John J. Robinson’s “A Pilgrim’s Path – Freemasonry and the Religious Right” is a well researched, eloquently written rebuttal to the many false accusations levied against Freemasonry in the early 1990s by such well known fundamentalist Christian evangelicals as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.
The book succeeds where other pro-Freemasonry books written in the same vein fail because in addition to analyzing and dissecting Robertson and Falwell’s arguments on a point by point basis in the first section of his book, Robinson spends the second part of “A Pilgrim’s Path” describing some of the many examples of Masonic philanthropy, and reviewing the philosophy behind them.
The final section of the book is the moving tale of Robinson’s growing involvement with Freemasonry. Robinson’s interest in the Freemasons was initially an outgrowth of his fascination with the Medieval Britain and the Crusades. In 1993 when he began writing “A Pilgrim’s Path,” the former Marine, farmer, business executive and author was not yet a Freemason. As he wrote this book, however, his love and reverence for the Order grew. His petition and acceptance into a lodge is the climax of the book’s third coda.
Pat Robertson, Conspiracy Theories and Freemasonry
When Pat Robertson ran unsuccessfully for President in 1988, he disqualified himself from ever being able to work again in an official capacity for a church. This has not deterred the former Southern Baptist minister and television evangelist from presenting himself as the official voice of Conservative Christianity in the United States.
In 1991, Robertson wrote a book entitled “The New World Order” which was a catchall for every conspiracy theory inspired by the rise of economic globalism. Robertson implicated Freemasonry as part of the evil conspiracy, citing descriptions of Masonic rituals and rites that first appeared in Reverend Jim Shaw’s book “The Deadly Deception.” (These descriptions were later discovered to have been fabricated by authors Art de Hoyos and S. Brent Morris.) According to Robertson, Freemasons are the advance guard for a secret Order of the Illuminati composed of Masons and Jewish bankers, the same men who were responsible for the rise of communism in Russia and the collapse of the banking system in the United States that led to the Great Depression. Freemasonry, Robertson concludes, is a cover for devil worship.
It is a testament to Robinson’s patience and scholarly acumen that he does such a thorough and credible job refuting Robertson’s claims. Many scholars might have been tempted to throw up their hands at such ignorance and walk away. As outrageous as they seem to more enlightened thinkers however, Robertson’s words and thoughts exert an enormous amount of influence over the minds of many, many Americans and thus must be taken seriously.
The Freemason’s Secret? Philanthropy!
In the second section of his book, Robinson describes a meeting he attended at the behest of members of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine – more popularly known as Shriners. The Shriners are a adjunct Freemasonry Order most famous for administering a medical network of 22 hospitals for children under the age of 18 suffering from orthopedic disabilities or severe burns. Treatment at a Shriner Children’s Hospital is given irrespective of a patient’s family’s ability to pay.
When one Shriner brought up the case of a young burn victim who had recently begun treatment at their hospital, wondering aloud how much money should be allocated to her care, another Shriner gently pointed out that the budget for her care was whatever amount of money it would take to help her recover completely.
Freemason philanthropy in a nutshell!
In the final analysis, these examples of Freemason generosity may do more to refute the ignorant claims of people like Pat Robertson than reasoned rebuttal because they are proactive rather than defensive, showcasing the myriad ways that Freemasonry helps make the world a better place for all of us to live.