Marketers at the Boston Beer Company have a new brew they want you to taste: secularism. And to sell it, they’ve redacted the Declaration of Independence.
The company omitted the reference to God in the preamble to America’s second most important document in a recent advertisement for their Samuel Adams brand. In the Independence Day ad, an actor says, “All men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The original wording, composed by Thomas Jefferson reads, “endowed by their Creator.”
Not surprisingly, some consumers are outraged.
One person wrote on the Samuel Adams’ Facebook page, “I guess I should not be surprised that a company, interested only in profit, would rewrite American history for commercial gain.” Another commented, “It’s not about religion, it’s about HISTORY! The fact is, “Creator” is in the quote. It was your choice to use the quote-use it all. Thank you for showing us where you stand or rather don’t stand.”
The Boston Beer Company released a statement defending its decision. “We adhere to an advertising code, established by the Beer Institute – a beer industry trade organization—that states, ‘Beer advertising and marketing materials should not include religion or religious themes’,” the statement said.
But such a defense fails to explain why they chose to wade into these waters in the first place, which is why many patrons aren’t buying it. Samuel Adams’ marketers had a near infinite number of themes they could have chosen for their Independence Day advertisement. They might have selected fireworks or family gatherings or — here’s an idea — the superior quality of their product. Instead, they chose to wade unnecessarily into a contentious cultural debate. By so doing, they’ve loaded ammo into conservatives’ guns, adding weight to the argument that government and some corporations are cramming a politically correct and secularist agenda down their throats.