For those who have followed my blog posts with any regularity, you are surely aware of the fact that I am 100% against the notion that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. In my opinion there are simply too many gaping holes in the "Christian Nation" argument that it will never be able to hold water and effectively float.
But an even sillier notion than the one often regurgitated by the Christian nationalist zealots is one being taught by Professor Azizah Y. al-Hibri, who was recently appointed by President Obama to the Commission on International Religious Freedom. In the following video, Professor al-Hibri seems to suggest that the Founding Fathers (with particular emphasis on Thomas Jefferson) may have been influenced by the teachings of the Qur'an when founding the United States:
Let me first state that I am in no way a "Muslim hater" like so many ignorant Americans today. Having read the Qur'an and done some detailed personal study of the religion, I am of the opinion that Islam is a beautiful, inspiring and relevant faith. I am in envy of the devotion that so many Muslims have towards their faith, particularly when it comes to their deep love of prayer. In my opinion nobody, not even the best Christians, can pray like the Muslims.
With that said, the notion that Islam and the Qur'an played a role in the founding of the United States is so historically stupid that I'm not sure where to begin. Aside from the obvious fact that none of our founding documents make even a remote reference to Islam, Professor al-Hibri seems to forget that Islam and the Qur'an are not the exclusive sources on earth which teach about a separation of Church and state. The fact that Thomas Jefferson owned a Qur'an does not mean he gleaned his ideas about religion and government from it. In fact, Jefferson is very clear on who his sources of inspiration were. Men like Cicero, Montesquieu, Locke, etc. were his chief sources, not the Qur'an. Jefferson was a book junkie. Owning a Qur'an was a staple in his library, but at no time was it a Jefferson favorite. Heck, Jefferson spent far more time with the Holy Bible than he ever did with the Qur'an.
Besides, do you honestly think that Jefferson, a man who largely detested organized Christianity and rejected most of its chief doctrines, would somehow look to Islam for his inspiration? Especially when it came to the founding of the American republic?