Conspiracy theorists have long associated Freemasonry with the New World Order and the Illuminati, and state that Freemasonry as an organisation is either bent on world domination or already secretly in control of world politics. Historically, Freemasonry has attracted criticism - and suppression - from both the politically extreme right (e.g. Nazi Germany) and the extreme left (e.g. the former Communist states in Eastern Europe). The Fraternity has encountered both applause for supposedly founding, and opposition for supposedly thwarting, liberal democracy (such as the United States of America).
Anti-Masonry / Anti-SemitismEdit
In some countries anti-Masonry is often related to anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. For example, In 1980, the Iraqi legal and penal code was changed by Saddam Hussein's ruling Ba'ath Party, making it a felony to "promote or acclaim Zionist principles, including Freemasonry, or who associate themselves with Zionist organisations." Professor Andrew Prescott, of the University of Sheffield, writes: "Since at least the time of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, anti-semitism has gone hand in hand with anti-masonry, so it is not surprising that allegations that 11 September was a Zionist plot have been accompanied by suggestions that the attacks were inspired by a masonic world order."
The Morgan AffairEdit
Freemasonry in the United States faced political pressure following the disappearance of William Morgan in 1826. Reports of the "Morgan Affair", together with opposition to Jacksonian democracy (Jackson was a prominent Mason) helped fuel an Anti-Masonic movement, culminating in the formation of a short lived Anti-Masonic Party which fielded candidates for the Presidential elections of 1828 and 1832.
Even in modern democracies, Freemasonry is still sometimes accused of being a network where individuals engage in cronyism, using their Masonic connections for political influence and shady business dealings. This is officially and explicitly deplored in Freemasonry. It is also charged that men become Freemasons through patronage or that they are offered incentives to join. This is not the case; no one lodge member may control membership in the lodge and in order to start the process of becoming a Freemason, an individual must ask to join the Fraternity "freely and without persuasion."
In Italy, Freemasonry has become linked to a scandal concerning the Propaganda Due Lodge (aka P2). This Lodge was Chartered by the Grande Oriente d'Italia in 1877, as a Lodge for visiting Masons unable to attend their own lodges. Under Licio Gelli’s leadership, in the late 1970s, the P2 Lodge became involved in the financial scandals that nearly bankrupted the Vatican Bank. However, by this time the lodge was operating independently and irregularly; as the Grand Lodge d'Italia had revoked its charter in 1976. By 1982 the scandal became public knowledge and Gelli was formally expelled from Freemasonry.
The Taxil HoaxEdit
Taxil and Freemasonry Edit
Léo Taxil was the pen name of an atheist who had been accused earlier of libel regarding a book he wrote called The Secret Loves of Pius IX. In 1884 Pope Leo XIII published an encyclical, Humanum Genus, that said that the human race was
- separated into two diverse and opposite parts, of which the one steadfastly contends for truth and virtue, the other of those things which are contrary to virtue and to truth. The one is the kingdom of God on earth, namely, the true Church of Jesus Christ ... The other is the kingdom of Satan...
This so-called kingdom was said to be "led on or assisted" by Freemasonry.
After this encyclical, Taxil underwent a public, feigned conversion to Roman Catholicism, and announced his intention of repairing the damage he had done to the true faith.
The first book produced by Taxil after his conversion was a four-volume history of Freemasonry, which contained fictitious eyewitness verifications of their participation in Satanism. With a collaborator who published as "Dr. Karl Hacks," Taxil wrote another book called the Devil in the Nineteenth Century, which introduced a new character "Diana Vaughan," a supposed descendant of the Rosicrucian alchemist Thomas Vaughan. The book contained many implausible tales about her encounters with incarnate demons, one of whom was supposed to have written prophecies on her back with its tail, and another who played the piano in the shape of a crocodile. The character of Diana also extolled the virtues of 'satanic orgies', claiming that Satan had impregnated her with a huge spined phallus.
Diana was supposedly involved in Satanic freemasonry, but was redeemed when one day she professed admiration for Joan of Arc, at whose name the demons were put to flight. As Diana Vaughan, Taxil published a book called Eucharistic Novena, a collection of prayers which were praised by the Pope.
In 1897 Taxil called a press conference at which he claimed he would introduce Diana Vaughan to the press. He instead announced that many of his revelations about the Freemasons were fictitious. He thanked the clergy for their assistance in giving publicity to his wild claims.
The hoax material is still used against Freemasons to this day. Jack Chick publishes such a tract called The Curse of Baphomet.
The Luciferian QuoteEdit
The quote most frequently associated with the Taxil Hoax reads:
- That which we must say to the world is that we worship a god, but it is the god that one adores without superstition. To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, we say this, that you may repeat it to the brethren of the 32nd, 31st and 30th degrees: The masonic Religion should be, by all of us initiates of the higher degrees, maintained in the Purity of the Luciferian doctrine. If Lucifer were not God, would Adonay and his priests calumniate him?
- Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also god. For the eternal law is that there is no light without shade, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black, for the absolute can only exist as two gods; darkness being necessary for light to serve as its foil as the pedestal is necessary to the statue, and the brake to the locomotive...
- Thus, the doctrine of Satanism is a heresy, and the true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay; but Lucifer, God of Light and God of Good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the God of Darkness and Evil.
While this quote was published by Abel Clarin de la Rive in his Woman and Child in Universal Freemasonry, and does not appear in Taxil's writings proper, it is sourced in a footnote to Diana Vaughan, Taxil's creation.
- ↑ Wilkenson, J, Hughes, H S, 1995, Contemporary Europe: A History, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
- ↑ Zierer, O, 1976, Concise History of Great Nations: History of Germany, Leon Amiel Publisher, New York
- ↑ Sands, D R, 2004-07-01, Saddam to be formally charged, The Washington Times, accessed 2006-06-18.
- ↑ Prescott, op. cit., pp. 13-14, 30, 33
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 The United Grand Lodge of England - Home Page
- ↑ King, E L, 2006, P2 Lodge
- ↑ The Confession of Leo Taxil
- ↑ de Hoyos, A, Morris, S B, 1998, Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry?, Masonic Information Center, Maryland.