Of course, the objections of Jay and Adams and Jefferson were refuted in practice when American Catholics enlisted in huge numbers in various wars. Immigrants from Ireland, Poland, Italy and, later, Latin America turned out not to be in the least servile or dictatorial. America’s air worked the same magic on them as on everyone else.
Will Muslim-Americans be similarly assimilated? I’m optimistic. There are plenty of passages in the Old and New Testaments that can be read as incompatible with giving your first loyalty to a secular republic, but Jewish and Christian Americans, for the most part, have learned how to compartmentalize their beliefs.
It’s a two-way process, of course. Muslim-Americans, like other religious newcomers before them, should loudly advertise their patriotism. All minorities must learn to respond to even the most hurtful accusations patiently and courteously. Sulkily demanding victim status is rarely popular.
But, in the end, I see no reason why our putative Muslim president shouldn’t sincerely swear to uphold the Constitution — perhaps on Thomas Jefferson’s own copy of the Quran, now in the Library of Congress.