Anti-Masonry (alternatively called Anti-Freemasonry) is defined as "avowed opposition to Freemasonry".[1] However, there is no homogeneous anti-Masonic movement. Anti-Masonry consists of radically differing criticisms from sometimes incompatible groups who are hostile to Freemasonry in some form.

Early anti-Masonic documents

The earliest[2] anti-Masonic document was a leaflet printed in 1698 by a Presbyterian minister named Winter. It reads:

TO ALL GODLY PEOPLE, In the Citie of London.

Having thought it needful to warn you of the Mischiefs and Evils practiced in the Sight of God by those called Freed Masons, I say take Care lest their Ceremonies and secret Swearings take hold of you; and be wary that none cause you to err from Godliness. For this devllish Sect of Men are Meeters in secret which swear against all without ther Following. They are the Anti Christ which was to come leading Men from Fear of God. For how should Men meet in secret Places and with secret Signs taking Care that none observed them to do the Work of GOD; are not these the Ways of Evil-doers?

Knowing how that God observeth privilly them that sit in Darkness they shall be smitten and the Secrets of their Hearts layed bare. Mingle not among this corrupt People lest you be found so at the World's Conflagration.[3]

Political anti-Masonry

American political anti-Masonry (1830s–1850s)

In 1826, William Morgan disappeared from the small town of Batavia, New York, after threatening to expose Freemasonry's "secrets" by publishing its rituals. His disappearance caused some Anti-masons to claim that he had been kidnapped and murdered by Masons. Morgan's disappearance sparked a series of protests against Freemasonry, which eventually spread to the political realm. Under the leadership of anti-Masonic Thurlow Weed, an Anti-Jacksonist movement became (since Jackson was a Mason) the Anti-Masonic Party. This political Party ran presidential candidates in 1828 and 1832, but by 1835 the party had disbanded everywhere except Pennsylvania.

British political anti-Masonry (1990s–current)

In the United Kingdom, anti-Masonic sentiment grew following the publication of Martin Short's 1989 book, Inside the Brotherhood (Further Secrets of the Freemasons).[4] The allegations made by Short led several members of the British Government to propose laws requiring Freemasons who join the police or judiciary[5] to declare their membership publicly to the government amid accusations of Freemasons performing acts of mutual advancement and favour-swapping. This movement was initially led by Jack Straw, Home Secretary from 1997 until 2001.[5] In 1999, the Welsh Assembly became the only body in the United Kingdom to place a legal requirement on membership declaration for Freemasons.[6] Currently, existing members of the police and judiciary in England are asked to voluntarily admit to being Freemasons.[7] However, all first time successful judiciary candidates had to "declare their freemasonry status" before appointment until 2009, when – following a successful challenge in the European Court by Italian Freemasons – Jack Straw accepted that the policy was "disproportionate" and revoked it.[7] Conversely, new members of the police are not required to declare their status.[7]

In 2004, Rhodri Morgan, the First Minister of the Welsh Assembly, in Great Britain, said that he blocked Gerard Elias' appointment to counsel general because of links to hunting and freemasonry,[8] although it was claimed by non-Labour politicians that the real reason was in order to have a Labour supporter, Malcolm Bishop, in the role.[9]

Persecution by Communists

Soviet Russia outlawed all secret societies, including Masonry, in 1922.[10] At one of the Second International meetings Grigory Zinoviev demanded to purge it of masons.[11] Freemasonry did not exist in the Soviet Union, China, or most other Communist states. Postwar revivals of Freemasonry in Czechoslovakia and Hungary were suppressed in 1950.[12] However, Freemasonry in Cuba continued to exist following the Cuban Revolution, and according to Cuban folklore, Fidel Castro is said to have "developed a soft spot for the Masons when they gave him refuge in a Masonic Lodge" in the 1950s. However, when in power, Castro was also said to have "kept them on a tight leash" as they were considered a subversive element in Cuban society.[13]

Persecution under Nazi regime

French antimasonic Exposition during Nazi occupation (1942).

Fascists treated Freemasonry as a potential source of opposition. Masonic writers state that the language used by the totalitarian regimes is similar to that used by some modern critics of Freemasonry.[14]

Consistently considered an ideological foe of Nazism in their world perception (Weltauffassung), Freemasonic Concentration Camp inmates were graded as "Political" prisoners, and wore an inverted (point down) red triangle.[15]

In 1943, the Propaganda Abteilung, a delegation of Nazi Germany's propaganda ministry within occupied France, commissioned the propaganda film Forces occultes. The film virulently denounces Freemasonry, parliamentarianism and Jews as part of Vichy's drive against them and seeks to prove a Jewish-Masonic plot.

