Photo (Kevin Dooley)
A national atheist organization plans to run an "In Reason We Trust" advertisement on July 4 in direct response to "In God We Trust" ads run by Christian-owned company Hobby Lobby.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) ad encourages readers to "Celebrate Our Godless Constitution" on Independence Day and features quotations from founding fathers such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and others.
"Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause…," said George Washington, according to the ad.
"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution…," said James Madison.
The ad, which also contains the address to a web page that shows the source of each quote, will run in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and a number of other publications throughout the U.S. on Thursday. It was created to combat the information in a series of Independence Day ads sponsored by Hobby Lobby which "shamelessly promote the myth that the United States was founded on God and Christianity," an FFRF news release says.
"Although FFRF can't compete with Hobby Lobby by running ads in virtually every daily, it is undertaking the single most expensive ad campaign in its history to counter the Religious Right message," the organization said.
Hobby Lobby first ran an "In God We Trust" ad for Independence Day in 2006. The company's 2013 ad features quotes from former U.S. presidents, founding fathers, a Supreme Court justice, the Bible and other sources. The bottom of the full-page ad also has the number to a hotline for those who "would like to know Jesus as Lord and Savior."
"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," said Washington, according to the Hobby Lobby ad.
"Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe," the ad, quoting James Madison, also says.
The Oklahoma City-based arts and crafts company has also run full-page newspaper ads for Christmas and Easter each year since 1997, according to the company's website. The Easter 2007 ad was published in 290 newspapers across 30 states that have a collective readership of more than 47 million people, and the Independence Day ad from that year went out to the more than four million combined readers of The New York Times and Los Angeles times.
"The impact and relevancy of these messages is ongoing, and so we continue to make them available for your enjoyment," the Hobby Lobby website says.
Hobby Lobby, founded by David Green in 1972, made headlines last week after a federal appeals court ruled that the company could move forward with its case against the HHS birth-control mandate. The court also ruled that, in the meantime, the company is exempt from the millions of dollars in fines it would have otherwise started accruing this week for not complying with the mandate.
The Christian Post was unable to reach a Hobby Lobby spokesperson for comment before publication time.