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Freemason Symbol Ban Sparks Controversy in Gravestone Decision

Controversy Arises as Court Bars Freemason Symbol from Gravestone

A recent ruling by Chancellor Geoffrey Tattersall QC of the Diocese of Carlisle has sparked controversy after denying permission for the inclusion of a Freemason emblem on the gravestone of William Kenneth Wilson, who passed away in July 2012.

Despite Wilson's significant contributions over 40 years to Freemasonry, including serving as Provincial Grand Master, the Consistory Court's decision prohibits his family from etching the square and compass symbol onto his gravestone.

Court Bars Freemason Emblem from Gravestone, Citing Religious Concerns.

Wilson's niece, Mrs. Dorothy Stubbs, had sought approval from the Church of England's Consistory Court, which oversees such matters, to honor her uncle's dedication to Freemasonry.

The emblem, widely recognized in Freemason tradition, had garnered support from the Parochial Church Council for St Oswald's Church, where Wilson is interred.

However, Chancellor Tattersall ruled against the petition, citing theological concerns raised by the Church of England in a 1987 report titled Freemasonry and Christianity: Are they Compatible? 

The report, which debated Freemasonry rituals and their alignment with Christian beliefs, highlighted objections to certain Masonic practices, including the use of 'Jahbulon' as a name for the Supreme Being.

"The Synod's theological objections to Freemasonry, dating back to 1987, remain significant," noted Chancellor Tattersall in his decision.

"While epitaphs on gravestones may reflect various aspects of a deceased person's life, they must align entirely with Christian faith. Considering the ongoing controversy surrounding Freemasonry, I find it inappropriate to allow such a symbol in this churchyard."

This decision has stirred debate among Freemasons and the wider community, with arguments for the emblem's historical significance and objections to what some perceive as an unjustified restriction on religious expression.

In response to the ruling, Mrs. Stubbs expressed disappointment, emphasizing the emblem's presence on other local gravestones and likening it to insignias of the Armed Forces permitted in similar contexts.

Despite these arguments, the Consistory Court upheld its decision, underscoring the enduring theological debate over Freemasonry within Christian denominations.

The decision not only reflects ongoing tensions between Masonic symbolism and Christian doctrine but also raises questions about religious freedom and commemoration in churchyards across the country.

For more updates on this evolving story, stay tuned.


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