Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"Well, isn't that special?" — Catholics defend Inquisition as "legally justified"

Father Joseph Di Noia, the Undersecretary of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, admits in a television series starting tonight that the use of torture and public burnings were "mistakes."

But the American-born cleric argues that these methods of suppressing heresy were explicable in the context of the times, when people believed passionately in heaven and hell.

Father Di Noia claims, though, that the atrocities were legally justified.

The Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, is of course the modern-day Inquisition, and the current Pope, Pope Benedict XVI, a.k.a. Joseph Ratzinger, was the Prefect of the Congregation from 1981 until he was made Pope in 2005. In 1983, he issued a letter saying that Freemasons were in a state of "grave sin." One can only imagine that in more Enlightened days (back when the Pope had an army), he'd be staying up nights thinking of new ways to torture us. One can only pray that today's anti-Masonic movement (oddly, mostly Protestants) doesn't get any ideas from the Inquisition.

On the Catholic.com website there is a section called Catholic Answers. Boy, do they have an answer: "No account of foolishness, misguided zeal, or cruelty by Catholics can undo the divine foundation of the Church, though, admittedly, these things are stumbling blocks to Catholics and non-Catholics alike."

This piece defends the Inquisition saying "we didn't kill as many as they say we did," and the launches into an attack on the beliefs of 12th century Cathars, saying they weren't "Bible Christians." Come on, didn't you cause them enough grief already?!

The previous Pope, John Paul II, formally apologized for burning and murdering and torturing people from roughly 400 A.D well into the 1800's.

Well, isn't that special?

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Source: January 31, 2006 London Telegraph-News

Monday, January 30, 2006

Keep the candle burning

You can find an excellent short blog article on "traditional American values" as established by our Masonic Founding Fathers at The Inside Clamdigger.

Brother Robert Burns, poet (1759-1796)

I hope we'll be forgiven for missing Brother Robert Burns' birthday by a few days. Burns' Night, celebrated around the world with Burns' Suppers, was January 25, his birthday.

Scottish-born Burns was a pioneer of the Romantic movement. He became a source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism.

According to Wikipedia, Robert Burns joined as Entered Apprentice in Lodge St. David, Tarbolton on July 4, 1781. His initiation fee was 12s 6d. A visit to the Museum of Lodge Tarbolton (Kilwinning) sheds light on his Masonic associations.

Burns went with Lodge St. James, and on July 27, 1784, he was elected "Depute Master."

Burns' popularity aided his rise in Freemasonry. At a meeting of Lodge St. Andrew in Edinburgh in 1787, in the presence of the Grand Master and Grand Lodge of Scotland, Burns was toasted by the Worshipful Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Francis Chateris.

After a failed romance and no success at being a farmer, he was about to move to Jamaica to try his hand at bookkeeping when his brother persuaded him to have his poetry published. He became an overnight sensation in his native Scotland when his first book of poetry was published in June 1786.

The words of the traditional New Year's song, Auld Lang Syne, were written by Burns.

John Barleycorn: A Ballad

There was three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.

They took a plough and plough'd him down,
Put clods upon his head,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.

But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
And show'rs began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surpris'd them all.

The sultry suns of Summer came,
And he grew thick and strong;
His head weel arm'd wi' pointed spears,
That no one should him wrong.

The sober Autumn enter'd mild,
When he grew wan and pale;
His bending joints and drooping head
Show'd he began to fail.

His colour sicken'd more and more,
He faded into age;
And then his enemies began
To show their deadly rage.

They've taen a weapon, long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee;
Then tied him fast upon a cart,
Like a rogue for forgerie.

They laid him down upon his back,
And cudgell'd him full sore;
They hung him up before the storm,
And turned him o'er and o'er.

They filled up a darksome pit
With water to the brim;
They heaved in John Barleycorn,
There let him sink or swim.

They laid him out upon the floor,
To work him farther woe;
And still, as signs of life appear'd,
They toss'd him to and fro.

They wasted, o'er a scorching flame,
The marrow of his bones;
But a miller us'd him worst of all,
For he crush'd him between two stones.

And they hae taen his very heart's blood,
And drank it round and round;
And still the more and more they drank,
Their joy did more abound.

John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise;
For if you do but taste his blood,
'Twill make your courage rise.

'Twill make a man forget his woe;
'Twill heighten all his joy;
'Twill make the widow's heart to sing,
Tho' the tear were in her eye.

Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne'er fail in old Scotland!

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Josh the Baptist and Freemasonry

Over at Baptist preacher Josh Buice's blog, his put-down of all things Masonic continues. Josh has found himself in theological deep water after being confronted with the question of whether God wants all people to go to Heaven or not. When contradictory Bible verses were pointed out, Pastor Josh replied with this bit of theological sleight-of-hand: "God elects, chooses, picks, and appoints people to Salvation, however, each person must choose Christ in order to be saved."

Here's The Widow's Son's latest response:

My brother Josh,

Practical — Level-headed, efficient, and unspeculative.

Theology — The study of the nature of God and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions.

Discussion — Consideration of a subject by a group; an earnest conversation; the exchange of thoughts, opinions, and feelings; talk.

Your blog here is called "Practical Theological Discussions." Yet, you're hardly being practical — level-headed, or being rational in your inquiry of religion. Nor have our exchanges so far been a "discussion" — in your last post you condescendingly dismissed my inquiry — difficult and important questions — with 1) absurd illogic, 2) a wave-of-the-hand dismissal by saying "off-topic!" and 3) a cop-out by saying, "How dare you imply there are errors!"

Men just like you — trained at Southern Baptist seminiaries to act with zombie-zeal in pushing a brand of Christiantity that rejects logic and and dismisses reality as a nuisance, a brand of Christianity that refuses to answer a true seeker's questions, a brand of Christianity that tries to scare people with Hell and that dangles the carrot of Heaven, but NEVER answers hard questions — are why I left the Baptist church I grew up in and looked for truth, light and meaning in other churches, faiths and practices. I may or may not have found The Answer in those other institutions or schools of thought, but at least there were answers offered.

As a Mason I am taught that we are all brothers, united under the all-seeing eye of Deity. I try not to judge other people too harshly, though sometimes I do. I admit that I find Baptists the most heretical of all Christians. To me, they seem to have abandoned common-sense in their beliefs; theologically and spiritually they rely totally on faith and none on gnosis, or knowledge. The belief that the Bible is inerrant is a strange and heretical and terribly illogical belief. To believe X is true based on the fact that X says it's true while X can be pointed out to be internally inconsist — that it has errors — defies all reason!

I'm under no illusion that anything I've said will change your way of thinking one bit. I don't really care if you change or not. I'm not on a mission from God, like you are.

My Fellow Travelers and I have visited your website the past several days in response to the outlandish lies — yes, lies — you have been spreading about Freemasonry. We have told you that you're wrong; we have offered ourselves as sources of information. You have at your disposal at least three Master Masons, all honorable and knowledgeable men willing to answer almost any question you may have about Freemasonry. The only things we won't share are the grips, signs and tokens of recognition, and the actual wording of rituals (which in some states are still "secrets" only out of tradition), but these are readily available by searching Google.

Instead of taking advantage of this treasurechest of information at your disposal, sent to you by the Great Architect of the Universe, you seem on the one hand to want to proselytize to us — there's that Baptist zealousness again — and on the other hand, to make sure we and other Masons are kept well away from your congregation. Your preconceived ideas — wrong as they are — show that you are less interested in learning and understanding, and more interested in pushing your own beliefs.

If you bother responding to this, please try to do so, just once, without resorting to quoting Bible verses. We've already seen that Bible verses can contradict each other. Tell me what YOU think, not what God and Jesus think (as written in the inerrant but contradictory Bible), and not what Ankerberg and Weldon and Walter Martin think... but what YOU think.

I hope you'll take a look inside your own heart and mind, Brother Josh. Check for logs in your own eyes before trying to pull splinters out of other people's.


The Widow's Son
The Burning Taper

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Photo of John the Baptist courtesy "History Comes Alive"

Friday, January 27, 2006

Evolution, Schmevolution! We're all monkeys inside

Some days you just wanna forget about religion, spirituality, and morality, and just grab a beer and act like an animal...

Like, maybe, a monkey?

