Frankie Martin wrote an important piece for the Huffington Post Religion where he reminds us of the value of tolerance in a country (the US) forged by men who cherished the value of freedom of worship:
“For the Founding Fathers, religious freedom was at the very core of being American. As America’s first president George Washington wrote, America was open to receive “the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions”, including Christians, Jews and Muslims. However, throughout its history America has sometimes failed to live up to this ideal, most recently after the 9/11 attacks.”
I have chosen to write about Martin’s article for its particularly interesting reference to a fascinating story about Benjamin Franklin:
In December 1763, a group of 50 Pennsylvania frontiersmen, seeking to prevent Native American attacks on their homes and frustrated that the government had not taken action against hostile tribes, tortured, mutilated and murdered a group of peaceful Christian Native Americans in the most horrific fashion.
The supposedly Christian frontiersmen, wrote an outraged Franklin, were more barbaric than those to which they claimed superiority.
Franklin went on to assert that Native Americans would have been safer had they been living in a Muslim country, as Islam shows even prisoners more humanity than the frontiersmen had shown free men. Franklin praised the compassion of the Prophet Muhammad, writing that the Prophet had applauded the humaneness of soldiers who treated their captives well. Franklin also spoke of his admiration for the 12th century sultan Saladin as a ruler who demonstrated both justice and compassion.
As Martin notes, the outlook of the Founding Fathers could not be more significant considering the current American environment where feelings against Muslims are precarious.
Martin ends his article in the egalitarian spirit of the founding fathers: “… both Muslims and non-Muslims can benefit by considering both the American ideals of the Founding Fathers and the Islamic ideals for which they had such admiration.”
Tagged: 1763, Benjamin Franklin, Christian frontiersmen, Christian Native Americans, Christians, Founding Fathers, Frankie Martin, Franklin, Freedom of worship, George Washington, Huffington Post Religion, Islam, List of national founders, Muslim, Native Americans, Pennsylvania frontiersmen, Praising Muslims, Prophet Muhammad, United States