Atheists Upset Over University Head’s ‘Pro-Religion’ Mass Email

Atheists have expressed concerns over Troy University chancellor Jack Hawkins’ recent mass email to the faculty and students of his school. According to a report by, Hawkins allegedly sent emails to university employees and students containing a 90-second video that expressed pro-religion and anti-atheism sentiments.

Hawkins reportedly opened the email with a new year greeting.

“As we approach a New Year I am reminded of the blessings we enjoy within a democracy which is the envy of the world.”

“For your pleasure — and as a reminder — I am sharing with you a 90 second video which speaks to America’s greatness and its vulnerability,” Hawkins further wrote.

Below the short message was a link to the promised video, which featured Harvard Business School professor Clay Christensen speaking about his encounter with a Marxist economist from China, who according to his story, was all praises for America’s strong religion ties.

Christensen implied that American religiosity is essential in the formation and maintenance of democracy, saying “that as religion loses its influence in the lives of Americans, 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 choose to obey the laws?”

American Atheists head David Silverman expressed his dismay over the mass email, and demanded an apology from Hawkins for disseminating intolerance, according to Raw Story. Silverman emphasized that Troy University is a publicly-funded university, and should not be expressing religious sentiment through university email addresses. He says he was alerted by the video, when an atheist student of the university informed the group.

“Atheists are not a trivial minority. In Alabama alone, we represent 11 percent of the population, and statistically even higher numbers in universities and among college-aged residents; as many as 32 percent of people under age 30 are not religious. 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.”

“As you represent an institution of higher learning, we would like to take this opportunity to educate you about atheists and morality. Atheists are overwhelmingly ethical and upstanding people. It is not true that religion is necessary to keep people from becoming criminals,” Silverman wrote.

Jack Hawkins has not released any response to Silverman’s letter, and he has yet to comment on the public response his email received.

[Image from Wikimedia]

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