It’s not a secret that President Ronald Reagan‘s son, Ron Reagan, is a vocal atheist.
I’m Ron Reagan, an unabashed atheist, and I’m alarmed by the intrusions of religion into our secular government. That’s why I’m asking you to join the Freedom From Religion Foundation — the nation’s largest and most effective organization of atheists and agnostics, working to keep state and church separate. Phone 1-800-335-4021 or visit the Freedom From Religion Foundation at FFRF.ORG. Ron Reagan, lifelong atheist, not afraid of burning in hell.
Reagan did something similar in 2004, when, in a New York Times interview, he talked about why he would never make a good political candidate:
I would be unelectable. I’m an atheist. As we all know, that is something people won’t accept.
He also told a gathering of atheists in 2009:
… Reason and freethought will remain a hallmark of the human species. The ability of human beings to gaze out at the wondrous, baffling universe in which we find ourselves, with minds uncluttered by dogma, has been and always will be the measure of our success. Faith will fade, religions will flower and vanish, but reason remains.
Reason is where I put my faith, if you will. Reason is where I stand, and I am happy to stand there with you.
And in 2014, he made a commercial for FFRF that aired during episodes of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report:
Hi, I’m Ron Reagan, an unabashed atheist, and I’m alarmed by the intrusions 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.
In 2015, when that same ad aired on CNN, Ron’s brother Michael Reagan said it was a slap in the face to their dead father:
“For Ron to do the ad is one thing, but the way he ends the ad was, ‘I’m Ron Reagan, I’m not afraid to burn in hell,’ just slaps our father in the face in a terrible, terrible way,” Michael Reagan told J.D. Hayworth and Miranda Khan on “America’s Forum” on Newsmax TV on Wednesday.
“Fine if you want to be an atheist, but you are the son of Ronald Reagan and you do have an obligation, so you’ve got to understand that as you walk through life,” Michael Reagan told Newsmax. “There’s a place where you have to stop and say no, ‘I’m not going to do it in that way.'”
So there you have it: If you’re the son of Ronald Reagan, you have to uphold his legacy… by lying to everyone about what you believe.
Just because you’re the son of a President doesn’t mean you have to remain silent about your own controversial views or magically agree with everything he did in office. If anything, you’d hope Ronald Reagan would be proud that his son is voicing his opinions in order to create change. It’s not like Ron became an atheist to piss off his father.
Michael Reagan continued with a memory about the President:
“I remember having dinner with my father… and he was talking about atheism at dinner one night and my dad leaned over to me and grabbed my hand and said, ‘My only prayer is that my son becomes a Christian’ like him, like our father,” he said. “That was his prayer.”
What an awful prayer: I hope my son never learns to think for himself and just follows my lead. If this is supposed to endear us to the former President, it failed miserably.
Anyway, that all happened in the past and I thought the “feud” was over if not forgotten entirely. But the commercial began re-airing this week on MSNBC and CNN, and that re-infuriated Michael, who took to Twitter to say “Our father is crying in heaven!” and that he was boycotting the channels that aired the ad:
I guess we know which son turned out to be the reasonable one…
Ron hasn’t responded to his half-brother yet. Though I wouldn’t expect him to. He was speaking for himself, not anyone else in his family, and there’s nothing to apologize about.
(Large portions of this article were posted earlier.)