Number one on my list of dead-giveaways that I’m dealing with a moron of the first order: when they start whining about “atheist fundamentalists”, comparing a Richard Dawkins to a Pat Robertson, or babbling about how those atheists are just as fanatical and wicked as the fundagelical zealots. When people start in on that line of unreason, all they’re doing is trying to tar atheists with the taint of the wretched works of the Taliban or the American theocrats, without actually addressing any comparisons of substance.
At least one writer at The Economist recognizes the absurdity of the false equivalence. The article would be very good if it hadn’t fallen for number two on my list of peeves: the old “Hitler was an atheist” canard. No, he wasn’t. He was Catholic, leading a largely Catholic country. Not only can’t you blame atheism for the Nazis, but even if he had been an atheist, it would be as ridiculous to fault atheism for his crimes as it would be to accuse Catholicism of being an explicitly genocidal cult bent on world domination by military conquest.
The writer does have a few criticisms of atheists: he says we can be smug and annoying. That’s a fair cop. When you’re an advocate for what is right among the milling herd of gullible, superstitious jebus-worshippers, though, I think a little smugness is warranted.