Freemasonry seems to have an enduring fascination to the media, especially to the print media. There is hardly a day that goes by without a least one story about Freemasonry appearing in a newspaper somewhere in the world. The reports range from grossly inaccurate to sympathetic. Here we shall post some of the press material about Freemasonry so that you can read for yourself the wide range of stories that are written about the Craft. It is not possible to give every single press report that is 'out there' - that would require a huge website devoted to that subject alone (that is a great idea but who is going to do it? - Ed.) The Grand Lodge can only provide some typical examples of what the press has to say about us especially here in Scotland. The opportunity will be taken to reproduce stories that have a Masonic connection. The Masonic dimension will be explained if this is not made clear in the item.

A letter to The Courier claims that Freemasons are biased in favour of each other

Sir, - I would like to thank John S. Gove (March 4) for his testimonial confirming my view that masons do help their brethren in trouble. When people are in court, they are usually in trouble.

Brian Lawrence (March 3), however, says I am mistaken in believing that Freemasons belong to a secret society. Rather he says it is "allegory and mystery."

Leaving aside what is a matter of opinion, he states that Freemasonry places no demands on their members other than to be good citizens. That is not what Anderson's Constitution says.

These ancient masonic rules drawn up by Dr James Anderson of Aberdeen in 1723 are read out at the initiation of brethren and are specific in what they demand. In Section VI, Behaviour towards a strange brother, they demand that a mason must, "prefer a poor brother, that is a good man and true, before any other poor people in the same circumstance".

I would have thought this is a perfect definition of positive bias towards masons over the rest of us.

As for Mr Lawrence's claim that masonic judges would go against this basic tenet of their craft, the newspapers are hardly bursting with stories of judges and sheriffs standing down for this reason.

That is what one would expect given the prevalence of Freemasonry in Scotland, which one Past Master Mason of Scotland believed to be "part of the warp and weft of public life in Scotland".

Tom Minogue.
94 Victoria Terrace,

The above letter was reproduced in The Courier's Online edition and the Grand Lodge of Scotland replied on 10 March. It has recently been noticed that the letter and the reply by Grand Lodge are no longer on the Courier's web site. Mt Minogue's letter is therefore reproduced above and Grand Lodge's reply is provided below.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I read with interest Mr Minogue’s opinions as to Freemasonry.

Material published 288 years ago is cited as proof that Freemasons today are biased in favour of other Freemasons. The fact that this was not produced for use in Scotland is not mentioned.

That aside, claims are made for which no evidence is provided. How many judges have been disciplined or lost their position for Masonic bias? None. How many people have been charged with a crime because they are Freemasons. None.

Under the previous government "a rule was introduced saying that anyone who was made a judge or a magistrate had to declare whether or not they were a mason[Freemason]". This requirement was not applied to Scotland but it is important to know what happened later. On 5 November 2009 the then Justice secretary and lord chancellor, Jack Straw, cancelled that rule because in the 12 years it had been in force from 1997 there had been "no findings of impropriety in the conduct of the judiciary arising from membership of individual members of the judiciary of the freemasons".

Finally, on the matter of being a secret society, a superior court recently concluded that Freemasonry was not a secret society and compared it to a trade union or a political party.

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