I sometimes disagree with atheist/LGBT blogger Greta Christina; we’ve had a couple of protracted Facebook debates. But her analysis and advice in this presentation is spot-on.
A brief summary of her presentation:
1) It’s harder to “otherize” homosexuals/atheists when people realize that they know and love homosexuals/atheists. So come out of the proverbial closet.
2) Coming out as an atheist is difficult and costly for many. These people need a safer, more inviting atheist community—this is especially true because many atheists are coming out of religious traditions that did provide an important sense of community.
3) Appreciate both confrontational and diplomatic methods of atheist activism. The good cop-bad cop routine works! Confrontational activism garners much-needed attention (case in point: the Stonewall Riots) and shifts the center (that supporting civil unions is now the moderate position in the gay marriage debate is remarkable!). And diplomatic activism is important because it’s often more persuasive and broadens alliances.
4) Let non-believers identify however they want. Agnostics shouldn’t be treated as closeted atheists, just as bisexuals shouldn’t be treated as closeted homosexuals.
5) Diversify! Like the LGBT movement, the atheist community is dominated by white males (Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, et al). Women and racial minorities are sorely underrepresented among atheists (and readers of this blog).