Well, chances are, they don't. Not most times. And that's fine. There really isn't much that atheists can do about what cases got national attention first -- at least, not until someone cooks up a time machine. But I do think it's worth their while to pay attention to the way in which the public perception was informed by those early cases, and how that reflects upon cases with a more immediate impact on people's ability to survive or progress in civil society.
What I'm thinking about is a shift in PR. This clip is a prime example of the need for a new way of broaching the public. When the anchor asked, "Aren't atheists bringing this on themselves by going to the Supreme Court to have 'under God' removed from the pledge?" the panelist's automatic response was, "by being good citizens." Which may be an accurate characterization (it may also be simply a better spin than "vocal minority"), but it lets stand the perception of atheists as fighting language first and foremost. She was so eager to get it out that she didn't really let him finish framing his question.
A better answer might have been something along the lines of, "We think those topics are important, but they take second place to more troubling forms of discrimination, like that which prevents good, qualified people from getting jobs they need to support their family. We're seeing more cases like that these days, and we think it's important to address the more immediate threats." As it stands, she hit the theme of "good citizens" four or five times and never really addressed the more immediate issues. Atheists don't have to back away from those earlier cases altogether, but I think it's to their advantage to stress that, compared with the threat of ostracization or violence, what's spoken during the pledge is somewhat trivial.
Now, it may be the case that some people take having "under God" in the pledge as a sanction for discrimination against atheists. But I think that's something that will be easier to address after
atheists have won broad public sympathy. The tactics I saw in this clip certainly aren't helping them to do that.