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Masons link ‘problematic’
The Collector for the port of Pennsylvania, John Moore, wrote of attending lodges there in , two years before the formation of the first Grand Lodge in London. After the American Revolution , independent U. Grand Lodges developed within each state. Some thought was briefly given to organising an overarching "Grand Lodge of the United States," with George Washington who was a member of a Virginian lodge as the first Grand Master, but the idea was short-lived. The various state Grand Lodges did not wish to diminish their own authority by agreeing to such a body. Prince Hall Freemasonry exists because of the refusal of early American lodges to admit African Americans.
In , an African American named Prince Hall ,  along with 14 other African-American men, was initiated into a British military lodge with a warrant from the Grand Lodge of Ireland , having failed to obtain admission from the other lodges in Boston. When the British military Lodge left North America after the end of the Revolution, those 15 men were given the authority to meet as a Lodge, but not to initiate Masons. This lodge is not to be confused with the various Grand Lodges in Africa. As with the rest of U. By the s, such discrimination was a thing of the past. Grand Lodges recognise their Prince Hall counterparts, and the authorities of both traditions are working towards full recognition.
English Freemasonry spread to France in the s, first as lodges of expatriates and exiled Jacobites , and then as distinctively French lodges which still follow the ritual of the Moderns. From France and England, Freemasonry spread to most of Continental Europe during the course of the 18th century.
Freemasons in Westminster ‘should declare membership’
Briefly eclipsed during the French Revolution , French Freemasonry continued to grow in the next century,  at first under the leadership of Alexandre Francois Auguste de Grasse , Comte de Grassy-Tilly. A career Army officer, he had lived with his family in Charleston, South Carolina from to the early s, after leaving Saint-Domingue now Haiti during the years of the Haitian Revolution.
The ritual form on which the Grand Orient of France was based was abolished in England in the events leading to the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England in However the two jurisdictions continued in amity mutual recognition until events of the s and s drove a seemingly permanent wedge between them. In the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of the State of Louisiana appeared in the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, recognised by the Grand Orient de France, but regarded by the older body as an invasion of their jurisdiction.
The new Scottish Rite body admitted blacks. The resolution of the Grand Orient the following year that neither colour, race, nor religion could disqualify a man from Masonry prompted the Grand Lodge to withdraw recognition, and it persuaded other American Grand Lodges to do the same. A dispute during the Lausanne Congress of Supreme Councils of prompted the Grand Orient de France to commission a report by a Protestant pastor which concluded that, as Freemasonry was not a religion, it should not require a religious belief.
The new constitutions read, "Its principles are absolute liberty of conscience and human solidarity", the existence of God and the immortality of the soul being struck out. It is possible that the immediate objections of the United Grand Lodge of England were at least partly motivated by the political tension between France and Britain at the time.
The result was the withdrawal of recognition of the Grand Orient of France by the United Grand Lodge of England, a situation that continues today. Not all French lodges agreed with the new wording. In , lodges favouring the compulsory recognition of the Great Architect of the Universe formed the Grande Loge de France.
There are now three strands of Freemasonry in France, which extend into the rest of Continental Europe: The term Continental Freemasonry was used in Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry to "designate the Lodges on the Continent of Europe which retain many usages which have either been abandoned by, or never were observed in, the Lodges of England, Ireland, and Scotland, as well as the United States of America".
The majority of Freemasonry considers the Liberal Continental strand to be Irregular, and thus withhold recognition. For the Continental lodges, however, having a different approach to Freemasonry was not a reason for severing masonic ties. Included in the list of over 70 Grand Lodges and Grand Orients are representatives of all three of the above categories, including mixed and women's organisations.
The United Grand Lodge of England does not communicate with any of these jurisdictions, and expects its allies to follow suit. This creates the distinction between Anglo-American and Continental Freemasonry. In the early 20th century Freemasonry was an influential semi-secret force in Italian politics with a strong presence among professionals and the middle class across Italy, as well as among the leadership of the parliament, public administration, and the army.
They had 25, members in or more lodges. Freemasons took on the challenge of mobilizing the press, public opinion and the leading political parties in support of Italy's joining the Allies of the First World War in Traditionally, they promoted Italian nationalism focused on unification, and undermining the power of the Catholic Church. In they dropped the traditional pacifistic rhetoric and used instead the powerful language of Italian nationalism.
Freemasonry had always promoted cosmopolitan universal values, and by onwards they demanded a League of Nations to promote a new post-war universal order based upon the peaceful coexistence of independent and democratic nations. The status of women in the old guilds and corporations of mediaeval masons remains uncertain. The principle of "femme sole" allowed a widow to continue the trade of her husband, but its application had wide local variations, such as full membership of a trade body or limited trade by deputation or approved members of that body.
