You name it, she's against it!
A good place to begin with Dr. Cathy Burns might be to simply list a few of the things she's against. They include:
She also uses a UNIQUE writing style which uses EMPHASIS through FREQUENT CAPITALIZATION AND BOLD CHARACTERS. Perhaps she thinks her readers are likely to MISS HER POINTS?
In addition, Burns (whose doctoral credentials, strangely, never seem to be mentioned) - unlike most other anti-Masonic writers - seems to find bizarre sexual connotations in nearly all of the symbols used by Freemasonry as well as some she just thinks are used. You'll see what we mean as we quote some of her literary efforts using just a few paragraphs from one of her anti-Masonic works!
"Hidden Secrets of Masonry"
This work begins with what appears at first blush to be a profound statement: "Most people who join Masonic organizations have no idea what Masonry ACTUALLY teaches." We wonder, of course, why someone would join if that were indeed the case. And, never having been a Mason, we wonder how the good Doctor is somehow privy to things that others aren't. As with such treatises, however, authors like Burns always know FAR more than the millions who've already joined. Nevertheless....
The third sentence of her 'book' (which is more like a pamphlet being a total of not even 50 pages long) says "When they enter the Masonic Lodge they are faced with many symbols - all with HIDDEN meanings." Huh? Our dictionary defines a symbol as 'An arbitrary sign (written or printed) that has acquired a conventional significance' and/or 'Something visible that by association or convention represents something else that is invisible'. Like anything else, however, when we enter into something new, ANY symbol can have 'hidden meanings'. If we were to arrive here from Mars, for example, we'd wonder about that red circle with a 45 degree angled line running through it. When a person from Europe arrives in America to be met by a yellow inverted triangle, what do they think it means? No idea.... HIDDEN meanings? Yes, but not for long....
Beyond that, the ritual itself explains the many of those symbols as one passes through the ceremonies. While we fully understand that the symbols might then develop a secondary meaning for the viewer, the fact of the matter is that the ritual itself explains what the symbols mean IN FREEMASONRY, the screeds and frenzied CAPITALIZATION of folks like Dr. Burns notwithstanding.
Before having completing the first page - and with no basis on which to make judgment except her personal opinion - Burns seeks to disparage Masonry by ridiculing the number of related organizations and degrees it offers. Her imagination more than kicks into high gear when she claims "There are more than 1,000 degrees that can be awarded from various allied Masonic fraternities." Her source for that information is attributed to Richard DeHann in the 1978 edition of Collier's Encyclopedia. Mr. DeHann has gone way overboard here but Burns then goes further to list a broad mixture of Masonic groups, many of which no single individual could join. For example, it would be impossible for anyone to belong to both the Ladies' Oriental Shrine of North America (for women), the Order of DeMolay (for young men 13-21) and the Holy Arch Knight Templar Priests (a male group). Later she will condemn Masons for the cost of such activities as well although why she should rail against what something costs is baffling. Perhaps her next work will be about the price of seafood - something we often find FAR too high!
Then - as is typical for the great majority of Masonophobes - before the first page is over, she writes "Albert Pike, probably THE MOST REVERED OF ALL Masonic authors, declares that:...." As we take great pains to note, Pike was both a prolific author and a well-respected Mason. He can, however, hardly be considered 'the most revered of all' when, in fact, he is barely known outside of the Southern United States Scottish Rite. He died a century ago and he remains virtually unknown in other parts of the world except insofar as the rants and ravings of internet gadflies have revived his name.
Needless to say, she proceeds to reference to the proven liar, Jim Shaw, and relies on the Taxil Hoax to make more of her 'points'. Her work is such that further commentary seems unnecessary. Quoting proven lies, and ones well documented, gives no credence at all to any claims that may be made. Dr. Burns might want to give more serious consideration to the herbal tea issues of Jonathan Winters where her considered opinions might be less scrutinized....
Popular religious leader? Not in her book!
November 2001 update: Dr. Burns now has yet another work - supposedly four years in the making - which berates Reverend Billy Graham. Sure to be popular amongst those whose intolerant and hate-filled brand of Christianity eschews the popularity of someone such as this world icon, Cathy Burns seems to think that simply because Rev. Graham has shaken someone's hand, he's their friend! Probably she doesn't get out and shake anyone's hand so she really doesn't understand how it all works. It is to laugh....
Her credentials questioned
May, 2006 brings some interesting information about Dr. Burns credentials. There's nothing wrong with earning degrees through distance learning. In fact, LOTS of folks are furthering their education that way. However, when ALL of one's degrees are from the same institution and when that institution isn't an accredited one, claims of academic achievement tend to be awfully weak. The term 'mail order' does spring to mind!
Although her book lists "Dr." Burns' degrees, it did not provide any contextual information about them. Most folks who achieve doctorate degrees and use that as part of their 'authority' for writing are not reticent about noting their college or university. Receiving a doctoral degree is, certainly, a notable achievement in one's life. This glaring omission caught the eye of a college student reading one of her books. Thanks for the information, Brandon!
He contacted the anti-Masonic (anti-Catholic, anti-most everything) Chick Publications (one of the sales outlets) about this. They were not particularly helpful but through more detective work, this student tracked down Cathy Burns personally and called her at a phone number he'd found for her 'ministry'. Not unlike many of her ilk, that phone number was actually her house. When he spoke to Ms. Burns, she told him that her degrees were from an organization called International Seminary in Florida. Poking around on the internet revealed that International Seminary (not to be confused with Miami International Seminary) is near Orlando, Florida. Their current President is, conveniently perhaps, the son of the founder and he was ordained at the age 18 into an unspecified denomination. What we found particularly interestingly, though, is that nearly all of their faculty have their degrees from - guess where? - International Seminary! (Some actually have no degrees listed!) NOR do they list their tuition charges although there is an older page still existent on the web that seems to indicate that in 1998 you could get your doctorate from them for under $3,000. Not too shabby....
We'll leave you to draw your own conclusions from all of this. It's strange that Dr. Burns isn't more proud of her academic achievement. The school's website doesn't have pictures of their campus, an explanation of how they calculate 'hours', and no mention of what the actual 'tuition' costs are. Not unsurprisingly, however, they do note that you can get "life credit" waiving certain requirements for things you've done in real life, something which the U. S. Department of Education warns about when evaluating schools for potential fraud. The United States Better Business Bureau has some criteria for determining if an institution is a diploma mill: compare the items here with International Seminary and you decide!
"Doctor" Burns' school also has another business that can be found at www.churchsource.com On December 23, 2006, you could even register there for the 2003 Commencement of International Seminary. Great deal, huh?
For over a decade, we've made it a practice to never 'rise to the bait' when anonymous e-mailers send us taunts saying 'you're afraid to publish this' or something to that effect. Doing so would just encourage more loonies who'd then go off thinking that they'd somehow 'scored' because they were ignored. In August, 2009, we received one that was just TOO good to let go by.
For years now, Cathy Burns has been relegated to the dust bin of history. She's become irrelevant as louder voices proclaim their stupidity in more strident and obtuse tones. (Of course, nobody wants to pay that much for under 50 pages of blathering that doesn't provide quotes from a thousand other people either....) Yet, out of thin air, appeared the following e-mail. After you read it, I'm sure you'll be convinced that Cathy is right.
Someone who doesn't know a blog from a website and was actually blocked by spam filters because he didn't have the brains to follow the instructions at the bottom of each and every page.... Uh-huh!
Last updated 20 August 2009
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