FFRF Will Air a Church/State Separation TV Ad on CBS This Weekend

Barring any schedule changes or bumps, the Freedom From Religion Foundation will be airing the following ad featuring John F. Kennedy‘s famous line about church/state separation during Sunday’s “CBS Sunday Morning” as well as Monday’s “CBS Evening News.”

It’s set to air nationwide, and if you don’t see it this Sunday, it’ll air the following Sunday.

FFRF Co-President Dan Barker, who played the musical accompaniment to the ad, said: “Kennedy was right. Separation between religion and government must be absolute, or there’s no freedom or justice for all.

“The deterioration of respect for this constitutional principle is breathtaking. We’ve gone from a nation where candidates once had to show reverence for the First Amendment principle of separation between state and church to get elected to one where candidates wear religion on their sleeves and think they have to trash the Constitution to get elected,” observed Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF Co-President.

It’s a perfect time to talk about these issues, with the Reason Rally also taking place this weekend and Republican presidential candidates talking about how church/state separation is a vomit-inducing idea.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    Would have been great if they put up the “Do You Believe in a Secular America?” video as a commercial instead. Much more powerful imo.

  • http://wordsideasandthings.blogspot.com/ Garren

    This ad is a bad idea. We should be promoting freedom OF religion, not playing directly into fears about the government becoming positively anti-religious.

    Also, putting “reason” in place of “God” is ridiculous. But what should I expect from a crowd who thinks “Reason Rally” is a good name for an atheistic event. It would be like Catholics taking control of the word “justice” to mean Catholic philosophy and holding a “Justice Rally.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

      if it were truely an event for the Secular movement (as the organizers claim) “Reason Rally” would make sense…

      • http://wordsideasandthings.blogspot.com/ Garren

        What’s the connection between “the Secular movement” and reason, besides it being a positive-sounding term they’re using for marketing?

        • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

          I’m no philosophy major but secularism makes decisions based on real world evidence and facts with no superstition. That sounds pretty damn reasonable.

          • http://wordsideasandthings.blogspot.com/ Garren

            That’s what everyone does. Just ask’m!

            • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

              I’m not going to get into a philosophy debate about what is reasonable and what is tangible evidence. But we should all live under laws and regulations and get medical care that doesn’t adhere to anyone’s religious beliefs. Everyone is free to believe what they want, but when dealing with everyone as a whole those beliefs should be left aside. Let individuals make those distinctions themselves. I think if this rally were really for the Secularist movement it would be geared towards all who agree with that way of governing the country. Believers and nonbelievers alike.

    • BenFromCA

      Oh, you mean like the way the Catholics have taken control of the word “Truth” and re-interpreted it to mean “the confused ramblings of bronze-age, illiterate goat herders.”

    • Anonymous

      Somehow Freedom of Superstition, oh excuse me Religion seems to be something more people need to be thinking about and wondering if it’s really time to accept their mortality and be more ‘compassionate with the rest of us in the same boat.

  • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

    I was bothered by the tagline “freedom depends on freethinkers”.  It implied that religious people can’t be supporters of separation of church and state, which is not true.  Our “wall of separation” will be stronger if it is being supported from both sides, and I’d prefer our message to speak to those on both sides.

    • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

      well then you might want to read the Reason Rally’s webpage…
      http://reasonrally.org/about/

      Why are we doing this?
      Across America, in every city, every town, and every school, secularism is on the rise. Whether people call themselves atheists, agnostics, secular Humanists, or any of the other terms used to describe their god-free lifestyle, secularism is coming out of the closet. According to the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (PDF), the percentage of people with no religious affiliation grew in all fifty states.

      This event isn’t really about support from the religious as well as nonreligious. It’s designed for the godless.

      • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

        Yes, our Rally is for the Godless, and I’m very pleased about that.  But when we air a commercial on National TV, we’re aiming a message at a general audience, not just the godless.  And as Richard Wade so wisely says, “when you want to help someone see more clearly, don’t start by poking them in the eye.”  If the point of the commercial is to get the average person to support church-state separation more strongly, we have to start by reaching them where they are, not where we wish they were.

        • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

           So for an event specifically for godless people, we shouldn’t advertise specifically to godless people. That makes perfect sense.

          • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

            This ad is airing AFTER our event.  It’s not an ad to promote the rally.  It’s an ad to promote one of our goals.

  • Brian Smith

    It was good right up the point they changed the motto on the penny. If you’re trying to pitch this to the general public, you’ve got to tread lightly. I can imagine a lot of heads nodding in general agreement UNTIL you “Took God off the money, ya damn dirty atheistcommiemuslimIFoughtAndDiedInFourWorldWarsForMyFlag”.

    It makes it look like the purpose of the FFRF is to change the motto on the currency, which is a divisive and controversial move. If they’d stuck with defending the rights of all citizens regardless of their religion (or lack thereof), you’d keep much MUCH more of the audience on your side with this ad. Sadly, this ad starts well but drops right into the stereotype that a lot of members of the public will find unsupportable.

  • Rob M

    Oh yes separation of church and state,that my dear Christian fundy friends(should any be reading this)is the reason your great great grandpappy,left  for the states in the first place,they couldn’t wait to get their Non conformist arses out of here,

  • Kacey Raborn

    I think “freedom depends on freethinkers” should be changed to “freedom depends on you”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcie-Miller-Spence/1322445534 Marcie ‘Miller’ Spence

    Finally! An ad for freethinkers/atheists/etc. to counter all those stupid religious ads!!

  • Carmen

    The Freedom From Religion Foundation has edited Kennedy’s speech to suit their agenda, as I have shown in this video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HAY2bnLfLs … If this doesn’t come up for you, try this link and click on video #18:  http://realitycheck.tv/

  • Jaybeedownsouth

    There is no religious mandate in this country. You are already free to believe or not believe. That would lead me to think that this group is not about freedom but more about taking away the freedoms of the believers. Those who seek the light will find the light, those who seek the darkness will try to extinguish the light so that they may remain in darkness.


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