Positive Atheist Forum deals with it first by distancing themselves from right wing racist group World Church of the Creator:
From their blog:
* Reference: Our Identity As Atheist Organizations by Cliff Walker
* Perspective: Letter Submitted To US News
* Perspective: Letter Submitted To The New York Times
In researching the piece "Our Identity As Atheist Organizations," I wrote to Matthew Hale, leader of the World Church of the Creator, and asked him if they call themselves an "atheist group." The response from his office was a resounding no.
From: Positive Atheism
To: Matthew Hale
Date: Wednesday, July 14, 1999 4:00 PM
Much discussion has ensued since The Washington Post called The World Church of the Creator "an atheist group." The other major journals we've consulted (New York Times; US News) fall short of using that word. Our question is, would you use the word "atheist" to describe the World Church of the Creator?
the other way they deal with it is to have atheist write in and say "we are not a hate group." But this proves nothing. I don't think there is an actual hate group that can be labeled as "the atheist hate group" and I have said from day one of this blog that I a not claiming that all atheists are like this. There is a fundamentalist end of the atheist spectrum that fits the profile of a hate group (see the post on this blog). That is segment is growing and is probably fueled by the internet.
here's an example of the sort of denial:
From: "Many Paths"
To: "Positive Atheism"
Date: May 15, 2002 2:28 AM
Are atheist groups rightly seen as "hate groups?"
The term "hate group" as I see it refers to particularly vicious organizations such as; the KKK, neo-Nazis, skinheads, Fred Phelps and the like. Some of the factors that these groups have in common are; authoritarianism, dogmatism, and generally a narrow view point. Atheist organizations on the other hand encourage independence of thought, to search for truth rather than insist that we know everything and are always right. To lump atheists in with these other groups is absurd.
I have never heard of a religious person being violently attacked by a group of atheists (it may have happened once or twice, but I've never heard of it.) The cases of vandalism of churches seem to be done by other religious groups, racist groups, or stupid drunk teenagers -- not atheists. Atheists do not picket funerals of dead religious leaders, they do not have Bible bon-fires, or consider any particular type of person to be unworthy of joining.
But the reason there is no violent attack as yet is because we are only at stage four on the FBI model. violence hasn't occurred yet, although there was one case where an atheist or a group of them were caught planning to burn a church but were unable to. Violence my be coming, it hasn't happened yet because we are not far enough along on the evolutionary process of hate group development. It may even be that even though message boards galvanize the haters and work them up they may also function as a safety valve.
here is stage four through six of the model:
Stage 4: The Hate Group Taunts the Target
Hate, by its nature, changes incrementally. Time cools the fire of hate, thus forcing the hater to look inward. To avoid introspection, haters use ever-increasing degrees of rhetoric and violence to maintain high levels of agitation. Taunts and offensive gestures serve this purpose. In this stage, skinheads typically shout racial slurs from moving cars or from afar. Nazi salutes and other hand signals often accompany racial epithets. Racist graffiti also begins to appear in areas where skinheads loiter. Most skinhead groups claim turf proximate to the neighborhoods in which they live. One study indicated that a majority of hate crimes occur when the hate target migrates through the hate group's turf.15
Stage 5: The Hate Group Attacks the Target Without Weapons
This stage is critical because it differentiates vocally abusive haters from physically abusive ones. In this stage, hate groups become more aggressive, prowling their turf seeking vulnerable targets. Violence coalesces hate groups and further isolates them from mainstream society. Skinheads, almost without exception, attack in groups and target single victims. Research has shown that bias crimes are twice as likely to cause injury and four times as likely to result in hospitalization as compared to nonbias crimes.16
In addition to physical violence, the element of thrill seeking is introduced in Stage 5. Two experts found that 60 percent of hate offenders were "thrill seekers."17 The adrenaline "high" intoxicates the attackers. The initial adrenaline surge lasts for several minutes; however, the effects of adrenaline keep the body in a state of heightened alert for up to several days.18 Each successive anger- provoking thought or action builds on residual adrenaline and triggers a more violent response than the one that originally initiated the sequence.19 Anger builds on anger. The adrenaline high combined with hate becomes a deadly combination. Hard-core skinheads keep themselves at a level where the slightest provocation triggers aggression.
Stage 6: The Hate Group Attacks the Target with Weapons
Several studies confirm that a large number of bias attacks involve weapons.20 Some attackers use firearms to commit hate crimes, but skinheads prefer weapons, such as broken bottles, baseball bats, blunt objects, screwdrivers, and belt buckles. These types of weapons require the attacker to be close to the victim, which further demonstrates the depth of personal anger. Attackers can discharge firearms at a distance, thus precluding personal contact. Close-in onslaughts require the assailants to see their victims eye-to-eye and to become bloodied during the assault. Hands- on violence allows skinheads to express their hate in a way a gun cannot. Personal contact empowers and fulfills a deep-seated need to have dominance over others.
It may be that we are not far enough along in the process to have open attacks yet. Maybe that will never come. But one thing that can be seen by anyone at any time is the depth of hatred that exists out there for Christianity on the net and message boards. No atheist has of yet taken up my challenge to go on a message and pretending to be a Chrsitain. Of course the right kind of message board such as Atheist.net, Infidel guy, the Secular Web.