Washington was actually offered the position of President for life. He was also offered the same position in Freemasonry, namely Grand Master for life of a National Grand Lodge. he turned all such offers down and in the process set precedents that chartered the future course of not only his country but his fraternity. What other leader has had the opportunity to lay such groundwork on such a grand scale in multiple venues? You got to believe that Washington’s humbleness and his refusal to let his ego overtake the principles and virtues that he had fought for so hard is somewhat attributable to having been a Freemason and the obligation that had on his commitment to righteousness, virtue and morality.
Harmon Weston over at the Blue Lite forum posted the following:
Modern Freemasonry was born in an environment where the laws of Church and State overlapped significantly (and still do if you scratch them with a soft cloth). A group of free-thinkers got together in a pub and closed the door, not because they were conspiring to take over the world but because they wanted to discuss things the “authorities” would prefer they didn’t and might well have prosecuted, persecuted or burned them at the stake if they were discovered. Ignorant, scared and (philosophically) illiterate people have always been the darlings of governments because they are easy to control, and over the centuries, many of our Brethren have been labelled “troublemakers” simply because they were publicly prepared to ask valid questions the “authorities” were not prepared or able to answer.”
Granted Masons are not supposed to be openly political when gathered as Brothers, but isn’t Liberty one of the defining requirements of Freemasonry? Is not freedom of the individual a part of Masonic thought that permeates the Craft? Freemasonry was born out of the Enlightenment where church and state despotism was discarded by Masons for the New Age of freedom. Should Freemasons then not uphold the right of every individual in the world be a master of their own destiny? Are free-thinkers required to keep their mouths shut if they are Freemasons? Are Freemasons largely responsible for the rise of democratic government in the world? If so why must they avoid talking about politics (as distinguished from partisan politics)?
Doesn’t the quote help explain the secrecy in Freemasonry?
Another response to Missing the Boat.
Keep them coming Brothers & Sisters. WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
A Mason’s Obligation to Freedom
By Chris Williams
Davy Crockett Lodge # 1225 A.F. & A. M.
Grand Lodge of Texas
Brothers, I want to talk to you about something that I sincerely believe and feel deep within my soul and I think is as important as anything in any of our lives. I want to talk about the word free. When you say the word free as in Freemason it refers to free men, free to think as you please, free to speak as you please, and free to worship as you please. But I sincerely ask you, where does each man’s basic freedom come from? How and when does a man become free? Who gives us our freedom? Brothers, our freedom is given to us by God. There are many who will tell you that our freedom comes from our Constitution. Our freedom is given to us by The Supreme Architect of the Universe, our Constitution guarantees our freedom. I am sure you recognize this from our Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” This Country and our constitution since our very beginnings has been the world’s beacon of freedom. Over the last two hundred and thirty four years many of our original freedoms given to us by God and guaranteed by our Constitution have little by little been taken away by those who would seek to change our country from a country “of the people, by the people, and for the people” to a country of the government, by the government, and for the government, This is not what our founding fathers intended nor is it the country described in our Constitution.
Some of you are thinking right now, “Chris, you need to stop talking this way.” You are talking about politics and you know that we are not supposed to discuss politics or religion in the Lodge. What that rule really means is that we should not discuss specific religions and we should not discuss differences in political points of view in the Lodge. Now I am sure no one is against being free. I am talking about our freedom, not politics. Just as in our Lodges invoking God’s blessing and reciting Holy Scripture, does not constitute talking about religion.
The freedoms that you and I enjoy today were made possible when the settlers of the original colonies decided that they had had enough of being taxed without recourse or representation. They decided that their freedoms were not going to be taken away further by the British king and they revolted. What I am going to tell you now has been debated over and over again by Masons and non-Masons alike for years and years. It is an argument whose truth is confirmed by a serious study of history. What I am alluding to is the debate over what, if any was the Freemasons involvement in the revolt of the colonies that led to the revolutionary war and the creation of the United States of America. For those of you who are not sure, let me set your mind at ease and put this debate to rest once and for all. The United States of America was conceived and created based upon the principals of Freemasonry, by Freemasons and other men who were influenced by Freemasons and their Masonic principals. Many of you sit there right now with your mouths open trying to count how many violations of my obligations I have just committed. While you are counting allow me to continue. The seeds of revolution were not sown within a Masonic Lodge. But it is true that a large number of the most influential men of that time in America were Freemasons. Being Freemasons and knowing Masonic principals to be freedom of speech, religion, and thought, it is easy to imagine the atmosphere of discontent at that time. Masonry and Masons will always rebel against a smothering of freedom. It is no wonder and easy to understand that our early American Brethren were in the thick of the organization as well as the fight that secured our freedom and our way of life. When it came time to create our new government who else but Freemasons would be there to help organize and build a democratic republic. And why not? We had been running a democracy within our Lodges for centuries. So yes, our great fraternity was very instrumental in the creation of our country and we should all be very proud of that. It is important that we make sure that their efforts were not in vain. We must speak freely when our freedoms are infringed upon. We must speak the truth – for being a Mason is all about the truth.
