(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.
Who cares? Even if she does support them the freedom of religion includes the right to not belive in God. These people should have a voice in the country as well.
Did the campaigns get God's permission to use His name for political purpose?
Please do not inject the almighty and religion into politics. That's immoral.
Wow, what a completely inappropriate add. It's just the sort of desperate smear we can expect from republicans these days. If they don't have any traction on the issues, they can smear a candidate based on religion or try to link him to "terrorists". That's all they have now.
I'll be so enjoying watching these scum go down in defeat Tuesday.
I think this should decicively seal Dole's fate.
It will also hurt McCain and McRory. This kind of complete BS is always skattered around in whisper campaigns that are specifically mailed to the most blind and dumb unquestioning members of the party... but to air it on a public TV ad is just tacky. It's exposed for the independents and undecideds to see...
And it is ugly.
The childish, pure negative horror show that this kind of ad represents is an EXTREME turnoff to independent voters... That's why the republicans have always kept this kind of stuff down to a whisper, for fear of anyone not quite so dumb overhearing.
Dole sunk herself with this one, and has likely hurt several other republicans in the process.
can the GOP go any lower? doesn't the bible the GOP hide behind say " be kind against your neighbor"? oh I get the GOP only pretense to be religious. I guess action speak louder than words.
Desperate Republicans. The Tsunami is coming next Tuesday!
I just lost any respect I had for Elizabeth Dole.
Perhaps Dole needs to examine her GOD issues, namely related to HUBRIS where she thought she could win an election in North Carolina just because she's a Republican with a former Presidential candidate husband.
Maybe if she had done more for North Carolinians she would not have to run an abomination of an ad such as this.
Really? Really? Are you serious?
Why do all of our leaders need to believe in God? Oh that's right, we're a theocracy now... "God" bless America! (when are we changing our name to the United States of Jesus??)
what do you expect from repubs
As someone who grew up in a complex religious family, I would like you to hear me out:
In my Muslim home, I learned how to share, how to give, and how to accept everyone around me even if that person is a christian or non-religious person. So, there is no need for CONFESSION of SINS or repentance! All I need is care for my fellow man the way I care about myself!
In my christian home, I am told to preach the good news about Christ, fight for the laws of GOD (e.g., abortion, guns) although these are very private acts of an individual, and accumulate wealth. Manna (i.e., food from Heaven) is no longer available, and the BEST commandments are as follows:
1. Love God with all you heart, and all your soul
2. Love your neighbour as yourself.
There are no issues related to abortion, guns etc in the BEST commandments from the New Testament.
So, I am confused, like Mother Theresa, should I not be taking from the rich to feed the poor? Should I not be be giving to Caeser what is Caeser's (wealth) and to God what is God's (see 1 and 2 above)?
...what ever happened to a separation of church and state?
well, it's probably true.
against prayer in school, for abortion on demand devastating the black population.
If asked I would have said I liked Liz Dole, but this pretty low. Atheist don't have the right to vote or raise money like other Americans? Another Republican trying to divide America.
Just another reason I voted early and voted straight DEMOCRATIC.
Across the board, Republicans are showing they're all stirred in the same pot.
Congratulations Senator Dole. You have effectively killed your bid for re-election with this nasty, divisive, hate-inspiring tactic.
You should be proud of yourself for being one of the front runners in the downfall of the Republican party.
I'm going to vote early tomorrow in NC and I can't wait to vote for Kay Hagen and President Obama! Out with Dole!
Et tu, Liddy? The hatemongering, name calling and divisive wedges must end.
Sorry Sen. Dole, but that ad will not sway my vote; but maybe that is just me, a non Christian. Did you forget that the constitution does not require a person to be a member of a faith or run for office. We have the seperation of church and state, thanks in part to the Seperation Clause which was penned by Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers. It is through the Seperation Clause that the United States Supreme Court looks to when it makes its ruling on religion and government.
Sen. Dole, if you are worried about getting the independent and moderate voters, you probably lost a vast majority of them and their support. I realize that there are sections of South Carolina that is very religious, but you already had their vote since you are the Republician candidate.
There may be no God. but there is cold beer. Lets all watch tonight and see who wins, this could be the deciding night.....I have money on the Phillies to win.
Is there something so terrible about right for atheists?
I truly hope the voters of North Carolina send Senator Dole a OVERWHELMINGLY strong message at the poles that this fear mongering will not be tolerated, and has no place in the politics of the United States.
What has happened to the Republicans?
Being a Christian doesn't make you a good person or a good leader, and I'm sick of people pretending that it does. I don't care what religion – if any – my leaders are, as long as they have intelligent strategies, humanitarian values, and strong ethics. You can have all of those qualities without religion.
Republicans are the modern day pharisees.