History in the News:

Citing founders, leaders advocate tolerance

Both Washington and Jefferson advocated religious tolerance.
Both Washington and Jefferson advocated religious tolerance.
In the wake of increasingly inflammatory campaign rhetoric from presidential candidates, a cross section of religious and lay leaders invoked the words of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in a joint statement advocating tolerance.

     Published Dec. 21 as an advertisement in The Washington Post, the statement was in apparent response to comments by Donald Trump, a Republican candidate for president who has, in recent weeks, called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on,” according to his website. In interviews, Trump has spoken of closing mosques.
     Trump isn't the only Republican candidate criticized for statements about Muslims. Chris Christie, asked by radio host Hugh Hewitt if he would allow Syrian refugees into the country, replied that  he would not. When pressed about whether he would ban even orphans under the age of 5, Christie responded that he would. And candidate Ben Carson said he would not support a Muslim presidential candidate. [See article on the Time magazine website.]
      These and other anti-Muslim remarks are un-American, the religious leaders wrote. Their statement presented two quotes by Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I will never, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance, or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others.” George Washington sent a letter to leaders of the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, assuring them that the Constitution, “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”
      The statement, signed by diverse figures -- Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C., Rabbi David Seth Kirshner, president, New York Board of Rabbis, Imam Mohamed Magid of ADAMS Center, among others -- noted: “Our religious principles teach us to love and respect each other, and our civic responsibility demands that we take a public stand against this gross injustice happening before our eyes today. Simply, suggestions that a Muslim cannot serve as president or that Muslims should be registered and their mosques closed, are un-American and un-Constitutional.”
     See the entire statement here.


     Quick Study: Who were the Founding Fathers?

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