Washington Post: How an abduction by the `mysterious` Freemasons led to a third political party

Members of Masonic lodges “are held in allegiance to an unauthorised government and code of laws,” Pennsylvania Anti-Masons warned in 1831. “[W]ithout attacking Masonry by means of the Ballot Box, where it is entrenched behind the political patronage and power of the government, all efforts to destroy its usurpations on the rights and privileges of the people must fail.” Far from threatening republican government in the United States, Masons actually championed self-government, journalist Peter Feuerherd has written. “Many historians note that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights both seem to be heavily influenced by the Masonic ‘civil religion,’ which focuses on freedom, free enterprise, and a limited role for the state,” according to Feuerherd. “The fraternity embodied European Enlightenment ideals of liberty, autonomy, and God as envisioned by Deist philosophers as a Creator who largely left humanity alone,” he wrote. […]

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