17 April 2008
When it comes to Laïcité Turkish Masons take their cue from the The Grand Orient. Not only that Claude Geidan, Second Grandmaster of the "The Grand Orient" lodge, said that at present with about 50 thousand members, the lodge is neither a political nor commercial organization, and its sole mission is to preach the principles of freedom, equity and brotherhood. However, the Third Grandmaster George Ferre assured that the Masons never doubt the fact of the Armenian Genocide. "The events of the beginning of the 20th century was a part of Ottoman Turkey’s policy of extermination of Armenians, and the present policy of denial is the continuation of the Genocide," he said. Moreover, he said that the Masons involved in the perpetration of the Genocide are also worthy of condemnation. He informed that "The Grand Orient" lodge calls upon its counterparts in Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide . .
The Grand Orient advanced the concept of Laïcité, a French concept of the separation of church and state and the absence of religious interference in government affairs. In the 1930s the Grand Orient was still hostile to Church interests, wishing to close private schools (which were predominantly Catholic), or failing that to reintroduce an insistence that only state schools could provide civil servants.
This dislike of religious participation is still an official policy of the Grand Orient de France today. The Grand Orient de France is concerned about a 'silent revolution' of a return of religion in society. It is openly hostile to granting the right of expression and practice to movements elsewhere recognized as religions in the European Union, which it calls "cults" (sectes). It advocates government action against (according to its own terms) an 'offensive of cults in Europe' . In April 2008, when the legitimacy of the anti-cult ministerial group (MIVILUDES) was questioned, the Great Master of the Order Jean-Michel Quillardet intervened personally with the President of the French parliament in order to maintain its activity.
Unlike the Anglo-Masonic Grand Lodges (especially those affiliated to the United Grand Lodge of England), the Grand Orient of France allows the discussion of political issues and religion in lodge. However, this does not mean that its members proselytize or preach their beliefs; the discussions are performed in an academic manner that serves to inform and open dialogue on various topics. The Grand Orient itself takes political positions on certain moral issues. It sees as one of its missions protecting the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity (this also being the motto of the French Republic and the GOdF).
In addition, it expects its members who hold a public office to fight for its values; in order to forward its stated purpose of exerting an influence on ideas, the Grand Master holds regular talks with elected representatives, including the Prime Minister.
Source: Mavi Boncuk