It’s been a long term issue: a lot of vocal skeptics want nothing to do with atheism. They see it as a difficult issue that could sidetrack campaigns to encourage critical thinking, even though a lot of prominent skeptics are also atheists. I’ve never quite seen the logic: they’re going to oppose the use of magic crystals to enhance your aura, but praying to a magical sky-primate to bring you a new bicycle…eh, it doesn’t hurt. It seems a little inconsistent.
Anyway, Rebecca Watson, a godless skeptic if ever there was one, wrote a bit in support of the Hitchens/Dawkins proposal to bring legal action against the perfidious pope, and she caught some flak for it — people claimed that opposing religion, even if it is a baby-raping religion, could ‘harm the cause’ (Oh, those three words…I have heard them so often). Watson has a good reply.
So is this effort going to somehow hurt the “skeptical movement?” You may notice that I use the quotation marks here, because I can’t bring myself to seriously consider a movement supposedly based on the defense of rationality that would turn its back on children who are raped by men they trust because those men claim a supernatural being gives them power, wisdom, and the keys to eternal life with a direct line to God’s ear. If we discovered that a world-famous psychic was leading a secretive cabal that protected child rapists, would we be silent? If a world-famous faith healer was using his heavenly persona to molest kids, would we say that it’s not our fight? You might. I couldn’t.
I would hope, though, that it wouldn’t take molestation of children to stir up a skeptic (although, apparently, even that won’t rouse some of them, if the culprit is a priest). Shouldn’t an organization that claims you’ll go to hell after you’re dead if you don’t give them money while you’re alive also be on every skeptic’s hit list?