At the dawn of the Grand Lodge era , during the s, James Anderson composed the first printed constitutions for Freemasons , the basis for most subsequent constitutions, which specifically excluded women from Freemasonry. The French officially abandoned the experiment in the early 19th century. Maria Deraismes was initiated into Freemasonry in , then resigned to allow her lodge to rejoin their Grand Lodge.
Having failed to achieve acceptance from any masonic governing body, she and Georges Martin started a mixed masonic lodge that worked masonic ritual. Meanwhile, the French had re-invented Adoption as an all-female lodge in , only to cast it aside again in The lodges, however, continued to meet, which gave rise, in , to a body of women practising continental Freemasonry.
In general, Continental Freemasonry is sympathetic to Freemasonry amongst women, dating from the s when French lodges assisted the emergent co-masonic movement by promoting enough of their members to the 33rd degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite to allow them, in , to form their own grand council, recognised by the other Continental Grand Councils of that Rite. While they were not, therefore, recognised as regular, they were part of Freemasonry "in general".
In guidance was released by the United Grand Lodge of England stating that, in regard to transgender women, "A Freemason who after initiation ceases to be a man does not cease to be a Freemason". Anti-Masonry alternatively called Anti-Freemasonry has been defined as "opposition to Freemasonry",   but there is no homogeneous anti-Masonic movement. Anti-Masonry consists of widely differing criticisms from diverse and often incompatible groups who are hostile to Freemasonry in some form.
Critics have included religious groups, political groups, and conspiracy theorists. These often lack context,  may be outdated for various reasons,  or could be outright hoaxes on the part of the author, as in the case of the Taxil hoax. The political opposition that arose after the " Morgan Affair " in gave rise to the term Anti-Masonry , which is still in use today, both by Masons in referring to their critics and as a self-descriptor by the critics themselves. Freemasonry has attracted criticism from theocratic states and organised religions for supposed competition with religion, or supposed heterodoxy within the fraternity itself, and has long been the target of conspiracy theories , which assert Freemasonry to be an occult and evil power.
Although members of various faiths cite objections, certain Christian denominations have had high-profile negative attitudes to Masonry, banning or discouraging their members from being Freemasons. The denomination with the longest history of objection to Freemasonry is the Catholic Church. The objections raised by the Catholic Church are based on the allegation that Masonry teaches a naturalistic deistic religion which is in conflict with Church doctrine.
The Code of Canon Law explicitly declared that joining Freemasonry entailed automatic excommunication , and banned books favouring Freemasonry. In , the Church issued a new code of canon law. Unlike its predecessor, the Code of Canon Law did not explicitly name Masonic orders among the secret societies it condemns. The faithful who enrol in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion. In contrast to Catholic allegations of rationalism and naturalism, Protestant objections are more likely to be based on allegations of mysticism , occultism , and even Satanism.
His writings represented his personal opinion only, and furthermore an opinion grounded in the attitudes and understandings of late 19th century Southern Freemasonry of the USA. Notably, his book carries in the preface a form of disclaimer from his own Grand Lodge. No one voice has ever spoken for the whole of Freemasonry. Free Methodist Church founder B. Roberts was a vocal opponent of Freemasonry in the mid 19th century.
Roberts opposed the society on moral grounds and stated, "The god of the lodge is not the God of the Bible. Freedom from secret societies is one of the "frees" upon which the Free Methodist Church was founded.
History of Freemasonry
In recent decades, however, reservations about Freemasonry have increased within Anglicanism, perhaps due to the increasing prominence of the evangelical wing of the church. The former Archbishop of Canterbury , Dr Rowan Williams , appeared to harbour some reservations about Masonic ritual, whilst being anxious to avoid causing offence to Freemasons inside and outside the Church of England. In he felt it necessary to apologise to British Freemasons after he said that their beliefs were incompatible with Christianity and that he had barred the appointment of Freemasons to senior posts in his diocese when he was Bishop of Monmouth.
In , the Orthodox Church of Greece officially declared that being a Freemason constitutes an act of apostasy and thus, until he repents, the person involved with Freemasonry cannot partake of the Eucharist. This has been generally affirmed throughout the whole Eastern Orthodox Church. The Orthodox critique of Freemasonry agrees with both the Catholic and Protestant versions: Regular Freemasonry has traditionally not responded to these claims, beyond the often repeated statement that those Grand Lodges in amity with UGLE explicitly adhere to the principle that "Freemasonry is not a religion, nor a substitute for religion.
There is no separate 'Masonic deity,' and there is no separate proper name for a deity in Freemasonry. Christian men, who were discouraged from joining the Freemasons by their Churches or who wanted a more religiocentric society, joined similar fraternal organisations, such as the Knights of Columbus for Catholic Christians, and the Loyal Orange Institution for Protestant Christians,   although these fraternal organisations have been "organized in part on the style of and use many symbols of Freemasonry".
