Anti-Masonry (alternatively called Anti-Freemasonry) is "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.
The earliest anti-Masonic document was a leaflet printed in 1698 by a Presbyterian minister named 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 devilish Sect of Men are Meeters in secret which swear against 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.
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.
In the United Kingdom, anti-Masonic sentiment grew following the publication of Martin Short's 1989 book, Inside the Brotherhood (Further Secrets of the Freemasons). The allegations made by Short led several members of the British Government to propose 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 had to "declare their freemasonry status" before appointment until 2009, when – following a successful challenge in the European Court by Italian Freemasons – Jack Straw accepted that the policy was "disproportionate" and revoked it. Conversely, new members of the police are not required to declare their status.
In 2004, Rhodri Morgan, the First Minister of the Welsh Assembly, in Great Britain, 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.
Soviet Russia outlawed all secret societies, including Masonry, in 1922. At one of the Second International meetings Grigory Zinoviev demanded to purge it of masons. Freemasonry did not exist in the Soviet Union, China, or most other Communist states. Postwar revivals of Freemasonry in Czechoslovakia and Hungary were suppressed in 1950. However, Freemasonry in Cuba continued to exist following the Cuban Revolution, and according to Cuban folklore, Fidel Castro is said to have "developed a soft spot for the Masons when they gave him refuge in a Masonic Lodge" in the 1950s. However, when in power, Castro was also said to have "kept them on a tight leash" as they were considered a subversive element in Cuban society.
Fascists 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 other modern critics of Freemasonry.
Consistently considered an ideological foe of Nazism in their world perception (Weltauffassung), Concentration Camp inmates who were Freemasons were graded as "Political" prisoners, and wore an inverted (point down) red triangle.
In 1943, the Propaganda Abteilung, a delegation of Nazi Germany's propaganda ministry within occupied France, commissioned the propaganda film Forces occultes. The film virulently denounces Freemasonry, parliamentarianism and Jews as part of Vichy's drive against them and seeks to prove a Jewish-Masonic plot.
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.
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 has been alleged to hold back its members from fully committing to their nation. Critics claim that compared to Operative Masonry's clear denunciations of treachery, Speculative Masonry (Freemasonry after 1723) was far more ambiguous. The old Catholic Encyclopedia alleges 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, and quotes Albert Mackey, who said "... if treason or rebellion were masonic crimes, almost every mason in the United Colonies (America), in 1776, would have been subject to expulsion and every Lodge to a forfeiture of its warrant by the Grand Lodges of England and Scotland, under whose jurisdiction they were at the time".
Freemasonry, however, 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.
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.
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, a few countries such as Turkey and Morocco have allowed establishment of Grand Lodges while in countries such as Malaysia and Lebanon, there are District Grand Lodges operating under a warrant from an established Grand Lodge.
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 three years after entering seminary.
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, by quoting the writings of Leo Taxil and Abel Clarin de la Rive.
The Roman Catholic Church has, since 1738, prohibited membership in Masonic organizations, 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, barring the offender from Holy Communion. Although the canonical penalty changed in 1983, the prohibition on membership has not.
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.
Academic examinations of Anti-Masonry
The Anti-Masonic Party, also known as the Anti-Masonic Movement, was the first third party in the United States. It strongly opposed Freemasonry as a single-issue party and later aspired to become a major party by expanding its platform to take positions on other issues. After emerging as a political force in the late 1820s, most of the Anti-Masonic Party's members joined the Whig Party in the 1830s and the party disappeared after 1838.
The party was founded in the aftermath of the disappearance of William Morgan, a former Mason who had ultimately become a prominent critic of the Masonic organization. Many believed that the Masons had murdered Morgan for speaking out against Masonry and subsequently many churches and other groups condemned Masonry. As many Masons were prominent businessmen and politicians, the backlash against the Masons was also a form of anti-elitism. Mass opposition to Masonry eventually coalesced into a political party. Before and during the presidency of John Quincy Adams, there was a period of political realignment. The Anti-Masons emerged as an important third party alternative to Andrew Jackson's Democrats and Adams's National Republicans. In New York, the Anti-Masons supplanted the National Republicans as the primary opposition to the Democrats.
