(Why do I feel an altar call coming on? Must be deja vu all over again. Shudder.)
"I'm quite keen on the politics of persuading people of the virtues of atheism," Dawkins says, after we get settled in one of the high-ceilinged, ground-floor rooms. He asks me to keep an eye on his bike, which sits just behind him, on the other side of a window overlooking the street. "The number of nonreligious people in the U.S. is something nearer to 30 million than 20 million," he says. "That's more than all the Jews in the world put together. I think we're in the same position the gay movement was in a few decades ago. There was a need for people to come out. The more people who came out, the more people had the courage to come out. I think that's the case with atheists. They are more numerous than anybody realizes."
Dawkins looks forward to the day when the first U.S. politician is honest about being an atheist. "Highly intelligent people are mostly atheists," he says. "Not a single member of either house of Congress admits to being an atheist. It just doesn't add up. Either they're stupid, or they're lying. And have they got a motive for lying? Of course they've got a motive! Everybody knows that an atheist can't get elected."
Read more here.
Atheism is one of the most despised points of view to admit to in polite company. So I hear Dawkins' righteous indignation and would happily join the fray to stick up for our "no belief in God" or "believe there is no God" human family members. Still, Rich lacks style points in my book—a polemicist whose noisy presentation often obscures his substance. Still, I get a kick out listening to what he says, sort of the same way I enjoy clubbing my eardrums with Hannity and Limbaugh on a bleak afternoon.