I do not find here in the mainly secular U.K that this is a problem with anyone I speak to, but I know the U.S is very different.
Indeed it is! Dawkins spoke last month in DC at the Reason Rally (thanks for letting us borrow him). He pointed out that the US constitution was a lesson to the world in secular government. That it provides a wall of separation between church and state and he doesn't have that in his country. I found this so very intriguing, because in practice the UK IS secular, but the head of state is the head of the Church (the king/queen anyway). And yet, we have the right that insists on rewriting history and calling us a Christian nation and constantly battle to get creation taught in our public schools. Isn't it odd? We have a protection from and for religion, but we are anything but secular.
So Dawkins asked us to speak up when we are in these conversations. To stop hiding. And it was encouraging to see all of the Americans there, because it can get lonely out here. Yet that takes courage and invites all kinds of problems. When I am open about my atheism, I am often addressed as though I'm a naughty little girl and the other person is going to set me straight. It's frustrating! I stand there while this person speaks to me with some imagined authority and scolds me for not believing in their mythical creature as though I am lacking something.
But Dawkins is right. If we speak up, then we can fight this false notion that we are few. We could slap back the religious right that lives in a bubble and seeks to retell our story and redefine our society. But again, it is SUCH a hassle. So I fluctuate between wanting to wear it on my sleeve and wanting to keep it quiet. I'm still deciding how much I want to make this a cause I live by. At other times in our history, I think I wouldn't give it a second thought, But with the recent perversions the conservative right has pushed, it makes me think I should let others know where I stand so that they will too, and maybe we can get the loons under control. Because it is not only atheists that are concerned about what our crazies are doing, it is also reasonable believers who flinch when they are painted with the same brush that the loony right is painted with.
Such a simple question. Such a complicated answer. I woke up at 4am and now I'm rambling on the net. Here is Dawkins at the rally. I know the speech is somewhat energized, but remember it is a rally, so in context . . .