Quick Thoughts on Founding Fathers and Religious Hate

While ignorance of US history is not a surprise, the level of hate exhibited today in the US under the premise of Christianity continues to surprise me. My question is if one must use lies and distortions “to prove” their claims, what does that infer about the person and that claim? Somehow I find it difficult to not include Benjamin Franklin as a founder of this country. He signed both the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution along with the peace negotiations ending the Revolutionary War. Franklin’s writings illustrate his high respect for Muslims and Islam. For example, he spoke of the “Christian” whites’ attack, torture, and murder of Christian Native American Indians in PA while praising Muslims. Most realize that Franklin writing as Historicus was satirical.

George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and others display a respect for Islam and the Muslim influence in their writings. People can disagree with Professor Akbar Ahmed of American University and his studies. In my opinion, while his research on the Founding Fathers is impressive, I feel that the Professor actually strengthens the contention that none of the interpretations of intention of the individual Founding Fathers are entirely accurate. That was not his intent, but nonetheless his works are enlightening per the lives of Muslims and their contributions in America throughout its history. Other groups we often fail to acknowledge contributed much as well. It wasn’t just me or we if you happen share my ancestral heritage. It wasn’t just you and others like you. To use the classic Southern expression, it was more different types of people than Carter has liver pills.

I’m just aggravated by “sources” trying to illustrate a Founding Father hatred of Muslims by using a satirical writing, random quotes, and highly selected content. Certain people are obsessed with information found in a collection of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams letters compiled by a man named Braden “to prove” Christianity and this anti-Islamic furor. Braden does use legitimate primary sources. I’m not criticizing the sources. The letters in the work, however, are only selected letters of the great multitude of correspondence between these two men. Instead I would suggest reading Lester Cappon’s work from the late 1980s from the University of North Carolina Press. It’s the complete correspondence and nearly 700 pages compared to the “proof” source of approximately 200 pages where selected creates a different perception compared to complete.

Just my opinion, but this simplistic labeling and grouping of people doesn’t work. You can point to an atrocity committed by a member of one group, and I can point to someone else identified with that group who condemns that atrocious act. Likewise I can point to someone associated with a group doing something positive, and I’m sure you can find someone affiliated with that same group doing something we both find appalling. People are not the same. I doubt if I agree with anything associated with the congregation at Westboro, but I don’t believe others I know who attend Baptist churches are like those at Westboro. I consider people of different races to be my friends, but I also know other people of those same races with whom I have little in common and rarely associate.

The only reason I see for an insistence on judging books by their covers is that one doesn’t care to know what is inside, is too lazy to discover what is inside, is too ignorant to figure out that more is inside, or is too influenced by the cover and desires to determine love or hate on that sole aspect.  It’s like you own a gun and did not shoot anyone yesterday. Well I own guns and did not shoot anyone yesterday either, so what does that prove? Absolutely nothing, and guess what nobody from the White House has been walking around confiscating guns. Sadly, however, in the United States yesterday a child died from neglect, a person starved, cancer took another life, diabetes rotted away another body to death, a person died in a traffic accident, someone was beaten to death, and many have no sympathy because they did not see or know that person.

The harsh reality is that bell is tolling not just for thee, but for you, me, and everyone else who actually gives a flip about other people, creatures, and things other than themselves, and the focus on that is being lost.