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"The Masons worship Satan! The Masons worship Satan!"

Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

Check out this video from The Resistance Manifesto. A young man wearing sunglasses and an American flag bandana on his head stands in front of a Masonic temple, "or lodge as the members like to call it," he says, holding a huge red pentagram shouting at passersby "the Masons worship Satan! The Masons worship Satan!"

On his website John Conner rants about Mormons, gay marriage and the Illuminati. He's written a book also called The Resistance Manifesto. Apparently he is getting free publicity by phoning call-in talk shows on radio and TV, including Alan Colmes and Larry King, and plugging his book by asking guests, who have included Paris and Kathy Hilton and Depok Chopra if they've read his book. He issued press releases accusing Jessica Simpson of being a Illuminati pawn and accusing President Bush of being a Satanist.

On his website he's also reprinted an article from the Elberton (Ga.) Star about the Georgia Guidestones. He is quoted in the story saying the Guidestones should be smashed because they have a "deep Satanic origin."

He seems to be worried, too, that radio frequency identification devices, or RFID, heralds the arrival of The Mark of the Beast. Weren't they saying that 25 years ago about bar codes on cereal boxes? Sheesh... when is that Beast gonna get here?

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O Brother Shakespeare, Where Art Thou?

Was William Shakespeare a Mason? Did he invent modern Freemasonry? Brother Alfred Dodd thinks so.

The 1623 Shakespeeare Folio is saturated with references to Masonry or Freemasonry. Below are some examples from Brother Dodd's Shakespeare Creator of Freemasonry.

(Brackets and emphasis by capitalization are Dodd's)

"What things have we seen, Done at the Mermaid! Heard words that have been, so Nimble and so full of subtle Flame.... One had resolved to live a F.... the rest of his dull life." — A letter to Ben Jonson from Francis Bacon

"And the Meanest (Most Humble) of things are made more precious when they are dedicated to Temples." — Epistle Dedication in The Shakespeare Folio, 1623

The Masonic Symbol
Like to the garter COMPASSE in a Ring....
—The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act V, S.5

The Young Mason
Is there no young squarer that will make a Voyage with him...?
—Much Ado About Nothing, Act I S.1

Square Conduct
I have not kept my Square,but that to come shall all be done by Rule.
—Antony and Cleopatra, Act II, S.1.

They never meet, but they do Square. —A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II, S.1

The Prepared Candidate
I shall stay here, therefore horse to a Smock(an apron), Creaking my shoes on the Plain Masonry.
—All's well that Ends Well, Act II, last scene

Be patient... I'll bring thee... HOODWINK this... Speak softly... This is the mouth of THE CELL... No more...ENTER.
—The Tempest, Act IV

The Head of the Lodge
—Taming of the Shrew, Act V, S.1.

The Point From Which a Master Mason Cannot Err
I will find where TRUTH is Hid
Though it were Hid indeed
Within the Centre.
—Hamlet, Act II, S.2

The masonic ritual letter code
And from the Cross Row [the Rosi Cross].
plucks the letter G [the Grand Geometrician].
—Richard III, Act I, S.1

I likewise will visit thee with mine letters....
—Two Gentlemen of Verona

Count tis your Qu.
—Much Ado About Nothing

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Grok me, Amadeus

Born 250 years ago today, on January 27, 1756, the boy who grew up to become our Brother Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart began exhibiting his musical prowess at the age of three. He received intensive musical training from his father on many instruments.

Soon young Amadeus was on tour, showcasing his musical talents by playing blindfolded. He became quite accomplished and spent much of his childhood traveling Europe as a Wunderkind, performing for royalty and emperors, even playing the Sistine Chapel.

He befriended many musicians, including Johann Christian Bach, son of composer Johann Sebastian Bach. He wrote several songs to be played on our Brother Benjamin Franklin's invention, the glass harmonica.

During 1782–83, Brother Mozart became closely acquainted with the work of J.S. Bach and Georg Frideric Handel as a result of the influence of Baron Gottfried van Swieten, who owned many manuscripts of works by the Baroque masters. Mozart's study of these works led first to a number of works imitating Baroque style and later had a powerful influence on his own personal musical language, for example the fugal passages in Die Zauberflöte ("The Magic Flute") and the Symphony No. 41.

The Magic Flute was his Masonic opera, ripe with Masonic symbols and allegory. Wikipedia says of The Magic Flute:

The opera is often noted for its Masonic elements, which are rife and often elaborate. Both Brother Schikaneder and Brother Mozart were Masons and lodge brothers. In the political climate of the times, Freemasonry was considered a dangerous organization. Many of the opera's ideas and motifs also echo those of Enlightenment philosophy: It is an analogy to the zeitgeisty enlightened absolutism. The Queen of the Night represents the irrational-diabolic obscurantism, her antagonist Sarastro symbolises the reasonable sovereign who rules with paternalistic wisdom and enlightened insight. In the end he prevails over the darkness ("The sun's rays drive away the night, destroy the evil power of the dissembler"). But the the darkness is by no means frightening and abhorrent, but beautiful, mysterious and fascinating. As an awesome seductress the Queen of the Night is a dangerous power who can only be overcome by knowledge.

Brother Mozart was influenced by the ideas of the eighteenth century European Enlightenment as an adult, and became a Freemason in 1784. His lodge was a specifically Catholic rather than a deistic one and he worked fervently and successfully to convert his father before the latter's death in 1787. He was in the same Masonic Lodge as composer Franz Joseph Haydn.

Brother Mozart died in 1791, while working on his final composition, Requiem. The exact cause of his death is unknown; many theories have been suggested, including trichinosis, mercury poisoning, and rheumatic fever.

Grok on, Brother Amadeus!

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

One man's heresy is another man's truth

Thanks to Brother Greg at the Masonic Traveler, I just discovered a blog called Practical Theology Discussions. The blog is run by Josh Buice, pastor of a Southern Baptist church in Louisville, Kentucky. He seems quite interested in exploring heresies and exposing them to the Light. So do I, when you come to think of it, except I LIKE heresies and think there is often more truth in them than in accepted Doctrine.

Pastor Josh's blog's masthead reads, "Discussing theology with a practical mind based on the holy, inspired, infallible, inerrant, immutable, never dying, highly exalted, final authority — Word of God!" Not much room there for "discussion," is there, if it's all an open and shut case? Wow... It must be nice to be that certain about anything! I'm not even that certain the Sun will rise tomorrow....

A long thread of comments trashing Freemasonry and Freemasons appears on the blog. I added my own comments, which I reprint below. Stop over and say hello to Pastor Josh.
My Brothers,

I'm amazed at the amount of effort you've put into trashing something you obviously know little about. As the scientist pointed out, John Ankerberg and John Weldon are hardly experts on Freemasonry — they're just professional naysayers. They've built their financial empires scaring "good Christians" with horror tales about Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Roman Catholics, Freemasons, and any other group that doesn't toe the fundamentalist Christian line. Their opinions are just that — opinions.

When you talk about certain authors' writings — Mackey, Pike, etc. — as "Masonic Doctrine," you're way off base. These Masons were just men, speculating about what THEY thought Freemasonry was about. Their opinions are no more or less valid than, say, Ankerberg's... or yours... or mine. They're just opinions.

Freemasons don't agree on "doctrine." We can't even agree on what kind of barbecue sauce to use for the next fundraiser.

To say that 60%, or any percent of Masons don't "really" know what they're involved in, but that they are being used for some sinister secret purpose, is ridiculous. It's like saying that you — and you and you and you — don't really know what's going on with this "Christianity" thing, that the whole "cult" of Christianity is being controlled by, say, the Pope, or John Ankerberg, or Billy Graham, for his own purposes. Do all Christians agree on everything Christian?

Regarding Jim Shaw's being "saved" and then "exposing" Freemasonry: If the man swore before God to keep a secret, and then decided that he could share those secrets, it shows he's not very trustworthy. I mean, he didn't keep his word then, so why should you believe him later? And whoever said Shaw rose to the high rank of 33rd degree, then joined Scotish Rite, has it all backwards. In most jurisdictions, any degree above the 3rd (Master Mason) is either a part of the York Rite (which is quite Christian in flavor, and goes to the 10th degree) or the Scottish Rite (a different path, that goes from 4th-33rd degree).

