The previous post was not stated with enough precision. The comparison with the KKK was not to say that the people at the reason rally had done the kind of acts of violence that the KKK has done, although, I suspect not all KKK rallies involved the use of violence. What I am claiming is that the rally involved expressions of hatred toward religious people, and that hatred of this type is no more respectable because it is in the name of "reason" and "science" than if it occurs for any other reason.
The equivalency is not between the Reason Rally and a Klan rally per se, but is rather between expressions of hatred there expressed, and the expressions of hatred at a KKK rally. Hatred is hatred, and always carries with it the potential for violence.
The closest thing to the kind of hatred expressed at the Reason Rally that I find within today's Christian community is the hatred that is sometimes expressed toward homosexuals. There have been examples in the media of pastors from North Carolina expressing hate towards gay people. This is profoundly un-Christian and shameful. But these pastors are hardly the public face of Christianity, or even the public face of evangelicalism. But Dawkins is, like it or not, the public face of atheism.
If someone, from the pulpit, were to say "keep mocking homosexuals, ask them if they really have sex with people of the same sex" would they be condemned as homophobes fomenting hatred?
Does anyone remember the history of the French Revolution, when the "enlightened" leaders started chopping the heads off of first the aristocrats and then other leaders of the revolution?
I am not a Catholic and don't believe in transubstantiation. But if I did, Dawkins' "do you really believe that" would not provide any reason whatsoever to reject it. God, being omnipotent, could, so far as I can tell, cause the bread and wine to become the body and blood of Jesus. The point is, ridicule is not, never was, and never will be an argument.
I am someone who opposes bringing the long arm of the law down on "hate speech." But we can express hate with our speech, and it can cause real harm. All I am asking people to do is to imagine equivalent kinds of statements and actions directed at someone else besides Christians. What if someone were to sing an obscenity-filled song about Jews, or African-Americans, or homosexuals? I've heard Christians ridicule evolution, and they can make it sound awfully silly. Is that an argument against evolution? Would Dawkins take this seriously for two seconds?