` State of Israel ` Declaration of Independence ‘ and the United Kingdom ‘

#AceHistory2Research – The state of Israel declared its independence on 14 May 1948. Israel is governed by a democratically elected parliament with a traditionally high participation in elections.

The head of state is the President, elected by parliament to serve a 7 year term, however power tends to lie with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. Over the past 30 years no single party has gained a majority in the 120 seat parliament so Israel has been ruled by a succession of coalitions. Israel has been an associate member of the European Union since 1995 and became a full member of the OECD in 2010.

English: Map of Israel, the Palestinian territ...

English: Map of Israel, the Palestinian territories (West Bank and Gaza Strip), the Golan Heights, and portions of neighbouring countries. Also United Nations deployment areas in countries adjoining Israel or Israeli-held territory, as of January 2004.. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Israel’s armed forces occupied the West Bank, the Syrian Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip (along with the Sinai Peninsula) in 1967.

Israel subsequently withdrew from Sinai in 1982 and from Gaza in 2005, but has formally annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

This has not been recognized by the international community, including the British Government, which considers all territory captured by Israel in 1967 as occupied and the status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as subject to negotiations with the Palestinians.

Business and Human Rights

Israel enjoys a strong entrepreneurial culture which nurtures and develops new ideas, making Israel a technology powerhouse. Israel has a high density of start-ups and many of the major technology companies, such as Google, Microsoft and Motorola, have their R&D centres in Israel. Many factors contribute to the success of Israel’s technology industries including: co-operation between academia and business through university Technology Transfer Offices, the ability to commercialize from the defence industries to the civilian market, an entrepreneurial start-up spirit coupled with a powerful VC community, and a highly skilled and motivated workforce. Israel’s total number of patents granted positions it first place world-wide in patents per capita, and number four in the world in the absolute number of patents approved.

Map of Israeli settlements, in navy blue, in t...

Map of Israeli settlements, in navy blue, in the West Bank (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Settlements

The UK has a clear position on Israeli settlements: The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights are territories which have been occupied by Israel since 1967.

Settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impossible.

We will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties.

There are therefore clear risks related to economic and financial activities in the settlements, and we do not encourage or offer support to such activity. Financial transactions, investments, purchases, procurements as well as other economic activities (including in services like tourism) in Israeli settlements or benefiting Israeli settlements, entail legal and economic risks stemming from the fact that the Israeli settlements, according to international law, are built on occupied land and are not recognised as a legitimate part of Israel’s territory. This may result in disputed titles to the land, water, mineral or other natural resources which might be the subject of purchase or investment.

EU citizens and businesses should also be aware of the potential reputational implications of getting involved in economic and financial activities in settlements, as well as possible abuses of the rights of individuals. Those contemplating any economic or financial involvement in settlements should seek appropriate legal advice.

We understand the concerns of people who do not wish to purchase goods exported from Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  It was in order to enable consumers to make a more fully informed decision concerning the products they buy that, in December 2009, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) introduced voluntary guidelines to enable produce from Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories to be specifically labelled as such.

English: Smuggling Tunnel, Rafah, Gaza Strip

English: Smuggling Tunnel, Rafah, Gaza Strip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Organised Crime

There is very limited evidence of serious organised crime in the West Bank.  There is some evidence of organised vehicle thefts being committed in Israel with the stolen vehicles being recycled in the West Bank, and the associated insurance pay-offs occurring in Israel.

As elsewhere, there is a drugs problem in the West Bank and Gaza. These are generally cannabis based drugs and to a lesser degree ‘designer’ drugs, such as ecstasy, and some harder drugs e.g. cocaine and heroin. This is reflected in the Palestinian prison population, whose drug-related inmate ratio is comparable to Europe.

#AHN2014 

 

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` Treasure Hunter turns ` Canadian History ‘on its head by finding 16th Century Shilling ‘

#AceHistoryNews say an amateur treasure hunter with a hand-held metal detector has turned Canadian history on its head after finding a 16th century shilling buried in clay on the shores of Vancouver Island.

Coat of arms of Victoria

Coat of arms of Victoria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 435-year-old coin discovered in western-most Canada has rekindled a theory that a British explorer made a secret voyage here two centuries before it was discovered by Spanish sailors.

Official historical records show the Spanish were the first Europeans to set foot in what is now Canada’s British Columbia province in 1774, followed four years later by British Royal Navy Captain James Cook.

Retired security systems installer Bruce Campbell found the coin in mid-December, along with a rare 1891 Canadian nickel, a 1960’s dime and penny from 1900.

“I was getting fat and tired of watching TV,” he said about what got him into his hobby, surrounded in his Victoria, British Columbia home by a trove of adventure novels and a few dug up treasures.

He never imagined, he said, stirring up controversy with his latest find.

According to conspiracy theorists and some historians, the silver coin (produced between 1551 and 1553) is evidence that English explorer Sir Francis Drake travelled as far north as Canada’s Pacific Coast during an expedition to California in 1579, in search of the famed Northwest Passage.

But he covered it up at the behest of Queen Elizabeth I, who supposedly wished to avoid confrontation over the new territory with Spain.

AFP

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“Freemasonry and its Christian Roots”

What Is Freemasonry?

and

Freemasonry Research Links

Can someone simultaneously be a Mason and a Christian?

 Let’s find out…

freemason-1Freemasonry is a religion.

“Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion, and its teachings are instructions in … the universal, eternal, immutable religion….” Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike, Washington D.C., 1958, pp. 213, 219.

English: Portrait of Albert Pike.

English: Portrait of Albert Pike. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“[Masonry is] … the custodian and depository (since Enoch) of the great philosophical and religious truths, unknown to the world at large….” Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike, Washington D.C., 1958, p. 210.

“Without this religious element it would scarcely be worthy of cultivation by the wise and good….” An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, by Albert G. Mackey, 1921, pp. 618-619.

“…a worship in which all good men may unite…” by Joseph Newton

“…a religious institution…” by Albert Mackey

“Masonry is the universal religion only because and sl long as it embraces all religions” by J.D. Buck

Freemasonry utilizes deceit to hide the truth from 1st through 29th degree Masons; and Freemasonry’s god is a triune deity called JoaBulOn which stands for Jehovah, Baal, and Osiris.

“Masonry, like all the religions, all the Mysteries, Hermeticism and Alchemy, conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages, or the Elect, and uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve only to be misled; to conceal the Truth, which it calls light, from them…. Truth is not for those that are unworthy….” Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike, Washington D.C., 1958, p 104-105.

“The Blue Degrees are but the outer court…of the Temple. Part of the symbols are displayed there to the [lower] Initiate, but he is intentionally misled by false interpretations. It is not intended that he shall understand them, but it is intended that he shall imagine he understands them.” Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike, Washington D.C., 1958, p. 819.

God is known as “the nameless one of a hundred names.” Henry Wilson Coil, “A Comprehensive View of Freemasonry,” Richmond: Macoy Publishing, 1973, p. 192.

“God is equally present with the pious Hindu in the temple, the Jew in the synagogue, the Mohammedan in the mosque, and the Christian in the church.” Albert Mackey, “Mackey’s Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry,” Richmond: Macoy Publishing, 1966, 1:409-410.

Gob ac

Gob ac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Freemasonry is not Christian. If it’s not Christian, but it is a religion (which Masons have confirmed above), then it by definition conflicts with Christianity. Thus, logically, one can’t simultaneously be a Christian and a Mason.

Freemasonry is not Christianity … it admits men of every creed within its hospitable bosom….”An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, by Albert G. Mackey, 1921, pp. 618-619.

“[Masonry] … sees in Moses … in Confucius and Zoroaster, in Jesus of Nazareth, and in [Mohammed] great teachers of morality and eminent reformers….” Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike, Washington D.C., 1958, pp. 277, 525.

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other Freemasonry vs. Christianity problems:

The secrets of Masonry are protected by the most vile of blood oaths, every one of which is an offence to Jesus.

The name and nature of the Masonic deity is an offense to the one true God. It is taught in the Royal Arch degree that Masonry draws its teachings and powers from three great teachers and Gods. The combined deity is represented as a three-headed god, whose name is JoaBulOn, which stands for Jehovah, Baal, and Osiris. Every time Masons pronounce that name in the Masonic prayer of worship, they have defiled the Holy name of God.

In the Shrine, the initiate swears a terrible binding oath in the name of “Allah, the God of our Fathers.” Mohammed was a false prophet and Allah is a god who has destroyed nation after nation of his followers. The red Fez itself was originally a badge of honor worn only by a Muslim who had actually killed a Christian and dipped his cap in the martyr’s blood.

At the Apron lecture, the Mason is told that the lambskin apron will be his covering at the great white throne judgment of God. The prayer and dedicatory sounds great, but there is only one Great white throne judgment and it is the judgment of the damned (Rev. 20:11).

The Lodge promises godhood through the Lodge, the usurping of Christ‘s Melchizedek Priesthood, the Holy communion of the dead, drinking wine from the carved out top of a human skull, etc.

Characteristics of Orthodox Christianity:

  1. Acceptance of the Bible as the inspired, infallible, authoritative Word of God.
  2. God became flesh in the physical man Jesus.
  3. Christ atoned for man’s sin through his death on the cross.
  4. Christ arose in bodily form from the grave, conquering death and proving he is God.

Galatians 1:6-12; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20,21; Revelations 22:18; Deuteronomy 13:1-10

Freemasonry is incompatible with these 4 characteristics of orthodox Christianity. Therefore one cannot simultaneously be a Mason and a Christian. Christians that are Masons must leave the Lodge and repudiate all oaths or suffer the rejection of Christ and the judgment of God’s Word.

High degrees of Freemasonry

High degrees of Freemasonry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Masonic Doctrine:

Masonic Doctrine on Jesus Christ “Jesus was just a man. He was one of the “exemplars,” one of the great men of the past, but not divine and certainly not the only means of redemption of lost mankind. He was on a level with other great men of the past like Aristotle, Plato, Pythagoras and Mohammed. His life and legend were no different from that of Krishna, the Hindu god. He is “the son of Joseph,” not the Son of God.”

Masonic Doctrine of the Bible “The bible of the Christian is merely one of the “holy books” of man, no better than the Koran, the Hindu scriptures or the books of the Chinese and Greek philosophers. It is not to be taken literally, for its true meaning is esoteric (hidden from all but a small number of “enlightened,” elite leaders); the literal, obvious meaning is only for the ignorant masses. It is right to remove references to Jesus in passages used in the ritual. Masonry, contrary to popular belief, is NOT based upon the Bible. Masonry is actually based on the Kabala (Cabala), a medieval book of magic and mysticism.”

Masonic Doctrine of Prayer “Prayers are to be offered to “Deity,” to “The Great Architect of the Universe” (GAOTU), and are to be “universal” in nature, so as not to offend anyone and so as to apply to everyone. Prayer is NEVER to be made “in Jesus name,” or “in Christ’s name”, to do so would offend a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. If a Worshipful Master allows prayers to be made in Jesus’ name, his lodge can be closed and its charter revoked by the Grand Lodge of his state.”

Masonic Doctrine of God “God is, basically, whatever we perceive Him to be; our idea or concept of God becomes our God. Usually referred to with the vague and general term, “Deity,” the god of Masonry can be the one of our choosing, spoken of generically as “The Great Architect of the Universe.” However, those who pursue the higher studies in Masonry learn that God is the force of nature, specifically the Sun with its life-giving powers. The “advanced, enlightened ones,” the adepts at the top, this nature worship is understood as the worship of the generative principles (i.e. the sex organs), particularly the phallus. Human Nature is also worshipped by some as “Deity,” as are Knowledge and Reason. Since Masonry is a revival of the ancient pagan mystery religions, its god can also be said to be Nature, with its fertility (sex) gods and goddesses representing the Sun and Moon (in Egypt, Osiris and Isis).”

Masonic Doctrine of Satan: “Satan, as an enemy of God and his Kingdom, as an evil power seeking to tempt, deceive and destroy, does not exist. Mankind has merely “supposed” this. The usual Christian perception of Satan is merely a distortion of the truth about Lucifer, the “Light Bearer,” who is actually good and the instrument of liberty, but generally misunderstood and maligned.”

Masonic Doctrine on Exclusiveness “The “light” of Freemasonry, its “secrets” and its pathway to “perfection” are only for the elite few initiated into its knowledge and wisdom. Excluded are women, Negroes, the poor (who haven’t the money with which to pay), the cripples, blind and deaf who can’t perform the recognition signs (or see and hear them), and the feeble-minded who can’t receive the teachings or be trusted to protect them. All such people, including the wives, the daughters and some of the sons of Masons, are considered “profane” (unclean, unworthy) and can never be anything else. No references are required here for it is common knowledge and all of the above confirms and establishes it.”

Masonic Doctrine of Secrecy “Secrecy is the essence of Masonry, necessary for its very existence, and protected by blood oaths of mayhem and murder.”

Masonic Doctrine of Blood Oaths Blood Oaths on penalty of mayhem and violent death are administered at the end of initiation into all Masonic degrees, binding the initiate to protect the “secrets” of the degrees. These oaths of obligation (usually called just “obligation”) are considered unbreakable, and are (collectively) the thing that makes a man a Mason. In this way, these oaths are the cornerstone of Masonry.

Masonic Doctrine of Seeking and Finding “Masonry is a never-ending search for “light,” always promised but never quite realized.”

Masonic Doctrine of Truthfulness “It is right to lie, if necessary, to protect the “secrets” of the Lodge, or to protect another Mason by concealing his wrongdoing. It can even be “right” to deliberately deceive sincere Masons seeking to learn the lessons and “secrets” of Masonry.”

Masonic Doctrine of Spiritual Light and Darkness “All “profane” people (non-Masons), including godly, genuine Christians, are wretched, blind and lost in complete spiritual darkness. Only initiation into the degrees and mysteries of Masonry will bring them out of darkness and “into the light,” cleansing them and imparting new life.”

Masonic Doctrine of Redemption “Redemption is a matter of self-improvement, morality, and good works, including obedience to the Mason’s obligation and all higher Masonic authorities. Faith in the atonement of Jesus has nothing to do with it; it is rather a matter of enlightenment, step by step, which comes with initiation into the Masonic degrees and their mysteries.”

Shaw, Jim & McKenney, Tom, 1988, A Deadly Deception, Huntington House Publishers

Repugnant Masonic (and old Mormon Temple Ceremony) Oaths

1. Masons bind themselves to the penalty of having their throats cut from ear to ear
2. Masons bind themselves to the penalty of having their hearts plucked out of their chests
3. Masons bind themselves to the penalty of having their bodies disemboweled.
Masonic-ob

Masonic-ob (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eight Problems With Freemasonry

1. The prevalent use of offensive concepts, titles, and terms such as “Worshipful Master” for the leaders of the lodge; references to their buildings as “mosques,” “shrines,” or “temples”; and the use of such words as “Abaddon” and Jah-Bul-On,” the so-called secret name of God. To many, these terms are not only offensive but sacrilegious.

2. The use of archaic, offensive rituals and so-called “bloody oaths” or “obligations,” among those being that promised by the Entered Apprentice: [not listed for lack of space] or that of the Fellow Craft degree: [not listed for lack of space] Or that of the Master Mason: [not listed for lack of space] Or that of other advanced degrees with required rituals considered by many to be pagan and incompatible with Christian faith and practice. Even though these oaths, obligations and rituals may or may not be taken seriously by the initiate, it is inappropriate for a Christian to “sincerely promise and swear,” with a hand on the Holy Bible, any such promises or oaths, or to participate in any such pagan rituals.

3. The recommended readings in pursuance of advanced degrees, of religions and philosophies, which are undeniably pagan and/or occultic, such as much of the writings of Albert Pike, Albert Mackey, Manly Hall, Rex Hutchins, W.L. Wilmhurst and other such authors; along with their works, such as Morals and Dogma, A Bridge to Light, An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and The Meaning of Masonry.

4. The reference to the Bible placed on the altar of the lodge as the “furniture of the lodge,” comparing it to the square and compass rather than giving it the supreme place in the lodge.

5. The prevalent use of the term “light” which some may understand as a reference to salvation rather than knowledge or truth.

6. The implication that salvation may be attained by one’s good works, implicit in the statement found in some Masonic writings that “Masonry is continually reminded of that purity of life and conduct which is necessary to obtain admittance into the Celestial Lodge above where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides.” (Louisiana Monitor, page 79)

Even though many Masons understand that the “purity of life and conduct” can only be achieved through faith in Jesus Christ, others may be led to believe they can earn salvation by living a pure life with good conduct.

7. The heresy of Universalism (the belief all people will eventually be saved), which permeates the writings of many Masonic authors, which is a doctrine inconsistent with New Testament teaching.

8. The refusal of most lodges (although not all) to admit for membership African-Americans.

As reported by the Southern Baptist Home Missions Board,
SBC, 1350 Spring Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30367-5601 (1993)

Masonic Quotations
“We may not call in question the propriety of this organization; if we would be Masons we must yield private judgment. ‘To the law and to the testimony—if any man walk not by this rule it is because there is no light in him.”’—Pierson’s Traditions of Freemasonry, p. 30.”That this surrender of free-will to Masonic authority is absolute (within the scope of the landmarks of the order) and perpetual, may be inferred from an examination of the emblem (the shoe or sandal) which is used to enforce this lesson of resignation. The esotery of the Masonic rituals gives the fullest assurance of this: “once a Mason always a Mason” is an aphorism in our literature conveying an undeniable truth.”—Morris’ Dictionary of Freemasonry, p. 29.

“A Mason should know how to obey those who are set over him, however inferior they may be in worldly rank; or condition.” —Macoy’s Masonic Monitor, p. 14.

“Disobedience and want of respect to Masonic superiors is an offense for which the transgressor subjects himself to punishment.”—Mackey’s Masonic Jurisprudence, p. 511.

“Under the head of Discipline is given a catalogue of fifteen prime classes of un-Masonic acts, of which this is one. It is so subversive of the groundwork of Masonry, in which obedience is most strongly inculcated, that the Mason who disobeys subjects himself to severe penalties.”— Morris’ Dictionary, pp. 91,92

“As a presiding officer the Master is possessed or extraordinary powers which belong to the presiding officer of no other association” Mackey’s Masonic Jurisprudence, p. 344.

“The powers and privileges of the Master of a lodge are by no means limited in extent.”-Chase’s Digest of Masonic Law, page 380.

“An affirmation is not equivalent to an oath in Masonry however it may be in common and is not legitimate in the working of the lodge.”-Ibid. p.13.

The Covenant is irrevocable. Even though a person may be suspended or expelled; though he may withdraw from the Lodge, journey into countries where Masons cannot be found, or become a subject of despotic governments that persecute, or a communicant of bigoted churches that denounce Masonry, he cannot cast off or nullify his Masonic covenant; No law of the land can affect it-no anathema of the church weaken it. It is irrevocable.” Webb’s Freemasons’ Monitor, p. 240.

Note: This accounts for many strange and mysterious proceedings in our would-be courts of justice and in the churches. NO law of the land (that is, civil law,) can even affect this lodge oath or covenant. No anathema of the church (that is, divine law), can weaken it.

Is it any wonder that criminals go scot-free when the sheriff that impanels the jury, enough of the jurors impaneled to bring in a divided verdict, enough witnesses drummed up to make the evidence appear contradictory, the attorneys of the prosecution and of the defense, and the judge on the bench, are irrevocably bound to the prisoner at the bar as sworn brethren, by an obligation considered paramount to all others, civil or divine?

Is it anything strange that there is trouble in the church when the members are bound up, by this strong covenant, with saloon-keepers, irreverent scoffers, and other evil-minded men, in sworn brotherhood?

