On July 4, Hobby Lobby ran a full-page ad in several newspapers featuring a prominent Bible verse as well as numerous pro-Christian and pro-Bible quotes from our Founding Fathers and other key leaders in our history. It then closed with a call for researchers to learn more about Jesus. The response was quite sharp, if not downright hysterical. But is the answer justified in any way?
According to a headline on the popular gay atheist blog, Joe My God, “Hobby Lobby Goes Full Dominionist In July 4th Ad”.
A viral Tweeter asserted: âThe Hobby lobby put out a full page ad in the Register-Guard this morning. Talk about how America should only be run by Christians. Absolutely scary.
Another Tweeter alleged, “Full page of Dominionist propaganda in @BostonGlobe this morning courtesy of @hobbylobby. #separationofchrchandstate â
Yet another Tweeter said, “Hobby Lobby faces backlash for the July 4th ad claiming only Christians belong to the United States.”
And yet another Tweeter (and there are others cited by Joe My God) asserted, âHobby Lobby owners should look at the Constitution of the United States. There is no litmus test for religion to exercise public office. And surely there is no mandate for a theocracy.
“Also, they may want to review the 10 Commandments as they like to steal artifacts from other countries.”
Snopes.com actually devoted a page to examining whether it was true that âOn Independence Day in 2021, the Hobby Lobby craft store ran an ad in several newspapers that said, ‘A nation under God. Â»Â» (The verdict: yes, it’s true!)
But what does the ad actually say? Is Hobby Lobby Guilty of Preaching Dominionism? To suggest that only Christians can run for office? That America should only be ruled (or populated) by Christians?
The Hobby Lobby website provided a link to the ad with options to download a JPEG or PDF version, so everyone can check out the content and read it for themselves.
It features a large image of an American flag and next to it the words “A Nation Under God”.
So far, so good. This is what we still say in the Pledge of Allegiance, and it is certainly the hope of ten million Americans today.
Next is a quote from Psalm 33:12, âBlessed is the nation whose God is Lord,â in all capitals.
Again, so far, all is well.
It is a universal biblical axiom, shared by generations of predominantly Christian America. We believe this is true, but we are not trying to impose it.
Then, in fine print, a series of quotes from presidents, founding fathers, Supreme Court justices, Congress, education, Supreme Court rulings and foreign opinion.
Some quotes simply remind us that our founders believed that the Christian faith was essential to the success and stability of our nation.
For example, John Adams said: âOur Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is totally inadequate for the government of another.
And Jedidah Morse said that “whenever the pillars of Christianity are toppled, our current republican forms of government and all the blessings that flow from it must fall with them.”
More broadly, the ad quoted Thomas Jefferson, who asked, “Can a nation’s freedoms be guaranteed when we remove the belief that these freedoms are the gift of God?”
Other quotes were even broader, including a quote from non-Christian Benjamin Franklin, emphasizing the providential care of the deity in the world.
And there were quotes indicating the supremacy of the Scriptures, like this one, from the first chief justice, John Jay, who wrote, “The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next.
That being said, other quotes asserted that America was founded as a Christian nation, that Christians were best placed to lead the nation, and that the Christian faith was at the root of our legal system.
For example, John Quincy Adams said, âDidn’t the Declaration of Independence first organize the social pact on the basis of the Redeemer mission on earth?
And James Madison argued that an unbeliever was not fit for leadership, saying: “Before a man can be considered a member of civil society he must be considered a subject of the governor of the world. ‘universe.”
John Jay also said, âProvidence has given our people the choice of their leader, and it is the duty, privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their leaders. “
The Freedom from Religion Foundation published a rebuttal to these quotes titled “In Hobby Lobby We Don’t Trust”. This was followed by, âDo these quotes prove that we are a Christian nation? Click on it to find out.
He claims that some of the quotes have been deliberately altered or taken out of context in order to mislead (you can check them for yourself and draw your own conclusion) while others, such as quotes about student life at Harvard, were totally irrelevant (again, check them out for yourself).
In short, Freedom from Religion would argue that America was never a Christian nation and that Christianity should have no particular influence on America today.
In response to all of this I would say that: 1) I understand the intention of Hobby Lobby, seeing that American history is under attack today and that our foundation is mourned rather than celebrated. In this regard, I appreciate what they have done. Our nation has many biblical roots.
2) I totally agree with Hobby Lobby that as much as we choose to be a God-fearing nation and as we choose to be inspired by the positive Judeo-Christian principles that inspired our early thinkers, we will be blessed. I pleaded for this in Save a sick America.
3) That being said, I understand how others would interpret the ad as advocating a theocracy (which I wholeheartedly oppose) and claiming that only Christians should run for office (which is ridiculous).
This is unfortunate, and that is why it is important for us to make it clear that we are do not seeking to conquer America and impose the Christian faith on the nation.
What we believe is that God’s ways are always the best, and that is why we stand up for Bible principles and seek to live by them personally.
Likewise, others (such as atheists, agnostics, Hindus, Muslims or secular activists) defend their own spiritual or secular worldviews and seek to live accordingly.
It is all part of the fabric of our nation.
In short, I believe that the more we are truly Christians. the more we will be blessed as a nation. But we do not impose this on anyone (God forbid), and we live by the rules of a democratic Republic.
Since Hobby Lobby advertising will receive a lot of negative attention, let’s be prepared to assert what we believe and deny what we don’t believe.
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationwide Line of Fire radio show. He holds a doctorate. in Near Eastern Languages ââand Literatures at New York University and has been a professor in several seminars. He is the author of 40 books. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.