Troy University in Alabama is facing calls to apologize after its chancellor sent a 98-second video to students tying religion to America’s hopes for future success. The video stated that democracy works in America because people know they are accountable to God, not because they believe they are accountable to the society or because of government enforcement.
The statement offended a national atheist organization, which is now demanding an apology from the University’s chancellor, Jack Hawkins.
Hawkins sent the controversial video as a New Year’s message to all students and faculty. Hawkins thought the video was a reminder of what, according to him, is the blessing of American democracy and its vulnerability to secularization.
Narrated by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, the video cites a Marxist economist who came to Harvard from China and discovered how important religion is for democracy.
The atheist group was very unhappy with the content of the video where Mr. Christensen linked religion directly, and very boldly, with democracy.
“What will happen to our democracy? Where are the institutions that are going to teach the next generation of Americans that they too need to voluntarily obey the laws? Because if you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police.”
The chancellor’s decision to share the video, where he challenged the notion that only people who fear God can lead lives based on morals and law, with everyone at the university angered the atheist group.
American Atheists, a leading atheist pressure group, got involved after it received a complaint from a Troy student. The president of American Atheists, David Silverman, wrote in a letter that he demands an apology.
“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.”
The letter challenged the assertion that religion is the only safeguard against disorder. American Atheists mentioned that it was representing 11% of Alabamans, who are atheists.
A spokesman for American Atheists stated that Troy University and the chancellor have yet to respond to their letter.
Writer Ned Carter, who publishes blogs as the “South Alabama Atheist”, expressed that the video was disgusting. He also stressed that it was very humiliating.
“I am a father of 2, I am a husband for 13 years, I volunteer, I work every day, I have friends, and colleagues and family. I do not steal, I do not kill, I do not commit violence, I do not lack morality. And this video is a vile debasement of everything that I am.”