Commercial Airs During Debate Showing Reagan’s Son Saying He’s ‘Not Afraid of Burning in Hell’

October 15, 2019 Updated: October 16, 2019

A commercial approved by CNN showing a man saying he’s “not afraid of burning in hell” ran during a presidential debate break on Oct. 15.

Ron Reagan, the son of former President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan, is part of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

The ad featured Reagan speaking to the camera in a 30-second spot. It was set to air twice during the debate, before and after the debate, and again on Wednesday during breaks in three different programs.

The foundation championed it as “the first freethinking ad believed to have ever run during a presidential primary debate.” It said ABC declined to run the ad during the September debate.

The spot featured Reagan saying: “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,” he added.

In addition to ABC refusing to air the spot, the foundation said that CBS, NBC, and Discovery Science networks have declined to air the ad before.

It has “run periodically on CNN, Comedy Central and Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC,” the foundation stated.

Viewers were stunned by the ad on Tuesday night.

“Good job playing to the moderates!” one Twitter user wrote.

“Only CNN would broadcast that,” another said.

“I saw Freedom from Religion Foundation’s ads on TV. Wish they were more respectful of other people’s beliefs. ‘Not afraid of burning in hell’ mocks people who believe in an afterlife. I’ve experienced real prejudice against atheists’ beliefs & mocking others’ beliefs doesn’t help,” another said.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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