole group or interpretation.
Masonic symbols are no different; let us choose to be temperate, not allowing our passions to betray us on any occasion, including by choosing not to feel offended for such silly reasons.
If I see you wearing a Masonic emblem and I find out that you are not a Mason, I may give you a weird look at first, but I will not take offense.
I may ask you why you wear it. I may explain to you what that symbol means to me, as I have explained above.
I hope that my brethren will do better in the future by striving to do the same.