While the term "atheism" is instantly recognizable, the fact is that the term means "not theistic" or "not religious". It's occurred to me that this could be a case where the language used detracts from advocacy efforts. Tell a theist - any theist - that you're an atheist, and to them, it's like saying you're the opposite of them. Little wonder you see so many theists believing that an atheist isn't suitable for public office, or that atheists are also amoral - because they see their foundation of morality coming from their theistic beliefs. While I agree that this is patently ridiculous (morality comes from the community and from what one is taught, not from a religious belief in the sense as coming from God (or gods)), the perception still matters. The name is not the issue so much as the perception that people have of it.
I read an article linked elsewhere on this site which had an atheist mention that calling himself an atheist was like calling himself a non-astrologer. A negative definition like that doesn't define what one is, it defines what one is not. To wit, "You're not a theist? So what are you, then?" Most religious beliefs work because they give people a sense of community and a feeling of belonging to something, not because of the content of the actual beliefs. And that explains the irrational behavior many people indulge in when people question those beliefs much more effectively, I think. Because their sense of belonging to a community is threatened, so they hold to it despite how irrational it might seem on the outside.
So it seems to me that in addition to arguing against religious beliefs, atheists need to define what they stand for outside of that. All well and good to talk about being against the superstition of religion, but it's more important to make it clear what "belonging to the community of atheists" actually means, and to define atheism as something other than the opposition to religion. I think atheism needs to be something in addition to those, or the only appeal will be to other people who feel ostracized from a religious community (not that this is a bad thing). Maybe it is and it's just not something I'm seeing, and if so, someone who knows could explain it to me. But even if that's the case, I think this illustrates the problem. If someone like me, who's spent more than half a year here, still doesn't really understand atheism to be anything more than the rejection of religion, then how likely is it that other people who have never encountered an atheist will understand it at all?