People I respect deeply are going to disagree with me on this, but I have to propose this idea as I think it's the best way to deal with this digusting problem.
Who you ask? Well, I'm not going to mention their names. But imagine a group of so-called Christians who picket funerals with large signs indicating that some supreme being or other has an intense dislike for those of us who are homosexual, and you may get an idea of who I mean.
To explain why, I need to invoke Howard Stern.
Well, not actually Howard Stern, but an anecdote from the movie about him, called Private Parts.
Here's the exchange from the script, where the popularity of Stern's "shock jock" radio show is being discussed:
The average radio listener listens for thirty minutes.
The average Howard Stern fan listens for...are you ready for this? An hour and thirty minutes.
How can that be?
Answer most commonly given: "I want to see what he'll say next."
All right, OK, fine.
But what about the people who hate Stern?
Good point. The average Stern hater...listens for two hours a day.
Look, but if they hate him, why do they listen?
Most common answer: "I want to see what he'll say next."
As a small test, I mentioned in a chat room that I was writing about this person. The first question? "What did he do now?" We are not immune to the mind-stealing focus of hatred.
I fear that some in the skeptics movement are falling into a trap when they discuss this unnamed person and his "church." It's one thing to expose the ramblings of Jenny McCarthy or Kevin Trudeau as dangerous... they don't WANT you to do that. They want you to accept them. What they're saying is dangerous and incorrect, and should be challenged.
Not so with this group. They want you to revile them. They want you to blog about them, talk about them, and focus your hate on them. They want the media to cover them and talk about how ridiculous their latest stunt was. Why do they want this? I don't care. Seriously, I don't care. And neither should you.
Ignore these people. Their message is so over-the-top that they don't need debunking. Let them blow away and take their rightful place next to any of the thousands of other self-serving hypocrites pretending to have a calling from a higher power. Learn to be comfortable with the fact that there are lying, evil bastards out there who want your attention, and understand that you win when you don't give it to them. We all do.