FFRF Albuquerque Chapter Celebrates “Constitution Day”

To celebrate "Constitution Day," the 232nd anniversary of the signing of the secular U.S. Constitution (September 17, 1787), the newly-formed Albuquerque chapter of the Freedom From Religion foundation is placing an ad Friday in the Albuquerque Journal leaning on the secularism of U.S. founders.

The ad, proclaiming "In Reason We Trust," features portraits and quotes of four founders: early presidents George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, plus Benjamin Franklin, who was a delegate at the Constitutional Convention.

The ad is intended to rebut an annual proselytizing national advertising campaign by Hobby Lobby also featuring Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Franklin. The chapter ad is intended to be a template which may be placed in other newspapers around the nation.

"When I saw an ad in the paper on July 4 that said boldly ‘In God We Trust,’ I was surprised at the quotes suggesting that our nation’s founders were all very religious and that we need a ‘national god,' " said Ron Herman, active with the chapter.

"I immediately questioned those quotes and went looking for others. Our local FFRF group decided that we should present an opposing ad on Constitution Day to help clarify that our founders insisted on the separation of Church and State in that document."

"The U.S. Constitution contains no God, no Jesus, no Ten Commandments," said Foundation Co-President Dan Barker. "Its only references to religion in government are exclusionary, such as that there shall be no religious test for public office (Art. VI, Sect. 3)." The oath which it provides for the president is secular (no reference to a bible or "so help me God").

"We were first among nations to separate government from religion and to invest sovereignty in 'We, the People,' not a divinity," added Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-founder of the group, which has 15,500 members nationwide and about 170 in New Mexico. The Foundation is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics) and works to keep church and state separate. Among its seven lawsuits: a successful federal challenge of the National Day of Prayer, which has been appealed by the Obama Administration to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Members interested in helping to pay for and place ads in their area newspapers may contact FFRF. The ad could run to celebrate Bill of Rights Day (Dec. 15), July 4 (when Hobby Lobby runs full-page ads mixing church and state every year) or other suitable occasions when secularism needs a shout-out, such as on the National Day of Prayer.

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Freedom From Religion Foundation

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