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Presidential seal
Charles Ommanney / Getty Images for Newsweek1
US President Barack Obama is not a freemason
US President Barack Obama is not a freemason. So where did all the rumours start? The earliest reported claim is found in a post into the conspiracy website, abovetopsecret.com, on 5 March 2007, in which the anonymous poster claims to have sat in lodge with Obama. 2
The next report comes from a Bosnian discussion forum on 6 May 2007, with another anonymous claim, this time that Obama was a 32nd degree freemason.3
The text of this second post was conflated with a news story from the 28 December 2007 Des Moines Register, and within a year over a hundred websites—many of them Christian, all of them anti-masonic—were reporting that "Jason Clayworth, Register Staff Writer" wrote that "One of their most famous members, and also a 32nd degree Prince Hall Mason, became a US presidential candidate for 2008. His name is Barack Hussein Obama."4
In point of fact, the actual news story by Jason Clayworth, reporting on Obama's 27 December 2007 speaking engagement at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center in Des Moines, does not mention or even imply that Obama was a freemason. 5
The easily demonstrated fraudulent nature of this internet posting has not stopped it from being widely repeated. For example, with no citation, on 14 February 2008, Richard Syrett, a Toronto radio host,6 claimed that Barack Obama was a 32nd degree freemason.7
[masonic ring closeup]
On 2 June 2008, when Charles Ommanney's photograph appeared in Newsweek magazine, the conspiracy theorists believed they had their proof.8 But, while it is true that one of the unidentified hands wears a masonic ring, there is no reason to conclude that the hands were Obama's.
Almost two years later, tenacious anti-mason "Freemasonry Watch", in his blog of 19 February 2009, reported the 2007 message from the still anonymous poster who had claimed to have sat in lodge with Obama, citing this as conclusive proof that Obama was a freemason. 9
Neither the Grand Lodge of Illinois nor the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Illinois have any record that Obama was made a freemason. Obama has never said that he was a freemason. There are no photographs of him in masonic regalia.
Who should you believe? On the one hand you have the claims of two anonymous online posters and the unknown author of an obviously fraudulent text, and on the other hand you have the denials of two established organizations that would proudly claim the President of the United States as a member, if he was.

1.Image from "In Hand: The president's official seal is set" Evan Thomas, Newsweek magazine, 2 June 2008, pp. 22,23.
2.abovetopsecret.com Barack Obama is he a member ? Topic started on 13-2-2007 @ 06:23 AM by OldBoy. "My source is having sat in open Lodge with Brother Obama." reply posted on 5-3-2007 @ 02:56 PM by PrinceHall06.
3.sarajevo-x.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=36907.
4.See: cephas-library.com; stormfront.org ; and endtimeschristianity.com which concluded that since one forum poster to my.barackobama.com was a member of the Prince Hall Masonic Family, this proved Obama was also a freemason.
5.Jason Clayworth, "Obama criticizes opponents' Iraq votes" 28 December 2007 : Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa. p. B. 4. desmoinesregister.com.
6.The Conspiracy Show.
7.godlikeproductions.com.
8.youtube.com.
9.freemasonry-watch.blogspot.com accessed 2009/11/05.
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© 1871-2012 Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon A.F. & A.M. Updated: 2009/11/06
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