I am an atheist, and I will admit I like what this pope is saying. It doesn't make me believe in god though. In general I don't care what anybodies beliefs are, as long as they are not trying to force those beliefs on me by way of changing laws to follow their particular belief system.
But I can see how conservatives might be threatened by the pope. Over the last 30 years the religious vote has pretty much been owned by the republicans. If this pope can get a more "liberal agenda" into the minds of more christians it could end up hurting the repubs during elections.