It is no secret that Carl Sagan is a highly respected figure in the skeptical community. He was a popularizer of science, co-founder of CSICOP (which arguably kick-started the modern movement). His book The Demon-Haunted World is often praised by self-identified skeptics, and commonly mentioned as a good introduction to skepticism.
I wonder, how much of Carl Sagan's stature is dependent on him having passed away in 1996? His passing away means that he could not have taken part in the internal conflicts that have occurred within the community since then. I'm thinking of conflicts such as those over feminism, religion (the "new atheism" from the early 2000s), and to what extent skeptics should tackle purely political topics (anger of this caused PZ Myers to renounce skepticism).
Public figures taking sides in these kinds of conflicts will inevitably piss off some of the people who take the opposite side. Sagan's absence means that he has not publicly taken sides (though of coruse one can make educated guesses about what he might have thought about various issues), and therefore not pissed off any faction.
I'm not saying that he would not have been a prominent figure had he lived one or two decades longer. Of course he would. But absence meaning making fewer people angry (which is inevitable I think). For example, I think Dawkins' reputation has been at least somewhat hurt from his use of Twitter. Who knows what Sagan would have been like on Twitter?
What do you think?