We must not worry about being politically correct. It is said by some misguided souls that if you are not being what is deemed politically correct then you are being divisive and not inclusive. I say being politically correct is really being afraid. It’s being afraid of speaking up and standing up for the truth and for the freedoms that are guaranteed all of us as free men and Americans. It is not enough to just think it. We must say it and act it!
In Masonry we are told that religion and politics are never to be discussed in Lodge in order that peace and harmony may always prevail. But I say that we should always be involved deeply, passionately and completely in the making sure our freedoms are protected. If we don’t speak out, if we stay silent and ……… afraid…… little by little all of our rights and freedoms will go away. Even the most innocuous or insignificant challenge to our basic freedoms needs to be challenged vigorously. Every time we give up some small freedom or right that seems on the surface to be pretty unimportant, a chip is cut out of the solid rock that is our guaranteed freedom. Chip by chip our rights and freedoms are taken away and taken away and one day soon there will only be a pile of dust that remains of that rock. We will wake up to the realization that our freedoms are gone and we will look around at each other and wonder what happened.
In one of the charges in the first degree we are charged to be beyond reproach in the discharge of our civil duties by never being involved in or performing any act which might tend to subvert the peace and good order of society, but to obey the laws of any state in which we reside. This admonition is a clear message to all who are members that they must be loyal citizens always alert to the needs of the local community, State and Federal Government; and ready to do anything or make any sacrifice to maintain its integrity and further its development in any manner as will best preserve our democratic way of life.
Masons are forever charged to lead their lives and make their decisions as examples to all whom they come in contact with. By virtue of our example we are constantly influencing those around us. Why is it I wonder, that considering that more than seventy percent of the population consider themselves to be patriotic and constitutionalist in their thinking, that our Lodges are not bursting to capacity with the membership of all those who agree with our principals and way of life? Could it be that we are not espousing our Masonic principals and vocal support of our country loud enough, or are we not living the life that Masonry desires us to live that others will see and want to emulate us? Why are we afraid? Is not truth and right upon our side? Let’s see, there are 1.5 million Masons in North America. If every Mason’s life and words influenced ten people and they in turn influenced ten and so on it would serve to insure forever our democratic way of life.
The turbulent state of affairs today only emphasizes and reinforces the fact that a Mason has no right to be idle and it is the duty of the Master of his Lodge to give light and instruction and to show him how to practice outside of the Lodge the great moral lessons which are taught him within it. We are constantly faced with the ongoing dangers due to the deeds of those who have become leaders of groups by force and brutality, refusing any acknowledgment of the existence of God and eliminating anyone who does believe, including Freemasons, knowing that they would openly oppose the vicious practices they force upon their people. By an open denial of God, they are not obligated to the truth nor to the moral teachings outlined in the Holy Bible and the people exist solely for the benefit of the Sate instead of the State existing for the benefit “of the people, by the people and for the people.” There are some who are taken in by this Godless manifesto. These gullible individuals are encouraged to infiltrate the society of our Country to wreak havoc and spread propaganda. Freemasons should be ever alert and never idle in upholding the precepts of the fraternity, by endeavoring to reclaim the faltering and aiding to stamp out the evil, thus preserving the harmony and good fellowship of our democratic and God-loving way of life. I shudder to consider this alternative.
No, we are not to, as the ritual tells us, countenance disloyalty or rebellion but patiently submit to legal authority.” But it is our duty as citizens and Masons to right any wrongs, correct injustice and to freely speak the truth whenever and where ever it becomes necessary. We cannot stand by and let our freedoms be taken away. We must not be afraid. We must do what is right. In the words of our celebrated Brother John Wayne “courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.” Brethren, It’s time to saddle up. And don’t ever forget, we are Texans. We are Americans, and we are Masons. We must see that our way of life is preserved.
God Bless you all; God Bless our Great Fraternity; God Bless Texas; and God Bless America!!!
Reply from Garry Bonner
Having read the latest article, how Freemasonry is missing the boat, I am moved to respond to it, because I see first of all the truth and sense in the understanding of what can be achieved by applying it , and indeed practicing it, not only to the benefit of Freemasonry, but indeed to our nation and country. The reason from my perspective is twofold.
As you know I am a mason however, I am original from Austria, where Masonry was founded in 1784, a time where, the Empress Maria Theresa had been married to Franz of Lothringen, who also was a mason, coming from area of Holland at the time and was the first place where Masonry was brought from London, England. The reason why this came about was that in Austria the was no male Heir to the Throne at the time and a Women, being a Habsburger, was able to function as a Empress.
Because of this, eventually, Masonry was allowed to be freely practiced, and for about 15 years. At this time many social achievement, where brought to bear, much to the many benefits of the general public, which are still available to this day. As this is another story to much to write at this time, but it relates to your present article. Masonry eventually was again forced into secrecy for many years missing the boat again. Well this is another story, but I think the relationship of my thoughts is.
