The hobby and crafts national chain Hobby Lobby endured heavy criticism over the Fourth of July holiday after it ran a full-page ad in newspapers across the U.S. titled, “One Nation Under God.”
The ad included the Bible verse “Blessed is the Nation whose God is the lord.” It also quoted George Washington, among other Founding Fathers, to advocate for a government run by Christianity.
“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor,” the ad reads in part, quoting George Washington.
However, the group, Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) claims Hobby Lobby’s ad misquoted Washington, and also used several quotes out of context.
Included in the advert, Hobby Lobby claimed to quote former President John Adams saying: "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.
"Our Constitution was made only for religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
Although Adams did say those words, FFRF reported that Hobby Lobby altered the placement of the quotes to make the sentences look as if they followed one another, taking away the context that the former president used "religious" and "moral" as synonyms in the full speech.
FFRF, a non-profit organization that advocates for atheists, agnostics, and non-theists, also reported that Hobby Lobby altered the placement of quotes for Washington and claimed that it took portions of speeches out of context for former presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams.
Hobby Lobby has had placed similar advertisements on U.S. holidays before, ever since company founder David Greene felt “commissioned” by God to make them in 1995. But this one struck a particular nerve, especially for folks who reminded the company that separation of church and state — the freedom to worship or not worship — is a foundational element of U.S. democracy.
Some people even used the occasion to remind people that Hobby Lobby had recently been found to have bought a slew of stolen artificacts from an ancient “lost city” in Iraq, and had been forced to return them and pay a $3 million fine.
It’s not the first time Hobby Lobby has generated controversy. At the beginning of the pandemic, the company defied lockdowns and reopened stores, putting its employees at risk of catching COVID-19.