A 30-second TV spot recorded by Ron Reagan for the Freedom From Religion Foundation has been refused by the three major networks, ABC, NBC and CBS. Meanwhile, the ads have been airing successfully on CNN last week and this week.
The banned ad says:
Hi, I'm Ron Reagan, an unabashed atheist, and I'm alarmed by the intrusion of religion into our secular government. That's why I'm asking you to support the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the nation's largest and most effective association of atheists and agnostics, working to keep state and church separate, just like our Founding Fathers intended. Please support the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Ron Reagan, lifelong atheist, not afraid of burning in hell.
FFRF is also airing the Ron Reagan spot on the day-after rebroadcasts of "The Daily Show" in March, April and May.
The ad debuted live last May 22 on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" and "The Daily Show." FFRF intended to next place the ad on CBS' "Sixty Minutes." Last fall, after months of delays, CBS not only rejected that placement, but banned the ad from any national CBS show. This spring, national ABC and NBC also rejected the ad.
Initially, NBC offered to accept the paid advertising if FFRF agreed to delete the concluding phrase, "not afraid of burning in hell." Then it even decided against that.
"We'd never agree to censor Ron's punch line," said Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF Co-President. "Imagine these national networks being so afraid of a little irreverency."
FFRF also ran the ad in select metropolitan cities on the finale of "Cosmos" last year, after Fox Network refused to air the ad nationally, citing a policy against "advocacy" ads.
“Where have you been all my life?” – Andrew, Johns Creek, GA
“That is literally the best commercial I’ve ever seen!” J.T. – Akron OH
"This is the best thing that has happened to Atheism since Richard Dawkins!” — Jane, New York City
“Awesome!” – A. Garcia, Houston
“That’s an extremely superior and wonderful ad. Wow!” – C.D., Vancouver, B.C.
“Best ad I’ve ever seen.” – J.S., Fallbrook, Calif.
“I’m excited about what you do!” Mike, Cleveland, TN
“I’m a lifelong atheist,” C.S., Newcastle, Ind.
“I thought I was the only atheist in America!” – E.Z., Elmhurst, N.Y.
“Brilliant!” – Ron, Nevada
“I’m a 95-year-old life-long atheist. That’s a long time!” — Gainesville, Fla.