Can a man simultaneously be a Christian and a Freemason?
The Square and Compasses. The symbols employed...

The Square and Compasses. The symbols employed in Co-Freemasonry are mostly identical with those in other orders of Freemasonry. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Short History of Freemasonry

Teachings and practices of the secret fraternal order known as the Free and Accepted Masons.

There are 4.75 million members worldwide, mostly in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries, and no central authority. Its ideals include fellowship, religious toleration, and political compromise. Drawing on guild practices of medieval stonemasons, the order’s first Grand Lodge was organized in London (1717).

In America, Masons were active in the Revolution and continued as a force in later politics. In Europe, they included Voltaire, Goethe, Haydn, Mazzini, and Garibaldi. Freemasonry’s identification with 19th-century. bourgeois liberalism led to reaction, e.g., in the U.S., the Anti-masonic Party; its anticlericalism brought the hostility of the Roman Catholic Church. Totalitarian states have always suppressed Freemasonry. Masons have a complex systems of rites and degrees, subsidiary organizations for women and children, and lodges noted for their parades and fraternal gatherings.

FRATERNAL SOCIETIES

The term fraternal society, used interchangeably with fraternal order, refers to voluntary associations that feature elaborate secret initiations. Some orders provide a simple form of life insurance; nearly all exclude women. Nowadays the most important fraternal societies are the Freemasons, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elk.

Fraternal orders were once a significant – some observers believed characteristic – aspect of American society. Alexis de Tocqueville was struck by the “immense assemblage” of voluntary associations, including fraternal orders, in antebellum America. Henry David Thoreau complained that America was “dwindling” into a nation of “odd-fellows.”

The origins of fraternal orders are obscured by a tangle of implausible legends and dubious histories. Nineteenth-century Freemasons claimed to be heirs of a tradition extending back to the founding of King Solomon’s temple.

Historians of the Knights of Pythias made a case that Pythagoras was the first Pythian, despite the awkward fact that the order apparently had been founded in Washington, D.C., in 1864. The Improved Order of Red Men, established in the 1830s, claimed descent from the Sons of Liberty of the American Revolution. Without doubt, the Freemasons were entitled to claim that they were the nation’s oldest order. But contrary to the claims of some enthusiasts, Freemasonry originated in London in the early 1700s as a stonemasons’ trade guild.

The order soon became a club for tradesmen, merchants, and a few much-celebrated noblemen. In the 1730s and 1740s a handful of Masonic lodges were established in coastal towns in America. Although these lodges were dominated by a mercantile elite, some tradesmen were admitted, such as Benjamin Franklin who, as a young printer, became grand master of Pennsylvania Freemasons in 1734.

Freemasonry became associated with patriotism during the Revolution, largely because George Washington and many of his generals belonged to the order. This patriotic association was strengthened when Washington took his oath of office as president upon a Masonic Bible.

Despite the order’s association with the Founding Fathers and its profession of universal brotherhood, American officials refused to recognize the legitimacy of black Freemasons, who in 1775 had been admitted to a lodge composed mostly of Irish soldiers stationed in Boston harbor. The leader of the blacks, Prince Hall, subsequently received a dispensation from English officials and established African Lodge No. 459. Black Freemasonry, usually called Prince Hall Freemasonry, became popular among middle-class blacks.

During the early 1800s the number of Masonic lodges multiplied rapidly. The order especially appealed to an emerging middle class of lawyers, commercial farmers, and independent tradesmen, many of whom were growing impatient with orthodox religion and established political elites. Tensions between Masonic leaders and the conservative ministry smoldered until 1826, when a disgruntled ex-Freemason, William Morgan, announced his intention of publishing the secret Masonic rituals. Morgan was abducted by Freemasons and was never seen again. What happened to him has never been fully explained.

Twenty-six Masons were indicted on murder and related charges. Only six came to trial; four were convicted of conspiracy and sentenced to terms ranging from several months to two years in jail. When it became known that many of the jurors and prosecutors were Masons, as was Governor DeWitt Clinton of New York, a coalition of ministers and opportunistic politicians formed to suppress the order. The Anti-Masonic party became the first significant third-party in American politics.

Though short-lived as a political movement, Anti-Masonry generated intense public pressure and forced thousands of members to renounce the order and hundreds of lodges to relinquish their charters. By best estimate membership declined from 100,000 in the mid-1820s to 40,000 a decade later.

Many renouncing Freemasons flocked into the Odd Fellows. Odd-Fellowship originated in late-eighteenth-century Great Britain among industrial workers who sought to mitigate the effects of the Industrial Revolution and the English Poor Laws. The order assisted members in dire circumstances and provided them a decent burial. In 1819 English immigrants established the first American lodge of Odd Fellows in Baltimore. During its early decades the order met in taverns and functioned as little more than a drinking society. But the influx of ex-Freemasons during the 1830s and 1840s completely transformed American Odd-Fellowship. This “new and more refined” group, as one nineteenth-century historian described them, gained control of the order, raised fees beyond what most workers could afford, banned liquor from meetings, launched a program to build “temples,” and wrote and performed elaborate successions of initiatory rituals.

By the 1850s Freemasonry, having just begun to recover from the Morgan debacle, adopted a similar program. During the last third of the nineteenth century, fraternal orders, featuring reform and ritual, proliferated among the urban middle classes. By 1900 there were more than three hundred orders; total fraternal membership exceeded 6 million. Ambitious clerks, businessmen, and politicians used the orders to cultivate contacts and establish ties with clients and like-minded people elsewhere. Others found satisfaction in the exotic rituals, which provided a religious experience antithetical to liberal Protestantism and a masculine “family” vastly different from the one in which most members had been raised.

Partly to attenuate women’s complaints about the secrecy, the cost of membership, and the time members spent away from home, most orders supported creation of ladies’ auxiliaries. The Odd-Fellows established the Daughters of Rebekah (1851), and Freemasons, the Order of the Eastern Star (1869).

Early in the twentieth century, however, many young middle-class men, preferring the recreational clubs and service organizations such as Rotary and Kiwanis, refused to follow their fathers into the lodge. Robert and Helen Lynd, in their study of Muncie, Indiana, in the 1920s, reported that “the great days of the lodges have vanished.” Aggressive recruitment policies and relaxed admission standards temporarily masked the weakness of most lodges.

But the onset of the Great Depression brought about the collapse of the institutional foundations of the fraternal movement as members could no longer afford to pay dues and thousands of lodges, unable to meet mortgage payments, went bankrupt. The major orders together lost nearly a million members; hundreds of others passed out of existence entirely.

After World War II, social activities, philanthropy, and community service took precedence over the rituals, which were abbreviated or occasionally abandoned. Most orders languished and increasingly became identified in the public mind with the televised antics of Jackie Gleason’s Ralph Kramden, member of the fictional Loyal Order of Raccoons. In recent decades, however, Freemasonry has gained many new adherents, especially from among white-collar workers and immigrants.

Mark C. Carnes, Secret Ritual and Manhood in Victorian America (1989);

Dorothy Ann Lipson, Freemasonry in Federalist Connecticut, 1789-1835 (1977).

ANTI-MASONIC PARTY

American political party founded to counter the supposed political influence of Freemasonry. It arose in Western  New York state after the disappearance (1826) of William Morgan, a former Mason who had written a book purporting to reveal Masonic secrets. Freemasons were said, without proof, to have murdered him.

At Baltimore, in 1831, Anti-Masons held the first national nominating convention of any party, and issued the first written party platform. In 1834 they helped form the Whig Party.

SECRET SOCIETY

Organization whose members, aims, and rites are kept secret. Membership is by Initiation. In some Cultures secret societies are the sole means by which Mysteries and folkways are transmitted, generally in coming-of-age rituals.

They are usually limited to men, but in China the secret Hung Society for women lasted over 1,500 years. Modern secret societies (e.g., fraternal orders, Freemasonry) offer members various kinds of mutual aid. Some governments and churches oppose them as fostering subversion and violence.

ANTI-MASONS

The Anti-Masonic party, the first third-party movement in the United States, arose in response to the disappearance of William Morgan, shortly after his release on September 12, 1826, from a Canandaigua, New York, jail. Morgan had threatened to publish a book divulging the secrets of Freemasonry; opponents of the order asserted that a conspiracy among Masons had led to his arrest on trumped-up charges and subsequently to his being kidnapped and murdered.

The Anti-Masonic movement grew rapidly, drawing its initial following from farmers and skilled craftsmen – many of them with ties to evangelicalism and the temperance movement. They maintained that the Masonic order’s secrecy, rituals, and aristocratic character posed a threat to republican democracy.

Anti-Masonry also provided a vehicle for rural people to express their antipathy to the cities, and for ordinary people to voice their resentment of the powerful leaders, many of them Masons, who dominated the nation’s public affairs. From western New York, the movement spread through New England, the Mid-Atlantic states, and Ohio and Michigan. Anti-Masons elected a governor of Rhode Island in 1833, controlled Vermont and Pennsylvania for several years, and played a significant part in local politics in both Massachusetts and New York.

In 1831, the Anti-Masonic party nominated William Wirt to run for president; in the process, it became the first American political party to select a presidential candidate by means of a national convention and the first to adopt an official party platform. Wirt carried only one state (Vermont) in 1832, but the party continued to grow, offering an increasingly general program of reform. As it expanded, it came to be dominated by new members more impelled by personal ambition or by a general opposition to the Jacksonian Democrats than by Anti-Masonry. At its second and final convention (1835), the Anti-Masonic party approved a slate for 1836 identical to that of the new Whig party, and thereafter it disappeared into the Whig coalition.

During its brief career, however, Anti-Masonry had played an important part in northeastern politics and had helped launch the careers of such leaders as William Lloyd Garrison, William H. Seward, Thurlow Weed, and Thaddeus Stevens.

