Over the weekend, Hobby Lobby ran this full-page ad in newspapers across the country promoting Christian Nationalism.
It wasn’t a surprise. They’ve done this for years. At this point, it’s almost embarrassing to see the out-of-context and even made-up quotations, but this ad got a lot of attention on Twitter because people realized just how extreme the Green family (which owns Hobby Lobby) is:
Craft store Hobby Lobby has placed full page 4th of July ads insisting that America is a Christian nation. But I still can't bring myself to post one of their swastika sweaters or white supremacist potholders
— Paul Rudnick (@PaulRudnickNY) July 4, 2021
Hobby lobby took out a full page ad in the Register-Guard this morning. Talking about how America should only be led by Christians. Absolutely frightening. Please remember that Michaels, Joanns & your local craft/hobby shops are always an excellent place to spend your money.
— CaptainTono (@Barkiologist) July 4, 2021
A full-page ad by @HobbyLobby in newspapers today ignoring the separation of church and state. I never will set foot in a @HobbyLobby, which believes America should be a theocracy. pic.twitter.com/rUu9Lj1mCX
— Terry Blount (@TBlountNews) July 4, 2021
As they’ve also done for several years now, the Freedom From Religion Foundation countered the ad campaign with one of its own:
While that ad ran in a handful of local newspapers, FFRF also promoted a web page they created a few years back that offers context and corrections for all the quotations used by Hobby Lobby.
Their annual rebuttal, however, prompted an angry response this morning from evangelist Franklin Graham:
Hobby Lobby is being attacked for running some beautiful full-page newspaper ads on July 4. The ad was titled “One Nation Under God” and included the Bible verse, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12). These positive advertisements have outraged enemies of God’s Word such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation. I hope this exposure for their ads, even though it was intended for harm, will actually allow even more people to read the message and appreciate what Hobby Lobby’s owners, the Green family stand for. I thank God for the Green family, their Christian-run business, and their strong public stand for the Word of God and biblical values. Let them know you stand with them in the comments below.
There was no attack; there was only a response.
There was no outrage; there were only corrections.
But Graham is just proving the point of the critics online: He’s treating the people who believe in a secular nation as “enemies.” The only thing that Christian Nationalists hate more than the truth is when the truth is used to prove (over and over) that all they do is lie. It’s worth pointing out that the low blow against FFRF is still untrue; they’re advocating for a secular government, like the Founders wanted, not one promoting atheism. FFRF believes Graham should have the freedom to practice his religion, too.
Meanwhile, Graham wants people to take a “strong public stand for the Word of God and biblical values,” which is a not-so-thinly-veiled way of calling for a theocracy — or at least a nation where Christians and Christianity get better treatment than those who don’t share their beliefs.
It’s telling that even Michael Brown, the conservative writer who routinely promotes his own brand of Christian Nationalism, admitted that Hobby Lobby’s ad sent the wrong message:
… I do understand how others would read the ad as advocating for a theocracy (which I wholeheartedly oppose) and as for claiming that only Christians should run for office (which is ridiculous).
That is unfortunate, and that’s why it’s important for us to make clear that we are not seeking to take over America and impose the Christian faith on the nation.
Will Franklin Graham admit that’s not what he wants? Don’t hold your breath.