Ads ask candidates to guard religious freedom

An interfaith group launched a series of ads urging presidential candidates to protect religious freedom.

First Freedom First is using the ads in New Hampshire and South Carolina to encourage voters to ask presidential candidates their positions on issues from end-of-life options to protecting the rights of Americans to worship or not worship as they choose.

The joint project of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Interfaith Alliance Foundation was formed in September.

Backers of the ad campaign include the American Jewish Committee, the First Amendment group Jews on First and the many Jewish members of the Interfaith Alliance.

“The candidates are well briefed and nobody is briefing the voters on how to ask sophisticated questions that can’t be dodged by the candidates,” said Rabbi Merrill Shapiro, vice president of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Firstfreedomfirst.org is an extensive website devoted to helping voters ask informed questions.

Actor Jack Klugman appears in the first television ad. He volunteered to participate in the campaign.

“I think these ads speak for a lot of people, both believers and non-believers, who understand that this country is founded on a basic respect for everyone’s right to believe whatever they want,” Klugman said.

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