At least in the south, where I am, Blue Lodge meetings are more like a Tuesday night Southern Baptist prayer meeting than some secret, spooky thing that you so worry about. In fact, most of the active members of my lodge ARE Southern Baptists, quite active ones. They have no idea who the Grand Architect of the Universe even is — they pray out loud in lodge to Jesus, even though, yes, sectarian religious discussion is officially discouraged because it is divisive.

I wish you'd get your facts straight, and then find some other windmill to tilt at.

The only secrets of a Master Mason are the signs, grips and tokens, and in some jurisdictions, the Ritual work that someone here already posted. You got any other questions — just ask.

Or visit any of these websites:



—The Widow's Son

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The Don Quixote painting is by Octavio Ocampo

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Masonry cannot live without a soul

The swarming of the unworthy into the Temples is only one symptom of the disease, which itself is the lessening of the spirit of loving kindness, the lessening of kindly interest in the welfare of each other, the mere acquaintanceship that has so largely and regrettably taken the place of the old Masonic Brotherhood. Masons assemble, and part as they met, not better friends, not even better acquainted, sometimes not knowing each other. They assemble and make Masons and go away not remembering their faces. There are real brotherly relations between few members. One seldom makes any sacrifice for another; and fighting and contentions arise on as slight grounds and upon petty provocations, as among the profane ever to the shame of Masonry, out of the lust for office, the lust for control and the pitiful rivalries that it creates, in which all our obligations are forgotten.

Where these things are found Masonry is dead, and a lesser Order lives in its sted, usurping the name of Masonry. Masonry cannot live without a soul, and its soul is loving-kindness. It is time for the work of regeneration to begin; and in this work, by the restoration of this spirit, every man has it in his power to do something. Let the regeneration begin here. Live together here, all of you, as Masons should; for the Life of Masonry, is but a useless life, so long as this work remains undone.

— Albert Pike (1809-1891), described by biographer and Mason Jim Tresner as "...a pioneer, a crusader for justice for Native Americans, a practical joker, a reformer, a journalist, a philosopher, a prominent Washington lawyer, and a Civil War general." For many years, he was leader of the Scottish Rite in the southern United States and he was the author of "Morals and Dogma" published in 1871.

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Closing the "Book of Daniel"

We haven't seen the controversial television program Book of Daniel, and it looks like we probably won't get the chance. NBC stopped short of saying the show had been cancelled, but said it has been "removed from the schedule."

You'd think Christians would be happy to have a show about churches and ministers and Jesus and how they all deal with life's ups and downs on network TV each week. It's sort of, uh, a free commercial for Christianity. We don't understand why the American Family Association and Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family and other Christian conservatives have made such a ruckus over it. But a ruckus they made. At their websites they're high-fiving each other over their success.

Unless... wait... maybe NBC was concerned about copyright issues with the Vatican! Yeah, that's it.

Regarding the show's "cancellation," American Family Association founder Donald Wildmon said, "This shows the average American that he doesn't have to simply sit back and take the trash being offered on TV, but he can get involved and fight back with his pocketbook." Hey... whatever happened to just turning off the bloody TV if you don't like what's on?!

+ + +

Addendum, three minutes later: We just looked up the American Family Association's URL to provide the link above, and discovered that on our own, without any influence from them whatsoever, we used almost the same headline as they did in their boasting about how they'd rallied to have the show pulled. Rut-roh! Hope they don't come after us for copyright infringement!

On a lark, we typed in "freemasonry" on Dr. James Dobson's website to see what he thought of us. After a disclaimer saying that Dr. Dobson isn't a real pastor and has no formal training in the ministry and that he refuses to answer theological questions, we saw the link to a review of National Treasure, the Nicolas Cage adventure film in which Freemasonry plays a pivotal role. The Dobson group doesn't come right and say it — there were no other Masonic references on his sites — but reading between the lines would get you to thinking, well, just maybe, we're a bunch of bloody-oathed occult ritualists walking on shaky spiritual ground. Hey... didn't the Pope say that about us, too?

Their movie-review section dissects films for postive elements, spiritual content, sexual content, violent content, crude or profane language, drug and alcohol content (Warning! Party guests sip champagne in National Treasure), other negative elemeents, and then presents their "conclusion" on whether you should let your family see the film.

Here follows their review:
Foundational to the back-story of this treasure-hunting adventure is The Knights Templar (further popularized in Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code), a group that inspired the influential fraternity known as Freemasonry. Much is made of the fact that America’s Founding Fathers were Freemasons, and the story supposes that they hid a vast fortune in a subterranean vault so that it wouldn’t corrupt their new nation or its leaders. Freemasonry is portrayed as a noble sect full of mystery and intrigue. Most modern members claim that the organization is not a “faith” in itself, but merely a club committed to good works and a moral code that make it a natural complement to Christianity. Others disagree on that last note, pointing to blood oaths, secret rituals, curses, and writings by early leaders that contain occult philosophy and unsound doctrine.

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The 10 most beautiful experiments in the world

As Freemasons, we are taught during the Fellowcraft degree to enlighten our minds by studying the Seven Arts and Sciences: Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric, Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy and Music.

That's a good start. Some people went a little farther than that, even. Physicists were recently asked to nominate the most beautiful experiment of all time. Here are the top ten winners.
  1. Double-slit electron diffraction

  2. Galileo's experiment on falling objects

  3. Millikan's oil-drop experiment

  4. Newton's decomposition of sunlight with a prism

  5. Young's light-interference experiment

  6. Cavendish's torsion-bar experiment

  7. Eratosthenes' measurement of the Earth's circumference

  8. Galileo's experiments with rolling balls down inclined planes

  9. Rutherford's discovery of the nucleus

  10. Foucault's pendulum

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Masonic Catholics in a "state of grave sin"

Lest you think we were too hard on the Papal Bulldog in our recent post, consider this: As recently as 1983, the pre-Pope Cardinal Ratzinger wrote the following document, forbidding Catholics to become Masons, saying that to do so would place them in a "state of grave sin."

Declaration on Masonic Associations

Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

It has been asked whether there has been any change in the Church's decision in regard to Masonic associations since the new Code of Canon Law does not mention them expressly, unlike the previous code.

This sacred congregation is in a position to reply that this circumstance is due to an editorial criterion which was followed also in the case of other associations likewise unmentioned inasmuch as they are contained in wider categories.Therefore, the Church's negative judgment in regard to Masonic associations remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and, therefore, membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful, who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.

It is not within the competence of local ecclesiastical authorities to give a judgment on the nature of Masonic associations which would imply a derogation from what has been decided above, and this in line with the declaration of this sacred congregation issued Feb. 17,1981.

In an audience granted to the undersigned cardinal prefect, the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II approved and ordered the publication of this declaration which had been decided in an ordinary meeting of this sacred congregation.

Rome, from the Office of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Nov. 26, 1983

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect
Father Jerome Hamer, O. P. Titular Archbishop of Lorium, Secretary

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

How many Masons does it take to change a lightbulb?

"How many Masons does it take to change a lightbulb?"
  1. It's a secret.

  2. Three or more.

  3. One to turn it, one to read the minutes of the previous bulb replacement, and one to sit on the sidelines and complain about the way they USED to screw in lightbulbs.

  4. Change it!? My grandfather donated that lightbulb!

* * *

"How many Masons does it take to change a lightbulb?"

20, as follows:

2 to complain that the light doesn't work.
1 to pass the problem to either another committee, Temple Board or Master of the Lodge.
3 to do a study on light in this Lodge.
2 to check out the types of lights the Knights of Columbus use.
3 to argue about it.
5 to plan a fund-raising dinner to raise money for the bulb.
2 to complain that "that's not the way we did it before."
1 to borrow a ladder, donate the bulb and install it.
1 to order the brass memorial plate and have it inscribed.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Jesus Christ's spokesman on Earth — the Pope — now charges by the Word

The Vatican announced recently that everything the Pope writes will fall under copyright law, including encyclicals like the one expected later this week. Not only does this apply to all future writings, but they claim it's retroactive for the last 50 years! Everything written by those Beatle-named Popes (John Paul II, John Paul I, Paul VI and John XXIII) of the last half-century are included.

Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, has been called God's rottweiler. His previous job (1981-2005) in the Vatican was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith... formerly called the Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition. Yes, that Inquisition. The same folks who brought the world heretic-barbeques and rack-of-man. They just got around to taking the word "Inquisition" out of their group's name in 1908.

In November, 2005 the new Pope visited a sick child in a Rome hospital, and reportedly scared the bejeebers out of the poor lad.

A bill for 15,000 Euros has been sent to a Milan publishing house that printed 30 lines from Pope Benedict XVI's speech to the conclave that elected him. They came up with the figure by demanding 15% of the cover price of the booklets that were sold, plus 3,000 Euros in "legal expenses."

Vittorio Messori, who has co-authored works with Pope Benedict and John Paul II, said that he was “perplexed and alarmed... This is wholly negative and absolutely disastrous for the Vatican’s image.” A pope’s words should be available to all free of charge, he said, and to “cash in in this way surrounds the clergy with the odor of money.”

Er, odor of money? Is the Vatican loaded, or is making the Pope's words a salable commodity sort of like a church bazaar?

The following excerpt from a transcript of programming aired on Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees program on CNN during Pope John Paul II's funeral in April, 2005 makes it sound like the Vatican values itself at one Euro, or currently about eighty-nine cents American. (But that's nearly 2,000 Italian lire, so maybe it's more than it seems.)

JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: People have these notions that there are vast islands of wealth here. I mean, the truth is, the Vatican's a pretty lean and mean operation.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's take a look at some of the numbers. The annual operating budget for the Vatican, $260 million. Property holdings of the Holy See, about $770 million. Add to that 18,000 pieces of art by the likes of Michelangelo, Raphael, Dante, Homer — so what's the grand total? A whole lot less than you would expect. Yes, say the experts, the Vatican does have tremendous artistic wealth, but the Vatican insists the precious artwork and real estate it possesses are held in trust for humanity. What does that mean? St. Peter's Basilica is valued at slightly more than one Euro.

ALLEN: Interestingly, the Vatican lists all of that stuff on its book at one euro, in terms of value. And that's because, from their point of view, it can never be sold. It can never be borrowed against. Therefore, it produces no revenue for them.

BAKHTIAR: We tried contacting Christie's and Sotheby's to inquire, hypothetically, about the fair market value of some of the Vatican's treasures, but we didn't have much luck. Nor did CNN's Vatican analyst John Allen when he tried to attach a price tag to some of these assets.

ALLEN: I once interviewed an Italian contractor to ask him, if you were to build St. Peter's Basilica today, how much would it cost you to put together? And he started trying to do the research to answer my question and called me back and said, can't be done. Nobody would build this building. By today's standards the cost would be so astronomic that it is simply impossible to calculate.

So, maybe, the Pope IS broke. Maybe he can go back to selling indulgences, too.

Vatican Facts

Great Heretics in History — Giordano Bruno (1548-1600)

Who better to lead off our series on "Great Heretics in History" than Giordano Bruno, ex-Dominican monk who was burned at the stake on order of Pope Clement VIII....

"Innumerable suns exist; innumerable earths revolve around these suns in a manner similar to the way the seven planets revolve around our sun. Living beings inhabit these worlds." — Giordano Bruno, Italian monk of the sixteenth century.

Bruno was born at Nola, near Naples. Originally named Filippo, he took the name Giordano when he joined the Dominicans, who trained him in Aristotelian philosophy and Thomistic theology. Independent in thinking and tempestuous in personality, he fled the order in 1576 to avoid a trial on doctrinal charges and began the wandering that characterized his life.

Bruno visited Geneva, Toulouse, Paris, and London, where he spent two years (1583-85) under the protection of the French ambassador and in the circle of the English poet Sir Philip Sidney. It was a most productive period, during which he composed Ash Wednesday Supper (1584) and On the Infinite Universe and Worlds (1584), as well as the dialogue On the Cause, Principle, and Unity (1584). In another poetic dialogue, Gli eroici furori (1585), he praised a kind of Platonic love that joins the soul to God through wisdom.

In 1585 Bruno returned to Paris, then went on to Marburg, Wittenberg, Prague, Helmstedt, and Frankfurt, where he arranged for the printing of his many writings. At the invitation of a Venetian nobleman, Giovanni Moncenigo, Bruno returned to Italy as his private tutor. In 1592 Moncenigo denounced Bruno to the Inquisition, which tried him for heresy. Turned over to the Roman authorities, he was imprisoned for some eight years while questioning proceeded on charges of blasphemy, immoral conduct, and heresy. Refusing to recant, Bruno was burned at the stake in Campo dei Fiori on February 17, 1600. Late in the 19th century, a statue was erected on the site of his martyrdom to the cause of free thought.

Bruno advocated philosophical theories that blended mystical Neoplatonism and pantheism. He believed that the universe is infinite, that God is the universal world-soul, and that all particular material things are manifestations of the one infinite principle. Bruno is considered a forerunner of modern philosophy because of his influence on the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza and his anticipation of the theories of monism, later advocated by the German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.

Contributed by: Desmond J. Fitzgerald, "Bruno, Giordano," Microsoft Encarta®. Copyright © 1993 Microsoft Corporation. Copyright © 1993 Funk & Wagnall's Corporation

Giordano Bruno was born in Italy in 1548. He joined the Dominican order, but because of a propensity for having his own opinions and daring to voice them, was accused of heresy and left the order at the age of twenty-eight. For the next decade and a half, Bruno traveled across Europe learning, speaking, and publishing his thoughts. All the while, members of the Inquisition in Italy anxiously awaited the return of their hometown boy.

Among Bruno's outrageous beliefs were his assertions that the stars were actually other suns spanning the infinite reaches of space and the entire universe was composed of the same matter. As if that wasn't bad enough, he firmly believed in the heliocentric theories of Copernicus, and said so in a voice so loud they could hear him back in Rome.

And, as if to prove how foolish he was, Bruno returned to Italy. Arrested, tried, and convicted, he was imprisoned in the dungeon of Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome for six years. Refusing to recant, he was finally treated to a barbecue, Inquisition-style, in the year 1600. While his heretical beliefs of astronomical theories were not the only crimes for which he was burned at the stake, they most certainly fueled the fire from which Galileo no doubt smelled the smoke.

From Bad Astronomy by Linda Zimmerman. Used with permission.

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We cannot lead men when we have not removed our own blindfolds — we only drive them into more profound darkness!

This most enlightening post was left today in our comments section, signed by Brother Schlipp, whom I do not know, nor do I know from where he hails. I'm re-posting it here, so that you won't risk missing it in the comments section of the "Masonic Truthiness" article below.

Fellow brothers in the Craft...

I address you all in the warmth and fellowship of the bonds of Freemasonry. There exists today a blight that threatens to blot out that ember of light that has been entrusted to our care since time immemorial.

Today’s Grand Lodges are infested by ruffians, cowards, and those who would use our beloved fraternity for their own personal gain. Those of you in certain states in America know only too well the grumblings of your fellow brothers and the jerk-knee reaction that your Grand Lodges have displayed when met by questioning brethren.

There have been questionable dealings regarding real estate, dues, and monies paid and entrusted to those in power. Money has disappeared with little or no accountability. Brothers who have acted to resolve these issues and bring them to light have been threatened and coerced into ceasing and desisting; or have been removed altogether from the rolls of their home lodges. I have seen such evil since I've walked upon the Earth; but this is far more than the eye can see!

Men who have been free-born and meet all of the qualifications to be a Freemason have been shunned by many in the southern states for the sole reason that they are black. Many will say; “Why not join Prince Hall lodges?” I say, “Why should any man who meets all of the qualifications to be a mason, ever be turned away from our noble order?”

The fraternity of Blue Lodges is dying out! Each year tells a story of declining enrollment from the younger generation while the average age of the existing lodge constituency continues to climb. Many things divide us as humans on this planet; however, Masonry should not be one of them.

I hear those who would say that Masonry is a “Christian” organization; thus further alienating those that believe in a god... just not the Christian god. What of our Jewish brethren? What of those of different faiths? Do you not remember that it was our Masonic forebears that were persecuted by the Catholic and Protestant Churches for supposed heresies against the Faith? If Masonry is an exclusively Christian organization; then let us simply attach ourselves to an appendent Christian group such as the Knights of Columbus or Promise-keepers. If all you care about doing is holding benefit banquets and functions for charity; then simply ally yourself to one of these fine organizations. Charity is only part of the Masonic equation and our earliest Masonic brothers were definitely NOT Christian. This is a modern invention.

