I was horrified and saddened to hear of the mass shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin on Sunday. The shooter (whom I refuse to name, as he deserves no fame nor remembrance) apparently led a white supremacist band and had many white power tattoos inked all over his body. Presumably, he targeted these people because they were Muslim...the cherry of ignorance on top of this hate cake.
There just happens to be a Sikh temple about 15 minutes away from me. I hope to be able to visit soon and offer my condolences, on behalf of myself and behalf of my Lodge. Anyone wishing to help can support the Milwaukee shooting victims here.
Several weeks ago, I listed sixteen qualities of a Rosicrucian. A number of them, such as kindness and patience, would certainly imply a tolerant spirit. But is tolerance a true quality of a Rosicrucian?
Cloistered as a young boy, presumably in a Catholic monastery in Germany, Christian Rosenkreutz set out as a young man in search of knowledge. In the Middle Ages, if you wanted education, you had to go where the enlightened minds were, the Arab world. He traveled to Cyprus (where his companion died) and then to Damascus, where "by his skill in Physick he obtained much favour with the Turks". From there, he travelled to Damcar, where they received him "not as a stranger, but as one whom they had long expected". Clearly, there was no religious nor racial enmity in these relationships...rather quite the contrary. The most judgmental suggestion made in the Fama Fraternitatis was that CRC found that in Fez "their Cabala was defiled with their Religion", but then the manuscript says "he knew how to make good use of the same, and found still more better grounds of his Faith..." and continues to espouse a sense of tolerance for the Muslim faith.
In fact, the place where CRC was most ill received was back in Christian lands, when he returned with his great knowledge, as "it was to them a laughing matter; and being a new thing unto them, they feared that their great Name should be lessened, if they should now again begin to learn and acknowledge their many years Errors". The seed of intolerance can only grow in the darkness of a closed, fixed mind.
Yet the Confessio Fraternitatis practically opens with a strong admonishment towards Catholicism and Islam. "We do condemn the East and the West (meaning the Pope and Mahomet) blasphemers against our Lord Jesus Christ..." Even the Fama says "we also steadfastly believe, that if our Brethren and Fathers had lived in this our present and clear light, they would more roughly have handled the Pope [and] Mahomet..." But there is no evidence of their founding father ever espousing those feelings or actions. I think it's rather clear that Frater CRC was a lot more tolerant than even the writers of the R+C manuscripts. Then again, look at Jesus Christ and compare his beliefs and actions to most of today's fundamentalist Christians, and the chasm of intolerance between them is striking.
As suggested earlier, the Rosicrucian movement was obviously Protestant, and that sentiment persisted into a number of modern Rosicrucian Orders. Take for example the historical Order of the Golden Dawn and its Inner Order, the Roseae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis. The last sentence on the second page of the Cipher Manuscripts advise the Order to "avoid Roman Catholics, but with pity." Yet the Golden Dawn was one of the most progressively minded spiritual organizations of its day. Men and women were admitted on an equal basis, and only a belief in a supreme being was required. Catholics, Muslims, and even Sikhs and Pagans would have been welcome. Today, there are even some GD orders which admit agnostics and atheists as well. Furthermore, in the lecture On The General Guidance and Purification of the Soul, it declares:
"In true religion there is no sect. Therefore take heed that thou blaspheme not the name by which another knoweth his God for if thou doest this thing in Jupiter, thou wilt blaspheme YHVH; and in Osiris YEHESHUAH."
Tolerance abounds in the Golden Dawn.
Also take into consideration the Masonic Societas Rosicruciana (SRIA, SRICF, SRIC, SRIS, etc.) Although membership requires one to be a Trinitarian Christian man, there is clear instruction and direction towards religious tolerance in their Philosophus degree:
"Worthy Frater Practicus, I feel assured of the good intentions which animate you, but I warn you that the subjects of our studies are more abstruse and elevated than those in which you have already become proficient. As a Frater of this Society of the Rose and Cross you are familiar with the Christian Faith, and have learned to know of a Divine Creator and of Jesus Who is the Christ. You have now to study and compare the various conceptions of Divinity which have been held by the great nations of the Ancient World, and the tenets of the most famous philosophers, for in all their systems great moral lessons are to be found. By a serious contemplation of these systems we believe you will come to a more just appreciation of the beauties of the Christian Faith, and be well able to show to the world without that our Rosicrucian Fraternity not only confers knowledge upon its members, but also Wisdom."
So make no mistake, Rosicrucianism is a peaceful, tolerant spiritual path. Naturally, there will be some who call themselves Rosicrucians, or belong to Rosicrucian organizations, which may not live up to its doctrines and practices of tolerance. Blame not the faith for its wayward followers, whether it be Rosicrucianism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism or Sikhism. Our similarities are so much greater than our differences.