The Boston Beer Company, maker of the omnipresent Samuel Adams lager, released a commercial leading up to July 4 in which the Declaration of Independence is read — with one glaring omission: The narrator is quoted as saying: “All men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Notice anything missing there? The Declaration actually reads, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Outrage ensued, and last week the company released this statement: “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…We agree with that, and we follow these guidelines and approach our marketing with the utmost responsibility.”
This type of statement might be what is expected during a controversy, but it — not to mention the commercial itself — lacks a nuanced understanding of America’s founding. That the Declaration references the Judeo-Christian principles ingrained in our founding should not be controversial, and to omit the phrase is tantamount to denying this heritage.
The Founding Fathers had the foresight and wisdom to realize that rights come from God, not our government. To believe that our rights come from government would put them at the mercy of those in power.