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.