Michelle Goldberg on the growing power of Atheists and non-believers:
In some ways, there's a symbiotic relationship between evangelicals and secularists. The religious right
emerged in response to a widespread sense of cultural grievance
stemming from the social upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s. Today's
newly organized atheists and agnostics were mobilized by the theocratic
bombast of Bush-era Republicans. More than ever, one's religion is tied
up with one's political choices rather than family history.
That means faith won't fade into the background. If European secularism is defined by disinterest in organized religion, American secularism is largely defined by opposition to it. Thus non-believers in the United States are increasingly becoming an organized interest group, demanding their share of civic respect. The more they want to escape organized religion, the less they can ignore it.
I find the idea of Atheists following the path of evangelists, by organizing themselves in the way they did scary. I mean, it is creepily entertaining, but nevertheless disturbing to imagine waking up on Sunday to the sounds of Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins or even Michel Onfray on TV blasting God and the pious for current events or having to go to a sermon about the hypocrisy of the Pope. The point of atheism is that it has to resist the temptation to become religion-like even if doing so means getting more power and obtaining the ability to make politicians weep with fear.