It has been an interest week strange bedfellows coming together over the latest flap at Brandeis University in Boston. As you might have heard, outspoken atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali was invited to receive an honorary degree at this year’s commencement ceremony as, in the words of Brandeis
she is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world.
Not surprising she is also very outspoken about the dangers of religion. The result of her invitation was backlash by various pro-Islamic groups, which resulted in Brandeis withdrawing the invitation.
But here is where the coverage gets interesting. One camp that was upset consists of various atheist/humanist groups, as Hirsi Ali is an outspoken atheist and has left all faith behind, not just Islam. Annie Laurie Gaylor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote in support of her speaking, especially given that Hirsi Ali won FFRF’s Empereor Has No Clothes Award in 2010. David Silverman of American Atheists admitted that he is ashamed to be a Brandeis Alum. Many others atheists have spoken out as well.
On the the other side of the spiritual divide, Megan Kelly at Fox News was also appalled at the withdrawal and gave two days of coverage to the events.
Somehow this statement must have gotten past the Fox News censors:
In 2007, Ali helped establish the AHA Foundation, which works to protect and defend the rights of women in the West from oppression justified by religion and culture, according to its website. The foundation also strives to protect basic rights and freedoms of women and girls. This includes control of their own bodies, access to an education and the ability to work outside the home and control their own income, the website says.
For one brief moment David Silverman, Annie Laurie Gaylor and Megan Kelly on the same side of an issue, which is rather remarkable. Now, if only we can only get Megan Kelly to reconsider her views on the 9-11 cross issue.