You can read the newspaper story here.
Let me say that if someone feels their religious beliefs are incompatible with Freemasonry, they shouldn’t become members. No one is forcing anyone to join. Such a thing would be silly; you can’t coerce someone into being a good member of a volunteer organisation. But one would hope that someone would be honest enough with themselves that their opposition to Masonic membership is legitimate.
The reporter, in my estimation, puts his finger on the situation in a few short words:
So why would anyone label the Freemasons a cult? Maybe it has to do with members’ mystery-shrouded ritualsIf someone strips away the mystery and uses equivalents from normal, every-day life that people are acquainted with, they can see how off-centre some of the arguements against Masonic membership are.
One of the points made by the anti-Mason in the story was:
he also says it’s [Freemasonry is] anti-Christian because it doesn’t require belief in the God of the BibleThat’s quite true. Neither does the 4-H Club, the Book of the Month club, a membership at a gym or the Boy Scouts. Substitute any of these groups for “Freemasonry” and you can see how ridiculous the claim is.
Later, we read:
[Freemasonry] demands that members swear oaths despite the Bible’s proscription against such practices.Of course, the President of the United States takes an oath of office. Oaths are still common in a court of law. Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath. If an anti went around bleating that the U.S. government, the justice system or being treated by a doctor was anti-Christian, he’d be laughed at as a nut-job.
Ah, but Freemasonry has those “mystery-shrouded rituals.” Most people aren’t Freemasons and don’t know about Freemasonry. Being unfamiliar with it, they’re more willing to buy into false claims of “anti-Christian.” How are they to know otherwise? Make the same claim about the Boy Scouts, and they’ll call BS on it.
A more interesting claim is:
The organization is based on ancient fertility cults, not stoneworkers’ groups and spiritual knowledgeAnti-Masons should realise that just as anyone can connect-the-dots to “prove” untrue things about Freemasonry, anyone can do the same about anything else. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to point out things like Easter eggs and Christmas trees, and connect the next dot to make the claim that Christianity “is based on ancient fertility cults.” The line of reasoning is no different. Such a claim would be laughable, of course. As laughable as the claim about Freemasonry and “ancient fertility rites.”
I don’t know of any fertility rites that show off stonemasons’ tools, have a discourse on the building of a temple from the Old Testament, or give admonitions to be good citizens and help others in need if possible.
Antis seem quite willing to ignore the fact that symbols can be, have been, and are, used in different ways in different eras and places. What someone else did with them is meaningless, as meaningless as what so-called pagans did with trees that today are lovingly decorated by Christian families during the season to honour Christ’s birth (trees topped with a star that antis have linked to Satan, no less).
It’s how Freemasonry uses those symbols that is relevant to its members, not anyone else.
I’m sure many Masons could echo the thoughts of one of the Masons interviewed:
“It [Freemasonry] has helped me solidify my (Christian) faith.”I would hope so. There’s no reason it should not. Faith is one of the principle virtues outlined in the First Degree. Masons are reminded throughout the ceremonies to follow the tenets of their faith, not to ignore them or toss them away. In fact, that is one of their duties.
Granted, Masons are free to decide their religious beliefs for themselves. In democratic nations, such things are even protected by law. In the United States freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Constitution. Anti-Masons seem to have a problem with that. Yet, were they to screech and parrot each other on web sites that the U.S. Constitution is “anti-Christian,” their beliefs would be readily seen for the foolishness they are.
When it comes to Freemasonry, the ones who cry “cult” are generally the ones who want to dictate what religious beliefs others should follow.
The irony seems to escape them.