Atheist Revolution has some interesting points about what we atheists can learn from the gay-rights movement, about the value of standing up, coming out and being counted — or at least not ignored.
I think we can also learn a bit from some of the negative aspects of that history — conflict over “outings,” disputes between those who just want to get along and those who demand the respect they deserve, etc.
I think there’s a place for “strident” or “militant” atheists, or just people who get called that for nothing more than stating what they believe in. And I think there’s a place for accommodationists, for people who go out of their way to be friendly to believers, and even open to hearing about their beliefs.
Why? Because for one thing, it helps dispel the stereotype of atheists as being all one type of person (just as “straight-acting” gays help dispel stereotypes of gays). For another, if we want believers to be tolerant and accepting of those who are different from us, then it’s pretty hypocritical of us if we don’t accept and tolerate different attitudes and approaches from those within our own ranks.
(pic via Skepacabra)