FFRF’s Ron Reagan ad to air during Thursday Democratic debate

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s “unabashed atheist” commercial with Ron Reagan will run on CNN during the Thursday, Dec. 19, Democratic presidential primary debate. 

It is the same commercial that ruled the internet during the Democratic debate on CNN in mid-October, when the name of Ron Reagan, the progressive son of President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan, became the most searched term on Google in the course of the debate and among the top 20 trenders on Twitter. The debate will air on both CNN and noncommercial PBS but FFRF’s ad will run only on CNN.

Reagan says in the iconic ad:

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

The ad got a lot of approving nods after airing during the October debate, including from comedian and actress Sarah Silverman. And it received substantial media coverage, albeit sometimes grudgingly. “Ron Reagan crashed the Democratic presidential primary debate Tuesday night with a plug for an atheist group that turned his name into the top trending search on Google — as he declared that he was ‘not afraid of burning in hell,’” reported the right-leaning New York Post.

The 30-second spot (the first freethinking ad believed to have ever run during a presidential primary debate) aired twice during the Oct. 15 debate itself, and also during the primary debate pre-show and post-show. The ad also ran in the same week on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” and “Anderson Cooper 360.” CBS, NBC, ABC and Discovery Science networks have refused the ad since 2014, but it has run periodically on CNN, Comedy Central and Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC.

FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor is hoping that the commercial will have a similar impact this time around.

“The success of our ad in mid-October shows that the freethought perspective is being increasingly welcomed by Americans,” says Gaylor. Studies show that secular voters could comprise about a quarter of the electorate and care deeply about hot-button issues, including the direction of the judiciary and protecting abortion and LGBTQ rights.

FFRF thanks FFRF members who have donated to FFRF’s Advertising Fund for making possible this major campaign and invites fans of the ad to join FFRF in our work to educate the public.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

FFRF has received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator

FFRF is a member of the Secular Coalition for America

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