After experiencing unexpected success in the 1828 elections, the Anti-Masons began to adopt positions on other issues, most notably support for internal improvements and a protective tariff. Several Anti-Masons, including William A. Palmer and Joseph Ritner, won election to prominent positions. In states such as Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, the party controlled the balance of power in the state legislature and provided crucial support to candidates for the Senate. In 1831, the party held the first presidential nominating convention, a practice that was subsequently adopted by all major parties. The convention chose former Attorney General William Wirt as the party's standard bearer in the 1832 presidential election and Wirt won 7.8% of the popular vote and carried Vermont.
As the 1830s progressed, many of the Anti-Masonic Party's supporters joined the Whig Party, which sought to unite those opposed to the policies of President Jackson. The Anti-Masonic Party held a national convention in 1835, nominating William Henry Harrison, but a second convention announced that the party would not officially support a candidate. Harrison campaigned as a Whig in the 1836 presidential election and his relative success in the election encouraged further migration of Anti-Masons to the Whig Party. By 1840, the party had ceased to function as a national organization. In subsequent decades, former Anti-Masonic candidates and supporters such as Millard Fillmore, William H. Seward, Thurlow Weed and Thaddeus Stevens would become well-known members of the Whig Party.Barry Domvile
Admiral Sir Barry Edward Domvile (5 September 1878 – 13 August 1971) was a Royal Navy officer. He expressed pro-German and anti-semitic sentiments in the years before the Second World War, and was interned during the war as a Nazi sympathiser.Errico Malatesta
Errico Malatesta (14 December 1853 – 22 July 1932) was an Italian anarchist. He spent much of his life exiled from Italy and in total spent more than ten years in prison. Malatesta wrote and edited a number of radical newspapers and was also a friend of Mikhail Bakunin.Flatline (B.o.B song)
"Flatline" is a song by American rapper B.o.B, initially released on SoundCloud in January 2016. "Flatline" is a diss song aimed at physicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, whom he had gotten into an argument with on Twitter, over B.o.B's stated belief that the earth is flat. In addition to dissing Tyson and expressing belief in a flat earth, the song's lyrics also include other conspiracy theories, including Holocaust denial, "mirror lizards", and the belief that Freemasons are indoctrinating young people. The lyrics to the song refer to science as a cult. Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, issued a statement saying that B.o.B's "lyrics are irresponsible and could potentially promote anti-Semitic beliefs, especially in those people who might already be infected by such notions." "Following criticism, B.o.B removed the song from his SoundCloud account, but it survives on YouTube and other sites where it was reposted. In April 2016, B.o.B included the song on a mixtape titled E.A.R.T.H. (Educational Avatar Reality Training Habitat), but the song lyrics had been rewritten as titled as pt. 2.Freemasonry
Freemasonry or Masonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons, which from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients. The degrees of Freemasonry retain the three grades of medieval craft guilds, those of Apprentice, Journeyman or fellow (now called Fellowcraft), and Master Mason. The candidate of these three degrees is progressively taught the meanings of the symbols of Freemasonry, and entrusted with grips, signs and words to signify to other members that he has been so initiated. The initiations are part allegorical morality play and part lecture. The three degrees are offered by Craft (or Blue Lodge) Freemasonry. Members of these organisations are known as Freemasons or Masons. There are additional degrees, which vary with locality and jurisdiction, and are usually administered by their own bodies (separate from those who administer the craft degrees).
The basic, local organisational unit of Freemasonry is the Lodge. The Lodges are usually supervised and governed at the regional level (usually coterminous with either a state, province, or national border) by a Grand Lodge or Grand Orient. There is no international, worldwide Grand Lodge that supervises all of Freemasonry; each Grand Lodge is independent, and they do not necessarily recognise each other as being legitimate.
