Muslim Americans: What Would Jesus (or George Washington) Do?

By Thomas S Kidd via Patheos | The Christian Science Monitor, March 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Muslim Americans: What Would Jesus (or George Washington) Do?


Thomas S Kidd via Patheos, The Christian Science Monitor


Muslims, in the minds of many Christians, have become America's great spiritual enemy. But attitudes can change. Americans once regularly burned the effigy of the pope.

With the current unrest in Egypt and across the Middle East, Americans would do well to consider the collective messages we send to the Muslim world, including the Muslims of America. Along these lines, I recently wrote an opinion piece for the Houston Chronicle advancing what seemed to me a fairly uncontroversial argument: The state of Texas should not put an anti-Muslim amendment into the state constitution.

The proposed amendment uses vague language about not applying "any religious or cultural law" in Texas. But there is no doubt about the intent: Promoters want to block the imposition of sharia law (a development that they credulously see as an imminent possibility).

How much do you know about the US Constitution? A quiz.

My modest piece clearly touched a nerve, with a range of letters, emails, and online comments suggesting that I was an effete academic, a dupe of a great Muslim conspiracy, or worse. This response reminded me that Muslims have become, in the minds of many Christians, America's great spiritual enemy.

Avoid the mistakes of the past

Here is another case where historical understanding could spare us from repeating the mistakes of the past. American Christians have always tended to cast one particular group as their primary spiritual enemy. At the time of the American Founding, there was no doubt as to the identity of this adversary: It was the Catholic Church. Even leading Founding Fathers indulged the dread of Catholicism. Boston's Samuel Adams, for example, wrote in 1768 that new taxes and British political power were not America's most formidable foes: "What we have above everything else to fear," he declared, "is POPERY."

The fear of Catholicism among Protestant Christians was unattractive, but not entirely irrational. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 inaugurated a century of warfare between Protestant Britain and her Catholic rivals, France and Spain. These wars spilled over into the American colonies, where the French often employed Native Americans as allies more successfully than the American colonists. And of course, there were deep theological differences between Protestants and Catholics that had fueled the wars of the Reformation.

But some Founders, including George Washington, rose above fear and realized that they needed to win Catholic allies, both in North America and in France itself. So General Washington forbade the celebration of "Pope's Day," Nov. 5, which had long featured the burning of the pope in effigy. (Nov. 5 commemorated the infamous "Gunpowder Plot" by Guy Fawkes, a Catholic, to blow up Parliament in 1605.)

On Nov. 5, 1775, Washington issued general orders condemning "that ridiculous and childish custom of burning the effigy of the pope. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Muslim Americans: What Would Jesus (or George Washington) Do?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.