Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Thomas Jefferson: Secret Muslim?

Barack Obama is not the first United States President to be accused of being a "Muslim."  As Stephen Prothero points out at USA Today, many of Thomas Jefferson's opponents also thought he was a Muslim.  Here is a taste of Prothero's piece:

Today, it is easy to imagine that Barack Obama is the first U.S. president to be accused of being a Muslim. But that honor actually belongs to Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson’s face now adorns Mount Rushmore, but in the election of 1800, Federalistpartisans of John Adams viciously denounced Jefferson as un-American, principally because of his unorthodox faith, which ran more toward deism and Unitarianism than toward evangelical Protestantism.

One Federalist called Jefferson the “great arch priest of Jacobinism and infidelity.” TheConnecticut Courant suggested he might be a secret Jew or Muslim. It complained that no one seemed to know “whether Mr. Jefferson believes in the heathen mythology or in the alcoran (Quran); whether he is a Jew or a Christian; whether he believes in one God, or in many; or in none at all.”