Modern Freemasonry broadly consists of two main recognition groups. Regular Freemasonry insists that a volume of scripture is open in a working lodge, that every member profess belief in a Supreme Being, that no women are admitted (although, in some jurisdictions, those who transition to women after being initiated may stay; see below), and that the discussion of religion and politics is banned. Continental Freemasonry is now the general term for the jurisdictions which have removed some, or all, of these restrictions.Fritz Julius Kuhn
Fritz Julius Kuhn (May 15, 1896 – December 14, 1951) was the leader of the German American Bund before World War II. He became a naturalized United States citizen in 1934, but his citizenship was cancelled in 1943, and he was deported in 1945. He was an American supporter of the German Nazi government led by Adolf Hitler that ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945.Fronten
Fronten (English: The Front) was a Norwegian newspaper.
It was published by national socialist Eugen Nielsen from 1932 to 1940. In the beginning, it was published biweekly, but gradually this became more sporadic. Nielsen's primary interest, which was reflected in the publications, was attacking freemasonry.Nielsen cooperated with the short-lived National Socialist Workers' Party of Norway (Norges Nasjonalsosialistiske Arbeiderparti), and was, therefore, critical to the rivalling national socialist party Nasjonal Samling. With Nasjonal Samling seizing power in Norway in the autumn of 1940, during the German occupation of Norway, Fronten eventually ceased to exist. Nielsen continued as an Anti-Masonry consultant for the Sicherheitsdienst.Gormogons
The Ancient Noble Order of the Gormogons was a short-lived 18th century society formed by expelled Freemason Philip Wharton. It left no records or accomplishments to indicate its true goal and purpose. From the group's few published articles it is thought that the society's primary objective was to hold up Freemasonry to ridicule. During its brief existence it was accused of being a Jacobite-leaning group, perhaps because the first known Grandmaster (or Oecumenical Volgi) was Andrew Michael Ramsay of Ayr, Scotland, a Jacobite of strong convictions. It also appears to have been a charitable organization, at least according to its surviving bylaws. There are also some surviving pendant badges, bearing their sign.International Communist Current
The International Communist Current (ICC) is a left communist international organisation, headquartered in Paris, France. It was founded in 1975, and has published an international quarterly in English and French from that date. Subsequently, a Spanish edition has also been made available.Islamic monarchy
Islamic monarchies are a type of Islamic state which are monarchies. Historically known by various names, such as Mamlakah ("Kingdom"), Caliphate, Sultanate, or Emirate, current Islamic monarchies include:
Kingdom of Morocco
Kingdom of Bahrain
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Sultanate of Oman
Monarchies of Malaysia
Nation of Brunei, Abode of Peace
State of Kuwait
State of Qatar
United Arab EmiratesJohn Horne Blackmore
John Horne Blackmore (March 27, 1890 – May 2, 1971), a school teacher and principal by training, was the first leader of what became the Social Credit Party of Canada, a political party in Canada that promoted the social credit theories of monetary reform.Joseph Sobran
Michael Joseph Sobran Jr. (; February 23, 1946 – September 30, 2010) was an American journalist. He wrote for the National Review magazine and was a syndicated columnist. Pat Buchanan called Sobran "perhaps the finest columnist of our generation".Judeo-Masonic conspiracy theory
The Judeo-Masonic conspiracy is an antisemitic, antimasonic conspiracy theory involving an alleged secret coalition of Jews and Freemasons. These theories were popular on the far-right, particularly in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Russia, and Eastern Europe, with similar allegations still being published.Masonic conspiracy theories
Masonic conspiracy theories are conspiracy theories involving Freemasonry; hundreds of such conspiracy theories have been described since the late 18th century. Generally, these theories fall into three distinct categories: political (usually involving allegations of control of government, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom), religious (usually involving allegations of anti-Christian or Satanic beliefs or practices), and cultural (usually involving popular entertainment). Many conspiracy theory writers have connected Freemasons (and the Knights Templar) with worship of the devil; these ideas are based on different interpretations of the doctrines of those organizations.Of the claims that Freemasonry exerts control over politics, perhaps the best-known example is the New World Order theory, but there are others. These mainly involve aspects and agencies of the United States government, but actual events outside the US (such as the Propaganda Due scandal in Italy) are often used to lend credence to claims.
