Friday, February 26, 2010

‘Letter to the Editor’

A letter to the editor in yesterday’s Washington Times cannot escape comment.

First, the letter:

Originally published 5 a.m., February 25, 2010, updated 11 a.m., February 25, 2010

Reject Freemason-led
church, state separation

Freemasons should not be allowed to open a bureau in Brussels to lobby against religious organizations in European Union institutions. Leading Freemasons and critics of Freemasonry agree in substance that Freemasonry promotes a total worldview of early gnosticism, as it has been carried to the modern period, especially by the kabbalah and theosophy.

This is an atheism that attempts to encompass everything in a notion of universal brotherhood or cosmic harmony without the true God. It combines an appeal to spiritual ideals like freedom, fraternity and equality with the imposition of a materialistic pragmatism that reaches both the political order and all elements of private life. It most commonly has attempted to present itself as a deism that all reasonable men supposedly would accept. However, like the historical phenomenon of deism in general, it appeals to reason and teaches that God is the Great Architect, who supposedly created the world but then left it for reasonable men to run. It denies reason’s ability to reach knowledge of the natural moral law and reduces all to a mystical/pragmatic imposition of laws by reasonable men.

In pursuit of its basic project of transforming society into a secular state and undoing its Christian traditions, Freemasonry has enlisted Protestants and Jews to forge a notion of separation of church and state that eventually will undo laws and policies sustaining basic moral law, especially in relation to marriage, sexuality and abortion.

Paul Kokoski
Hamilton, Ontario

Where does a Magpie Mason begin?

Let me explain that by “bureau in Brussels,” the letter-writer is reacting to political activity undertaken by one member of one Masonic organization who got some publicity last week with his grandstanding. Jean-Michel Quillardet is a past grand master of what is called the Grand Orient of France, one of the very few Masonic bodies that allow atheists to join, a choice it made in the 1870s. Because of that change of rules, the GOF has been alienated from what one might call the “mainstream” of Freemasonry, and therefore neither M. Quillardet nor the GOF has any authority to speak for the millions of Freemasons in the United States, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere around the globe whose lodges welcome only those who believe in a Supreme Being. (How Masons define “Supreme Being” for themselves is their business, and not the fraternity’s.)

It is unfortunate that M. Quillardet ties his political activity to his Masonic life. I suggest he join a political party that reflects his views, and stop dishonoring Freemasonry with his public foolishness.

M. Quillardet’s publicity appears in the February 18 reportage of the EU Observer:

Freemasons keen to open office
in EU capital

18.02.2010 @ 09:41 CET

A French freemason has said that part of the movement is keen to open a bureau in Brussels to lobby against the rising influence of religious organisations in the EU institutions.

“The Masonic orders should practice politics in the positive sense of the term: So that despite their own partisan divisions, they speak out on the side of secularism and voice their disagreement with this or that governmental or European decision,” Jean-Michel Quillardet, the former Grand Master of the Grand Orient de France, told Belgian daily Le Soir in an interview out on Wednesday (17 February).

He said that Masonic lodges in Europe remain divided on the subject, with some more “shy” than others of attracting publicity by opening an office in the EU capital. But he added that practical problems are more important than the divisions and sketched out an agenda for the future outfit.

“I think we will one day manage to create a general Masonic delegation, for the sake of free-thinking in the European institutions. It’s possible politically. It’s less possible at the financial level, as we have infinitely smaller resources than the churches,” Mr Quillardet explained.

The mason said that the Brussels bureau’s first task would be to promote the idea of citizenship:

“It is necessary to impose the universal idea of the Enlightenment, which consists of the notion that people are citizens and European citizens before being Jewish, black, Maghreb, homosexual, heterosexual.”

Mr. Quillardet explained that the Grand Orient de France has already created a cell which attempts to bring together all the lodges in Europe.

In 2007 it organized a pan-European Masonic congress in Strasbourg, with subsequent meetings in 2008 and 2009 in Greece and Turkey. The 2010 event is to be in Portugal.

He added that in 2008 European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso for the first time met with delegates from a group of lodges including his own and in the same year wrote a letter to the international congress in Athens.

“We told him that apart from its Christian roots, Europe owed much to Greek and Roman philosophy, Renaissance humanism and the Enlightenment. We obtained representation for Masonic orders and for groups which defend secularism in Bepa,” he said, in reference to the Bureau of European Policy Advisers, a high-level policy analysis unit in the EU commission.

The Barroso letter was “for us a recognition on the intellectual landscape,” Mr Quillardet explained.

True Freemasonry is a spiritual order that allows its members to decide sectarian religious matters for themselves. Atheism not only is not accepted in the “mainstream” of the fraternity, it is entirely antithetical to Freemasonry, the teachings of which encourage Masons to frame their every thought and deed in the context of service to deity, neighbor, and self.


AlphaLodgeNo116 said...

Set the record straight!

Khan said...

It's all an interesting question. Of course, I agree: a particular member of an irregular body shouldn't be professing to be setting up a "bureau" for Freemasons. (Of course, one man's Regular is another man's Clandestine, and v/versa. But for me, for us, for the absolutely preponderant majority, he's not a Regular Freemason.)

But deciding to act to minimize the influence of sectarian religious groups on secular government, I could see that as an export of Masonic ideals and philosophy into the public sphere. It's probably what occurred during the founding of the United States: there were significant efforts to saturate our Nation and its laws with religious influences from a very few, particular congregations.

The Constitution was excoriated as an atheistic, Satanic document because it didn't debase the Republic before the laws and authority of the Almighty. But a core of Enlightenment thinkers, many being Masons but others not, and perhaps most notably MWB Ben Franklin, managed to gently hold a line that included all and rejected none.

I would hold that working to maintain a strict secularism within the governing bodies that make massive, pervasive life and death decisions for all, with no reasonable, individual option of opting out, is a high calling upon Masons and any other men of equity, condescension, and empathetic quality.

As for the supposed non-political bent of Masonry, I feel pretty comfortable drawing a line between sectarian, party politics and simply operating in the public sphere for the betterment of the community and in the name of humanity. I certainly don't look askance at the Prince Hall Affiliated Lodges for actively supporting and promoting Civil Rights in the 50s and 60s (and certainly before and after as well). I certainly DO look askance at my own "mainstream" Masonry for not only coming so vastly late to that party, and for being tacitly a part of the racialist problem in our Nation for so very, very long. When it came to race issues, "mainstream" Masonry, at least at the GL level, has often come down on the wrong side. Grand Lodge offices should have been armed stations in the Underground Railroad, not the comfy chairs of up and coming Exalted Cyclopes. Good for Prince Hall. Shame on us. Nowadays, most of us know better, and we are a better fraternity for it.

If supporting secularism in government demonstrably means supporting equality of standing for the citizenry, in all its facets, does that not fall within the purview of Freemasonry? Should we not be glad to labor, in one way or other, for that ideal?

Good blog, brother. Great entries & range of topics!

Bro. Tyler Anderson
SS, Sandia Mountain Lodge #72
Albuquerque, NM

[bibliography for my long & blathering rant:
_Freethinkers, A History of American Secularism_, by Jacoby.
_What a Mighty Power We Can Be_, ed Theda Skocpol
_The Ku Klux Klan in the Southwest_, by Charles Alexander]