Posted 03 January 2010 - 06:56 PM
Well, I haven't saw fit to participate in this thread yet, but I do have a perspective.
My father was 32rd degree in the Scottish Rite, and Boumi Temple member,and I joined the Demolay (jr. Mason club) for two years at my dads invitation. I have to say that all clubs that use "secret" stuff to lend an air of importance to it's purpose can be held similar to Masonic ritual. What's more important is the promises made and kept.
The Masonic organizations are religious in tone and activity and can become a religion, superceding the originaL faith of the adherent, if they should follow it to it's logical end. Many faiths are not sympathetic to or comfortable with Freemasonry and rightfully so in my opinion. But that said, the Masons do good public work, secret ritual and regalia not withstanding.
OA is certainly not a religion, but it's native American symbolism based ritual is meant to remind the member of the importance of faith (whichever), loyalty (brotherhood) and service to others.
I chose not to be supportive of a secret organization that my loved ones would not be permitted to participate in or observe. I know I became uncomfortable with some of the Demolay ritual and symbolism, even at my young and tender age, and so did not continue. That much I remember, details of my discomfort are not so clear.
On my father's death, our favorite Methodist church allowed a Masonic ceremony during his memorial service. His Lions club spoke, I spoke, and the Masons spoke, top hats, aprons, capes and all. They invited me to consider joining my father's lodge, but I had to say no, due to the secrecy and religious overtones I knew of. I said I thought that being a Quaker AND being a Mason would not be possible. I remember they insisted that the two could be reconciled, but I demurred.
I see no such conflict with BSA and the OA (so far!).