The number of Freemasons from Nazi occupied countries who were killed is not accurately known, but it is estimated that between 80,000 and 200,000 Freemasons perished under the Nazi regime.[16] The Government of the United Kingdom established Holocaust Memorial Day[17] to recognise all groups who were targets of the Nazi regime, and counter Holocaust denial. Freemasons are listed as being among those who were targeted.

Iraqi Baathist anti-Masonry

In 1980, the Iraqi legal and penal code was changed by Saddam Hussein and the ruling Ba'ath Party, thereby making it a felony to "promote or acclaim Zionist principles, including freemasonry, or who associate [themselves] with Zionist organizations."[18]

Freemasonry and patriotism

Freemasonry has been alleged to hold back its members from fully committing to their nation.[19] Critics claim that compared to Operative Masonry's clear denunciations of treachery,[20] Speculative Masonry (Freemasonry after 1723) was far more ambiguous.[21] The old Catholic Encyclopedia alleges that Masonic disapproval of treachery is not on moral grounds but on the grounds of inconvenience to other Masons.[22] It also argues[23] that the adage "Loyalty to freedom overrides all other considerations"[24] justifies treason, and quotes Albert Mackey, who said "... if treason or rebellion were masonic crimes, almost every mason in the United Colonies (America), in 1776, would have been subject to expulsion and every Lodge to a forfeiture of its warrant by the Grand Lodges of England and Scotland, under whose jurisdiction they were at the time".[19]

Freemasonry, however, charges its members that: "In the state you are to be a quiet and peaceful subject, true to your government and just to your country; You are not to countenence disloyalty or rebellion, but patiently submit to legal authority and conform with cheerfulness to the government of the country in which you live."[25]

With this charge in mind, American Freemasons are consistent advocates of the US Constitution, including the separation of church and state,[26] which was seen by the Roman Catholic Church as a veiled attack on the Church's place in public life.[27]

Conspiracy theories

Due to its secretive nature Freemasonry has long been a target of conspiracy theories in which it is either bent on world domination or already secretly in control of world politics.[28]

Historically, complaints have been made that the Masons have secretly plotted to create a society based on the revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality, fraternity, separation of church and state and (in Nazi Germany) a Jewish plot for religious tolerance.[29] Similarly, some anti-Masons have claimed that Freemasonry is a Jewish front for world domination, or is at least controlled by Jews for this goal. An example of this is the notorious literary forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Hitler outlawed Freemasonry partially for this reason.[30] The covenant of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas claims that Freemasonry is a "secret society" founded as part of a Zionist plot to control the world.[31]

The earliest document accusing Freemasonry of being involved in a conspiracy was Enthüllungen des Systems der Weltbürger-Politik (“Disclosure of the System of Cosmopolitan Politics”), published in 1786.[32] The book claimed that there was a conspiracy of Freemasons, Illuminati and Jesuits who were plotting world revolution.[33] During the 19th Century, this theory was repeated by many Christian counter-revolutionaries,[34][35] who saw Freemasons as being behind every attack on the existing social system.[34][35]

Religious anti-Masonry

Christian anti-Masonry

One of the first highly vocal Christian critics of freemasonry was Charles Finney. In his book The Character, Claims, and Practical Workings of Freemasonry, Finney not only ridicules the masons but also explains why he viewed leaving the association as an essential act 3 years after his conversion to Christianity and entering seminary.

A number of Protestant and Eastern Orthodox denominations discourage their congregants from joining Masonic lodges, although this differs in intensity according to the denomination. Some simply express mild concern as to whether Freemasonry is compatible with Christianity while, at the other extreme, some accuse the fraternity of outright devil worship, by quoting the writings of Leo Taxil and Abel Clarin de la Rive.[36]

The Roman Catholic Church has, since 1738, prohibited membership in Masonic organizations, citing both political and religious reasons. Until 1983 the penalty for Catholics who joined the fraternity was excommunication.[37] Since that time the punishment has been an interdict, barring the offender from Holy Communion. Although the canonical penalty changed in 1983, the prohibition on membership has not.[38]

Muslim anti-Masonry

Many Islamic anti-Masonic arguments are closely tied to both Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism, though other criticisms are made such as linking Freemasonry to Dajjal.[39] Some Muslim anti-Masons argue that Freemasonry promotes the interests of the Jews around the world and that one of its aims is to rebuild the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem after destroying the Al-Aqsa Mosque.[40] In article 28 of its Covenant, Hamas states that Freemasonry, Rotary, and other similar groups "work in the interest of Zionism and according to its instructions...."[41] Many countries with a significant Muslim population do not allow Masonic establishments within their jurisdictions. However, countries such as Turkey and Morocco have established Grand Lodges[42] while in countries such as Malaysia,[43] and Lebanon[44] there are District Grand Lodges operating under a warrant from an established Grand Lodge.

