Many of us have hidden in the atheist closet for far too long. I'm sure many of us have started coming out because of all the creationists forcing their bullshit beliefs into the schools, the military ostracizing atheists in fox holes, the ebbing of a theocracy creeping into our government, and the increasing prejudice against the secular community.

So what do we do?
Will people vote for an atheist?
Should we start our own schools?
Do we start trying to pass bills that will protect the constitution?

And how do we accomplish our goals? How do we get funding? Who will lead us?

Dawkins has compared trying to gather atheists into a group to herding cats...I don't think he's too far off here.

How do we get so many freethinkers on the same page? Disbelief in the supernatural is one thing, but that doesn't stop us from questioning all forms of authority...

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We need another Madalyn Murray O'Hair.
In defense of Ohare... Although I was a kid at the time and living in Chicago, a major Catholic stronghold, I have to say that my 10 year old's impression was that Ms. O'hair was the one and only atheist in the world.

The situation wasn't quite the same in her day... You have to consider the fact...
That's one of the reasons why I admire her, she was brazen. No one talked about atheism in public before her time, she was loud and got attention for it. She may have been a bit brash at times... but the beginning of a movement has to be loud and obnoxious before the public eye pays it any attention.

After all....civil disobedience isn't polite; its loud and obnoxious. ;)
I'd say you're right on the money about O'Hare, and now it's up to us to simply stay in the open where people can hear our voice.

Read what Sarah added.
Ok... Hitchens leaves me a tad cold, too. I'm a Harris man myself. But returning to the original question...

[What's] "The roll of [atheism in] secular society"?

... I'd have to say that our one greatest roll is to promote atheism. Ones immediate reason for doing so might vary from person to person or from situation to situation; nonetheless, it's the doing that matters. Only by overcoming the hoaxes of fantasy gods and such other related religious nonsense can we finally be rid of the barriers that now stand between today and the possibilities of a better, safer world tomorrow.

Doing nothing at all to combat the intellectual dishonesty which infests the minds of our theist neighbors is like allowing rapists and pedophiles to run free in the park. Pro-activeness must be the name of the game for all of us - short of barbarianism, all methods and manners be damned until the day that belief by faith alone is recognized for its laughable childishness and atheism stands virtually alone without challengers. Flat earth thinking has ended and now we must we see to it that the gods are likewise erased from reality.
I agree... starting up atheist schools would be redundant. We already have schools and what they ought to include is plenty of everything that an atheist doesn't require in education, i.e., a place for god. The rest is fine as it is.
Websites like this one will go a long way towards the end state that you wrote about. Collaborate, educate, send out calls for action when necessary, the messageboard culture can be a glue which bonds people of like minds.
Organizing atheists is very difficult because there is nothing to unite us but our lack of belief in a god(s). We can be liberal or conservative or libertarian, pro gun or anti-gun, etc, etc.

On a personal level, everyone at work, and the neighbours I talk to, know I'm an atheist - and they still like and talk to me. Note that for the last 9 years I've lived in south Florida. Many of these people are pretty hard core xians but I politely but firmly hold my own in any discussions we've had.

So they know this atheist can be a good neighbour who helps fix their computer and put up boards when hurricanes come and a good co-worker who can help when things come up at work. I don't think I'm winning any converts to the dark side ;), but at least when their church leaders start demonizing atheists, they can realize that maybe they're not telling the whole truth.
Dale said: "Organizing atheists is very difficult because there is nothing to unite us but our lack of belief in a god(s). We can be liberal or conservative or libertarian, pro gun or anti-gun, etc, etc."

Why would we want to organize any more than we're doing right here? This is just about all we need to promote, educate and persuade others that our views are worth taking a look at.

The reasonable conclusion on the question of gods ( as seen by the abject absence of reliable evidence to the contrary ) is that there are no gods. It's that simple, isn't it?

From this site we can build a political base, advertise, hold discussions and commune with each other in a friendly surrounding. We can become involved in projects and show ourselves to the world as decent law-abiding citizens who are unashamed to speak-up for a simple truth.

We're not a religion. We have no dogmatic rules. We're simply a collection of folks from all walks of life who have a common voice on a single important issue: That issue being: Atheists and agnostics are worthy and reasonable individuals of society (model citizens, in fact.)

Our message is clear enough, and from here, from this simple site called AtheistNexus.com , we as a group are representing our part of the grass roots movement toward reason. From right here and from right now, we can ( and we likely will ) cause atheism/agnosticism to grow exponentially into the position of a respected and influential pillar of society.

And that's it...!

Let's not try to do anything more than deliver our one and only message with a single voice.

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