BIBLICAL CONFLICTS

Secret societies are in conflict with the teachings of Holy Scripture. A Christian must never affiliate with any organization that 1) yokes together believers with unbelievers in unholy alliances (2 Cor. 6:14-18); 2) requires a pledge to unscriptural oaths which are sealed by using the name of God improperly or in vain (Ex. 20:7, Lev. 5:4-6, Matt. 5:34-37, James 5:12); 3) represents itself as providing teaching in harmony with the Bible when in fact it does not (2 Peter 3:16); 4) represents itself as being religious and offers a false hope of salvation through works, yet dishonors the only true God and our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:3, 1 Tim. 2:3-6, Col. 2:8-10, Eph. 2:8,9).

The Christian should “be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody” (Rom. 12:17). Secretively meeting behind closed doors in a “lodge” where activities are carried on behind a cloak of secrecy, in favor of fellow members, usually for economic, social, or political advantage hardly describes doing what is right in the eyes of everybody. “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord” (2 Cor. 6:17). This is God’s advice for Christians and is certainly applicable in regard to secret societies.

The Universalism of Masonry

From: Christ or the Lodge? A Presbyterian Report on Freemasonry, a report presented at the ninth General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, meeting at Rochester, New York, June 2–5, 1942,

There is a Christian universalism. God has His elect in every age and every nation. Ever since the fall of man the Son of God has gathered the elect into His church by His Word and Spirit. In Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female, for all are one in Him (Galatians 3:28). John saw the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders fall down before the Lamb and he heard them sing: “Thou wast slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 5:9).

Masonry also lays claim to universalism, but its universalism differs radically from that of Christianity in that it denies Christian particularism and exclusivism.

  • Christianity claims to have the only true book, the Bible. Masonry places this book on a par with the sacred books of other religions.
  • Christianity lays claim to the only true God, the God of the Bible, and denounces all other Gods as idols. Masonry recognizes the Gods of all religions.
  • Christianity describes God as the Father of Jesus Christ and of those who through faith in Him have received the right to be called the sons of God. The God of Masonry is the universal father of all mankind.
  • Christianity holds that only the worship of the God who has revealed Himself in Holy Scripture is true worship. Masonry honors as true worship the worship of numerous other deities.
  • Christianity recognizes but one Saviour, Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and man. Masonry recognizes many saviours.
  • Christianity acknowledges but one way of salvation, that of grace through faith. Masonry rejects this way and substitutes for it salvation by works and character.
  • Christianity teaches the brotherhood of those who believe in Christ, the communion of saints, the church universal, the one body of Christ. Masonry teaches the brotherhood of Masons and the universal brotherhood of man.
  • Christianity glories in being the one truly universal religion. Masonry would rob Christianity of this glory and appropriate it to itself.
  • Christianity maintains that it is the only true religion. Masonry denies this claim and boasts of being Religion itself.

Freemasonry Research Links

Masonry Beyond the Light, by William and Sharon Schnoebelen, ISBN 0937958387, $9.95, A former high-level Mason reveals secrets about this dangerous group. Many Christians believe Masonry is a fine, Christian organization. But as Bill Schnoebelen climbed to Masonry’s 32nd degree he discovered horrifying facts about this organization that lower level Masons never learn. Now a born again Christian., Schnoebelen reveals all. Learn shocking facts like · To be a Mason, you must first take an oath that is a denial of Jesus Christ. · The father of modern Masonry said, “Lucifer is God!” This fascinating and informative story will give you an unusual insight into the world of Masonry from one who was on the inside, and will prepare you to show others why it is impossible for anyone to be a Christian and a Mason at the same time.

Hidden Secrets of the Eastern Star, by Dr. Cathy Burns, ISBN 0005021812, $15.95, 496 pages, paperback

A list of well-known freemasons: http://whale.to/b/33.html

Ex Masons For Jesus: http://www.emfj.org

Freemasonry Research Files: http://www.saintsalive.com/freemasonry.html

Freemasonry and the 20th Century Occult Revival: http://www.saintsalive.com/freemasonry/fmoccult.htm

What about Freemasonry? http://www.roca.org/oa/70/70t.htm

Why I left Freemasonry by Charles G. Finney, D.D.: http://www.evangelicaloutreach.org/freemasn.htm

Is There No Help For The Poor Widow’s Son? http://www.xmission.com/~country/reason/widowson.htm

How can you lead a man away from the Masonic lodge? http://www.ephesians5-11.org

Documents which expose Freemasonry: http://www.ephesians5-11.org/document.htm

Ex-Masons for Jesus: http://www.ephesians5-11.org/ex_masons_for_jesus/

Masonry: http://www.gospeloutreach.net/masonry.html

Cutting Edge Ministries Freemasonry Corner: http://www.cuttingedge.org/fmcorner.html

Masons: Christian or Anti-Christian: http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/masons.htm

Books: With One Accord: http://www.withoneaccord.org/

Christian Ministries Intl. – Books & Tapes: http://www.jude3.com/booksandtapes.htm

Lord Baden-Powell, the Boy Scouts, and Freemasonry: http://www.pinetreeweb.com/bp-freemasonry.htm

From Mason to Minister: http://nordskogpublishing.com/book-through-the-lattice.shtml

An Evangelical View of Freemasonry and the Loyal Orders: http://www.evangelicaltruth.com

Why does the U.S. Government print ancient Masonic symbols on dollar bills? http://www.theinsider.org/reports/dollar-bill-symbols/

“Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” (Gal 4:16)

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#Russia : ” Polar Expedition Headed by `Faddey Bellingshausen’ Discovered Antarctica”

#History2Research says on January 28, 1820, a Russian polar expedition, headed by Faddey Bellingshausen, discovered Antarctica.

Russian HistoryThe supposition of Antarctica’s existence appeared in the 16th Century, and for years people tried to confirm it. In 1772-1775, James Cook, the English sailor, sailed across the Southern Ocean and did not find any signs of the “The Unknown Southern Land”, so the world lost interest in the South Pole for some time.

At the beginning of 1819, on the recommendation of three famous sailors – Admiral Gavril Sarychev, captain-commander Ivan Kruzenstern and captain-lieutenant Otto Kotzebue, – the Russian government decided to conduct a polar expedition for “acquiring knowledge about our Earth” and “discovering new lands near the South Pole.” Krusenstern wrote in his letter to the Admiralty that Russia should not share the glory of the possible discoveries with any other country.

On July 16, 1819, two Russian sloops, “Vostok” and “Mirny” under the command of Faddey Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev left the port in Kronshtadt and headed for the South Pole. It was the first big Russian sea expedition, financed and organized by the government. Both Lazarev and Bellingshausen were experienced sailors and had participated in circumnavigations. In four months, the ships reached Rio de Janeiro and stopped there to replenish supplies. From Rio, “Vostok” and “Mirny” sailed towards Sydney, Australia, across the polar seas, trying to go as far south, as possible.

rianowostilibrary400On January 1, 1820, “Vostok” and “Mirny” made the first discovery. They found a group of volcanic islands, inhabited by penguins and other birds. The expedition named the islands “Traverse islands”, after the Russian Navy Minister – Ivan Traverse.

In the middle of January, the expedition reached the Sandwich Land, discovered by Cook. Cook had finished his expedition with the discovery of it, and had been sure that going further to South would be impossible because of cold, storms and ice barriers. The Russian expedition explored the Land, and it became clear that Cook had made a mistake, and the Sandwich Land was actually a Sandwich archipelago. Lazarev and Bellingshausen plotted it on the map and changed its name to “The South Sandwich Islands”.

The ships continued their way to South, tacking among the icebergs, some of which were, according to the expedition records, 100 meters high. In one of his letters, Lazarev wrote about the hardships of this period of the voyage: “we wandered, like shadows, in this barren land, under the endless snow, through ice and fog”.

On January 27, 1820, “Vostok” and “Mirny” crossed the Antarctic Circle, and the day after, Lazarev and Bellingshausen saw the Antarctic coast for the first time. The ships were 20 kilometers away from it. In his records, Lazarev described the view: “The infinite ice, stretching away as far as the eye can see”, and called it “amazing”. In its voyage, the expedition approached the Antarctic coast six times, but the ships could not come close to the continent because of the ice barriers. The fourth approach assured Bellingshausen that the expedition had found the mysterious “Southern Land”, but he was not sure if there was any dry land under the ice he had seen.

In the southern autumn of 1820, “Vostok” and “Mirny” arrived in Sydney. From May 1820 until September 1820, “Vostok” and “Mirny” explored the tropic areas of the Pacific Ocean, and on November 12, 1820, headed back to Antarctica. After a two-month journey, on January 20, 1821, the expedition discovered the Alexander I Land, but Bellingshausen was not sure if it was an island or a peninsula.

In February 1821, the expedition headed to Rio de Janeiro, and in August, “Vostok” and “Mirny” returned to Kronshtadt. The voyage lasted 751 days, and the ships had sailed 80,240 kilometers.

This is not representative of the views of:

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” The World’s Muslims and their Belief Structure’s”

#AceHistory2Research: “The `World’s Muslims‘ their `Unity’ and Diversity”

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Facts and Figures Courtesy of Pew Research Forum 

The world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are united in their belief in God and the Prophet Muhammad and are bound together by such religious practices as fasting during the holy month of Ramadan and almsgiving to assist people in need. But they have widely differing views about many other aspects of their faith, including how important religion is to their lives, who counts as a Muslim and what practices are acceptable in Islam, according to a worldwide survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The survey, which involved more than 38,000 face-to-face interviews in over 80 languages, finds that in addition to the widespread conviction that there is only one God and that Muhammad is His Prophet, large percentages of Muslims around the world share other articles of faith, including belief in angels, heaven, hell and fate (or predestination). While there is broad agreement on the core tenets of Islam, however, Muslims across the 39 countries and territories surveyed differ significantly in their levels of religious commitment, openness to multiple interpretations of their faith and acceptance of various sects and movements.