It is much more than a disaffected view of the modern generation that has caused a decline in enrollment. The younger generation seeks answers that they are not getting from society. They turn to us for leadership and guidance. What do we do? We give them more of the same! We bully them when they ask the hard questions. The dead end, “just because it is!” answer is the death-knell for Blue Masonry in America today.

We cannot lead men when we have not removed our own blindfolds! We only drive them into more profound darkness.

What will cure the blight upon our proud craft? I have a belief that the cure is to unburden ourselves of the yoke of shame that is ANY Grand Lodge officer that is found to be acting in a manner that is inconsistent with tried and tested Masonic law. If the affected Grand Lodge will not permit such action, then it is our right; nay... our duty to abolish such a Grand Lodge! Those that truly lead... lead by serving others!

Even now there are organizations that are coming into existence that are returning to the old ways. They are going back to the true source of Masonic light and are peeling away at the layers of superfluous and useless skin of the onion that has become the Blue lodge. SEEK OUT THESE ENTITIES! Let your heart guide you in what is right. If you are questioning the veracity of the actions of your lodge or its leadership... then your heart will serve well to guide you.

I leave you with this thought. “Precious is this path we walk. If we walk as Percival le Galois did in the Arthurian legend; then no truth shall be hidden from our Light.”

F. Roy Dean Schlipp
Gentle-Fellow of the Sublime Craft

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Masonic Haiku Writing Contest

L'épée en main
Dos à la porte d'airain
Il nous protège serein

Solstice d'hiver
En cette nuit de Saint-Jean
La Lumière renaît

Those are haikus. Masonic haikus. Written in French.

In English, the first one says,

The sword in hand
Back with the bronze door
It protects us serene

And the second one translates as,

Winter solstice
In this night of Midsummer's Day
The Light reappears

Haikus are a style of Asian poetry. The rules for writing a haiku are simple. There must be 17 syllables — five in the first line, seven in the second, and five again in the third.

There are three lines. The first and third lines of a haiku are each a total of five syllables. The second line is seven syllables.

Example ('|'s are used to separate syllables):

Line 1: Vis | it | this | web | site

Line 2: Sub | mit | your | Ma | son | ic | words

Line 3: It's | a | lot | of | fun!

I got this idea from Blog Maçonnique, a French-speaking Masonic blog, which posted this idea yesterday. Let's have a contest. Post your best Masonic-themed haiku in the comments section at the end of this article. After we collect several, maybe we'll even have a poll to decide which one's the best, and we'll try to get it published somewhere more impressive than here.

Here's my first attempt:

Square and compasses
Enclosing the letter G
What do they mean now?

And some more that came to mind:

Donuts and coffee.
Open, pray, pledge, talk, close, go.
Except when there's work.

Blind and poor I came.
I found Light but not enough
To keep me coming.

Seven thirty now.
The Master raps his gavel.
Close the door, Tyler.

It must have been fun
Writing Masonic haikus.
I've done it all night.

United Grand Lodge of America announces six new lodges chartered

The United Grand Lodge of America recently announced the chartering of the following new Lodges:

* Deep Blue Current No.8, Miami, Florida
* Alexandria No. 9, Augusta, Georgia
* Anderson No. 10, Mobile, Alabama
* Rose Croix No. 11, Lawrenceville, Georgia
* Prince Adept No. 12, Atlanta, Geogia
* Solomon No. 13, Montgomery, Alabama

New lodges are forming in the following states. If you would like to be a charter member please contact the United Grand Lodge of America.

* Missouri (Kansas City)
* Ohio (Dayton)
* Indiana (New Albany)
* Tennessee (Nashville)
* Texas (Dallas)


Where are today's "famous" Freemasons?

"We represent a fraternity which believes in justice and truth and honorable action in your community... men who are endeavoring to be better citizens... [and] to make a great country greater. This is the only institution in the world where we can meet on the level all sorts of people who want to live rightly."— Harry S Truman, 33rd President of the United States

This list is a compilation from several sources, and no claims are made as to its accuracy. A few famous people who have been rumored to be Freemasons but for which no evidence can be found include presidents George Herbert Walker Bush, Bill Clinton, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson, along with Thomas Paine, Neil Armstrong, Walt Disney, Charlie Chaplin, Bob Hope, Ringo Starr, Rev. Billy Graham, and Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses.

George H.W. Bush was sworn in as president on George Washington's Bible, which belongs to the St. John's Lodge of New York City. Clinton was a member of the Order of DeMolay as a teen, but never joined a masonic lodge. LBJ took his first degree in 1937, but never became a Fellowcraft or Master Mason apparently due to lack of time to pursue both his Congressional duties and his Masonic studies. Lincoln petitioned a lodge but withdrew his petition before being accepted, apparently to keep from appearing to be wanting to join for political reasons. In 1988, Reagan was given a Certificate of Honor from the Grand Lodge of Washington, D.C., and made an honorary member of the Scottish Rite and of the Imperial Shrine, but was never a Mason. See MasonicInfo.com for more information about famous Masons and non-Masons.

As I'm pasting into the blog this list I compiled several years ago, I'm struck by the fact that there are so few — two, actually (the actor Michael Richards and football star John Elway) — men on this list from my generation, or from "modern times." Are there are any "famous" Freemasons anymore, men known for high achievement in their chosen fields who are also Masons?

  • Abbott, William "Bud"
    — Actor (Abbott and Costello)

  • Abbott, Sir John J.C.
    — Prime Minister of Canada 1891-92

  • Abbott, Robert Sengstacke
    — Founder/publisher "Chicago defender"

  • Acuff, Roy
    — Musician

  • Aldrin, Edwin E. "Buzz"
    — Astronaut, second man to walk on the moon

  • Allen, Richard
    — Founder/first bishop AME Church

  • Allende, Salvador
    — President of Chile, overthrown in 1970

  • Armstrong, Louis "Satchmo"
    — Jazz musician

  • Arnold, Eddie
    — Actor

  • Arnold, General Henry "Hap"
    — Commander of the Army Air Force

  • Astor, John Jacob
    — Fur trader and financier

  • Atkins, Chet
    — Musician

  • Austin, Stephen F.
    — Father of Texas

  • Autry, Gene
    — Actor

  • Baldwin, Henry
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Balfour, Lloyd
    — Jewelry

  • Barnes, Roy
    — Governor of Georgia, 1999-2003

  • Bartholdi, Frederic A.
    — Designed the Statue of Liberty

  • Basie, William "Count"
    — Orchestra leader/composer

  • Baylor, Robert E. B.
    — Founder Baylor University

  • Beard, Daniel Carter
    — Founder Boy Scouts

  • Bell, Lawrence
    — Bell Aircraft Corp.

  • Bellamy, Rev. Francis
    — Authored U.S. Pledge of Allegiance

  • Bennett, Viscount R.B.
    — Prime Minister of Canada 1930-35

  • Bentsen, Lloyd
    — Former Texas Congressman and 1988 vice presidential candidate

  • Berlin, Irving
    — Entertainer

  • Black, Hugo L.
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Blair, John, Jr.
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Blake, James Herbert "Eubie"
    — Composer/pianist

  • Blanc, Mel
    — Voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, and many other cartoon characters

  • Blatchford, Samuel
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Bolivar, Simon
    — South American freedom fighter

  • Boone, Daniel
    — American frontiersman

  • Booth, Rev. William
    — Founder of the Salvation Army

  • Borden, Sir Robert L.
    — Prime Minister of Canada 1911-1920

  • Borglum, Gutzon & Lincoln
    — Father and Son who carved Mt. Rushmore

  • Borgnine, Ernest
    — Actor

  • Botha, Pik
    — Former Foreign Minister of South Africa

  • Bowell, Sir Mackenzie
    — Prime Minister of Canada 1894-96

  • Bowie, James
    — Remember the Alamo!

