I was recently accused of harboring an agenda when I talk to people about atheism. I'm not quite sure where this accusation came from; it seems that outspoken atheists are perceived as being no different from the evangelical missionaries who knock on your door or the street preachers who accost you at intersections as you go about your daily business. And yes, I do speak up about atheism, primarily when someone else brings up the topic first. Ask me a question and I'll answer. Ask me for advice and I'll show you resources that I think will help. But the thing is, I've never heard of atheists going on a door-to-door campaign to preach the good news of no gods, nor have I heard of atheist street preachers shouting their message and harassing people in public.
However, as an atheist I concede to having an agenda: it's called secularism. In a secular state everyone is free to believe or not. There is no coercion one way or another. No one is told what to believe or how to think, because everyone is free to choose their own path. If that weren't true, if I weren't willing to let people cling to god belief then I wouldn't tell them the truth. I'd tell them whatever I thought would get the job done to shatter their faith. On the religious side that's known as lying for Jesus.
I know a lot of religious activists are threatened by secularism so they misrepresent it and fight to remove it from our laws. My old church used to wax eloquent about how secularism and humanism are against God's Will and open the door to Satan's evil. As godless people, atheists become the face of the secular movement, communists who want to take away your freedoms and burn your churches. It is not and has not been true. The military dictatorships that impose communism are not secular because they take away your choice, and that is not a secular agenda.
Personally, my agenda is that I want to see the end of religion but not by force. No one should abandon religion because they have to. The Soviet-model Communists tried that and it doesn't work, as well as being an indefensible violation of human rights. I want to see people abandon religion of their own free will simply because they don't need it any longer. I want to end the inequality and ignorance that breeds the fear religion depends on to bring in followers and keep them. I want critical thinking to be at the core of the education we give our children. My agenda scares them to death because they know what will happen if we succeed. We've seen it happen peacefully in other developed countries. They don't want it to happen here in the US, not without a fight.
That's fine with me. Religious believers brought this fight and I'll finish it; not with guns, knives or fists, but with words, passion and genuine concern for my fellow human beings. They can bring their gods and I'll bring my compassion. Let's see who is left standing.
I'll tell you what you did with atheists for about 1500 years. You outlawed them from the universities or any teaching careers, besmirched their reputations, banned or burned their books or their writings of any kind, drove them into exile, humiliated them, seized their properties, arrested them for blasphemy. You dehumanised them with beatings and exquisite torture, gouged out their eyes, slit their tongues, stretched, crushed, or broke their limbs, tore off their breasts if they were women, crushed their scrotums if they were men, imprisoned them, stabbed them, disembowelled them, hanged them, burnt them alive. And you have nerve enough to complain to me that I laugh at you.