The iconic ad recorded by Ron Reagan for the Freedom From Religion Foundation will be airing on the national NBC network for the first time — on the longest-running show ever.
The spot will appear on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, May 14, and again the following Sunday. For double the impact, the ad will play twice during each episode. “Meet the Press,” the longest-running show on U.S. television, broadcasts Sundays from 8–10 a.m. Eastern. The Sunday news program, now anchored by Chuck Todd, first began on Nov. 6, 1947. The ads repeat during the re-airing of the show at midnight.
The ad will also be returning this month to CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360º,” which airs from 8-9 p.m. Eastern, beginning today. It will run nine times this month, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from May 9 until May 25.
This month, FFRF is additionally running the spot on “CBS This Morning,” which airs from 7-9 a.m. and is hosted by Gayle King, among others. The ad debuted on that program last Friday and will repeat this Friday, May 12 and next Friday, May 19.
After Ron Reagan obligingly recorded the original 30-second commercial back in 2014, it was refused by all the major networks — CBS, NBC and ABC — as well as Discovery. Only Comedy Central and CNN accepted it. Eventually, MSNBC agreed to air it, and two years ago, CBS accepted it, where it has run occasionally on the “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “CBS Sunday Morning.” Last year CBS agreed to place the ad for the first time on “60 Minutes,” where it has run several times.
“The general public has no idea of the extent to which freethinking and nonreligious views are routinely still suppressed in our society,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. “It’s progress to see NBC finally allow FFRF to buy airtime.”
Reagan, the progressive son of President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan, says in the ad, which was recently updated:
Hi, I’m Ron Reagan, an unabashed atheist, and I’m alarmed, as you may be, by the intrusion of religion into our secular government. That's why I’m asking you to join 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 Founders intended. Please join the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Ron Reagan, lifelong atheist, not afraid of burning in hell.
On FFRF’s “Freethought Matters” TV show, Reagan talked about why he stopped attending church as a 12-year-old and what happened when he told his father. He has received FFRF’s Emperor Has No Clothes Award for his outspoken, lifelong identification as an atheist and advocacy of the separation between religion and government. After FFRF aired the ad during several Democratic presidential debates carried by CNN in 2019, Reagan was credited with “winning” and becoming the top trending search on Google.
Your donation to FFRF’s advertising campaign will help keep Ron’s — and FFRF’s message — on the air, where it is educating the public and substantially growing FFRF’s membership.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 40,000 members and several chapters across the country. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.