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8 Feb, 2018 11:06

Freemasons cry discrimination over Guardian article ‘exposing’ secret Westminster lodges

Freemasons cry discrimination over Guardian article ‘exposing’ secret Westminster lodges

The Freemasons have placed full-page ads in multiple daily newspapers across the UK saying the Guardian's article accusing it of operating clandestine lodges within Westminster is a "gross misrepresentation."

Advertisements were placed in the Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian.

In an open letter posted on the Freemasonry Today website, Chief Executive of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) David Staples called the misrepresentation of his group “discrimination.”

“The United Grand Lodge of England believes that the ongoing gross misrepresentation of its 200,000-plus members is discrimination. Pure and simple,” Staples said.

“We owe it to our membership to take this stance, they shouldn’t have to feel undeservedly stigmatized. No other organization would stand for this and nor shall we.”

The UGLE head said that he has written to the Equality and Human Rights Commission over the issue. He also said that the doors of their meeting halls - called lodges by group members - are open to the public.

“I appreciate that you may have questions about who we are and what we do, so over the next six months our members will be running a series of open evenings and Q&A events up and down the country.

“I am also happy to answer any queries directly. Please feel free to write to me here at Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ and I will come back to you. We’re open,” he added.

Staples also said in a letter, entitled “Enough is Enough,” that UGLE values honesty, integrity and service to the community above all else. “Last year we raised over £33 million ($45.8 million) for good causes,” he said.

“As an organization, we welcome individuals from all walks of life, of any faith, age, class or political persuasion. Throughout our 300-year history, when people have suffered discrimination, Freemasonry has embraced them into our lodges as equals.”

On Tuesday, Staples accused the Guardian of “damaging” the reputation of Freemasonry. In another letter published on Freemasonry Today, Staples wrote that “by publishing inaccuracies which foster and promote popular prejudices against Freemasonry concerning corruption, power and control, the article damaged the reputation of the United Grand Lodge of England as a membership organization and encouraged further discrimination against individual Freemasons.”

Multiple news organisations, including RT, ran with the story after it was initially published in the Guardian.

UGLE has demanded that the Guardian retracts the article and issues a formal apology.

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