(Excerpted from United Symbolism of America by Robert R. Hieronimus, Ph.D.)
More than any other symbol, the one most often pointed to with fear by the fundamentalist-conspiratorialists is the incomplete, inverted, irregular pentagram in the streets above the White House. Because of superficial research conclusions they believe the inverted pentagram is a Satanic symbol, or a Masonic symbol, neither of which is true. Westbrook, on the other hand, believes the pentagram above the White House has more to do with “the sigil for Jerusalem and the old pilgrimage routes for Rome, than any sort of devil worship.”30 As we note when we review this symbol again a little further on, people working with geometric symbols because of their magical connotations are careful to keep the angle measurements and the line connections complete and exact. Otherwise the magic is useless. This is one reason I tend to believe the incomplete and irregular pentagram over the White House is probably coincidental rather than intentional.
As you may have noticed, most of the people claiming there was a Masonic influence in the design of Washington, DC are not Masons themselves. At the same time, most of the contemporary Masonic historians will deny that there was any Masonic objective for the nation’s capital beyond the many cornerstone laying ceremonies performed by them, and their overall wish to see the plan for America succeed. The large number of Masons who are named as important players in the appearance of the city from 1791 through today is explained by them as of no more significant than the even larger number of Christians who have played important roles in creating the structures that are interpreted as Masonic. Most of the symbols that are called Masonic, in fact, are symbols used by a great many other groups and societies and for very similar reasons that the Masons adopted them, so if they do appear anywhere in DC with intentionality, we cannot automatically assume it was for Masonic reasons.
Our Founding Fathers Were NOT Satanists
As ludicrous as that statement is going to sound to the average reader, it is a growing sentiment among a large body of people thanks to the “cut and paste” methods of research on the Internet. In order to interpret our American symbols as evil, the fundamentalist-conspiratorialists are forced into the conclusion that our founders were morally corrupt and controlled by Satan. For “proof” they point to all the “pagan” symbols around us. Without a background of classical references it is dangerously easy to make these unfounded conclusions, and to identify some of America’s strongest patriots and idealistic visionaries as part of the mysterious “them.” Racist conspiratorialists have played this same “game” against the Jews for a long, long time, diagramming their complex theories to show that “behind all atrocities is a Jewish secret society” planning to enslave the world and destroy Christianity. The Freemasons, liberal intelligentsia, and artists (“commies”), have also suffered from frequent attempts to find clues to prove that they are the root of all evil. Now the fundamentalist-conspiratorialists have found a new enemy to attack by picking apart American history and symbolism.
Despite my obvious disagreement with their conclusions, however, I still believe it is important to read these books and to do so with an open mind. Many of their conclusions are ludicrous as I hope we have shown with the preceding chapters, but they are on the right track as far as an organized force in the world that is determined to distract us from our spiritual lives and entrap us in the material world. As already noted, there are definitely groups of powerful elites who organize together to try to control the masses to their advantage. To find them, you only have to look into the connected boards of the major media, lobbying groups, big corporations and professional politicians. I believe it is a waste of time to get caught up in a hyper-analysis of their logos in an attempt to link them to the eye in the triangle or the torch or the pentagram, as behind these symbols does not lie the enemy.
Speculation is fine as long as it is identified as such, but speculation is not valid unless all the historical facts are considered first. For example, those claiming there was Masonic input on the Great Seal simply have their facts wrong, as revealed in the authoritative book on the subject, The Eagle and the Shield. Although it was published by the State Department in 1976, it was not released until 1978, and before that time the State Department did not have anything publicly available on the reverse of the Great Seal. I know, because I tried in vain to get it, and corresponded with the authors of The Eagle and the Shield as they were assembling their book. This means that anything written before 1978, including my own work and that of Manly Palmer Hall who is quoted as a Masonic historian on countless fundamentalist-conspiratorialist websites, was based on incomplete facts, and could be subject to question in the area of speculation. Many critics of the Great Seal today are basing their facts on just such information published before 1978.
Although I have a high regard for Manly Palmer Hall and corresponded with him frequently in the 1960s and 70s, he was not a Masonic historian, and he got a number of his facts wrong about the Great Seal, writing as he did before Patterson and Dougall published. Arturo de Hoyos and Brent Morris explain why Hall is used so regularly as a source by the fundamentalist-conspiratorialists trying to prove that Masons are interested in the occult. “Manley Hall did not become a Mason until 1954, so his Lost Keys of Freemasonry (1923) and The Secret Teachings of All Ages (1928) actually represent the personal theories of a non-Mason. Further, Mr. Hall (who passed away in August 1990) was a self-avowed mystic, not a ‘leading authority’ of Freemasonry. He was a promulgator of mysticism and theosophy, topics of interest to some Freemasons; but his writings have not received official sanction by any Masonic bodies. The fact that he held the Thirty-third Degree and was respected by many Masons and honored by the Supreme Council 33 degree is no more significant than the fact that various Baptist, Anglican, or Methodist authors have also been so honored.”1