I was out as both an atheist and a bisexual while I worked at the Salvation Army, and had co-workers who were lesbian, heterosexual, Mennonite, Catholic, atheist -- all across the spectrum. We rarely talked religion in our time laughing, working, and hanging out together. Occasionally though, the volunteers I worked with would sheepishly ask me if I'd be willing to answer some questions they had about atheism. These were great conversations. I found that many of them were familiar with the stereotype of an atheist: apathetic; angry and hateful against all forms of religion; selfish; indulgent. I told them that my impression is that this is an incredibly unfair characterization of atheists. Many of us are passionately involved in charity work and make a point to live frugally; in fact, many of the leaders of environmentalism are atheist. Many of us are deeply concerned about morality, and sometimes come up with stricter codes of conduct through self-exploration than those found in religious text (a friend of mine believes eating meat is immoral, for example). Many of us don't hate religion, we just want to be left alone to believe what we choose to believe freely and without direct or societal pressure to convert.
On the other hand, my atheist friends were shocked to find that the Salvation Army was willing not only to hire an atheist bisexual, but never made any formal attempts to convert me. They were further astounded that I befriended many of my Christian co-workers and still consider some of them my very closest friends. I told them how my Christian friends were as respectful of my beliefs as I was of theirs; how they held me in high esteem as a person of great moral character and how I felt the same in return; and how, at the end of the day, we were just both happy that the other had found a belief system that brought them internal peace. Granted, there was always the underlying understanding that if they became interested in becoming atheist, I'd be there for them to talk to, and vise versa. Honestly, my atheist friends were just shocked that I wasn't lynched in the front yard as a fag and an unbeliever. They had a very hard time believing that Christians could be so respectful, accepting, and loving. From the way my Christian friends explained it, this Jesus guy they're so obsessed with was known for dining with some pretty unpopular persons (tax collectors, prostitutes, etc.); spent a lot of time condemning the religious hypocrisy of the Pharisees; insisted that judging others is wrong; told everyone to love EVERYONE (their neighbors, their enemies, everyone); and actually had nothing to say about homosexuality at all. My atheist friends were shocked to hear that the stereotype of religious folk might be unfair, much in the same way that the stereotype of atheists is unfair.
On the other hand, there are plenty of Christians getting lots of media attention for doing some very un-Jesus-like things. They're definitely not helping the stereotype of religious folk as judgmental, hateful, self-righteous assholes.
Here's something we, as atheists, might want to consider though: how accurate is our stereotype in regards to our own behavior, particularly the stereotype of atheists as incredibly hateful and resentful of all forms and expressions of religion? If a friend of mine "finds" religion and finds that it brings them inner peace, helps them through trauma and turmoil, and enriches their life, should I respond by trying to convert them to atheism? Insisting that they're being consoled by fairy tales and need to wake up? If their beliefs are helping them and not hurting them, is it really necessary that I push them to give them up?
I've found that atheists occasionally fit our stereotype too. Many of us have some very legitimate reasons to hate and resent religion and religious people (a friend of mine whose parents told him they would've sent him to conversion camp as a child had they known he was gay, comes to mind). Some of us just seem to be unnecessarily overflowing with resentment toward religion though, and seem to be as intent on converting the religious as some of them are on converting us.
So tell me -- can one be atheist without being antitheist? Do we want the religious to accept our atheism and quit trying to convert us, and, if we do, is that hypocritical in light of our behavior toward their beliefs?