All it took was this one short ad.
It ends, “Ron Reagan, lifelong atheist, not afraid of burning in hell.” To my surprise, I’ve been contacted by a lot of people who are really, really happy with that ad: the idea that atheists are unafraid seems to resonate. But there are also people who are freaking out over it.
Ron’s brother and conservative wingnut, Michael Reagan, is very unhappy.
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.
Why? He doesn’t say anything at all about his father, Ronald Reagan. Was his father so confident that Ron Reagan would burn in hell that denying him is an insult? Is he supposed to grovel and say he’s damned out of respect for one of the worst presidents in American history?
And Michael goes on.
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.’
That is horrible. Children are obligated to serve their fathers’ ideas for the whole of their life? That’s just nuts. I expect my kids to be independent and think for themselves, and if they disagree with me, that’s OK (as long as they eventually pay my nursing home bills, that is.) Again, Ron Reagan said nothing about his father; why is he supposed to stop and say “I can’t have my own ideas”?
And then, my gob, Michael says something that increased my respect and sympathy for Ron Reagan a hundred-fold.
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.
Also, my contempt for President Ronald Reagan has vastly increased. What a cruel and terrible thing to say to your child. And how ghastly of Michael Reagan to now play the “Dad liked me best” card.
It’s a win-win for the FFRF: Ron Reagan endorsing them while being brave and likeable, and Michael Reagan representing Christian hatefulness in contrast.