Debates in a Masonic Lodge must be conducted according to the fraternal principles of the Institution. Masonic debate or discussion should not become wrangling disputes nor quarrelsome contention. in the language of Doctor Oliver, ''the strictest courtesy should be observed during a debate, in a Mason's Lodge, on questions which elicit a. difference of opinion; and any gross violation of decorum and good order is sure to be met by an admonition from the chair." It must be always remembered that the object of a Masonic: discussion is to elicit truth, and not simply to secure ,victory. When, in a debate, a Brother desires to speak, he rises and addresses the chair. The presiding officer calls him by' his name, and thus recognizes his right to the floor. while he is speaking, he is not to be interrupted by any other member, except on a point of order. If called to order by any member, the speaker is immediately to take his seat until the point is stated, when the Master will make his decision without debate. The speaker will then rise and resume his discourse, if not ruled out by the Master. During the time that he is speaking, no motion is permissible. Every member is permitted to speak once on the subject under discussion ; nor can he speak a second time, except by permission of the Master, unless there is a more liberal provision in the by-laws of the Lodge. There are to this rule two exceptions, namely, when a member rises to explain.
and when the mover of the resolution closes the debate by a second speech to which he is entitled by parliamentary law.
The ten commandments of the Masonic law, as delivered from Mount Sinai and recorded in the twentieth chapter of Exodus, are so called. They are not obligatory upon a Freemason as a Freemason, because the Institution is tolerant and cosmopolite, and cannot require its members to give their adhesion to any, religious dogmas or precepts, excepting those which express a belief in the existence of God, and the immortality of the soul. No partial law prescribed for a particular religion can be properly selected for the government of an Institution whose great characteristic is its universality (see Moral Law).
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