"As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government to protect all conscientious protesters thereof, and I know of no other business government has to do therewith."
- Thomas Paine, Common Sense
Jacques Berlinerblau believes that the vast majority of atheists are "tolerant, self-critical, and moderate in their outlook (that is, secularish)" and that a "true secular movement...should make the eradication of anti-atheist prejudice integral to its platform." However, he also believes that "religious moderates" are needed for secularism to "forge coalitions and pursue its agenda effectively." Fair enough. But I'm not convinced that "American secularism has lost control of its identity and image" to atheists - or that this "serves only the right" because atheists are viewed more unfavorably than any other group in America (even Muslims).
Anyway, Berlinerblau wrote a book and is pitching it (as Ed Brayton and others have noticed in recent months). The "precise relation of atheism to secularism needs to be teased out and explained to the general public," Berlinerblau argues, so we can "glimpse a credible alternative to the extreme forms of atheism that are coming to dominate secularism today." One example of this extreme form of atheism that he cites is Richard Dawkins: Berlinerblau characterizes Dawkins' position, in The God Delusion, as one that "can’t distinguish between a member of the Taliban beheading a journalist and a Methodist running a soup kitchen in Cincinnati." Seriously? And this guy wants to teach us how to be secular and forge coalitions with religious moderates? Please!
Secularists are atheists...and agnostics, deists, pantheists, theists, and polytheists! The religious moderates and strictly secular groups have been doing what they can, but they need the help of us nontheists. Instead of complaining about atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans supporting secularism, Berlinerblau should pick a secular group that he can support, or form a new one, and help us forge some coalitions to pursue our secular agenda more effectively. Fear of guilt by association with a despised minority (atheists) is not secularism.