  • Bradley, Omar N.
    — Military leader

  • Bradley, Thomas
    — Former mayor of Los Angeles, California

  • Brant, Joseph
    — Chief of the Mohawks 1742-1807

  • Breckinridge, John C.
    — U.S. vice president. Presidential candidate who lost to Abraham Lincoln.

  • Brown, Joe E.
    — Entertainer

  • Brundage, Avery
    — Olympic Committee

  • Bryan, Richard
    — U.S. Senator

  • Buchanan, James
    — President of the U.S.

  • Burbank, Luther
    — Pioneering botanist

  • Burnett, David G.
    — First president of the Republic of Texas

  • Burns, Conrad
    — U.S. Senator

  • Burns, Robert
    — The National Poet of Scotland

  • Burton, Harold H.
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Byrd, Robert
    — U.S. Senator

  • Byrd, Admiral Richard E.
    — Flew over North Pole

  • Byrnes, James F.
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Cain, Michael
    — Actor

  • Calvo, Father Francisco
    — Catholic Priest who started Freemasonry in Costa Rica 1865

  • Campbell, Sir Malcolm
    — Land speed record holder

  • Carlson, Curtis L.
    — Entrepreneur

  • Carnahan, Melvin
    — Governor of Missouri

  • Carroll, B. H.
    — First president of Southwestern Seminary and instrumental in the creation of the Department of Evangelism of the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention

  • Carson, Christopher "Kit"
    — Frontiersman, scout and explorer

  • Casanova
    — Italian adventurer, writer and entertainer

  • Catton, John
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Chagall, Marc
    — Artist

  • Chrysler, Walter P.
    — Founder of the Chrysler automotive company

  • Churchill, Sir Winston
    — British Leader

  • Citroen, Andre
    — French Engineer and motor car manufacturer

  • Clark, Roy
    — Country-Western star

  • Clark, Thomas C.
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Clark, William
    — American explorer (with another Mason, Meriwether Lewis)

  • Clarke, John H.
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Clemens, Samuel L.
    — Mark Twain — writer

  • Clinton, De Witt
    — Mayor of New York City, Governor of New York, and presidential candidate, he also served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New York.

  • Clinton, George
    — Third vice president of the United States.

  • Cobb, Ty
    — Baseball Player

  • Cody, "Buffalo Bill" William
    — Indian fighter, Wild West Show

  • Cohan, George M.
    — Broadway star

  • Cole, Nat "King"
    — Great ballad singer

  • Collodi, Carlo
    — Author of "Pinocchio"

  • Colt, Samuel
    — Firearms inventor

  • Combs, Earle Bryan
    — Baseball Hall of Fame

  • Cooper, Gordon
    — Astronaut

  • Crockett, David
    — American frontiersman and Congressman. Remember the Alamo!

  • Cushing, William
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • DeMille, Cecil B.
    — Movie director

  • Dempsey, Jack
    — Sports

  • Desaguliers, John Theophilus
    — Inventor of the planetarium

  • Devanter, Willis Van
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Diefenbaker, John G.
    — Prime Minister of Canada 1957-63

  • Dole, Robert
    — U.S. Senator

  • Doolittle, General James
    — Famous Army Air Corps Pilot

  • Douglas, William O.
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Dow, William H.
    — Dow Chemical Co.

  • Doyle, Sir Author Conan
    — Writer, "Sherlock Holmes"

  • Drake, Edwin L
    — American Pioneer of the Oil industry

  • DuBois, W.E.B.
    — Educator/scholar

  • Dunant, Jean Henri
    — Founder of the Red Cross

  • Ebbets, Charles
    — Baseball Owner, Ebbets Field

  • Edward VII
    — King of England

  • Edward VIII
    — King of England who abdicated the throne

  • Ellery, William
    — One of nine Masonic signers of the Declaration of Independance

  • Ellington, Duke
    — Composer, Arranger and Stylist

  • Ellsworth, Oliver
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Elway, John
    — Football Player Denver Broncos

  • Evans, Bob
    — Founder of "Bob Evans" restaurants.

  • Evers, Medger Wiley
    — Civil rights leader

  • Ervin, Samuel J., Jr.
    — U. S. Senator, headed "Watergate" committee

  • Faber, Eberhard
    — Head of the famous Eberhard Faber Pencil Company

  • Fairbanks, Douglas
    — Silent film actor

  • Field, Stephen J.
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Fields, W.C.
    — Actor

  • Fisher, Geoffrey
    — Archbishop of Canterbury 1945-1961

  • Fitch, John
    — Inventor of the Steamboat

  • Fleming, Sir Alexander
    — Discovered penicillin

  • Ford, Gerald R.
    — President of the U.S.

  • Ford, Henry
    — Pioneer Automobile Manufacturer

  • Forten, James
    — Abolitionist/manufacturer

  • Fortune, Timothy Thomas
    — Journalist

  • Franklin, Benjamin
    — Inventor, ambassador, newspaperman, and signer of Constitution of the U.S.

  • Freeman, Orville
    — Former governor of Minnesota and secretary of U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

  • Gable, Clark
    — Actor

  • Garfield, James A.
    — President of the U.S.

  • Garibaldi, Giuseppe
    — Italian freedom fighter

  • Gatling, Richard J.
    — Built the "Gatling Gun"

  • George VI
    — King of England during World War II

  • Gibbon, Edward
    — Author of "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire"

  • Gilbert, Sir William S.
    — Was the libretist for "Pirates of Penzance"

  • Gillette, King C.
    — Gillette Razor Co.

  • Glenn, John H.
    — First American to orbit the earth, U.S. Senator

  • Godfrey, Arthur
    — Radio and early televison personality

  • Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von
    — German poet, playwright, and scientist

  • Goldwater, Barry
    — Former U.S. Senator, presidential candidate

  • Gompers, Samuel
    — Founder American Federation of Labor

  • Grassley, Charles
    — U.S. Senator

  • Gray, Harold Lincoln
    — Creator of "Little Orphan Annie"

  • Griffeth, David W.
    — Movie director

  • Gris, Juan
    — Spanish artist of the "Synthetic Cubism" school

  • Grissom, Virgil
    — Astronaut

  • Grock
    — Swiss circus clown

  • Groat, Richard
    — Athlete, played for St. Louis Cardinals, Duke University basketball team

  • Guillotin, Joseph Ignace
    — Inventor of the "Guillotine"

  • Hall, Prince
    — First black American Freemason

  • Hampton, Lionel
    — Orchestra leader/composer

  • Hancock, John
    — One of nine Masonic signers of Declaration of Independance

  • Handel, George Fredrick
    — Composer

  • Handy, William C.
    — Composer "Father of the Blues"

  • Harding, Warren G.
    — President of the U.S.

  • Hardy, Oliver
    — Actor — Comedian

  • Harlan, John M.
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Harvey, Paul
    — Radio personality

  • Hatfield, Mark
    — U.S. Senator

  • Hawkins, Augustus F.
    — U.S. Congressman from California

  • Haydn, Franz Joseph
    — Composer and musician

  • Hedges, Cornelius
    — "Father" of Yellowstone National Park

  • Helms, Jesse
    — U.S. Senator

  • Henry, Patrick
    — American colonial patriot, member of the Continental Congress, he spurred the creation of the Virginia militia with the famous words "Give me liberty or give me death." Later served as the Governor of Virginia.

  • Henson, Josiah
    — Inspired the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin

  • Henson, Matthew
    — Explorer

  • Hilton, Charles C.
    — American hotelier

  • Hoban, James
    — Architect for the U.S. White House

  • Hoe, Richard M.
    — Invented the rotary press, revolutionizing newspaper printing

  • Hollings, Ernest
    — U.S. Senator

  • Hooks, Benjamin L.
    — Former Executive Director NAACP

  • Hoover, Frank
    — Vacuum cleaner fame

  • Hoover, J. Edgar
    — First Director of FBI

  • Hornsby, Rogers
    — An original member of the Baseball Hall of Fame

  • Houdini, Harry
    — Magician

  • Houston, Sam
    — Second and fourth president of the Republic of Texas

  • Humphrey, Hubert H.
    — Vice president of the U.S.

  • Irvin Tommy
    — Georgia's Commissioner of Agriculture and the state's longest serving official, he is also a Past Grand Master

  • Irwin, Jim
    — Astronaut

  • Ives, Burl
    — Singer and musician

  • Jackson, Andrew
    — President of the U.S.

