Why is it human tendency to seizure and attach certain individuals to certain doctrines and beliefs? Be they evil men who we want to increase our distance from or extraordinary people we can feel proud to associate with?
We remove their individualistic identity and especially after they have passed on where they can no longer voice their opinion. We attach them with the label he was christian, no he was atheist. Why would it matter? The individual aspect of that persons beliefs super imposes his actions in the world? No. Why must we trash their actions as a human being and must compare it to their religion. When we can be proud of someone, we'll go out of our way to make sure people know he was an atheist. Attach negative thinking and acting people to the opposing side.
This is just wrong, we cannot appropriate individuals like baseball cards to see which side has a greater majority. We belittle their actions by tagging them as religious or atheist. We have to learn how to fight battle that merit action yes, but by the appropriate course. Don't use the same tactics as theist, you muddy our playing field by forgetting to be empirical in thought and fighting a war of words just to fight. We need heroes of course, and symbols are always a powerful thing. But religions have proven that, why would we want to follow the path of the institutions we wish to end?
We have to keep our arguments scientific and emotionally distanced from the truth we intend to promote. Don't forget we aren't trying to create a new institution or cult, we are trying to free people from those tyrannical forces.