Ad Campaign Calls For Protection of Religious Freedom

First Freedom First, a joint project of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and The Interfaith Alliance Foundation, is launching an ad campaign to  encourage voters to ask the presidential candidates about their positions on issues related to separation of church and state.

The first advertisements feature legendary actors Jack Klugman and James Whitmore and are designed to remind candidates and voters that religion has a place in American life, but not as a political tool.

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, noted, “The separation of church and state is what makes America a great nation. At their core, the ads are designed to prompt important conversations about where candidates stand on the critical issue of religious liberty as enshrined in the First Amendment.”

Lynn continued, “All Americans, whether religious or not, have a right to know where candidates stand on issues that have a real, direct impact on their lives, such as sound science, academic integrity and protections against religious discrimination. The ads and related questions on the First Freedom First Web site are designed to help start the discussion between voters and candidates.”

The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of The Interfaith Alliance Foundation, said, “Religion has played an unusually large role in the 2008 election, and unfortunately, it has been used as a gimmick or a divisive tool rather than a unifying force. First Freedom First focuses on important issues that are at the intersection of religion and public policy issues that our next president must be prepared to deal with.”

In the TV and print ads, Jack Klugman and James Whitmore raise such questions as, “Who will decide my end of life care: politicians and religious right leaders, or my doctor and me?” The ads also ask candidates what they will do to protect the right of all Americans to worship…or not.

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