Ron Reagan, 56, a son of the late Republican President Ronald Reagan, continues to starkly differentiate his views from those of his famous father.

The younger Reagan, an outspoken political liberal, has taped a television commercial for the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.

"I'm Ron Reagan, an unabashed atheist, and I'm alarmed by the intrusions of religion into our secular government," he says in the 30-second ad. "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."

At the end of the ad, Reagan says he's a "lifelong" atheist who is "not afraid of burning in hell."

The ad aired May 22 during Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report," both on Comedy Central.

Annie Laurie Gaylor, a co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, said Reagan taped the ad for free at a Seattle studio.

"Ron recorded gratis a radio ad for us when we both had shows on the Air America network, and I’d always thought it would be grand to have a TV version and to debut it on 'The Daily Show' and 'The Colbert Report,' as already irreverent venues," Gaylor said. "He’s such a busy person that it took me years to ask this favor, and very wonderfully, he immediately agreed, no strings attached."

The ad will continue to air periodically throughout the summer in regional markets, Gaylor said. This fall, the foundation hopes to make another big splash by airing the ad on CBS when the newsmagazine "60 Minutes" returns with new shows.

President Reagan, who died in 2004, worshiped at a Presbyterian church and often invoked God in public speeches, saying at one point that "without God, there is no virtue, because there's no prompting of the conscience."

His son has long been public about his atheist worldview. In 2004, during an interview on "Larry King Live," Ron Reagan stated he was an atheist and that he likely would never run for political office because he couldn't envision the public voting for one.

The younger Reagan is a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation's honorary board.

Gaylor said the foundation plans to do more TV ads with "celebrity freethinkers." Comedian Julia Sweeney, a former "Saturday Night Live" cast member, earlier had recorded a TV ad for the foundation.

You can reach reporter Doug Erickson at derickson@madison.com or 608-252-6149.

Education and religion reporter

You might also like

(7) comments

Juan Diego
Juan Diego

Wow, Ronnie and Julia Sweeney have joined up- guess the A-listers were busy. Seriously, can't they think of something to be for? With apologies to Dean Wormer: "Liberal, smug, and atheist is no way to go through life, son."

ABDGRFN
ABDGRFN

Only 40 bucks and yet only 1,200 members in a state of 5+ million and 20,000 members in a nation of 350+ million. Wonder who the real sheeeeeeeeple are.
Hope you like it warm.

Comment deleted.
Crow Barr
Crow Barr

Hey, 40 bucks gets you a membership at FFRF.org and you get the Freethought Today monthly paper, just reading the ginheads comments effing them is a hoot. What a bunch of sheeeeeeeeeeeeeepppppleees in organized religion!

Comment deleted.
Crow Barr
Crow Barr

Sux, refer to my comment above. Relax, Hayzeus loves you I'm certain!

Comment deleted.
Crow Barr
Crow Barr

Sux, so excited you hit the send button twice?

cc1038
cc1038

Thanks Ron Reagan and thanks FFRF.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Exchange ideas and opinions on posted articles. Don't promote products or services, impersonate other site users, register multiple accounts, threaten or harass others, post vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language. Don't post content that defames or degrades anyone. Don't repost copyrighted material; link to it. In other words, stick to the topic and play nice. Report abuses by clicking the button. Users who break the rules will be banned from commenting. We no longer issue warnings. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.