The Scarlet Letter
Volume VI, Number 2 | September 2001
A Message from the Frater Superior
by Fr. Hymenaeus Beta
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
O.T.O. International Headquarters is revulsed, appalled and deeply angered by the attacks on America of September 11 .
IHQ supports Sabazius’ appeals for Order-wide solidarity in the USA in support of the victims, survivors and of the government, and endorse his plea for tolerance. Half of the worldwide Order is American, and Sabazius speaks, and speaks well, for the Order in the United States.
We should be mindful that approximately a tenth of the victims in the World Trade Center may have been British. Many other countries were affected as well, and more may well be directly affected in the difficult months and years to come.
The appropriate international response to deal with this outrage, and prevent its recurrence, will need thought and discussion. We should hope that there is a healthy divergence of views among those making those difficult decisions. Similarly, within the Order we should not discourage this.
Last week’s attacks were the most cynical act of mass murder in the West since WWII. Many would probably agree that they were done in the name of religion with the intent of provoking a “holy war”. But there is nothing holy about what occurred, nor does it have the support of the vast majority of the estimated one billion Muslims around the world. I trust our response will be as enlightened and openly overwhelming as that attack was irrational and sneaky.
As we are ourselves a religious Order, I feel that it is incumbent on us to preserve clear rationality and emotional control in times like these. Not dignifying superstitions or ignorant remarks with repetition or response, and discouraging magical thinking based on scripture, will surely help. It is natural to look there for guidance and comfort, but these are private matters to be followed out each for himself.
It is a tradition in O.T.O. for its international headquarters not to take sides in wartime, and for members from opposing sides in a conflict to be able, in theory, to meet in lodge as brothers, as indeed occurred during the Balkan conflicts. But some wars involve moral and ethical issues that run so deep as to make such a policy impossible. This policy was tacitly but effectively suspended in World War II, when Frater Superior Baphomet put the energies of the Order into the war effort through various publications. But in my view the underlying principle suggests that those who might personally disagree politically, even if citizens of the same country, should continue to deal with one another fraternally. This tolerance of other viewpoints is central to our tradition.
O.T.O. International renews its commitment to supporting those governments with the will to defeat the forces of superstitious totalitarianism that threaten freedom. But we must be mindful that the human rights we defend include freedom of speech and dissent, even–need I say especially?–among our own members.
Love is the law, love under will.