Not racist.
Not racist. Rick Armstrong / EyeEm

When some friends of mine were reading my piece on the recent Seattle white nationalist convention, their first comment was, “Where is this place?! Let’s tag it!” I would like to stress that the building is not the problem. The Queen Anne Lodge has reached out to us to say they definitely, definitely, definitely did not know that the “writing workshop” which had been renting out their Lodge every other month since last November was actually a white nationalist meeting. After reading about what was going on in the venue, building’s manager Melinda Wells said, “Knowing I was hosting these guys made me ill.”

Paranoid Masonic conspiracy theories aside, the Masons are in no way a racist organization. A statement sent to us by Queen Anne Lodge #242 of the Grand Lodge of Washington says, “For nearly 100 years this Lodge has stood for inclusion and fraternity and our membership is a very diverse group of races, ethnicities, religions, nationalities, and sexual orientations. We do not associate ourselves with hate groups nor will we ever.”

The Lodge itself is a great venue. Even when surrounded by Nazis I was stunned by what a neat early 20th century building it was. If anybody was ever to hold a real Writer’s Workshop, there would not be a better place in Seattle than the Queen Anne Masonic Lodge. It is conveniently located right across the street from a picturesque Carnegie Library, and has a atmospheric wood-paneled lecture hall. Even if white nationalists do continue to organize in Seattle, one consolation is knowing they will never hold an event in a venue this good ever again. Get used to community center multi-purpose rooms.

When not in use for Masonic services (where they presumably secretly rule the world) the Masons rent out their venue to all kinds of organizations from weddings, to corporate events, to (what they thought were) writing workshops. Usually they do not vet these things, because what are the odds that the academic looking guy who's rented the space for his writing workshop is actually a white-collar white supremacist organizer? They have informed us that they are already taking steps to ensure that they don’t rent their lodge to hate groups in the future.

On top of no longer hosting hate groups, they have also announced that they will be donating all the money they received from NW Forum’s rental fee to a local anti-racist charity. Currently they are just trying to narrow it down to which one. Anybody know which is best?