***The following post comes to us from Phil Johnson (a.k.a. Pinky) who is one of American Creation's most regular commentators. Mr. Johnson is a self-proclaimed Mason and has done extensive study on the topic. Thank you, Phil for taking the time to prepare this post and we appreciate your willingness to share it.***
The Question of Freemasonry and America’s Founding
I believe it can be shown that Freemasonry bore a heavy influence on America’s Founding.
Perhaps the most obvious reason why it is so difficult to find any documentation of proof has to do with the nature of the Masonic order itself.
It is a fraternal organization in which the members are sworn to secrecy; but it is not a secret organization. Almost any male over the age of 21 is able to join with one single requirement that he believe in a Supreme Being—God.
I recently purchased a book by David Barton with the purpose of learning something I might not otherwise have known about the fraternity’s history. Right off the start, Barton shows his willingness to twist the truth—or his ignorance--of masonry early in chapter one with, “Within the Scottish Rite are Masons called ‘Shriners’…” Wrong!
The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine is not a division of Scottish Rite. Here is some readily available history. To apply for membership in the Shrine, a Mason must either be a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason or a York Rite Knight Templar. The Shrine is separate from both organizations.
Starting on page 54, Barton plays fast and loose with the facts as he recounts an incident between George Washington and the Reverend G. W. Snyder of Fredericksburg, Maryland. Snyder was concerned about an organization in Europe known as the Illuminati that, according to a book by a John Robinson, Proofs of a Conspiracy &c that dealt with plots to over throw all governments. And, Snyder’s apprehensions were that the Illuminati had infiltrated Masonic lodges on this continent. He wrote a letter to Washington voicing his concerns and here is part of the reply he received, “I have heard much of the nefarious and dangerous plan and doctrines of the Illuminati, but never saw the book until you were pleased to send it to me …[T]hanks for your kind wishes and favorable sentiments – except to correct an error you have run into, of my presiding of the English Lodges in this country. The fact is, I preside over none – nor have I been in one more than once or twice within the last thirty years.”
Barton’s next words are, “(Notice Washington’s strong assertion of his relative non-involvement in Masonry, today, an opposite view is presented – largely by Masonic propagandists who wish to wrap themselves around the patriot-hero in order to make their institution appear as mainstream as possible…”
On the face, Barton shows his willingness to twist the truth here and puts his entire argument in question. He distinctly makes the point in other passages that the English lodges and the America’s were separate from each other. He goes to great length in chapter one to point up the origins of Masonry in different national societies, England, Scotland, and France showing the distinctions.
Going into his anti-Masonic commentaries would be a waste of your time with the exception that he attempts to make it out that Masonic meetings lodge meetings are some sort of conspiratorial gatherings in which members hatch plans of one type or another. Nothing could be further from the truth. All official lodge meetings are one hundred percent ritual. I don’t know how far back the ritual goes; but none of it is written down in any form other than code. Other than that, it is 100 percent oral—everything is done by memorization—nothing is added or subtracted. The claim is made that the exact same words are spoken today in lodges as were spoken in 1776. All degrees are historical reenactments of original activities. As degree levels increase in the Scottish Rite, various aspects of history are reenacted by drama. Many historic events are expertly acted out in full and colorful costume. There is nothing in Masonry that denigrates Christianity. Instead, there is a great deal that gives great support—especially in both York and Scottish Rite degrees.
While I am sworn not to divulge any of the secrets, most if not all are readily available to any intelligent person who knows how to surf the ‘Net.
Masonry is the epitome of secular belief. It gives support to nearly every religious faith without detracting from any. And, secularism is the reason I believe Masonry had such a strong hand in the creation of America’s Founding .It was the single most obvious force calling for strong moderation of denominationalism and in the brotherhood of man. If you decide to enter Masonry, you will find a treasure trove of information on the Founding and learn how the English and American Lodges were separate from each other. You will learn of the part Masonry claims it played in the American Revolution.
The Proof Is In The Pudding
It seems safe to make this point when it comes to saying on what ideals our National Society was founded—the proof IS in the pudding. Our nation, while strongly influenced by our Judeo/Christian heritage, was not founded to be a nation of any particular faith. The pudding shows that we were founded on the values of secularism and Freemasonry was the single most positive force for that.