Friday, February 20, 2015

Islam & the Founding

The topic is current once again because of the President's recent remarks. You can check out this article from the Heritage Foundation that attempts to be critical of Islam's presence in Founding era America. However, this article by James Hutson supports the President's notion.  You can also see Warren Throckmorton discuss David Barton and Glenn Beck on this topic.

The Throckmorton-Barton piece focuses on Thomas Jefferson. My understanding of Jefferson on Islam is that although the Barbary Pirates gave him a great deal of trouble during his Presidency, as of 1809, in his letter to James Fishback, he doesn't write Islam off but makes some kind of equivalency between it and Christianity:
... [E]very religion consists of moral precepts, & of dogmas. in the first they all agree. all forbid us to murder, steal, plunder, bear false witness Etc. and these are the articles necessary for the preservation of order, justice, & happiness in society. in their particular dogmas all differ; no two professing the same. these respect vestments, ceremonies, physical opinions, & metaphysical speculations, totally unconnected with morality, & unimportant to the legitimate objects of society. yet these are the questions on which have hung the bitter schisms of Nazarenes, Socinians, Arians, Athanasians in former times, & now of Trinitarians, Unitarians, Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, Methodists, Baptists, Quakers Etc. among the Mahometans we are told that thousands fell victims to the dispute whether the first or second toe of Mahomet was longest; & what blood, how many human lives have the words ‘this do in remembrance of me’ cost the Christian world! ...

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