People will always attack those that they are most like the most vehemently. Think about it, why would something you reject really bother you? If it was inconsequential you'd just ignore it wouldn't you? Or if it did bother you, it would at least be for some reason, and it wouldn't turn you into the ultimate misunderstanding of a Holy Warrior. Why would it do that, well, because there is a deeper connection between you and what you rail against: in some way it is you, and you are it.
This is what Carl Jung called the projection of the Shadow Complex. In any realistic view of humans, we are complex beings. The simple idea of “me” that we use in conversation and in our own thoughts is an obvious fiction. And that fiction has a price: if “me” is only this and this in my description and understanding, then where does the rest of it go? Onto “you” of course.
[For more on this, I refer you to an article I wrote some years ago.Exploring the Psyche #6 - The Shadow ]
Why bring this up? Aside from the fact that, like ego inflation, it cannot be brought up enough, being Gnostic Clergy means you get this an awful lot, in cycles. People show up, regularly, who want to try to reinforce the rejection of what is in their shadow complexes, by projecting its contents onto us, and attacking us for it. The enormous irony is: we are actually out here helping people in so many ways, one of them being by helping them actually deal with the contents on their shadow complexes—so they can be free of them.
That just describes the existential issue people have with Gnostic Clergy: that is to say, that we exist. But there is so much more. If you mention donations, people will try to excoriate you as if you where Pat Robertson, rather than just trying to have replacement candles for next week or get as much help as 10% of the church budget coming from somewhere besides your empty pocket. You'll notice that these people never actually attack those folks, like Robertson, whom most everyone can agree are unethical. Nope. It's you and your candles, and your impending homelessness that they attack, passionately, as it you were the root of all evil yourself.
Gnostic Clergy are by no means alone in this, Christians who are actually being Christian get painted with the same brush as the hate-filled demagogues who use the word as a club. Or get blamed for things that happened many centuries ago. Make sense? And that is one of the milder examples.
The big bugaboo of the Da Vinci Code is the Roman Catholic Church. But this isn't the actual Roman Catholic Church, or any of the members thereof, it is almost entirely a shadow complex projection on it. Even if the history portrayed in the novel were true, what does that have to do with Roman Catholics today? I have had the privilege to meet a number of wonderful people who have selflessly devoted their lives to serving others. If they wore saffron instead of black they'd be uniformly praised, instead they must endure a great deal of shadow projections, as well as, everything else that goes with a life devoted to service.
And if your response is, “but they really did bad things,” who are “they”? Shadow projections are not limited to the contemporary sphere. People project them onto history. The “they” who do bad things are not defined by some enormous organization of which they may be a member. This leads to the very false and very dangerous assumption that you can trust someone to do or be something because they believe some set of things. Why dangerous? Well, just South of where I live, the FBI had to set up a full-time fraud investigation office because members of the LDS church there were so trusting of others simply because they too were members. Then there is the oft heard tale of tragedy, wherein a parent trusts a co-religionist with their kids, because they are a co-religionist, and the kids are abused.
When the world is a simple black and white, it isn't the world—it's make believe. Make believe isn't liberation. So not only are those caught up in such projections not actually addressing any real issues, they often devote their energy to attacking those who are really addressing such issues. It is enough to make one reconsider being available as such a target, every time it happens. However, the service is worth it, if this where about “me,” it wouldn't happen.
Note: that I am not saying that in trusting someone it doesn't matter what someone believes. Rather you can't trust someone based on stated beliefs, though you can decide not to trust someone based on their stated beliefs. You have no reason to trust someone with your money solely on whether they profess a belief in God or not. That person may be sincere in that belief, and have others that allow him to steal your money. However, the person who professes to belief personal property is wrong, is not someone you'd want to trust with your money anyway.