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Some of these differences are apparent at a regional level. For example, at least eight-in-ten Muslims in every country surveyed in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and South Asia say that religion is very important in their lives. Across the Middle East and North Africa, roughly six-in-ten or more say the same. And in the United States, a 2011 Pew Research Center survey found that nearly seven-in-ten Muslims (69%) say religion is very important to them. (For more comparisons with U.S. Muslims, see Appendix A.) But religion plays a much less central role for some Muslims, particularly in nations that only recently have emerged from communism. No more than half of those surveyed in Russia, the Balkans and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia say religion is very important in their lives. The one exception across this broad swathe of Eastern Europe, Southern Europe and Central Asia is Turkey, which never came under communist rule; fully two-thirds of Turkish Muslims (67%) say religion is very important to them.

Generational differences are also apparent. Across the Middle East and North Africa, for example, Muslims 35 and older tend to place greater emphasis on religion and to exhibit higher levels of religious commitment than do Muslims between the ages of 18 and 34. In all seven countries surveyed in the region, older Muslims are more likely to report that they attend mosque, read the Quran (also spelled Koran) on a daily basis and pray multiple times each day. Outside of the Middle East and North Africa, the generational differences are not as sharp. And the survey finds that in one country – Russia – the general pattern is reversed and younger Muslims are significantly more observant than their elders.

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There are also differences in how male and female Muslims practice their faith. In most of the 39 countries surveyed, men are more likely than women to attend mosque. This is especially true in Central Asia and South Asia, where majorities of women in most of the countries surveyed say they never attend mosque. However, this disparity appears to result from cultural norms or local customs that constrain women from attending mosque, rather than from differences in the importance that Muslim women and men place on religion. In most countries surveyed, for example, women are about as likely as men to read (or listen to readings from) the Quran on a daily basis. And there are no consistent differences between men and women when it comes to the frequency of prayer or participation in annual rites, such as almsgiving and fasting during Ramadan.

Sectarian Differences

The survey asked Muslims whether they identify with various branches of Islam and about their attitudes toward other branches or subgroups. While these sectarian differences are important in some countries, the survey suggests that many Muslims around the world either do not know or do not care about them.

Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa tend to be most keenly aware of the distinction between the two main branches of Islam, Sunni and Shia.2 (See text box for definitions.) In most countries surveyed in the region, at least 40% of Sunnis do not accept Shias as fellow Muslims. In many cases, even greater percentages do not believe that some practices common among Shias, such as visiting the shrines of saints, are acceptable as part of Islamic tradition. Only in Lebanon and Iraq – nations where sizable populations of Sunnis and Shias live side by side – do large majorities of Sunnis recognize Shias as fellow Muslims and accept their distinctive practices as part of Islam.

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Outside of the Middle East and North Africa, the distinction between Sunni and Shia appears to be of lesser consequence. In many of the countries surveyed in Central Asia, for instance, most Muslims do not identify with either branch of Islam, saying instead that they are “just a Muslim.” A similar pattern prevails in Southern and Eastern Europe, where pluralities or majorities in all countries identify as “just a Muslim.” In some of these countries, decades of communist rule may have made sectarian distinctions unfamiliar. But identification as “just a Muslim” is also prevalent in many countries without a communist legacy. For example, in Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population, 26% of Muslims describe themselves as Sunnis, compared with 56% who say they are “just a Muslim” and 13% who do not give a definite response.

Opinion also varies as to whether Sufis – members of religious orders who emphasize the mystical dimensions of Islam – belong to the Islamic faith.3 In South Asia, Sufis are widely seen as Muslims, while in other regions they tend to be less well known or not widely accepted as part of the Islamic tradition. Views differ, too, with regard to certain practices traditionally associated with particular Sufi orders. For example, reciting poetry or singing in praise of God is generally accepted in most of the countries where the question was asked. But only in Turkey do a majority of Muslims believe that devotional dancing is an acceptable form of worship, likely reflecting the historical prominence of the Mevlevi or “whirling dervish” Sufi order in Turkey.

Differing Views on Orthodoxy

The survey asked Muslims whether they believe there is only one true way to understand Islam’s teachings or if multiple interpretations are possible. In 32 of the 39 countries surveyed, half or more Muslims say there is only one correct way to understand the teachings of Islam.

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This view, however, is far from universal. In the Middle East and North Africa, majorities or substantial minorities in most countries – including Tunisia, Morocco, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Iraq – believe that it is possible to interpret Islam’s teachings in multiple ways. In sub-Saharan Africa, at least one-in-five Muslims agree. In South Asia, Southeast Asia and across Southern and Eastern Europe, at least one-in-six in every country surveyed believe Islam is open to multiple interpretations.

In some Central Asian countries, slightly fewer Muslims say their faith can be subject to more than one interpretation. But in Kazakhstan (31%), Turkey (22%) and Kyrgyzstan (17%), the percentage that holds this view is on par with countries in other regions.

In the United States, by contrast, 57% of Muslims say Islam is open to multiple interpretations. On this measure, Muslim Americans look similar to Muslims in Morocco and Tunisia. (For more comparisons with previous surveys of U.S. Muslims, see Appendix A.)

What is a Median?

The median is the middle number in a list of numbers sorted from highest to lowest. On many questions in this report, medians are reported for groups of countries to help readers see regional patterns in religious beliefs and practices.

For a region with an odd number of countries, the median on a particular question is the middle spot among the countries surveyed in that region. For regions with an even number of countries, the median is computed as the average of the two countries at the middle of the list (e.g., where six nations are shown, the median is the average of the third and fourth countries listed in the region).

By contrast, figures reported for countries represent the total percentage for the category reported.

Core Beliefs

Traditionally, Muslims adhere to several articles of faith. Among the most widely known are: there is only one God; God has sent numerous messengers, with Muhammad being His final Prophet; God has revealed Holy Scriptures, including the Quran; God’s angels exist, even if people cannot see them; there will be a Day of Judgment, when God will determine whether individuals are consigned to heaven or hell; and God’s will and knowledge are absolute, meaning that people are subject to fate or predestination.4

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As previously noted, belief in one God and the Prophet Muhammad is nearly universal among Muslims in most countries surveyed. Although the survey asked only respondents in sub-Saharan Africa whether they consider the Quran to be the word of God, the findings in that region indicate broad assent.5 Across most of the African nations surveyed, more than nine-in-ten Muslims say the Quran is the word of God, and solid majorities say it should be taken literally, word for word. Only in two countries in the region – Guinea Bissau (59%) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (54%) – do smaller percentages think the Quran should be read literally. The results in those two countries are similar to the United States, where 86% of Muslims said in a 2007 survey that the Quran was the word of God, including 50% who said it should be read literally, word for word. (For more U.S. results, see Appendix A.)

The survey asked respondents in all 39 countries whether they believe in the existence of angels. In Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Middle East-North Africa region, belief in angels is nearly universal. In Central Asia and sub-Saharan Africa more than seven-in-ten also say angels are real. Even in Southern and Eastern Europe,  a median of 55% share this view.

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The expression “Inshallah” (“If God wills”) is a common figure of speech among Muslims and reflects the Islamic tradition that the destiny of individuals, and the world, is in the hands of God. And indeed, the survey finds that the concept of predestination, or fate, is widely accepted among Muslims in most parts of the world. In four of the five regions where the question was asked, medians of about nine-in-ten (88% to 93%) say they believe in fate, while a median of 57% express this view in Southern and Eastern Europe.

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The survey also asked about the existence of heaven and hell. Across the six regions included in the study, a median of more than seven-in-ten Muslims say that paradise awaits those who have lived righteous lives, while a median of at least two-thirds say hell is the ultimate fate of those who do not live righteously and do not repent.

Unifying Rituals

Along with the core beliefs discussed above, Islam is defined by “Five Pillars” – basic rituals that are obligatory for all members of the Islamic community who are physically able to perform them. The Five Pillars include: the profession of faith (shahadah); daily prayer (salat); fasting during the holy month of Ramadan (sawm); annual almsgiving to assist the poor or needy (zakat); and participation in the annual pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during one’s lifetime (hajj). Two of these – fasting during Ramadan and almsgiving – stand out as communal rituals that are especially widespread among Muslims across the globe.

Fasting during the month of Ramadan, which according to Islamic tradition is required of all healthy, adult Muslims, is part of an annual rite in which individuals place renewed emphasis on the teachings of the Quran. The survey finds that many Muslims in all six major geographical regions surveyed observe the month-long, daytime fast during Ramadan. In Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa, medians of more than nine-in-ten say they fast annually (94%-99%). Many Muslims in Southern and Eastern Europe and in Central Asia also report fasting during Ramadan.

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Annual almsgiving, which by custom is supposed to equal approximately 2.5% of a person’s total wealth, is almost as widely observed as fasting during Ramadan. In Southeast Asia and South Asia, a median of roughly nine-in-ten Muslims (93% and 89%, respectively) say they perform zakat. At least three-quarters of respondents in the countries surveyed in the Middle East and North Africa (79%) and sub-Saharan Africa (77%) also report that they perform zakat. Smaller majorities in Central Asia (69%) and Southern and Eastern Europe (56%) say they practice annual almsgiving.

One Faith, Different Levels of Commitment

These common practices and shared beliefs help to explain why, to many Muslims, the principles of Islam seem both clear and universal. As mentioned above, half or more in most of the 39 countries surveyed agree that there is only one way to interpret the teachings of Islam.

But even though the idea of a single faith is widespread, the survey finds that Muslims differ significantly in their assessments of the importance of religion in their lives, as well as in their views about the forms of worship that should be accepted as part of the Islamic faith.

Central Asia along with Southern and Eastern Europe have relatively low levels of religious commitment, both in terms of the lower importance that Muslims in those regions place on religion and in terms of self-reported religious practices. With the exception of Turkey, where two-thirds of Muslims say religion is very important in their lives, half or fewer across these two regions say religion is personally very important to them. This includes Kazakhstan and Albania, where just 18% and 15%, respectively, say religion is central to their lives. (See “How Much Religion Matters” chart.)

