An order with secret rites, grotesque ceremonies, and fantastic costumes, which,
originating in the reign of Charles II among working artisans in London, has been
joined successively by the dead of past centuries in unbroken retrogression until
now it embraces all the generations of man on the hither side of Adam and is drumming
up distinguished recruits among the pre-
—Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
Many tribal peoples have both all-
Although Masonry is often denounced as either a political or religious "conspiracy,"
Freemasons are forbidden to discuss either politics or religion within the lodge.
Gary Dryfoos of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who maintains the best
Masonic site on the web, always stresses these points and also offers personal testimony
that after many years as a Mason, including high ranks, he has not yet been asked
to engage in pagan or Satanic rituals or to plot for or against any political party.
The only values taught in all Masonic lodges, Dryfoos and other Masons say, are charity,
tolerance, and brotherhood. The more rabid anti-
The enemies of Masonry, who are usually Roman Catholics or Fundamentalist Protestants,
insist that the rites of the order contain "pagan" elements. This is probably true,
but only to the extent that these religions themselves contain "pagan" elements,
e.g., the Yule festival, the Spring Solstice festival, the dead-
The major offense of Masonry to orthodox churches is that it, like the First Amendment, encourages equal tolerance for all religions, and this tends, somewhat, to lessen dogmatic allegiance to any one religion. Those who insist you must accept their dogma fervently and renounce all others as devilish errors, correctly see this Masonic tendency as inimitable to their faith.