Friday, February 8, 2013

Superbowls, Mercedes Benz, and Hitler - a history of Anti-masonry

I thought for a while before adding my voice to the chorus of my fellow masonic bloggers offering objections to the by now infamous Super Bowl ad for Mercedes Benz which placed a masonic ring on Satan's finger. This was not because I was insufficiently outraged by the way in which Mercedes Benz so easily took up an old Nazi tactic of defaming Freemasonry, but because I wanted to add something new to the discussion rather than simply repeating what was already being so effectively stated by my friends and fellow masons. In casting about for something to write about, I landed upon Bro. Cooper's book, "The Red Triangle." Robert Cooper, of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, was it has been suggested, was inspired to write this book out of outrage over the abuse of the Craft after the Dunblane Massacre in Scotland. The English and Scottish Media suggested, incorrectly as it turns out, that the perpetrator was associated with Freemasonry.  In spite of Bro. Cooper's book, Freemasonry continues to be low hanging fruit for a sensationalist press culture which most recently presented dramatic scandals as a result of the criminal activities of the Rupert Murdoch investigations.

In the United States, Freemasonry managed to avoid persecution in the 20th Century, although in nearby Mexico, right wing anti-masonic activity did occur during WWII. The Nazis claimed that high degree Masons were willing members of "the Jewish conspiracy" and that Freemasonry was one of the causes of Germany's loss of the First World War. In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler wrote that Freemasonry has been infiltrated by Jewish instigators and had become an "excellent instrument" to fight for their goals and to use their connections and influence to involve the upper classes in their imagined plots. 

Anti-masonic Hoodie
To those who are eager to dismiss references to the Nazi's, which admittedly are abused as a comparison by our politicians, let me quote a 1994 article by Paul Bessell ( ) where he notes that even within the last 20 years, powerful individuals in the United States have targeted Freemasonry as dangerous or anti-social, or even totally evil:

"In 1991 Pat Robertson, who has a good deal of influence in the United States, published The New World Order. In that book he attempted to exonerate individual Masons, but condemned "the Masonic connection" with phrases such as Masonic power, dark side, international conspiracy, occult, Rothschilds, Jews, wealth, secret society, and world power. Others also attack Masonry today as allegedly promoting devil worship, leading religious men away from the "right" way to find God, or being inconsistent with the religious beliefs of certain denominations. These people who attack Masonry with exaggerated language, and without accepting reasonable explanations of what Freemasonry really is, would probably say that their use of language about Masonry that is strikingly similar to that which was used by the Nazis and other vicious attackers of Freemasonry in the past does not mean that they are following in the footsteps of the Nazis. But certainly fair people would understand that those who have suffered so much persecution and death at the hands of people who used this type of language would rightly be very frightened to see it being used in America in the 1990's. It is difficult to believe that the lessons of such a recent past may already be forgotten."

Robert L.D. Cooper
Ironically, as Bro. Cooper points out, an institution which has contributed so much to the positive innovations of the modern world democracy, science, and humanitarian principles, continues to be targeted. It makes sense when you realize those who slander Freemasonry are those who oppose a more liberal and free society. 

Today, in Europe, Freemasonry is experiencing fresh growth in countries where it had been repressed such as Spain and Romania, where totalitarian regimes had banned Freemasonry for decades. With the end of the Franco regime in Spain and the fall of Communism in Romania, and elsewhere, Freemasonry has begun an enthusiastic revival.

If there is a single message that sounds clearly through the very engaging and passionate writing of Robert Cooper, it is that if Jews throughout the world can rally behind the notion that the horrors of the Holocaust must not be forgotten, Freemasons must be cognizant of their own history of persecution and must not remain silent in the face of such aggression when it occurs today.

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