Originally Posted by baytown
I've seen video of shriners (wearing their little caps and riding white Harleys doing demonstration rides). I have no idea what the connection is, as I'm an Aussie. What exactly is a Shriner for those of us of non US persuasion?
When I was last in the US with my wife, I was going to pull into the little Returned Services clubs you have over there (sorry, can't remember what you call them? Something league? or legion?) but I wasn't sure if we would be welcomed. Didn't know if it was a closed shop or not and if other service personnel were welcome for a beer.
Freemasons operate many of the world's greatest charitable organizations. The best known is the Shriners with their circuses, their colorful parades and their work on behalf of physically challenged children and the 22 Shriners Childrens Hospitals. Less known is that each Shriner must be a Freemason before being becoming a Shriner.
What is a Shrine Mason?
Shriners, or Shrine Masons, belong to the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America (A.A.O.N.M.S.). The Shrine is an international fraternity of approximately 500,000 members who belong to Shrine Center throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and The Republic of Panama. Founded in New York City in 1872 the organization is composed Master Masons.
The Shrine is best-known for its colorful parades, its distinctive red fez, and its official philanthropy, Shriners Hospitals for Children, which is often called "the heart and soul of the Shrine." Principles of Freemasonry -- Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
Members of the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America are members of the Masonic Order and adhere to the principles of Freemasonry -- Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
Freemasonry dates back hundreds of years to when stonemasons and other craftsmen on building projects gathered in shelter houses or lodges. Through the years these gatherings changed in many ways until formal Masonic lodges emerged, with members bound together not by trade, but by their own wishes to be fraternal brothers. There is no higher degree in Freemasonry than that of Master Mason (the Third Degree).
Shriner are distinguished by an enjoyment of life in the interest of philanthropy. With almost 500,000 members the organization has a buoyant philosophy which has been expressed as "Pleasure without intemperance, hospitality without rudeness and jollity without coarseness."
They knew they needed an appealing theme for their new Order, so they chose the Arabic (near East) theme. The most noticeable symbol of Shrinedom is the distinctive red fez that all Shriners wear at official function. Shriners are men who enjoy life. They enjoy parades, trips, circuses, dances, dinners, sporting events and other social occasions together. Furthermore, Shriners support what has become known as the "World's Greatest Philanthropy", Shriners Hospitals for Children. Through fellowship and philanthropy, Shrinedom strengthens the soul and adds inner-meaning to daily life. It thus spreads a glow of joy through one's entire family. Men from all walks of life and all levels of income find fun, fellowship and relaxation in their individual Shrine Temples and its activities. There are also regional Shrine Clubs in many communities, family picnics, dances and scheduled trips to near and far -- just to mention a few of the activities available. For the Noble desiring even more activity, there are various Units that he can join, such as: Cibara Motor Corp., Drum & Bugle Corps, Oriental Bands, Motor Patrols, Horse Patrols, and Clown units. Every effort is made to be sure a Noble has a variety of activities from which he may choose.
There are 191 Shrine Temples located in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Republic of Panama. And there are informal Shrine Clubs located all around the world.
Thought this summed it up best.