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Is President Barack Obama disavowing the Creator?
A political action committee called Government Is Not God, or GING-PAC for short, has produced a newspaper ad claiming to reveal "the true agenda of Barack Hussein Obama." The group says it’s running the ad in several newspapers, mainly in Ohio and Florida.
The black-and-white ad includes a laundry list of claims against Obama, dealing with topics from Islamic law to abortion, most of which PolitiFact has debunked as False or Pants on Fire. The kicker: an accusation that Obama puts an atheistic spin on the Declaration of Independence. Obama, it says, is the "only president in history who has deliberately removed the words ‘endowed by their Creator’ when referring to the Declaration of Independence not once but several times."
First, a quick American history review. The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, proclaiming America’s separation from the British empire and asserting the right to govern itself. Here’s the most famous line, and the one at issue:
"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."
Presidents and politicians often cite that line to stir the passions of voters. But is Obama unique among presidents in skipping the religious reference?
Indeed, we did find video of Obama paraphrasing the line and leaving out the "Creator."
At the 2010 Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute awards gala, he said it as, "we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights, life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Several conservative websites appear to be tracking his omissions.
But there’s also video evidence of Obama saying "their Creator" when citing the Declaration. The blog of the liberal group People for the American Way even put together a compilation video of Obama reciting the line verbatim.
But Obama's not "the only president in history" who has done it. A website that investigates urban legends dug up examples of Calvin Coolidge, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan omitting the "Creator."
GING-PAC’s ad says Obama is "the only president in history who has deliberately removed the words."
Not so. It’s true that Obama has omitted "endowed by their Creator" in speeches, but he’s also included those words many times. And at least three other presidents -- including Ronald Reagan -- have left out the Creator.
We rate the claim False.
GING-PAC newspaper ad, September 2012
GING-PAC website, "Campaign to save America from Barack Hussein Obama," accessed Sept. 25 & 26, 2012
PolitiFact, "PAC's newspaper ad filled with falsehoods," Sept. 26, 2012
Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
YouTube, "Obama Leaves "By their Creator" Out of Declaration of Independence at Hispanic Caucus Speech," Sept. 18, 2010
RightWingWatch.org, "How Many Times Does Obama Have to Say 'Endowed by Their Creator' Before the Right Will Stop Lying?" Aug. 9, 2012
UrbanLegends.About.com, "Email: Obama Omits 'Creator' in Declaration Quote," accessed Sept. 27, 2012
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