In recent years, conservative evangelical and Catholic activists have made "religious liberty" their culture war rallying cry as well as their primary legal and political strategy. In doing so, they often use irresponsible rhetoric about American Christians being subject to tyranny and religious persecution.
While Jefferson may not be the best personal model of religious liberty, or liberty simpliciter, we can be grateful to live in a society where his grand idea was planted (though it is taking centuries to blossom). It is now our task to turn Jefferson's promise into reality: to see American Muslims as full US citizens with the right to free conscience and freedom from persecution.
The Puritans sailed to these shores 400 years ago seeking freedom of religion, but freedom of their religion only. Earlier this year, a group of North Carolina lawmakers, apparently channeling the Puritans, tried to establish Christianity as the state religion. These misguided politicians forgot a simple truth.