Category: Freemasonry

EU to hold atheist and freemason summit

Brussels is to hold an EU summit with atheists and freemasons in the autumn, inviting them to a political dialogue parallel to the annual summit the bloc holds with Europe’s religious leaders.

While the EU is a secular body, the three European presidents, of the commission, parliament and EU Council, alongside two commissioners, on Monday met with 24 bishops, chief rabbis, and muftis as well as leaders from the Hindu and Sikh communities. The annual dialogue, which has taken place since 2005, is for the first time this year made legally obligatory under Article 17 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Under pressure from Belgium, which constitutionally protects and financially supports humanist organisations as well as churches, the EU has been forced to hold a mirror-image summit, but of atheists, scheduled for 15 October.

However, in a move that perplexed and annoyed humanist groups, the EU atheist summit will also welcome under the rubric of ‘non-religious groups’, the Freemasons, the secretive fraternal organisation, according to commission spokeswoman Katharina von Schnurbein.

“I find it rather odd,” David Pollock, president of the European Humanist Federation, told EUobserver. “Some of the Grand Lodges are secularist organisations, and strongly for separation of church and state, but they also retain all sorts of gobbledygook and myths such as the Great Architect of the Universe.”

Freemasons hail Dan Brown’s latest novel as “good fun”

Dan Brown The Lost Symbol While the fictional story lines about conspiracy and the Catholic Church in “The Da Vinci Code” caused an uproar among some Catholics and drew censure from the Vatican, a senior representative of the Freemasons in Australia called “The Lost Symbol” the work of a “terrific novelist.”

“We are very pleased, there is nothing in this book that will offend my organization. It does give us the opportunity to open it up a bit,” said Greg Levenston, Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory for the Freemasons.

Court: Masons Religious Group

As such, Masons would fall under the protections of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), the landmark law that says government may not infringe on religious buildings without a compelling interest.

Judge backs Freemasons’ role

The role of Masons in public life won the backing of a High Court judge, who yesterday dismissed claims that the order’s secretive ways made Freemasonry an unhealthy influence on officialdom. Mr Justice Newman accepted that there was still a perception that Freemasonry could give rise to apparent bias in decisionmaking. But he concluded that Masons holding public positions did not need to remove themselves from decisions involving other Masons. The judge said that “Freemasonry is not a religion” and that although members of the order agreed to give “succour” to “brother Masons”, they were subject to the “uncompromising and