  • Jackson, Rev. Jesse
    — Politician

  • Jackson, Robert H.
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • James, Daniel "Chappie"
    — General U.S. Air Force

  • Jenner, Edward
    — Inventor of smallpox vaccine

  • Johnson, Andrew
    — President of the U.S.

  • Johnson, John A. "Jack"
    — Heavyweight boxing tiltle holder, 1908-1915

  • Johnson, John H.
    — Publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines

  • Johnston, J. Bennett, Jr.
    — U.S. Senator

  • Jolson, Al
    — Acted in the first "talking picture," The Jazz Singer

  • Jones, Anson
    — Fifth president of the Republic of Texas

  • Jones, John Paul
    — Naval Commander

  • Jones, Melvin
    — One of the founders of the Lions International

  • Keaton, Buster
    — Movie pioneer

  • Kemp, Jack
    — Former U.S. Congressman, pro football player

  • Kern, Jerome
    — Composer

  • Key, Francis Scott
    — Wrote U.S. National Anthem

  • Kipling, Rudyard
    — Writer

  • Knox, Henry
    — Revolutionary War General

  • Lafayette, Marquis de
    — Supporter of American Freedom

  • LaGuardia, Fiorello H.
    — Diplomat and 3-time New York City Mayor

  • Lake, Simon
    — Built first submarine successful in open sea

  • Lamar, Joseph E.
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Lamar, Mirabeau B.
    — Third president of the Republic of Texas

  • Land, Frank S.
    — Founder of the Order of DeMolay

  • Lemon, Mark
    — Founder of Punch, humorous British magazine

  • Lewis, Meriwether
    — Explorer

  • Lincoln, Elmo
    — First actor to play Tarzan of the Apes (1918)

  • Lindbergh, Charles
    — Aviator

  • Lipton, Sir Thomas
    — Found of Lipson Tea Company

  • Livingston, Robert
    — Co-negotiator for purchase of Louisiana Territory

  • Lloyd, Harold C.
    — Entertainer

  • Lott, Trent
    — U.S. Senator

  • MacArthur, General Douglas
    — Commander of Armed Forces in Philipines

  • MacDonald, Sir John A.
    — Prime Minister of Canada 1867-73 & 1878-91

  • Marshall, James W.
    — Discovered Gold at Sutter's Mill California 1848

  • Marshall, John
    — Chief Justice U.S. Supreme Court 1801-1835

  • Marshall, Thurgood
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Mathews, Stanley
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Mayer, Louis B.
    — Film producer, formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

  • Mayo, Dr. William and Charles
    — Began Mayo Clinic

  • Mays, Benjamin
    — Educator/former president Atlanta University

  • Maytag, Fredrick
    — Maytag

  • McKinley, William
    — President of the U.S.

  • Menninger, Karl A.
    — Psychiatrist famous for treating mental illness

  • Mellon, Andrew
    — American industrialis, banker and philanthropist

  • Mesmer, Franz Anton
    — Practiced Mesmerism which led to Hypnotism

  • Metcalfe, Ralph H.
    — Olympic champion

  • Michelson, Albert Abraham
    — Successfully measured the speed of light in 1882

  • Miller, Glenn
    — Musician

  • Minton, Sherman
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Mix, Tom
    — U.S. Marshal turned actor, starred in over 400 western films

  • Monroe, James
    — President of the U.S.

  • Montgolfier, Jacques Etienne
    — Co-developer of the first practical hot-air balloon

  • Montgolfier, Joseph Michel
    — Co-developer of the first practical hot-air balloon

  • Moody, William H.
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
    — Composer

  • Murphy, Audie
    — Most decorated American Soldier of WWII, Actor

  • Naismith, James
    — Inventor of Basketball

  • Nash, Charles
    — Automobile industry

  • Nelson, Samuel
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • New, Harry S.
    — Postmaster General who established Airmail

  • Newton, Joseph Fort
    — Christian Minister

  • Nunn, Sam
    — U.S. Senator

  • Olds, Ransom E.
    — American automobile pioneer

  • Otis, James
    — Famous for "Taxation without Representation is Tyranny"

  • Palmer, Arnold
    — Golf Pro

  • Papst, Charles F.
    — Coined the term "Athlete's Foot"

  • Paterson, William
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Peale, Norman Vincent
    — Founder of "Guidepost" magazine; author "The Power of Positive Thinking"

  • Peary, Robert E.
    — First man to reach the North Pole (1909)

  • Penney, James C.
    — Retailer

  • Pershing, John Joseph
    — Decorated American Soldier

  • Pike, Albert
    — Pioneer, explorer, Confederate General, he re-wrote the rituals of the US Southern Masonic jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite Bodies, as well as the Masonic treatise "Morals and Dogma."

  • Pike, Zebulon M.
    — Discovered the great peak that bears his name. He was killed in action at Toronto during the War of 1812.

  • Pitney, Mahlon
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Poinsett, Joel R.
    — U.S. Minister to Mexico who developed the flower: Poinsettia

  • Polk, James Knox
    — President of the U.S.

  • Pound, Roscoe
    — Former Dean, Harvard Law School

  • Pryor, Richard
    — Actor, comedian

  • Pullman, George
    — Built first sleeping car for trains.

  • Pushkin, Aleksander
    — Russian Poet

  • Rangel, Charles B.
    — U.S. Congressman, New York

  • Randolph, A. Phillip
    — Founder and first president of International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters

  • Retief, Piet
    — Afrikaans leader and and one of the founders of the South African nation

  • Reed, Stanley F.
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Revere, Paul
    — American silversmith, engraver and Revolutionary hero who on April 18, 1775 made his famous ride to warn "The British are coming!" as celebrated in a poem by Longfellow. Revere was a Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

  • Rhodes, Cecil
    — "Rhodes Scholarship"

  • Richards, Michael
    — Actor-comedian "Kramer" on Seinfeld

  • Rickenbacker, Eddie
    — Great American Army Air Corps "Ace"

  • Rickey, Branch
    — Baseball legend

  • Ringling Brothers
    — All seven brothers and their father were Masons.

  • Robinson, Sugar Ray
    — American boxer

  • Rodgers, Jimmie
    — Entertainer

  • Rogers, Roy
    — American cowboy and screen star

  • Rogers, Will
    — Actor

  • Ross, Edmund G.
    — U.S. Senator who cast the one impartial vote of "Not Guilty" thus saving President (and Brother) Andrew Johnson from impeachment.

  • Roosevelt, Franklin D.
    — President of the U.S.

  • Roosevelt, Theodore
    — President of the U.S.

  • Rush, Benjamin
    — One of nine Masonic signers of the Declaration of Independance

  • Russell, Richard B.
    — U.S. Senator from Georgia and member of the "Warren Commission" that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy.

  • Rutledge, Wiley B.
    — Supreme Court Chief Justice

  • Salten, Felix
    — Creator of Bambi

  • Sanders, Harland "Colonel"
    — Founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants

  • Sarnoff, David
    — Father of T.V.

  • Savalas, Telly
    — Actor

  • Sax, Antoine Joseph
    — Invented the Saxophone (1846)

  • Schoonover, George
    — Founder of "The Builder"

  • Schirra, Wally
    — Astronaut

  • Scott, Sir Walter
    — Writer

  • Sellers, Peter
    — Actor

  • Service, Robert
    — Canadian Poet

  • Sexson, W. Mark
    — Founder of Rainbow Girls, Masonic historian, author, and researcher

  • Sibelius, Jean
    — Composer (Finland)

  • Simpson, Alan
    — U.S. Senator

  • Skelton, Red
    — Entertainer

  • Smith, John Stafford
    — Wrote the music that became the U.S. National Anthem

  • Smith, Joseph
    — Founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons

  • Sousa, John Philip
    — Led the U.S. Marine Band from 1880-1892

  • Stanford, Leland
    — Railroad magnate & founder of Stanford University

  • Starr, Bart
    — Football legend

  • Stassen, Harold
    — Statesman, sole surviving signer of the United Nations Charter

  • Stewart, Potter
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Still, Andrew T.
    — American Physician who devised osteopathy treatment

  • Stokes, Carl B.
    — Former mayor, Cleveland, Ohio

  • Stokes, Louis
    — U.S. Congressman from Ohio

  • Stratton, Charles "Tom Thumb"
    — Entertainer

  • Swayne, Noah H.
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Swift, Johathan
    — Author of Gulliver's Travels

  • Taft, William Howard
    — President of the U.S. & Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (only man to ever head these two branches of U.S. government)

  • Teets, John W.
    — Chairman and president of Dial Corporation

  • Tetau, Max
    — French Doctor who presided over Homoeopathia Universalis

  • Thomas, Craig
    — U.S. Senator

  • Thomas, Danny
    — Entertainer, founder of St. Jude's Children's Hospital

  • Thomas, Dave
    — Founder of Wendy's restaurants. The hamburgers at Wendy's are square as a reminder of Dave's motto: "Never cut corners."