I stumbled across this post from John Whitehead, a Catholic Historian in Oxford, in his blog Once I Was A Clever Boy who had some interesting thoughts on Catholicism and Freemasonry. In it he said:
Whether Freemasonry is a direct threat in this country [England] or in the English speaking world to Christianity may be doubted by some, but…its essential ideas are not supportive of the Church’s vision and message. Freemasons may not actively plot over their dinners how to do the Church down, but their ideals reinforce post-Enlightenment attitudes and ideas that are not conducive to revealed Catholic Christianity.
His post was based on another by Fr, Ray Blake from St. Mary Magdalen Church in Brighton England. From Fr Ray Blake’s blog – Masonry is a mortal sin…
The basic doctrine of Masonry is that whether we are a Jew, Christian or Muslim, we are all brothers, that these differences are unimportant. Ultimately of course that means that the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the Way to Salvation is undermined and unimportant, that being Catholic or CofE or Baptist or Methodist is immaterial, all are as good as one another. Masonry is ultimately about enshrining Enlightenment values which we see in the American and French Constitutions which are so antipathetic to the Catholic Faith: I mean values like “All men are created equal”, which are now so much part of modern thinking.
This piece also asks an important question:
Who in practice is against such concepts as liberty, equality, fraternity?
The truth is that we Catholics are, or at least we would want to qualify such sound bites, as in fact society does in practice. All men are not created equal, some have special needs others have unique abilities, some will cost society dearly, some will contribute greatly.
I wonder then, could you extrapolate and say the Church does not see all men on the level towards God, are some closer to deity than others , no matter their statement of faith? Is there a caste system of faith behind the Roman Church of who is in more Grace than the other?
All this talk stemmed from an older piece Good Catholics Should Not be Masons, written in 2009, in the Catholic Online from an article written by Fr Ashley Beck who is assistant priest of Beckenham in south London, which reiterated something most Masons already knew:
The Catholic Church teaches that Freemasonry and Christianity are incompatible. The Holy See in 1983 reiterated the traditional position that Catholics who are Freemasons are in a state of grave sin and may not receive the sacraments – the Declaration on Masonic Associations was signed by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and makes it clear that local bishops cannot dispense from its provisions.
In this piece, the author gets to the heart of the matter and states:
The overriding problem is that in spite of what Freemasons claim, their way of life is a religion, with all of religion’s hallmarks. You can no more be a Freemason and a Christian than you can be a Muslim and a Christian. Catholics are committed to inter-faith dialogue and mutual respect, but this requires Freemasons to be honest about what they are. For Catholics, thinking about the reasons for the gulf between us can deepen our understanding of the Christian faith.
This rhetoric comes up every few years, and American Masonry quickly disassociates itself with the claim that its “different” than European Masonry and that the Church is OK with membership in both organizations.
Clearly, its not.
I wonder what, if anything, would come from the Vatican on the matter. We do have the 1983 Declaration, but is that valuable now 28 years on? and, I wonder to what degree American Masons pay heed to it, choosing their own free will and Liberty over doctrine? I feel for those brothers, to know that the agent of their faith sees them as in a state of grave sin. To be in a Grave Sin means that the individual still “sin[s] willfully after having the knowledge of the truth, [such that] there is now left no sacrifice for sins.” Essentially, it becomes a premeditated act of offense.
Clearly, these various points raise a number of questions and points, to which I would refer the reader to an article, The Catholic Church and Freemasonry, published last year in which Rev Mr. John J. McManus, JD, JCL – a Church Deacon and attorney, spoke at Gate City Lodge and delved into these topics there and in person. In that presentation, and in the piece, he enumerates 11 positions on why the church and Freemasonry are incompatible which had a significant outcome which lead to the 1983 fundamental conclusion which said:
“Even though Masonic organizations may not in particular cases plot against the faith, it would be still wrong to join them because their basic principles are irreconcilable with those of the Catholic faith.”
Given the tone of the Church, many in the Protestant arena have agreed with the same conclusion.
All of this brings us to some interesting and unanswered questions:
- Is a declaration of being a Faith necessary for a dialog between Masons and the Church?
- Does it take some proclamation of Faith to necessitate inclusion in an interfaith discussion in a free state?
- What greater degree of honesty is the Vatican looking for, or will Masonry forever be incompatible the same way as it see’s Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, or any other non Catholic faith?
- Does masonry have the stamina or will to drive the conversation, or is it secure in its own practice without need of any recognition?
- What is at the center of the Church’s disdain for Masonry such that as it will sit with other faiths and recognize their values but squirms and frets at the inclusion of Freemasonry because it believes in the idea of equality of man? Isn’t that the purpose of interfaith dialogues, recognizing the universality of faiths role to mankind?
- Should Masonry align itself with the Church doctrine and strip away its Universal tenets and bring itself more into measure with those of the Catholic Church so as to bring the two organizations together so as to have these dialogs?
- Does it even matter to Masonry that its tenets intersect the doctrine of the Church?