The Mason's creed goes further than that. No man, it holds, has any right in any way to interfere with the religious belief of another. It holds that each man is absolutely sovereign as to his own belief, and that belief is a matter absolutely foreign to all who do not entertain the same belief; and that, if there were any right of persecution at all, it would in all cases be a mutual right; because one party has the same right as the other to sit as judge in his own case; and God is the only magistrate that can rightfully decide between them. To that great Judge, Masonry refers the matter; and opening wide its portals, it invites to enter there and live in peace and harmony, the Protestant, the Catholic, the Jew, the Moslem; every man who will lead a truly virtuous and moral life, love his brethren, minister to the sick and distressed, and believe in the ONE, All-Powerful, All-Wise, everywhere-Present GOD, Architect, Creator, and Preserver of all things, by whose universal law of Harmony ever rolls on this universe, the great, vast, infinite circle of successive Death and Live: to whoe INEFFABLE NAME let all true Masons pay profoundest homage!
Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma
This day, December 29, 2009, is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Albert Pike. Pike is an interesting and enigmatic figure, but none can doubt his intellect or the influence his work in Morals and Dogma and in revising the ritual of the Scottish Rite has had on Masonry.
One of the magnets that draws me to Scottish Rite Masonry is that tolerance is a cornerstone of its philosophy. Tonight (Tuesday), I'll be attending a "birthday party" for Brother Pike at the Minneapolis Valley of the Scottish Rite. I expect to blog on that tomorrow!