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President's Ponderings: Grange Principles

By Edward Luttrell - President's Ponderings Blog (3/11/11)

  MARCH 13, 2011 --

In 1891, J. H. Brigham in his annual address made the following statement. 

"We should not lose sight of the cardinal principles of our Order, viz., the absolute political and religious freedom of the individual. No official, not even our National body, can place restrictions upon this freedom. Officials may give expression to individual views. A majority of the members of the National Grange may endorse certain propositions involving question of political economy affecting the material interests of citizens, such as tariff or finance, but in no case is a member of our Order bound by such action or expression of opinion unless his own judgment shall approve.

"The membership of the Grange can be committed to no party, to no individual, to no religious creed, to no political theory or policy, by any act of any official, or by any resolution adopted by Subordinate, State, or National Grange. Any other position upon these propositions means disintegration and death.

"This need not hinder discussion nor expression of opinion by members acting individually or collectively. All measures which are of especial interest to farmers should be viewed from all points. Give the people the benefit of any phase of opinion and then they can draw intelligent conclusions.

"Absolute freedom of opinion, upon all public questions, is a right not restricted but rather guaranteed and protected by the fundamental law of our Order."

Brigham's statement is as true today as it was when he spoke those words to the delegates of the National Grange in Springfield, Ohio in November of 1891.

There is not a member who agrees with every policy that has been adopted by the National Grange nor with every statement made by any of the leaders of our organization. Just as in 1891, we expect each member to engage in debate on the issues of the day and through discussion find consensus for our organization while allowing each member to follow their own path.

Considering the name calling and uncivil behavior occurring in Congress and State Legislatures throughout our great nation, I'm glad the Grange has remained true to its fundamental principles and serves as a place where all good people can continue to gather and exchange their views.

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