Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy
lips from speaking guile.
Hate in the Name of Faith
By far, the most vocal opposition to Freemasonry comes from those who believe that they do so in support of their religious beliefs. We've dubbed them 'religious intolerants' because they simply cannot tolerate faith (or other) beliefs that might differ from their own. Although they wrap this in the mantle of "following <whomever or whatever>", in reality it is simply bigotry and hatred.
Freemasonry is an anathema to the person who is intolerant of another person's faith. Freemasonry is completely wrong for those who are unable or unwilling to accept that others might enjoy the same benefits in an afterlife as they themselves. Because Freemasonry accepts as members persons who claim to profess a belief in a Supreme Being and because Freemasonry mandates no specific prayers or form of prayer nor does it require any set of faith-based beliefs beyond that simple statement that the applicant believes in a Supreme Being, many people simply cannot accept it. Toleration is easily replaced by bigotry - and sometimes an inordinate amount of pride in the belief that they are right and all others are wrong.
Virtually all of the arguments from these 'religious intolerants' come from those who adhere to a "fundamentalist" view of their religion. Whether they are Baptist, Catholic, Muslim or some other faith, their views are rigid and inflexible. They consider no thoughts or arguments which might sway their preconceived notions. Believing themselves to be Divinely inspired, they broach no dissent - and will argue with vehemence that they've been led by God (or Jesus, as is often the case) to condemn Freemasonry.
Many of the Protestant 'religious intolerants' who object to Freemasonry on religious grounds seem to share common traits:
In addition, it appears that the vast majority have no post-high school education and have worked at marginal and/or non-executive jobs. They seem to have limited their reading to religious texts in agreement with their world view, immediately rejecting without consideration the ideas of those with whom they disagree.
The Pope is Infallible
Those coming from a Catholic viewpoint are comforted with their faith-belief in the inerrancy of the Pope and, because there have been Vatican condemnations of Freemasonry since its earliest days (1738 was the first Papal pronouncement against Freemasonry which began in its present form just 21 years earlier!), it is quite comforting to them to be on the side of their religion. Inconsistently, those who rail against the Freemasons and argue that every good Catholic should support the Pope on this are often those who disregard other Papal pronouncements, such as - in particular - that of birth control and/or pre-marital sex.
Muslims and More
There are volumes that could be written on the many other world faiths and how they perceive Freemasonry - or, at least, how some of their vocal, arch-conservative leaders perceive it. But to what end? Those who think their faith commands them to intolerance and hatred of those unlike themselves will not be swayed by ANY argument. Radical groups preaching hatred - regardless of the presumed justification (Hamas is a relevant example: the group that uses children as human shields and is convinced that the Jews are the source of all evil) - will grab at a hatred of Freemasonry because its teachings of brotherly love, relief, truth and toleration are things to be scorned.
Are they all alike?
These things in and of themselves are not uniquely problematic. There are, of course, many men and women of good-will (and with a high impression of Freemasonry) who share some of those traits. However, in addition, there are these more unsettling commonalities. Many fall into several of these categories:
Another common - although not universal - trait amongst this small group is a hatred of those of the Jewish faith and of people of color.
Many of the arguments against Freemasonry arise from the perceived (and argued to be God/Allah-inspired) need by this 'religious intolerant' to "witness" at all times and in all places. Finding Freemasons allows one such opportunity - and particularly in the electronic world where anonymity and a potentially wide audience exists. They see it as a wonderful way to serve their religion.
Religious intolerants do their
religion and themselves a disservice, though, by 'turning off' those who are
willing to listen to provable evidence.
On related pages, we present a couple of more thoughts about those who are religiously intolerant. These editorial comments will, perhaps, be meaningful to readers who find it difficult to believe how any human being could be so rigid, inflexible and ..... intolerant!
Updated November, 2003 and
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