Ronald Reagan was a practicing Christian who sometimes invoked faith in his public proclamations, but his son, Ron, doesn’t share his late father’s theology. In a radio commercial currently airing in support of a well-known atheist organization, he says he’s “not afraid of burning in hell.”
It’s been public knowledge for quite some time that the younger Reagan is a non-believer, but for those who forgot or never knew in the first place, the spot he recorded for the Freedom From Religion Foundation makes his theology — or lack thereof — more than clear.
“I’m Ron Reagan, an unabashed atheist, and I’m alarmed by the intrusions of religion into our secular government,” he proclaims in the radio spot, which is airing all month on “The Randi Rhodes’ Show,” a progressive radio program.
Perhaps most notably, Reagan proclaims at the end of the ad that he’s a “lifelong atheist, not afraid of burning in hell.”
The purpose of the spot, which you can listen to here, is to promote the Freedom From Religion Foundation and to encourage secular listeners to join the organization — a group that has become known for its staunch stance on church-state issues.
In a press release, Freedom From Religion Foundation Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor expressed gratitude for Reagan’s willingness to record the commercial and to “speak publicly as an atheist for so many years.”
As The Huffington Post noted, it was in 2004, just weeks after President Reagan died, that Reagan shared his non-belief with the world. When asked if he would ever get into politics, he told The New York Times that he’s an atheist and, thus, would not be embraced by the general public.
“I would be unelectable. I’m an atheist,” he said. “As we all know, that is something people won’t accept.”
Reagan also accepted the “Emperor Has No Clothes” award in 2009 from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an honor bestowed, as the FFRF notes, upon “public figures who make known their dissent from religion.”