Our Grand Master has said that we should "Speak up for Freemasonry"
But do we know what we are speaking up for? Why should we be proud of being a Freemason? Does anyone know what being a
Freemason is? Have you ever thought about that? What is special about the Craft?
There are no two Freemasons who agree exactly to what attracted them to become one. Many of us share some thoughts but we are
all individuals, so each of us should give serious thought as to our own motives.It is only when we know oursleves that we can truly
promote the Craft. There are many organisations which share much of what is good in Freemasonry. Things such as Fellowship,
Friendship, Charity, Benevolence, Care for the Community etc. etc. We can "Speak up" for all those many qualities but our voices will
be in a chorus of many others. What actually makes Freemasonry different from all those other Service Clubs, Charities and
Well there is one unique aspect of Freemasonry, and it makes me very proud to be a Freemason. It is the only organisation that says
that one must believe in a higher entity but does not specify what or who that entity is. All Freemasons believe in a Supreme being; if
that is the right word.
Many people of religion believe that if you do not belong to their religion you are wrong. You are an unbeliever. If we think a little more
deeply about what that thought means. It means that we, a mere mortal, believe that the Supreme being has only one way of making
believers. There are Christians who will not countenance Freemasons in their congregation. Even here in Hamilton plaques from past
prominent Freemason members of their congregation have been removed by new ministers.Their message is if you are a Freemason
you cannot be a member of "my church". In other words they believe they KNOW that God has only one way of providing salvation.
These people consider they have the direct link to their supremacy which gives them the right to say "My way is the only way".
Papal decree has quite recently contradicted that attitude, stating that a Freemason can be a Christian in his congregation, but not a
priest. If you think about that it is absolutely logical. A Freemason believes that a man has the right to find God through whatever way
God wishes to use, but a priest is tasked with showing you the way to God through the Roman Catholic church. To do so he cannot
believe in others having another option that God may use. However, when the priest looks at his congregation he sees those who have
found their own way to God through Roman Catholicism. It matters not at all that they believe in there being other options open to God
to use for others.
We all have Islamic terrorism rammed down our throats by the press each day, where in reality we have a huge number of valued
Islamic citzens who live their lives serving humanity. It is the same with Jewish, Buddhist, etc. Each of those valued citizens may have
found the supreme being in a different manner but the message of goodwill to others does not change. Who are we to say that our way
is the only way the Almighty knows?
When I look at a slide of microbes, I think how much do they know about human civilization - not much I would hazard an educated
guess - probably about the same amount as a human does of the Almighty.
If you look a little deeper in amongst all the bad news you will find good news - people who have our masonic values. Recently when
there was desecration of Jewish cemetaries in America Moslem organisations volunteered to help patrol and guard them, When
moslems were banned from entering the USA I saw a protester's placard "Jews for Moslems", and just the most heart warming news of
a couple in Egypt getting married a Moslem and a Christian. It was here that I was going to give you the link to that story but the BBC
has already deleted it. (after only 7 days). Good news does not sell!
This link might still work to a short report with no photographs on the happy event (Egyptian press).
And then there is another happy story regarding a Syrian refuge - "Muslim refugee falls in love with Christian police officer"
These news items encouraged me to look a little deeper at the subject of Interfaith marriages, and whether they offer a window on the
modern world, a look at the thinking of young people - a generation or two younger than most of us Freemasons. We all know that a
high percentage of Western society has seen fit to leave religion and become unbelievers. It's easier than all the bigotry that is shown
by many religiouns. Well we are Freemasons, and we believe in a supreme entity each in the way that He/She/It has considered fit to
show us. That is why we have our individual Volume of the Sacred Law. It is something that makes us who we are, and it is something
which we should all be eternally proud. And it is something that might be exactly what many of the younger generations aspire to. So
taking a look at the Inter faith community and the statistics might provide us with access to like minded folk. Folk who want to retain
their religious beliefs but accept that God comes to others in the many ways.
Statistics show an ever increasing percentage of interfaith marriages
"According to the Pew survey, 27 percent of millennials born from 1981 to 1996 come from interfaith households. That compares to
about 20 percent of Generation Xers born from 1965 to 1980 and baby boomers born from 1946 to 1964".
"Almost four in 10 Americans who have married since 2010 have a spouse of a different faith, Pew says"
Other statistics show an increased % of Secular or Civil Marriages
USA Today reports that records collated from 14 states in the USA show civil marriages have risen from 30% in 1980 to 40% in 2001.
And other statistics from the UK show 60% of marriages in 1995/96 were religious fell to 37% in 2011.
From Scottish figures between 1971 and 2016 the number of religious ceremonies fell from 66% to 50%. Of these the Humanist
weddings in 2005 were only 100 in number. That figure had increased 28 times to 2,846 in 2010 when Roman Catholic numbered 1,729
and Church of Scotland 5,557.
In the 2015 Pew Research Center report on religion and public life, 36% of 21- to 27-year-olds are classified as unaffiliated, a far higher
proportion than among their parents’ (17%) or grandparents’ (11%) generations.
From all these figures it shows that Society has changed dramatically in the last 60 years, and that is a Society where Freemasonry
obtains its membership. Is it any wonder that our membership is falling with our "old true and tried" methods of promotion.
It is time that we promote Freemasonry as the way ahead, not lock ourselves into the past. We must be proud that we are not a
religion, that we support the right of every individual to find God in the manner that God chooses he should. That the inter faith couples
have shown civilisation the way ahead, and that the Craft supports them fully.
Yes brother, I will speak up for Freemasonry. It is the way ahead. We are the most relevant organisation in the world.
Editor's note: To all our Jewish readers I apologise for writing the word G_d in full. It is my Christian upbringing and education. I
apologise to all of you whose faith forbids you to write the Almighty's name in full, for unlike that minister I do not know everything. Ed.