  • Thomas, Lowell
    — Brought Lawrence of Arabia to public notice

  • Thompson, Tommy
    — Governor of Wisconsin

  • Thurmond, Strom
    — U.S. Senator

  • Tillis, Mel
    — Musician

  • Tirpitz, Alfred Von
    — German Naval officer responsible for submarine warfare

  • Todd, Thomas
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Tolstoi, Leo
    — Author

  • Travis, Colonel William B.
    — Alamo

  • Trimble, Robert
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Truman, Harry S
    — President of the U.S.

  • Vinson, Frederick M.
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Voltaire
    — French writer and philosopher

  • Wadlow, Robert Pershing
    — Tallest human on record being almost nine feet tall

  • Wagner, Honus
    — Baseball legend

  • Wallace, George C.
    — Former Alabama governor and presidential candidate who was nearly assasinated

  • Wallace, Lewis
    — Wrote "Ben Hur"

  • Wallenda, Enrico
    — Circus legend

  • Waner, Lloyd
    — Baseball Hall of Fame member from Pittsburgh

  • Waner, Paul
    — "Big Paul" Baseball Hall of Fame member from Pittsburgh

  • Warner, Jack
    — Founder of Warner Brothers Studios

  • Warren, Earl
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Warren, Joseph
    — Revolutionary War General, "Martyr of Bunker Hill"

  • Washington, Booker T.
    — Educator and author

  • Washington, George
    — First president of U.S.

  • Wayne, John
    — Actor

  • Webb, Matthew
    — First man to swim the English Channel (1875)

  • Wells, H. G.
    — Author

  • Whiteman, Paul
    — "King of Jazz"

  • Williams, Egbert Austin "Bert"
    — Actor, comedian

  • Williamson, Harry A.
    — Author/Masonic historian

  • Woodbury, Levi
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Woods, William B.
    — Supreme Court Justice

  • Wyler, William
    — Director of "Ben Hur"

  • Wynn, Ed
    — Actor

  • Young, Andrew
    — Former mayor of Atlanta, Ga.

  • Zanuck, Darryl F.
    — Co-founder of 20th Century Productions in 1933

  • Ziegfeld, Florenz
    — His Ziegfeld Follies began in 1907

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Children of the Revolution

I found this post dated November 9, 2005 on a blog called "Creeping Towards Normal." It relates discussions between the parent of a sick child at a Shriners Hospital and various Shriner volunteers at the hospital.
Dateline: Yesterday. We are at the Hospital.

Technically, we are on the "Clinic" side of the building; the area where we spend most of our time here is comprised of exam rooms, x-ray, the cast room, Orthotics and prosthetics, and physical therapy next door. Medical records is over here. Counseling, next to Family & Patient Services. And, of course, the waiting rooms.

The whole place is bustling; there is a cheerful hum to the whole building. Kids are everywhere, laughing, playing, running, watching Disney movies on the big TV in the corner. Mostly moms today, although the occasional father or grandfather is present. The Shriners walk the waiting rooms, the hallways, and the common room like giant friendly bears — giving out hugs to children who run headlong into their open arms. Each of the Shriners has on that trademark fez; the letters sparkle, and the long silky black tassel sways as the owner walks. Most of the Shriners here are older, retired; almost all of them are grandfathers now, several are great-grandfathers. They sit next to me, and chat; we talk about Twinkle, about The Wrench, about their wives, their kids, their grandbabies. And, we talk about how badly this fraternity, this loyal, dedicated group of men needs new recruits.

They don't understand — why young men aren't joining, and why the men who have joined don't come to the meetings, don't march in the parades, don't drive the vans to the Hospitals. They are from an era where everyone was infused with A Greater Purpose. These are the men of Tom Brokaw's "Greatest Generation." And so, they don't understand. They lament the fact that their sons and grandsons can't be bothered to take the necessary steps to become a Mason, and then a Shriner. They ponder the notion that unless something changes, the Shriners will be nearly non-existent in a decade or two. They worry that there will be no one to raise money to keep these Hospitals going — let alone anyone to drive the children there and back again.

They want to know what they can do to convince these men, these good men that they know are out there, to join them.

I don't have any easy answers for them. They are curious about my "group," my generation. They want to know what how to make this fraternity more appealing to men of my age. They believe that they are missing something; that someone, somewhere has a magic key that will unlock the answer.

But it is difficult for them to understand. These are the men of my father's time; their word is their bond. They grew up trusting their government, their church, and their neighbors. By contrast, my peers and I are children of the revolution. We were born just as JFK took office, and our mothers were at home all day to do the vacuuming, while our fathers went to work in cars that sported huge fins, massive amounts of chrome, and good old American Iron under the hood. It was our older brothers and sisters, the ones who became hippies and flower children and who marched and protested — they were the ones that taught us not to trust. Not to believe in our government. Not to believe anything that anyone over the age of 35 said. Now that we have passed that mark ourselves, we seem to find it hard to place our faith too directly, too deeply.

And so we grew up without a moral compass. Without direction, without meaning, without really being able to commit to much of anything. We are the cowering bunch of ninnies in the corner — trapped between June Cleaver and the bra-burners. We wanted our world to be like "Father Knows Best," and instead got the riots in Watts. We are the generation that fell through the cracks; neither Ozzie and Harriet, nor Sonny and Cher. Not even Ozzy and Sharon.

We were babies and toddlers when Camelot died; we were kids and pre-teens when Nixon resigned. We watched, not fully comprehending as Watergate and Vietnam unfolded on our parents console television sets. We left home for college just as disco became the "in" thing, and as we swayed under the multi-colored pulsing lights, we wondered just what it meant to be a "real" grownup.

It's not that we didn't have good role models. They just got lost in all the noise of the '60s, and we couldn't find them.

But these "lifelong" commitments to a group, a cause, a brotherhood — they seem to be out of reach for so many of us. It isn't that we don't want to. We want the stability, we crave the deep friendships. But we grew up believing that we weren't supposed to do this — we were supposed to rail against everything our parents stood for.

No one told us that we should stop, and start acting like adults.

And, if we don't act like adults, how can we ever expect our own children to grow up and take responsibility for anything?

And therein lies the root of the problem. My generation is so busy avoiding adulthood that we have failed to insure a future for our children, in many ways. Because we still want to be children ourselves, we let the responsibility for the things we take for granted fall to others. As our parents generation ages, the number of those willing to volunteer, to give of themselves, to act selflessly seems to be dwindling at an alarming rate.

Answers? I wish I had them for these men who have devoted themselves to this incredible philanthropy. I can only hope and pray that the men of my generation wake up and "get it" before it's too late. Before the Hospitals have to close because no one wants to march in the parades, and the vans come in off of the roads, because there are no Shriners left to drive them. Twinks will be long gone from the Hospital system by the time that happens, but I worry about the thousands of children not yet born.

Sometimes it's not just a Generation "Gap." Sometimes it's a wide, yawning chasm.
Shriners Hospitals for Children spend about $1.6 million per day providing world-class medical care to children at absolutely no charge. Since opening their doors in 1922, more than 700,000 children with orthopaedic conditions, burns and spinal cord injuries have been helped by Shriners Hospitals.

Shriners Hospitals rely on the generosity of many, both Shriners and friends alike, for the funding needed to continue operating this extraordinary hospital network. Many have even called Shriners Hospitals the “World’s Greatest Philanthropy.”

To learn more about Shriners Hospitals for Children, or to make a donation, visit the Shriners Hospitals for Children website.

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