Ed Brayton and Mike Gene have gone over the top in accusing Richard Dawkins of wanting to coerce the religious into giving up their beliefs; as is usual for Ed, he has no problem immediately comparing an atheist to R.J. Rushdooney and calling him a totalitarian, on the basis of a rather poorly written petition that Dawkins signed.
I must say, though, that this petition is certainly strange, and I don’t quite see how it could have gotten over a 1000 signatories. I sure don’t approve of it, although I can understand the motivation behind it.
In order to encourage free thinking, children should not be subjected to any regular religious teaching or be allowed to be defined as belonging to a particular religious group based on the views of their parents or guardians. At the age of 16, as with other laws, they would then be considered old enough and educated enough to form their own opinion and follow any particular religion (or none at all) through free thought.