Freemasonry is the worlds largest and oldest fraternal organization. Having evolved from the guilds of the ancient cathedral/temple builders, it stands today as a fraternity promoting: brotherly love (for all mankind), relief (for the distressed and destitute) , truth (in our dealings with others) and a higher moral respect and understanding of all mankind.
Masonry uses allegory & symbolism, of the ancient operative guilds, to teach the importance of an unblemished integrity and steadfast fidelity. While it is not a religion, it necessitates a belief in a Supreme Deity who is the master creator and who guides us by Divine will. A respect for all things created, patriotism, benevolence and a temperance for the beliefs and free opinion of others are characteristics common among most masons.
Most Masons view themselves equal, or on the level with all other Masons, regardless of social or political status. For that reason, when a Lodge formally meets, the debate of political and religious differences does not take place. There are many different or appending organizations affiliated with Masonry. Most of these organizations build on what is taught and practiced in the first three degrees or "Blue Lodge" Masonry, and most require that you be a 3rd degree Mason, or immediate family member.