Monday, January 25, 2010

Tolerance Awareness Tuesday - Robert Burns

January 25 marks the birthday of the Poet Laureate of Freemasonry, Robert Burns. He has written great, well-known poetry and song, including Auld Lang Syne and A Man's A Man for A' That."

Burns embraced the Masonic virtue of religious tolerance. In his letter to Agnes McLehose dated 12 January 1788 Burns expresses an all-embracing tolerance for different faiths:

“. . . mine is the Religion of the bosom. – I hate the very idea of controversial divinity; as I firmly believe, that every honest, upright man, of whatever sect, will be accepted of the Deity.”

U.N. Secretary General Koffi Annan gave the inaugural Robert Burns Memorial Lecture, highlighting the bard's commitment to diversity and religious freedom.

Around the world, people celebrate the birthday of Robert Burns with good food, fine Scotch and, of course, Burns' poetry. (I'll be doing the same tonight - Tuesday - at the Wayzata Lodge Burns Night Table Lodge.) When we do, we should also recall that Burns' commitment to freedom of religion and tolerance of another's right to practice the religion of his choosing.