The new Dan Brown book, The Lost Symbol, has generated some renewed interest in the media in our Gentle Craft. In addition to my appearance on the WCCO Television News segment,, "Good Question," National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" did a story on Masonry that you can find here.
In that segment, S. Brent Morris explains to NPR reporter Robert Siegel that Freemasonry is not a religion. When the group was organized in 1717 from a stonemason's guild, Morris explained, its members adopted the radical proposition that men of different faiths can agree on God's existence. "They can agree that God compels them to do good in the community, and then they can stop talking about religion," said Morris.
That is one of the beauties of our fraternity in this day of insular and fractured community, where it's "my way or nothing." Freemasonry teaches that we must be tolerant and respectful of another's well-formed beliefs. We must defend each other's rights to believe and worship as we see fit.
Thus we fulfill the three modern tenets of Masonry as set forth in the Grand Lodge of Minnesota's vision statment: Political Freedom (as set forth in our country's founding documents - Freedom of Religion), Personal Integrity (to walk as just and upright men, where there is no room for disparaging a Brother's religious beliefs) as well as Religious Toleration.