So he and I would sit down and listen to one another. Over a period of time, that cement that he talked about that held his ideas together began to get cracks in it and then it began to crumble and then it fell apart. And then a few years ago Roger Kelly quit the Ku Klux Klan. [...]
When the three Klan leaders here in Maryland - Robert White, Roger Kelly and Chester Doles - and I became friends with each one of them - when the three Klan leaders here in Maryland left the Klan and became friends of mine, that ended the Ku Klux Klan in the state of Maryland. Today there is no more Ku Klux Klan in the state of Maryland. They've tried to revive it every now and then, but it immediately falls apart.
A couple of years ago, two women and a young boy knocked on my door. I don't normally open the door to proselytizers, but on this occasion I did. Not surprisingly, one of the women promptly asked me whether she could read me a passage from the Bible. Instead of making the usual awkward excuses in order to be able to close the door, I told her that I am an Atheist, but that she was welcome to read me a Bible passage if in exchange she would allow me to offer her an excerpt from Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion", which I was reading at the time.
To put this in context, I had had a somewhat heated discussion with my spouse about our different perspectives on religion a few days prior to this interaction. We all nurture closely held beliefs on a variety of issues, regardless of their origins. But however irrational we believe someone else's beliefs to be, the only way to actively co-exist is to engage in respectful dialogue. Sometimes, we may convince the other person, as Daryl Davis did; on other occasions, we may have to agree to disagree. Either way, we create the opportunity to arrive at a deeper understanding of who the other person is and how they approach the issue.
In the end, neither the young woman at my door nor I ended up reading to each other. We did, however, spend a few minutes talking about our beliefs and why we held them - and parted with genuine pleasure at having engaged in the conversation.
If you have an adversary, an opponent with an opposing point of view, give that person a platform, regardless of how extreme it may be. And believe me I've heard some things so extreme at these rallies it'll cut you to the bone. If you agree with them, great - no problem. If you don't agree with them, that's fine, too. You challenge them, but you don't challenge them rudely or violently. You do it politely and intelligently, and when you do things that way, chances are they will reciprocate and give you a platform.