Thursday, March 27, 2008

Scottish Rite Temple (Again?!)

Scottish Rite Temple: Human progress; liberty of thought;
freedom of conscience; and the guarantee of equal rights--
the cause, wish, mission, and goals of the Freemasons

2800 16th Street NW is the location for the Scottish Rite Temple in D.C....

Whoa! Wait a minute. Haven't we seen a Scottish Rite building already on 16th Street? Yep, we have. The previous building--Scottish Rite 33' Supreme Council--is the national headquarters for the Scottish Rite in the U.S. This building is, as best I can ascertain, the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia.

There are two lines of Freemasonry: Scottish Rite and York Rite. In the former, members must profess a belief in a divine being. As a result, Scottish Rite Masons represent a broad range of religions among their members. I'm told that in Springfield, Virginia, a Scottish Rite lodge has inducted a Sikh into its ranks. The Scottish Rite consists of 33 degrees, while the York Rite has 12. In the former, the story of the rite extends back into the Old Testament of the Bible and the building of King Solomon's Temple.

In the York Rite, members are required to confess a belief in God and Jesus Christ. Members of this rite also make up the Knights Templar, the Knights of Malta, and several other knightly orders. The story of the York Rite incorporates the New Testament of the Bible and is specifically Christian in its focus. (Update on 03.27.08: Please see a correction in the comment section of this entry regarding the York Rite. My thanks to Just A Mason for clarification.)

In the U.S., Freemasons are heavily engaged in charitable work in their communities. According to The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry, Masons spend over $2 million per day in philanthropy. A lot of their philanthropic activity is embodied in groups like the Shriners--those dudes in the funny hats driving clown cars in parades and civic events all over the country.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 2/08


Anonymous said...

Just a note that it's incorrect one has to be a Christian to join the York Rite.
One has to be a Christian to join the Knights Templar in some parts of the world, but the other main bodies of the York Rite (the Royal Arch Chapter and Cryptic Rite Council) have nothing to do with Christianity and are open to any Master Mason.

D.C. Confidential said...

Just a Mason: Thank you for that clarification! I misunderstood that in the tours I've taken at the Masonic Memorial in Alexandria and the little bit of reading I've done to date.

By the way--I find your blog fascinating, particularly the question you were asked about preparation by one of your guys waiting to be inducted into the First Degree. I'm a sociologist of religion by academic training and wrote my master's thesis on the effect of participation in religious ritual in the lives of young adults. Part of my thesis covered how preparation played a pivotal role in the overall experience.

I'm bookmarking your blog for future reading. Thank you for stopping by!