Boston Beer Company, the owner of the Samuel Adams brand, took a beating after airing an ad during the Independence Day weekend that cut the reference to God from the Declaration of Independence. The company defended the move by saying it is just company policy, according to The Washington Times.
The ad, which features an actor explaining why the company named the beer Samuel Adams, said, “All men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Critics jumped on the script, noting the original says, “That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights …”
“I guess I should not be surprised that a company, interested only in profit, would rewrite American history for commercial gain,” one Facebook user wrote. “However, abusers of history will no longer receive any of my money to support their censored advertising campaign.”
The company defended the decision by citing the Beer Institute Advertising Code, which lays out the various guidelines about how and to whom beer companies are allowed to direct advertising.
“The Beer Institute Advertising Code says, ‘Beer advertising and marketing materials should not include religion or religious themes.’ We agree with that and try to adhere to these guidelines,” the company said in a statement reported by CBS News.
Others, like atheist Hemant Mehta, supported the brewing company’s choice. The Christian Post reported Mehta, who writes the “Friendly Atheist” blog on Patheos, blogging that the criticism is an “overreaction” to “something that was probably done just to save time in a 30-second spot.”
A good deal of the sensitivity, however, could spring from the fact that this isn’t an isolated incident. Some critics have pointed to a similar incident in 2011. NBC ran a montage of the Pledge of Allegiance, but omitted the phrase “under God,” according to a Broadcasting and Cable report. The company later apologized for the decision.
The trend is not limited to the United States either, with the recent UK Girl Guides decision to replace pledging love to God with loyalty to self. In a culture that is rapidly trying to leave God in the past, it seems evangelicals are willing to fight to hang on to references wherever they can—even in beer advertising.