One of the most prominent images on the patent is the altar. It's shown four different times. Each time the altar is portrayed with a Bible, a square and compasses on it. These are known as the Three Great Lights of Masonry. They are always present on the altar when a lodge is open.
The Degree Manual of the Grand Lodge of California has the following to say about the Bible on the altar:
The Volume of the Sacred Law (VSL) is an indispensable part of the furniture of a lodge. The Grand Lodges of the United States use the Holy Bible as the VSL on their altars. In our jurisdiction, a candidate may request to have his own sacred book present on the altar with the Bible during his degree ceremonies. In some lodges in other countries, other sacred texts are placed on the altar in place of the Holy Bible...In some jurisdictions, any sacred text that's meaningful to the initiate will do. I've sat in lodges in the Middle East that had a Bible, a Torah, and a Koran all on the altar. This religious tolerance may have contributed to the forefathers, (several of whom were Masons), of the United States' addition of the freedom of religion to the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.
Interestingly, no one is allowed to discuss religion or politics in an open lodge. Also interestingly, Masonic lodges throughout the world offer safe places for the exchange of ideas and cultures.