The vehemence, perhaps even violence, with which Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens attack religious belief makes many people uncomfortable. Yes, they are rude, and a lot of atheists give them crap about it, but not me.
Sure, they all claim to have heard from people who have heard their rants and converted on the spot to atheism, but for the most part I think they preach to the choir, anger the faithful and amuse everyone else. However ineffective I think they are at evangelizing for unbelief directly, I think they provide an excellent counterweight to the religious right. They make the moderate doubt of liberal Christianity, humanists, Unitarian Universalists and the "spiritual, but not religious" crowd seem very sensible by comparison, whereas those groups seemed radical when the religious right ruled the airwaves.
Over the last few years, 3 conservative churches a week have been closing, and 0.7 liberal churches have been opening every week in the United States. So I say, go to it Richard. Give'em hell Sam. Hit them with your best metaphor Christopher! Religion isn't going away any time soon, but the beginning of the decline of conservative religion is a good start.