[Square & Compasses]

The Aluminum Siding Salesman: An Analogy

Article: 11287 of alt.freemasonry
From: rfire@cais2.cais.com (Dr. Roger M. Firestone)
Newsgroups: alt.freemasonry
Subject: Re: Well, someone did ask to see it.
Date: 12 Dec 1995 19:20:59 GMT
Message-ID: <4akkmr$6lo@zippy.cais.net>
References: <514@assyst.win-uk.net>

Dave Pope complains that Masons are not always overflowing with brotherly love and tolerance. Unfortunately, his context is perhaps not a fair measure of things.

Suppose, Mr. Pope, that an aluminum siding salesman came to your brick home and proceeded to inform you of the benefits of aluminum siding day and night, without regard to the fact that brick homes need no such siding, and repeated himself endlessly and refused to leave your living room to allow you to discuss subjects there that interested you. Wouldn't you, at some point, lose your Christian virtue of patience and hustle him bodily from your home? Notwithstanding his sincere desire to sell you something that he himself has benefitted from and in which he believes most thoroughly? And suppose he was part of a team of eight aluminum siding salesmen who came to your house in rotation? All wanting to do you good, no matter how inappropriate to your personal situation? How much patience has even a saint?

In short, Mr. Pope, that is what you and your sincere, fundamentalist friends are doing here. You have read the Bible, and developed your own (or more likely accepted your religious leader's) interpretation of it, and you have read one or two books about Freemasonry, written by outsiders who may well have an ulterior motive (such as making money by selling books) but have a serious lack of knowledge and understanding about Freemasonry, whether from ignorance or malice.

You are as convinced that we need your particular vision and version of religion, just as much as that siding salesman is convinced that everyone needs aluminum siding. People who live in brick houses don't need aluminum siding, and sincere, religious, church- (or synagogue- or mosque-) going Freemasons don't need a new religion. But you won't take "No" for an answer, and you won't listen to reason when we explain that Masonry is not pagan, not Satanic, not anti-Christian, not a religion, not any of the things you claim it is.

And you aren't the only one. We have heard from a dozen or more people like you this year alone. And you have the same arguments as they do, because you have read the same three books (by Texe Marr, or whomever) that quote the same passages from Pike out of context, and repeat the Taxil hoax, and mumble the same foolishness about five-pointed star, and on and on, ad nauseam. And they won't go away and leave us alone until they have thoroughly exhausted our tolerance as we wearily beat into them the same arguments and explanations and refutations over and over again, and they finally learn that we know more about Masonry than they ever will, and we can't be persuaded by their fictions and distortions.

That is why, Mr. Pope, you seem to feel put upon by some of the responses you get in this newsgroup and by private email. You are an unwelcome salesman, selling inappropriate and unwanted goods, sitting in our living room and making our lives unpleasant. To behave like that and then complain about our behavior towards you takes a certain amount of gall. But I have a feeling that even this lengthy (and, I believe, polite and temperately-phrased) explanation of why you are the target of abuse is not going to get through to you. So please tell me where you live; I know of an aluminum siding company that would be interested in talking to you...

Roger M. Firestone, 32 KCCH
Sr. Warden (Master-elect), Dawson Lodge #16, FAAM of DC
Musician/Lodge Education Officer, Henry Lodge #57, AF&AM of Virginia, Fairfax

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