Wot's this? An intelligent question on R&S ... I think I have the wrong internet!
Absolutely, yes, moderates of Christianity have an obligation to call the extremists on the truly BAD image they are presenting of Christians everywhere.
I am a Catholic. (Does that make me a "moderate"? I know I can count the times when I've been accused of not being "true" Christian.) As a Catholic I find the mediocre arguments and cardboard faith of so many Creationists and other extremists to be an embarassment!
These extremists are a *disaster* for the Christian message for several reasons:
First, because this kind of extremism is generally *easily* shown to be constructed by dishonest people leading gullible people ... this presents that absolute *worst* image for Christians. It makes us look like Christians everywhere are either dishonest or gullible. How many times does a self-serving, hypocritical religious leader have to be exposed for exposing himself to minors, or hiring prostitutes, or trolling airports for casual hookups, or just scamming the sick and the old for money so that they can live in luxury? How many times can someone like Kent Hovind reveal himself to be a pathological liar before he is hauled off to jail? And yet how many of their followers just pick themselves up from being betrayed, and move on to the next leader willing to exploit them. (E.g. I notice that Kent Hovind's son is picking up his ministry while he serves his time for tax evasion.)
Second, if Creationists were ever to actually *succeed* in their agenda of getting Biblical Creationism presented side-by-side in a science classroom along with evolution, this would be an unmitigated *disaster* for the cause of the Christian message everywhere. The entire point of the First Amendment is not just to protect government from religious interference, but to protect religion from government interference. The founders were wise enough to know that faith does not survive well in a secular environment (such as political power, or the science laboratory). If you want to promote the teaching of faith, the science classroom would be the absolute LAST place you want children to be evaluating literalist Christian articles of faith!
Third, the asault on science leads not only to an inevitable descent into hypocrisy (leading the young Creationist to outright *contempt* for science ... while expressing this contempt using computers, the internet, blogs, and other tools of science) ... but it leads to a country whose voting public is weakened by an inability to evaluate *logic* and *evidence*. If you can be persuaded by jackasses that the earth is 6,000 years old ... then you can be persuaded that smoking is not bad for you, that Saddam is responsible for 9/11, that there are weapons of mass-destruction, or that George W. Bush or Sarah Palin would make a fine President.
Fourth, and most damaging to Christian faith, this kind of extremism always, always, always leads to a cascade of logic, descending into outright lies that betrays the very principles for which Christianity should stand. How many times have I heard outright LIES like "there are no transitional fossils" or "Darwin recanted on his deathbed" even though they are *TRIVIAL* to show are outright false! But it's worse than that.
And fifth, and finally, what should be of most concern to these very fundamentalists ... Biblical literalism is *idolatry*. It is putting an idol ... a book ... *above* God. Make no mistake about it ... scripture may once have been the word of God ... but it is also largely the work of MEN. It was transmitted by men, transcribed by men, compiled by men, translated from translations of translations by men, and finally *interpreted* by men. To insist that the *only* path to God is through the *literalist* interpretation, is to put that interpretation BY MEN above God.
So should we "moderates" speak out. Absolutely!
If not we will see the extremists sink the message of Christ under a weight of lies, distortions, and polemic that is precisely the *opposite* of good Christian faith.