(CNN) - The already-contentious North Carolina Senate race took a brutal turn Wednesday after incumbent Sen. Elizabeth Dole released a television ad suggesting challenger Kay Hagan is "Godless."
“A leader of the Godless Americans PAC recently held a secret fundraiser for Kay Hagan,” the 30-second ad says before showing clips from members of the group declaring God and Jesus do not exist.
“Godless Americans and Kay Hagan. She hid from cameras. Took godless money,” the ad's narrator also says. “What did Kay Hagan promise in return?”
Watch: Dole hits airwaves with 'Godless' ad
The ad ends with an unidentified female voice declaring, "There is no God."
The Dole campaign says it's basing its charge on Hagan's attendance at a fundraiser that was in the home of an advisor to the Godless Americans’ political action committee, a group that promotes rights for atheists.
In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Hagan said she has never heard of the Godless PAC "before Lydie Dole sent out a press release on this," and said the fundraiser in question had more than 40 hosts, including Sen. John Kerry. She also said she has contacted her lawyers to issue a cease-and-desist order on the commercial.
"I am absolutely appalled at Elizabeth Dole's vile tactics," Hagan said. “This is politics of the worst kind, and I know it has been rejected by North Carolinians at every level. It is so unbecoming of a woman like Elizabeth Dole. This is a fabricated, pathetic ad."
Hagan went on to strongly defend her faith: "I am a Sunday school teacher, I am an elder at First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, my family has been going to this church for over 100 years, I have raised my children there. I have been involved in youth missions."
A National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman defended the ad.
"Kay Hagan recently attended a fundraiser held in the home of a founding member of the Godless Americans PAC," Online Communications Director John Randall said. "Now Hagan believes it is unfair to associate her with the group even though the soiree raised her thousands of dollars in campaign cash. I guess money is more important to Hagan than principles."
Recent polls suggest Hagan - a Democratic state senator from Greensboro who began the race at a major money disadvantage to Dole - is now leading the incumbent slightly with only days remaining before Election Day.
The utter stupidity of the Christian [R]ight, and the politicians that pander to them, never fail to astound me. It is difficult to think of something more anti-American. This Dole lady is besmerching the good Dole name. She has now defined herself as scum.
I was "saved" at 11 years old in a Baptist Church.
#30 years later I am an agnostic who believes in separation of church and state.
People who use GOD to further their own aganda make me ill.
Elizabeth Dole must be desperate.
its funny cause there really is no god.
There is nothing wrong with not believing in god, increasing numbers of people are taking a stand against the way religion is being forced into our political system and onto non-believers. Godless Americans is a group dedicated to preserving separation of church and state – not overthrowing religion as the uninformed would insinuate and have you think. Dole is wrong to use this to "smear" someone – it's not a smear... and Hagan shouldn't bite the hand that fed her.
ELIZABETH IS NOW CLAIMING SHE IS GODLY.
I wish I was surprised, but this is the typical garbage we get from the Redumblicans. This is just one of the reasons they will get crushed next week. Idiots...
Desperate and out of touch – the Dole's need to go home now! It's clear who is Godless.
I guess if you believe the world will end during your lifetime, cannot accept ideas, and only listen to a close inner circle, no amount of education will help you. This is a very sad article. Bob Dole impressed me very much ( I'm a Democrate). If this is actually attributed to Mrs. Dole, I can't see how anyone should trust her.
Obviously, at least one of Senator Dole's consultants thinks that this line of attack just might succeed, else it wouldn't have been aired. That's troubling in and of itself.
Gross. If that's your God, Elizabeth Dole – American is better off with out him. I'll take the God of Love, not fear and hate, thank you very much.
What's wrong with being Godless? Are you gonna force me to swallow your God? Eat the body of Christ at gunpoint? Accept Jesus or face your wrath? What if I refuse? Are you gonna end me? Do I deserve to exist if I am a non-believer? Would you like me to step inside your furnace? Would you like me to step inside your righteous gas chamber? What's so wrong with being Godless? Do not cram your philosophies down my throat, I might just choke.
I am truly disappointed in Eliz Dole. I thought better of her than that – but I guess it is easy to take the high road if there is no one there to challenge you.
There is a God?
Why are the Republicans so studpid and desparate. Democratic voters less lock of the states and teach the studpid Republicans that we are not going to be treated like dogs. This is pathetic and I hope no one votes for her now. Same on you Dole Shame on you. You must have been dring some of McCain/Palin juice.
What bothers me about this is that it implies someone who doesn't believe in god is not fit to hold elected office. I for one am a non-believer and am tired of the stranglehold that Christianity has on American politics.
Dole's floundering campaign is now a sunken ship – and not even God is going to save her from drowning.
What do you expect of a woman who took $500,000 plus per year to head the American Red Crosss. If she is such a "good" person, why
did she not just volenteer her time and her "good" name. Typical of the religious right to hold others to the measure they themselves cannot match.
Can't wait for this election to be over. The tatics used by both sides are dividing this country and tearing us apart. We've now got an us vs. them mentality in this country. It's scary.
Another Republican showing how angry and hateful she is. I have NO RESPECT for Liz.
The Repubs are into the Fear of God phase. Some of the other whackos are predicting the end of the world if Obama gets elected.
No shotage of idiots, and some will believe this crap too. Too bad.
Leave no stones unturned. Find every halfwit in the US, and win them over one by one with total BS. Scare them into making the right choice
Very few would vote for McCain if it wasn't for fear. They're a truly immoral bunch.
To think that this vile beast tried to become the first lady of the United States!!!
Keep up the negative attacks republicans.Its not working.
I so used to admire Elizabeth Dole, from the time she was Reagan's Transportation Secretary, right up until today. Today, I no longer admirer her. She is now a tool of Rove & Rush, and her hate-speech will only be her own undoing. Red or Blue – separate Church from State. The only thing Kay Hagen 'promised' them was she would defeat Dole. A promise the people of NC will surely help her deliver on. Poor Liddy. Poor, poor Liddy.