Atheist groups are demanding an apology from a university head who sent a New Year’s video message to all his students and faculty warning that American democracy would crumble if more people did not go back to church.
Jack Hawkins, the chancellor of Troy University, a public college based in Troy, Alabama sent the 90-second video as a “reminder” of what he called the “blessings” of American democracy – and its vulnerability to secularisation.
The video, narrated by Clayton Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor, cites an unnamed visiting Marxist economist from China who came to Harvard and discovered “how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy.”
The video recited a familiar theme among the America religious right – that the decline of church-going is responsible a rising tide of lawlessness and a moral decay that could ultimately lead to America’s fall, as it did for Rome’s.
“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?” asks Mr Christensen on the video. “Because if you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police.”
The decision to send the message to all students and staff at Troy – a public university founded in 1887 – angered atheist groups who challenged the notion that only God-fearing people can lead moral and law-abiding lives.
American Atheists, the leading atheist pressure group in the US, said it wasdemanding an apology after receiving a complaint from a Troy student who was offended by the message.
SOURCE: Peter Foster