Image via WikipediaCommon sense suggests that loud, angry rhetoric will hurt one's agenda more than help it, right? This is certainly what many Christians and some atheists would like us to believe. Again and again, we are urged to tone down our rhetoric and be more accepting of religious moderates. You know who else was told to tone down their rhetoric?
- African Americans during the civil rights movement of the 1960s
- Women during the women's suffrage and subsequent equal rights movements
- Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons during the gay rights movement
I respect those who have decided to present a kinder, gentler (or even friendlier) atheism. They are an important and valued part of the atheist movement. However, I am growing increasingly tired of hearing some of them repeatedly telling the rest of us to tone down what we do. I know I am not alone in this sentiment either.
Borrowing the political metaphor, I embrace "big tent" atheism where there is room for all of us to work together to accomplish common goals (e.g., separation of church and state, atheist civil rights, reality-based education, etc.). We all have a role to play, and it does not have to be the same role. Let our diversity, including diversity of tactics, be a strength rather than a source of division.