Many Islamic anti-Masonic arguments are closely tied to both antisemitism and Anti-Zionism , though other criticisms are made such as linking Freemasonry to Al-Masih ad-Dajjal the false Messiah. Many countries with a majority Muslim population do not allow Masonic establishments within their borders. However, countries such as Turkey and Morocco have established Grand Lodges,  while in countries such as Malaysia   and Lebanon  there are District Grand Lodges operating under a warrant from an established Grand Lodge.
Masonic conspiracy theories - Wikipedia
Lodge buildings were confiscated by the government. However, the position changed following the revolution, and all lodges were forced to close in In , English Freemasonry almost came to a halt due to Parliamentary proclamation. In the wake of the French Revolution , the Unlawful Societies Act banned any meetings of groups that required their members to take an oath or obligation. The Grand Masters of both the Moderns and the Antients Grand Lodges called on Prime Minister William Pitt who was not a Freemason and explained to him that Freemasonry was a supporter of the law and lawfully constituted authority and was much involved in charitable work.
As a result, Freemasonry was specifically exempted from the terms of the Act, provided that each private lodge's Secretary placed with the local "Clerk of the Peace" a list of the members of his lodge once a year. This continued until , when the obligation of the provision was rescinded by Parliament. Freemasonry in the United States faced political pressure following the kidnapping of William Morgan by Freemasons and his subsequent disappearance.
Reports of the "Morgan Affair", together with opposition to Jacksonian democracy Andrew Jackson was a prominent Mason , helped fuel an Anti-Masonic movement. The short-lived Anti-Masonic Party was formed, which fielded candidates for the presidential elections of and In Italy, Freemasonry has become linked to a scandal concerning the Propaganda Due lodge a. This lodge was chartered by the Grande Oriente d'Italia in , as a lodge for visiting Masons unable to attend their own lodges. Under Licio Gelli 's leadership, in the late s, P2 became involved in the financial scandals that nearly bankrupted the Vatican Bank.
However, by this time the lodge was operating independently and irregularly, as the Grand Orient had revoked its charter and expelled Gelli in Conspiracy theorists have long associated Freemasonry with the New World Order and the Illuminati , and state that Freemasonry as an organisation is either bent on world domination or already secretly in control of world politics. Historically, Freemasonry has attracted criticism—and suppression—from both the politically far right e.
Even in modern democracies, Freemasonry is sometimes viewed with distrust. Straw stated that the rule was considered disproportionate, since no impropriety or malpractice had been shown as a result of judges being Freemasons. Freemasonry is both successful and controversial in France. As of the early 21st century, membership is rising, but reporting in the popular media is often negative.
In some countries anti-Masonry is often related to antisemitism and anti- Zionism. For example, in the Iraqi legal and penal code was changed by Saddam Hussein 's ruling Ba'ath Party , making it a felony to "promote or acclaim Zionist principles, including Freemasonry, or who associate [themselves] with Zionist organisations".
The preserved records of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt the Reich Security Main Office show the persecution of Freemasons during the Holocaust. While the number of victims is not accurately known, historians estimate that between 80, and , Freemasons were killed under the Nazi regime. The small blue forget-me-not flower was first used by the Grand Lodge Zur Sonne , in , as a Masonic emblem at the annual convention in Bremen , Germany. In a forget-me-not badge—made by the same factory as the Masonic badge—was chosen for the annual Nazi Party Winterhilfswerk , the annual charity drive of the National Socialist People's Welfare , the welfare branch of the Nazi party.
This coincidence enabled Freemasons to wear the forget-me-not badge as a secret sign of membership. The badge is now worn in the coat lapel by Freemasons around the world to remember all who suffered in the name of Freemasonry, especially those during the Nazi era. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the ghost town, see Masonic, California. For other uses, see Freemason disambiguation. For the house music producers, see Freemasons band. Masonic bodies and List of Masonic Rites. Masonic ritual and symbolism.
Freemasonry and women and Co-Freemasonry. Anti-Masonry and Suppression of Freemasonry. Opposition to Freemasonry within Christianity. Retrieved 14 June Handbook for Candidate's Coaches excerpt. Retrieved 8 May The Origins of Freemasonry. The Secret Teachings of All Ages: United Grand Lodge of England. Retrieved 12 June The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry.
Freemasonry and the transformation of the American social order, — University of North Carolina Press. And other well known Prince Hall Masons". Retrieved 14 November Coleman pdf Archived 3 March at the Wayback Machine. Italian Freemasonry and the Great War.
The Constitutions of the Free-Masons Philadelphia ed. Retrieved 12 August The Persons admitted Members of a Lodge must be good and true Men, free-born, and of mature and discreet Age, no Bondmen, no Women, no immoral or scandalous Men, but of good Report. Retrieved 8 September Brent Morris 18 August