Recently I gave a speech to a regional Republican group. After my speech I took questions from the audience. One of the questions had nothing to do with the topic of my speech, but it was an excellent question nonetheless.
I was asked to comment on the accuracy of President Obama’s statement made during a speech in Egypt that “Islam has always been a part of America’s history.” My response was simple. I said the President’s comment was “absurd” and that I would like him to explain what significant role in America’s history Muslims have played. In this column I take a closer look at the President’s comment.
If the President’s comment was accurate, one would expect that Muslims played a role in the founding of our country. Let’s examine that contention. Fifty-six Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and, although they were all religious men in various degrees, not one of them subscribed to the Islamic religion.
On the contrary, the signers of the Declaration of Independence included 32 Episcopalians/Anglicans, 13 Congregationalists, 12 Presbyterians, 2 Quakers, 2 Unitarians, and one Catholic.
President Obama is a highly-educated man. Surely he would not claim that “Islam has always been a part of America’s history” without first checking the facts. Maybe George Washington had a regiment or two of Muslim troops during America’s War of Independence. After all, the British had their German Hessians as mercenaries. I checked.
General Washington had no Muslims under his command, mercenaries or otherwise. In fact, it looks like the prayers that were lifted up from Valley Forge were all directed to the God of the Holy Bible. Not all of George Washington’s troops were devout Christians, but not one of them was a Muslim.
But let me give the President the benefit of the doubt. If Muslims played no role in the development of the Declaration of Independence or in helping win our War of Independence, perhaps one or more of the framers of the Constitution subscribed to Islam. I looked into this possibility.
The principle author of the Constitution was James Madison but other framers also played significant roles including John Dickinson, Gouverneur Morris, Edmund Randolph, Roger Sherman, James Wilson, and George Wythe. The work of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Thomas Paine influenced the framers of the Constitution but these three stalwarts played no direct role in the development of the document. Not one of these men was a Muslim.
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