Observatory of freedom of conscience

Freemasonry, which is essentially a philanthropic, philosophical and progressive institution, aims to search for the truth, study ethics and practise mutual support.
It works for the material and moral improvement of humanity, towards intellectual and social perfection.

First Article of the Constitution of the Grand Orient de France


Where it can be found

Its working methods

The way it is organised

Thus Lafayette received a sword from George Washington in honor of the part played by French Freemasons in the American War of Independance.

In this way, the preparation of the ideas of Liberty and Equality in the Masonic Lodges contributed to the great reforms of the French Revolution.

And this is how answers to a question which was studied in the Lodges of the Grand Orient de France before the war would be highly instrumental in setting up the French welfare system.

But these are just a few examples, for in the past three centuries the history of French Freemasonry has been that of France and of its great social victories in the humanist context in which it has placed itself.

Whether it be the abolition of slavery with Victor Schoelcher, the setting up compulsory, nondenominational state school with Jules Ferry, more recently the work of Arthur Groussier with industrial tribunals, the protection of women and children in work, then the shortening of the working week, paid leave etc… these aresome of the problems studied in the Masonic Lodges of the Grand Orient de France and made the law of the Republic by the enlightened men who for their time were at the cutting edge of progress.

The Grand Orient de France lives in its century and takes the lead in the emancipatory battles of its time.

(...)Its principles are mutual tolerance, the respect of others and of oneself, absolute freedom of conscience.
Believing that metaphysical considerations are the exclusive concern of individual members, it refuses any dogmatic position (...).

First Article

The Grand Orient de France practises mutual tolerance, which means tolerance of otherswho are themselves tolerant, and which means fighting any dogmatism which aims to force on to men policies or beliefs which negats their freedom in whatever it may be.

Whereas in other forms of Masonry - particularly those which are the direct descendants of English Masonry and have retained their dogmes - a member must be a practising believer, the Grand Orient de France as an institution, is a society which practises Absolute Freedom of Conscience that is to say it leaves its members free to believe in a revealed truth whatever it may be or to be totally agnostic. Thus in the Masonic Lodges we find believers of all faiths together with atheists, agnostics and freethinkers. This is the meaning of the freedom of conscience which the Grand Orient de France defends when it defends secularism in all the activities of the state and not only in education which it wants to see remain free, nondenominational and compulsory for all . This new concept of Freemasonry - of Absolute Freedom of Conscience which was born on the " Convent " (Annual General Meeting) of 1877 and whose gave birth to a new form of practise in Freemasonry which is called Liberal Freemasonry. This form is fast developping in all the countries of the world where men aspire no longer to be the slaves of dogmas and enforced beliefs and want to change the societies in which they live, preparing a better and more enlightened future for to morrow.