Drew Tatusko has up an interesting post asking “Should Atheists ‘Respect’ Religion?”:
One common answer to the question of respect to religious belief that I have encountered in many an argument is an unqualified No. It is a simple argument with little persuasive rhetoric. Religion should not be respected or even much tolerated due to its track record of human harm and its basis in that which has, in the common parlance of the argument, not one shred of evidence. This seems to be the foundation for the entire whirlwind of extremism regarding the theft of a consecrated Eucharist wafer and the less than hospitable reaction from one PZ Myers.Drew helpfully discusses the tension between this and Myers’ claimed liberalism, but I’m struck by something else: I find it particularly ironic that the very atheists most eager to accuse religion of leading to violence and oppression, are often the same ones boasting of their freedom to disrespect the views of others. It seems to escape their notice that it is precisely such a disrespect which has often been the direct cause of such violence and oppression in the first place, and this has been true both in religious and atheistic (mostly communist) nations. By engaging in such disrespect, Myers and others like him implicitly undermine one of their central arguments against religion.
Do they have the legal right do disrespect religion? Of course. But many things are and should be legal that are nevertheless a terrible idea.