Did George Washington Believe That Christians and Muslims Pray to the Same God?

Jon Rowe introduces some new evidence uncovered by Mary V. Thompson, a member of the research staff at Mt. Vernon. 

Here is a taste:


Mary V. Thompson passed this along to me. I hadn’t caught it before (neither did she). But apparently, it’s not a “new” find, but existed in the record for us to discover all along.

This doesn’t, of course, prove Washington was NOT an orthodox Trinitarian Christian, as other orthodox Christians, like George W. Bush, have held the same thing. Though it does reinforce what we’ve noted about Washington and the other “key Founders” — that they believed most if not all religions were valid ways to God, that all good men of all religions, even if they are not Jews and Christians, worship the same “Providence.” We’ve seen evidence that Washington, Jefferson and Madison believed the “Great Spirit” that unconverted Natives worship was the same God Jews and Christians worship. Now this is evidence that GW believed Muslims worshipped the same God.

The letter was written on March 31, 1791. The letter was addressed to Yazid ibn-Muhammed, the new Emperor of Morocco, whose father had just passed and Washington sent his condolences as he introduced Thomas Barclay as the new American consul. (Again, thanks to Mary V. Thompson of Mount Vernon for explaining to me the context.)

Here is how Washington closed the letter:

“May that God, whom we both adore, bless your Imperial Majesty with long life, Health and Success, and have you always, great and magnanimous Friend, under his holy keeping.”

Read the rest of Rowe’s post here.

2 thoughts on “Did George Washington Believe That Christians and Muslims Pray to the Same God?

  1. It's an error to assume that what Washington said as a statesman and president is necessarily a personal belief.

    That said, I imagine Washington accepted other religions at face value [and without much actual knowledge of their content], that as long as they worshiped One God, it was the same as his.

    Further, hijacking other Gods for Christianity is a tactic that goes back to Paul of Tarsus on Mars Hill in Acts 17. If you can't beat 'em, subsume 'em.

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