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Anti-Masonry (alternatively called Anti-Freemasonry) is defined as "Avowed opposition to Freemasonry". 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 anti-Masonic document was a leaflet printed in 1698 by a Presbyterian minister by the name of 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 agains 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.
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)
Since 1997, several members of the British Government have attempted to pass laws requiring Freemasons who join the police or judiciary 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. In 1999, the Welsh Assembly became the only body in the United Kingdom to place a legal requirement on membership declaration for Freemasons. Currently, existing members of the police and judiciary in England are asked to voluntarily admit to being Freemasons. However, all first time successful judiciary candidates "must declare their freemasonry status" before appointment. Conversely, new members of the police are not required to declare their status.
In 2004, Rhodri Morgan, the First Minister of the Welsh Assembly, said that he blocked Gerard Elias' appointment to counsel general because of links to hunting and freemasonry, 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.
Persecution under totalitarian regimes
In the twentieth century totalitarian regimes, both Fascist and Communist, 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.
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.
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. The Government of the United Kingdom established Holocaust Memorial Day  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."
Freemasonry and Patriotism
Freemasonry is often alleged by Catholic critics to hold back its members from fully committing to their nation. Critics claim that compared to Operative Masonry's clear denunciations of treachery, Freemasonry after 1723 (Speculative Masonry) was far more ambiguous. It is alleged in the Catholic Encyclopedia that Masonic disapproval of treachery is not on moral grounds but on the grounds of inconvenience to other Masons. It also argues that the adage "Loyalty to freedom overrides all other considerations" justifies treason.
However, Freemasonry 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."
With this charge in mind, American Freemasons are consistent advocates of the US Constitution, including the separation of church and state, which was seen by the Roman Catholic Church as a veiled attack on the Church's place in public life.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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. The book claimed that there was a conspiracy of Freemasons, Illuminati and Jesuits who were plotting world revolution. During the 19th Century, this theory was repeated by many Christian counter-revolutionaries, who saw Freemasons as being behind every attack on the existing social system.
There are also many other religious and political conspiracy theories, most regarding the United States government, from claiming all the Presidents as Masons (actually only 14 out of 44 Presidents were Freemasons) or that Masons were involved in the JFK assassination. Many of these theories allude to Masonic symbolism in the architecture of federal buildings or in the street plan of Washington DC.
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 after his conversion to Christianity.
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.
The Roman Catholic Church has, since the 1700s, been especially critical of Freemasonry, citing both political and religious reasons. Until 1983 the penalty for Catholics who joined the fraternity was excommunication. Since that time the punishment has been an interdict" (a penalty barring an offender from the Sacraments).
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. 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. 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...." 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 while in countries such as Malaysia, and Lebanon there are District Grand Lodges operating under a warrant from an established Grand Lodge.
Notes and references
- ^ Oxford English Dictionary (1979 ed., p. 369).
- ^ Morris, S. Brent; The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry, Alpha books, 2006, p,203
- ^ As quoted by Morris, S. Brent; The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry, Alpha books, 2006, p,204
- ^ a b "New judges must declare masonic membership", BBC, March 5, 1998, retrieved February 26, 2006
- ^ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/1699189.stm "Freemason policy review due "], BBC, December 8, 2001, retrieved February 26, 2006
- ^ a b c "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 21 July 2005 (pt 69) ", UK House of Commons, July 21, 2005, retrieved October 2, 2007
- ^ "Morgan criticised over job blocking", BBC, March 22, 2004, retrieved February 26, 2006
- ^ "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
- ^ " The New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967) Soviet Russia outlawed Masonry in 1922. Freemasonry does not exist today in the Soviet Union, China, or other Communist states. Postwar revivals of Freemasonry in Czechoslovakia and Hungary were suppressed in 1950.
- ^ Paul M. Bessel (1994). "Bigotry and the Murder of Freemasonry". http://bessel.org/naziartl.htm. "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."
- ^ The Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, volume 2, page 531, citing Katz, Jews and Freemasons in Europe.
- ^ Christopher Hodapp (2005). Freemasons for Dummies. Indianapolis: Wiley Publishing Inc.. p. 85. http://members.aol.com/brlodge/whymasons.html. , sec. "Hitler and the Nazi"
- ^ What is Holocaust Memorial Day?
- ^ "Saddam to be formally charged", The Washington Times, 2004, retrieved March 1, 2006
- ^ "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.
- ^ "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."
- ^ 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."
- ^ "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
- ^ "Such language would equally suit every anarchistic movement." Masonry (Freemasonry) in the Catholic Encyclopedia
- ^ "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  in Masonry (Freemasonry) in the Catholic Encyclopedia
- ^ 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 1564595536, 9781564595539)
- ^ "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
- ^ Pope Leo XIII ETSI NOS (On Conditions in Italy)
- ^ Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf: Volume One - A Reckoning. "[Chapter XI: Nation and Race, http://www.adolfhitler.ws/lib/books/43kampf/kampf43.htm]" 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."
- ^ Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf: Volume Two - The National Socialist Movement, "[Chapter XIII: German Alliance Policy after the War http://www.adolfhitler.ws/lib/books/43kampf/kampf43.htm]", 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."
- ^ 'The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS)-Palestine', Art. XVII, XXII, and XXVIII, 18 August 1988. Retrieved 29 October 2005.
- ^ "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.
- ^ prof. Dr. Pfahl-Traughber: Der antisemitisch-antifreimaurerische Verschwörungsmythos
- ^ a b Matthias Pöhlmann: Verschwiegene Männer, Protestant Centre for Religious and Ideological Issues of the Evangelical Church in Germany
- ^ a b 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
- ^ http://www.geocities.com/endtimedeception/famous.htm endtimedeception. Archived 2009-10-25.
- ^ [http://bessel.org/presmas.htm Masonic and Anti-Masonic Presidents of the United States, presented at Federal Lodge #1, F.A.A.M., of the District of Columbia February 9, 1998, by Paul M. Bessel]
- ^ Downard, James Shelby, and Michael A. Hoffman II. "King-Kill/33°: Masonic Symbolism in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy", 1987. Website excerpt, 1998. Retrieved 16 July 2007.
- ^ newadvent.org page on excommunication
- ^ text of Quaestum Est
- ^ Prescott, Andrew (pdf). The Study of Freemasonry as a New Academic Discipline. pp. 13–14. http://freemasonry.dept.shef.ac.uk/pdf/ovn.pdf?PHPSESSID=bf5645aae288a112e6c99cacdca85a90. Retrieved 2006-05-21.
- ^ "Can a Muslim be a freemason?" (asp). Islamonline.com. http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?cid=1119503547288&pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar%2FFatwaE%2FFatwaEAskTheScholar. Retrieved 2007-05-08.
- ^ Hamas Covenant of 1988. Wikisource. Accessed 2 October 2007.
- ^ Leyiktez, Celil. "Freemasonry in the Islamic World". Accessed 2 October 2007.
- ^ DGLME.org - The District Grand Lodge of the Middle East
- ^ Districts Online | Grand Lodge F. & A. M. State of New York
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