See also

Notes and references

  1. Oxford English Dictionary (1979 ed.), p. 369.
  2. Morris, S. Brent; The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry, Alpha books, 2006, p,203
  3. As quoted by Morris, S. Brent; The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry, Alpha Books, 2006, p. 204
  5. 1 2 "New judges must declare masonic membership", BBC, March 5, 1998, retrieved February 26, 2006
  6. "Freemason policy review due", BBC, December 8, 2001, retrieved February 26, 2006
  7. 1 2 3 "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 21 July 2005 (pt 69)", UK House of Commons, July 21, 2005, retrieved October 2, 2007
  8. "Morgan criticised over job blocking", BBC, March 22, 2004, retrieved February 26, 2006
  9. "Mr Morgan wanted another QC, Malcolm Bishop, who has stood as a Labour candidate and is a close associate of former Lord Chancellor Derry Irvine." Morgan 'blocked' QC appointment
  10. Whalen, W.J., "Freemasonry" The New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967) article hosted at Retrieved 2011-10-19.
  11. Кац. А. С. «Протоколы Сионских Мудрецов и Всемирный Жидомасонский Заговор»
  12. Whalen, W.J. "Freemasonry" The New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967), hosted at David Trosch's website. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
  13. Stein, Jeff (7 April 2014). "Bay of Piglets: How the Freemasons Got Caught in a Plot to Topple the Castros". Newsweek. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  14. Paul M. Bessel (1994). "Bigotry and the Murder of Freemasonry". These people who attack Masonry with exaggerated language, and without accepting reasonable explanations of what Freemasonry really is, would probably say that their use of language about Masonry that is strikingly similar to that which was used by the Nazis and other vicious attackers of Freemasonry in the past does not mean that they are following in the footsteps of the Nazis.
  15. The Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, volume 2, page 531, citing Katz, Jews and Freemasons in Europe.
  16. Christopher Hodapp (2005). Freemasons for Dummies. Indianapolis: Wiley Publishing Inc. p. 85., sec. "Hitler and the Nazi"
  17. What is Holocaust Memorial Day?
  18. "Saddam to be formally charged", The Washington Times, July 1, 2004. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
  19. 1 2 "Another characteristic of Masonic law is that "treason" and "rebellion" against civil authority are declared only political crimes, which affect the good standing of a Brother no more than heresy, and furnish no ground for a Masonic trial." Masonry (Freemasonry) from the Catholic Encyclopedia, partially quoting Mackey, Jurisprudence, 509.
  20. "2nd You shall be true liegemen to the King of England without any treason or falsehood, and if you know of any that you amend it privily, if you may, or else warn the King and his Council of it by declaring it to his officers."
  21. II. Of the CIVIL MAGISTRATES supreme and subordinate "A Mason is a peaceable Subject to the Civil Powers, wherever he resides or works, and is never to be concern'd in Plots and Conspiracies against the Peace and Welfare of the Nation, nor to behave himself undutifully to inferior Magistrates; for as Masonry hath been always injured by War, Bloodshed, and Confusion, so ancient Kings and Princes have been much dispos'd to encourage the Craftsmen, because of their Peaceableness and Loyalty, whereby they practically answer'd the Cavils of their Adversaries, and promoted the Honour of the Fraternity, who ever flourish'd in Times of Peace. So that if a Brother should be a Rebel against the State he is not to be countenanc'd in his Rebellion, however he may be pitied as an unhappy Man; and, if convicted of no other Crime though the loyal Brotherhood must and ought to disown his Rebellion, and give no Umbrage or Ground of political Jealousy to the Government for the time being; they cannot expel him from the Lodge, and his Relation to it remains indefeasible."
  22. "The brotherhood ought to disown the rebellion, but only in order to preserve the fraternity from annoyance by the civil authorities." from the article Masonry (Freemasonry) in the Catholic Encyclopedia
  23. "Such language would equally suit every anarchistic movement." Masonry (Freemasonry) in the Catholic Encyclopedia
  24. "If we were to assert that under no circumstances had a Mason been found willing to take arms against a bad government, we should only be declaring that, in trying moments, when duty, in the masonic sense, to state means antagonism to the Government, they had failed in the highest and most sacred duty of a citizen. Rebellion in some cases is a sacred duty, and none, but a bigot or a fool, will say, that our countrymen were in the wrong, when they took arms against King James II. Loyalty to freedom in a case of this kind overrides all other considerations, and when to rebel means to be free or to perish, it would be idle to urge that a man must remember obligations which were never intended to rob him of his status of a human being and a citizen." "Freemason's Chronicle" 1875, I, 81, quoted as footnote [89] in Masonry (Freemasonry) in the Catholic Encyclopedia
