FFRF gets state-sponsored religious commercial off the air (Sept. 5, 2012)

The New Mexico Department of Health has stopped airing an anti-smoking television commercial containing religious messages, after receiving a Freedom From Religion Foundation complaint.

The department sponsored an ad campaign called “Dear Me” which included a commercial featuring a woman in a church pew praying, lamenting her ability to quit smoking, and performing the sign of the cross.

In a May 3 letter to FFRF, Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor urged, “It is a fundamental principle of Establishment Clause jurisprudence that the government cannot in any way promote, advance, or otherwise endorse religion. Including this imagery tends to send the message that the New Mexico Department of Health endorses the Christian religion.”

On Sept. 5, the department responded that, “The ad is no longer being placed and there is no plan to renew the license for that spot of others in the ‘Dear Me’ series at this time.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation