Thursday, November 10, 2011

Barack Obama: Freemason Or Not?

Here we go again!  I had no idea until I posted George W. Bush: Freemason Or Not? that there is actually another President that is believed by some to be a Freemason--our current President Barack Obama!  It was quickly brought to my attention. So I did a little checking on that.

Oh no! There's that Masonic
"Rock On" hand sign again!
THE EVIDENCE
Just like with George W. Bush, the "evidence" President Obama is a Freemason seems to be blurry photos of odd handshakes and hand signals, an anonymous report that somebody once sat next to him during a Masonic meeting, and there was a Time Magazine photo of his hands on the Presidential seal that sported a Masonic ring.  All the details about the sources of these stories are documented in an article posted by the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon

Definitely a Masonic ring, but are those the
 hands of the President?
THE MASONIC RING
One thing about that photograph of the ring immediately struck me. As the article from the Grand Lodge of British Columbia pointed out, that photo was probably taken for the article, and those hands most likely aren't Barack Obama's. I think that's probably correct. One thing I did notice is that ring is on upside down--at least it would be in Illinois. And it is presumed if Barack Obama is a Mason, he was made a Mason in Illinois. In Illinois, the general custom is for Freemasons to wear their rings with the points of the compass worn towards you--that ring is being worn with the points outward. Of course, he could have joined a lodge in another state--he has lived in several states over his lifetime and customs vary in different locales. I'm sure I'm going to be schooled about how rings are worn--if there's an expert on Masonic ring customs out there, please feel free to do so.

SO IS BARACK OBAMA A FREEMASON?
There is no evidence that Barack Obama is a Freemason--neither the Grand Lodge of Illinois nor the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Illinois have any record of him being made a Freemason.  And no information has come from the Grand Lodges of any other state he lived in indicating he was ever a member of the fraternity.  If President Obama were a Freemason, you'd hear about it.  Those Grand Lodges would be proclaiming that fact far and wide as they do with every President and famous man that has been a Freemason. 

And that makes guys like me who write about famous Freemasons very sad.  President Obama would make a great subject for the last volume of my Famous American Freemasons series.
~TEC

9 comments:

  1. I don't know how things are in the US but in the UK (English lodges) the points on the compasses are worn facing away from you if you are below the rank of an installed master and towards you if you are an installed master or above, half of the photos of Obama's handshake do not depict a masonic handshake of any degree that I know of and I am sure that if Obama was a Mason he would have been proud enough to tell people - incidentally I wear my ring with the points toward me :)

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  2. Well thanks--the custom here in the U.S. (and I'm no expert) is to either wear it points towards or points away, and it seems to vary from location to location. In my area, the custom is to wear them with the points in.

    That's interesting that the custom in the UK is points in for installed Masters and above, and points out for everyone else. Maybe we can get a few more to chip in what the ring customs are where they are from.

    Thanks, JB

    ~TEC

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  3. When I was raised here in California I inquired with my installed Master and about five other Past Masters on the proper way to wear the ring and I was given the following answer.

    "The points of the compass point toward the wearer untill you return the proficency for the MM degree then you have the option to reverse them to pointing away from the wearer." This was one answer.

    The rest of the answers were that it made no real difference how you wore it.

    S & F


    (I wear my ring with the points toward me most days but I have been known to not be fully awake and get dressed on those days it is a 50 50 shot)

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  4. I wear mine points in as is the custom in this area, but I tend to agree, it doesn't really matter how you wear it, what matters is what it means to you. Thanks for the comments.

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  5. Here in FLorida, the custom is as follows: If you wish for others to inquire about your Masonic Affiliation, then you should wear your ring with the Compases pointing AWAY from you, (Thereby making it Visible for others to see the points INVITING their curiosity). If you DO NOT WISH for people to question you about your Masonic Affiliation, then you wear it with the Points of the Compasses pointing INWARD.

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  6. Does nobody else notice the fact that the ring in the top picture is one his left hand, and the ring in the second picture is on the wearer's right hand? Based on the seal in the one picture and the lapel pin in the other, I'd say that neither of these images are mirrored. Don't know if anyone else had noticed that, but just a detail that I felt needed mentioning.

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  7. I'm pretty sure the magazine photos were posed for the piece--and likely altered. It's unlikely those are the hands of Barack Obama. There is something a little odd about the photos though. I thought perhaps it was a composite--two photos merged as one. Who knows. Thanks for the observation.

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  8. Here in Canada the custom is to wear the ring as you have seen it on the VOSB; pointing toward you until you become a WM when you see it from the other side, thus pointing away from you. Great way to learn, eh ...

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    Replies
    1. I'd never heard that before. Thanks for sharing that practice. It never ceases to amaze me the variety of traditions that revolve around something as simple as how a ring is worn. Thanks again!

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