First, some back story:
The Christian trinket-purveyor Hobby Lobby places religious holiday ads in national newspapers reaching in some cases more than 47 million readers. Hobby Lobby’s July 4, 2013 ad features quotes from the founders scattered around huge font screaming, “In God We Trust.” The quotes are meant to give the false impression that the U.S. is a Christian nation and that our nation “trusts in God.” But, just like Hobby Lobby’s god, the quotes aren’t very trustworthy. They are wildly inaccurate in some cases.
The misrepresentations range from the mild, such as capitalizing “His” to refer to a Christian god when Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson actually wrote “his” to refer to a deistic god, to the outrageous, such as omitting entire sentences without notifying the reader, combining quotes from multiple sources into one quote, omitting thousands of words with an ellipsis, and completely mischaracterizing quotes, speakers and Supreme Court cases.
The FFRF has gone to the trouble of making an interactive site where you can click on a quote from Hobby Lobby’s recent add and be provided with the breakdown of just how Hobby Lobby distorted the truth. For instance, at one point they quote Alexis de Tocqueville from his most famous work, Democracy in America, as saying “Americans combine the notions of Christianity and liberty.” It turns out that this is from a translation that de Tocqueville himself criticized for its inaccuracy. The actual quote reads “Americans so completely confuse [or confound] Christianity with liberty.” And the context makes it clear that de Tocqueville is not exactly a fan of the equivocation. Even in the mistranslation it’s clear that de Tocqueville is hacked off about an atheist being mistreated in court.
So if my next post is a little slow coming out, now you know what I’m spending my time doing: being grateful to the FFRF for exposing yet another lie in defense of the conclusions of faith. Errors like these are not the product of mere mistakes, they are lies. And if Christianity is as noble and morally necessary as Hobby Lobby believes, other Christians should condemn them for it. If there’s one place where theists and atheists should intersect, it’s that if the truth cannot benefit us then it is we who must change, not the truth. If we cannot agree that lying is immoral, how can we even converse?
Seriously, I’m not sure the FFRF could kick any more ass. High five to them!