Question: Who was the first American president to downplay his country’s Christianity in order to be more acceptable to Islam?
Answer: George Washington. His Treaty with Tripoli (A Muslim nation) assured them that ” the government of the Untied States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
It would have been impolitic for him to outrightly deny Christianity. After all, he needed to be all things to all people. To Christians he was a model saint – especially after Parson Weems starting publishing his tall tales about him. To deists and atheists he was symbol of freedom of thought. He was a Mason.
Both political parties of the time, Democratic-republicans and the Federalists, assumed he was on *their* side because he was so adept at remaining a cipher, hard to figure out.
But in a lot of ways he was a good president. At that time we certainly needed a middle of the road leader. Otherwise – like if we had had Hamilton (especially), Jefferson, or Adams – we would have started out with a political catfight at a time when we were very weak and vulnerable.