This month we celebrate the 220th anniversary of America's Independence. It seems only fitting that we recall the crucial part played by Freemaonry in winning the Revolution and establishing our Republic.
Across the eons of time and out of Western Europe Freemasons came to the shores of an unknown and new world. They brought with them a devotion to Masonry and the Great Truths the craft had learned. The values these men planted on these shores grew into a new nation. A nation based upon revolutionary ideas that would change not only the British Empire but the world. While some Freemason who contributed are known, there are many unsung and unrecognized among America's first patriots. The very nature of the values of Freemasonry explain why so many freemason were committed to the cause that brought forth this nation.
The Encyclopedia Britannica defines Freemasonry as "the teachings and practices of the secret fraternal order of Free and Accepted Masons, the largest worldwide secret society."
While Freemasonry is not a religion and does not attempted to supplant religious institutions, it is founded on faith in God.
Freemasonry is not a political organization and does not seek the control of political institutions, it is concerned with the problems of society.
Freemasonry abhors all forms of tyranny whether over the mind or the spirit of mankind. Yet, it does not advocate armed revolt against civil or ecclesiastical tyrants.
Freemasonry understands clearly that the improvement of mankind and society is dependent upon the activities of good men. Its conviction that each individual is created in the image of God, and is without equivocation the supreme value in this world. It is therefore the individual's duty to live a life full of character and service; and those individuals best equipped are those who accept Masonic truth which enlightens their mind and frees their spirit; and that Masonry is able to impart such truth only to those who seek it.
These Brothers migrating from Western Europe to make homes for themselves in the American wilderness, erecting Masonic altars in this new land so that they might fellowship with their brothers and impart Masonic light to others in quest of it are this nations first real patriots.
The great truths they taught inspired American Freemasons to struggle and win freedom for this land and to be the leaders in making it a constitutional Republic.
Since time immemorial Masonic law has decreed that within a Masonic lodge all Master Masons are equal in respect to rights, benefits and the obligations they owe the Craft and their brothers.
From this Masonic law and tradition it was only a small step to the conviction that all men should stand equal before the law, and that the power of government is derived from the people. The abhorrence of taxation without representation was yet only one additional step. It, however, was a step that would lead to political strife and revolt.
From the old operative guilds of the Middle Ages came the concept of useful work and opportunity to improve one's standing. From this seed came what the world knows as the American free enterprise system.
From ancient times Freemasonry has taught that each owes it to himself, the Craft, and mankind to engage in a never-ending search for light. Once again it is a simple transition to the concept of freedom of thought, speech, press, and the public education of children.
While Freemasonry requires each initiate to confess a belief in a Supreme Being and the immortality of the soul we do not go further. Theocratic in faith and philosophy, freemasonry does not attempt to limit any Brother's conception of the divine. Each is free to fashion his own creed and his own theology. Such teachings and practice are the fabric of the idea of religious liberty. Compelling a man to profess or support religious dogmas he disbelieves is not only sinful it is tyrannical.
For these reasons and others Freemasonry has encountered opposition across the ages and in many lands. They are also the reason why Freemasons were in the forefront of those who resisted the tyrannies of King George and the Parliament. Historians have concluded that 20% of America's Freemasons of the time were enrolled in the Continental Army or the militia of the various states.
All Americans owe a debt of gratitude to Freemasonry. From the alters of Freemasonry, future patriots learned valuable lessons. Lesson that shaped the character and spirit of the patriots who would not wavier in their convictions and won freedom for our land and established for it " a government of the people, by the people, and for the people."
Alva N. Rogers
Transportation Lodge #337
Newport News, VA
Stated - Thursday 11 July 1996