The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist activist non-profit, very frequently takes to billboards and newspaper advertisements to tout the value of a "free-thinking" society. This week, the group decided to take out a full-page, anti-theist ad in The Albuquerque Journal. It's purpose? To commemorate "Constitution Day," while letting New Mexico residents know that "trusting in any god is very risky."
The ad, which was overtly intended to offend the faithful, served as the FFRF's Albuquerque, New Mexico, chapter's public method of commemorating the anniversary of the U.S. Constitution's ratification on Sept. 17, 1787. But in addition to celebrating this event of historical significance, the atheist group was also taking the opportunity to directly respond to craft store chain Hobby Lobby's July 4 ad in the same newspaper.
"We feel it is important to respond to the full page 'In God We Trust' ad placed by Hobby Lobby in the Albuquerque Journal on July 4, which we have researched and found to be very inaccurate and deceptive," explained Ron Herman, who directs the FFRF chapter.
The ad Herman references was intended to encourage newspaper readers to embrace their faith. It included quotes from past presidents, Congress and the Founding Fathers -- statements that reaffirm America's standing as a nation that was founded upon faith-based sentiment.
The FFRF decided to respond to this message, using "Constitution Day" as a springboard for doing so. Rather that touting faith, the non-believers came up with an ad focused upon "godless" ideals.
"Freethinkers can all celebrate the fact that the founders of our nation were first among nations to adopt a godless and entirely secular Constitution, whose only references to religion are exclusionary," FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor commented in a statement posted on the group's web site.
"It's not a coincidence that the U.S. Constitution is the longest-lived constitution in the world. Much of the success of this 'living document' is due to the fact that it places sovereignty not in a divinity, but in 'We the People,'" she continued.
Naturally, the ad will come to the chagrin of Christians who do, indeed, embrace a more faith-based historical construct for America's founding.
"In reason we trust, because trusting in any god is very risky, and Congress could debate 'God's laws' all day long instead of protecting America's freedoms and prosperity," part of the ad reads. "Good leaders will use reason and compromise to take us forward, not backward to the Dark Ages."