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Along with the lower percentages who say religion is very important in their lives, Muslims in Central Asia and across Southern and Eastern Europe also report lower levels of religious practice than Muslims in other regions. For instance, only in Azerbaijan does a majority (70%) pray more than once a day. Elsewhere in these two regions, the number of Muslims who say they pray several times a day ranges from slightly more than four-in-ten in Kosovo (43%), Turkey (43%) and Tajikistan (42%) to fewer than one-in-ten in Albania (7%) and Kazakhstan (4%).

In other regions included in the study, daily prayer is much more common among Muslims. In Southeast Asia, for example, at least three-quarters pray more than once a day, while in the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, majorities in most countries report the same.

Muslims in Central Asia, as well as in Southern and Eastern Europe, also tend to be less observant than their counterparts in other regions when it comes to mosque attendance. Just over four-in-ten Turkish Muslims (44%) say they visit their local mosque once a week or more, while three-in-ten do the same in Tajikistan and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the remaining countries, fewer than a quarter of Muslims say they go to worship services at least once a week.

By contrast, outside Central Asia and the Southern-Eastern Europe region, substantially larger percentages of Muslims say they attend mosque once a week or more, although only in sub-Saharan Africa do broad majorities in all countries display this high level of religious commitment.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that despite lower levels of religious commitment on some measures, majorities of Muslims across most of Central Asia and Southern and Eastern Europe nonetheless subscribe to core tenets of Islam, and many also report that they observe such pillars of the faith as fasting during Ramadan and annual almsgiving to the poor.

Generational Differences in Religious Commitment

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Of all the countries surveyed, only in Russia do Muslims ages 18-34 place significantly more importance on religion than Muslims 35 and older (48% vs. 41%). Younger Muslims in Russia also tend to pray more frequently (48% do so once a day or more, compared with 41% of older Muslims).

Elsewhere in Southern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the older generation of Muslims generally places a greater emphasis on religion and engages more often in prayer. For example, Muslims ages 35 and older are more likely than younger Muslims to pray several times a day in Uzbekistan (+18 percentage points), Tajikistan (+16) and Kyrgyzstan (+8).

The biggest generational differences are found in the Middle East and North Africa. In Lebanon, for example, Muslims ages 35 and older are 28 percentage points more likely than younger Muslims to pray several times a day, 20 points more likely to attend mosque at least weekly and 18 points more likely to read the Quran daily. On each of these measures, age gaps of 10 points or more also are found in the Palestinian territories, Morocco and Tunisia. And somewhat smaller but statistically significant differences are observed as well in Jordan and Egypt.

Women and Men Similar, Except in Mosque Attendance

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Across the six regions included in the survey, women and men tend to be very similar in terms of the role religion plays in daily life. This holds true for the importance that both sexes place on religion, as well as for the frequency with which they observe daily rituals, such as prayer and reading (or listening to) the Quran. For example, among the countries surveyed in Central Asia, a median of 43% of Muslim women say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 42% of men. When it comes to prayer, medians of 31% of women and 28% of men in Central Asia pray several times a day. And nearly equal percentages of women (8%) and men (6%) across the region say they read or listen to the Quran daily.

The one exception to this pattern is mosque attendance: women are much more likely than men to say they never visit their local mosque. This gender gap is largest in South Asia and Central Asia. In South Asia, including Pakistan, a median of about three-quarters of women (77%) say they never attend mosque, compared with just 1% of men. In Central Asia, the comparable figures are 74% and 20%. Gender differences in mosque attendance are smaller, though still significant, in Southern and Eastern Europe (+27 percentage points) and the Middle East-North Africa region (+26 points). There is little or no gap, however, in Southeast Asia (+4) and sub-Saharan Africa (+1).

Sectarian Differences Vary in Importance

The survey finds that sectarian identities, especially the distinction between Sunni and Shia Muslims, seem to be unfamiliar or unimportant to many Muslims. This is especially true across Southern and Eastern Europe, as well as in Central Asia, where medians of at least 50% describe themselves as “just a Muslim” rather than as a follower of any particular branch of Islam. Substantial minorities in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia also identify as “just a Muslim” (regional medians of 23% and 18%).

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Sectarian identities appear to be particularly relevant in South Asia and the Middle East-North Africa region, where majorities identify as Sunnis or Shias. In the Middle East and North Africa, moreover, widespread identification with the Sunni sect is often coupled with mixed views about whether Shias are Muslims.

In five of seven countries surveyed in the Middle East and North Africa, at least four-in-ten or more Sunnis say Shias are not Muslims.6 Only in Iraq and Lebanon do overwhelming majorities of Sunnis accept Shias as members of the same faith. Indeed, Sunnis in these two countries are at least 23 to 28 percentage points more likely than Sunnis elsewhere in the region to recognize Shias as Muslims.7

This greater willingness of Sunnis in Iraq and Lebanon to accept Shias as fellow Muslims extends as well to attitudes about forms of worship traditionally associated with Shias. For example, while most Sunnis in the Middle East and North Africa view pilgrimages to the shrines of saints as falling outside Islamic tradition, majorities of Sunnis in Lebanon (98%) and Iraq (65%) believe this practice is acceptable in Islam. In this regard, Sunnis in these two countries resemble their fellow Shia countrymen more than they resemble Sunnis in neighboring countries such as Egypt and Jordan.

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In Lebanon sectarian attitudes vary significantly by age. Lebanese Sunnis who are 35 and older are less willing than younger Sunnis to accept Shias as Muslims. The history of sectarian conflict in Lebanon in the 1970s and 1980s may help explain the generational difference. Sunnis who came of age during the conflict years are less inclined to view Shias as fellow Muslims. Yet, even with this generational difference, both younger and older Sunnis in Lebanon still are more willing than most Sunnis in the Middle East-North Africa region to say that Shias share the same faith.

Not just in the Middle East and North Africa but in other regions as well, the willingness of Sunnis to accept Shia as fellow Muslims tends to be higher in countries with sizable Shia populations. For example, in Azerbaijan, Afghanistan and Russia – countries with self-identified Shia populations ranging from 6% to 37% – clear majorities of Sunnis (both men and women, young and old) agree that Shias belong to the Islamic faith. On the other hand, in Pakistan, where 6% of the survey respondents identify as Shia, Sunni attitudes are more mixed: 50% say Shias are Muslims, while 41% say they are not.

Sunnis and Shias

Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims (also known as Shiites) comprise the two main branches of Islam. Sunni and Shia identities first formed soon after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632 C.E., centering on a dispute over leadership succession. Over time, however, the political divide between the two groups broadened to include theological distinctions and differences in religious practices as well.

While the two groups are similar in many ways, they differ over conceptions of religious authority and interpretation as well as the role of the Prophet Muhammad’s descendants, among other issues.

Members of Sufi orders, which embrace mystical practices, can fall within either the Sunni or the Shia tradition. In some cases, Sufis may accept teachings from both traditions.

For additional information regarding Sunni and Shia Islam, see John Esposito, editor. 2003. “Shii Islam” and “Sunni Islam” in “The Oxford Dictionary of Islam.” Oxford: Oxford University Press, pages 290-93 and 304-307.

Views of Other Groups

The survey also asked about attitudes toward Sufis and members of regionally specific groups or movements. Views of Sufis vary greatly by region. In South Asia, for example, a median of 77% consider Sufis to be Muslims; half in the Middle East and North Africa concur. However, significantly fewer Muslims in other regions surveyed accept Sufis as members of the Islamic faith. For example, in Southern and Eastern Europe (Russia and the Balkans), a median of 32% recognize Sufis as fellow Muslims, while in Southeast Asia and Central Asia the comparable figures are 24% and 18%.

gsi-es-14

Especially in Central Asia, the low percentage that accepts Sufis as Muslims may be linked to a lack of knowledge about this mystical branch of Islam: majorities in most Central Asian countries surveyed say either that they have never heard of Sufis or that they do not have an opinion about whether Sufis are Muslims.

Views of regionally or locally based groups and movements are mixed. For example, in South Asia and Southeast Asia, relatively few Muslims accept Ahmadiyyas as members of the Islamic faith. Only in Bangladesh do as many as four-in-ten recognize members of this movement as fellow Muslims; elsewhere in the two regions, a quarter or fewer agree. Even smaller percentages in Malaysia and Indonesia (9% and 5%, respectively) say that members of the mystical Aliran Kepercayaan movement are Muslims. (See Glossary for brief definitions of these groups.)

In Turkey, most Muslims (69%) acknowledge Alevis, who are part of the Shia tradition, as fellow Muslims. Meanwhile, in Lebanon, a modest majority (57%) say members of the Alawite sect are Muslims. By comparison, only about four-in-ten Lebanese Muslims (39%) say the same about the Druze.

About the Report

These and other findings are discussed in more detail in the remainder of this report, which is divided into six main sections:

This report also includes an appendix with comparable results from past Pew Research Center surveys of Muslims in the United States. There is also a glossary of key terms. The survey questionnaire and a topline with full results is also available. The report also includes an infographic. This report covers religious affiliation, beliefs and practices. A second report will cover Muslims’ attitudes and views on a variety of social and political questions.

The Pew Forum’s survey of the world’s Muslims includes every nation with a Muslim population of more than 10 million except Algeria, China, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Together, the 39 countries and territories included in the survey are home to about two-thirds of all Muslims in the world.

