Religious intolerants will sometimes charge that Jesus is excluded from Freemasonry. This arises from the specific exclusion of religious and/or political matters within the Lodge, knowing that they often become a cause of dissent and division. The person making the charge may thus conclude that because they cannot 'witness' (preach, proselytize, whatever), Jesus has been excluded. Nothing could be further from the truth and, in fact, the open Bible upon the altar of lodges is most often a King James Version despite the presence of Masons who are Muslims, Jews and a variety of other faiths. Each Mason recognizes that the Bible is 'representative' of his own Holy Book - and each Mason recognizes that when the Chaplain offers a prayer aloud, it is certainly acceptable that he offer one of his own faith and manner in the privacy of his own devotion.
Some religious intolerants will argue that all prayers must be offered in the name of Jesus, failing to recognize two basic points:
1) no one prohibits them from doing exactly that! The Chaplain of the Lodge offers a prayer which will be acceptable to those of all faiths who are present. However there is nothing to prevent an individual member from adding to it mentally.
2) that - if they are theologically true to their beliefs - God and Jesus are one and the same so a prayer offered to God would, in effect, be offered to Jesus as well.
Arguing that Jesus is "left out" when a prayer is offered to God whom Trinitarian Christians would argue is one and the same as Jesus to be somewhat disingenuous.
Some religious intolerants also argue that the lodge format precludes their ability to 'witness' to others. They fail to recognize, however, that this is no different than a meeting of the local city council or the stockholders of a corporation. Proselytizing and preaching would be just as out of place there and although a precious few zealots would do so nevertheless, their activities would be quickly squelched.
It has nothing to do with a disdain for religion --
It has nothing to do with 'excluding Jesus' --
Masons gather together for a non-religious purpose; interjection of religion, therefore, is inappropriate.
No Mason is ever precluded from following his own religious tenets, however, and each has obligated himself to owe his first allegiance to God - and only thereafter (following his family and his neighbors) to the Fraternity.
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