Fury over school video equating scouts with freemasons

PARENTS at a Nicosia school are reported to be up in arms over a video presentation linking the scouts to freemasonry.

According to yesterday’s Politis, children at a Nicosia high school were shown a video entitled Freemasons 666: Chariot of the Antichrist in their religious education lesson, causing distress for some of the pupils who were scouts. The topic was part of a wider lesson on ‘anti-Christian’ sects and religious groups.

The video is produced by Greek clerics from the ‘Orthodox Press’ and dates back to the 1980s. It projects the producers’ views on freemasonry and, by citing similarities in handshakes and symbols, claims the scouts are a universal association under the thumb of freemasonry. According to Politis, the music and images used in the presentation acted more to provoke fear than inform on the subject matter.

The Education Ministry, in line with modern teaching methods, encourages multimedia presentations in the classroom. But it is unclear whether teachers are handed a catalogue of video programmes to choose from, given a list of possible themes and appropriate subject matter, or simply given autonomy to choose.

Education Ministry Religious Inspector Christos Christou, who was quoted as saying scouts abroad came under the freemasons, yesterday refused to comment on the matter.

But the President of the Parents’ Association, Elias Demetriou, said yesterday that just as teachers were given bibliographies, the same supervision should be applied to multimedia presentations, adding, those using unlisted material should be sent before a disciplinary committee.

Asked to comment on the report, the District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge of Cyprus, Freddie Eleftheriades, emphatically told the Cyprus Mail: “There is no connection whatsoever between the scouts and freemasons.” He said it was not uncommon for people to confuse freemasonry with other organisation such as the Lions, Rotarians or the scouts, but that they operated on a different basis.

General Commissioner for the Cyprus Scouts Association, George Tsikos also denied the association had any connection with freemasonry. He claimed it was not the first time schools had made such a connection.

No records exist linking the founder of the scout movement, Lord Baden-Powell, with any freemason lodge. The fact that many of his contemporaries were members of the fraternity has prompted claims that the values of scouting are closely parallel to those of freemasonry.