I haven’t been to my Masonic lodge in almost a year. It meets during the week and I can’t make it. But, I happened upon an old picture I had of the lodge officers…
Now, our lodge is a relatively normal lodge. It once met upstairs in a Baptist church (pretty common in the old South) and, once the church outgrew its sanctuary, it moved and gave the building to the lodge. Of course, the ties between the Southern Baptists and Freemasonry are well-known. Although I can’t find the original report, I did find a quote from it:
According to the Southern Baptist Convention’s A Report on Freemasonry, we find the following:
In 1991, the Home Mission Board submitted questions concerning Freemasonry in the SBC to Baptist VIEWpoll. Baptist VIEWpoll is a survey by the Corporate Market Research Department of the Sunday School Board, SBC, of 1,433 Southern Baptists (283 pastors, 430 ministers of education, 247 directors of missions, 202 deacon chairmen, and 271 church clerks). Of the 1,433 who received the questionnaire, 997 responded. One question was how important it was for the SBC to have an official statement on Freemasonry. A majority of pastors (60%), ministers of education (56%), directors of missions (72%), deacon chairmen (63%), and church clerks (74%) felt that such a statement was either “not very important at all” or had no opinion about whether a statement was needed. When asked if the issue of Freemasonry ever caused a problem in their churches/associations, the vast majority of each group responded that their churches/associations had never dealt with Freemasonry. Of those responding, 14 percent of the pastors, 5 percent of the ministers of education, 13 percent of the directors of missions, 18 percent of the deacon chairmen, and 12 percent of the church clerks were or had been Masonic or Eastern Star members.1
An estimated 400,000 – 500,000 Southern Baptist men are Masons.
Just as well-known are the ties between Jews and Freemasons. Our own synagogue was started by a meeting at a Masonic lodge. But, I also found this great article about Jews and Freemasonry.
Of course, people of any religion can belong to Freemasonry. It is neither a religion nor a substitute for it, as said best by the Grandmaster of the United Grand Lodge of England:
We need to be absolutely clear when we discuss our Pure Antient Masonry that we belong to a secular organisation, that is to say a non-religious organisation. This was a point made very eloquently by the Grand Chaplain in his interview. It is, however, a secular organisation that is supportive of religion: it is an absolute requirement for all our members to believe in a Supreme Being. As the late and sadly missed Dean Neil Collings so eloquently put it, this gives “a context and background to the individual’s way of life as they seek to live it”. Freemasonry itself, as we all know, is neither a substitute for nor an alternative to religion. It certainly does not deal in spirituality; it does not have any sacraments; or, indeed, offer or claim to offer any type of salvation. Freemasonry, in fact, absolutely fails to meet any of the tests of what it is to be a religion, set by the late Reverend Professor John MacQuarrie, former Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Oxford. The fact that men from different faiths can meet easily in harmony and friendship, without compromising their particular religious beliefs, demonstrates that one of the greatest strengths of the Craft, dating from its earliest beginnings, is that of Tolerance. To ensure this tolerance remains untroubled, of course, discussions of religion like discussions of politics are strictly prohibited! (more…)