The Rev. Franklin Graham expressed his sadness Thursday after former President Ronald Reagan’s son boasted about his atheism in an ad that aired during this week’s Democratic presidential primary debate.
Ron Reagan Jr. appeared in an ad by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an activist organization that advocates for the removal of references to God in government.
“Hi, I’m Ron Reagan, an unabashed atheist,” Reagan begins in the ad, which aired during Tuesday’s debate. “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.”
Reagan ends his message with a defiant restatement of his own unbelief.
“Please support the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Ron Reagan, lifelong atheist, not afraid of burning in hell,” he says.
Watch the FFRF’s ad below:
“I was saddened to see the news that President Ronald Reagan’s son, Ron, Jr., is a self-proclaimed atheist, and proud of it,” Graham wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday.
The evangelist went on to compare the atheist Reagan to his devout father.
“His father was certainly quite different—President Reagan had a deep faith in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ,” he wrote.
Graham quoted Ron Reagan’s line about not being afraid of burning in hell, warning Reagan that his lack of faith does not make hell any less real.
“Wow,” Graham wrote. “It is, of course, his choice to believe or not to believe in God and His plan of salvation through Christ. But whether an individual ‘believes’ in God, heaven, or hell doesn’t change the reality.”
“The Bible tells us that hell is a place of torment, fire, and separation from God— and hell awaits those who do not repent of their sin and put their faith and trust in Christ.”
Graham ended his post with a call for Christians to pray for Reagan’s salvation.
“Let’s pray that Ron will know the saving love of Jesus Christ and turn to Him before it is too late.”
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