Like at a family reunion, the infighting at this year's CPAC started long before anybody arrived. First, the group American Atheists announced that it would be sponsoring a booth at the conference, with the goal of bringing conservative nonbelievers "out of the closet." The religious right was not pleased.
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.