Friday, January 4, 2019

Jefferson's Koran

So Rep.-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) will be sworn in using Thomas Jefferson's copy of the Koran. There is a myth going around that Jefferson owned a copy of that book because he wanted to better understand the enemy.

The problem with this claim is that it is not true. I've studied the Founding record meticulously and found NO evidence that Jefferson was interested in the Koran because he saw Islam as an ENEMY faith or to better understand a threat.

That's not to say that certain Islamic forces didn't cause threats and other problems for Jefferson and other Founders. The best someone like Robert Spencer could argue is that the Founding Fathers were naive for NOT concluding Islam qua Islam was a threat.

Read the Treaty of Tripoli where the Founders conceded the American government was not in any sense founded on the Christian religion and as such they sought peaceful relations with Muslims.

Jefferson, J. Adams, Franklin and Washington all thought Jews, Christians and Muslims worshipped the same God. The Founding Fathers arguably saw Roman Catholicism as more of a threat than Islam. And they were far more concerned with the persecution and bloodshed that in-fights among Christian sects had been causing than from Islam.


Tom Van Dyke said...

My recollection is that Jefferson was studying the Qur'an for its sharia during his study of law and soonafter set it down. As religion, I don't recall him being interested in it one way or the other.

Even Denise Spielberg, whose "brand" is painting a happy face on islam at the time of the Founding, is forced to admit

Although Jefferson did not leave any notes on his immediate reaction to the Qur’an, he did criticize Islam as “stifling free enquiry” in his early political debates in Virginia, a charge he also leveled against Catholicism. He thought both religions fused religion and the state at a time he wished to separate them in his commonwealth.

Our Founding Truth said...

Where is the proof GW believed allah was Jehovah?

Jon Rowe said...

March 31, 1791. The letter was addressed to Yazid ibn-Muhammed, the new Emperor of Morocco, whose father had just passed and Washington sent his condolences as he introduced Thomas Barclay as the new American consul.

Here is how Washington closed the letter:

“May that God, whom we both adore, bless your Imperial Majesty with long life, Health and Success, and have you always, great and magnanimous Friend, under his holy keeping.”

Jon Rowe said...

This source says 1794:

Jon Rowe said...

This one is from 1791.

Jon Rowe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon Rowe said...

Let met also note, we debated this in 2011. The one point that is likely to be made is "diplomacy." However, diplomacy in public statements to figureheads cuts both ways with GW. In order to make GW sound more "Christian" and less "Deist" someone like Peter Lillback has to take all of the "diplomatic" letters GW exchanged with mostly (but not all!) orthodox Christian leaders where he tried to sound like he was on the same page with them theologically.

For these addresses to the Islamic leaders, it appears Thomas Jefferson who worked in GW's administration at the time prepared them, which GW revised and gave his signature.

The ONLY two times GW was EVER on record talking about Jesus were likewise in public addresses written by aides but signed by GW. One of them -- the only one where he was actually recorded using the term "Jesus Christ" -- was likewise a diplomatic like address, where he was nodding his head in approval to the Natives' decision to convert to Christianity (he was not, as an out of context reproduction of that quotation might appear, suggesting that these Indians SHOULD convert).

The other one was the 1783 Circular to the States.

In none of GW's private correspondence is the name or person of Jesus ever mentioned, though Providence is countless times.

Our Founding Truth said...

I doubt you are correct on both accounts. It was all about diplomacy as the evangelicals and others, including Wesley and Spurgeon did the same thing. I'm certain I could find Calvin and the reformers using the same words. The ff's played along with the muslims because they claimed they worshipped Jehovah. It was all political.

Jon Rowe said...

Well GW is saying it in his own words -- or at least words to which he gave his signature -- that he "adores" the same God as the Muslim Emperor.

Tom Van Dyke said...

It's doubtful Washington gave Islam much study or thought.

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