Showing respect for someone or something that has no virtue, honesty, or credibility seems to me to be a waste of a decent emotion. Love is a gift we give each other; respect has to be earned.
Likewise, attempting to anticipate sensitivity of others acts in the same way as mindbinding. It causes one to self-monitor thinking and ignore one's instincts.
Well, Jerry, does that mean I have to stop following David Silverman and look at him as an evil man? Personally, I like David and think that his ideas of atheism hit it all right on the head. It's time to stop coddling religion.
The fact of the matter is, I don't typically wear my atheism on my sleeve in public. I HAVE thought about getting a couple lapel pins for my suit jackets, but they'll be seen at most six times a year when I go out to the orchestra. Otherwise, the average person would no more know that I'm an atheist than anyone else is, or Jewish, Christian or whatever.
Should the subject come up, though, they will discover that I am fully capable of representing my side of the argument, which many of them can't.
When people demand respect for their religion, they usually want—and intend to claim—quite a bit more. What they really desire is carte blanche for privileges based on their belief and they expect to be relieved of obligations they think conflict with their faith. A good example is the plea from businesses to avoid serving gay customers because it goes against their belief or the Kentucky clerk's refusal to issue marriage licenses.
In other words, behind the ostensibly innocent demand for simple respect for a particular brand of faith lie other less innocent expectations of being excused from general obligations. Business owners benefit from services such as fire and police that are paid for by all taxpayers and as a result they should serve all customers.
Respecting someone's faith is not the same as respecting their right to believe and worship as they please. I think that Christian Science and Mormonism are egregiously stupid forms of faith. That I do not say that to adherents who are friends is a matter of manners, not of respect.
I like your statement,
"I think that Christian Science and Mormonism are egregiously stupid forms of faith. That I do not say that to adherents who are friends is a matter of manners, not of respect.