(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.
And so what if she attended a meeting hosted by an Atheist? Isn't this a free country? Wasn't this country founded on the principle of freedom of religion? Well, isn't Atheism a belief system that proposes that there is no God as oppose to Christianity that proposes that Jesus is the Son of God and personal Savior of believers? Define religion and you will see that Atheism is a kind of religion.
Our country was established because the Puritans wanted to have freedom to practice their religion in their own way. Are we going backwards to the days of Henry VIII?
Sounds like a page out of the Karl Rove playbook.
Call the opposition a liberal. If that doesn't work, ratchet it up - the opposition is a socialist. If that doesn't work, go up the progression to Marxist, then godless, ultimately ending up as Communist.
Just another "loser" in the Republican ranks. If anyone is "godless" then it must be Elizabeth Dole...Anyone coming out like it is obviously "reaching" for anything to win. Another "country first" my tush...more like "me first" who will do and say anything to win. Oh, I believe it came out yesterday that Elizabeth Dole has only spent 33 days in her home state (which originally was Kansas not NC) of NC in the past 2 years. Bit out of touch with the common fold wouldn't you say?
While tactics such as these remind me of how some people use religion and God's name to push their own agenda in a most hateful way, we cannot allow these people to affect our faith in God and religion. We cannot allow people like Bachmann, Dole and Palin to become the norm among Christians.
It does'nt suprise me at all. Elizabeth Dole is down in the poles and she is desparate. What she is now realizing is by putting that ad out and approving it, caused her to not be re-elected. No one in there right mind would support her. RIGHT MIND.
The stains of McCain are rubbing off on his whole party! Liz Dole? Who would've thought! DEMS 08Plus!
One more seat for the Democrats!
Dole has been useless to NC for sometime. I think it's time for her leave.
Some voters in NC will be receptive to this ad, but it will turn off the ones leaning Dem and Independents. Religion still plays a big role here, we are in the South. God, Guns & Country!
Is that all those airhead Republican can ever come up with? What a lame charade!
I really wonder why God is so mixed with politic in America. Sometimes I think there is no big difference between America and the Islamic world.
I like better a good, ethical and large minded atheist than a hateful, war supportive and intolerant religious extremist.
These people call themselves CHRISTIANS. Their no tolerance and dividing tactics are going bye bye.
The Republican Party, that has tied itself to the Religious Right will be a minority party for the next generation.
Nail in coffin IMHO.
Make no mistake about it. Barack is going to disappoint us as well. He can't satisfy 300 million people at the same time, it's impossible. I figure some people will be happy while others won't be, but that's the nature of the presidency. He's going to make a difference but he's not God.
I'm glad I don't live in NC. I am a proud and "unrepentant" godless person, and if those ads were targeted at me, I would respond appropriately that I dont need to lie or twist the truth to tell my story.
Most atheists/agnostics/freethinkers do not push their religious views on others; we just don't want others' views forced down our throats.
Sen Dole I very ashamed of you. I hope you and the RNC dont get sued for this slanderouse attack. I hope you also have a second option for a job as well you probably just lost your reelection.
Jesus was a SOCIALIST taking from the rich and giving to the poor.
Last time I checked, religion and state are separated....... Who cares what anybody believes??? Godless or not, I want a strong leader. Regardless of party, I don't want my politicians pushing religion on me. Vote issues, not religion.
This Lutheran, 40 year long republican is voting Obama/Biden because of the lies, very, very negative ads the republicans have produced this year!!! NO MCCAIN/NO PALIN!!!
God Bless Obama/Biden!!!!
According to Republicans, the following groups are not "real Americans": city people, northern Virginia, gays, non-whites, Muslims, Democrats, liberals, and now atheists and non-Christians. Did I forget someone?
Unbelievable ad. If nothing else, it decisively shows why Church and State should remain separate. Too many zealots and fanatics out there on the religious right who think "my way or no way". It's very scary that people actually believe that crap.
Another Republican who has sank to an all-time low. The Republican Party is full of hatred and anger. Are there any respectable Republicans out there?
VOTE STRAIGHT DEMOCRATIC!
People should dole out their verdict in kind for Elizabeth Dole.
Another Senate seat closer to 60.
Oh course Democrats believe in God...that's why Obama is their Messiah.
If you don't believe me, just ask Louis Farakhan.