So Barack Obama returned from
Obama’s words are reminiscent of an earlier president’s, when our nation was engaged in another “war on terror.” In the eighteenth century, the newly founded country was in conflict with the
They were an earlier equivalent of Al Qaeda. Two American ships were captured in 1785 and their crewmen held for $60,000. Rumors that Benjamin Franklin, who was en route to
To neutralize the threat, the
And just as Obama has been keen to make it clear that we have no quarrel with Islam (reminding Turkish listeners that his own father was Muslim and that he lived in Muslim-majority Indonesia as a child), the Treat of Tripoli was careful to stipulate that—officially speaking--Americans observed strict neutrality in matters of religion.
Article Eleven of the Treaty of Tripoli states that, “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”
The text of the ratified treaty was printed in
Though it has been said many times over our history---from an almost forgotten Treaty whose origins lie in George Washington’s administration to the words of our 47th President, Barack Obama—it bears repeating: our is not a Christian nation. And to a spiritually pluralistic world, we say, let us be friends, not foes.