You might’ve heard about the “Kieffe and Sons Ford” dealership in California. Their radio advertisement blew up on the internet a few days ago. Well, they apologized for it. Here’s the text of the ad (or listen here):
“Did you know that there are people in this country who want prayer out of schools, “Under God” out of the Pledge, and “In God We Trust” to be taken off our money?
“But did you know that 86 percent of Americans say they believe in God? Now, since we all know that 86 out of every 100 of us are Christians who believe in God, we at Kieffe and Sons Ford wonder why we don’t just tell the other 14 percent to sit down and shut up.
“I guess maybe I just offended 14 percent of the people who are listening to this message. Well, if that is the case, then I say that’s tough; this is America, folks — it’s called free speech. And none of us at Kieffe and Sons Ford are afraid to speak up. Kieffe and Sons Ford on Sierra Highway in Mojave and Rosamond: if we don’t see you today, by the grace of God, we’ll be here tomorrow.”
(Ironic how they tell atheists to “sit down and shut up”, and then talk about their own right to free speech.)
“Rick Kieffe, owner of Kieffe and Sons Ford in Mojave and Rosamond, insisted Wednesday that he does not remember approving the ad, which he said was written by his longtime advertising writer and producer in Oklahoma. “It’s just something that went by us,” said Kieffe, who does not attend church but considers himself “a Christian spirit.” “We’re obviously sorry that it offends a given segment who identifies themselves as atheist.” … And while that ad is no longer being broadcast, having run its full 90 days earlier this year, it has had an effect on the dealership’s future ads.” (Link)
I’m not sure to what extent he regrets airing the ad (is it because he received so much blow-back?) Also, the “We’re obviously sorry that it offends a given segment who identifies themselves as atheist.” isn’t quite clear. It might be a sincere apology, or it might be a simple “we’re sorry you were offended” non-apology. The guy who put the ad on YouTube, and talked to the car dealer today, comments:
I asked if he had it to do all over again, would he run those ads? Would he install a disclaimer? He said he wouldn’t run the ads at all. He said he didn’t mean to upset or insult anyone, he’s sorry that this made so many folks upset. He said that car dealers put a lot of advertising out and it always boring, the same old thing. So Kieffe and Sons Ford decided about 15 years ago to do advertising differently, to really try to draw peoples’ attention. Apparently he had no idea that this particular ad would do that in spades… Rick even said that he’s not a fundamentalist Christian by any means, but then repeated the Pledge argument against our side. They’re very aware of their mistake, and they look at it as a mistake, but they do actually agree with the sentiment in the ad. (Link)
So, I guess that’s good news. I don’t really expect the car dealer to understand our side, but at least he’s apologetic.
[ Oh, and on an unrelated note, the British police have dropped charges against the kid carrying the “Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult.” sign. ]