Are any fraternal and service clubs such as Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions connected to Freemasonry?
The Civic Clubs, Business Men’s Clubs, Athletic Associations and the like with which our modern community life is identified are not to be classified as lodges. In fact, the Civic Clubs in their constitutions omit any reference to religion and quite often forbid the discussion of religion at their meeting places. The only trace of religion at their gatherings may be a table prayer. They are listed here merely for purposes of clarification.
Founded in Detroit in 1915, the Kiwanis Club International is an artificial Indian name. The membership consists of business and professional men, who are officers, partners, or chief executives of their firms, and each local club is limited to two from each line of business.
Kiwanis was organized for the practical application of the principle of the Golden Rule to modern everyday life. The organization seeks to convert smug, self-satisfied professional and business men into ardent and unselfish workers for benevolent and charitable purposes, such as child welfare. It is the hope of Kiwanis that tired business and professional men may become radiant personalities of contagious good cheer and fellowship.
Religion has no place in the official program of the association. Membership 242,355.
Rotary International was founded in Chicago in 1905 by four men, who adopted the name “Rotary” because they met in rotation at their respective business offices.
From the official publication “What Is Rotary?” is drawn the following statement of objectives of this business club:
“The Rotary Club is organized to express the proper relation between private interests and ... society. To accomplish this purpose more effectively, the principle of limited membership has been adopted, the Rotary Club consisting of one representative from each distinct line of business or profession.”
“The Rotary Club demands fair dealings, honest methods, and high standards in business.”
“Service is the basis of all business.”
“He profits most who serves best.”
Membership is 424,012,
Founded in 1918, the International Association of Lions Clubs is a civic club of the noonday luncheon type like the Kiwanians and Rotarians. The name Lions is an abbreviation of the slogan “Liberty and Intelligence: Our Nation’s Safety.”
Its objects are: “To promote the theory and practice of the principles of good government and good citizenship; to take an active interest in the civic, commercial, social, and moral welfare of the community; to unite the members in the bonds of friendship, good-fellowship, and mutual understanding; to provide a forum for the full and free discussion of all matters of public interest, partisan politics and sectarian religion alone excepted; to encourage efficiency and promote high ethical standards in business and professions, provided that no club shall hold out as one of its objects financial benefits to its members.” Membership 519,772.
The Kiwanian, Rotarian, and Lions Clubs are not lodges or secret societies. They are businessmen’s or commercial clubs existing for the purpose of advancing good business ethics and relations and for engaging in community service.