The guardian-angel complex, as I call it, is a more pronounced version of the holier-than-thou complex. Many activists suffer from it — animal rights activists, anti-abortionists, environmentalists and recently in Sri Lanka, some of the self-proclaimed defenders of Sinhalese-Buddhism.
You can easily make the distinction between a legitimate activist and those suffering from the guardian-angel complex. The “guardian angel” is often more concerned with fighting the enemies than protecting the charge.
Animal rights activists are a good example. Whenever groups like ALF attack laboratories and “liberate” test animals, what is conspicuously absent from their well laid plans is the welfare of their liberated animals. They often break in, set fire to property, break open cages, spray paint walls and leave the animals to perish in an unfamiliar environment. Hardly the act of a guardian angel. Most “guardian angels” are so obsessed with playing a defender of something, that it’s often of little consequence what they’re a defender of.
This is also true of certain types of defenders of religion — following scripture is of little importance to them. What is more important is the exposure of “threats” and “conspiracies” against their religion and reprimanding those (other than themselves) who fail to follow their particular interpretation of scripture. When such types rear their heads in society, it is the job of legitimate activists to caution the public against them.