Court: Freemasonry a Religion ... Sort of
October 11, 2007
Contributed by Cary McMullen
A court in Los Angeles has ruled that Freemasonry is a form of "religious exercise," comparable to Christianity and Islam. "We see no principled way to distinguish the earnest pursuit of these (Masonic) principles ... from more widely acknowledged modes of religious exercise," said the ruling. The case involved the Los Angeles Scottish Rite Cathedral and the Scottish Rite Cathedral Association of Los Angeles. The groups had leased out the cathedral for events such as dances, in apparent violation of zoning rules that restrict it to Masonic events only. The Masons had sought relief under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons (RLUIPA) act. But even though the court ruled the Masons are a religious group, it said RLUIPA didn't apply to them, so it was a Pyrrhic victory.
Both my grandfathers were Masons. When I was a kid, one of them showed me his guidebook, which technically he wasn't supposed to do because Masons are sworn to secrecy about their rituals. No harm done -- I didn't understand any of it, in part because it was full of strange symbols. Basically, I always figured Freemasonry was a practice that sort of supplemented Christian belief. I just wonder if the secrets of the Masons were revealed in court?
You can read a Religion News Service story about the case, via the Pew Forum Web site, here.
Comments | Add Comment
Posted By: mason (12/13/2007 10:33:47 AM)
Comment: As a mason I find some of this amusing. Yes, freemasonry has rituals that freemasons don't talk about because we took oaths not to. Anyone who knows how to use the internet can find out anything they want about freemasonry. In reference to Albert Pike and freemasons worshiping lucifer, that is ridiculous. The writings of Albert Pike pertain specifically to the Scottish rite, an apendant body of masons but not specifically freemasonry. Freemasonry is not a religion but is religious in nature. Anyone with free time should really research an item/ issue before pre-judging it.
Posted By: Neelo (11/28/2007 7:40:27 PM)
Comment: Masonry isn't a religion, its just a secret society that wants to be shrouded in mystery to make it seem more interesting and alluring rather than simply appearing to be a group of mostly well-to-do men who just want to belong to something. One of their requirements for entry is that you are not an atheist and as such there are Masons of many different religious persuasions. Most Masons are either Christians or Jews and to my knowledge, Masonry doesn't require that you denounce your original faith. If it did, then it would be rather difficult to gain as many new members as they do each year. Regarding the revelation of their secrets... the Masons have been around for centuries, and nobody has yet divulged any of their 'secrets' which is an astonishing feat for humans. Ever seen a government try to keep a secret? It doesn't work. People talk. People get old and have nothing to lose and decide to talk. People get disgruntled and talk. I would suspect their secrets are rather mundane and serve only to decide which members are honest and truly dedicated to the organization. If their secrets were interesting or had any real world implications, we would all know them. After all, if the secrets were so important, why would they be entrusted to men who are hardly even scruitinized? I've known many freemasons, and personally I wouldn't trust them any more than I'd trust anyone else. The fact that you believe in God and are willing to serve your community has no bearing on your integrity, honesty and willpower.
Posted By: Face (11/21/2007 12:49:59 PM)
Comment: Light Bringer is incorrect. Masons do NOT believe they are any better than anyone else. Nor do they consider themselves a religion (because they are not) and by NO means believe man can become God! I urge readers out there to please do their solid homwork on this & any field unknown to them in order to avoid receiving & believing crack information.
Posted By: Light Bringer (10/25/2007 1:36:29 AM)
Comment: Masons worship the Bringer of Light, Lucifer according to Albert Pike. But most Masons don't know, they do use the bible, because the bible is a coded history of the Egyptian pharaohs. Anyway Masons do not have to answer to and court in any country because of their charters. They are a Religion, but believe Man can become God and are better then all others.
Posted By: http:// (10/24/2007 11:04:02 PM)
Comment: Aaron the definition of a religion group is very loose, Wicca is a religion, a pagan religion I should add and has its own rites, scientology and the followers of Rael are also considered a religion, they are not part of TRADITIONAL RELIGIONS and I think that is what most people think when they use the word religion, but there are new religions and even if they mascarade as philosophical or secret societies they are using the dialectic of not saying their profound truths without years of practice, their rituals are secret to keep the followers in line and they also think (that is a ruse also to keep the mass ignorant) that they divulge their biggest kept secret on a need to know basis so a 1st degree mason doesn't need to know what to 2nd degree masons know and so on. If you show that you learned well what they wanted you to know at that time you are rewarded to continue and maybe know more, at any time they can say to you that you are no more a mason if you do not pay your dues or break your oath of secrecy. Anyway if you are an independent thinking individual you should be wise and see through all the machinations.
Posted By: Aaron (10/11/2007 11:03:22 PM)
Comment: Well, the court is just plain wrong. The whole situation is a mess. But Freemasonry does not in any way meet the definition of a religion.