The surveys that are the basis for this report were conducted across multiple years. Fifteen sub-Saharan countries with substantial Muslim populations were surveyed in 2008-2009 as part of a larger project that examined religion in that region. The methods employed in those countries – as well as some of the findings – are detailed in the Pew Forum report “Tolerance and Tension: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa.” An additional 24 countries and territories were surveyed in 2011-2012. In 21 of these countries, Muslims make up a majority of the population. In these cases, nationally representative samples of at least 1,000 respondents were fielded. The number of self-identified Muslims interviewed in these countries ranged from 551 in Lebanon to 1,918 in Bangladesh. In Russia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, where Muslims are a minority, oversamples were employed to ensure adequate representation of Muslims; in both cases, at least 1,000 Muslims were interviewed. Meanwhile, in Thailand, the survey was limited to the country’s five southern provinces, each with substantial Muslim populations; more than 1,000 interviews with Muslims were conducted across these provinces. Appendix C provides greater detail on the 2011-2012 survey’s methodology.

gsi-es-15gsi-es-16


Footnotes:

2 According to Pew Forum estimates, 87-90% of the world’s Muslims are Sunnis, while 10-13% are Shias. For country-by-country estimates of the percentage of Sunnis and Shias, see the Pew Forum’s 2009 report “Mapping the Global Muslim Population,” page 38. (return to text)

3 For background on Sufi orders, see the Pew Forum’s 2010 report “Muslim Networks and Movements in Western Europe.” (return to text)

4 Enumerations and translations of the articles of faith vary. Most are derived from the Hadith of Gabriel. See, for example, Sahih al-Bukhari 2:47 and Sahih al-Muslim 1:1. For details on hadith, see text box in Chapter 3. (return to text)

5 In 2008-2009, the Pew Forum asked both Muslims and Christians in sub-Saharan Africa if the sacred texts of their respective religions are the word of God and should be taken literally. The results are reported in the 2010 report “Tolerance and Tension: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa.” (return to text)

6 Questions about views of Muslim sects were not asked in sub-Saharan Africa. (return to text)

7 All figures for Shia and Sunni subgroups within countries are based on self-identification in response to a multi-part survey question that first asked if an individual was Muslim (Q28 and Q28b), and if yes, if they were Sunni, Shia or “something else” (Q31). The percentage of Shias and Sunnis identified by the survey may diverge from country estimates reported in the Pew Forum’s 2009 report “Mapping the Global Muslim Population,” which are based on demographic and ethnographic analyses, as well as reviews of frequently used estimates. (return to text)

Photo Credit: © SZE FEI WONG / istockphoto

 

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” The Darker Side of Chocolate Unmasking the Slave Trade”

#AceHistoryNews says The Dark Side of Chocolate is a 2010 documentary film about the exploitation and slave trading of African children to harvest chocolate still occurring nearly ten years after the cocoa industry pledged to end it.

Dark Side of ChocolateThe Dark Side of Chocolate was produced by Danish journalist Miki Mistrati who investigated child labor and trafficked children in chocolate production. It is filmed by U. Roberto Romano.

Dark Side of Chocolate DocumentaryThe filming started in Germany, where Mistrati asked vendors where their chocolate comes from. They then flew to Mali, where many of the children are from. Next, they explored the Ivory Coast where the cocoa plantations are located. The film ends in Switzerland where both the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Nestle headquarters are located.

Much of the footage in this documentary is recorded using a secret camera located in a bag Mistrati carried with him.

The documentary was released in 2010, first in Denmark, and later in Sweden, Ireland, Belgium, and Norway.

Harken Engel ProtocolIn 2001, the Chocolate Manufacturers Association formed an action plan entitled the Harkin-Engel Protocol that would aim to end the worse forms of child trafficking and slave labour. However, child trafficking still continued in countries in West Africa. Authorities and companies denied it happened. Due to this conflicting outlook, the film-makers went undercover to discover the truth. The film starts with its two film-makers investigating independently by journeying to the western coast of Africa to the country of Mali, the country where children were rumoured to be smuggled from and then transported to the Ivory Coast. The team of journalists aimed to investigate human trafficking and child labour in  the Ivory Coast and its effects on the worldwide chocolate industry.

The documentary starts in Cologne, Germany where Mistrati asked each vendor at a gathering of chocolate makers where their chocolate is imported from. Their responses lead to the conclusion that almost all chocolate is imported from somewhere in Africa. Their detective work lead them to find that people in Mali were trafficking children at bus stations by bribing them with work and money, or by kidnapping them from villages. After toward, they are taken to towns near the border such as Zegoua, where another trafficker transports the children over the border on a dirt-bike. Then they are left with a third trafficker who sells the children to plantations.

The children, ranging in age from 10 to 15, are forced to do hard labour, physically abused, and paid poor wages, or none at all. Most of them stay with the plantation until they die, never seeing their families again. Child labour and trafficking is illegal according to the Harkin-Engel Protocol, an agreement that was signed by all major chocolate companies promising not to harvest their cocoa beans through means of child workers

When confronted with this issue, the corporate representatives of some of these companies denied all rumours of child labour and trafficking, but the investigations of the film-makers proved brought to light the continued abuse of children on cocoa plantations.

The completed documentary was shown to the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Switzerland, whose aim is to stop child labor in the chocolate industry.

Nestle and Child SlaveryNestle and other companies declined an invitation to watch the film and to answer questions. In response, Mistrati set up a large screen next to Nestle’s headquarters in Switzerland, forcing employees to catch a glimpse of child labour in the cocoa industry.

As a closing edit window to the film, during the credits roll, we see the local police arrive, to ask why they are showing the film outside Nestle’s Head Office in Vevey, Switzerland. The police ask if the film is ‘for or against Nestle’. The reply is “It is not against”. After checking their documents the police officer says “we turn it off”, referring to showing the film.

Clearly, almost as soon as they started showing the film, Nestle’s executive rang the police who typically, outside of an emergency, can take 20–40 minutes to turn up. The implication being that Nestle, if not the whole chocolate industry, is hyper sensitive to this kind of damning publicity and will use authority to suppress anything which might demoralise its workforce or stigmatize its product.

“Darker Side of Chocolate” 

“Film Write Up” 

“Guy-Andre’ Kieffer” 

Credits: 

A film by Miki Mistrati & U. Roberto Romano

Journalist: Svante Karlshoej Ipsen

Script: Miki Mistrati

Editor: Andreas Birch Eriksen

Research: Ditte Nielsen, Svante Karlshoej Ipsen, Miki Mistrati, U. Roberto Romano, Youchaou Traor, Assoumane Maiga

Photographers: Henrik Bohn Ipsen, U. Roberto Romano, Niels Thastum

Assistant Photographer: Miki Mistrati

Color Grade: Andreas Birch Eriksen

Sound: Bobby Hess, Asser Borgen

Sound Assistant: Ingeborg Holten

Composer: Jonas Colstrup

Graphics: Benny Box

Narrator: David Bateson

Production Managers: Mathilde Hvid Lippmann, Joel Norup Soegaard

Production Assistants: Markus Ramlau, Helene Juncher Jensen, Rasmus Odgaard

Technical Assistance: Jonas Abildgaard

Translations: Helene Juncher Jensen, Tolkegruppen Koebenhavn, Prestige Network Ltd.

Webdesign: Kalle Graverholt

Special Thanks To: Osange Silou-Kieffer, Bernard Kieffer, Fabian Abitbol, ProShop Europe

Executive Producer: Helle Faber

Produced in Corporation With: Mette Hoffmann (DR2) & Barbara Biemann (NDR)

Produced With the Support From: Danida, Media, Pools and Lottery Funds of the Ministry of Education, Monique Dobretz (TSR), Axel Arno (SVT), Arto Hyvonen (YLE), ERR Jaspreet Singh Syan
By Bastard Film & TV (located in Copenhagen, Denmark

References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ COLUMN: Chocolate industry built on blood and sweat of child slaves, Lonnie Allen, Central Michigan Life, 18 October 2010 (retrieved 29 October 2010)
  2. Jump up^ Film Shows Cocoa Child Slavery Continues, Adrienne Fitch-Frankel, Fair Trade Blog, Global Exchange, 4 August 2010 (retrieved 29 October 2010)
  3. Jump up^ AFRICA: The Dark Side of Chocolate, Kate McMahon, CorpWatch, 25 October 2005 (retrieved 29 October 2012)
  4. Jump up^ The dark side of chocolate: Are candy companies doing enough to end child labor?, Sara Peck, “News Review”, 05 August 2010 (retrieved 29 October 2012)
  5. Jump up^ Ghana Consultative Meeting 2010, Tulane University, 11 June 2010 (retrieved 6 November 2012)
  6. Jump up^ The dark side of chocolate: Are candy companies doing enough to end child labor?, Sara Peck, “News Review”, 05 August 2010 (retrieved 29 October 2012)
  7. Jump up^ Feature film exposes the dark side of treat, Jenny Jelen, Northern Life, 19 October 2010 (retrieved 20 October 2010)
  8. Jump up^ The Dark Side of Chocolate Official Website
  9. Jump up^ Chocolate and Slavery, Samlanchith Chanthavong, “Chocolate and Slavery”, 2002
  10. Jump up^ The Dark Side of Chocolate on CultureUnplugged
  11. Jump up^ The dark side of chocolate: Are candy companies doing enough to end child labor?, Sara Peck, “News Review”, 05 August 2010 (retrieved 29 October 2012)
  12. Jump up^ Miki Mistrati – da.wikipedia.com
  13. Jump up^ Miki Mistrati – LinkedIn
  14. Jump up^ Map: Prevalence of Slavery in Western Africa
  15. Jump up^ Fair Trade Advocacy
  16. Jump up^ Global Cocoa Project
  17. Jump up^ The Dark Side of Chocolate Official Website
  18. Jump up^ Contact Database

External links[edit]

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“Trial By Jury: An Essential Safeguard For A Free Society”

#AceHistoryNews says about two centuries ago Thomas Jefferson said “I consider Trial by Jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution”.

"Thomas Jefferson"We live at a time in which we have the potential to learn perhaps more from history than did our ancestors, but it seems that though technology and information have increased, our memories have only grown shorter; we have forgotten the value of those fundamentals that preserve liberty and justice.

