OKLAHOMA CITY (Christian Examiner) – Americans across the country this weekend learned of the nation's Christian heritage thanks to a full-page Hobby Lobby ad that proclaimed "In God We Trust" and included 14 quotes from Founding Fathers and others referencing the United States' ties to Christianity.
Hobby Lobby runs full-page, faith-themed holiday ads each Christmas, Easter and Independence Day.
"'Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. Psalm 33:12,'" the ad read at the top of the page.
The words "In God We Trust" were surrounded by quotes, such as:
-- Benjamin Franklin: "I've lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: That God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We've been assured in the sacred writings that unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel."
-- George Washington: "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."
-- John Adams: "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
-- John Jay (first Supreme Court justice): "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. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts."
The advertisement also included quotes from the Supreme Court and from Congress.
A 1844 unanimous Supreme Court ruling read, "Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and taught as a divine revelation in [schools] – its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained and its glorious principles of morality inculcated? ... Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?"
A Senate Judiciary Committee report in 1853 declared, "We are a Christian people...not because the law demands it, not to gain exclusive benefits or to avoid legal disabilities, but from choice and education; and in a land thus universally Christian, what is to be expected, what desired, but that we shall pay due regard to Christianity?"
As the Hobby Lobby website tells the story, founder David Green got the idea for the ads during Christmas 1995, when he "was reading the Christmas advertisements, including those for his own store, and he felt commissioned by God to do something different."
"Hobby Lobby was selling all kinds of crafts that customers used to celebrate Christmas, yet David Green was struck by the lack of any testimony in newspapers regarding the meaning of the holiday," the company website says.
Eventually, the company expanded into Easter and Fourth of July ads.