  25. Webb, Thomas Smith; Freemason's Monitor Or Illustrations of Freemasonry – Charge at initiation into the first degree, p. 43 (originally published 1818... republished by Kessinger Publishing, 1995 ISBN 1-56459-553-6, ISBN 978-1-56459-553-9)
  26. "Freemasonry Does Not Support any particular political position. It has long stood for separation of Church and State, and has been a champion of Free Public Education." From a speech given by Bill Jones Grand Master of Arkansas, 1996
  27. Pope Leo XIII Etsi Nos (On Conditions in Italy)
  28. Pawns in the Game, (4th Edition, April, 1962), William Guy Carr
  29. Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf: Volume One – A Reckoning. "[Chapter XI: Nation and Race,]" 1924, trans. 1943. – "Finally, the Jewish influence on economic affairs grows with terrifying speed through the stock exchange. He becomes the owner, or at least the controller, of the national labor force. To strengthen his political position he tries to tear down the racial and civil barriers which for a time continue to restrain him at every step. To this end he fights with all the tenacity innate in him for religious tolerance-and in Freemasonry, which has succumbed to him completely, he has an excellent instrument with which to fight for his aims and put them across. The governing circles and the higher strata of the political and economic bourgeoisie are brought into his nets by the strings of Freemasonry, and never need to suspect what is happening."
  30. Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf: Volume Two – The National Socialist Movement, "[Chapter XIII: German Alliance Policy after the War]", 1924, trans. 1943. – "The fight which Fascist Italy waged against Jewry's three principal weapons, the profound reasons for which may not have been consciously understood (though I do not believe this myself) furnishes the best proof that the poison fangs of that Power which transcends all State boundaries are being drawn, even though in an indirect way. The prohibition of Freemasonry and secret societies, the suppression of the supernational Press and the definite abolition of Marxism, together with the steadily increasing consolidation of the Fascist concept of the State all this will enable the Italian Government, in the course of some years, to advance more and more the interests of the Italian people without paying any attention to the hissing of the Jewish world-hydra."
  31. 'The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS) – Palestine', Art. XVII, XXII, and XXVIII, 18 August 1988. Retrieved 29 October 2005.
  32. "Bereits um 1786, kurz zuvor waren die Illuminaten in Bayern verboten worden, kursierte das erste Pamphlet über die Freimaurer, das von einem anonymen Autor als "Enthüllungen des Systems der Weltbürger-Politik" veröffentlicht wurde." Transl. "As early as 1786, shortly before the banning of the Illuminati in Bavaria, the first pamphlet about Freemasonry arrived, the anonymously authored "Enthüllungen des Systems der Weltbürger- Politik"." Freimaurer im Wandel der Zeit- von der Gründung bis heute, from the Neue Freimaurer website.
  33. prof. Dr. Pfahl-Traughber: Der antisemitisch-antifreimaurerische Verschwörungsmythos
  34. 1 2 Matthias Pöhlmann: Verschwiegene Männer, Protestant Centre for Religious and Ideological Issues of the Evangelical Church in Germany
  35. 1 2 Dr. Johannes Rogalla von Biberstein, historian and librarian of the University of Bielefeld: Die These von der Verschwörung 1776–1945. Philosophen, Freimaurer, Juden, Liberale und Sozialisten gegen die Sozialordnung, Flensburg 1992
  36. Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry? Authors: de Hoyos, Arturo and Morris, S. Brent, 1988, 2nd edition, p. 27-36, Leo Taxil: The Hoax of Luciferian Masonry ISBN 1590771532
  37. "Excommunication"
  38. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect. Declaration on Masonic Associations Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 26 November 1983. Accessed 2011-10-09. "Therefore the Church's negative judgment in regard to Masonic association[s] remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful who enrol in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion. It is not within the competence of local ecclesiastical authorities to give a judgment on the nature of Masonic associations which would imply a derogation from what has been decided above..."
  39. Prescott, Andrew. The Study of Freemasonry as a New Academic Discipline (pdf). pp. 13–14. Retrieved 2006-05-21.
  40. "Can a Muslim be a freemason?" (asp). Retrieved 2007-05-08.
  41. Hamas Covenant of 1988. Wikisource. Accessed 2 October 2007.
  42. Leyiktez, Celil. "Freemasonry in the Islamic World". Accessed 2 October 2007.
  43. – The District Grand Lodge of the Middle East
  44. Districts Online | Grand Lodge F. & A. M. State of New York

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