One such fundamental is that sovereignty[1] resides in the people. This being the case we can say that the people are masters of their own governments and thus superior to them; they are the creator, the government the created. A corollary of this superiority is that people have the rightful power to check[2] their own government, to keep it within the bounds of what is lawful and constitutional.

English: W. S. Gilbert's illustration for &quo...

English: W. S. Gilbert’s illustration for “Now, Jurymen, hear my advice” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The right to trial by jury stands as one of the most effective checks against the tyranny of government – it is, as Winston Churchill put it, the “supreme protection invented by the British people for ordinary individuals against the state”.[3] The right to trial by jury is enshrined in the Magna Carta[4] and is, according to that constitutional document, an everlasting birthright of the people of this land.[5]

A jury is a tribune of the people (or country).[6] Being randomly selected, the jurors are independent of the government and thus bear no vested interest in the same. Further, they are representative of the full range of views, morality and common sense that exist among the people.

A recurring principle of Common Law is that the power to make decisions and consequence is retained by the people and never delegated to government. Thus a jury is convened to make decisions regarding the fate of those accused of breaking the law – a decision which is so vital that it is not entrusted to government.

Under its full and (I would submit) rightful power, the jury may:

Hold the Court (including the judge) to account. The jury stands supreme.[7] It is a check upon governmental abuse of power. It must be able to hold any and all to account or it will not be able to fulfil its role.

Have all evidence made available to them. If the Government have the power to set the rules by which evidence may be introduced then it might as well be given the power to frame someone. All the lawfully gathered evidence must be made available to the jury.

Deliberate in secret. The jury must be free to meet and discuss their thoughts in secret, in a spirit of safety, knowing that they will not be influenced, punished or harassed, either at that time or in the future, by government or its agents. Attempts by government and its officials to interfere or sit in on jury deliberations are wholly unacceptable to a free and fair trial.

Not be punished in any way by the Court. Again, for a free and fair trial, the jury must not fear any form of punishment or penalty for performing their duty.

By unanimous consent vote the accused “guilty” or “not guilty” of wrongdoing regardless of whether they think the accused has broken the law or not. Government may not bind the conscience of the jury. If the jury feels a law is unjust, or that a law has been unjustly applied, then they in effect throw the case out of court by voting “not guilty” and thus ensure corrupt laws (and the corrupt application of laws) work no ill upon the people. This is called jury nullification because the law is nullified.[8]

If this were otherwise then the jury would serve no purpose in providing a check on government; if it was forced to vote a certain way it would become a mere tool of enforcing the laws of the government of the day. The jury therefore decides if someone is guilty of wrongdoing not of acting illegally.

William Camden, Antiquarian and Historian

William Camden, Antiquarian and Historian (Photo credit: lisby1)

Lord Camden, debating in the House of Lords in 1792, gave the following cogent argument for this very principle. The record states that he said, “he must contend that the jury had an undoubted right to form their verdict themselves according to their consciences, applying the law to the fact. If it were otherwise, the first principle of the law of England would be defeated and overthrown. If the twelve judges were to assert the contrary again and again, he would deny it utterly, because every Englishman was to be tried by his country; and who was his country but his twelve peers, sworn to condemn or acquit according to their consciences? If the opposite doctrine were to obtain, trial by jury would be a nominal trial, a mere form; for, in fact, the judge, and not the jury, would try the man. He would contend for the truth of this argument to the latest hour of his life, manibus pedibusque. With regard to the judge stating to the jury what the law was upon each particular case, it was his undoubted duty so to do; but, having done so, the jury were to take both law and fact into their consideration, and to exercise their discretion and discharge their consciences.“[9]

The jury is thus a powerful tribune in preserving liberty, for without its consent the government may punish no person and all its unjust laws and oppressive application of laws are of no effect. Trial by jury is the final legal check on tyranny and thus a hallmark of and safeguard for a truly free people. It is thus vital we defend that right for ourselves and our children.

End Notes

1. Sovereignty has reference to that which is superior or supreme, it is nothing more or less than the power of self-determination. All sovereignty resides in the individual because it is individuals who possess free will. National sovereignty, for example, is only a representation of the individual sovereignty of each citizen of that society. For a greater explanation of this see the text and references in the article Freedom in Jeopardy: The Case Against the EU and Supranationalism by the same author; available on-line at http://www.freedom-central.net/euandbritain.html.

2. “The right to bear arms, the right of juries to nullify the law, and the right of revolution all have the same root: the inalienable right of the people to control the government when they believe it has become destructive of their liberties.” (The Rise and Fall of Jury Nullification by James Ostrowski, see “Recommended Reading” below).

3. “…the great principle of Habeas Corpus and Trial by Jury…are the supreme protection invented by the British people for ordinary individuals against the state. The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him judgment by his peers for an indefinite period, is in the highest degree odious, and is the foundation of all totalitarian governments.” (Winston Churchill, minute to the Home Secretary, 21st November 1943; emphasis added).

4. “No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, or disseized [dispossessed], or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way harmed – nor will we go upon [condemn] or send upon [imprison] him – save by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land.” (Magna Carta AD 1215, Clause 39; emphasis added).

5. “…men in our kingdom shall have and hold all the aforesaid liberties, rights and concessions well and peacefully, freely and quietly, fully and completely, for themselves and their heirs from us and our heirs, in all matters and in all places for ever…” (Magna Carta, AD 1215, Clause 63; emphasis added). Those rights include the right to due process of law, the right to trial by jury, and the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

6. A jury trial is a trial by country (as opposed to a trial by government). Towers wrote: “And in all pleas of the crown, the prisoner is said to put himself for trial upon his country; which is explained and referred by the clerk of the court, to be meant of the jury, saying to them, ‘which country you are’.” (An Enquiry Into the Question, Whether Juries are, or are not, Judges of Law, As well as of Fact; With a particular Reference to The Case of Libels, Joseph Towers, 1764; available on-line at http://www.constitution.org/jury/cmt/towers/towers.htm). Lysander Spooner wrote: “The object of this trial ‘by the country,’ or by the people, in preference to a trial by the government, is to guard against every species of oppression by the government. In order to effect this end, it is indispensable that the people, or ‘the country,’ judge of and determine their own liberties against the government; instead of the government’s judging of and determining its own powers over the people. How is it possible that juries can do anything to protect the liberties of the people against the government; if they are not allowed to determine what those liberties are? Any government, that is its own judge of, and determines authoritatively for the people, what are its own powers over the people, is an absolute government of course. It has all the powers that it chooses to exercise. There is no other – or at least no more accurate – definition of a despotism than this.” (An Essay on the Trial By Jury by Lysander Spooner; see “Recommended Reading” below).

7. “The power that puts the jury above the law can never safely be entrusted to a single person or to an institution, no matter how great or how good. For it is an absolute power and, given time, absolute power corrupts absolutely. But jurors are anonymous characters who meet upon random and unexpected summons to a single task (or perhaps a few), whose accomplishment is their dissolution. Power lies beneath their feet but they tread on it so swiftly that they are not burnt.” (The Conscience of the Jury, The Right Honourable Lord Devlin, “Law Quarterly Review”, July 1991, Vol. 107, p. 404 as quoted in Reclaim the Law (see “Recommended Reading” below)).

8. “For more than six hundred years – that is, since Magna Carta, in 1215 – there has been no clearer principle of English or American constitutional law, than that, in criminal cases, it is not only the right and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what was the moral intent of the accused; but that it is also their right, and their primary and paramount duty, to judge of the justice of the law, and to hold all laws invalid, that are, in their opinion, unjust or oppressive, and all persons guiltless in violating, or resisting the execution of, such laws.” (An Essay on the Trial by Jury, 1852, Lysander Spooner; see below). Compare this with the following extract from the Report of the FCDA, Europe; Cannabis, the Facts, Human Rights and the Law: “In the governance of men and women, few if any matters are of greater consequence than the diligence and precision with which the judiciary observe and adhere to the civilised code long-established for the determination of an accused person’s guilt or innocence. At least the equal of all other aspects of importance of this code is the Right and Duty of the jury to judge of the justice of the law. All governments, comprised of as they are of human beings, are fallible. Governments are capable of passing bad or oppressive (i.e. illegal) laws, and authorising and organising the enforcement of such bad laws. If juries were limited in their role to decide guilt or innocence only on the evidence produced by the state prosecutor of whether the accused had broken a law or not, any jury acting in this restricted way would not be able to protect good fellow Citizens from unjust laws or oppressions of the state. These inadequate ‘show trials’ are observed to take place in the tyrannies of totalitarian dictatorships and are traditionally scorned for the mockery of justice that they are when compared to the democratic high standards Trial by Jury. Some term other than Trial by Jury is necessary to describe a court ritual enacted where in the jury is not informed of the jurors Right and Duty to judge on the justice of law, without which real Trial by Jury cannot be said to have taken place”. (ISBN: 0-954421-1-6. On-line reference: http://www.ccguide.org/fcda.php).

9. 29 Parliamentary History 1535, 1536; final emphasis added.

Recommended Reading

Reclaim the Law (article)
http://www.flyingfish.org.uk/articles/excuse/lawful.htm.

An Essay on the Trial By Jury by Lysander Spooner (essay)
http://www.lysanderspooner.org/node/35

The Rise and Fall of Jury Nullification by James Ostrowski (PDF essay)
http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/15_2/15_2_3.pdf

American Jury Institute (organization)
Highly recommended and informative website concerning fully informing juries as to their rights and duties. http://www.americanjuryinstitute.org

Juries: A Double Edged Sword (Steven Montgomery, writing for The Moral Liberal)
A short history of the right of a jury to decide matters of law as well as fact. And the obligation that rests upon society to apply this right properly. http://www.themoralliberal.com/2011/05/18/juries-a-double-edged-sword

TRIAL BY JURY: AN ESSENTIAL SAFEGUARD FOR A FREE SOCIETY

#History2Research

Copyright 2004. Darren Andrews. Feel free to print but please acknowledge Freedom-Central.Net as the source. Do not copy to a web site without permission.

 

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