I was very glad to see that it was available on their website because I really had to agree with what Mr. Shermer was getting at and I wanted to share it with some of my more militant atheist friends. The article starts off with:
And later he explains:
Since the turn of the millennium, a new militancy has arisen among religious skeptics in response to three threats to science and freedom: (1) attacks against evolution education and stem cell research; (2) breaks in the barrier separating church and state leading to political preferences for some faiths over others; and (3) fundamentalist terrorism here and abroad.
...we should be cautious about irrational exuberance. I suggest that we raise our consciousness one tier higher for the following reasons.
1. Anti-something movements by themselves will fail.
2. Positive assertions are necessary.
3. Rational is as rational does.
4. The golden rule is symmetrical.
5. Promote freedom of belief and disbelief.
Of course the letter goes into more detail on each of the above points, but he concludes by saying:
I think as atheists we have an automatic bad public opinion. As responsible people we should all strive to display the ability to live happy productive lives without the need for a supernatural spiritual being, to show people as Dawkins is quoted, "...to be an atheist is a realistic aspiration, and a brave and splendid one. You can be an atheist who is happy, balanced, moral and intellectually fulfilled."
Rational atheism values the truths of science and the power of reason, but the principle of freedom stands above both science and religion.