California Court Rules that Freemasonry is a Religion and Falls under RLUIPA!
A group of Scottish Rite Freemasons brought suit in California. They sued to have Freemasonry established as a religion. This would give them the protections of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), the landmark law that says government may not infringe on religious buildings without a compelling interest.
Freemasonry may rank with Christianity, Judaism and Islam as an official form of “religious exercise,” a California court of appeals suggested in a ruling on Oct. 3, 2007.
As such, Masons would fall under RLUIPA.
“We see no principled way to distinguish the earnest pursuit of these (Masonic) principles … from more widely acknowledged modes of religious exercise,” the statement said.
Unfortunately for the Masons, since the private corporation LASRC was the entity in charge of the building, the city’s actions weren’t based on the appellant being a religion. The corporation was a business entity, not a Masonic organization, therefore RLUIPA did not apply in this case.
How do Barbadian Freemasons see themselves?
It is even more interesting to conjecture how our readers will decide on this issue. If a person were a member of the Judiciary, the Scottish Rite Freemasons and the Church, where would he stand on this issue: would he accept the court’s ruling or would he reject the ruling and accept the official Freemason line that Freemasonry is NOT a religion?
Read Part III
Next, how the Churches view Freemasonry. (The sensitive story will be coming soon.)