Monday, February 19, 2007

'Voice of America' on Masonic U.S. Presidents

Happy George Washington's Birthday, more commonly known as Presidents Day. I hope you've gone out and bought new linens or mattresses or whatever it is we're supposed to do to celebrate this federal holiday.

Voice of America, the "multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors [which] broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people," celebrates Prez Day by telling us that 14 U.S. presidents were Freemasons.

Though short and to the point, it's actually one of the better "What is Freemasonry?" articles I've seen in the press in recent memory. And it's a pleasure to read an article that doesn't quote the ubiquitous Scottish Rite spokesman and Complete Idiot author Bro. Brent Morris repeating the same tired cliches about Freemasonry. Instead, we are treated to a couple of paragraphs discussing the nature of 18th century founding father Freemasons, who
began to question the Divine origins of the monarchy, and to assert that freedom of conscience and religious freedom were universal rights as well as traditional Masonic values.

Past Masonic Grandmaster and current Masonic leader Richard Fletcher of Vermont says because many of these intellectuals were also American revolutionaries, they were able to influence the way their new republic would work. "Freemasons were deeply involved in the creation of this country because a great underpinning of Freemasonry is the right of people to choose their own leaders, the right of people to think for themselves [and] the right of people to vote," says Fletcher. "We also strongly and firmly believe in public education, the right of the people to learn... That's what the United States became. And in its early history, Freemasons played a very prominent role in this."

That is why, according to Mr. Fletcher, many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were Masons. The masons are so liberally represented among the early presidents.

"You do not have to become a Freemason to become a good president," Fletcher says, "but I believe some of our great presidents have been Freemasons. And I think there is more than coincidence to this. They were men that believed in freedom. They were men that believed in human rights. They were men that believed in education. They were men that believed you could think for yourself. Their highest goal was to serve the nation."
Image: Washington Monument, Mar. 21, 2006

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