Giles Fraser has a very insightful essay in the Guardian about the right wing evangelical faction of the Church of England that successfully scuttled a vote on women bishops in the church's General Synod. Here's a sample:
For the essence of the puritan mindset is revenge – as Nietzsche accurately described it, the revenge of the bullied who are subconsciously getting back at those who once made their life a misery. As the comedy puritan Malvolio rages at the end of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night: "I'll be reveng'd on the whole pack of you."
So what can be done? Argument is pretty useless. Conservative religious people are generally locked in a self-referencing worldview where truth is about strict internal coherence rather than any reaching out to reality. That's why they treat the Bible like some vast jigsaw – its truth residing in a complex process of making the pieces fit together and not with the picture it creates.
So rather than laugh at them or argue with them, the best thing is probably ignore them.
I've been making this point for years. What these apocalyptic legalists want most is not universal love and peace, but the reward of seeing their enemies bound in chains and thrown into the unquenchable fire. That is the essence of everything from angry subway preachers to fire and brimstone mega-church sermons on teevee. "Our God will vindicate us and revenge us upon all of our enemies!"
I agree with Fraser that these folk are largely insulated from reality by a self referencing world view where it matters more that all the syllogisms fit like cogwheels than what the larger picture describes. To me that larger picture describes a desolation.
In largely secular and religiously liberal England, I would imagine that all this appears simply marginal and freakish. In the USA, this is a much more serious matter. The USA is one of the few countries in the world (along with Saudi Arabia and Iran) to have a politically powerful religious fundamentalist movement. Its power and influence may be waning after more than 30 years of hegemony over the political and cultural debates, but it is still formidable, especially on the state and local levels. The USA is secularizing despite that movement's best efforts (you could argue that right wing religious influence accelerated that secularization and spawned a serious backlash against all religious life from Sufis and Quakers to Southern Baptists and Wahabists).
I've long argued, and continue to argue, that fundamentalist religious movements are ultimately secular. They are not about religion or spirituality at all. In fact, fundamentalists of all types rarely discuss religion, and certainly do not speculate about it. Religion for them is a settled issue. There's nothing to discuss. Fundamentalist movements are about identity, about drawing a clear bright line between who's in and who's out. Sorting out who's in the tribe and who is not is a very worldly political issue and not a religious one.