Jefferson believed religious conflicts were the fault of theological teachings… not the people practicing faith.
As the crisis over Muslim immigration to America intensifies, both sides look to Jefferson to defend their positions. Former President Obama’s claim that Jefferson helped enshrine Islam into our national fabric is blatant exaggeration. President Trump’s allies are equally mistaken portraying Jefferson as an anti-Islamic warrior.
Jefferson’s problems with Islam were philosophical… for he believed the faith to be anti-science and irrationally intolerant to open inquiry.
“I never told my own religion, nor scrutinized that of another. I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another’s creed. I have ever judged of the religion of others by their lives…For it is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be read. By the same test the world must judge me.”
The belief in religious freedom does not excuse its transgressions… Jefferson explained to friend and ally, James Madison.
“The declaration that religious faith shall be unpunished does not give immunity to criminal acts dictated by religious error.”