Another set of theories has to do with Freemasonry and religion, particularly that Freemasonry deals with "the occult". These theories have their beginnings in the Taxil hoax. In addition to these, there are various theories that focus on the embedding of symbols in otherwise ordinary items, such as street patterns, national seals, corporate logos, etc.
There are Masonic conspiracy theories dealing with every aspect of society. The majority of these theories are based on one or more of the following assumptions:
That Freemasonry is its own religion, requires belief in a unique Masonic "god", and that belief in this Masonic "god" is contrary to the teachings of various mainstream religions (although usually noted in terms of being specifically contrary to Christian belief)
That the 33rd degree of the Scottish Rite is more than an honorary degree, coupled with the belief that most Freemasons are unaware of hidden or secretive ruling bodies within their organization that govern them, conduct occult ritual, or control various positions of governmental power
That there is a centralized worldwide body that controls all Masonic Grand Lodges, and thus, all of Freemasonry worldwide acts in a unified manner.Maurice Duplessis
Maurice Le Noblet Duplessis (French pronunciation: [d͡zyplɛsi]; 20 April 1890 – 7 September 1959) served as the 16th Premier of the Canadian province of Quebec from 1936 to 1939 and 1944 to 1959. He rose to power after uniting his Conservative party and the breakaway Action liberale nationale progressive faction of the Liberal party of Premier Louis-Alexandre Taschereau, to form a new conservative party, the Union Nationale.His era was later labeled as La Grande Noirceur ("The Great Darkness") by its critics, but is also considered the greatest period of Quebec history by traditionalist conservatives who point out Duplessis government support of positive economic and social development based on strong family values in Catholic tradition, his support of private property rights vis-a-vis growing state and labour union challenges, and his strong opposition not only to Communism, but also to secularism, feminism, leftist separatism and other non-conservative political trends and movements that have changed and fragmented Quebec politics and society over the next 60 years, starting with the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s under his Liberal successor Jean Lesage.
During the Duplessis time, the Liberal opposition was unsuccessful in challenging Duplessis' power in 3 elections (1948, 1952 and 1956).
Duplessis championed rural areas, provincial rights, economic development, strong investment in Catholic education and anti-Communism, and had a hard stance with the trade unions.Michael A. Hoffman II
Michael Anthony Hoffman II (born January 2, 1957) is an American conspiracy theorist and Holocaust denier.Religious police
Religious police is the police force responsible for the enforcement of religious norms and associated religious laws.
While most police enforcing religious norms in the modern world are Islamic and found in Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia or Iran, some are not (for example in Vietnam, the religious security police monitor “extremist” religious groups, detaining and interrogating suspected Dega Protestants or Ha Mon Catholics).Stephen Knight (author)
Stephen Knight (26 September 1951 – 25 July 1985) was a British journalist and author. He is best remembered for the books Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution (1976) and The Brotherhood (1984).Suppression of Freemasonry
A number of governments have treated Freemasonry as a potential source of opposition due to its secret nature and international connections. After the founding of modern speculative Masonry in England in 1717, several Protestant states restricted Masonic lodges: the Netherlands banned the lodge in 1735; Sweden and Geneva, in 1738; Zurich, in 1740; and Berne, in 1745. Catholic Spain, Portugal, France and Italy attempted to suppress Freemasonry after 1738. Bavaria followed in 1784; Austria, in 1795; Baden, in 1813; Russia, in 1822. It was also banned in Pakistan in 1972.Masonic scholar Paul Bessel has noted that the language used by modern totalitarian regimes is similar to that used by some other modern critics of Freemasonry.Freemasonry was persecuted in all the communist countries, but the organization has survived in Cuba, allegedly providing safe haven for dissidents.