The writers at The Economist, in an article called, Believe It Or Not, wish to give American atheists some strategic advice.
But another failing of the irreligious movement has been its tendency, frequently, to pick the wrong fights. Keeping the Ten Commandments out of an Alabama courthouse is one thing. But attacking a Christmas nativity scene on public property does more harm than good. Such secular crusades allow Christians—after all, the overwhelming majority of the country—to feel under attack, and even to declare that they are on the defensive in a “War on Christmas”. When a liberal federal court in California struck the words “under God” from the pledge of allegiance, religious conservatives rallied. Atheists might be tactically wise to accept the overwhelming majority’s comfort with such “ceremonial deism”.
In some of these cases I agree. However, I believe that the most powerful Christian victories to date have been to put "under God" in the pledge and "In God We Trust" on the money and adopt it as the nation's motto.
These victories, more than anything, contribute to an attitude in which "atheism" is associated with being anti-American, unpatriotic, and an enemy to liberty and justice. It promotes a psychological duality - a belief among Americans that the world is divided into an "us" group that is under God and trusts in God, and a "them" group that does not share these qualities.
Furthermore, this is what makes atheists passive and submissive, accepting the authority of the dominant Christians and, though they may grumble and complain about Christian leadership, are unwilling to do anything to effect change. Having been put in their place through 12 years of public education and "ceremonial deism" telling them of their inferior nature, atheists have learned their place and have learned to quietly occupy it with only the slightest protest.
The first thing - the most important thing - that atheists need to do is to put a stop to the rituals that cause atheists to become so passive and submissive.
The reason that Christians protest moves to remove Under God from the pledge and "In God We Trust" as the motto is precisely because of the benefits that this gives them in creating a group of passive, submissive, subordinate atheists. They like the status quo. And, of course, a group of passive, submissive, subordinate atheists are not likely to make any serious move to change it.