Malicious intent: Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins sent a mass email to every student and staff member at the public institution disparaging atheists and others by promoting the absurd claim that morality requires faith in religious superstition.
On Tuesday, Dec. 30, Hawkins sent a mass email to faculty, staff and students containing a link to a YouTube video in which Harvard Business School’s Prof. Clay Christensen disparaged atheists and non-religious people as a menace to American society.
The 90-second clip asserts that “religion, particularly Judeo-Christian beliefs, are necessary to be moral, law-abiding citizens and implies that those who do not attend church will be anti-democracy and anti-social members of society.”
In response to the ignorant and slanderous claims made in the video promoted by Chancellor Hawkins, American Atheists are asking Hawkins to apologize. American Atheists president David Silverman addressed a letter to Hawkins on the topic of the video. Silverman demanded an apology from Hawkins for disseminating the video and sending a message of intolerance to students of Troy University — a publicly funded state college — who follow non-Judeo-Christian or atheist beliefs.
Silverman’s letter reads, in part:
American Atheists is contacting you on behalf of a Troy University student, who is concerned about a video you sent to all students and staff in your end-of-year email on December 30. The video asserts that religion, particularly Judeo-Christian beliefs, are necessary to be moral, law abiding citizens, and implies that those who do not attend church will be anti-democracy and anti-social members of society.
On behalf of the student who contacted us, the Alabama members of American Atheists, the thousands of atheists at Troy University, and the hundreds of millions of atheists worldwide who live productive, law-abiding lives without religion, we demand an apology from you for using the public university email system and your publicly funded position to disparage atheists and minority religious groups as well as perpetuating the discrimination and anti-patriotic sentiment against atheists in the United States.
Silverman goes on to attempt to educate Chancellor Hawkins about “atheists and morality,” noting:
Atheists are overwhelmingly ethical and upstanding people. It is not true that religion is necessary to keep people from becoming criminals.
Silverman is too charitable to Chancellor Hawkins. Hawkins is a bigot. He should not only apologize for his malicious email, he should resign, or be removed.
Imagine the uproar if instead of implying that atheists are immoral, Chancellor Hawkins instead implied another class of people to be immoral and a threat to society.
If Chancellor Hawkins had used the public university’s email system and his position at the public school to promote a video disparaging Christians, or Muslims, or Jews, the outcry would be deafening.