someone said:“Some traditional atheists, like Paul Kurtz, worry that the militant rhetoric of Dawkins and Hitchens and others will set the movement back.”
my thought:I think there is a natural evolution, or “life cycle”, to rights movements of oppressed minorities.
First, there is the “invisible” phase : the group isn’t recognized, there is oppression but nobody talks about it because the group in question isn’t even acknowledged to exist.
Then, there is the “small group of radicals” phase : a few people are responsible for finally talking about it. They are loud, they are abrasive, they are radical, they are pissed off. More mainstream members are worried about the “bad publicity” these radicals give to their group.
Then, there is the “growing voice phase” : now, more and more different and diverse groups are speaking out in favor of rights for the group. Even people who are not members of the minority start saying, “Yeah, they should have rights.” The group who say, “They should not have rights!” is getting smaller.
Next to last, there is the “Isn’t it fixed yet?” phase. Almost everyone says the group SHOULD have rights. Reactionaries usually claim that it IS fixed, while progressives say “we’re still working on it, but it’s getting better”.
Finally, of course, there is real acceptance.
All rights movements have moved through this progression, with different starting points and at different rates.
African-American rights is currently in the “isn’t it fixed yet?” phase.
Gay rights is in the “growing voice” phase.
Atheist rights is still in the “small group of radicals” phase.